Monday, September 28, 2009

Know where you stand

This weekend Iran began testing it's nuclear missiles - aimed towards Israel. In Zechariah 2:8, we read "For thus says the Lord of Hosts, "After glory, He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you (Jerusalem), touches the apple of My Eye." Throughout scripture, we read that Israel is God's chosen people, and whoever chooses to harm them will be judged harshly.

Throughout scripture, we see that these type of events signal the end of days (Mathew 23). We are told that the day and time are unknown for the end of days (Mathew 23:36). Even if you don't sense the end of time, your personal days on this earth are unknown to you, but known to God (Job 14:5).

So, my question is this - do you know where you stand? If your life were to end today, do you know for sure where you would spend eternity? Let not your head hit your pillow in slumber until you have sure knowledge of the answer to this question.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heeding His instruction

God's plan is perfect. It will come to fruition. For some unknown, bizarre reason, He chooses many times to work through His people. Not really so bizarre, though. God created us to have a relationship with Him. One of the ways He chooses to relate is to use us in His plan.

Think about being a parent. As your child grows, you choose to partner with them, instructing them in life's lessons. It is the joy of your parentage to have them take the instruction you have poured into their life and use it in theirs. As they act wisely and correctly, you can see that the time and relationship you have poured into them are resulting in something beautiful.

So it is with God. He is our heavenly Father. He desires to have that relationship with us, that mentoring. His plan was to create a people with whom He could dwell, instruct, inhabit. It was never His plan to be some Almighty Drill Sergeant just looking for a moment of failure so He could punish us.

Now then, what is my responsibility? Can I live my life anyway I choose and expect God to bless it? Of course not. Any good parent will discipline bad behaviour in an effort to right the path of their wayward child. Truthfully, though, the power of decision to obey is with the child. God can no more force me to submit to His instruction than a parent can force a child to listen or obey them. And that, my friend, is the most painful part.

As mentioned in my previous post, God has fantastic plans for our lives. He has a plan that will come to fruition, regardless of whether we choose to participate or not. But, He also has wonderful, marvelous plans in which He'd like us to participate. Here is where it gets interesting. We can choose to hinder the plans God has for our lives.

You probably sensed that was coming. In Jeremiah 44:16, the prophet Jeremiah has been instructed by the Lord to issue a warning to the people. After hearing the message, the scripture reads..."As for the message that you (Jeremiah) have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you!" In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve both make the choice to listen to satan's wiles rather than God's perfect instruction. Throughout history, God's perfect plan has been detoured because His chosen people have chosen not to be His instruments. Hear me now, His plan will be accomplished. It just might be accomplished through someone other than me.

Ouch! In Esther 4:13-14, Mordecai instructs Queen Esther when she doubts her ability to be an instrument of God's plan..."Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" (NASB)

In Jeremiah 31:36, it is written, "Suppose my orders for creation disappear from my sight," announces the Lord. "Only then will the people of Israel stop being a nation in my sight." (NIRV)

What now? Throughout scripture, we see evidence of God's perfect plan. The decision is mine. Will I choose to partner with Him, adhering to His instruction? Or will I put my big fat toe down and say, "Not me, no way!" Trust me, life is so much more beautiful when you choose to dance with the King. Allow Him to take the lead. He will take you on adventures you never dreamed possible. Will it be easy? Probably not. But, oh my friend, it WILL be worth it!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


My husband and I are attending services on Saturday evenings due to his work schedule. For me, this leaves Sunday mornings free for extended quiet times with the Lord. Today, the Lord spoke to me about something I've been struggling with for years - the regret for life not turning out the way I envisioned.

The TV preacher was quoting the verse, "If you will delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4). I suddenly became very frustrated and angry. I paused live TV, and said to the Lord, "Enough! This season of regret, this will end today!"

For the last several years of my Christian journey, I have been delighting in Him, or at least so I thought. Through challenge after challenge, I put on my brave face and said, "The Lord's will be done. He trusts me to go through this adversity. I will do it with gladness." Why, then, was I not getting the desires of my heart?

What were my desires? I had wanted to stay home with my son when he was growing up. Due to decisions made, and situations over which we did not have control, we were unable to sacrifice the income needed to make that happen. Now he's 18 and a senior in high school. Has he been harmed by this? Absolutely not! In fact, the independence he gained at a young age (5th grade) when he first came home alone after schoool, the social skills he developed in daycare, the support of church family and friends, the acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Saviour at the tender age of 5, all have formed him into the godly young man he is today.

So, why was I still upset about this? Why did this regret keep surfacing? Could it be that my struggle was not with God, but with his adversary? Could it be that thoughts of failure and inadequacy were not from my Holy Father? Would satan continue to torture me to keep me from enjoying God's abundant life? Well, he can try, but today I am standing firm and saying, "Enough!" Do I serve a God who is not able to accomplish His purpose regardless of decisions and detours that I make? Did He not part the Red Sea? Did He not sacrifice His Son and raise Him from the dead in payment of all my sins past present and future? Who am I - a small microcosim in God's grand plan - to think that my choices could deter His plan for me and my family?

As these truths sunk in, waves of gratitude rushed over me. It truly was Enough. There will be no more regret. My God, who created me in my mother's womb, will continue to walk beside me, lead and guide me, and He will give me the desires of my heart.

Hearing Him

Tonight as I was helping my husband enter some information for his business into our computer, I became saddened and frustrated over my inability to hear him. Friday a week ago, I suffered a sudden hearing loss. While sounds are not terribly distorted as has happened once before, everything is quieter, muffled. The most difficult person for me to hear at this time is the man I love and treasure.

Is this the way it is with God? The ringing in the ears of the earth's cares drown out the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit. Focus is placed on the ringing, the frustration, the noise. Time is not taken to listen. How can it, when the noise is so deafening? Yet, truly, the noise must be filtered; the gems uncovered. Focus of the eyes and mind must be placed on our true Love so we can hear what He is trying to tell us.

For me, the benefit of times of trial and frustration is that it brings me even closer to Him. The ringing of the ears becomes tides of ocean waves in His presence. Yes, Lord, I hear you. Your servant is listening.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Delight in His Commands

Ps. 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Ps. 111:2 Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them.

Knowing God involves learning about Him. Spend time in His Word. Learn His commands. As one puts forth this effort, the Lord gives them understanding, discernment, wisdom. Those who want to please God will study His commands. As they follow them, they will delight in them.

It is often said that the Bible is a textbook for life. Everything you need to know is there. Following God's commands provides the structure for us to be molded into kind, compassionate, strong, righteous people along the lines of fruit of the Spirit.

This has proved to be true in my life. Over the years, as I've submitted to His teaching, I can see where rough areas of my personality and heart have been chipped away, allowing more of Him to shine through. For those of you who know me, you know that I still have a LONG way to go. Thankfully, He's not finished with me yet!