Posted in Bible reading, Faith, Fame, God's call, Perspective, Popularity, Purpose, Success

Only Then

 

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Success. It’s what everyone dreams of and hopes to achieve in life.

To be honest of my own aspirations, I dream of one of my blog posts go viral one day. I think anyone who pours themselves into their writing (or any craft they devote themselves to for that matter) hopes that their efforts will be recognized.

Musicians strive to record the best songs, post them on YouTube and hope someone will recognize their talent.

Athletes will train for years dreaming of making it to the Olympics.

Preachers prepare and work on their messages hoping that their congregations will receive them well and even congratulate them on a job well done afterwards.

Just a side note here: Props to all preachers out there who spend hours preparing every week to preach a message to their congregations. Most of them are not the televangelist type. They are unknown, uncelebrated, not on TV, paid very poorly, if at all, but have a real desire to bring messages of substance to their congregations. They are the unsung heroes of the church world, ministering week in and week out to the people on the ground. My husband is one of those faithful preachers and I watch him prepare sermons weekly in a language that is foreign to him (this sometimes takes days) in an effort to reach the wonderful people God has given us. It’s mostly a thankless task but let me just say “well done” to him and all others out there who give their all for their congregations with hearts of integrity. Rant over and back to the subject at hand. 

When probed about our dreams, we’ll often take the “humble” route, saying we’re ok with whatever happens. However, truth be told, every time our efforts don’t produce the results we hope for, we feel the sting of disappointment.

I’ve read countless articles on writing and blogging; there are many topics I have read that have ranged from how to blog successfully, how to be a successful blogger in 90 days, 1-2-3 steps to a successful faith blog, monetizing your blog, and of course the blog articles with the most “bling” attached to them are the ones promising great income if you pay for their online course. Being the skinflint that I am (I’m not totally blind to the “click here to sign up for my paid course” gimmicks), I’ve signed up for free courses, free emails, and poured over articles about various ways of using hashtags, hyperlinks, and social media posts.

Just like you, when my efforts don’t reach my aspirations, I feel disappointed which then brings me to question why am I doing what I’m doing when it’s not been “successful?” This is the point when, if we dare to look beyond what is popularly defined as success, we can find true success. Instead of reading everyone else’s “how to” manual – we already have The Manual (the Bible, God’s Word) that has been tried and tested, but usually sits unread on our shelves and coffee tables:

Joshua 1:8 NLT “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

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In the Kingdom of God, the way to success leads us in directions that often run crossgrain to what society popularizes. Success in the Kingdom is measured not by what appears on the outside but the changes that are produced internally when we change course and dare to become people of The Manual. God’s Word is meant to be a Manual for Living as the words in it, when we take them in and saturate ourselves with them, transform us.

Hebrews 4:12 NLT “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

This juncture of reaching success in the Kingdom is where many of us struggle – how can we be successful in this world we live in by living according to a different set of rules? The difference is found in what the 2 systems produce: this world’s definition of success relies solely on appearances, resulting in a great deal of stress and disappointment when unfulfilled, while the Kindom’s definition of success relies on the integrity of God Himself, resulting in a sure path to prosperity and success.

What is posperity and success in the Kingdom? It probably isn’t what most of us would consider prosperity: a fat bank account, stock options, a viral blog, or our own TV show. Success in God’s Kingdom is born from a heart trusting in His ways and following The Manual that leads to Him taking care of each and every step we take in this life. I’ve found this to be true in my own life as I live by The Manual, I am sure of God’s care for me. While I’ve not amassed much in this life compared to others, I’ve never gone to bed hungry nor have any of my children lacked food, clothes, a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep on, or an education to help them move ahead in life. If my Father has gotten me this far, I’m certain He will take care of me and my family to the end.

Is that not enough? Is that not success?

Posted in Change, Choices, Church planting, Destiny, Endurance, Father, Missions, Obedience, Purpose, Travel

Again

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I couldn’t find scissors to help me open the tightly sealed box. I tried, in vain, to force it open with my hands as sweat began to run down the sides of my face. “Why did I pack this so well?” Finally, I found a kitchen knife and began slicing the packing tape open around the edges of the cardboard; the unpacking of our lives had begun. Again.

The boxes I was unpacking had gone overland from Malawi, where we had moved from, to Burundi. They were brought to us by two of our Malawian pastors who had taken on the assignment of bringing these boxes by bus. It was a 4-day ordeal just one-way for them to undertake but they passed through all the borders practically without incident to Burundi. As we said our goodbyes the same day that they had arrived, it was as if a movie of all of the work that had been done in Malawi over the years was played as a movie in my mind. The churches that had been planted, the children that had been fed, the leaders that had been trained, all passed before me as I looked into the faces of these dear ones who were about to leave. I couldn’t hold back the tears as I remembered what we had been allowed to take part in – and then it was time for them to go.

Then we were left alone to start again.

The box was dusty, but intact, and as I started the process of unloading everything the magnitude of what we had done (again) struck me. Time after time I have found myself in this same situation of starting over and trusting God for the next step. However, knowing we have done this many times before doesn’t make any new step I take easier. In fact, I have learned with each new step comes new challenges and without faith, I could easily be scared out of it! What has kept me going, this time as in every time before, is knowing we had heard His Word spoken to us to go to Burundi and He wasn’t about to let go of us.

Isaiah 8:11 ERB “The Lord spoke to me, like a firm grasp of the hand.”

This move has been a challenge (they all are in their own way) but we have seen God walk with us daily and address everything that has come our way from acquiring resident visas to finding a house to finding the best market in town. Without hearing His voice and knowing His hand is tightly holding onto ours, we would never have been able to see Him at work over all these years.

I’m so glad we chose to listen, I’m so glad He’s holding our hands.

 

 

Posted in Beginnings, Choices, Fasting, Kingdom, Missions, New Year, Obedience, Questions

A Captive Audience

We are taught from an early age to “think for ourselves.” Indeed, having the ability to reason a situation through is something best learned early on. My youngest daughter is in 4th grade and she is learning how to think before answering; when she thinks first and processes the work, she generally gets a better grade which makes everyone happy!

Solving math problems definitely requires more brain power for some (like me) more than others. Thankfully, my daughter has learned this skill at a much faster pace than I did. I wasn’t the automatic math genius in school – I spent a great deal of time training my mind to think problems through. Once I finally mastered this skill of reasoning and thought, my grades improved. What I wasn’t prepared for in daily life as an adult when facing life issues was understanding that reasoning life problems through like algebraic equations won’t always produce the correct results.

All of that work to train my thoughts in a certain way had to change.

2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

In my mind, as I learned to navigate this path called my walk with God, I often found myself arguing with the issues I faced.

Trusting God for His wisdom when facing civil unrest? My mind told me to run but my heart said stay; there was an internal argument taking place in my mind daily in those days. My old debate class lessons quickly found their way back to the forefront of my mind.

Trusting God for buildings when our tent where we meet keeps blowing over? Where was the money going to come from? Math arguments come in handy here, I’d tell myself hundreds of thousands won’t multiply from zero as zero times anything still equals zero!

Much like the lessons I learned at school, lessons of reasoning, I’ve learned another lesson: mentally working out how to walk with God simply won’t work. Much like you can’t apply algebra to conjugating verbs, earthly reasoning cannot apply in our walk with God.

This year as we begin afresh once again, I’ve set my arguments aside. Arguments of why it can’t be done are now my captive audience as I surrender to the process of solving problems in a much more effective way – in the way of the Kingdom. My feeble attempts at solving don’t amount to much anyway in the face of issues that are obviously far beyond my pay grade: comforting the bereaved, growing new churches, expanding into new countries, and loving those who don’t love me back.

My thoughts are captive. I’m listening. I’m learning.

Posted in God's Word, Words

No Forward, No Introduction

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I get into trouble sometimes not so much because of what I do or don’t do, but more because of what I have said or maybe haven’t said. It would seem that my brain works slower than my mouth and my mouth always rises to the occasion and has a response whether or not a response is requested or required.

When I was 5 years old or so, our family was living in Brooklyn, New York. One day the phone rang and I answered it. My mom was “indisposed” in the restroom and wanted me to tell whoever it was on the line to call later. I did tell the person to call later but not before I told them that mama was in the restroom and was in there a long time. I continued divulging facts she certainly would have preferred to be kept quiet and said that she sometimes took a long time and I couldn’t tell when she would get out. In the background, I heard my mom calling out, “No! No! No! Stop!” But my mouth kept moving! I then politely told the caller to call back later and hung up. My life’s course was altered that day when mom emerged and my life flashed before my eyes! (A lot of it was spent talking…) I wasn’t allowed to answer the phone for a very long time after that incident.

From the time we learn how to speak, our words begin to shape the course of our lives. Initially, we can do little more than say, “yes” or “no” but our vocabularies quickly take shape and as they do, our lives follow our words.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is the standard conversation-opener between a visiting adult and child. Our answers to this and other questions like it begin to give direction to us and by the time we graduate high school many of us have already decided the field of study we will pursue later in life. It all began with the question, “What do you want to be?”

While it may seem that words are innocuous in and of themselves, their effect can cause anything from joy to panic. I saw this while living in Burundi – rumors would circulate from day to day regarding an invasion of the city by rebel forces. I can’t count how many times I went to bed knowing that the next day the entire city would be razed to the ground. While we did see a lot of violence in the city, rebel forces never overran it. The fighting would take place in different areas of the city from time to time, giving us a great deal of uncertainty, but we managed to survive.

Our God is a God of words. He is an Author, He has written and created many works over many a millennia. Genesis 1 & 2 tell us about His creation of the world and how He spoke, and the world just was. He had something in mind and said it, and it was.

Psalm 33:6 AMP “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all their host by the breath of His mouth.”

What I find most interesting about the Creation, as I’ve pondered it, is that when it came to creating mankind, a discussion took place. We weren’t created without God putting some thought into us:

Genesis 1:26 NKJ “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

The only part of creation when the Father said more than “let there be” was when He made mankind. There was purpose to our creation that wasn’t there for the rest of the world – and He made us to be like Him, in His image so we could represent Him. How powerful are God’s Words! And since we are created “in His image,” how powerful are our words? They are more powerful than we think.

Was it possible to see the words God spoke when He created our world? No, but we can see what His words created. In the same way, we can’t see our words, but we can see what they create, whether negatively in agreement with this world, or positively in agreement with God and His Word.

Hebrews 11:3 AMP “By faith we understand that the worlds [during successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.”

We have accepted Christ into our hearts by faith. We couldn’t see Him when we accepted Him, but that experience was real and is now evidenced by what He has done in our lives. He heals us, delivers us, gives us joy; and while we might not see Him with our eyes, we see what He does.

Our own words have not brought us much success when we say what we “feel.” Society tells us what to do and say to fit in and it still says we aren’t good enough. Friends might be well intentioned in their words but they still fail us. Popular words follow the latest and greatest trends and change every day. But God’s Word never changes.

Psalm 119:89 AMP “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven [stands firm as the heavens].”

God is still writing today; He is still writing books in heaven. And He is listening:

Malachi 3:16-18 AMP “Then those who feared the Lord talked often to one another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name. And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, Me peculiar treasure). And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him. Then you shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him.”

While we think what we say is not important, God is listening. Not only are our words powerful either positively or negatively, God pays attention to our words and is recording them. What are we saying to one another? What kind of book is written of my words? It indicates here in Malachi that as we who fear the Lord speak to one another, God records it and not only that – our words distinguish us from those who don’t serve Him.

As this world’s condition grows increasingly worse, the opportunity for God’s people grows greater as we display and declare how great and how sure our Father’s promises are. In the face of the world’s disappointing condition, here we are, secure, strong, and moving forward.

Psalm 37:25 NLT “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.”

How can we possibly believe this statement from Psalms? What if the dollar crashes? What if health care goes south? What if war breaks out?

Which words are more powerful? Certainly not the promises we hear over the news or from political figures around the world. I’ve chosen to trust God’s Words over those of the world that have disappointed me every time.

Some have said to me that they would love to read the Bible if they could only understand it. To this, I answer, “How much of what goes on in this world do we really understand?”

  • Do we understand the stock market fully? Yet we follow it and appreciate what we do understand.
  • Do we understand space and all of the galaxies out there? Yet we look at them through expensive telescopes.
  • Do we understand politics fully? Yet we follow it nonetheless.
  • Do we understand math or grammar? I thought I would throw that in for all of you who are numerically and grammatically challenged.

2 Timothy 3:16,17 NKJ “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

God Himself Authored this Book – He needs no forward, no introduction, He doesn’t need other “intellectuals” to back His writing. He backs it Himself, and His authority is enough.

If you want to hear God’s Words that He used while breathing the world into existence then you must go to His Word. Nothing else compares even remotely.

There are many good books that give us lessons from great examples and mentors such as: Luis Pasteur, William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, the list goes on. However, there is only one book with heavenly mentors – and that’s the Bible.

God put His entire weight of authority behind the writings of these men and women found in the Bible. If Jesus saw it fit to speak their words, shouldn’t we?

Nothing can stamp out God’s Word. People might try to ban the Bible, burn them, outlaw them, but when history as we know it has ended, there His Word will be going on; eternal, alive, active, and still speaking! Imagine, in eternity, the familiar verse we have taken for granted, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” Still speaking and working; how much of that “simple” verse do we take for granted?

 

 

Posted in Easter, God's Word

Made to Order

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I’m the first to admit I’m not much of a foodie. It’s very difficult to impress me at a restaurant or with a fancy dessert. Although I don’t consider myself a very good cook, I know I can usually cook better food at home. My husband has grown used to my peculiarities and can usually predict what I will/will not order when we are out.

There is this one place that did impress me in Texas some years ago that I must give props to. Dear friends, Paul and Perrianne Brownback, who pastor The Abbey Church in Azle, Texas took my husband and I to a well-known steak restaurant in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Those who know me know that to impress me with a steak is nearly within the realm of the impossible. I generally don’t eat steaks, not because I’m a vegetarian, but because I simply have had very few really good steaks in my life. Upon their insistence that the steak at this restaurant had a 5-star rating, and to my husband’s great surprise, I ordered a steak, cooked in between well-done and medium well, knowing it would be like every other disappointing steak I’d ever eaten. Mentally I was already tearing the steak down: it was going to be too chewy, overdone, underdone, flavorless, or otherwise undesirable.

We have known the Brownbacks for all the years we have been missionaries (since 1987). Their church has been a faithful supporter of the work and we try to connect with them whenever we can and this time at the restaurant was a great opportunity to play catch up. I forgot about mentally destroying the steak and enjoyed the company. After some minutes, the waiter brought bread and some other condiments to go with the bread. While munching on the appetizers, we laughed over old memories and seriously contemplated our futures. It was a great time, and then…the steak arrived in all of its sizzling, 5-star glory.

I knew this steak was different from the moment it was set in front of me. It smelled amazing! It was cooked to perfection: right in between well-done and medium well. It wasn’t dry, chewy, or tasteless. The waiter graciously explained that there were different sauces available to me, but I was oblivious. You see if I enjoy a steak, I don’t want any sauce on it to ruin the flavor. I want to taste the steak, not the steak sauce. The rest of the evening’s meal was eclipsed by this piece of amazingness! Yes, I remember the steak from the Dallas/Fort Worth area – it was a steak worth every bite.

Today, the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, I find myself wondering how well am I doing with what I am offering to those around me who need something to fill their emptiness? Is what I offer much like the bland, tough, undesirable steaks found in so many restaurants? Why would they bother with that kind of steak when they already have tough and flavorless available to them in their day-to-day lives?

Many have already tested what’s available on menus we have offered and have been let down. It’s been too tough, too lonely, or simply too complicated for them to enjoy the experience.

Matthew 11:29,30 NLT “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

God’s Word, on the other hand, is unlike any other menu. His is “made to order” for each and every person we meet. What He gives is tender and easy to bear; it is made to suit the one who is hearing it. The Chef is skilled enough to meet the needs of the most finicky of customers! Some need strength, others need encouragement, others need a shoulder to cry on, and still others need a combination of ingredients. It’s all there in the menu that God has prepared: it’s “a la carte” and can fit every taste. Even the pickiest palate can be refreshed by the amazing offerings that God prepares to perfection in His 5-star establishment.

How are we doing at offering His menu to the world? How well do we rate? Are ours the stars shining or are God’s stars the ones shining? When we try to make God fit our ideas of “excellent” service, we are immediately downgraded. Those serving in His Kingdom have learned the only way to bring in those looking for a certain item on a menu is by representing the Owner.

God doesn’t franchise out His Word like restaurants do here on the earth. A franchise will resemble the brand but will take on the personality of the owner of franchise. There’s no fast food or instant fixes here – everything is done exactly to fit the needs of those ordering.

The Chef is never too busy for you; He will come to your table and listen to what you have to say and prepare something that will far exceed your expectations. Please, you’re welcome to take a seat; you’re the first person He is serving today.

He’s ready to take your order now.

 

 

 

 

Posted in God's Word, Success

Fine Print and Disclaimers

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Gimmicks. They’re all over the place. From pyramid schemes to get you rich quick to 7 steps to “washboard abs” (how I wish that one worked!). Every day, my inbox is filled with gimmicks of every kind you can imagine. Since I write a blog, there are the inevitable emails advertising “free” online seminars or EBooks to monetize your blog. There must be a market out there for all of these quick fixes to life’s never-ending struggle to stay above the water, otherwise these popups, ads, and emails wouldn’t be plaguing us every time we open our devices.

The attraction is, obviously, an immediate solution to what may be a long-standing issue that is usually financial. Who doesn’t want to be successful? What is missing from these advertisements is the fact that for most people paying for the service, subscription, or product won’t bring those fantastic results that are advertised in the ad. If you read the fine print or disclaimers at the bottom of the ad, you’ll see there’s no guarantee of success.

I like to read reviews and the standing of a company with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) before even considering spending any of my very hard earned money into anything. The dollars I’m being asked to spend represent lots of work and deserve to be spent only on what is proven to work, not on a gimmick meant to enrich only those who are behind it.

How is it that we throw our lives into things that aren’t proven, things with only an online assurance of their future success? How many times have we fallen for the newest thing ranging from vitamin supplements to “how to” seminars? Yet, we continue to put our hope in the newest, flashiest, and most expensive gimmicks that come our way. “This will be different,” we reason. “Last time I didn’t know what I know now.” Yet, most of the time, the result is the same: money, time, and relationships lost or damaged.

We fail to read the fine print or disclaimer.

Living life as a believer, I sit back in wonder when I consider how much faith we put into these kinds of schemes but we fail to trust God Whose Word is proven.

Psalm 18:13 NJV As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

There are no “quid-pro-quos” in God’s fine print. It’s very straightforward: God’s Word is proven, it is perfect, and for those who dare to trust Him fully – it guarantees success. But success as God defines it doesn’t always line up with what we preconceive. God’s path to success leads us through paths that don’t look perfect to us – but bring us ever closer towards His perfect way.

Psalm 23:4 NKJ “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

In the times of deathly shadows, I would rather walk with God by my side. He has promised me that He will be with me and ultimately I will be successful.

Psalm 23:5,6 NKJ You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

We are “played” by this world and it’s thinking; we live in a culture where success is viewed as having the best of everything – the best money can buy is what we are after. However, when the rubber meets the road and we find ourselves in death’s valley, when a loved one is in hospice or divorce is on the horizon, no amount of money or financial security can walk us through.

Death’s valley is a cruel place that doesn’t have any preferences to whose door it will knock on. But for those who choose to trust God’s Word, even in the darkest places we walk through in life, we will eat – even in front of those who are our enemies. We will have enough to take care of loved ones and ourselves. We will see God’s goodness and mercy each and every day of our lives, if we can only trust Him.

If we can trust online ads that are not proven, how much more can we trust God and His Word that is proven?

I remember during one of my life’s darkest hours, when my younger brother was in hospice, I wasn’t sure how I would cope. Yet, for my father’s sake, I knew that there was no other choice. He was frozen in grief and was unable to attend to any of the issues that needed to be attended to at the time. I had to find a way to manage the feelings that assailed my heart. Never in my lifetime had I thought it possible to one day be sitting by my dying brother’s bedside, waiting for him to enter into God’s presence. How did this happen? Some of those questions are still waiting to be answered in eternity but I did know one thing: God was with me in death’s valley. As the time drew nearer for Matthew to enter into glory, God’s presence became so thick in his hospital room that the tears somehow didn’t feel so very painful. It was as if God’s own hands were open to Matthew and He let it be known to those of us around his bedside that all was well. When my brother finally did graduate to a truly better place, in my spirit it was as if I could hear him walking away with his Heavenly Father. We were left with the feelings of loss, but God was walking with us as well, and we managed.

I think back to that time three years ago and wonder how God gave me the grace to make it through – but I did. The tears still come but at the same time, I feel great joy for Mathew who now knows a full joy that those of us who are here on earth have yet to experience. I suppose the greatest comfort of all comes in knowing that when Matthew left us, it wasn’t “goodbye,” but rather, it was “I’ll see you there.”

God’s Word, there’s no hidden fine print. He’s true, He’s present, He’s walking with us and taking care of our needs. There are no hidden gimmicks or pop up ads – He walked me through my brother’s death and continues to walk with me daily, making sure His goodness and mercy follow me everywhere I go.

And that is all the success I need.

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Posted in God's Word, Ignorance

I Didn’t Know

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“I didn’t know that.”

I’ve been in trouble before for not knowing something I should’ve known. Years ago at one of my early places of employment, I neglected to make note of the workplace dress code. The next day, when I arrived for work not following the dress code, I was sent home to change and was docked pay for the time I was not at my shift.

Some may think that I deserved a bit of grace. It was my first day at work, after all, shouldn’t I have had a simple warning instead? Not taking the time to learn the dress code was my fault, not my employer’s. I had been told where to find the rules for the dress code but I neglected to take the time to read them – and I had to face the consequences of my own ignorance.

Everyone wants grace; few want to own their mistakes. In fact, people cry “Unfair!” when grace isn’t extended to them and they are required to own their self-imposed ignorance. Many relationships have been destroyed because people refuse to own what they have neglected to learn. Life isn’t fair as it’s impossible to be fair in every situation. Everyone has his own set of circumstances and what is “fair” isn’t necessarily right.

God has expectations of us as well but we fall into the same pattern of willful, yes willful, ignorance. He has given us a book that is clear in its instruction to us: the Bible is where not only are God’s instructions found, but also in entering it, our relationship with Him grows. There we learn how to function in this crazy world we live in. We may think that the world has evolved beyond the Bible’s relevance but there’s nothing new happening in today’s world that hasn’t already been happening since time began.

We like to make ourselves look the part of being part of God’s family: we are at church on occasion (every week is too radical), we have Bibles scattered on tables and shelves throughout the house, and we make sure to pray over our meals and before we go to bed. In this way we wear the “robes” of the religious but our lack of knowledge of Who He is astounding.

Mark 12:24 TLB “Jesus replied, ‘Your trouble is that you don’t know the Scriptures and don’t know the power of God.’”

Jesus said this in response to religious leaders of His day – people who were supposed to lead others didn’t know the Scriptures and what was the result? God’s power wasn’t a part of their lives. They were more interested in looking the part instead of living it.

This wonderful relationship we profess to have with Jesus is designed to be much more than what we are satisfied with. We wonder why our lives are lacking in power while we spend little to no time understanding the Instruction Manual. We rarely see the power of God evident – unless there is a crisis. Then, we cry out to God, beg Him for mercy, and wait for our miracle. Because He is merciful, He bails us out time and again; He provides the new job, healing in a relationship, whatever we are asking of Him – but these occasional bailouts aren’t enough to sustain anyone for any length of time.

Hosea 4:6a NLT My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me…”

 Take time to really know God today. Reading the Bible may seem a daunting task when looking at that dusty Bible or unused Bible app on your smartphone or tablet. What we need to understand is that the Bible is more than a book we read. It has power in it to change our lives on a daily basis as we spend more time in it learning about Who God is and how wonderful His plans are for our lives.


For further study on how to enter into a relationship with God’s Word, and not just read it, I highly recommend reading “The Divine Mentor” by Wayne Cordeiro.

Posted in God's Word

Day 9 – Subtitles

The following blog is written by a dear friend of mine, Mahalia O’Brien. She is a gifted leader and communicator. I hope you would take time to comment or email her directly to encourage her for today’s great blog. Her information is listed below. Blessings!


If ever given the opportunity to enjoy a movie at the O’Brien household, you’ll soon discover we make proper use of subtitles. On second thought, we can’t watch television without it. We read, watch and listen simultaneously. Why we do it, no one knows for certain, all I know is this; it has become a thing we do, a family habit that makes watching TV unsatisfying without it.

To some degree, subtitles do remind me of certain experiences I’ve had with God. For instance, pressing the mute button does not impede articulation. Your experience may have changed, but communication is still ongoing. A scenario I liken to God’s silence. When God goes silent, He’s not depriving us of communicating; He only requires that we listen and watch more attentively. We can remain engaged by either praying or worshipping; besides, there should always be activity between the Father and us.

And while my family and I enjoy and take advantage of subtitles they are far from perfect. Contingent on the studio or year of release, many programs are inadequately equipped; the spoken and written words may differ, and phrases and sentences are modified due to editing.

But God’s word remains gloriously perfect; there are no defects, contradictions, or inconsistencies.

John writes one of the most compelling statements explaining solidarity of the Godhead. He goes on to say “there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one,” (1 John 5:7) and they do not disagree under any circumstances.

The Psalmist also exalts God by saying “I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your Name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” (Psalms 138:2 NKJV) God’s Word abides unchanged; it is eternally sustainable and able to regenerate His work.

The word is magnified above all other attributes of Himself, far above the Eternal Godhead, and above the glory of His kingdom, power, and dominion, and exalts it above anything created. We too must do our best to take it at face value, and believe that God will perform the promises made to you.

In His Word, we find instruction, and it is the principal teacher. It gives concise direction. And it’s easy to follow. We can read between the lines, and it fills in the gaps. It heals and delivers. It gives expression to life. It’s dramatic yet comforting. It corrects but isn’t rude. Its truth is revealing but isn’t harsh. It refreshes the weary. It forgives the condemned. It brings wholeness to the maimed. Deliverance to the oppressed. Humility to the prideful. Love to the scorned. It is food for the hungry water to the thirsty. Light to those in darkness. It infiltrates but is not intrusive. It pierces but does not hurt. It is Freedom to the captives and gives vision to the dreamless. It exalts the weak to sit among princes, it’s a friend to the lonely and softens the bitter at heart.

In the long run, I may one day tire of subtitles, or I may no longer have a use for television, but God’s word will remain as a seal upon my heart. For it is the light that brings me comfort. It has given me joy and removed my fears. It brings correction and spurs me on. It provides courage, strengthens my hands, directs my path and steadies my heart. But most importantly, it reveals my Father’s heart and defines His face. In short, I cannot see without His word, it is the most precious thing to me.

By: Mahalia O’Brien

Twitter: @mahaliakobrien

website: http://eikonwomen.org

Email: info@eikonwomen.org


 

We are drawing near to the halfway point of our fast – I hope this season has been as special for you all following as it has been for me.

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