Thoughtful Thursday: When Dreams Are Shattered

Photo Credits johnkrohn.blogspot.com

Photo Credits
johnkrohn.blogspot.com

Job 17:11

“My days have passed, my plans are shattered, even the desires of my heart.”

Proverbs 13:13

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.”

Joel 2:25

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” 

Psalm 27:13-14

13 “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”

Perhaps nothing stings more than the reality of a hope that is dashed or a dream that is unfulfilled.  You were so close to your goal, and then suddenly it is gone.  Or the plans you had for your life have seriously been altered, completely shattered because of circumstances beyond your control.

Why is it so disheartening?  What is it about a dream crushed that causes disillusionment?  I use a GPS most of the time I am driving.  My husband does not.  If he gets lost, he just works to figure it out.  I, on the other hand, begin to wonder if the world will end – I am lost – what do I do?  I want to be certain where I am going and the uncertainty causes concern and insecurity.  That is where faith comes in.

The great heroes of the faith did not always get in their time-frame what they were promised.  They desperately wanted to see their dreams or promises fulfilled, but they learned precious lessons while waiting.  Patience and trust cannot be earned by merely being taught, they are instead caught through endurance.

Perhaps the terrain looks a lot different than you thought it would.  Maybe you are on the correct path, but in God’s sovereignty, your destination is going to take longer to get to.  The character or tools needed for that assignment need to become part of you, before you can handle the plans God has for you.

But our souls cry out, how can destruction or pain be God’s best?  I honestly do not know or fully comprehend how God does it, but He does use every part of our pain for good.  Perhaps your hope or delight was in that dream, and seeing it as your end or goal, rather than in God and seeing it everything as part of God’s plan and surrendering our way to God’s best.

When it seems like there is no more joy, no more hope, that is where faith comes in.  Placing our hope in God rather than on the temporary fulfillment of this earth is perhaps the greatest treasure learned when our longings are not fulfilled in the timing or way we wanted.

Lord, help us to trust you when things look vastly different than we thought they should.  You know best.

Worshipful Wednesday: The God Who Teaches Us

Psalm 25:1, 4-5, 8-9, 12, 14

1 “O Lord, I come before you in prayer. 4 Make me understand your ways, O LordTeach me your paths! 5 Guide me into your truth and teach me.  For you are the God who delivers me; on you I rely all day long8 The Lord is both kind and fair; that is why he teaches sinners the right way to live9 May he show the humble what is right!  May he teach the humble his way!  12 The Lord shows his faithful followers the way they should live. 14 The Lord’s loyal followers receive his guidance, and he reveals his covenantal demands to them.”

We have all had teachers we have admired and ones we could have done without.  Some inspired us and some discouraged us.  Although teaching is not always a lucrative career, teaching is valued highly by God and near to His heart. David knew where to get wisdom on how to live.  He cried out.  Those who want to know more of God or how to live in order to please him just need to ask Him.  He is willing to teach us!  To be tutored by the Most High God is no small thing. Today, I worship our Almighty God and Shepherd, the best teacher of all, Who will personally guide each of us and instruct us through his Holy Spirit.  His rebuke is life-giving, but only the humble can receive it.

As a homeschool mom for 18 years, teaching brings an inner delight to me.  God called me to home educate the children He gave me before my first child was born.  I chose to home educate out of obedience and also because more than anything, I cared deeply about my children’s character and knowledge of God.  To be able to convey a truth to my children and have them perceive and comprehend it on deeper and deeper levels over the years has never ceased to amaze me. The first time my oldest was reading at age three was thrilling!  A door had just been opened to her – though it could be for knowledge of good or bad – she was most importantly able to gain insight into her Creator and into life.

I vividly recall when we were doing a bible study out of the book of Romans and the look on my oldest daughter’s face at age four conveyed her understanding for the first time that “no one was good, no not one”.  She wept and realized that she needed a Savior.  Wow.  God instructed her through His living word.  Over the years, all of my children have had crowning moments of academic success as well as difficult moments of realizing they still had so much to learn.  So do we all.

The paucity of knowledge is not to be lamented, however, when we have a God Who has all knowledge and He wants to give it to us. Even knowledge that appears unimportant can become a treasure.  Each station in life offers opportunities to learn something new.  When the subject or trial we are in appears mundane and inapplicable to life (like some school subjects my kids tell me are not important), God uses it all.  Education equips us for future endeavors or callings on our lives that He wants to use to enable us for that season and for His glory.

I have always loved to learn new things, so it is difficult for me to comprehend someone not being fascinated with the opportunity of obtaining more knowledge.  Knowledge is a doorway to wisdom, when correctly applied, and to be able to understand more of God is the highest privilege.

Sometimes, though, teaching is not a delight.  Burnout can occur, of course, but when the pupil is lazy, not teachable or not desiring to learn, teaching can become a daunting task.  I imagine that our lack of zeal to instruct as a teacher or to search for more insight and understanding from God as a student hurts His heart.  He is ready to teach us, to show us more of Him, and we often do not even arise to knock on His door.

As a teacher, our children might not be crying out for wisdom, but we can also ask God, Who is the wisest teacher, to help us to provoke them to want to learn.  When I consider how good God is, that He would not just command, but would show us how to obey by walking among us as a fragile human, I am completely undone.  We have no excuse – we have a God Who is alive and Who has not left us without instruction.  He was also willing to live it out before us.  Ignorance kept us in sin – but God did not leave us in that place.  Our flesh may often tire, but we can still cry out for God to give me a hunger to learn more of Him.  If we feel discouraged or unmotivated to continue educating others or to to be inspired to learn, God can meet us at that place and ignite our hearts again with deeper truths worth exploring – we just need to ask Him.  His knowledge knows no end and He promises to give wisdom to those who ask Him.

Lord, thank You for teaching us daily and in Your mercy showing us our faults and sins, that we could become more like You.  Helps us to be teachable and to yearn your correction, for it brings life – and that abundantly.

What’s in a Name?

Photo Credits: yadahworship.wordpress.com

Photo Credits:
yadahworship.wordpress.com

Judges 13:18

“The LORD’s messenger said to him, “you should not ask me my name, because you cannot comprehend it.””

Psalm 148:13

“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.” 

Proverbs 30:4

“Who has ascended into heaven, and then descended? Who has gathered up the winds in his fists? Who has bound up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name?–if you know!”

Isaiah 9:6

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 

Isaiah 52:5b-6

“and my name is constantly slandered all day long6 For this reason my people will know my namefor this reason they will know at that time that I am the one who says, ‘Here I am.’”

Isaiah 42:8 

“I am the Lord (Jehovah, Yahweh); that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”

Exodus 3:14

“God said to Moses, “I am that I am.” And he said, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.'”

When we first meet a person, we want to learn their name.  This knowledge, though seemingly personal, is not really knowing the person; it just reveals an outward name which was given to them.  We can also know someone by their rank, relation or title.  This still does not mean we truly “know” an individual, it merely specifies more information about their position in this life.

Through God’s interaction with men, we come to know Him by what He has done or by what we learn that He has done throughout history and in His word.  Many names are ascribed to God to define what He is to us in these moments, and these names are precious because they describe a relationship that we have with God.

We first know Him as “Elohim”, the triune God at the beginning of creation.  He then revealed that He is “I AM”, or YHWH; self-existent – no beginning and no end.  Unfathomable to His creation, and yet our hearts cry out for something more than this world has – to eternity.

He is El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty), El Elyon (The Most High God), Adonai (Lord, Master), El Olam (The Everlasting God), Elohim (God)  & Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah) whether or not we acknowledge Him as such.  Every knee will bow before Him.

He is Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner), Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals), Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There), Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness), and Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You) to those who have drawn near to know Him and seen God through His activity in their personal relationship with Him.

His character is impossible for us to define completely, but we see from what has been revealed that he is Qanna (Jealous) for us, that He is Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide), Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace) and Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts).  Just a glimpse at aspects of God’s character should overwhelm us with how truly awesome He is, but we grow familiar with terms and forget that He is so far above us.  He is Holy and we are not; we cannot fully fathom how wonderful He is.

God is so kind and merciful to reveal Himself to us.  We often want a superficial relationship – just to know His name, but God wants us to experience relationship with Him and allows us to come before Him – all-powerful – and know Him personally.  This is humbling, wretched as we are, to go before our Holy God.  But Jesus makes it so.  His blood covers us that we can love our God and come to Him.  Forever grateful.

The fact that His name YHWH is unpronounceable is symbolic to me that it is also a name that we cannot fully comprehend. This I know – the Great “I AM” to me means stability – He is never changing, He is my Rock, my steady Bulwark, when all the world around me is changing at a fast pace.  He has always been there and always will be.

Oh, LORD, I want to know You more!  May I never tire of searching to know more of you!  You are Holy!  You are beautiful and so far beyond me.  Open my eyes to understand you more and to worship You in Spirit and truth.

Unequal “Yokedom” and Keeping Our Children’s Hearts

Photo Credits: My son Sam

Photo Credits:
My son Sam

Genesis 28:1-7

28:1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman2 Leave immediately for Paddan Aram! Go to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and find yourself a wife there, among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May the sovereign God bless you! May he make you fruitful and give you a multitude of descendants!  Then you will become a large nation4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing he gave to Abraham so that you may possess the land God gave to Abraham, the land where you have been living as a temporary resident.” 5 So Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.  6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to Paddan Aram to find a wife there. As he blessed him, Isaac commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 7Jacob obeyed his father and mother and left for Paddan Aram.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

“Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, “I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 Thereforecome out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the All-Powerful Lord.”

Ok, so we are not cattle and it might seem a bit archaic to still use the terminology “yoked”.  Perhaps another analogy would serve today’s generation better, nonetheless our souls confirm this truth.  It was not a racial slur when Jacob’s parents were opposed to Jacob marrying a Caananite woman.  They knew that Jacob’s heart could be turned away from following the living God by marrying an unbelieving spouse.  This is not just a principle for the Old Testament.  I fear in our day of tolerance and relevance that we have lost touch with the truth that God’s word never changes and His principles still stand, no matter how sophisticated or independent we think we’ve become.

I have three daughters and two sons that God has blessed me with.  Later in life, He also brought a step-daughter into my life.  When God enabled me to be a parent, my greatest heart’s desire was that I would be faithful to raise them in the LORD.  God was seeking godly offspring when He chose Abraham and when He chose us.  These children He has given are truly His.  Being charged with guarding their hearts and guiding them in Christ has been a challenging task, indeed, but it is worth it.

Suitors are now coming to call and the foundation that was laid all of these years is holding, by the grace of God.  It is not easy, and I, too, can easily falter if it were not for the compass I hold in my hand each day – the Bible.  You see, the philosophy of this day and age is to minimize the authority that parents have in their children’s lives.  It is viewed as old-fashioned.  So be it.  The role God gave parents is one He holds them accountable for, and that truth, coupled with the fear of the LORD, keeps me seeking God for His choice, not mine, in my children’s lives.

Worldliness is easy.  It is so woven into all of society, even in Christian places, that we can become dumbed down and not detect it anymore.  It is so hard to keep our hearts, let alone our children’s.  If I put my oxygen mask (the Bible) on each day, I am able to see clearly enough to place it on my children, but this also requires discipline and consistency in my life.

It starts when they are young.  Even when my children were first able to understand, I shared with them God’s word and how it differed from the world around us.  At that time I told them we were not going to follow the customs of the culture around us, including dating at a young age.  The follow up to that standard never relents and must not just be a legalistic mantra.  Godly standards flowing from genuine conviction breathe life, not rebellion.

This morning, my 10-year-old son knew I was not to be interrupted during my devotion time.  It is still so hard for him to not do so. Instead, he got his Bible out and read beside me and drew a picture from his devotion time, which I used for today’s blog. These moments are precious, but we cannot rest in them.  We have to keep building on this foundation and remind our kids that the faith they were taught has to become their own.

Back to my daughters.  Young men are now coming, asking to date or court my two oldest – pesky thing it is, them growing up.  Trying to walk the line of counseling my daughters and letting them make decisions is difficult, to say the least.  True character is shown soon enough, though, whether a young man will respect the parent’s place in the young woman’s life whom he admires, or whether he will secretly attempt to subvert the authority God has placed in my daughter’s lives.

We did not permit dating or courtship until they were 18 and have certainly been judged for doing so.  No regrets here. This past week I had the joy of having a godly young man inquire after one of my daughters.  They have been friends for a year and a half and walked through this process beautifully.  Moments like this make it all worth it.  Suitors can lie, manipulate and couch their professions of love in “Christianese”, but the Holy Spirit is able to guide important life decisions.  We just have to be seeking and listening.  True character is shown in time – we just must be vigilant!

My older son is a couple of years away from adulthood now.  Completely different and also much the same.  The principles of purity and guarding our hearts have been laid as groundwork since before he could first understand those words.  May he and his younger brother continue to walk in God’s ways and seek a righteous wife someday, for even the wisest man, Solomon, had wives turn his heart away from God toward worthless things.

Although Jacob might have easily disregarded his parent’s counsel, he did not.  He chose to obey and was rewarded for it. He had his own past of deceit and maybe learned from it.  My prayer is that my children will continue to choose the path of following God, but that will be their decision.  I am blessed to say that they are walking with God, but the spiritual battle for all of our children’s hearts is waged daily.  We have experienced firsthand how the disobedience of one person caused incredible pain and horrific consequences in our lives.  We do not want to walk that path again.

We never arrive as parents and never are done inspiring our children to love God.  The costs are just too high, and future generations are counting on the faithfulness of us right now.  We cannot become trapped in cultural pressure or fads.  Even terminology can become an idol – dating or courtship.  Choices lie before us all each day.  What we choose impacts those who follow behind us.  I choose by the grace of God blessing and not a curse – walking in obedience over rebellion, life over death.  What say you?

Lord, thank you for saving me and showing me the need for discipleship of the children You have given.  When I fall short, LORD, protect their hearts and enable us to follow hard after You, for You are our life!

Scriptural Sunday: We Have the Mind of Christ

Photo Credits: christintheclouds.blogspot.com

Photo Credits:
christintheclouds.blogspot.com

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

“But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”  God has revealed these to us by the Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”  11 For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. 13 And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him?   But we have the mind of Christ.”

Philippians 2:5

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

On Sundays, I want to simply share Scripture and a prayer from my devotion time to reflect on.

Lord, what is man, that You would give us Your Spirit and reveal deep mysteries to us?  That You would grant us the mind of Christ?  Wow.  We cannot understand the simplest words from Your Word without You mercifully opening our eyes. We are humbled, oh God, by Your kindness.  We are blessed to have seen any revelation from You.

Lord, help us to fill our mind with only what pleases You, to choose to dwell on thoughts that bring You glory.  Thank You for opening our eyes to see and to know You!

Can I Have a Do Over?

Fun, whimsical blog from a friend of mine for women.

Real Moms Don't Judge

I’ve had lots of “mom moments” that I’m not proud of, which is why I squirmed a bit in my seat last Sunday when my pastor said that his topic was parent child relationships.

nervous lady

Oh, brother. I’m sunk.

As a home schooling mom, my opportunities to screw up my kids increase exponentially because I am with them all day!

After he said “parent child relationships” all I heard for about the next 15 minutes was “ humma, humma, humma” (i.e. blah, blah, blah).

I started thinking about my not so glorious moments as a mom.

There have been quite a few, but the first thing that popped into my head was the time I inadvertently left my 18 month out on the driveway, closed the garage door, went in the house and had lunch.

I wasn’t drinking. We’d been grocery shopping, and I’d thought one of the older kids had…

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Where Does Your Confidence Lie?

Photo Credits: julieamarxhausen.wordpress.com

Photo Credits:
julieamarxhausen.wordpress.com

Isaiah 36: 4-5

4 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 5 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. In whom are you trusting, that you would dare to rebel against me? 

Isaiah 37:5-7; 16-22; 32-36

5 When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard – these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me.  7 Look, I will take control of his mind; he will receive a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down with a sword in his own land.”’” 

16 “O Lord who commands armies, O God of Israel, who is enthroned on the cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky and the earth. 17 Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe! Listen to this entire message Sennacherib sent and how he taunts the living God! 18 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the nations and their lands. 19 They have burned the gods of the nations, for they are not really gods, but only the product of human hands manufactured from wood and stone. That is why the Assyrians could destroy them. 20 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” 21 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Because you prayed to me concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22 this is what the Lord says about him: “The virgin daughter Zion despises you – she makes fun of you; daughter Jerusalem shakes her head after you. Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at? At whom have you shouted and looked so arrogantly? At the Holy One of Israel!  

32“For a remnant will leave Jerusalem; survivors will come out of Mount Zion.  The intense devotion of the Lord who commands armies will accomplish this.  35 I will shield this city and rescue it for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.”’” 36 The Lord’s messenger went out and killed 185,000 troops in the Assyrian camp. When they got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses! 

Our confidence can be shaken by so many things in this world.  Our own failures or stepping out in faith can be triggers for insecurity.  The violence being carried out by evil men, zealously killing in the name of their dead god can be terrifying when our confidence is in men, military, or our own abilities to rescue us.  Threats can intimidate us and make us feel isolated, without hope.  That is how Hezekiah must have felt when every other nation was succumbing to the Assyrians and he was being bullied by leaders who were sent to intimidate him and all of Israel.  But he chose wisely to place his trust and confidence in the One true living God.

We, the church, have a similar choice before us right now.  We do not have to fear anyone or anything on this earth.  We can unite in a prayer like Hezekiah’s – to the living God – and cry out for His deliverance.  We cannot look merely at the circumstances now or the world leaders and hope they have a solution.  Our battle is not against flesh and blood – it is spiritual and requires a spiritual solution.  Notice, I did not say a religious solution, couched in religious dogma and promoting world peace, which cannot be had apart from a genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

It is also not to the god of politics that we must bow.  No, the tides of evil are spreading and we must drop our knees before our merciful God and seek His glory in this war, which has happened before.  May we unite in prayer together and ask God to turn the hearts of our leaders toward Him.  He has done it in the past, He can do it again.

Man will rise against man, nation against nation; wars and rumors of wars are destined to happen, but we must not merely give up – we can fight on our knees!  All these events God will use for good and in His sovereignty He already knows the end. May many come to know Him even now.  May we trust in Him, whether He determines it is best to deliver His people now or not.  God help us to cry out for those in need right now, even though it is not yet on our doorstep.

Lord, help Your church to rise up and overcome evil.  God, fight for us.  We look to You, alone.  Only You can defeat the enemy and rescue Your people.  Help us, LORD – don’t forget Your promises and Your children who cry out to You.  For Your Name’s sake, show Yourself strong and draw many to Yourself.  You have saved us, LORD.  You have delivered Your people.  We ask that You do it again, Abba Father.  In Jesus’ Name, all for Your glory.

Thoughtful Thursday: How to Fight

Job 15:1-9

15:2Does a wise man answer with blustery knowledge, or fill his belly with the east wind3 Does he argue with useless talk, with words that have no value in them? 4 But you even break off piety, and hinder meditation before God5 Your sin inspires your mouthyou choose the language of the crafty. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, not Iyour own lips testify against you7Were you the first man ever bornWere you brought forth before the hills8 Do you listen in on God’s secret council? Do you limit wisdom to yourself? 9 What do you know that we don’t know?  What do you understand that we don’t understand?

Job 16:2-5

16:2I have heard many things like these before.  What miserable comforters are you all3 Will there be an end to your windy words?  Or what provokes you that you answer? 4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my placeI could pile up words against you and I could shake my head at you. 5 But I would strengthen you with my words; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

James 4:1-3

“Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you?  2 You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; 3 you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.”

Assumptions.  Pride.  Hurt feelings.  Control.  Put any two people in a room and conflict is inevitable.  Sure, some conflicts might be more sparky, and depending on whether or not you have a fighter or a flighter, the duration and intensity can vary. Add to that the past baggage each one brings into the fray, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a good old fashioned quarrel.

I do not think many people truly enjoy conflict – so why do we do it?  It is one of those necessary components of life and can actually be a very healthy thing if we do not permit bitterness, envy or vengeance to cloud our view.  At the root of every disagreement is a desire to be understood.  We want to be known and cared for – even when we do not see eye to eye. We want people to believe the best in us – even when perhaps that assessment is not accurate.

In humility, we are all flesh and even when we think we are right, we are wrong.  Wrong for wanting to be proved right, perhaps, or wrong for not caring for our brother or sister in Christ.  A constructive discussion should always contain the elements of respect, kindness and consideration.  When voices are raised, chances of being understood are vanishing quickly.  Laying down our agenda and seeking to understand is a beautiful Christ-like response when engaged in difficult conversations and can end up turning the argument into a beautiful expression of love and caring for souls.  Asking questions and refusing to pass judgment is essential.

What is our goal?  Evaluating our motives can help us to stay on track.  Why is it so important to us that we win an argument?  What are we trying to achieve?  Redemption?  Or having our way?  Frustration is a pretty good indicator of pushiness and not entrusting the process and other person’s heart to God.  Judgment and guilt trips are an indicator of someone trying to control or manipulate.  Seeking to understand why someone is hurt, however, is beautiful.

How about laying all techniques in arguing down and praying first?  Sometimes both parties need to take a reprieve and realize they are a team.  Working on a solution together and hearing every argument as valid will help bring the quarrel to a healthy resolution.  Ultimately, His glory should be our highest goal and cherishing one another and putting each other above our own needs is honoring to God and all parties.  Just as Christ served as an intermediary when we were at odds with God, sometimes we might need someone to help guide our conflicts, too, if no solution seems possible.  May we endeavor to love one another and give to Christ our deepest need to be known and accepted.

Lord, we want to honor you in every aspect of our lives.  In struggles and hurt, disagreements and pain.  Help us to die to self and to glorify You by our unity.

Seeing Deep Music Recording Project

website slide 1

Daniel 2:22

“He reveals deep and hidden things. He knows what is in the darkness, and light resides with him.”

I wanted to take a minute to write a personal note to you on my blog.  When I first began this blogging journey, I did not want anyone to know my name.  Hidden away with hurt and shame, I longed for healing and to help others who suffered as I did. By crying out to God myself for understanding, I wanted to serve you, my readers, with hope in the midst, and actually helped provide healing I so desperately needed, too.  Sometimes it is in the darkest moments where there seems to be no hope, that we can really see.  Sometimes an end is actually a beginning and death has to happen before new life can.

Trauma never makes sense and the timing of said trauma is never convenient.  But then that is perhaps what makes it so traumatic – it was not what we expected and not at that time.  The lessons learned in the severe flames or our deepest trials are burned into our souls for the rest of our days. The fruit of our pain can be a beautiful offering to those who might not have tasted of the same bitterness, or to those who know the surroundings well.

This is the purpose of this ministry – to see the deeper meaning of life’s sorrows through God’s word – through this blog and through music.  Thank you very much for encouraging my heart by coming by to fellowship with me on this blog.  If you have enjoyed this blog, then the music will I believe be an encouragement to you, as well. Stepping out to record music again after a 7-year break, I invite you to come visit my page at PledgeMusic and consider purchasing the music in advance to help fund the recording.  To find out more, you can visit the Pledge Music tab on this blog website or visit this link: http://www.pledgemusic.com/seeingdeep

Seeing deeper is a choice we make – to not be complacent and not dumb down our pain and instead cry out to God for meaning in the midst of our pain.  May He encourage you today that he does still hold all the answers to our every doubt, sorrows and wonderings.

God Bless You –

All for Jesus,

Denise

Worshipful Wednesday: Fickle Emotions & Delighting in God!

Photo Credits jedipastorken.blogspot.com

Photo Credits
jedipastorken.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 21:6

“For you grant him lasting blessingsyou give him great joy by allowing him into your presence.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24

23 “The Lord says, “Wise people should not boast that they are wisePowerful people should not boast that they are powerful. Rich people should not boast that they are rich. 24 If people want to boast, they should boast about thisThey should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,” says the Lord.”

Psalm 16:11

11 You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presenceyou always give me sheer delight.

We tend to be a fickle bunch.  Enamored by people with fame, as if they are superhuman, we can neglect the obviously greatest gift right in front of us.  Human affection can fade over time.  The once charming quirks can become stale annoyances, to those who have forgotten to cherish the gift in the relationships that God has given.  The love that was once so ardent can lose its joy and be replaced with dutiful care, if it is not guarded, nourished and recognized.

So it is with our relationship with God.  We forget how amazing He is and trade His majesty for counterfeits that were never meant to bring lasting joy.  Reflecting on what we have delighted in formerly can help to stir the praise that God is so worthy of and also serve in our human relationships, as well.  Gratitude for all that God does for us daily is another catalyst for genuine love, admiration and delight.

God made us – ok, this is an obvious one, but do we thank Him daily for our mere presence?  Life is an astounding gift and the fact that He made us each unique in His image, all for His glory ought to amaze us.  Every little detail that went into making each one of us is so far beyond human intellect could ever design.  But He went beyond that and bore all of our sins, too.  What kind of God would provide such loving care and thoughtfulness?

The Psalmist experienced absolute (complete) joy in God’s presence.  I want that kind of life in my relationship with God ALL the time.  Just like we need to invest in our earthly relationships to derive more fulfillment, more time with God is where we become closer.  Contemplating all he has done and His perfect, Holy character helps develop worship that is due Him.  Maybe now is a good time to do so.

What kind of God is He?  Holy, long-suffering, merciful, kind, all-knowing, our Healer, our Redeemer, our Savior, forgiving, loving, the God Who sees and hears, who chose us in Him before the foundations of all the earth!  Oh, and the one who made every aspect of the creation that surrounds us.  My heart is stirred this morning to consider that just to be allowed into His presence is enough, but then He fills us with insight and wisdom and unconditionally loves us.  I am overwhelmed by a God like that.

Lord, help us to quiet the noise all around us and reflect on Your beauty.  You are more than I could ever describe or give adequate worth to.  May we pause and glorify You throughout the day in each moment.  Thank you that we can come to You!