Tag Archive | faith

The Gift of a Baby

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (NIV)

Do you know someone, a friend or your children perhaps, who won’t take your advice? They continually do their own thing even though you’ve been there, done that, and have great words of wisdom for them on how to avoid the mistakes you’ve made. Do you ever want to throw your hands up and walk away? “Do whatever you want. I don’t care. It’s your life!”

I’ve been there many times. Oh, how the anger and frustration can rise! But then, I remember God’s grace and love for His people who have done this very thing over and over again. They weren’t just going through a phase or having a little pity-party, they were down-right rebelling against God and His commandments. If He can offer grace and move forward in love, shouldn’t I?

And just as my children argue with me, I argue with God.

There is something about the peace we have when making up after an argument. We know we don’t want to be mad, not talk, or feel tension and stress when we are around the other person so we choose to make it right. We apologize, offer forgiveness, and reconcile. The best though is when we fully acknowledge the truth of the situation and our part in the problem. We don’t always do this when we apologize…it’s like we say we’re sorry with our fingers crossed behind our back. “I’ll apologize but it’s still really his fault.”

There is a difference when fully acknowledging what we’ve done, why we did it and what it will take to make things right again regardless of what the other person has to say. I know when I’ve been able to do this there is a feeling of relief, but also a bit of fear that my efforts to reconcile will be rejected. Maybe they will agree that it is all my fault and take no ownership in their part of the problem. What if they don’t want a real relationship with me? What about me do they not find acceptable or worthy of a relationship?

God’s ways are right and true. He has nothing to apologize for yet He wants to be reconciled; He longs for a relationship with you.

While God’s people were continuing to do their own thing, living their own life, God was making a way for them to be reconciled to Him. While they were arguing with God, He was thinking of the day when there would be peace. Jesus would bring that peace.

Grace and truth, the heart of our loving Father, has come through Jesus Christ. We can turn from the truth and reject God’s plan for reconciliation; God does allow us to do that. But how much better it is when we accept His gift of grace and embrace His truth.

Something to Consider…

God sent His Son as a gift for me and for you. Have you accepted, unwrapped and embraced this gift?

At Christmas, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Through faith we have been made right with God and it starts with the birth of this baby. Choose to thank Him today for this new way He has made.

The Lighter Side of LYF – Tebow-mania: What’s the problem?

I recently wrote a devotion titled: Where is Your God?

“My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?’” Psalm 42:10 (NIV)

My husband, Craig, reads Sports Illustrated. I often peruse the stories and really do enjoy the articles; although I admit I go through streaks so I in no way claim to be a “sports” person. Of course, as a Christian, how do I not pay attention to the stories about Tim Tebow? The last story I read was about Tebow-mania. Players and opponents’ fans were mocking his prayer, praise and outspoken love for his God. When they made a tackle, they would taunt him with his own stance of prayer. They were not thanking God for having made their own tackle; they were basically saying “Where is your God now?”

Even other Christian players and fans have been telling him to cool it. We all expect people like Billy Graham or Rick Warren to thank God at all times, but a football player, at ALL times? I was listening to the local Christian radio station and they asked people to call in and share what they thought of all the hubbub. One woman thought the prayer was okay but maybe he shouldn’t pray to win.

Not pray to win? That’s like telling a salesman not to pray to get the sale! Maybe we should tell the cab driver not to pray he doesn’t hit any traffic jams. Or maybe we should tell doctors not to pray they get the entire tumor. Okay, so that sounds extreme but here’s the point – each person has a job to do and to have success in any profession is to “win”. He could have great stats and his team still lose, but how does that help his organization, his company?

When Tim Tebow started this season, the Broncos were 1-4 and in 4th place. They are now 8-5 and in 1st place having gone 7-1 with Tebow as quarterback. Does God help Tim Tebow win games? I believe, in some way, He helps Tebow be successful in what he does. There is an entire team of players who are responsible for their own performance, who help win or lose games. Tebow was not on the field when either of the final two field goals were kicked to win the game against Chicago. He did his part when needed as did the rest of the team.

A friend of mine confessed that during the last Superbowl, it didn’t really matter to him who won the game. He prayed that the team who would bring the most glory to God would win. That’s a cool prayer just as it is, but it gets better. Green Bay won and some of the first words from player, Greg Jennings, were, “To God be the Glory.” I do believe that if there is any reason for a team to win a game, the idea that those words would be spoken over national television is a good one.

God has given Tim Tebow a platform and he has taken it and run with it…no pun intended. (Tebow is not a passer. He often hands off or runs the ball himself.) As a successful football player, and to be successful as a quarterback is to win games, Tebow has proclaimed God’s name and Word every chance he gets. His faith in God is not just seen on the field but off through his service and outreach. Through his fame, his platform, he has been able to create his own foundation, been invited to various speaking opportunities, and even has players and sportscasters quoting Scripture. He has no idea how long God will give him this football platform from which to speak but this is true: God is pleased when He is praised from a heart that is right with Him. (Romans 8:5-8)

People are talking about faith. And while people talk about having faith in Tim, Tim talks about having faith in Jesus. To God be the Glory.

Something to Consider…

Regardless of our faith, we all hold certain beliefs. We live a certain way, doing or saying things that should agree with our beliefs. Does what you say or do give an accurate picture to others about what you believe?

What platform have you been given to do God’s will and proclaim His name? It may feel like a small platform right now, but God’s Word says to he who is faithful with a little will be given much. (Matthew 25:23)

The Straight Path

Path“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6(ESV)

What are you passionate about? Have you always had the same passions? Are you doing the work and living the life you have always expected you would?

We are to trust in the Lord with our whole heart, our whole being. Life so often feels like it twists and turns and we are rarely on a straight path. Sometimes that’s our own doing. Sometimes it’s because we don’t see what God is doing.

Personally, I had to accept that God’s purpose and plan for me and my family included a 2,000 mile move to California (which, by the way, is one place I said I would never move) and then back again in order to move us only 20 miles from where we started. Why? We had something to learn and gain in the move and different paths to cross. We would not be where we are or who we are if not for that move.

When we don’t trust God during the twists and turns, we end up relying on our own understanding. Because we are not leaning on God’s understanding, we don’t see how in order to fulfill God’s will, His purpose for us, sometimes we need to change jobs, move across the country, pursue a different career, leave a group of friends, or step out of our comfort zone into an unknown territory. We can get fixated on our existing passion and desires rather than following God’s will for us to grow in His passion and purpose for us. We settle into what feels like a safe, easy and comfortable life. We think, “This is good, it must be God’s will for me.”

But then something changes. Sometimes the desires and passions God gives us fulfill a specific purpose for a specific time. As we seek God’s will in our lives, we begin to realize that sometimes we need to give up a certain dream or desire and step into a new calling.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

As we acknowledge the Lord, delighting in His truth and right ways, we let go of our ways. His desire becomes our desire. As we lean into His understanding, we trust His path will really get us where He wants us and somehow our hearts desire will still be fulfilled.

Something to Consider…

Does your life feel like it’s in the middle of a twist or has just taken an unexpected turn? Are you trying to figure out your next step? Consider the twists and turns your life has already taken. What relationships or situations would not have happened without an unexpected turn? Be willing to trust that God is bringing you to the next thing He has for you even though you can’t see it.

Is the old passion and desire safe, easy or comfortable? Does this new thing God is calling you into feel like a dangerous place where you have to trust Him with your whole heart, whole being because it’s way out of your comfort zone? As you look at your life today, decide to delight in the Lord first. Acknowledge Him and that He knows best. Give Him the desires of your heart, your passions and step out in faith following His straight path.

Where is Your God?

“My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” Psalm 42:10 (NIV)

“Why is God silent? Why won’t He intervene and do something to change this situation?”

Sound familiar? There are so many times we may wonder where God has gone. We’ve asked Him to do something, yet we wait and wait; and nothing for what seems like so long.

Daniel, a young man of noble birth, a captive in Babylon, was greatly concerned for the future of his people. He prayed faithfully for twenty-one days; then an angel of the Lord came to him. He prayed three full weeks, never giving up…faithfully. How soon do you get frustrated and want to give up? Assume the answer is no and move on? Maybe you keep it up a couple of days, a week; but three full weeks? What if it had been longer? It could’ve been you know. Some of us have been trying to stay faithful for years.

There are times when I wonder if in my waiting, in my impatience, I made a decision out of frustration rather than faith. Or maybe, I was too hesitant to step into what God had for me. We can pray for an answer – for God to do something; but sometimes we need to step out in faith first.

We never know the day or hour God will answer the prayer we pray with the deepest longing for a desired outcome. When the answer finally comes, we look back and can think it really wasn’t so long but in the middle of it all, it feels like forever. We can wonder why we ever doubted.

When a messenger finally comes with the answer to Daniel’s prayer, he fills Daniel in on what’s been going on.

“Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.’” Daniel 10:12 (NIV)

While Daniel prayed and fasted, the Prince of the Persian kingdom resisted the angel. There is a battle going on around us all the time. We don’t always know what other circumstances are holding up our answer. Others decisions and actions affect our circumstances as well. We can’t see it and we don’t understand it but we can often feel and see the results.

The message of hope in this passage is since the first day Daniel set his mind to gain understanding and humble himself, his words were heard. From the very first moment he turned to God in his situation, God heard him and began to work. While we may feel alone in the battle with nothing to do but wait, God hears us. He is responding in ways we don’t see and don’t  understand. When we set our mind to gain understanding, it means we want to understand God’s plan, not our own. When we humble ourselves, we give up our will for His.

What do you have your mind set on? Is your attitude one of humility or pride? Are you able to trust in and wait on the Lord knowing He is at work?

Something to Consider…

Are you waiting on God to answer a long felt prayer? Is He asking you to step out in faith to set your answer in motion? When praying, choose to remain faithful, seek God’s understanding of the situation and humble yourself to His will.

Where is your God? Remember, He is with you always, He hears you and He is at work in ways you can’t comprehend.

Child-like Faith

“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4

The disciples have just been arguing about who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They finally go to Jesus so He can settle the dispute.

“Unless you change and become like little children…” (Matthew 18:3a) What does this really mean? Aren’t they already acting like little children? It doesn’t seem much different that an argument over who is mom or dad’s favorite!

This has truly been a difficult concept for me. Just when I think I get it, I feel like I miss the mark. How are we supposed to be like children?

Children are immature, yet we are to be mature, growing in our faith. Children do not have authority and yet Jesus has given us power and authority in His name. Children are  inexperienced and have little education under their belt. Seeking God opens us to His knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

So how do we do all these things and yet be like children?

Let go of your pride –The children came to Jesus. Our pride so often keeps us from simply coming to Jesus in the first place. The mere fact that God has made a way for us to be with Him in heaven is humbling. We do nothing to earn the gift God has given us. Pride says I can earn position, knowledge and wisdom based on my own efforts. God gives freely and generously
to those who come to Him.

Submit to authority – Children are humble. God has created a hierarchy, a heavenly organization chart. We too often want to believe we are in control; control of ourselves, our family, our work, and our relationships. We think we know best. We don’t want anyone stepping in telling us that we neither understand nor truly have control. God doesn’t need us to take the authority of those He has placed over us in order to accomplish His will.

Accept the truth – Peter says to be like newborn infants and crave pure spiritual milk. (1 Peter 2:2) Don’t settle for watered-down truth, religion that keeps you tied to the law, or truth sprinkled with fillers to make you feel full. Be satisfied in the simplicity of the good stuff, the truth of Jesus; not the junk food the world has to offer.

We can make all sorts of excuses as to why we don’t quite accept what the Bible has to say about sin, forgiveness and the changes we need to be willing to make to truly be in line with God’s will. We can continue to think that our experience, education or efforts give us the right to disregard what those in authority have to say. Sometimes the truth is hard and we want life to be easy so we find ways around the truth such as God loves everyone just as they are.

The truth is God does love everyone just as they are; but He also loves them too much to leave them that way. We are each born with traits and tendencies that pull us away from God. Jesus says, come to me, submit to my authority and accept my truth. We cannot do that and stay just as we are.

Something to Consider…

Is there an area in your life where you are keeping Jesus at a distance? Is there someone in authority in which you need to submit but have a difficult time? Is there Scripture that you just can’t believe is true or think can’t be relevant today?

As you come to Jesus with your questions and concerns, be willing to listen to His answers, move forward trusting what He says and continue to seek His truth in all situations.