OUR GOD TEACHES US

August 15, 2016

science-1121481__180Educators practice active engagement as a tool for effective teaching. Words on a page or spoken by the teacher come alive in a hands-on situation. One educator wrote, “While hands are engaged, minds should be questioning, sorting through sensory input, and making connections.” (www.teachhub.com)

As history’s most effective Teacher, God teaches us through His written word and through active engagement – our life circumstances and experiences. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • We read that “the Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” (Psalm 18:2) We think we understand those words, but they become real when the storms hit.
  • We read “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and think those words are nice to repeat. Then we are thrust into a situation that leaves us helpless, and we grasp the fullness of God’s strength.
  • We read that we should forgive others as Christ forgave us. (Colossians 3:13) Those words become unforgettable as we experience the freedom of forgiving someone who’s hurt us.

God teaches us through His Word; then He orchestrates our life experience to get us actively engaged. As we question, sort through our sensory input and make connections, true learning takes place. Let’s make the Psalmist’s prayer our own: “Lead me in Your truth and teach me.” (Psalm 25:5)

Yes, our God teaches us. Let’s learn!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share more discoveries on my quest to know God better)


OUR GOD KNOWS OUR NEEDS AND HAS THEM COVERED

April 11, 2016

Our needs don’t take God by surprise; He knows all about them. God even has his plan in motion to cover all of our future needs. Take Jacob’s family, for example. (Genesis chapters 37-50) God knew that a future, severe famine would ravage the land, and also knew that Jacob and his family would have no food, but He had them covered.
– Jacob didn’t know about his future needs when he held Joseph’s blood-stained tunic in his hands, and weeping, “…refused to be comforted”.
– Joseph’s brothers didn’t know about the future famine when they threw him into the pit.
– Joseph himself didn’t totally understand God’s plan when his brothers sold him to the passing traders, or when he was unjustly accused and imprisoned in Egypt.

But God knew; His plan was in motion. Before Jacob’s life-threatening need for food, God already had it covered. Following his imprisonment, Joseph was put over all of Egypt, and God used Pharaoh – the pagan ruler – to give Jacob and his family not only food during the famine, but also the best of the land.

In Matthew 6, Jesus specifically mentions material needs just prior to assuring His audience that “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things”. (v. 32)

Maybe you have tremendous material needs right now; or you may have needs in the future that you are unaware of now. Jacob’s story and our own experiences confirm Christ’s words: our Father God knows what we need. Trust Him. He’s got them all covered!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better)


OUR GOD, OUR CREATOR

March 28, 2016

God’s creativity is beyond our imagination. All of His designs are unique and perfect; we can’t comprehend the intricacies of His creation. There are some interesting facts about the human body on www.factslides.com/s-Your-Body and here are some of them.

  • Your nose can recall 50,000 different scents.
  • Your eye can distinguish about 10,000,000 different colors.
  • Your brain, in your lifetime, can hold up to 1 million, billion separate bits of information (one quadrillion!!)
  • Your heart will pump enough blood to fill 200 train tank cars in your lifetime.

Of all the amazing facts about our bodies, one shouts out, “You are OOAK!” (One Of A Kind): your tongue print, like your fingerprint, is unique.

Our Creator God made each of us unique and special; OOAK. We were not mass produced, and we’re not clones. God is responsible for our unique existence from the moment of our conception. In Psalm 139:13,14 the Psalmist declares: “…You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God – You’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!” (The Message)

So when you look at yourself in the mirror, stick out our tongue. It proves that you are OOAK. Then join the Psalmist in praise to our God, our Creator, who made you unique – and special!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better)


OUR GOD NEVER GIVES UP ON US

March 21, 2016

Two years ago, we moved into our home, a fixer-upper. Since day one, major projectIMG_20150608_075153799s have been going on: the floor plan was modified to be more functional; the bathrooms and kitchen were gutted and transformed from ceiling to floor. Even the front porch and exterior were renovated…but we’re not done yet. The project is big and progress is slow, but we’re not giving up until it’s finished!

We are God’s “fixer-uppers”. The apostle Paul says that we, who are Christ followers, are being transformed into the image of Jesus; we are in the process of being changed through the power of the Holy Spirit.IMG_20150715_170514332

God may be gutting wrong attitudes from our lives, or tearing down walls of prejudice, unforgiveness or pride. Maybe He’s restoring our faith in Him, or changing the floor plan to make us more functional. God may be peeling of the wallpaper of hypocrisy and criticism to beautify us with His grace.

Whatever God is doing in us, it’s a process. We have the confidence that “…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) Even though the project is big, and the progress seems slow, He’s not giving up on us, and we can thank Him for that!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better)


DETOURS

September 10, 2013

In the past few weeks we’ve been seeing “Detour” signs all over our community. Because of road repair, they are popping up everywhere – especially when we’re in a hurry to get to our destination!

The purpose of a detour is not to irritate us or to make us late. Unexpected detours are not set up to confuse us, make us angry, or leave us stranded. Detours are planned and set into place to allow travelers to eventually get to their destination safely, with the help of signs and arrows. If we would be left alone to figure out which way to go, we would have cause for despair. On the unknown route of a detour, we can be grateful for guidance.

Sometimes God allows detours in our lives: a major change of plans, an unexpected illness, a sudden loss or tragedy can alter our course. At that point, we are disoriented and blinded by our circumstances. Facing the unknown, we need to rely totally on the wisdom of the One who planned that detour in our lives and look for His signs and arrows to guide us. When we face a detour, God’s promise to His people comes alive. He said: “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

If you are experiencing a detour, remember this comforting truth: God planned it for you and He will be with you all the way. Thank Him for His guidance and praise Him because He will NOT leave you stranded!


LOOK WHAT ELSE MADE THE HEADLINES!

August 3, 2013

Since I found out how entertaining headlines are, I’m on the lookout for new ones every day. I still don’t read the articles; I just keep shaking my head in unbelief as I mumble an “Are you kidding?” to myself as I read how ridiculous some of them are. Read the latest bunch and you might find yourself just as appalled as I!

Does Happiness Make You Fat? I can’t seem to make the connection here. Experience has shown me that what I eat makes me fat. It’s superfluous to defend that fact!

Cellphone Use May be Making Us Fat.  The more you talk, the more you eat? The Apostle Paul disciplined his body and brought it into subjection. (1 Cor. 9:27). We should be moderate in all things, too!

DirecTV to Launch Channel for Dogs. So can we assume that the actors and news anchors will also be dogs? Shows about dogs, by dogs and for dogs?

Are Open Relationships OK? That’s not God’s plan. His plan is 1 + 1 = 4. (1 man, plus 1 woman, equals  a marriage relationship 4 ever.)

Will Owning a Home Really Make You Happy? No guarantee! Proverbs 16:20 says: “…whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.” Homeowner or non-homeowner!

Need a Reference? Hire a Liar! The Apostle Paul foresaw that when he wrote that “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:15)

Avoiding Estrogen Treatment Can Lead to Death. Last time I heard, everything leads to death. Hebrews 9:27 reads “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” with or without estrogen!

Could There Be Another You Somewhere New? I’m not sure how I got to that “Somewhere New”, but I am certain that I’m on God’s wonderful earth by His design. Psalm 139 assures me of that.

Can Thoughts and Words Affect Water? Absolutely!…but only the words of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  He spoke the words that created water. Matthew 5:45 says that “He sends the rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Dream Control Could Make Sleep Extra Satisfying. When we trust in the Lord, we enjoy extra satisfying sleep, because HE controls our dreams and our lives; we are safe in Him. Psalm 4:8 states it well: “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” THAT is extra satisfying!


MAKE ME LIKE JESUS!

March 14, 2013

We know that we, as Christ followers, should “be like Jesus” and that God wants to mold us into “the image of Christ”. The apostle Paul reminds us of that in Romans 8:28,29: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose…  to be conformed to the image of His Son”. Although this is quite a noble aspiration and godly plan, it is also vague enough to slip by as another Christian cliché or, worse yet, simply…slip…by…

What does it mean to “be like Jesus”? … to really let God reproduce the image of His Son in us? Where does the process start? How is it carried out in our everyday lives?

As I was digging into this topic and praying about it recently, we saw something very interesting on TV.  According to www.famousplastic.net, a 52-year old English woman has had 50+ plastic surgeries, spending over $320,000.00 to look like the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Living between approximately 1370 BC and 1330 BC, Nefertiti was perhaps better known than her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV). It is said that even in the ancient world, her beauty was famous, and Nefertiti is perhaps best remembered for the painted limestone bust, now in Berlin’s Neues Museum .  (These facts were taken from  www.touregypt.net and www.wikipedia.org. )

Watching the TV documentary regarding Nileen Namita, the English woman who believes that she is the reincarnation of Queen Nefertiti, we were appalled, gasping and cringing in unbelief. I immediately thought of my quest to be more like Jesus, and asked myself: “Am I that willing and committed to “looking” like Jesus? Would I go to that extreme pain and pay that lofty sum of cash to be like Him?”

Fortunately, no surgery is involved, nor is there any cash requirement; but commitment is definitely involved. Being like Jesus depends on us AND on God: our commitment and His strength. They go hand in hand. Even if we sincerely commit to being like Jesus, we won’t get far without His power through the Holy Spirit working in us. On the other hand, His strength and power is totally available to us, but will be ineffective until we surrender our inability to do it on our own; until we commit ourselves and say “Lord, I cannot do this if You don’t do it through me!”

We know that God’s plan is to make us “look like” Jesus. Let’s check our commitment level, get on board with His plan, and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to make that a reality in our lives!


WHO SAID IT?

February 24, 2013

If we believe something or not depends on who said it. When a known “exaggerator” tells us there were about 200 people at the party, we nod and think, “That means there were 50…” On the other hand, someone who is very precise with facts and careful about what they say makes the same statement, and we believe them. Whenever we hear a declaration, it’s good to know who said it!

If we really believe God to be Who the Bible reveals Him to be, the words “for He has said” should be life-changing. Digging into His Word, we understand the following:

God is unchanging. He’ll NEVER modify the script of anything that “He has said”.
God is sovereign. He has a PLAN, backing up everything that “He has said”.
God is all powerful. He CAN do everything that “He has said”.
God is faithful. He WILL do exactly what “He has said”.
God is just. He MUST do everything that “He has said”.
God is loving. His compassion MOVES Him to do all that “He has said”.

Applying the truth of WHO God is to what “He has said” might look like this:

Let your conduct be without coveteousness; be content with such things as you have. For HE HIMSELF (the unchanging, sovereign, powerful, faithful, just, loving and compassionate God) has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…”
(Hebrews 13:5,6)

We can’t just glide over the “He has said” statements in the Bible! Let’s meditate on Who said it. If we believe WHO God is, we’ll see our fears diminish, our faith grow and our lives will be transformed!


A LESSON FROM THE BLIND MAN

January 29, 2012

“Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”  John 9:2,3

The disciples wanted to figure this out. Who was responsible for this man’s blindness? They had already convinced themselves that someone was at fault; someone had sinned, now they just had to find out WHO. With His reply, Jesus corrected their theology and re-directed their thoughts. Instead of “who?”…He answered a question they DIDN’T ask: “WHY?” The answer was simple: he was born blind so God would get the applause.

Jesus showed up, the blind man’s life was changed, and God got the glory. This blind man was chosen to show Jesus’ power…but before experiencing His transforming power and glory, this man lived through years of blindness, darkness, helplessness, and perhaps even discouragement and despair. But just at the right time, Jesus entered his life and changed everything…the blind man’s life was transformed, and God got the applause!

There were – and are – situations in my life that I don’t understand, don’t like, and didn’t choose. Like the blind man, I have groped in darkness. Looking back, I realize that God allows those events and orchestrates every detail so that He can work in me to transform me, so that in the end He would get the glory.

The last we read about the ex-blind man is that he believed in Christ, “and he worshiped Him.” (John 9:38) The lesson from the blind man is simple: let Jesus do what He wants to do in our lives, no matter how dark the circumstance, then worship Him.

After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?


P.U.S.H.

December 11, 2011

I’ve had this essay for a long time, and it encourages me every time I read it. I don’t know who gave it to me, or who the author is, but it is full of God’s encouraging truth!

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been sent in vain.

Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into his weary mind: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t moved.” Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

Satan said, “Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.” That’s what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

Lord”, he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?

The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it…your task was to push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your hands are calloused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock.”

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still GOD who moves the mountains.

When everything seems to go wrong…just P.U.S.H.!

When the job gets you down…just P.U.S.H.!

When people don’t react the way you think they should…just P.U.S.H.!

When your money is “gone” and the bills are due…just P.U.S.H.!

When people just don’t understand you…just P.U.S.H.!

P = PRAY
U = UNTIL
S = SOMETHING
H = HAPPENS


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