1.12.2015

Not For The Faint of Heart

A friend of mine just earned her PHD in Biblical counseling. She's a Bible genius. And here's something she wrote:

"We need to understand the problems of our lives 
in light of what we believe about God."

The first time I read it, I didn't stop. Somewhere in the middle of the next sentence or two, my mind did a double-take. Say-what?!?

I have to understand the problems of my life (...check)
in light of what I believe (...check)
about God (...hmm...whoa)


Understanding the problems of my life is not a struggle. I've lived with them most of my life. I think and think and think about them. They're right in front of me most days.

And I believe lots of things about those problems. Where they came from. Why they happened. Who contributed. How I contributed. When things went sideways. What the right solution looks like. How I can/should fix the problem. How I can't fix the problem.

...about God?

Sigh.  Not so easy.

That relationship problem of mine. How does what I believe about God tie to the problem? Again, sigh. 

I believe that if God loved me, He would fix that relationship.
I believe that if God really loved me, He would have spared me that pain and disappointment.
I believe that if God was good, things would have turned out differently.

Hmm. Starting to understand my friend's point. 

All of those beliefs about God are wrong. Every last one.

And that's where we get into trouble. When we start thinking about God in light of our problems (the flip side to what my friend wrote). 

See, I don't want problem relationships. I don't like problem relationships. And, those thoughts about the problems influence my thoughts about God. Focusing my thoughts on the problems cause me to think problematically about God.  Do you see it?

What I need to do is focus my thoughts on God, getting a right view of God and His character. Then, think about the problems.  

He is Love.

He is Gracious.

He is Faithful.

He is Bigger.

He is Good. 

He is Listening. 

He is Purposeful. 

He is Relational.

And all of those truths are what I need to understand before I can understand my problems.

Because knowing all of that, setting the tone with all of that truth about Him, that is what helps me interpret and respond to my problems.

He loves me - He died for me. He is purposeful in allowing those difficult relationships. He is listening when I cry out to Him for help. His grace is what keeps me above water some days; and it's the same grace that keeps the relationships bonded, rather than fall apart. He's bigger than relational challenges. How's that for understanding my problem more accurately?

So, what about you and your problems?

Try it for yourself. Sit down somewhere quiet. Get a piece of paper, and draw a line down the middle of the page. If you're the brave sort who's ready for some powerful "aha!" moments, label the left column "My Problem" (easy enough) and the right column "What I Currently Believe About God" (as it relates to that problem).

If you prefer a more gentle experience, title your two columns "God's Character" (as in, the truth about Him, found in the Bible) and "What That Means For My Problem" (as in, how the truth about God's character re-frames your thinking about your problems).

Please, get at it. You'll be amazed at what He shows you on that page. You will.

And your problems will likely thank you for it.  :-)



1.02.2015

Knowing

So, how is your "Day Two"?

Maybe everything is new and different. Maybe you started that diet or exercise routine. Maybe you've put down the cigarettes or the bottle. Maybe you've read your Bible two days in a row. Maybe you cleaned the house and everything is fresh and bright.

Maybe you're still lonely. Maybe your kids are still breaking your heart. Maybe you're still hung over. Maybe those relationships are still broken. Maybe you're still mad at God. Maybe you're on day who-can-keep-count-anymore of a raging migraine.

However you're moving through Day Two, know this: He's got it.

He is Sovereign.

Whether all is good and perfect and new and fresh and hopeful and all that you want.
And whether it isn't.

The same God who created the world from nothing is sovereign over your Day Two.

If it's going well, be humble enough to know that it's His grace (not your greatness) that enables that. 

If it's been a tough few days, be thankful enough to acknowledge that He's using it all for some good. He promises that.

Someone, praise His name!



9.27.2014

Receiving

I haven't had words to share. Well, not pleasant ones.

My mind has been stuck. And my heart, even more. Very. As in, very, very.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

He is Rest.

For the weary, tired, stuck soul. For the hurting, dry, what-seems-like-dead heart. 


May this truth encourage you. We know it's true. 

May He bring this truth to reality. 

Today, LORD!

6.27.2014

He's My Steady

I've been in a bit of a swirl lately. Caught up in crazy.

And when I'm in a swirl, I can't think clearly. Or write. Or hope.

It seems like a lot of what's around me has changed. Is changing. Literally, today.

The thing is, everything we can see changes. Shifts. Morphs. Grows. Shrinks. And it's easy to get caught up in that crazy. To focus on those changing, shifting, morphing, growing, shrinking things. Because those are the things that make up our days, weeks, months, years.

And I got very swirly in all that crazy.

But His grace hovered in the midst of painful, confusing, noisy, hurtful, sad swirliness.

 

He is Gracious. 

All that swirly-ness served a purpose. To show me what happens when I live a life focused on what's around me. For people, their opinions and preferences, my job, my health, my body - what happens when I let all that define me, determine my okay-ness, dictate my responses. All caught up in crazy, for sure.

I sought Him, but the swirly-crazy was so loud, I couldn't hear. 

But He didn't give up on me hearing His voice. 

He is Persistent Love.

And it came clear. Still.

He said it Himself, "I am the Lord, and I do not change." Malachi 3:6

And there it is. 

He is Steady.

Somehow it makes sense in a way it hasn't before. He is my steady, in a world of swirly-crazy. And until I get that, like, really focus on that, deep in places where I'm swirly, I'll be caught up, distracted and, well...lost.

My stability is not found in my brain. Or my past. Or my marriage. Or anyone's mood (especially not mine). Or my job. Or the size of my body. Or what you think of what I write (or don't write). 

My stability is found in Christ. He never changes, shifts, morphs, grows or shrinks. Rest in that, Little Birds.

He is Christ. My stability. 

Praise His name that He never changes. Jesus Christ is the same (literally, "himself"), yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Amen!

4.23.2014

Hope

Maybe someone needs this today. Do you? 


Maybe you think no one sees you.

He is El Roi. The God Who sees.



Maybe you think you're ordinary, nothing special.

He is Creator. The One Who spoke you into being, and crafted you by hand. 
His mighty hand.

 

You are loved. By the God Who makes all things new. All things. New. 

 

4.18.2014

In Our Place

It's different this year, for me. Good Friday. 

'Cuz it's also my birthday.

In a very real sense, I feel the weight of His death. On that cross. It should have been me up there.

But it wasn't me. It was Him. In my place. 

He is Jesus. Savior. My Savior.

He knew, before any of my family took their first breath. He knew He'd take that cross for me. And for you.

He knew I'd need Him to. 

He is the Perfect Sacrifice. For sinners. For me. For you.

He was there when the world was created. He breathed, and it was!

He was there when Eve ate the apple, bringing pride and selfishness into the world.

He was there when God asked for someone willing to take the blame for sin.  
Our blame.

He was there when they mocked Him as King. Spit on Him. Tortured Him till death.  
On our behalf.

Did I mention, He is Perfect? As in, pure, lovely, without fault. 

He is Perfect Love. 

Perfect Love died on the cross, to take on the burden of sin, for you and for me.  Jesus in our place.

He is Life.

His death (and resurrection) brings life. Eternal life. Perfect, eternal life with Him forever.

He is Everything. 

May today be the day you choose life. Choose to put down your own, imperfect life.

Choose to believe that He died for your imperfections, just like He died for mine.

Choose to accept Him as your Savior. You need saving. (I did, too).

Choose to believe that He hung, and died, on that cross. In your place.

And choose to believe that His rising from the dead gives you life, too.

Today, may we share the same birthday. Mine, physical. Yours, spiritual.

If you want to learn more, visit www.TheDayJesusDied.com 

Will someone, please, praise His Perfect, Loving name!


4.13.2014

Hope

So, this is how I've been feeling. Which is why I can't write.


Dry. Smooshed. Surrounded by things that used to be alive.

I kind of had a melt down. Well, not kind of. 

At the last minute, decided to take a day off and just breathe, move a little bit. Outside.

Minding my own business, it appeared out of nowhere, and speaks sweet things to my soul.

He Speaks.

And, like a child, I stopped in wonder. And squealed. Outloud. People pointed and stared. But I didn't care.   


The most beautiful, vibrant, happy little flowers. Just here. Nowhere else.

And instantly, I smile. Just that fast. 

Because I know what He's saying. And it's precious to me. To my dry, brittle, worn out heart.  

He is Comforting Creator.






He can turn anything around. Anything. And I need to believe that.

He is Sovereign.

He determines when and where He will bring life into a dry, brittle place. 

He is Trustworthy.

And His light will shine where it will shine. He will make beauty.

So, there is always hope. Always, in Him.

Praise His name.