Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stand Still

Exodus 14:14 says:
"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to stand still."

Hmmm. What does this mean? When does this apply to me?
Well, I am not for sure certain, but perhaps we are to stand still when:
. You have been wronged. You want to retaliate. You want to clear your name and
. Your child goes off in the wrong direction. You have tried your best to raise you
your kids to know and follow Jesus, but they are asserting their independence
and they want nothing to do with you or your God.
, Your spouse has betrayed you. Had an affair. You are divorced. And you want
others to know you really tried and gave it your all.
. You have been misunderstood by your friend or your group of friends-and now they
are keeping their distance from you.
. Your reputation has been tarnished or even ruined. You beg to tell your side of
the story.
. You have been passed over for a promotion and someone very less deserving gets it.
You don't understand.
. Your prayers go unanswered, or so it seems. And you are trying to go ahead.

There could be tons of reasons for why we might be called to stand still.
Why does God ask this of us at times?
Because He wants us to know that HE is more capable of fighting our battles then we could ever be.
He wants us to trust Him in the midst of uncertainty, confusion, fear, loneliness and isolation.

Standing still requires absolutely no effort on our part. And that is where the difficulty lies. We don't want to stand by and do nothing. We want to fight for our rights, for our reputation. We live in a society that shouts to us that we can do it. We can decide our own fate. We don't need others to tell us what to do or not to do. We are fully capable of living our lives, our way.
Oh what a lie that is.
We need others. We need God desperately.
But we want to be our own boss. We don't want to have to wait on God.

Do you ever wonder why God tells us to do certain things? Commands us to follow His way? Its because HE alone is the ONE who has all the answers. To ALL of life's questions, dilemmas. To all the injustices we face.
I hate to stand still. I want things NOW.
Fortunately, God has shown me repeatedly thru the years, that there are some situations where I can do nothing. Where I am not in control at all. That I just have to stand still and let the LORD fight for me.
Do I like it? Absolutely not. Is it hard? You bet it is.
But do I trust Him? A resounding YES.
Does HE see everything you and I go thru? YES.
When we are maligned, He will vindicate us in His timing. He will do the fighting.
WE just have to stand still. And go nowhere. And that is hard to do. Really hard.

Is there something right now, that God might be causing you to stand still and Let Him do the fighting??
It really can be a burden lifted, that was never meant for us to carry.

But do you TRUST GOD? For me, He has NEVER proved to be anything but Trustworthy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

But I think i am more like his grandson.

Yesterday I wrote about Abraham ( and his obedience to God, even at the possible cost of his dear son's life. IF only- I could and would obey God at all times- my life would undoubtedly be much more peaceful. Abraham's life challenges me to be the person God envisions me to be. One who looks more Christ like.

Today in Genesis 27, I read the story of Jacob, the younger of Isaac's twin sons, receiving the blessing that is intended for the first born.
There are just so many things wrong with this story.
Earlier in Genesis 25 we are told that Isaac favors Esau the first born, while his wife Rebekah favors Jacob, the younger twin.
OK this is the first thing wrong. You just can't play favorites among your children. It causes too many hard feelings. Yes, there are times when one child usurps the favored child in a family, but hopefully this doesn't last.
For years I have endured the remarks of my daughters that one brother is the favorite child of mine and never gets in trouble. So I know this is NOT TRUE, but what did I do that made them feel that way?? I know for awhile that this particular son received more of my prayers than the other children (but trust me, he needed them!). But I truly have no favorite. I love each of my kids with abandon.

But back to Genesis 27.
So Isaac is old and we are told he can't see anymore. He has a conversation with Esau and tells him to go hunt some wild game, make a tasty meal and bring it back to his father and then Isaac promises to give Esau the blessing due him. Off goes Esau to do what his father asked.
Meanwhile, Rebekah overhears the conversation (this too could be very wrong). Maybe she was just passing by and heard but maybe too, she was eavesdropping.
Regardless, she then begins to take things in her own hands.
She tells Jacob to hurry and fetch some goats so that she can prepare a meal for Isaac just the way he likes it. Then she proceeds to dress Jacob in Esau's clothing so that he can fool his father into thinking that he is the first born, and then he will receive the blessing.
Way too many wrong things here:
The deception is rampant. Dressing Jacob in Esau's clothes to pursuade the blind man from seeing the reality of the situation.
The lies Jacob tells his father . Twice he tells his father that he is Esau.
The manipulation of Rebekah of the situation scares me.

So the ending of the story is that Isaac is indeed deceived. Jacob receives the blessing intended for Esau. Esau is devestated and wants another blessing but from then on is intent on paying his brother back by planning to kill him after his father dies. Again Rebekah gets wind of this and tells Isaac they need to send Jacob back to her family to find a wife for him so that he won't marry Canaanite women as his brother did. Another deception.

In Rebekah's manipulation of the event, she doesn't trust God from what He told her while she was pregnant with the twins in Genesis 24- that the older would serve the younger. She did what she thought needed to happen, instead of believing God.
Makes me wonder how many times I have done the same thing? Manipulated circumstances to get what I think God would want, without trusting Him to work out His will in His timing. How much do I manipulate to get what I want?
Then there is the deception and lying: Jacob pretending to be Esau, dressed in his brothers clothes to make him smell like his brother. And then lying, repeatedly to get the blessing.
Do I lie and deceive to get what I want? Unfortunately, I have to admit that I have. Probably too many times and that makes me cringe.
Have my lies caused or encouraged my children, both those physically born to me, and those that have become my "spiritual children", to be deceptive as well?
Do I really believe God's promises to me? Will I wait on them to prove true? Or will I manipulate the situation?

Oh the implications of just this one chapter of Genesis 27.
One thought that struck me today is: when i realize that I am being manipulative, deceptive and lying, will I confess those sins immediately and ask the LORD to cleanse me of ALL the unrighteousnss in my life?
My prayer is that I will do that immediately.
And that you too, will do likewise.

Monday, February 6, 2012

OH to be like Abraham

The story is just not fair. It is not right at all. How can God ask that of anyone?

Imagine the day-going about your everyday life, working , being with family, enjoying what God has given you...and THEN, God visits you and tells you to go offer Him what is Most dear and precious to you.
This is the story of Genesis 22.
Aside from the story of the Crucifixion, no other chapter in the bible affects me more.
It is in this story, that the LORD tells Abraham to go sacrifice his son, Isaac as a burnt offering. You know, the son that Abraham waited for 100 years for. The son that God had promised him would be his heir.
And the Bible tells us "that early the next morning" Abraham left on the mission God had commanded him.
Talk about a restless night. Abe , I am sure , did not sleep that night.
What is God asking me to do? Why is He telling me to offer Isaac? And what in the world do I tell Sarah?

But Abraham went and the story tells us that when he found the exact place God had told him on Moriah, that he built an altar, arranged the wood, bound Isaac and laid him on the altar, and just as his knife was about to slay his son,an angel of the LORD stopped him.
And people say the BIBLE is boring??
God, in the bushes, had provided a ram to be the sacrificial lamb.
And because of Abraham's obedience all the nations of the world would be blessed.
That means us. Thru Abraham's offspring, we all are blessed; because of one man's complete trust and obedience to God.
As a parent of four, nothing scares me more than losing one of my children.
I have some dear dear friends who have lost their precious daughter recently, and my heart still aches daily for them.
I love Kristi, Todd, Katie and Ryan with ALL that is within me. I would do anything for them. I would do anything to save their lives-even if it meant forgoing mine. A parents love for a child, cannot be adequately explained. Words can't express the deep deep love I have for my kids.
And i know Abraham felt the same about Isaac. And yet he was willing to sacrifice him in order to obey God.
To be honest, I don't know if I could.
That could be troubling.
And yet, this morning I am reminded again, that this is exactly what God the Father did for us.
He sacrificed His only begotten son for us. JESUS CHRIST became the sacrificial Lamb for my sins. God could have saved Him. He could have done it another way. Jesus could have called on legions of angels to stop His death. But neither did.
Because this was the ONLY way we could be saved.
I know that God the Father loves so much more than me. His capacity for love outweighs more than my mind could completely comprehend. He loved His Only Son with all that was within Him. And yet He sacrificed Him for us...for all mankind.

Genesis 22 is an amazing story of obedience.
One that challenges me and causes me to pray for that kind of obedience. One that challenges me to believe God and Trust Him, when everything in life tells me not to.
But Genesis 22 is a love story too.
A love of a man for his God. A love that trusted God enough to provide another lamb to offer. And a tremendous fortelling of the greatest love story of ALL time.
Yes, I want to be like Abraham.
I want to obey God even when it seems illogical, impractical.
When everyone around me might think I am crazy.
I want to obey God like Abraham. Because GOD loved me (and you) enough, to sacrifice His Most Precious Son, so that we might know and enjoy His love to us.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Beginning

Mornings are my favorite time of the day. Yes, I am a morning person.
Living at Woodleaf in the winter (even this winter when it doesn't feel or resemble any winter that I have spent here...way too warm) means waking up and starting a fire in the woodburning stove, turning the coffee on and getting ready to sit on our loveseat couch with my 2 favorite pups, Riley and Cody, and having time with JESUS. I love this time each and every day.

If you know me, or have read any of my blog posts, you will know that I LOVE the WORD OF GOD. As a newlywed 36 years ago, I was privileged to be mentored by two women who have greatly impacted my life: June Hoch Clodius and Recie Raley.
Recie challenged me to ask God to give me a love for His Word. After about 10 years, I realized how much I loved His Word. Today, even 25 plus years later, I love it more. For it allows me to know my God. Or rather to scratch the surface of knowing Him.
I'm not sure exactly how long its been, but somewhere between 15 and 20 yrs ago, I began reading thru the Bible each year. Its not a "religious or legalistic" thing. For me, I just know that I want to know more of God. So to do that, I have to be in His Word. Even in the dry periods, even in the most pain staking times of my life, I need to hear and remember God's promises to me. I don't follow a plan, I don't read thru from Genesis to Revelation. I just start where I believe the LORD has led me.
This year I started in Psalms, probably because I started the year grieving the loss of a dear man and wanted to hear from those who knew and had experienced the same type of feelligs I had. That asked God the "why" questions that i was asking.
This week I began Genesis. Oh how I love this book.
Genesis means beginning. And Genesis is the beginning of God's story with mankind.
Everyday I am reminded of God's truth and His promises to us. Somedays His Spirit reveals something new to me, othertimes I am reminded of truths that I need to always remember.
Notes in my journal from this week include:
Genesis 1-We were made in the image of God, in His likeness. WOW what God intended for us!
Genesis 2- After the creation, God rested from His work. If God needed to rest and HE is GOD, why do we not do the same?
Genesis 3-the Fall of mankind. Eve was deceived because she didn't remember exactly what God had said. That is why it is so important for us to know God's Word. To be in it daily, to let His Spirit speak to us;to take time to meditate on it and let it sink deep into our hearts and minds. Because when we do that, we won't be deceived by the enemy's lies and half truths or by others who mistakenly not speak His truth.
Genesis 4- God tells Cain that sin is crouching at the door, desiring to have you, but that he must master it. Do I let sin crouch at my door? Do you? Do we realize how letting sin into our life for even an inch, moves us a little bit farther from God? And that one sin often leads us easily into another? Oh Father, that we would not let sin take us, but that we would turn to You for help.
Genesis 5-10 tells the story of Noah and his descendants.
"The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclusion of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that He had made man on the earth and His heart was filled with pain."
That, for me, is one of the saddest verses in all of Scripture. That God was grieved that He had made man and His heart was filled with pain. And that he was going to put an end to all the people. I look at the wickedness and evil that permeates our world today, and my heart is in pain. I wonder how God's must feel.
Thankfully there was Noah. "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD..Noah was a righteous man, blameless among all the people of his time, and he walked with God.
Because of Noah, we are still here. Mankind continues. Do you realize that if there had not been this one righteous man who followed God, none of us would be here. Even one righteous man can save the world. Amazing.
Can you imagine Noah obeying God and building this massive ark, all the while, people around him being so evil and wicked and most likely making fun of this man building this monstrosity of a thing? The years of humiliation he endured while obeying His God? And yet, because of His obedience, mankind endured. Kind of humbles me when I think of how some may make fun of me for following Christ.
But God did not destroy mankind and the earth, and everytime we see a rainbow, we should be reminded of His Promise that he will never destroy the earth again with a flood.
Then chapter 11 of Genesis tells us the story of the tower of Babel.
In Genesis 9:1 God tells Noah and his sons "to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth". Well Noah's descendants didn't do that. They settled in what was ancient Babylon and decided to build a tower " so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
Ummm guys, that is not what God said to do. So He came down and completely confused their speech so as they wouldn't understand each other and their plans were thwarted, and now they had to separate and go off in different directions (and fill the earth).
Why, oh why, do I (we) think we can go against God's commands or His will and believe that nothing will happen to us. How foolish we can be. Does His word not say that He will get the last laugh (Ps 59). God's will and His plans can never be thwarted by our disobedience. When we disobey, God can do crazy things to get our attention!!
And next comes Abraham!!
I could write blogs on this man, the friend of God (james 2:23).
So for now, I will pause and be thankful that God's word is fresh each day, that His mercies are new every morning and Great is His Faithfulness to us.
How about you beginning to ask God to give you a love for His Word, starting today?