Tag Archives: god

I’m giving up my quiet time.

It’s true. I have decided to give up my 30 minutes in the morning with God…at least for a while.

Will I still read the Bible in the morning?  Probably. Will I still talk to God on my morning walk? For sure. What I won’t do is sit down for 30 minutes with my tea and my agenda and have “time with God.”

No, I’m not backsliding. I am responding to some recent messages I’ve heard; one from Pastor Aaron and the other from a book I’m reading, Signs of Life. The problem as I see it is not the quiet time itself–it’s the “setting aside” part that is the issue. I don’t want to compartmentalize my life with God from my life. I don’t know if my routine time in the morning causes this or not, so I’m doing this experiment. I’m giving up my daily scheduled quiet time and asking God to speak to me throughout the day. I am looking for God-moments and opportunities to pray, worship, listen, and talk to and about Him…I’m hopeful that I will gain a new awareness throughout my day in areas I may have left Him out of before. I want Him to know that He is way more to me than 30 minutes in the morning and some reading at night. I want Him to invade every part of my day and to know that He is welcome to.

Are you open to spontaneous God-moments today?

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Why weep?

“Weeping has an honored place in the life of faith.”

In reading Becky Harling’s book, Rewriting Your Emotional Script, I’m being consistently moved and challenged to really look at why I do what I do…and why I respond (or react) to life the way I do.  Her book is based on the Beatitudes and how God used them to walk her through a painful healing of 12 years of sexual abuse while undergoing seven surgeries for breast cancer. Her story was inspiring, to say the least.

So, the thought I’ve been ruminating on, is why Christians struggle with grief and lament.  Why is it, that out of all the emotional channels we flip through, grieving, sorrow, and weeping seem to make people the most uncomfortable? And it’s not just those outside watching that squirm…when we deal with sadness and true sorrow ourselves, I think we are often at a loss! We’re not sure we should “allow” ourselves to feel sad or experience pain…as if that somehow negates the life Jesus died to give us. 

Yet, in generations past, weeping was part of the Christian experience. So, I wonder,  Am I not allowing myself to feel as deeply as God wants me to, or am I merely holding back in an effort to maintain control?  I cherish the times God moves my heart so strongly that I am moved to tears…it usually catches me off guard. But how many other moments pass me by due to my own insensitivity?

So then: Why are we afraid to cry?

 

 

 

I knew him when…

Congrats to Mark Thomas, on the Amaze.fm Song of the Week honors…not to mention the airtime and blogtime on HughHewitt.com. Mark, we are so proud of you. You are on the cusp of bigger and better things…and an extremely influential life!

Go here to hear the Amaze.fm Song of the Week by Mark Thomas

Patient…or passive?

Patient…or passive??

“Therefore I [am ready to] persevere and stand my ground with patience…”
II Timothy 2:10

I wonder sometimes if we really get the difference between these two words? Of course, it’s no shocker that I think patience can be highly over-rated. I’m not by nature a patient person.  But the truth is, I’m not really against patience—when it’s true patience. I am, however, against being passive claiming we are being patient. There are times we must push, confront, enter into conflict, face our fears, and take charge of our lives. Yet, often in the name of “Just be patient” we do none of the things we should.  This applies to so many areas of life: our health or healing, our finances, our jobs/careers, our relationships, our spiritual lives…even our futures.

 

This verse is interesting to me in that Paul is standing his ground with patience. He’s not doing nothing with patience; he’s not twiddling his thumbs or complaining with patience. He’s standing his ground.  So, there are times when our patience requires action. Seems incongruent doesn’t it? That’s the point! We have accepted this idea that a passive existence is somehow spiritual…that waiting on God means we have nothing to do with the outcome. In my own life, this is a dangerous mindset. When I sit back and passively wait on circumstances to change…on people to read my mind…on life (or God) to give me what I feel I deserve, I’m not actually waiting—I’m wasting time!  I’m afraid we spend too much time waiting and wishing.  We all have the power to accomplish great things, but the truth is: God expects us to participate and to live with passion and purpose—not passively waiting for things to be easy.

 

Read about Caleb in Joshua 14.  In verse 12, he demanded of Joshua: …”Give me this mountain….” That is not a passive sort of faith that takes what comes—but one that rises to the occasion and to the promises God has given us. I bet we all have areas of life that we have become passive in…maybe without even realizing it.  Take this encouragement to stir up your faith into action and believe for something bigger and better!

 

Taming the mind God gave me…

Have you ever wrestled with who you are? Do you find yourself apologizing tor those things that are second-nature to you that flow out of who you are without even thinking? Do you have peace with the way God made you?

 

I think this is a very important question! IF God never did anything else in your heart/life to change you…IF you never read another self-help book or attended another conference…WOULD YOU BE OKAY WITH WHO YOU ARE?  Because…God is!  He LOVES the way He made you.  He finely crafted every detail of your personality, your passions, your interests, whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, straight hair or curly. He put you together in a unique and awesome way. What a shame that we (I) spend so much time trying to change that!  In the midst of trying to change and grow—we lose sight of how good we really are.

 

I’m not talking about living a “flesh-driven life” here; I’m talking about accepting ourselves at the very core of who we are. It’s not an arrogant attitude that says I never have to grow or adapt. I’m talking about an attitude that accepts and LOVES who we are…to the point of using every gift and talent God has given us to serve others. No excuses, no lack of confidence or poor self-image.  Just an all out throwing ourselves into whatever God puts in front of us…fully cognizant of our weaknesses, where we may stumble, but wanting to do it anyway.

 

WOW. This is the “revelation” that our friend, Jon, at Stuff Christians Like got from God and wrote about in his post, Teaching yourself to breathe underwater.  And it opened my eyes to this struggle in my own life…and helped me see it a little more clearly. I believe it will help me live more freely, too!

 

Why waste time trying to tame the mind God gave me? A mind that literally overflows with thought and ideas spilling onto anyone I come in contact with…a heart that wants to help everyone and anyone do what they are doing better. Thoughts and words that at times have been mistaken for power-struggles or arrogance.  Yet, when other people misinterpret my words or actions and fail to see and accept me for who I am—does that mean I should believe them? No. I must get back to the root of who I am with God. He’s OK with me…he really is! He’s OK with you…He really is! He loves your quirks, your sense of humor, your heart for people. He knows how hard you try to please others and Him. He’s totally impressed with your style, your ideas, your motives. It’s sort of hard to swallow all this, isn’t it…

 

I guess that’s my point. We can—and should—totally agree with God Who says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ps. 139)

 

How about you? What quirks in your life and personality are you trying to change?  Are you willing to accept and embrace those things and fling yourself into life in a fresh, new way?  I think you should…

Thursday’s Thank You Note

Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving.”  Colossians 4:2 AMP

I’ve decided that every Thursday, I’m going to post a Thank You note or thoughts on what I’m thankful for. (No, the aliteration is not an accident…of course. I’m a teacher and a writer, what would you expect!?)

This morning I was thinking how terribly I miss a friend I used to work with.  She was a great prayer support for me personally and for many people in the organization. Her absense is a noticable one!  It makes me sad when I think that someone who was an integral part of my day-to-day work life is no longer in that role. 

Yet, a lot of friends over the years have been just like her.  Women who are very influential to me; who have impacted my walk with God, my family, my ability to process life well. And yet, many of them are no longer part of my life!  I guess this reality IS a part of life.  God puts people in our lives for a reason…and sometimes just for a season. That doesn’t negate their impact or lesson their value in our lives. It’s sad, but it seems to be part of life.

Instead of mourning of bemoaning the fact that some people come and go…I want to be thankful for the time they are IN my life.  I’m so thankful for the time my friend spent with me, praying, listening, laughing. I’m thankful that God always seems to send the right person at the right time to be that support I need. And now that she is not part of my daily life, other friends will come along. 

I had great friends in Lincoln who I don’t talk to much anymore. It’s not just the distance. It’s also the fact that we are in different seasons of life now.  Maybe someday we’ll all be close again (or they will find me on Facebook! I can hope…) but if not, I am really glad they were in my life for a time. I think each one deposited something into my life. I hope I am doing the same for the friends that are in my life now, regardless of how long we spend together.

Where do you go for answers?

“Christ’s anointing teaches you everything you need to know about yourself and Him. Live deeply in what you were taught. And now, children, stay with Christ.…”  I John 2:27-28

This verse is a great admonishment for us–as socially connected people who thrive on Facebook or Myspace and even as bloggers.  It reminds us to seek to hear, listen and obey God first in every situation. We can become so dependent on what others think or say that often we don’t stop and listen to what God is saying.  Sometimes, we substitute advice (“wisdom”… “counsel”) for seeking God on our own.  Certainly, there are times when seeking godly counsel is appropriate–BUT we must know how to hear from God on our own.  Thoughts on your Facebook wall…or a comment on a blog post do not constitute godly counsel–they may be well-intended, and God may use them to confirm or encourage us…but the point is, we must learn to wait on God for what we need.

This verse promises that the Holy Spirit–God’s anointing working in and through us–will teach us everything we need to know.  It’s our responsibility to seek God’s counsel first. He wants us to come to Him, to read His Word, to learn to hear His voice, above the din of Internet distractions and well-meaning friends. I’ve learned that people are all too happy and quick to give their opinion and “counsel” without even asking if you’ve prayed about something.  I think that should be the first question we ask when someone is looking for direction.  Then, we should find out what they feel God is telling them. IF they don’t have a clue…then we should gently encourage them to pray about it and meet up at a later time when both of us have had time to pray about it.  Wouldn’t that improve the counsel and conversation??

It can take time to seek God, and to really hear from Him. In this instant age of texting, IM, and online networks, we are used to immediate responses from people. I don’t think God has changed just to meet our preferences.  In our own impatience, we  run to others hoping for a quick answer; maybe we blog it hoping one of the comments will be OUR word from God.  Could this happen? Sure. God can and will use every available avenue to speak to us. But, I think His first choice is the old fashioned way…and His desire is for us to patiently seek Him and wait for Him to lead us. It does take discipline, and even practice, but He is faithful…when you seek Him you will find Him!