Category Archives: God lessons

Equipped

I watched a squirrel in amazement this morning as he walked a limb with his hind paws holding a walnut with his front paws chewing away the covering as he went along.  Amazing to me God equipped even the critters around us to survive many of their circumstances.  We know they’ll eventually die (as will we) but in the right now they have all the instincts and abilities to survive…and thrive!

God gives humans amazing abilities to survive our circumstances as well, even more so than animals.  Humans were created by God to be houses for the Holy Spirit and afterward, being instilled with all the power He used to create this beautiful planet, hang the stars in the sky (and name them) and the power to raise the dead Jesus after He was crucified to eternal life.  Think about that.  If you’ve surrendered to the authority of personal relationship with Jesus you have all that power inside you. Right now!

Not only do you have physical attributes of survival and provision for the same, you have God’s spiritual dynamite inside of you right now.  You’re thoroughly equipped to live a life honoring Him thanks to Him.  You’re not a victim; you’re not a prisoner to your circumstances (or you don’t have to be).  You’re not a less than, overlooked or discounted IF you believe God’s word and take Him up on His promises.

The “seed” of the Holy Spirit was planted in you when you accepted the Savior-hood of the person of Christ.  However, it’s up to us to “grow” the seed.  “Work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means we grow through a relationship with Jesus – getting to know Him and what His death and resurrection means to us personally because that’s where the power is.  We grow up and into all the fullness of God and all the promises that relationship brings to us when we learn to trust Him and live like we do.

The closer we get to God and the more we come to believe Him, we see He has equipped us with amazing gifts for every area of our lives – for us and for others.  It’s easy to believe that when paths are smooth but when the way gets rocky do you still believe?

No matter what we face the key to surviving it, overcoming it and being victorious through it is found in God and accessed only through Jesus.  He is the only way.  Pray and ask God to show you WHO is inside of you and believe.  You – through Jesus – got this!

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One More Time!

I listen to doctors dictate and type what they say (medical transcription).  Sometimes the doctors are wonderful speakers and the job is easy.  Others are difficult to understand due to language barriers, mumbling.  To make matters worse sometimes they’re shuffling papers, not speaking into the microphone clearly, they’re in loud places and many other contributing factors.

I listened to a dictation over and over again and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  Especially to those of us who have been in this profession for a long time, nothing is more frustrating.  I listened for 25 minutes, over and over again!  That’s a long time in the production world of transcription!

After I finished relistening to the entire dictation, I was going to send it to QA and let them figure it out.  Because I find it excruciating to give up, I decided to listen one more time and to my delight, I very clearly heard what the doctor was saying. It was so clear I couldn’t believe I didn’t hear it before!

Just as clearly as I heard the doctor, I hear God saying:

“I know you’ve tried and tried.  You believed you could do it, but believe One More Time.  Believe because I said so.  I know you’re weary and just want to walk away and if you do, that’s okay too.  Come on.  Just because I said so, do it one more time.”

It would have been acceptable…”okay”… to send the document on to QA. That’s what they’re there for and they excel in solving mysteries.  No harm no foul.  I tried but I couldn’t get it.  But I tried, one more time after listening time after time and I finally got it.

God won’t bail on us if we decide to quit.  We won’t be any less in His eyes if we stop where we are.  He always gives us the choice to try, one more time.  One more time, we put our feet to the floor with nothing but faith, believing we can and believing God will do His part.  Don’t be afraid to fail or fall short. Don’t think about it.  Just do it.  One more time.

Matthew 7:7 (NLT)  “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

To Grieve or Regret?

I caught myself grieving my life this morning.  Do you ever do that? I grieved the fact that I made horrible choices when I was younger – I just didn’t care about anything or anyone, not even myself. I just wanted to be happy, to feel good, to be loved at whatever the cost.

One of my first memories was my parents telling me, a 6-year-old child and my 4-year-old sister they were getting a divorce. I think a part of me died or at least changed me forever.  That may sound foreign to the reader since divorce is so “normal” now.  Back then it wasn’t.  There was no therapy available; coping skills were “suck it up and go on”. Because it was so hard on Mom and younger sister, I buried my feelings and told no one how I felt. That was just the beginning.

I’m knocking on the door of 60 and to this day, I look back and see every wrong turn, every decision made out of self-righteousness and self-loathing.  If no one else was going to care about me and what I do, why should I so I pursued self-destructive things and habits and because of MY choices (not because of anyone else) here I am today.  Alive?  Yes.  Saved and changed?  Yes, thank God. But I can’t help looking back to what could have been.

I stop short of regret, but grieve more than I care to admit. I think there’s a difference.  Grief allows me a healthy awareness of sorrow over things in my life.  Regret is, well regret.  I do regret – but I can’t wish it had never happened.  Regret would lead me (I fear) to resent my life, and all the things that led me straight into the presence of Jesus.  How could I regret anything?  I wish I had lived differently; I wish I had KNOWN to live differently.  I grieve the years I could’ve been different and the things I could’ve done differently.  I grieve the death of myself but I don’t regret who I am now.

Would I have been saved or had the privileges of seeing the hand of God in my life and in my son’s life had I (or my circumstances) been different?  Would I have ever written for Him, live to honor Him?  I know this:  I wouldn’t have this powerful testimony to share about a “wretch like me”.  I wouldn’t know what I know.

So there you have it – the point of it all, the beauty for ashes. All that ugly is turning into something beautiful…in EVERY life, not just mine.  Look back occasionally and no matter what you feel, see how God has brought you through it all for His good pleasure. Grieve a moment, but don’t regret.  Believe all of it has a grand purpose:  for His glory and for you to know He is the One True God and that He’s faithful to see His plan through to the end. Always.

Jeremiah 29:11-13; Isaiah 61:3; Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:13

A Table in the Wilderness: The Invitation

Have you felt it?  That emptiness or perhaps a great need that we can’t even speak. If we could articulate, it would be ill-defined.  It may be masked in a physical lack but it stems from a spiritual one.

Perhaps some of our greatest blessings have produced the biggest heartaches.  We sometimes trust God and know we’re living and moving to please Him, yet pain creeps in, in ways we never expected.  We’ve fooled ourselves; we’ve listened to the wrong message.  The world has lied to us; it has let us down.  God allowed it, yes; but He never fails. So what’s the deal? Why are we feeling so defeated and discouraged?

Maybe it’s because we haven’t been to the table in a while.  What table you ask?  That one.

Meticulously set in the middle of our messes and our huts, it beckons us the way the burning bush did Moses. How could all that beauty and the pull of a sacred invitation even be here in all this ugliness, fear, heartbreak…how could HE be in the midst of all this madness?  Really…is it Him?

Yes, beloved.  It’s Him.  He’s right there amongst the disorder to bring order.  In our hurts, He longs to bring healing.  Jesus awaits His most prized possession:  you – and time with you. He embodies everything we’re looking for and so much more. He’s sitting there, waiting for a one-on-one moment with you.  Yes, you.

Do you accept His invitation?  How? Only one thing is required…come.

Silent Lambs

She’s not how she used to be.  Once vibrant and bright, she’s faded and silent.  What happened to her?

Look at him.  Used to be, you could feel the atmosphere changing when he walked in the room but now he’s barely noticed, blending in with everyone else. What happened to him?

Observe yourself.  Do you have the same spiritual vitality you did 20 years ago…one year ago? What happened to you?

Life deals some hard punches.  When starting out on our Christian journey we feel our feet barely touch the ground. We have to share positive words and smiles because we’re overflowing with what God has done for us and it’s impossible not to share it.  As we deal more and more with reality our once brave, bright light dulls when it’s exposed to the struggles and pain of the world around us.  We relentlessly pursue closer walks with God to survive the hardships of life trying our best not to conform and through it, we find we sometimes lose our voice.  We find our countenance changes with the weight of the crosses we carry.  The lambs sometimes go silent.

Go to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon after the church hour and watch.  The retail world says we are some of the rudest, most inconsiderate customers.  The opposite should be true. When we leave the parking lot of the church often we forget our mission and purpose. We’re supposed to make our corners brighter and better, not darker and colder. What happened to us?

We’re heavy-laden with our burdens sometimes not seeing or thinking of anyone or anything other than what’s going on with us.

That’s the enemy’s mission and we’re falling for it. Perhaps that’s the purpose of what we’re going through at this moment: to shut us up; to rob us of our joy, our content countenance and our desire to show love and kindness wherever we are.

Let’s choose not to be silent today.  Let’s ask God and believe Him, regardless of our circumstances, for strength, outward joy and be who He’s called us to be wherever we are, what we’re going through regardless of the discontentment around us.  Remember?  We’re strategically endowed with a Spirit who is greater than anything or anyone we face.  We’re where we are for a divine purpose and if our Spirits are silent and we look and act like the lost around us, what good are we?

Psalm 39:2 “I was mute and silent, I refrained [even] from good, and my sorrow grew worse.”

A ‘BUT’ Kind of Faith.

Luke 5:1-11.

Everyone else was asleep while they worked.  Seasoned fishermen knew this could well be a catch to remember. The weather and the conditions of the water were absolutely perfect for fish and lots of them.  Out they went, full of anticipation of the catch they would harvest.

They were in their boats all night and didn’t catch one single fish, not even one suitable for bait.  They were stunned, disappointed to say the least and maybe even a little mad.  They couldn’t believe it.  Everything was perfect, how could they have been so wrong?

Have you ever been there?  You knew in your gut you did everything right – you prayed, planned and made provision for that one thing that could well have been your last step, the provision for your upcoming winter season.  You were ready, excited and believing not only yourself, but GOD that this was your moment…only to have absolutely nothing to show for your efforts.

So there you are, like Peter and his buddies, on the shoreline, tired, disappointed, washing dirty nets, with no result to show for your effort.  Should they quit fishing?  Would you?

Sometimes despite our best efforts, even after we’ve sought God’s will and His blessing even in the area(s) we are really, really good at, things don’t turn out like we expect them to.  I believe these things have two purposes:  1) to teach us our ‘good catches’ don’t come from our own hands and 2) just because we think we know everything there is to know, do everything right and by the book, that doesn’t ensure perfect results.

 

Peter was an expert fisherman making his living fishing. He probably knew everything about where he was fishing and all the signs to look for before he sat out that night.  He had it going on where his craft was concerned, yet he caught nothing. There he was, on the shoreline, cleaning his nets of everything that accumulated in them – less fish – which had to sting a little – a hands-on reminder that perhaps he didn’t know as much as he thought he did, his all-night effort for nothing, or a combination of both.

Then Jesus shows up, gets in his boat to preach and after He’s finished, tells Peter to set out again and this time, go to the DEEP water.

Peter had two choices. He could have presented a viable argument to Jesus – “Look I’m a fisherman – fishing is what I do. I make my living fishing.  In addition to that, I’ve been out there all dadgum night and caught nothing; nada.  To go back out, and to the deep no less, is…well…it makes no sense.” Instead, as tired and discouraged as he undoubtedly was, he decided to do what Jesus told him to.  The end result changed Peter’s life forever.

What will we do?

  • I lost my temper today and had every right to BUT because you say it’s right, I’ll apologize.
  • Had my heart broken so many times by people I thought I could trust and depend on BUT because You say so, Lord, I will forgive and even bless them.
  • I did my very best at my job, everything I was asked and more, but didn’t get the promotion BUT because You say I should, I will keep on doing my best.

Do you dare trust God one more time?  Do you dare allow His word to supersede even your best judgment and experience?  Do you dare say, “BUT I will do as You say…”?

Disappointments in life will surely come, even to those who have never experienced them.  That’s no time to quit or not believe in what is possible through the One who loves us the most, the One who wants more than anything to show us He has your best interest in mind, even when He allows things to come our way which He knows will deeply hurt and disappoint us.  Do we have a ‘but’ kind of faith? Let’s do, just because He says so and see what happens.

“But when Simon Peter saw that he fell down at Jesus’ feet saying “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord! For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken.”  Luke 5:8, 9

May the ‘nets’ of our hearts be as full of hope and amazement as those boats were of fish that day.