Tag Archives: choices

Recognize

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While reading in Jonah, the book I’ve been stuck in for awhile now (better than a big fish, right? Yuk yuk) it hit me that Jonah didn’t know that he was getting out of that fish.He had no idea what the outcome would be. We know the end of the story and have for years, except for maybe the actual “vomit” part…they left that out when I was a kid. We realize he got out and finally did what God asked him to do. But while in the whale (and please don’t argue with me about what kind of fish it was…I’m not concerned about that.) Jonah had some time to think. God gifted him with that time by providing the huge creature. Does anyone else find that amazing and hilarious? My NIV study Bible literally says that He “provided a great fish to swallow Jonah” (Jonah 1:17) God does provide, I’m just wondering if Jonah had to laugh at the irony while covered in muck.

In all of his pondering, he had to disregard what his senses told him. He had to focus on the why, not the scary sights,eery sounds,and nasty smell. (I won’t go into the other senses but to say”taste” EW!) He had to control his thoughts and cry out to the One Who created that fish for help. So, quite a few hours/days, he spent crying, praying, and giving thanks. I would think that would lead to some pretty enlightening epiphanies.It wasn’t that he didn’t recognize where he was, Jonah knew good and well that he was literally in the pit of this big guy’s stomach, but he also began to recognize Who had the power and Who had possession.He eventually grasped the fact that God had ownership of the seas and the sailors that had hurled him into the vicious waves. This God knew Jonah. He knew him better than he could ever possibly know himself. All he could do in this moment of recognition was to confess and ask forgiveness. He had to shake his head and wonder what took him so long to understand. He finally comprehended that God would go to any lengths necessary to not only show His love for one of His kids, but for all of them.

As an added bonus to God’s plan, because once Jonah got that he was lost, he recognized that others were lost exactly like he was. Salvation comes from the Lord and all it took was a few days and nights in the stomach of a sea creature for him to see that very, very clearly. My absolute favorite line in this book is “What I have vowed I will make good.” Jonah was speaking of the promises he made to God during his special one-on-one time that the Creator made possible. (Hehe) How many times have we promised things to God and not made good? God recalls and makes good on His promises each and every day, no matter our scenery or situation.He has made so many vows to us when we certainly don’t deserve them. My goal today is to just be, where I am, whether I like that place or not, and give thanks to the God Who deserves each and every one.

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Meh vs. Un-Meh

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I’m over it. I’m over listening to everyone else. How they think God wants them to do this. Or that. But certainly not that. Why, oh why, would he ever want me to do that?? Ugh. Get over yourselves. No really. Get over it. I am and I did. This is a journey I had to get real on. And by getting real, I mean more than posting pics of my latest haircut or color, or (Gasp!) Me without makeup. I mean turning the tv and the phone off. Really. All the way off. I started a journey to find God that day, fully convinced I would, yet somewhat “meh” about it. I needed to get “un-meh” about God again, so here’s what I did. I am beginning a personalized Meditation (notice the “t” is not a “c”) Challenge. For 30 days, I will meditate.
Now, if you’re about to quit reading  already:
1. Go ahead. I gotta tell ya, I really couldn’t care less at this point. I told you I was over it and that’s what I mean.
2. Meditation is Biblical. Look it up.
3. I don’t have a number 3.
I’ve tried to meditate before but mainly just made a grocery list in my head and got distracted by the ticking of the clock. This time I am more determined. I feel like life is lacking something. The spiritual war going on in my head and body is as real as fat-free ice cream. It’s there. We don’t want it to be, but it’s there.
The challenge consists of 30 days of repeating your mantra/Scripture/God-thought 30 times. 30 days, 30 times per day. Now, the Bible states that we’re supposed to renew our minds and this seemed like a good way to do it. I also liked that if you missed a day…guess what. You start over. None o’ that namby-pamby “it’s-ok, just-try-again-tomorrow”crap for me. I love a good challenge. At least I used to. I’m indifferent at this point. Possibly leaning toward disgusted as well. I’m at a place where I’m either going to head to Honduras to hug small children or set something on fire here. (Don’t worry, I set things on fire all the time. And all of the things belong to me.)
I’m somewhat disgusted that other human beings feel they have something to teach me. I’m not saying I know it all, but I AM saying I feel a lot smarter than some. And people trying to tell me what God thinks is especially sticking me like an itchy t-shirt tag. So, tom it begins.

His Will and Caffeine

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Leave me alone, I grumble under my breath. Get out of my way, I say in the most polite way possible. STOP talking to me, I think to myself, as I reach for my first cup of coffee. I just want some time, no, NEED some time to myself. To think, to wake up, to scratch. Instead, I have 2 toddlers, 1 much like me (cuddling in the lazy recliner grunting to any passersby) and the other, much like her father (awake, alert, ready to take on the day joyously). “Mom, do cheetahs lay eggs? What’s your favorite color? Can I have a cereal bar? One time, at school, my cookie was melted and I had to wash my hands. Can I have another cereal bar? Mom? Mom? MOM!?!”

I have always been one to enjoy my quiet time. I don’t feel the need to fill up every moment with words. I like to reflect, ponder, and pause. I have found that if I don’t, I am a grump. Unfortunately, I have not had the time. And yes, my facial expression resembles that of Oscar from Sesame Street. I am in no way ready for my day if I don’t make time to check in with myself and God.

This brings me to what I believe God asked me to do: Get out of bed AND get out of it EARLIER. (To which I said, “Whaaaaa? I don’t think I heard You correctly.” I then proceeded to give a list of excuses, including, I have 2 toddlers. (I’m pretty sure He already knew this, being Creator and all.) I go to bed late. (Simple fix, I heard.) I’m exhausted already. (Because you’re not doing what I asked.) Um…uh…Ok, OK. Begrudingly, which is far from cheerfully if you know what I mean, I agreed. So, tom morning, I will be waking at 5. I tried for 6 and even 5:30, but God isn’t the typical negotiator. Grr. Ok, 5 it is. The absolute hilarious side of this enthralling story is I’ve done this before. I woke at 5, every morning because God told me to. Know what happened? I got TONS accomplished. I had more energy than I knew what to do with. I talked with God, laying all my fears and worries out in the open. Then I listened to Him reassuring me of Scripture like Phillipians 4:13 and that I could do anything as long as He was with me. I learned things I couldn’t possibly have learned from any other book than His Holy Word. Why, you may wonder, did you stop? Exactly. All I can figure is it involves what the Bible calls “flesh.” I had to kill it then, meaning I don’t always do what I want to, I do what HE wants me to. I would much rather lounge in bed, contemplating how I can procrastinate cleaning out the fridge yet again, but God wants us to give Him the firsts. First fruits, first of the day, first 10%. (That’s another day’s article.) So, tomorrow begins a new journey. One that God’s leading the way, with His dear disheveled daughter padding behind Him in holey house slippers, searching for His will and caffeine.

Yeah, I Said It

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I won’t turn back. I will not back down. I am standing firm. And I most certainly will not be afraid. I’m crazy? Yes. Yes, I am. Crazy to believe that God couldn’t love me, that He doesn’t care what happens to me. Crazy is thinking that what our Creator says is not truth. We are His people. We are not silent. We are not doormats. And we are not weak. We are strong because He is strong. We are warriors because He is a warrior. We are not defeated because He can’t be. He can’t be anything but faithful to us. He will not go back on His promises and there are many. We stand firm and see His salvation, here, on this earth. We don’t have to wait until heaven to experience the abundant life. That is not the plan and never has been. We pray until something happens. When’s the last time you turned off the TV, put down your phone, and prayed? And I don’t mean this namby- pamby, wussy, “God, be with us” prayers. (Pssst, he’s already with us without us having to ask.) I mean the “feet-stompin’, discouragement-crushin’, here’s-the-way-it-is-devil” prayers where you feel the Holy Spirit coursing through your veins like the blood that God Himself put there. God didn’t call us to boredom, sitting with our feet up, watching shows with four-letter words on 3-letter stations. Turn it off, put it down, and do something for Him instead of watching what other people are doing. Take a step in the direction that you know God is calling you to. Give Him more than the “allotted” 5-minute devotional time and see what happens to your world.

Jolted

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My son burns my arms with fever, almost silently gasping for breath, and dark, yellowish rings form under his eyes right before mine. No one does anything. The crowded restaurant we’re in continues its constant motion. I see a friend with her son who was healed not long ago and shout her name. Again, I shout, holding my son, stripping his shirt off to alleviate some heat. She doesn’t hear me. She continues to talk cheerfully with friends and I lose her in the crowd as we leave the chaotic eatery. We’re headed to the ER but I fear not fast enough. I wake up, unable to catch my breath. This night’s sleep has been exhausting. I truly wonder if I had stayed up if I’d be more rested. Images flash through my mind, as I sit up panting. Visuals of my family distraught and distressed beyond repair. Shaken. Jolted to our very core. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a nightmare. I don’t know what you believe, but I believe it to be part of my own personal spiritual battle. I’m in a battle as I type. A battle where I learn to trust God with everything. Even my son. In Ephesians, we read that the battle is not physical and some days I’m glad. Glad because I feel very weak under this attack. God knows I need Him more than ever on those days. To make a long, prayerful story a little shorter, we decided yesterday to cancel our son’s appointment with the doctor. It seems he’s been sick since he was born. In fact, he was born sick. The enemy reminds me of this often. “It’s just the way it is,” I hear, and “What could possibly change your son’s condition? You’ve done everything.” It’s true. We have tried everything from oils to vitamins to supplements, even prayer. *wink It’s exhausting to have little ones ill as you struggle to fix it. I believe that’s why God is calling us out on it. We prayed about taking our son to the doctor…again…for the fourth time just within the past 3 months. The meds they gave us didn’t work and the meds they were going to give us most likely would have the same effect. This time, we felt more peace about trusting God to work it out. I wish I could say that about every situation and I’m getting there, but trusting someone else with your kids is HUGE. Turns out He loves ‘em more than I do. Whaaaaaa?

So just like I was jolted out of that horrific, stomach-turning nightmare, I think God is jolting us out of this lull of worldliness. This life is not our own. We are not to love this world. We are called to love the people He created and put in it. Stop doing what the world does. Stop trusting what your eyes see. Let God open the eyes of your heart like He yearns to do. Have some faith and start walking the path He puts before you instead of the one you paved on your own. Give God each day and He’ll jolt you out of this shoulder-shrugging apathy that we’re so accustomed to. Infuse your life with His will and watch as your situation changes for the best.

My son was happier than we’d seen him in a long time after we canceled that appointment. His symptoms came to a screeching halt. Sure, it doesn’t always work like this, but when’s the last time you trusted enough to see how long God’s timing would take? Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal your faith or the faith-building “exercises” God Himself designs.

12″ Off the Ground

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So on the days that we don’t float 12” off the ground on our “Holy Spirit high,” how do we cope? How do we deal with the voice in our head that tells us He’s not Who He said He was and we’re not who He says we are? We’re not constantly and consciously reminded of our worth in our everyday lives unless we work at it. The grocery store cashier doesn’t tell us we are pure and lovely and good. The guy in the car next to us doesn’t have us roll down our window to say, “Hey! You’re a child of the Most High God!” Angels don’t wake us up with the fluttering of their wings. Our aches, bruises, and twinges are still there. So what do we do when we don’t feel like God is right there with us?

What if I said it’s not about feeling? Right here on this page you’re reading, I say: It’s not about feelings at all. It’s fact. He’s there. Always is, always will be.

You may have heard or read that He doesn’t move we do. I would venture to say more often than not, we don’t move at all. We sit stagnant, waiting for God to come to where we are. Now don’t misunderstand, God is always there and He’ll meet us where we’re at…all we have to do is ask. But 1.) we ain’t askin’! 2.) we ain’t goin’ anywhere! (Forgive the southern roots and “grammar” but sometimes it’s necessary to get a point across.) God says ask and we shall receive. We have not because we ask not. (See? Even God says we ain’t askin’!) I think many times we’re afraid we won’t get it. THEN where does that leave us? With an unresponsive God? I don’t think so. I think we get discouraged and do our own thing if it’s not in the allotted time frame. Secondly, we’re called to seek God. Does that mean He hides at times? Yup. At least that’s what I believe. If He was always right out there in the open, why would He ask us to look for Him? Seek and ye shall find. It’s not about us feeling Him, it’s about knowing Him…knowing Him well enough to know that we get closer to Him when we move in His direction. Seems silly, huh? That it takes so long to figure out in order to get closer, we have to move toward it?

Willing to Interweave

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I prayed this morning that I could work through God and that He would work through me. As these words came out of my mouth, I began to think about an interwoven cloth. Me through God and God through me. What an amazing concept. Then tonight I began to wonder what kind of changes we could make and He could make if we were willing. Are we willing? Oooo! Oooo! Me, God, me! Pick me! I’m willing! Then I got to thinking about the “sacrifice.” Where’s God’s time? Where, as believers, are we allotting God time to work in and through us? How do we know if we’re working through Him and His will? Where’s God’s time? You know the time we’re supposed to pray morning, noon, and night, seek ye first the kingdom, agree with our brothers and sisters, ask and receive, refresh our minds? Are we doing alllllll of the things we’re supposed to do as believers? Do we have time for them? We are called to live differently. Are we? Can we talk about Jesus like He’s our closest friend? Out in public? Where there are people who…eek!…DON’T BELIEVE? Do we have courage to do just that? In a time when it’s getting more and more critical for people to hear about Jesus and more and more dangerous to open our mouths about Him, are we doing that?

Our Creator commanded (“give an authoritative order” and “be in a strong enough position to have or secure ‘something’”) us to be strong and courageous. Do we feel this way most days? Why not? I’m willing to bet it’s because our time is being stolen right out from under our busy little noses. You know the ones…the noses that are stuck in someone else’s business. (*Gasp! “I don’t do that!”) Facebook is everyone else’s business and there’s not so much pure, lovely, and good on there. TV is other people’s lives. I challenge you to inspire me with what you are learning from NBC or ABC. Why are we discontent with our own lives when we do nothing to change them? We don’t have to sit back and watch others live. We don’t even have to kick back and read people’s complaints at the end of our day. I urge you to not be lulled into a sleepy haze with this short life you’ve been given. It is a gift that not everyone gets a chance to enjoy anymore.

Can we turn the TV off for an hour to give God the time of day? How about Facebook? A friend of mine once told me that anything you can’t give up for 24 hours is an idol. Hmmmm…Are you willing?