Tag Archive | help

Be Honest with God

California Poppies and Gazanias“You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me.” Psalm 139:1 (CEV)

I didn’t grow up going to church, but when I became an adult I had a growing interest. If Jesus was really God, I wanted to know more. Although my fiancé had not been active in his church for a number of years, we decided to go to the same one in which he had been confirmed.

I spent years going to church, sometimes understanding the message, most of the time not. Even so, it felt good and right to be there so we continued. I had no idea how God was using this time to speak to me and my husband. We couldn’t comprehend how our lives were slowly changing, growing and yielding to Him.

This went on for approximately 16 years. Over time, God was working things out in His way, in His time. We had become more active in our church and knew He was active in our lives. I thought I had come to a place where His grace was received, forgiveness accepted and love embraced.

And then one day, as I was riding home from church, an incident from my past crossed my mind. I realized that as I thought about it this incident, I had turned my head down and away closing my eyes.

I was trying to hide from God. I didn’t want Him to know what I was thinking, what had happened, what I had done.

I felt ashamed and ugly, not worthy of God’s view. Not worthy of the grace, forgiveness and love I had been cherishing all these years.

But here’s the thing about God: He already knows where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and what’s been done to me. When I try to hide the truth from God, I only distance myself from Him. I appear to have it all together on the outside while on the inside I’m continuing to live apart from Him.

God doesn’t just know my past, He knows your past as well. He also knows what you’re going through right now, as well as what you will experience in the future. He knows every thought and every desire. We have an entire life to live here before we reach heaven and He wants to be part of it.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)

When we are honest with God about our hurts, mistakes, and desires, He will help us let go, move on and move into all He has for us here in this place and at this time. When we are honest, we make our hearts available and open to a real relationship with Him. We are willing to hear His answer and receive His blessings.

Something to Consider…

Have you allowed God into the hurting places in your life? As you do, He will heal your wounds and mend your heart.

Have you confessed your mistakes to God, intentional or unintentional? He will forgive your sins and show you how to move forward in His right ways.

Have you shared with Him the deepest desires of your heart? He’s the one who has put them there. He will work them out in accordance with His best for you.

Fellowship Matters

friends“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD and on His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)

If I’m going to abide in Christ this year…and always, knowing that I don’t usually keep my resolutions, it would be good to understand what causes me to let go of my plan.

The plan itself is not my issue. I am GREAT at planning. I make lists, flow charts, spreadsheets and know every detail of everything I want to do. What I often miss is the list of those things that could interrupt my plan and when they do, how I will move forward. We know this as “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” In other words, I don’t plan for the worst, the struggle of keeping my commitment.

This is a new step for me this year. I want to understand what keeps me from abiding, staying close to Jesus and have a plan ready when people, situations and conditions of my heart try to pull me from Him.

One thing I’ve learned is that we are all at different places with our faith. There are many things that I once thought were okay and now see completely different. I’m also sure there are things I do or consent to today that in five years I will no longer consider good for me in relation to my faith. Just as I am on a journey, so is everyone else. Even those who don’t claim to have faith in Jesus or God believe something.

I don’t think others ever intentionally try to pull me away from Jesus as much as I don’t think they understand the full benefit of staying close to Him. It’s hard to encourage me in what they don’t consider valuable or meaningful.

Too often, we can make excuses for our own behavior by excusing the behavior of others. If I have a hard time controlling how much I eat, I may encourage someone else to go ahead and have the second piece. If I talk bad about my husband, I may encourage someone else that it’s good to vent or “get it off their chest”. After all, they are just being honest. If I don’t see how what I do is harmful, I may not see it as harmful for someone else.

And others, who don’t know Jesus, won’t understand why it’s important to stay close to Him and most likely, will not be able to encourage me in my desire to abide.

While I don’t want to cut off relationships with those who don’t know Jesus, He came for us all, I need to be careful to whom I listen.

I will be resolved to seek counsel, wisdom and encouragement from others who are actively seeking God and following Christ.

Something to Consider…

We are to live in this world but not be of it. Our relationships matter regardless of where others stand with Jesus.

How can you ensure you are spending time with others who know Jesus? How can you continue to grow in your relationship with Jesus even when you are with others who are not?

Regardless of how committed you are to Jesus, how many questions you have about faith, and how many doubts and concerns you have for what it truly means to believe, it will be hard to move forward and find answers alone.

  1. Find a local church to attend and show up. Volunteer and get involved. Even if you’re not sure about this whole God thing, you will meet new people and expand your understanding of the Christian faith.
  2. Identify two or three people who know Jesus with whom you can ask questions and discuss your faith. Don’t ask your friend the atheist or agnostic. They don’t have the answers you’re looking for.
  3. Seek to know Jesus, not just know about Him or assume things about Him. No one likes it when people make assumptions about them. Really get to know who He is and why He came for you.

Resolutions

Garden Path and Gate“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51 (NIV)

I’m looking forward to what this new year will bring and what new resolutions I will be making. I so often feel like I don’t accomplish my resolutions and I wondered how I had done on those I had made this past year.

As I looked back at two of my posts transitioning from 2011 to 2012, I realized I had really only made two resolutions. One was about getting rid of the old. This included old stuff as well as old attitudes. The other was to be resolved to know Christ more.

They are both hard to measure. Have I ever really reached the end of getting rid of bad attitudes? Somehow they creep back and settle on in. I continue to accumulate stuff so at some point it will all be old as well. When do I know I know Christ more? There will never be an end to what there is to know so how do I move forward in what I do know trusting even in what I don’t?

As I type this blog, my youngest daughter is cleaning out her room. For anyone who knows her, she is organized, responsible, and diligent. What they don’t see is her room: the one place she doesn’t care to care about. Her comment today about the amount of stuff in her room, on the floor and taking up space was, “If I have a bed to collapse on, I’m good!”

Unfortunately, I care about the state of her room so over the school break she is dusting, vacuuming and reorganizing which includes going through every piece of clothing and memorabilia she has. In the process of just doing it, she has found “the zone” and is ready to get rid of anything and everything taking up space without a purpose.

It’s fabulous! I’m grinning from ear to ear!

As we have drawn closer to the end of the year, I realize that there are many attitudes and behaviors I want to be rid of. It isn’t that there is no purpose in the attitude, the purpose just isn’t a good one.

Did I fall short of past my resolution? Did I not really care about this resolution? I have over this past year felt irritated, judgmental, critical, prideful, and unloving. I have said things I shouldn’t have and not said things I should. I have left things undone and done too many things I wish I wouldn’t have. I did not clean out the closets, clean up my house or put myself through an extreme makeover.

But, I did grow closer to God and have come to know Christ more. I backed off a bit on blogging but did write a new Bible study which taught me about the resolution of Jesus.

He had one mission: to reconcile the world to God. In order to accomplish this, He had to be resolved to follow every leading of His Father. Jesus was resolved.

I also realize that the only way I can truly be resolved to shed the old is to know Jesus more.

“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GW)

He is the “zone” I need to be in so that I can let go of the old. If I want my old attitude to be made new, I need to be in Christ. I won’t be perfect, but He will continue to work in me. My willingness to be resolved begins with my willingness to abide and stay close to Jesus.

That is my first resolution for this year, to abide in Christ.

Something to Consider…

Resolutions are not just wishes we hope will come true. They are decisions we make based on a firm purpose and determination. We know it matters even if we don’t always know why it matters. We choose to do, not just wish.

Be resolved to abide in Christ. What does this mean in your life? What does it look like? What can you do to draw near to God knowing He will draw near to you?

Be resolved to follow His leading in your life. Every decision results in an action; even inaction is a choice. Because you are abiding, you will be able to better recognize when God shows you an area of your life that He wants to make new. Decide to do what He says and follow His lead.

But Why?

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

I was talking to my oldest daughter this morning before she went on a photo shoot. She is just beginning a photography business and does amazing work. While she is starting to get leads and line up work, she is young and still in college. She has not quite made the transition to the adult, working world.

One of the people who she was “shooting” was someone from her day job. They know each other well and have seen each other in various states of being “put-together” and completely falling apart. It was an early appointment so she was going to get up, throw herself together and go.

Before jumping in the shower, she asked me about her attire for the morning. I gave my input and watched her cringe in disappointment.

She told me what she planned to wear and why. I let her know that it didn’t matter who it was, the goal was to look professional whenever possible. She wants her clients to know she is capable and trustworthy with their memories.

While we shouldn’t judge others on looks, it is one way we can influence the relationship from the first moment of meeting. Regardless of our desire to not judge, often we have an initial reaction to what we see.

As she tried to convince me of why it should be okay to wear what she had first chosen, I told her, “You obviously questioned your choice of clothing or you wouldn’t have asked me. I simply confirmed what you already knew. Stop fighting it and do what you know it right.”

And with that she picked out different clothes and went to get ready.

And I smiled as I watched the Holy Spirit direct her in the way she should go.

Does the Holy Spirit, God, really care what we wear? Is it that big of a deal? Who cares? We already know people shouldn’t judge us so shouldn’t they just accept us as we are regardless of what we look like, clothes and all?

I admit, I don’t know to what extent God cares but here is what I do know: We have the ability to influence. Our appearance may matter, it may not. If God knows our appearance may make the difference, He will let us know. I don’t think He will tell us to buy clothes we can’t afford just to look good. He won’t tell us to use our looks to get what we want. But He does know what is best in every situation and since He is working in all things, He knows and cares about every detail.

For my daughter, this may have been the beginning of a lead to something more. There were others involved, not just her co-worker. While that was the relationship she was thinking of, it may not have been the one God was orchestrating.

“The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should.” Galatians 5:17 (CEV)

Stop fighting God and do what you know is right.

As God speaks to you through the Holy Spirit, stop fighting His direction, guidance and counsel. Be willing to submit to His will and His way because everything He does leads to His love.

To finish the story, as my daughter left the house, she had a bounce in her step, a smile on her face and she carried herself with confidence. God is good indeed!

Something to Consider:

Is there something God is asking you to do and you are fighting it because you don’t understand why it matters? Do you find yourself struggling with what you want versus what God is telling you to do?

Seek God’s guidance and counsel. Step out in faith doing what He asks even if when you don’t understand. Jesus has made a way for us to have direct access to the Father through His Spirit; choose to listen, learn and live out what He tells you.

Where Does Your Help Come From?

“You willingly forgive, and your love is always there for those who pray to you. Please listen, Lord! Answer my prayer for help. When I am in trouble, I pray, knowing you will listen.” Psalm 86:5-7 (CEV)

My daughter came down the stairs this morning before going to work with her keys in one hand and her lanyard in the other. They are supposed to be attached. “Look what happened,” she said.

Of course, I have to look it over and I start playing with it. “What about this?”

“No, that was for the price tag.” The plastic piece that held the price tag has been attached since she bought the lanyard some twelve months ago. Odds and ends pieces don’t phase my kids; it drives me crazy. Get rid of the junk already…maybe that’s for another post!

So once that’s taken care of I start looking over the lanyard again. She points out that there is a screw in the middle of the cap and that’s why the strap won’t go back in. In my bi-focal needing way, I stretch my arms out to be able to see the screw and make out what type of screwdriver is needed.

My daughter politely lets me know that I don’t have a screwdriver small enough. GAME ON!

“Oh, I don’t? I bet I do.”

After rummaging around a bit, I find two that might work. The first one is too big, but with a few turns of the second, that little screw starts to move. Once out far enough, I slide the straps back in and tighten the screw holding the straps firmly in place.

Problem solved. Next?

I posted on my Facebook page that I love it when my kids think I can’t fix something but then I do! I love their amazement!

But then I wondered, do I really love it? Wouldn’t I prefer that they believe I can fix it and come to me willingly seeking my help? I still love that they are amazed at my ability to solve the problem but I don’t ever want them assuming I can’t help. Or worse yet, that I won’t help.

And isn’t that what God, our heavenly Father wants? Doesn’t He desire that we know we can come to Him with any problem and He will help us?

So what keeps us from asking?

  • We believe it can’t be fixed so we don’t bother asking…but all things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26)
  • We don’t think God will help even though we want to ask…but God always hears us and is always willing to help when we turn to Him. (Isaiah 41:13)
  • We don’t want to do our part. We just want it fixed…but God says we are to put off the old self and get rid of the old way of thinking. We are to take on His ways in all areas. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

The truth is it can be fixed, it can be better. We may need to make some changes in the process, we need to be willing to believe He can and will help, and we definitely need to be willing to ask for His help.

“My help comes from the LORD,  the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 (NIV)

Something to Consider…

Is there a problem in your life that you just can’t seem to fix on your own? Are you trying to find a way around dealing with certain issues because it just seems like it’s too much, too big, or too difficult?

Turn to God, ask Him to help and believe that He will. And then be willing to make the necessary changes He shows you in the process.