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Showing posts from August, 2012

That's Not Fair

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And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability...” Matthew 25:15
I have read the parable of the talents many times and have also heard many sermons on theses particular scriptures, but this morning I saw the above verse in a new light and felt the intense desire to dig into further scriptures to see what God had to reveal to me in them. In particular, the words “according to his own ability” really stood out to me and made me wonder, “Why does God not make us all equal in our ability? And, why are some held more or less accountable than others?”
There of course are many scriptural texts that talk about the gifts God gives to those who believe in Him and whom have been gifted by the inner-workings of the Holy Spirit. Here are just a few that came to mind to make note of this morning as they also relate to the broader topic of ability and accountability:
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, …

Look Up for Help

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I will lift up my eyes to the hills — from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
Last night as I caught the above verses on one of my flip calendars a thought just popped into my head, “If my help comes from the Lord and I am supposed to be looking up at Him, why is it that I keep turning back to looking down at my circumstances instead?” I would guess I am not alone in taking my eyes off of God and His faithful provision when the circumstances of life get overwhelming. As I read through some other verses I found regarding this same theme of bring people back to focus on the God in order to remove their focus from the circumstances below, I found my research to be rather bountiful.  Here are just a few things I felt compelled to share from what I found:
Jesus stated the same call to focus on God and not circumstances in the following manner:
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘Wha…

Speaking Truth

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If there is a messenger for him, a mediator, one among a thousand, to show man His uprightness, then He is gracious to him, and says,‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit...'” Job 33:23-24a
With a saddened heart I think upon the words from Job that the Lord put before me this morning. Not because these words of truth are new to my heart or becaue they have convicted me of something I need to deal with in my life (that is usually the case though). No, my heart is saddened because as I read the words of Job 33 and thought about this particular date, August 29th, I was taken back to a time in my life where the truth of what Elihu spoke to Job was a truth I had to consider while I spoke out in love to another - and it cost me dearly. Let me take you back a bit so I can tell the whole story more properly.
When my boys were younger, I did a lot of speaking to MOPS groups because I held a leadership position in their national organization and it was a good way for me to get out i…

Considering the Poor

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Blessed is he who considers the poor...” Psalm 41:1
The other day a friend commented on the generosity of our family. I have to say that even though our family loves to give, at times I still feel like we do not give enough. My questioning to God often goes like this, “Why did you give us so much Lord, and give others so little in this world? What more can we do to help out those in need? Where can be take the blessings you have given us, and use them to bless others?” There are endless needs surrounding us, and yet even with the great multitude our family is blessed with, we still have limited resources on what we are able to give.
Only, with great blessings comes great responsibility and much more pressure to listen to God when He asks you to give – no matter the sum, your perspective on the worthiness of the receiver, or your ideas of the productive potential of the gift. 
God has asked our family to give in some of the strangest manners and altogether painful circumstances in …

The Contented Dwelling Place

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Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1
This morning as I was reading, I was mentally taken back to the first few years of my marriage when my husband and I were not believers, but we were searching for a way to make where we lived and what we did meaningful and fulfilling. We would spend our evenings dreaming together as we watched the travel channel and at that time we even considered a move to Australia (Yes, we were searching hard). We would watch home improvement shows thinking that maybe it was just a few fixes to our starter home or maybe even a bigger home some day that would ease our seeking itch. Even as we did travel we considered dropping all we were pursuing – careers, home, a traditional lifestyle – to start up our own business in the remotest parts of the country - possibly a camping resort on the road to Alaska.
Our dreaming soon became all consuming, almost a passion to achieve what we could not see and what we dared to reach out fo…

A Sabbath to Celebrate

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It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls...you shall celebrate your sabbath.” Leviticus 23:32

Today was a very different sabbath for our family – it was a day of sheer celebration. Today was the beginning of our daughter Maggie's 24-hour princess birthday celebration which descended upon our home this afternoon. Fortunately for me this feast of sorts will not go on for days un-end, but rather will conclude tomorrow afternoon. For now all the little princesses are resting and I am trying to catch up with all I have to get done before tomorrow.
I have to think that the wonderful celebration these girls are having in our home today and tomorrow – the fun, the games, and the delicious food – are just a foretaste of what heaven holds in store for all who will enter its eternal gates. In kind, I believe each sabbath here on earth only prepares our hearts all the more for that ultimate celebration we will one day be part of, the feast of the King …

Before Faith Came

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But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.” Galatians 3:23
I grew up in a home that was very religious. We not only went to church as many times as the church required in the year, but we also observed the days that the church considered optional, said long memorized prayers at various times through the day, and did many things to “show” our devotion to God. And although I was a rather compliant child when I was younger through all of these religious observations, there was always a nagging feeling inside of me that made me question what I was going along with – it just did not seem right. So, as the years progressed and I started to understand who I was apart from my parents, I started to rebel against those things that did not make sense to me which I had been doing for so long and that had never allowed me peace as I went through the motions of the religious practices.
So, off to college I went and a whole wo…

The Story God is Writing

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There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord.” Proverbs 21:30-31
Yesterday as I was discussing with a friend the oath I had taken with the Lord regarding blogging every day this year I commented on how God was intertwining many of my life-long faith stories into the text which I have been compiling since the first of the year – almost a spiritual autobiography of sorts. To that my friend commented on what a wonderful treasure these writings will be to my children if even just they were to be the only ones who would read them in the future. I had to agree – the transformations God has allowed over these years of my life, as I have allowed the sinful and physical representation of me be slowly transformed into the perfected and spiritual representation of me, are not only preparing me for the final battle and my final transformation but they are also meant to be useful in the preparation …

Redirected Dreams

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My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; show me why You contend with me. Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, that You should despise the work of Your hands...Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity; yet You would destroy me. Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay...Why then have You brought me out of the womb? Oh, that I had perished and no eye had seen me! I would have been as though I had not been. I would have been carried from the womb to the grave. Are not my days few? Cease! Leave me alone, that I may take a little comfort, before I go to the place from which I shall not return...'” Excerpts from Job 10

There is a complex paradox we must come to grips with as a Christian – God has made us and He loves us, yet our lives as we see them, He does not love. A difficult understanding indeed to realize that God took the time…

Giving and Receiving Encouragement

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Surely you have instructed many, and you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees; but now it comes upon you, and you are weary; it touches you, and you are troubled. Is not your reverence your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope?”Job 4:3-6
As I was reading through Job this morning, the above verses pulled at my heart. Here was a man in anguish, who had lost almost all he had owned and all he held dear on this earth and was now covered in sores and living in deep anguish and pain with no hope of a better tomorrow. A man who in the past had been a solid pillar of encouragement to the people in is community who themselves had been through troubled times - people he had been willing to instruct and strengthen by sharing with them God's promises of hope and healing. And yet, when this man of faith was himself hurting and in need of encouragement, the first friend of his to speak up onl…

How Much Blessings Do You Want?

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Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
How blessed do you want to be? Blessed enough to receive all that God wants to shower down upon you from heaven? Blessed enough that you will walk with confidence through the gates of heaven into the glorious presence of God? Blessed enough that you would pray for God to remove all the things in your life that get in the way of your total devotion to Him? How about blessed enough to ask the Lord to destroy all that you own on this earth so He can be glorify in what you do through the destruction? I am sorry. Did I go too far on that last question? In our human sensibility maybe I did, but in the scope of God's sensibility I was headed in the perfect direction in my line of questioning.  If you read on you will understand where these questions originated as I read through the text the Lord placed before me this morning.
I can't say that asking God to destroy all we have is probably the pet…