Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nuggets of Wisdom

Here are a few gems I've uncovered this week:

  •  "Jesus knew what you and I must learn: not every good thing is a God thing, and nothing is worth doing if it's not what God wants us to do." (Priscilla Shirer from One in a Million).   So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. ~ John 5:19
  • "Regardless of how you may feel, God does see you. He knows your name, and He loves you--passionately and tenderly. He sees your needs, and He yearns to fill them. At any given moment, even when you feel most alone, He is working out a plan for your future....Trust Him. Wait for Him." (Tammy Maltby from The God Who Sees You: Look to Him When You Feel Discouraged, Forgotten, or Invisible.)
  • Time does not heal emotional wounds. A body will naturally heal itself but emotions will only heal in the presence of God. Time may help with perspective, but it doesn't heal....Emotional pain can accumulate if not dealt with. (Jimmy Evans)
  • When God sends encouragement, we must receive it. Example: If we're discouraged, God may send someone into our lives to encourage us. If we do not accept the encouragement (i.e. compliment), we are calling that person a liar. (Beth Moore)
  • From Hebrews 10: 35-36. "So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Stay Ahead of the Ants

Recently, I got up one morning and walked downstairs to get a pot of coffee started. I was also carrying a load of laundry, so I stopped off by my washing machine to leave the basket of laundry. After I sat the basket down, I noticed something quite odd in the hallway on the carpet. Was it a spider? Hmmm. Something black looking that wasn't there the night before.

I turned on a light to investigate further. YIKES! A whole pile of ants crawling on top of something--probably a crumb of some sort that was dropped the night before. 

You see, I think my neighborhood was built on top of a giant ant-hill! Ever since I moved into this house, I have had to be diligent about keeping the ants from coming inside my house. My neighbors have reported similar problems. Winter is the only season that I don't have to worry about ants. But, as soon as the weather begins to warm up, it's time to be prepared. Not only do I put out the ant traps and spray around my home, I also must be careful to clean up after myself and not leave anything tempting for the ants. Any tiny, innocent crumb left lying around can quickly become a huge problem.

There's a lesson to be learned here about our own lives. A seemingly tiny, innocent little crumb can quickly become food for the Enemy. Our Enemy, Satan, is always nearby and waiting for that little morsel you've dropped so he can pounce on it. What starts out as a small thing can quickly become a huge problem.

We need to stay prepared. We need to put on the full armor of God, daily. We also need to stay in constant awareness of these little crumbs that may have fallen at our feet. Sweep them up with prayer and confession, if needed. We don't need to help the Enemy by giving him something to grab onto.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against
the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities, 
against the powers of this dark world 
and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 
 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, 
you may be able to stand your ground, 
and after you have done everything, to stand.  
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, 
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, 
with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. 
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
~ Ephesians 6:10-18


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sometimes We Just Need a Lap to Sit On

This is my sweet cat, Bandit.
My cat is not a typical cat. Most cats are very independent and only interact with people on their terms. Bandit is what my friend refers to as a Dog-Cat. He's fairly dependent on me. He loves to sit on my lap. He will even come when I call him--most of the time. He will sometimes play fetch.

However, Bandit does have this one quirk. There are times when he will come near me and look longingly, searching for an opportunity to sit on my lap. My lap may already have a book, magazine, or computer in it. Or I might not be sitting "just the right way" so that he has room to jump up. So he sits there and looks at me. I catch his eye and invite him to come. Sometimes he will come. Still other times Bandit will just continue to sit there waiting for me to do something. I then put down my other distractions and reach for him. I want to pick him up and put him on my lap. I want him to know that he's welcome. As soon as I reach for him, he begins to struggle and back away. I get frustrated because I know what he wants. Sometimes I will just let him go and do his own thing. Once in a while I will hold onto him through the struggle and gently put him on my lap, soothing him with my voice. He immediately relaxes on my lap and enjoys what he has really been wanting and needing. He is content now.

This very scene happened to me this morning. As it was happening, it occurred to me how similar this scenario is between God and His people. We want God to do something, to intervene on our behalf. We want to be safe in His arms. Yet, when God does intervene, we begin to struggle against Him. It may be we struggle because we don't recognize that it's God's hand picking us up. For whatever reason we struggle, God may allow us the freedom to continue in the present place, leaving us there. Or, He may hang in there and pull us up into His arms, knowing that is what we need and what's best for us at the moment.

When we are asking God for something, we need to also pay attention to what's going on around us. We need to recognize that God may be answering our prayer in the midst of that struggle. The answer to our prayer may not look exactly like we'd imagined so it may not seem like an answer to prayer at that very moment. But, if we stop struggling long enough to ask God about it, we may find our answer.

Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’?
It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. 
Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? 
Tell the Israelites to move on.   
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water
so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.
~Exodus 14:12-16

The Israelites felt that struggle too. They asked for deliverance. Then when times got tough, they struggled against the very hand that was trying to deliver them. The Lord told them to BE STILL. The Lord was planning to fight for them. The Lord made a path for them when their backs were against the proverbial wall, right through the Red Sea.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Nuggets of Wisdom

This is the post each week where I share a few random but meaty thoughts about something God has shown me. This week's focus is slightly different.
  • You can trust God with your life.
  • YOU can trust God with your life.
  • You CAN trust God with your life.
  • You can TRUST God with your life.
It's the same sentence with the emphasis placed on a different word. Read it again and put the emphasis on the words in all caps.

My Friend, what I've learned didn't happen in a week. But I do feel as if I've had a crash course in this TRUST business over the past year. God is always there with you, even when you're not sure. Sometimes God is just waiting on you to turn to Him, to trust Him with your life. He delights in showing you (and me) how much He loves you.

Life can be difficult. If you don't have a storm brewing in your life right now, there are probably storms brewing all around you. You can feel life pressing in. When that happens, turn to God and press into Him. Trust Him with your life. He's waiting to shelter you in his arms.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
    you who save by your right hand
    those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
    from my mortal enemies who surround me. 
~ Psalm 17:6-9

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? 
How long will they refuse to believe in me,
in spite of all the signs I have performed among them
~ Numbers 14:11

I was reminded this week of how forgetful I can be. Not forgetful in the sense that car keys are always misplaced or appointments missed. Forgetful in not remembering what God has done.

As the Israelites traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land, the trip was very difficult. It was a very long trip through rough terrain and desert lands. However, in the midst of that journey, God brought them to a place called Elim. 

Elim was a beautiful little spot in the wilderness that had refreshing water and date palms (Ex. 15:27). It was an oasis in the wilderness. Imagine being weary and thirsty from the dry and brown desert. Suddenly before them was this lush, green spot with lots of water. It would be a little like spending the night in a five-star hotel after a grueling 14-hour road trip with 4 active kids in the car. What a treat! God was refreshing the Israelites for the journey that was still ahead of them.  

Sometimes my journey gets arduous, dry, grueling. I look forward to arriving at my destination but my spirits begin to wane during the journey. During these times is when God provides an Elim for me. It's a place where God gives me exactly what I need to strengthen me, encourage me, and nourish me for the journey ahead.

This week the Lord reminded me that keeping track of these "Elims" is very important. It's imperative to write down these moments when God has provided, intervened, and performed miracles on my behalf. When the journey begins to get tough again, I can look back at my Elims and know that God is always there with me. 

Like the Israelites, I can easily forget what the Lord has done when I'm totally focused on the problems of my present circumstances. God reminds me to remember what He has done.  

When we are confused about what God is doing, remember what God has done. ~ Unknown 

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Leap of Faith (video clip)

Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

For we live by faith, not by sight. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and 
assurance about what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
~ Proverbs 3:5-6

The Dream

We have a loving and personal God who inclines His ear to us when we cry out. He binds the wounds of the broken-hearted. God cares about Every. Single. Little. Detail. of our lives.

Just had to share this moving video from Beth Moore on how God used a dream to help a devastated and hurting mother.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nuggets of Wisdom

Here are a few of the great bits of wisdom I have come across (and learned) this week:

  • " is rarely grown with anything other than overwhelming circumstances... If you are walking in faith, God has ordered your steps--He has put you where you are. He has a good reason for are being tested." ~ Waiting On God by Cherie Hill
  • While God is predictable in His character, He is unpredictable in His activity. God likes to shake up our neat and orderly lives once in a while. It wakes us up from our spiritual lethargy. At that point, we have a choice to make: retreat into our comfort zones or step out in faith and trust God. ~ paraphrased from One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer.
  • We tend to beat up on the Israelites who wandered through the wilderness for 40 years on their way to the Promised Land. They witness true miracles--parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, etc. Then the next moment they are complaining and discontent with their circumstances. But, I've found myself in that very situation recently. Present circumstances are uncomfortable, stretching my faith farther than I like. My head knows I need to trust God and I've seen Him perform some great things, but I'm still squirming in my seat. Hmmm. Discontentment. Complaining because the "heat's just a little too much." Maybe I'm not much different than those Israelites after all. 
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
~ Hebrews 11:1
...because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 
~ James 1:3

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know 
that suffering produces perseverance... ~ Romans 5:3

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Have you ever been in a place in your life that you know is where God wants you to be but you wonder why? Perhaps you were on a path and God suddenly changed the path before you. Each path could take you to the destination that God has planned for you, but...
  • this new path is overgrown with thorn bushes,
  • it's a circuitous route,
  • it's frustrating at times,
  • it's boring (because you just know the other path must be better).
Wait! How did I get here?

Oh, that's right. In God's Sovereignty. He can see the big picture and He knows me so very well. I may not enjoy the longer path, but I can appreciate that He has a plan and has my back.

So, check this out:

Israel’s Wilderness Detour

When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.  Exodus 13:17-18

If you are familiar with this passage, you remember that it took many, many tries to get the Israelites out of Egypt in the first place. When Pharaoh finally let them go, he chased them and that's where we all remember the parting of the Red Sea. The story does not end there. The Israelites celebrated one victory and thought they were home free.  The quick route to the Promised Land would have been the obvious choice. But God [I could just put a period right here] knew the Israelites would become afraid by traveling through the land of the giant Philistines. They would want to turn around and go back to Egypt. Instead, this long and circuitous route prepared the Israelites, taught them, and challenged them.

If you, like me, find yourself on a different path, stop and consider that God may have you in this place for a reason. He may be preparing you for the Promised Land.

Friday, May 4, 2012

God First Loved Us

I've been watching a video series by Beth Moore called "Loving Difficult People." I didn't feel like I had any difficult people in my life at the moment, but I have had some in my life in the past and will likely have some in the future. So, I decided to give this series a listen.

Half way through this lesson, I realized that there were many different types of "difficult" people. Beth was focusing on the extremely difficult relationships where someone is very hard to get along with. These people often cause hurt feelings.  She refers to them as the porcupines--get too close and you'll get stuck.

As I thought more about it, I realized there were other types of "difficult" people. Some may be in our lives right now. These are the people who don't mean to be difficult, but they make it very hard for us to love them. One in particular that I thought of was those who put up invisible walls around themselves. These people have been hurt in the past, closing themselves off from others to avoid further hurt. These wounded souls need God's help just as much as the abrasive neighbor or the know-it-all relative. The wounded soul has retreated in to himself and rebuffs anyone who tries to get close. The easy thing to do would be to walk away. We think, Fine. I'll respect their privacy. Besides, I don't have time to waste getting through that brick wall! But...

We love, because He first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19 (NASB)

...I can love others because God first loved me. I would not know how to love if God had not demonstrated love to me.

Hmmmm. I wonder if God ever thinks, She is so stubborn that I just can't spend any more time trying to love her.  Of course not. He doesn't give up. Then again, He's God and He's able to do so much more than us. But, I can love the difficult people who don't love me back because God poured His love into me.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~ Romans 5:5 (NIV)

So, if I try to love others with my human nature, my patience runs very short, I get angry, I give up. But...

...God can love this person through me. We can follow God's lead when trying to love someone who doesn't want to be loved or is difficult to love. He will show us when to press in or when to pull back, if we stay tuned in to the Holy Spirit. Will it be easy? Ha! Probably not. But whoever said life (or relationships) would be easy?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nuggets of Wisdom

Some "goodies" I uncovered this week:

  • When we face a crisis, why do we wait to call on God? Instead, we try to fix it ourselves, consult friends, read books, and exhaust all other resources. God should be the first call we make.
  • Maturity, from the world's perspective, is being independent. Spiritual maturity means becoming dependent on God, helplessly relying on Him.
  • "It's been said that the hardest part of faith is the last half hour. Waiting on God tests us like nothing else does. When we're experiencing overwhelming confusion, we can be certain that deliverance is just around the corner. The problem is that we give up just before God shows up." From Waiting on God by Cherie Hill.