Category: God

Don’t Believe the lies

It’s a brand new year…again.  Time to set goals and to reflect on the past year.  My encouragement for this year is “Don’t believe the lies”.  We all battle the attacks of the enemy in some way.  For some we may be too fat.  For some we may be too old (or too young).  For others we may be worthless or without talent.  I’ve said it before that I battle with “Failure”.   Here’s my example today:

I’ve been playing the stupid (I call it stupid because it is very addicting!) game of ‘2 Dots’ on my phone.  I hit a level that I couldn’t pass.  Immediately I began to believe that I wasn’t good at the game and that I was a failure because I couldn’t pass one level.  God pointed out to me (as a lesson) that I was battling over level 775.  “If you are not good at this game, how could you have won 774 games before this level?”  Good point I said.  “Remember when you got frustrated at level 50 and you quit and deleted the app only to download it again the next day start over?”  Yes I said and I now I’m at 776 because I finally won 775 as I began writing this.

How many times do we look at one failure and believe that our whole life is a failure?  How many times have you loved your children but you sulk when you lash out in frustration or weariness and believe that you are a bad parent?  How many times have you sinned and felt like God will never love you again?  How many times have you ended a project and say you will never try again?

Don’t believe the lies.  You are not called to failure and you are not called to quit.  If you do it wrong this time, throw it out and start over.  God doesn’t love you because you are successful.  He loves you because you are you.  Count the 775 things that you have done right and don’t worry about the one that has you frustrated at the moment.   You have way more successes than failures.  Remember that!

Luke 1:37
For no word from God will ever fail.
hannahpraise

Space

I was sitting at a diner counter eating breakfast.  A man sat at the far end of the counter and all the other stools were empty.  I was comfortably positioned with room on either side.  My cell phone was out and my Kindle was propped up.  And then it happened . . . a lady came and sat down on the stool right next to me!  With all the other empty stools, she sat right next to me!  She invaded my space!  She spread out a newspaper to read and fidgeted around cleaning her silverware and making little noises.  I wanted to say “do you mind moving over?  Your’re in my  space!”.  I also thought about moving but I was all set up.  The whole experience made me eat faster and quickly leave.

Space is a funny thing – if the counter is full and I need to sit between two strangers I don’t mind.  But if someone comes and sits too close when there is room, it is uncomfortable.

Elevators are the same way.  Seats on a bus or plane.  There are appropriate and inappropriate space rules.

How close are you to God?  It may seem like a funny question because we are supposed to be as close to God as we can get.  But are we trying to get so close that we bother Him?   Are we trying to be so much like Him that we think we are on the same level?  Are we pressing so close that we cannot bow down before Him?

Come close to God and rejoice in His presence but don’t forget to bow and remember who you are approaching.

Exodus 3:5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

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Dog Haters

I can classify people into two groups – one group can’t pass by a dog without petting it and talking to it; the other group can pass by a dog and not even acknowledge it being there.  Dog lovers and dog haters.  I’m sure that some fit in the middle but if you watch people walking in a neighborhood or park, I bet you will find them closer to the simple two groups.

Where do dog haters come from?  Some had bad experiences as children – maybe they got bit; maybe they were raised to not appreciate dogs; they never had one; they’re allergic;  they’re clean freaks; maybe they are just too busy to appreciate furry friends.

Some are a mystery.  My parents were both dog lovers and we always had a dog.  My oldest sister and me are extreme dog lovers.  My middle sister is a dog hater.  How did this happen?  She didn’t have a bad experience with a dog?  She should have had a biological temperament to loving dogs.  How did she turn out so different?

Most people learn to love dogs as children but some don’t until they are adults.  Some people aren’t exposed to dogs until they are adults so they don’t know the benefits.  Some grow up loving dogs as children but tire of them and only see their faults.  Some can’t be bothered by them as adults.  “They are too much work” they say.  Bad experiences can happen at any age and make a person afraid of all dogs.

Dog lovers – there are some who can’t have enough and some who tolerate.  Some will pet a neighbor’s dog but will never have the “challenge” in their own home.  Some will go overboard and have several dogs in the same house.

Are you a dog lover or dog hater?

Funny thing about the word “dog”.  If you turn it around, you get “God”.  What’s even funnier is that many of the same reactions to dogs applies to how people fit with God.  It seems that a person either “loves God” or they don’t.  Some will grow up in homes that love God but somehow they fall out of step and go another direction.  For some, there is an obvious reason – a hurt or a bad experience that turns them.  Others aren’t exposed to God as children.  Some may not find God until their adult years.  Some will grow up loving God but then get tired of the work involved or the mess that goes with being a follower.

Where do you fit in – are you a God lover or God hater?  There really isn’t room in the middle.

Revelation 3:15 (NIV)

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

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Hearing the Lyrics

The 1960’s and 70’s were an interesting time for music.  Rock music hit the airways and played on transistor radios and vinyl.  It was often hard to understand the words in songs and kids would gather and try to decipher what was really said.  Some albums came with lyrics written on the cover but most of the time we were stuck trying to figure it out.  Listeners called radio stations to ask for help.   We held cassette recorders in front of the radio to “record” the music so that we could listen over and over again.  Parents decried this music and said “how can you understand what they are saying?”

Jump ahead 50 years and lyrics are only a button away on the internet.  Spotify even plays the lyrics along with the music.  There is no point in guessing.  Just look it up.

Are you hearing God in 60’s style – poor reception, unclear words, cassette reproduction, meeting with friends to understand?  Are you guessing at what God is saying or do you have a better system to hear and translate?

We shouldn’t need to live in confusion.  We should be able to hear and understand.  The lyrics are available to read.

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.

Bible

Angry with God

There have been many times in my life that I was angry with God.  It’s not really smart getting into a fight with God . . .it is always a losing battle.

Sometimes we are angry at something He did or didn’t do.  Other times we are just angry at life (or ourselves) and we take it out on Him.   The longest stretch that I remember being mad at God was three months.  I don’t remember what it was about but I remember not talking to Him.  I’m sure He was really disappointed. . . maybe He was glad to not hear me complain for awhile!

I always end up apologizing later when I get over my tantrum.   God has big shoulders.  I imagine Him being happier that I am close enough to Him to get angry then not having any relationship at all.  How many of His children just don’t care and ignore Him?

Here is my suggestion: Tell God that you are angry.  Tell Him that you know it is not His fault but that you are angry anyway and apologize ahead of time.  He may send you to your room for a quiet time to calm down.  Maybe He will suggest a nap.  Maybe He will give you a snickers bar like in the commercial.  Walk it out.  Don’t walk away.  God used Jonah in his anger.  He can use you too.

Jonah 4:But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

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Walking the Journey

I came across this verse totally by accident.  It spoke volumes to me.  We have all walked through valleys.  We have all struggled.  We have all faced a dark night.

Deuteronomy 2:7 The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

Look at the promises:

The Lord has bless you in all the work of your hands.

He has watched over your journey.

Vast wilderness – He knows the wilderness you are in – you don’t need to point it out to Him!  He knows exactly where you are, where you have been and where you are going!  He knows your next challenge before you do.

God has always been with you.

You have not lacked anything.

The journey may not be easy but God is with us each step of the way!

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Get what you ask for

Here is a fun message for today:

I typed in the words “Get what you ask for” in a Bible search.  This is what I got:

Jonah 1:11
The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
It found a verse with all the words in it.  It just wasn’t what I was looking for!   Sometimes God gives us exactly what we ask for.  Sometimes He doesn’t.  Sometimes we need to wait.  Sometimes He gives us MORE than what we ask for.
The issue really isn’t about “getting anything” other than building our relationship with HIM.  If that’s what you get then you’ve already got more than what you asked for!
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Goliath

“It’s all fun and games until you poke your eye out” – we all heard this message from our mothers growing up.

We all had BB guns as kids – they’re probably not politically correct anymore.  The old ones were not very powerful but there was always the fear of shooting someone in the eye which would have been horrible!

David didn’t have a BB gun when he faced Goliath – he only had a sling shot.  While his type of sling shot was more powerful then a BB gun, it would take a lot of skill to be accurate with it.

Imagine facing a giant in today’s world with only a BB gun.  He would have protective gear, a machine gun and hand grenades.   Imagine facing a NAVY SEAL or Army Ranger!  Imagine the laugh and disgust that would come to the mind of that soldier.  A boy with a BB gun.  Is that all the enemy can send out?  (this is not a comparison to terrorists who sadly send children out with explosives taped to their bodies).

David had a great aim and hit his enemy.  He brought down Goliath.

You may be facing an enemy today – a giant that looms over you.  You may only have a BB gun.  Will you take down the giant?  Will you conquer the enemy?  Are you fighting for Lord’s army or for your own selfish ambition?

Can you hit the enemy in the eye?

I Samuel 17:41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

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One Hit Artists

This may be my favorite post of the year:

I was looking for a song that I liked from my teen years.  When I found it I saw the name of the recording artist.  I couldn’t remember their name.  I can’t say that I ever knew their name.  They were a “one hit” artist.  They never recorded another hit song and they disappeared from fame after this one song that hit the chart.

Many groups have experienced this – they come and go with only one hit song.   It doesn’t mean that they weren’t great musicians.  It only means that they hit the charts for a moment.  Many great musicians don’t ever accomplish that much.

When we think of people in the Bible, we often think of the main characters – Moses, David, Joshua, Peter and Paul.  These men had repeated input to God’s Kingdom.  But what about the “one hit” people?  Were they any less significant?

As we carry out God’s will, are we trying to be massive influencers, one hit leaders, or are we simply doing what we are called to do?  Whether we make a “hit” or not is really not important.  It’s the character that we walk out in the course of our life that may or may not lead to a “hit”.  Walk with God and let Him have the glory.

Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

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Mary

 

 

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What would Mary look like today?  Estimates range from 14 to 18 years old.  She was a typical girl.  No one knew her as the mother of Jesus.  She was just a young unmarried teenage girl who found herself pregnant.

If she lived today, would she drive?  Have an iPhone? Pierced ears? Nose ring?  Carry a backpack to school?  Would she be white, Hispanic, black, Asian?

How would we view her?  Would we accept her?  Judge her?

Matthew 1:18  His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.