Resting in God’s decisions

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “did God really say ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”

 

This morning as I spent quiet time with God, we went over this 3rd chapter in Genesis. This is how it came about.

My husband’s anniversary for his brain injury just passed. It has been 7 years. When his injury first occurred, many people told me to leave him and move on. He would never know. In the last 7 years I hear this often. I haven’t and I won’t. I know that many of these people say this because they know how badly Gary is damaged and understand that we don’t have a marriage. I am his caretaker and this is a lonely life. They want me to be happy. I want to be happy too but at what cost?

We are all familiar with this story. Adam and Eve are in the Garden, and God is in fellowship with them. It is a unique and precious relationship. In this Garden, they can eat from all the trees but one, and that is the tree that the devil is tempting them with. (Genesis 2:15-16) The devil knows what he is doing.  It is his intention to get the woman to doubt God’s goodness and provision.  As he approaches the woman he knows just how to tempt her. He knows how to get her to mistrust God. So he says, ‘all the trees’. Bait tossed and Eve takes it.

God knows Gary has a brain injury. God knows I’m his caretaker. God knows it’s been 7 years. Does God really want me to be alone? Well what if He does….God really didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree. God withholds from us those things we don’t need. We may want them, we may never need them. The tree had good fruit and came with a benefit-knowledge. Why would God want to keep that from Adam and Eve? Is He mad at them? Is He selfish? Is He uncaring? Is He unable to provide for them?  No, no, no and no! It is because He loves them He asks them not to eat of this fruit for their sake not His. From the moment they bite it, they realize they are naked and they feel something they didn’t feel before-shame. Shame is not from God-shame is from sin and sin is from the devil.

I’m not always thrilled about being a caretaker. Yes, at times it is lonely. That is why I am especially thankful for my family and friends. Still I would like a closer relationship and God does know that. However, now, God is not changing my situation. So I am resting in His decision. For me to take a boyfriend, would be telling God that He cannot provide for me or that He doesn’t know what is best for me. That is what Adam and Eve’s actions told God. The result? Separated from the relationship they once shared with God. I am not going to risk that!

The devil always wants us to think badly of God. We blame God for all the evil in our lives. We blame God for all the fun we believe we are missing. We blame God for withholding good things from us. We blame God for our sick and dying loved ones. We blame God for our struggles. We justify blaming God in this, we think if He is God and  good then why isn’t my life filled with good? This is the lie the devil has us all believing. This is how the devil trips us up and causes us to sin against God. We sin when we try to answer our own prayers by taking what we want and not waiting for God to give it to us. We argue that maybe God won’t give it to us. I can go the rest of my life a caretaker and not a wife. This is not what I want. It is the life God has given me. I’m not about to overstep God and take what He isn’t offering.

The next time you find yourself in a spot where you really want something and God isn’t allowing it. Think about what you are asking for and rest in His decision not to answer just yet. God does love us and He has an eternal purpose for our lives. We see the current page. We can trust God, we can always trust God.

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It Is Written

Read: Luke 4:1-13

1-2-Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was lead by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry.

I was having one of those days today. I was asking God over and over why others get a dream, and I get a nightmare. Ever feel that way? Like everyone around you is doing something, succeeding at something , excelling at something. Then there you are, just trudging along in your broken life, that is a hot mess? This folks is our pity party, where’s the cake?

I laid down in the hallway and really cried that first paragraph out to God.

Then He lead me by His Spirit to today’s verses.

What about this passage did God want to show me? When Jesus was at His weakest, the devil comes around and tries to trip Jesus up. Three times the devil tries to prove to Jesus that His Father can’t or won’t provide for Him. Instead of a dream life, Jesus is caught up in a nightmare of a hot mess life.

Then three words ran through my brain: It Is Written!

It is written that God will and does provide for us. It is written that we are to worship God alone. It is written that God can save us from death or harm. It is written that He loves us, forgives us, redeems us, restores us, claims us and calls us. The devil wants us to believe differently so he can have power over us. We need to learn how to confront this spiritual warfare with the Word of God.

Well I got this far and up off the floor and to my computer to type this out. You know the days that are like today, when you’re feeling like your life is a hot mess. Fall before God and let Him know. He is there waiting for you.  Then God will remind you that those feelings are not true. What is true is His Word. He does love us and if we take the time to look around we can see the blessings among the mess. My life might not look like I think  it should. I’m sure a desert wasn’t Jesus’s first vacation spot either. Jesus teaches us that His Father can provide, shelter and restore us. We don’t have to accept second best from the devil. We may not get what we want, but in the end we get what we need. And all we really need is Jesus.

It Is Written: For God so loves us that He gives us His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

 

 

He is Alive

John 20:11-18


Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

He is risen!

I cannot tell you how many times I have wished to be Mary Magdalene. The very first person to see the Risen Lord. The very first person to announce His Resurrection. Then as soon as I think that God reminds me, you are. For each time we present this message to a non believer we are the first person to them. How crazy is that! The one woman I want to be, I get to be!!!!

He is Risen…He is Alive…just as He said He would  be…Hallelujah

 

In The Garden

John 17

VS 1: After Jesus has spoken these words, He looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You.

How many of us live to glorify God? I know a lot will say, “I do!” But really?  I know we all want to. I know some might, but really not a lot. Most of us live for our own comfort and glory. We all want to be someone or something in this world. We want to make a name for ourselves.

This is why it is so important for us to read John 17, and understand fully all that Jesus did for us. We read in Matthew 26:39 that Jesus is grieved over what is about to happen. He asks His Father to remove this cup from Him. Then in complete surrender He says to His Father, “Yet not what I want but what You want.”

O my Lord, on this night when Your Son prayed in Gethsamne, He prayed for me. I thank You Father for Your Son. I thank Jesus for His prayer. I ask Father that I will learn from Your Son how to give myself completely surrendered to You. So that the rest of my days I will always say to You the same as Jesus, “not what I want, but what You want.” Let it be done to me. I pray in Jesus Name.

Here Comes Jesus!

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,  to Bethlehem the town of David,  because he belong to the house in line of David.  He went there to register with Mary,  Who is pledge to be married to him and  was expecting a child.  While  they were there,  The time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn son .  She wrapped him in close and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them .

 Luke 2:4-7

 

There  is a popular song  titled, “ Here Comes Santa Claus.”   Everyone knows it!  In fact there are many Christmas songs that speak about Santa coming on Christmas Eve night.  All of us who are parents understand how excited our children get.  I’m not judging anybody here.  I’m a grandmother myself, and my grandchildren are waiting for Santa too.  It’s just that the older I get the odder this all seems to me.  Christmas Eve is the night we celebrate the very birth of our Lord God Savior. It is a Holy night. God gives us the greatest gift His Son Jesus!  So it makes sense that we would want to give gifts to our children as well.  But and you did know a but was coming, there is also a downside to this. Santa has become the star of this night !

No I’m not the grinch!  I’m not suggesting that we do away with anything that has to do with Santa.  I would just like to share these thoughts.

Many of you become extremely offended by others who will not say Merry Christmas.  You find it appalling  when someone says happy holidays.  You ram down the throats  of all who say it- Jesus is the reason for the season.  Then you go home and wait for Santa.  This is why the world calls Christians hypocritical.

If we want the world to take us seriously, then we seriously have to take back from the world our Holy holidays!  We can’t expect them to take our holiday serious when we join in their folly.  At some point we have to teach this world the truth about Jesus.  We have to let them know  that waiting for Jesus surpasses the joy of waiting for Santa!  We have got to let them know why the birth of Jesus is celebrated!

So here is what I would suggest.  The next time somebody says happy holidays to you.  Say thank you, then say back – happy holidays to you as well; and may peace, joy and love be yours this coming year, I guarantee this will open a door up. If they pour  out their heart, listen attentively. Then offer to pray for them. If they smile and thank you, return their smile and be genuine. If they scowl at you, brush it off and walk away smiling. You did all you could.

This is something small, and easy to do. This is something we all can do. Jesus is the reason for this season, so don’t let Santa steal the show.

Here comes Jesus!

What is the most important commandment Jesus?

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31

 

Question: Why does God command us to love?

Answer: Love is not an emotion, it is a action/choice we make!

Think about this, anger, hurt, disappointment, sadness, happiness, these are some of our emotions. They come to us at various times of the day. No one has to tell us to be happy or sad. We just are when we respond to a situation. Love isn’t that way. Now many wrongly believe they have no control over love, but we do and I will explain how.

When we meet a person that we are attracted too, the emotion we feel is lust. We desire their body and presence. We can choose to love them or not, and that is why the rate of divorce is high. Now there are many that are very easy to love, like children. Still, our loving them is not an emotion. We can feel a lot of emotions with our children, but we choose to love, and to be loving to them. Love is a choice and the proof of that is in the Command. God doesn’t command us to feel an emotion, He commands us regarding our actions.

God  commands us to first, love Him. God is love (1John 4:8) All that He is, is love, and that love He pours into our lives and us. God asks for us to love Him, as He loves us. With all that we have, because His love, is all that He is.

Loving God with all that we have is our choice. He didn’t make us puppets or robots. We are not obligated to be His. However, if we decide to be His, then He commands us to love Him. Through the obedience of this command we can keep the 2nd half, and that is loving others.

Now with that explanation out of the way, let me now ask you-what stops you from loving God? What stops you from loving others? Have you had enough of not following this commandment? If so, then let me encourage you this year, the new year about to begin, to be a year where you dedicate yourself fully to live out this commandment. This is my New Year Resolution. I want to learn how to really love God and love others. Not when I want to, or when in the mood. All the time, just as God loved me and just as I love myself. I invite you to join me.

 

 

Desire To Do God’s will This Holiday Season

 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart

Psalm 40:7-8

 

Well Thanksgiving is done. Now all we have is leftovers and a few extra pounds. Right after dinner, or very early this morning, some of you rushed out to get the best Black Friday deals. Some are waiting for Cyber Monday. Christmas is 30 days away. It is time for all of us to stress out, spend too much money, gain weight, and lose sight on why or who we celebrate on Christmas Day.

The media reminds us this season covers all celebrations, mostly secular, and persons. The stores remind us it is the season of spending. The restaurants remind us it is a time for gluttony, and the bars remind us it is a time of drunkenness. Soon churches all around the world will display Manager Scenes and billboards that read: Jesus is the Reason for the Season. We will put lights on our houses, and trees in our family rooms. Christmas music will play on radio stations. For one month, everything is magically decorated and different.

We do this because we get so caught up in the frenzy and commercialism of the season. We may say Jesus is the reason, but we all know that bargains is the season. We want more than we need. We want to the point of excess and waste. We want the newest phones, the cutest clothes and the hottest items. Then spend the next 365 days wishing for something better.

Then December 26, all this time we prepared is not only over but we feel ‘let down’. The days after Christmas we tell ourselves, “this is the last year I will spend all this money, or celebrate Christmas this way.” We always think that the following year we will do better. But do we? No, but lets not give up. We have 30 days to make this year different, and we can start today.

What does God want from us? He wants us to write His law on our hearts. He wants us to put His love and grace in there as well. He wants us to desire Him alone. This is His will and this is what He wants us to do. This is so simple and can easily be done. Why don’t we do it?

Let’s stop this year. Let’s make this year different. Let’s refuse to get caught up in the commercialism of the season. Let’s do those things that speak out about God’s love. Give to others out of the bounty of the love in your heart. I’m not saying we shouldn’t give each other gifts. Give, but give your love, your time and your faith. Share with others what you’re celebrating and why. Let them know the importance of our Christmas day. Do this in all of your actions, using words only when needed. Let everyone you meet feel the love of God pour out of you. This is His will for us all. This is what He desires more than all our sacrifices. God just wants to share His Gospel with every person we know, and to share in love. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity for us to share Him. After all, there is no Christmas without Christ.

We have 30 days to make this year different. The challenge isn’t can we do this, the challenge is, will we do this!

 

 

Religion? Faith? What’ s The Difference?

Isaiah 29:13

These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is made up only of rules taught by men.

I’ve discussed this topic before but, since we are heading into the 500th year of the Anniversary of the Reformation. I thought it would be worth discussing again. There is a huge difference between religion and faith. Religion by the way is a risk to us all. This is not pin pointed to just one sector of faith. The problem with religion is man (female and male). Man likes to add to the Word of God, their list of do’s and don’ts. This is what bothers God about religion. This is what the Reformers were angered about. The rules, that were man made rules and applied to the people as if they were given to us by God. When in fact they were not.

The passage of Isaiah teaches us this~

God sees the people coming to Him. They say the words of honor they’ve been taught. God is not fooled by religious people. He sees that what they are doing is just out of habit. There is no real thought in the words. They are not speaking from their hearts but from memory.  The problem with memory is this: words tend to lose meaning when we memorize them. We spend more time on trying to recall the words and less time on who we are speaking too. Making sure we say each word correctly. God sees this and He is not impressed.

The Reformers saw this and a many other issues with the Church and decided to address them.  They wanted the people to have a relationship with God. A relationship with God should be a prayerful life. Prayers that come from the heart. Think about it this way. When you met your spouse, you spoke to them words of love. You didn’t recite to them words you memorized! You spoke from your heart. You understand the importance of that. You may have chosen to say your own vows at your wedding. This is how important it was for you to speak those words. God is asking the same for Himself!

When the Church established rules and required prayers, they took from the people God. They removed faith and replaced it with religion. They sold to the people their religion idea for control of their devotion and money!  God didn’t send Jesus so we could follow a religion. God sent Jesus so we would follow Him. Jesus isn’t a religion, He is God!

Is is it possible to be in a religion and have a relationship with God? To be a person of faith? Yes! It’s hard but possible. But why be in anything that says you must do this: Then lists several do’s and dont’s? When Jesus says “Come follow Me”!

Today is Reformation Day. I would like to thank our reformers for stepping out and bringing us into a  relationship with God.

So that our worship of Him Who is worthy to be praised, comes from our hearts and not just our lips!

Dealing With Dissapointment

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 

 

As I drove to work today I was listening to a Christian radio station. A song was on, and one sentence of the lyrics went something like this, “He is for you.” Then I thought, ‘Really?’ I mean is God really for us? Or is God for God and His kingdom? Well truth be told, God is about God and His kingdom. Now this doesn’t mean He won’t give us the  desires of our heart. This does mean that if the desires of our hearts are not a part of His plans, then NO.  Of course, we all know we can ask God enough or assert our own authority and take what God doesn’t want us to have. We’ve learned the hard way, that is a wrong way. You know the saying, “be careful of what you ask for, you might get it.” Still, it nagged at me, “Is God for me?”

Then todays verse came to me. “For I know the plans I have for you.”

The plans for us are His. They are not ours, they are His. He knows the plans, we don’t. As God spoke these words to the people of Israel, they are going into captivity. Those are His plans for them. How can captivity be God’s plan? How can this illness be God’s plan? How can this tragedy be God’s plan? How can any, and all disappointments be God’s plan?  The answer is found in this: How was the Cross for Jesus a part of God’s plans?

The plan is of God, when it is to show His love and glory to others. God will use us, if we are willing, to lead others to Him. This doesn’t mean that we are always happy about what God plans. Especially when the plan is a disappointment. We can, however, rest in the assurance that what occurred is still His plan.

Now what about the other half of today’s verse? How can captivity bring about prosperity, and what future is in it?

  1. God will hear our prayers and listen to them
  2. We will seek God with all our hearts and He will be found by us
  3. We will build houses
  4. We will settle down
  5. We will marry
  6. We will have children

We will continue to live, but not just live, we will thrive as we live, and the disappointment will never overtake us!

Not once will God allow anything to overtake you. It may alter your life, and your idea of life, but it will not overtake you. God expects you to live, and thrive where you live, regardless of what you are living.

Some days are harder, some are sadder, some just shatter your heart. All are a part of His plan. None can take you over. They can and will knock you down, or even feel like it knocks the stuffing out of you. We always get back up. That is God in us.

We can be scrappy, God loves scrappy, God loves us. He knows the world is fallen and there is a natural evil that occurs. None of that will interfere with His plans. He will work with, and around what happens. Even if we rebel and go opposite of what He wants, He has a plan. What we need to do is learn to absorb what happens. Let it have its time to sink in. As it sinks, stay in prayer with God and let Him help you accept the good with the bad. Ask Him to help you stay open to the new plans. God is so faithful. God loves us and it is always His desire to give to us His good plan. Not always what is good for us. Good for His purpose, for His kingdom. Let that be what is well with your soul, and you will overcome disappointment.

 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Be Afraid

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

 

This isn’t Jesus puffing out His chest. This isn’t a threat to all of us. This is a point Jesus is making. He is stressing how much God loves us. He wants us to know how valuable we are to God. He wants us to know that God will, and does take care of us. This is being said to bring us comfort. That the One who loves us is greater then the one in this world who will do us harm. Jesus can puff out His chest, but He isn’t. He is stating a fact: do not be afraid!

Live this out. Learn it and live it out.

I know that it is difficult when we are hit with trauma for us to face it with courage. I will confess, many times I don’t. I will further confess, that courage is not my ‘go to’ response. My ‘go to’ response is worry and fear. I’m human, and it’s what we do. However, the amount of time I spend in worry and fear is completely dependent on me. This is what I learned:

Go to God: Trauma comes quickly, and takes our breathe away. Learn in that moment to call out to God. God is there, and we will know when our breathe returns.

Stay focused on God: All kinds of negative and scary thoughts race to be first place in our brain and hearts. Stop them in their tracks. Stay focused on God, and He shoos them out.

Listen to God: God will direct you to Scripture, action or prayer. Do as God says. He knows what you need, and He provides it quickly.

Trust God: That even if the worse were to happen, God is still God. God will only allow that which is needed for His kingdom and His glory. Regardless, of what it is, it is being used for Him

Rest in God: Allow God to fill you with His Spirit and Peace

Recently, our family went through a trauma and I was able to put this into practice. I heard the news and began to cry. As soon as the tears hit my eyes, God called out to me “read.” I did just as He said. Within minutes I was claiming verses and writing my prayer in the Bible. I had no way of knowing how God would answer that prayer. I was just sure that fear would not overtake me. I would not fear what doctors said. I would remember God is the One who is in control. I remained focused and in peace. Later on that night we learned that God answered the prayer favorably for us. We were elated, not surprised.

Now would I be writing this even if God didn’t answer it favorably? Yes and this is why. The peace came before the answer, and the fear was addressed and removed. So that no matter how God answered it, I knew it would be the best answer for His Kingdom purpose.

Is this coming to you at a difficult time? Are you facing something so frightening that you can’t even take in a breath? Believe me when I say this: Go, Stay, Listen, Trust and Rest in God. Bad things can happen, but if you are a child of God, the worse thing that can happen to others, will not happen to you. This is what Jesus is trying to tell us.