Tag: God

One Sentence You Need to Let Go of Right Now

Choose Prayer gif



We all have times when we think our circumstances can’t change, or we think there’s no way this can work out. We have dreams no one else knows about, but we’re fairly sure they’ll remain just that: dreams. We struggle because we really secretly want that dream, or the change in that circumstance, or a solution to a problem. We want someone’s health to improve. We want our child to do well in school.

You know what really bothers me? When we say “I guess we’ll just have to pray about it.

As we say it, the shoulders sort of shrug and the posture’s a little hunched. “I guess…” is equivalent to saying, “I know this really isn’t a solution, but I can’t think of anything better at the moment.”

I guess we’ll just have to pray about it. I guess, until something better comes along, we can pray. Maybe that will hold us in place until we find the real solution.

And we’ll just have to. Just: a lowly place. Have to: something we don’t want to do.

You know what really bothers me? When we say “I guess we’ll just have to pray about it.”

So we’re shrugging, a little stooped, lowly, not really desiring to go to the Lord in prayer for our answer. Mumbling a stop-gap.

Now, wait just a minute. I’m a believer. I believe in God the Father. I believe, in fact I KNOW he can work behind the scenes and inside of people, inside the ones in this circumstance. Inside me, inside you – he can create change. And He’s there before we get there, working on that change. He knew the change was needed before you did. Before I even thought about it.

In Him there is strength and wisdom. He holds the knowledge – the key to this situation.

Now, God will let the circumstance or process go on if it means your disappointment, your struggle, your heartache will ultimately prosper you. It might help you grow. It might help you heal. It might help you see God differently. Faith sees us through that part.

And if you don’t give up – you will be prepared for the wonderful-ness that He has in store for you. (You weren’t thinking about giving up, were you?) He promises that with Him, all things are possible! That’s power. You have options – you aren’t stuck in that circumstance, or a hundred light years away from that dream. You can walk directly beside Him by trusting Him, by praying to Him about it and believing He will make the changes that are best for you, and praising Him throughout all the good and bad times.  Praise him when your spouse leaves a note on the table saying she’s moved out. Praise him when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Praise him when you with your human viewpoint can’t imagine how that addiction is ever going to be cured.

Choose to trust Him, and in choosing it you are also electing to live your life differently. You’re able to look for His goodness and “taste and see” what He has in store. You can relax, knowing who’s got your back. You know His strength, and you’ve put your trust in it.

When you have chosen this path, your posture will be a little straighter, your voice will be stronger, more commanding, and the next time “I guess we’ll just have to pray about it” will become “Let’s pray.”

Let’s take it to the Lord. Let’s find out from the Almighty, the Creator, the All-knowing, All-seeing One – yeah let’s see what He has to say about it.

There is power in the name of God.

Choose trust. Choose faith. Choose prayer.

Related Verse
“…with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26, NIV

 

 

The Never-Ending Quest for God

We are all seekers. Whether you believe in God as Father, Mother, Earth, Universe, or some other entity, you’ve placed yourself in that boat with all the rest of us. We want truth. We want our lives to have meaning. We want to improve ourselves, our marriage, our homes and our lives. The list goes on and on.

So what is it we’re searching for, exactly? And why does it take a lifetime, and then some, to actually get there?

Jesus said “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

But why?

To Stand Solid in a Storm

As I have gotten to *cough cough* a certain age, I am watching friends go through many types of hardship and pain. The stress of losing their beloved parents has happened to some. Finding out a spouse or loved one has cancer is another. And a few have been completely let down by the ones they loved the most. Through it all, what I have noticed is that those with a solid, godly foundation are better in the storm. Those without faith waver and falter. The Christians may question, but in the end they feel rooted, secure — unshakable.

God is knowable, touchable, hearable, seeable, with the mind, the hands, the ears and the eyes of…

And ooh, the guilt! Christians feel sure about their future and that of their loved ones. Others, not so much; they are burdened with sadness and guilt. They self-medicate. They look for answers, and believe they find them in books like     Guided by Stars The Secret , or  Spiritual Astrology: A Path to Divine Awakening .

To Be His Friend

Believe it or not, God pursued us first. Is that hard to believe? He has handed you a blanket invitation to come and get to know Him. In fact, He created us just so we could be his companions; he wants us to find Him.

Knowing God is a privilege like no other. By seeking God, we get to know him better (much like spending time with your circle of friends). Furthermore, through our pursuit of God, when we admire Him, He is lifted up.

To Find Soul-Deep Satisfaction

Seeking God gives us the ability to find purpose in our lives. God’s presence gives us deep fulfillment like no one else can, like no thing or position or feeling can. Even when we are just beginning to look for him, we can feel little snippets of that deep contentment. We can grasp them and hold on until the next one….and the next one…and so on.

To Change for the Better

He wanted us to seek Him out in order for us to change. By trying to get to  know Him and spend time with Him, we begin to take on His own Holy character, His goodness, His gentle way of loving others. He wanted us to change our lives. The awareness we develop about God and who He really is enables us to start changing right away.

I’ll leave you with this thought from A.W. Tozer:

God is knowable, touchable, hearable,  seeable,

with the mind, the hands, the ears and the eyes

of the inner man.

Books by A.W. Tozer

Seeking God – How to Know God

Seeking God

“I want to change the way I relate to God; but I can’t.”

seeking god

 

This was part of a private message (Facebook) discussion. The person was asking questions about my Get Closer to God course. Unfortunately, there are way too many people who take this attitude.

I’m not griping because she didn’t make the purchase. In fact, I encouraged her not to. The thing is, I want people who buy it to (1) actually work through it – it’s set up in worksheet style, and (2) allow God to help them make a change. If those things are not going to take place, then there is no need to purchase the program.

And if the first words out of your mouth are “I can’t” then nothing will change.

Isn’t the definition of madness doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Why do we do that? We say we are seeking God, yet have not made one single change?

I’m no longer talking about the one Facebook fan, but about myself, and maybe even you, dear reader…

What change have I made to find God

seeking God
Sans Dieu Rien
  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • This month
  • This Year

Think about it………

Often the difference between a Christ-like person, a God seeker, and a person who struggles to implement positive changes in life is not the first one’s superior abilities or innate holiness, but the courage to step out and to take steady steps forward in prayer, Bible study, and by surrounding him/herself with Christian thinkers. Seeking God is a continuum.

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” Proverbs 19:2, ESV

One Step Closer is designed in a way that you will have to spend time on it, and therefore, time in front of the Lord. There was a reason it was created that way.

God wants you to spend time with Him. You already know that. People who want to change have to try things to see what works and what doesn’t. Seeking God requires action. Saying you want to change doesn’t work. You can say it until the cows come home. Actually making a change takes perseverance. It takes courage. And it takes… time. The course forces you to spend a little more time in front of God, listening to God…and as a result you’ll become closer.

I’m not going to go into my rant about ‘time’ and ‘busy;’ I’ll save that one. But there is a saying that goes “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” This is as true in strengthening your faith as in anything else. If you aren’t going to change the way… the time… the steps you take when you relate to God, your relationship will continue to be distant and formal. He didn’t move away, after all– you did.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8, ESV

Seek God Daily

Some people sit and wait for God to come to them in a shimmering epiphany. Others pursue Him as if they’re on fire, spending time in front of Him whether they “see” Him that day or not, constantly chasing after Him, stepping forward steadily.

It’s not a contest, but if it were, guess who’d win?

Maybe He even wants us to struggle, just a little, to get where He wants us to be: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,” 2 Peter 3:9, ESV

Since the only contestant is you, and the prize is a stronger, steadier relationship with the One who is Lord of All, why not change something today? See what happens. I challenge you.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17, ESV

Let me know how it works out. 😉

To purchase One Step Closer, Vol. 1 click here.

 

Pre-study Comments and Questions

Welcome to the 6-week Bible study, Come Back to Jesus–and Don’t Bring your Blackberry! Have you started reading the book yet? You can get an ebook or the paperback here. I will  work from the perspective that you haven’t started reading yet. It’s really important before we start the deep work on our hearts that we realize what idols/time-stealers are. Basically they are wants that become misshapen. They can be good things to start, but they get distorted and that’s when they become bad things. Example: you start going online to look for friends because you feel lonely in the evenings. Six months later you are on there non-stop. A year into it you’ve started an online emotional affair, and your spouse is complaining that he never gets to spend time with you any more. Now it’s an idol. The worst part about idols is we don’t realize we have them. Because of that, many people who need this study won’t bother with it.

My working definition is: “Anything that repeatedly gets between you and your worship of God.” Notice repeatedly! Sometimes people ask if they can do an activity one time, say, miss church to visit family out of town. That’s not an idol – it doesn’t repeat. So of course you can. 🙂

Please begin reading Chapter 1. There are 5 days in each chapter; that gives you Sunday off plus one other day, perhaps you are here on Thursdays so you use that as your other no-homework day. The most difficult homework you’ll have in the entire 6 weeks is at the end of Chapter 1, so be sure to allow extra time for that one.

Here’s your video link.The password to watch it is seven.

I’ll be here every Thursday at this time beginning today, but you read/comment as you have time.

Prayer: Father God, I pray that you will use this study as it is intended, to soften and clean each heart so that we can love and represent you better. Help us to hear what it is you are saying throughout the study. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Through the New Testament in 90 Days

Hi there! I’ve been leading a rather ambitious Bible reading plan…through the New Testament only…..by the end of March! Today is Jan. 6, we have read 6 days. I’ve just posted a new video touching on a couple points about the readings so far:

Also, if you’d like a copy of the entire reading schedule at once, click here

I’m so enjoying this reading together! I hope you will, too. I don’t know how many times most people have read the Bible through. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read it. At least 20, but not more than 30 times I’ve actually read it start to finish. Plus there’s all that other time that we’re focused on a book or a few verses. Still…it’s a living word. So every time you read it, it’s fresh.

How many times have you read the Bible all the way through? Please take a sec to participate in my survey:
Click here to take survey

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God, a Dog, and Decisions

From iphone 024 (640x480)I knew it was only a matter of time until Fella, my 14-year-old Corgi, would pass. He has been unsteady on his back legs for some time. And yes I know they make those wheelie carts for long dogs who lose mobility, but those are not for him…he was afraid of loud noises, and it would’ve scared him to death, among other things.

So this week he went downhill fast. He had a yucky discharge from the nose, he has battled some sort of infection all around his lips for a year, he started dragging himself around by his front legs, refusing to even try the back ones any more. He was also losing control of his bladder. He’d seen vets in TN twice and FL twice, and I was dosing and applying and all the things you do when your dog is a senior citizen. I was even carrying him outside and holding up the back end for him to potty. It wasn’t working.

My husband went out of town and I sorta knew I’d be the one left with the duty of watching him die, or worse having him PTS. I hate putting pets to sleep. It seems like I’m playing God, making decisions that may or may not be the right ones. But I’d been praying that he wouldn’t have to suffer (the dog, that is) and yesterday and today he was suffering.

Speaking of God, you know that for me He’s always right in the middle of what I’m doing and today was no different. All night Fella dragged himself this way and that, trying to get comfortable. During the night I got up and tried to take him potty, which he refused, and served up 2 whole bowls of water, which he gulped from a lying-down position. I awoke with a start at 8:15 and started to call the vet when that still, small voice said wait until 9:00.

So I sat on the edge of the bed and waited. Watching Fella try to breathe, I thought he was going to die about then. I texted my husband: Fella’s all but gone.

During the wait, the Lord spoke to me about these decisions we must make for those who can’t do it themselves, and how it is best that little dogs not suffer, and it’s up to me to keep him from it.

At 9:00 Fella was still hanging on with labored breathing and my husband texted me. I’ll be praying for you. So that was what I waited for—someone to pray on my behalf, as I certainly couldn’t do it on my own. Someone to care what I was going through all alone. I called the vet.

At the Corgi Picnic, 2005 I think
At the Corgi Picnic, 2005 I think

I noticed then it was raining, which is important to the next part I’m going to tell you. I put up the top on the convertible and put a towel on the seat for Fella so he wouldn’t slide. Then I carried him to the car and turned it on. “We’re going to listen to ‘Praise you In This Storm’ by Casting Crowns,” the radio announcer said.

Not only is that one of my favorite songs, but the words were so appropriate I knew that it was the Spirit once again reaching to my heart. Here’s what I heard as I backed out of the drive: I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

(The last line as I tried to find the windshield wiper button on my new-to-me car.) The song was exactly what I needed in that moment. The rest of the song is printed below, as well as a link to the video. Even in the horrid grief of what I was about to do I knew I could lift my hands because God is God and He is on His throne. Oh, except I didn’t lift my hands since I was driving. I so appreciate that God cares for the sparrow and even for my ailing, aged dog. I wish I had a better word to describe how much His goodness means to me–appreciate sounds so small.

The vet’s office is very good to whisk you right in, so I put him on the table but he scooted over against me and stuffed his head under my arm. A tech came and held him tight as he struggled—now I wish I had been the one to hold him—and they administered that last painful shot.

It is a blessing that we have this kind of service, that we are able to make decisions for our pets and give them comfort instead of pain. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t bawling my eyes out through the entire thing. I came home and flopped on the floor and cried like never before. Noelle the Honorary Corgi rolled around on me and tried to comfort me; mostly she covered me in hair. I thought only Fella understood my feelings but maybe Noelle pays attention too. Piper, a Maltese, licked crazily like she does every time I come through the door.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Fella won’t be back,” I told them, and burst into tears again. Fella, my heart dog. They say you only have one like that. One of my friends told me dogs are angels wrapped in fur. I want that to be true. But mostly I want him to be in the living room tossing a toy up in the air and catching it just to make me laugh.

“Praise You In This Storm”

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus:]
And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus]

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Casting Crowns Praise you in this Storm

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Book Review: Faith Dare

I finished `The Faith Dare: 30 Days to Live Your Life to the Fullest’ by Debbie Alsdorf only a couple of days late. Not bad for me, I usually fall way behind. This was supposed to be read Aug. 1-30 and I finished Sept. 2.

Here is a slightly-longer-than-usual review of the book:

What Would Happen If You Lived Out Your Faith Every Day, In Every Situation? Jesus came to give us abundant life, to give us freedom from worry, fear, and the constant search for significance.

In the Introduction, the author says,

“Trusting God is a spiritual lifestyle to be learned. Walking out that faith takes a lifetime of baby steps in the direction of spiritual trust. As we grow, we learn how to trust God. We develop new habits of looking to him, new habits of processing and digesting the Word of God, new habits of living our faith, and new habits of relating to other people in our lives. New habits don’t happen overnight; they happen over time.” (p. 10)

So creating or rebuilding these new habits usually involves overcoming deeply ingrained wrong habits and beliefs. Most of us put our faith in human wisdom/human understanding. We’ve allowed the world to infiltrate our thought patterns, living habits—to a point that we miss out on God’s best for us. This author is trying to get us away from our worldly selves and into a godly thinking frame of mind.

After a lengthy introduction, we get down to business with 3 sections of ten days each. Each day’s reading is about 5 pages. Each day includes Today’s Praise/Prayer, Today’s Truth, Today’s Dare, a Journal section, Today’s Prayer, and Today I Believe. (It’s not as much as it sounds like! You can do this in maybe 15 minutes)
The sections are:
* Live Up! In Relationship to God
* Live In! In Surrender of Self
* Live Out! In Relationship to Others

Day 10, which I already blogged about here, spoke to me more than any other. Near the end of the book it seemed as if the author had run out of dares; somehow the words felt more hurried.
From the conclusion:

“Your life is no longer your own. Your life is not random. It is hidden in Christ. You are protected, shielded, care for, provided for…by Christ. You are covered by his faithfulness and power. To look up, focus your attention on what is biblically true rather than on what you are feeling.” (p. 228)

The book was a pleasure to read with my online Bible study friends. We discussed it once a week, pushing one another for deeper meaning and insight. Personally, I wished that the dares could have had more than one day, more time to soak in and live in them and ruminate on them. But of course, we can’t have a 30-week dare, can we? 4 stars.

What’s Heaven Like, and Who Will Be There?

My latest video, based on a thought from yesterday’s church service: what is heaven like?
Please let me know what YOU think it’s like!

Very short, and no verses to look up. 😀