Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Snow Cones in the Desert

I've been reading through Psalm 105 the past couple of days. One of the devotional books I use has camped on that particular Psalm but today we got to the end.

The Psalm starts out like this...

Psalm 105

1 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
    Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
Exult in his holy name;
    rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
Search for the Lord and for his strength;
    continually seek him.
Remember the wonders he has performed,
    his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
you children of his servant Abraham,
    you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Give thanks.
Sing His praises.
Exult His name.
Search for Him.
Remember Him.

All reminders to the chosen people, the Israelites. Then the psalm goes on to remind them of the covenant God had with His people through Abraham and his descendants. The psalmist goes on to speak about a huge piece of their history, the time they spent in Egypt and making their way back to the Promised Land. Many highlights of God's provision and deliverance is given during the remainder of this psalm. It was all happening because of a covenant (a solemn promise) made to Abraham and his descendants.

Nice. But where am I going with this?

The final verse of this psalm jumped out at me. It's easy to overlook after thinking about all the other things that happened to the Israelites--promises made, promises kept.

45 All this happened so they would follow his decrees
    and obey his instructions. Praise the Lord!

The words ALL THIS HAPPENED SO is what caught my attention. I always want to know WHY things happen (I've talked about that before) so I guess that's why I noticed those words this time. Those words said to me, Pay attention, Kristi. So I reread that verse. All of those things in verses 1-44 happened for God's purposes and to teach the people God's ways. God wasn't handing out snow cones in the desert simply because the people were His sweet, little children. They didn't always do the right thing. In fact, they often did the wrong thing. God loved them anyway. He provided regardless. He allowed certain things to happen to them--all under His watchful eye--so that they would learn to love God, trust Him, and obey Him. Praise Yahweh!

Just another reminder to me that everything I go through, the good and the bad, is all part of God's plan. It's all about Him so that I can glorify God and point others toward Christ.

Friday, August 24, 2012

God Does Not Change

Where does the time go? This maze we traverse called life literally seems to move at warp speed and it is always in constant flux.

Glacier National Park courtesy

I have a full-time day job (which is why I don't post here on a consistent basis) that keeps me quite busy. I'm meeting new people all the time. People I was just starting to know have moved on.

Rules and regulations seems to be constantly changing. The price of gas is constantly changing. Up one week and down the next.

Weather seems to be more extreme each year. Weeks of no rain produce drought.  Then days of rain produce flooding. Temperatures are record-breaking high one week and the following week they're below average for this time of year.

It's all a bit crazy. I cannot count on anything in this world to stay the same. But, I try to remember the things I can count on not changing.

God does not change.

“I am the Lord, and I do not change." ~ Malachi 3:6a

"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from
God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.
He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." ~ James 1:17

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, 
today, and forever" ~ Hebrews 13:8

God's love for me does not change and He is faithful to keep his promises. When the world is constantly changing, I can go to the Word and read these promises knowing He will be faithful to keep these promises.

I will close with a few of these promises.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, 
for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; 
not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
John 14:27

Saturday, August 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Christian Singles

Dear Single Friend:

Every human being has a physical heart. But we also have this place in our soul that is also referred to as our heart. That’s what I want to talk about here—specifically about male/female relationships. I’m no expert in this area, by any means, but I’ve witnessed a lot of heartache and experienced some of my own. It seems most of the heartache is due to carelessness and recklessness—both avoidable. Either way, it appears education in this area of life is lacking. And if we are being taught these things, it’s a little too late because we’re hard of hearing or hard of listening. Unfortunately, it seems we have to learn these truths only by actually going through the fire or watching a loved one go through it.

We’re all born with a new heart which is ready to accept all that life has to offer. As we experience life, events begin to tug at and imprint themselves onto our hearts. All these experiences make us into what we are today—the good and the bad. The good news is that God can use and will use all these experiences for His good and to accomplish His purpose for our lives. But, sometimes we open ourselves up to experiences that God didn’t intend for us.

I believe we need to remember that a person’s heart is not an amusement park ride which is ridden briefly and then we’re on to the next ride looking for bigger and better thrills. The heart is not something that you should offer to just anyone nor should it be taken without permission. 

The heart is the center of the body, the hub where all the important activity intersects. It’s also that metaphorical place where all our emotions are stored. Our Hopes, our Dreams, and the Spiritual side of our lives all reside there. Therefore we need to be really careful with our hearts. (If you have young children, please begin teaching this to them now.)

Our heart should be carefully guarded when it comes to dating relationships. There is an awful lot of “using” going on between men and women. You know the scenario: Person #1 isn’t really serious about the person #2, but decides they’ll keep their company until someone better comes along. Person #2 has no idea what Person #1 is thinking and opens up their heart, willingly handing bits of their heart over to them. When the truth finally comes to light, Person #1 has happily moved on to Person #3. Meanwhile Person #2 is left picking up the broken pieces of their life.

Who is to blame in the scenario above? The way I see it, both parties are to blame. It’s easy to place all the blame on Person #1. Number 1 knowingly used the other person! However, the second party opened his or herself up to this heart-hijacking. In most cases, Person #2 will often have a sense about the intentions of Person #1. But that feeling is often hidden in denial or simply dismissed. It’s quite possible that gut feeling may have been the Holy Spirit warning Person #2. On the flip side, Person #2 may have used Person #1 to selfishly fulfill a need in his or her own life. It’s that lonely, empty place which we try to fill where only God should reside.

Marriage is a covenant relationship ordained by God. I’m sure He never intended for us to leave bits of our hearts and lives scattered amongst a long string of casual dates. Dating is a very modern concept so you won’t find a check list for dating in the Bible. However, you can find lots and lots of information about how to treat other people. For starters, remember the “One-Anothers” and the "Love Chapter"? These Biblical principles apply to those you date too.

To sum it up, Be Careful with Your Heart. The heart is a fragile place, subject to wear and tear, bruising, as well as outright abuse. We also need to have more consideration for others above our own selfish gain. 

Philippians 2: 3-5 says: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. 
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  
not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Sacrificial love = Christ’s love. 
We need to see more of this type of love in all relationships.

I came up with the following list. If you have some constructive ideas to add, please share. This list doesn't need to stop at 10!

Ten Commandments for Christian Singles

Love God with all your heart. If you have a right relationship with God, your relationships with others will be right.
God comes first in your life—before dating, your ministry, or job. Anything or anyone that occupies your thoughts more than God has become an idol in your life. 

Be honest. Keep lines of communication open from the beginning. If you don’t feel like you’ll ever truly be interested in a long-term future with someone, let them know so they can make an informed decision.

Take care of yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It’s good for you and it will be good for your future mate.

Don’t be envious of married people. They have problems too. Many are envious of your freedom! Enjoy it while you can and use your freedom to do things you cannot do when you have family responsibilities.

Know yourself. If you have the temperament to handle casual dating and are able to enjoy it without endangering another person’s feelings, then go for it. But, if you have a tendency to love deeply and loyally, you may not be able to casual date. 

Pray. Stay in constant communication with God. Listen for and ask daily for His guidance concerning your relationships.

Respect the boundaries of others—physical and emotional boundaries. Don’t steal another person’s heart or anything else that belongs to him or her.

Be faithful. Once you embark upon a committed relationship, have eyes only for that person (after God, of course).

Keep silent. Don’t use the “L” word until you are absolutely certain about your feelings. In general, our society is too casual with the word LOVE. We love pizza. We love football. Honestly, love should be reserved for people—friends, family, and mates.

 Text (c) 2012 The Blue-Eyed Babe.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Three On Thursday

Three quick thoughts for this day...

Have you not known?  
Have you not heard? 
The everlasting God, the Lord,  
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.  
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak, 
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,  
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord 
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
~ Isaiah 40: 28-31

Why am I discouraged?
   Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
 my Savior and my God!
~ Psalm 42:10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
~Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wasting Time

Ever have a problem that just keeps you so perplexed that you spend hours trying to figure out what to do about it? I'm not talking about common issues such as:

What should I serve my guests at the next dinner party? 


Should I buy Aunt Mildred a gift certificate or that book she's been wanting?

I'm talking about the types of issues which don't have ready answers, especially the ones which have so many why and how questions attached to them. I usually file these under "life issues." Life suddenly turns into a 1000-piece puzzle and you have no idea what the big picture is.

I tend to be a bit of a detective. I'm also inquisitive and a "fixer." Therefore, these little traits often, okay, always cause me to look for answers to problems and why they occurred in the first place.

During the past few months I've tried to figure out the whys and hows of a particularly vexxing situation in my life. Actually, I wasted a whole lot of time. Now I realize that's exactly where our enemy, Satan, wants me to live my life. He would like for me to spend lots of time and energy fretting and fussing over something I cannot do anything about.

Don't get me wrong: It's definitely okay for me to pray about it and ask God to help or provide clear direction. But when I spend so much time trying to figure things out that it causes confusion, doubt, and other negative emotions, then I've gone too far.

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, 
as in all the churches of the saints. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:33

It's times like this when God wants me to simply trust Him. When I cannot understand what's going on or what I should do next, it's time to trade in that detective's license for that warm shelter of trust in the shadow of His wings. 

Have you ever noticed that weeks, months, or even years down the road from a problem you can look back and see how God worked everything out (probably without your help)? In the midst of that situation it didn't appear that God was doing anything [but He was] and questions were unending!

I saw this quote recently and thought it was appropriate:

Trust always requires having some 
unanswered questions in your life. ~ Joyce Meyer

I believe that is very true. Once I began to place my trust in God to handle my problems in His way and in His time, peace moved into the place where confusion, fear, and doubt had resided. God gave those three an eviction notice! 

Did I get all the answers to my Why and How questions? Nope. But, little by little, God has given me some answers. I am still waiting on the remaining answers but at least I'm no longer fretting over them. I still sometimes get discouraged, but God knows what I need and will give me encouragement through the Word.

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

What about you? How do you handle these issues and unanswered questions? What has the Lord taught you during these times?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hope for this Unsteady Heart

Earlier this week I wrote a post about true love and trusting Jesus.  Events drove me to my knees seeking the Lord. It was during those unsteady times that Jesus stepped in to steady my heart, to catch the tears, and He lovingly walked with me through the uncertainty. There is hope for the unsteady heart and that hope can be found through Jesus.

I'm a big fan of Kari Jobe and especially her song called Steady My Heart. I've heard it on the radio recently and identified with the lyrics. I want to share the video here for anyone else who may be experiencing the unsteadiness that life brings. I hope you will be blessed by this song as much as I have been.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My True Love

I've discovered authentic and unconditional love.

I'm not talking about love at first sight (which is a misnomer).

I'm not talking about the type of relationship in which someone "loves" until it's no longer comfortable or convenient.

And I'm not talking about the kind of love that comes as long as I'm accepted or my behavior is approved.

I'm talking about the kind of love that is...
     totally unexplainable by human standards,
          loves regardless of what I do or say,
               that is so overwhelming at times that I can literally feel it.

During recent months I've had some experiences which have seriously tested my faith. But it was during this time when I also discovered this unconditional, overwhelming love in my life. I've been a believer in Jesus, the Messiah, since childhood and always knew God loved me (who hasn't memorized John 3:16, right?). But I never really internalized and experienced that love first-hand. Whose fault is that? Ultimately it's my fault.

God was there all along. He was ready to pour out His love in abundance if I'd only let Him. I read an inspirational story recently that gives a good example of this. (The following is a retelling of this story in my own words.)

A young man loved an expensive guitar. He would often go to the music store and longingly stare at this guitar. He didn't have the money to buy it himself but hoped one day that he could buy it. His mother knew about this guitar and decided to surprise her son with the guitar for his birthday. She bought the guitar and placed it in the son's room so that when he woke up the next morning, he would see it. 

The son didn't notice the guitar in his room. For several days in a row he went back to the store to look at the guitar. The clerk who sold the guitar to the young man's mother came up to him and asked how he liked his new guitar. The young man didn't know what he was talking about. The clerk explained that his mother came in several days earlier to purchase the guitar as a birthday surprise for him.

The son rushed home to look around. He went into his bedroom and finally saw the guitar sitting there with a bow on it. Somehow he was so focused on what he didn't have that he was missing out on what was there all along!

It's so easy to get focused on stuff that happens in life--or stuff that doesn't happen. We invite Jesus to come into our lives, but we let Him sit and wait by the front door. We don't let His love seep into all those nooks and crannies of our lives and become Lord. Maybe that happens because of ignorance (we didn't know we should or could or thought we had). Or maybe we did it because we have broken "trusters" from past hurts--those in our past have hurt us or let us down so we don't let anyone get too close. Shame could also be a reason we wouldn't let Jesus get too close. There are probably other reasons that might fit this scenario.

For me, a lot of it was a trust issue. It took a series of trials to get my attention. God used both circumstances and people to get my attention. You might ask, What kind of a loving God would allow those trials to happen?  (The answer to that would be an entirely different blog post.) Suffice it to say, God knew me well enough to know what would work to get my attention. I felt His loving presence all along the way. With each event, I turned to God. Sometimes to ask Why (okay, a lot of times to ask Why). Even in the midst of hurt, God constantly showed me how much He loved me through the Word, through songs, through nature, and through people. He carefully worked on building that trust between us. When I began to open my eyes and see how He was working, I was amazed, astounded, and overwhelmed. I learned I could trust God because of such lengths He went to to get my attention and protect me in the midst of it all.

I once heard Beth Moore say that she says to God, I love you, too. She says that because Scripture tells us...

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

So, God first tells us and demonstrates that He loves us. Therefore, we can whisper back to Him (our True Love)...

I love you, too!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


What's the point? What's my purpose on this earth? What's the purpose of all these trials?

Have you ever pondered those questions? If you're like 99% of the population, you probably have. I confess to wondering this myself from time to time.

This word purpose has come to my attention several times in recent days. It's come in different contexts and from different sources. I always try to pay attention when I begin to notice something being repeated many times. Oftentimes I've discovered God is trying to teach me something.

I began to do a little digging. I read some Scripture which referenced purpose and I read some sermon notes about God's purpose. If you're interested in some of the material I read, use this link to

All of that information was helpful, but what it really boils down to (at least for me) comes from lyrics to a song that's been on my mind recently. The song is called Jesus, Lover of My Soul (It's All About You). [If you're not familiar with the song, you can look it up on YouTube.]

What's the purpose?
     It's all about Jesus.
          It's all about His glory and His fame.
                It's not about me.

Yes, I need to say that again. It's NOT about me.

When I get all caught up in my problems, my wants and desires, and wondering What in the world good can come from this? I need to remember that it's not about me, but God has a plan and a purpose for everything.

"We know that God causes all things to work together
 for good to those who love God, 
to those who are called according to His purpose."  
Romans 8:28

Genesis 50:20 says: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." Those were Joseph's words to his family after they had been reunited. Joseph had a very dysfunctional family and lived through some really tough circumstances for many, long years. But God intervened and turned a bad situation into a good one. It didn't happen overnight, either. Joseph saw this all in hindsight. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Perseverance is to keep going  
in spite of difficult

As I write this post, the 2012 Olympics is happening. Besides all the wonderful athleticism, the Olympics are fun to watch because they allow us to see emotions ranging from joy to heartbreak and everything in between. It's a chance to watch athletes who have trained for years--and some their entire lives--for an event that often only lasts minutes.

Some athletes leave family behind to train with professionals.

      Some athletes endure hardships and overcome injuries to compete.

           Some athletes are so completely focused on the competition that it becomes

               their life--the only life they know.

What do some very famous people say about perseverance?

"Never, never, never give in." ~ Winston Churchill 

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize 
how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” ~ Babe Ruth 

What does the Bible say about perseverance?

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. 
Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, 
perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. 
Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, 
which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. ~ 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NLT)

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved*, 
he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 
~ James 1:12 (NASB)  [*approved: passed  the test]

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation
brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; 
and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, 
because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5 (NASB)

We should pursue perseverance. We are blessed when we persevere. We gain character which brings about even more good things in our lives. Romans 15:5 also tells us that God gives us this perseverance.

So, whether we are...
     training for a marathon, 
     enduring an illness or other trials, 
     job hunting or raising kids, 
     trying to read through the Bible in a year,
     or just trying to be more like Christ, 

perseverance is something we can ask God to give us. The reward for this perseverance may not be a gold medal, but the blessings we receive will provide eternal reward.

I hope one day that I can say just as Paul said: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful" (1 Timothy 4:7).