Take the time to talk with God about it – and listen!

It’s amazing what happens when we take the time to get with God and talk with Him about those things that have been on our hearts.

I have been walking around with three unresolved issues in my heart – areas of my life I know need to change, but not knowing how or when. Finally today, after months of feeling messed up in these areas but always sort of pushing them to the back burner, I took some time to sit down with my journal and talk to God about those three areas.

And I listened, too. I discovered that those three areas are connected, do need to change, and the time is now. Best of all, I received instructions on the how – the change of mindset, the change of heart that only God can give us.

As it turns out, the secret for all three of those areas of my life is the same: prayer, prayer instead of the worldly things I’ve gone to.

I have been renewed, I have been refreshed, I have been revitalized through Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

Do you have unresolved issues in your heart? Talk with God about it. And listen!

Advertisements
Posted in correction, listening, prayer | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Learn from their mistakes – Discover beautiful life with God

As we read in scripture about the children of Israel, we see patterns of obedience and disobedience, and we see God’s mercy as He chastens them to bring them back to Himself for their own good.

Sometimes as we read about how quickly the Israelites forgot the good things God did for them and how they turned away from Him over and over, it is easy to judge and say, “How could they do that? God just did this marvelous thing for them and in hardly any time at all, they turned away from Him and committed wickedness and turned to other gods.”

Yet don’t we do the same thing? God provides for us and then we doubt Him. God answers our prayers and then we forget about Him until the next time we need something. But it does not have to stay that way!

Psalm 106:24-25 says, Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.

In these verses, I see four patterns of disobedience that I propose we can learn from by applying their opposites.

Four patterns of disobedience:

  1. They despised the pleasant land.
  2. They did not believe God’s Word.
  3. They murmured (complained) in their tents.
  4. They did not hearken unto the voice of the LORD.

Instead of following the patterns of disobedience, we can live their opposites and discover beautiful life with God.

The opposite of disobedience:

  1. We are thankful for what God has given us.
  2. We believe God’s Word, God’s promises.
  3. We praise the LORD all the time.
  4. We listen for what God is telling us and live accordingly.

How good and how pleasant it is to walk with God, thanking Him, believing Him, praising Him, and listening to His loving, wise voice.

Posted in Christian living, correction, encouragement, obedience | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Are you praising God for doing your will or for doing His will?

Last night, a group of friends were gathered around tables outside a coffee shop, reading scriptures and talking about God stuff. Someone in the group said that as she looked back in her journals, she noticed that she used to always thank God for selfish things: “Thank You for giving me this, thank You for giving me that; thank You for blessing me with this, thank You for blessing me with that.” Lately, however, the tone has changed to “Thank you for doing Your will, Lord. I praise You for doing Your will.”

There is a big difference between the two perspectives. When we praise God for doing our will, that’s great – He has answered our prayers and fulfilled our desires, which is wonderful. But going further in the faith, when we are thanking Him for accomplishing His will, we are able to thank Him for all things, even things we might not like at the time, knowing God is accomplishing His will in earth as it is in heaven.

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

Now we can say, I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

He who speaks of himself seeks his own glory: but he who seeks the glory of Him who sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. John 7:18

So, are you praising God for doing your will or for doing His will?

Posted in encouragement, exhortation, praise | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Divine Conversation

When I was praying this morning, I said, “Father, teach me what You want me to learn.”

The ears of my heart heard, “I have taught you. Always be turned towards me, tuned in. I am always speaking to you, directing you. When you listen, you will hear. The Holy Spirit, My Holy Spirit, dwells in you and teaches you and guides you. My Holy Spirit is always present in you. I always hear you. I hear all your thoughts, so direct your thoughts toward Me. Let your thoughts be conversation with Me. And listen for My answers, for my responses which are always present.”

“Let your thoughts be conversation with Me.” How awesome! Instead of getting in my own spiral of thought and reasoning, I can direct my thoughts to God, as a child conversing with her parent, sharing what I see and hear and think and asking questions. Not just a 24-hour monologue, either, but listening for God’s answers and responses and for the things He is saying to me. Rather than just moving on after asking a question and trying to figure out the answer myself, I can listen for God’s answers, which will be truth unmixed with any of the error that can come from human reasoning.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 1 Corinthians 2:12

Posted in God, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, listening, prayer, thoughts, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

No bragging rights except to praise the Lord!

I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. Psalm 71:16

I go in God’s strength, not my own. Therefore nothing is impossible for me.

I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ: His righteousness, not my own, for my own righteousness is incomplete.

Jesus said, Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:4-5

Without Jesus, I can do nothing. In Him I can do everything.

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Jesus is my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

We are made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

It’s all from God. It’s all by God’s grace. It’s all because God loves us. We have no bragging rights except to praise the Lord and glorify Him. He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.

Posted in Christ Jesus, God, Jesus, righteousness, strength | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

When the light shines on that ugly spot . . .

Sometimes when God shows you your heart, it hurts. But that’s good because then when you feel humble and see your error, you can repent and turn to God and go the right way.

For months I felt I should get up at 5 a.m. and spend more time in prayer and reading God’s Word before starting the day. Instead of getting better, it got worse: I went from getting up at 6 to getting up at 6:45, the last possible moment I could arise in time to make breakfast and pack my husband’s lunch before he went to work. “I feel so tired,” was my excuse, and it was supported by people who cared about me and told me that if I felt that tired, I must need the sleep.

Then I started exercising. I got a membership at a local gym and left the house at 7:30, after breakfast dishes were done. By the time I got home from the gym and took a shower and spent some time in prayer and distracted myself with a few things around the house (like laundry), I didn’t actually start my writing work for the day until late morning. I’d barely get started writing and it would be time for lunch. I wrote in the afternoons, but I felt like the mornings were wasted. Writing only in the afternoons wasn’t enough writing time for me. Evenings didn’t work for me to write, either.

After talking to God about it and evaluating the situation, I decided to do my exercise workout very early in the morning, before my husband got up for work. This worked well: I was able to get plenty of writing time during both the morning and the afternoon. It was great!

After about a week of getting up at 5 to work out, I set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. so that I’d have a little more time before leaving for the gym, a little time to pray and read my Bible. When I was up at 4:45 with no problem, the ugly truth hit me:

I’d had no problem getting up at 5 a.m. to exercise, and even 4:45; but I hadn’t been able to make myself get up at 5 to spend time with my Lord for all those months before.

When the light shone on my heart and I saw the ugliness hiding in the corners – that I could get up to exercise but not to spend time with my Lord – I was horrified and ashamed. It was a painful reality check but I am glad that it was brought to the light so I could see it, because I was humbled (which is good), and I was brought to repentance (which is very good), and I turned to God with that area of my life. And as always happens when another impure area of our life is exposed and corrected, I feel closer to God than ever before, and my understanding of His great love and patience with me has expanded. He had known that was in my heart all along, yet He loved me and revealed Himself to me and took care of me and worked through me mightily, even when that ugliness was in my heart. And now I am forgiven and it’s been washed away.

Yesterday, which was the day after the light of Jesus shone on that area of my heart, I did not work out at the gym, but I got up at 5 a.m. to spend time in prayer and reading the Word before my day started. The fight was on when the alarm went off at 5, but by God’s grace I passed the test and got up anyway, even though I felt tired. I am so glad I had that time with my Lord and King.

This morning I got up at 4:30 a.m. so I could have more time alone with Jesus before my workout at the gym. God is good!

Posted in correction, exhortation, God, Jesus, repentance, what's in the heart | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

You’re kidding me! That’s idolatry?

Can you believe it? Covetousness is idolatry! I’m serious. Read Colossians 3:5:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (ESV)

Did you catch that? “. . . covetousness, which is idolatry.”

Covetous: feeling or showing a very strong desire for something that you do not have and especially for something that belongs to someone else; marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions; having a craving for possession

“I want one of those.”

Really?

“I’ve gotta have that!”

You do?

How can this be idolatry?

“Thou shalt not covet” is one of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:17). Jesus says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Jesus says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

John said, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17

Covetousness. Greed. The GOD’S WORD Translation calls it greed and then clearly shows how it is idolatry. Check this out:

Therefore, put to death whatever is worldly in you: your sexual sin, perversion, passion, lust, and greed (which is the same thing as worshiping wealth). Colossians 3:5 GW

“Greed, which is the same thing as worshiping wealth.”

How about that?

I like how the New Living Translation says it:

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Colossians 3:5 NLT

I guess there have been plenty of “earthly things lurking within me,” because I have been coveting, wanting things that I don’t have, wanting more than I need. Forgive me, Lord, for idolatry. I’ve been looking at worldly things rather than keeping my eyes on heavenly things.

Proverbs 27:20 says, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” Ouch.

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6:8

Really?

Yes.

And God is so good, that he gives us way more than we need anyway:

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:20

Posted in Christian living, covetousness, exhortation, idolatry | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments