Loving God

loving godThe two greatest commandments deal with love.

Love for God, and love for others.

One would think that both should come naturally to the Christian, and yet far too often they do not.

I’m learning that when my “love” for the Lord is not what it should be, it affects the way I treat my husband, my kids, and my neighbors.

I’m also learning that when I do not love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. That I am not faithful to obey His Word, to rest in Him, or to serve Him.

I just finished reading the book of Joshua, and in chapter 22:5 it says, “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

As I read this, I thought this should be our natural response, but it obviously is not or both Moses and Joshua would not have had to remind the Israelites again and again to be careful to love the Lord.

When I thought deeper, I realized that when we fail to love the Lord as He ask us to love Him, we will also fail to walk in obedience to Him, we will to keep His commandments, we will fail to hold fast to Him, and we will fail to serve Him. For all of this stems from our love for Him.

But on the flip side, when we truly love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will walk in obedience, we will keep His commands, we will hold fast to Him, and we will want to serve Him. And naturally, we will love others as we love ourselves.

In Revelation 2, God holds against the church of Ephesus, was that they had left their first love. Oh they were going through the motions, doing what was right, but it was motivated out of duty rather than love for the Lord. He tells them to repent, and to return to their first love.

It seems many Christians fall into one of two camps. They fail to love God with all of their hearts, and do what is right based on duty and obligation like the church of Ephesus, or they simply turn from the Lord and the things of the Lord.

When I think of what Christ has done on my behalf, I am overwhelmed. I stand in awe of Him, and my desire is to love Him, to please Him, and to serve Him. Yet, when I forget or take for granted what He has done, I lose sight, and love other things more than Him.

Over and over we are told to “remember” because we are so forgetful.

The greatest commandments seems so simple, and yet how do we truly love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength?

I’m finding for myself it means taking time daily to remember what He has done for me, giving Him thanks for these things, and asking Him to give me a deep, deep love for Him, and all that He loves.

In fact, this is what I am praying for my whole family. That God would give us a great love for Him, a love that will then motivate everything that we do.

Loving God is more than some emotional feeling, which seem to come and go. Loving God as He instructs means remembering what He has done, thinking upon the Scriptures, and choosing His way over our own.

May we truly seek to “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27).”

 

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When what God ask doesn’t make sense..

trsting GodI don’t know about you, but it seems oftentimes that what God ask of us doesn’t make sense in my mind or in the eyes of the world.

It’s kind of His theme, a way to see if we will really trust Him.

For example when He told Abram to leave his country, his family, etc and move to the land He would show Him. This didn’t make sense, but in obedience to God, Abram obeyed, and watch God provide.

Or when God chose Moses to deliver His people from Egypt. Though what God asked of Moses seemed impossible, after many excuses, Moses obeyed, and watched God do the impossible.

Today I read about another such instance in Joshua, when God led the people into the promised land by way of the Jordan River.

As I was reading I noticed that the Jordan was at flood stage. Now if they were anything like me, I’m sure as they neared this high, flood stage river, a dozen thoughts were going through their minds. Like how in the world, they would ever get to the other side.

When suddenly the Lord instructs Joshua to tell the priest to go and stand in the river. The Israelites must have watched in amazement as the waters stopped flowing and instead piled in a heap.

Once they got to the other side Joshua was instructed to circumcise the men, putting them at their weakest, while they had enemies on every side. This must have seemed insane, and yet Joshua obeyed. And GOD struck  fear in the hearts of the people so that they did not attack.

Then there is the familiar passage where the Lord instructs Joshua and the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho, they were to march around once each day, not making a sound. Then on the final day, they are told to march around the city seven times, and that on the last time, they are to shout.

I’m telling you this was a crazy battle plan.

But God.

The people began to shout as they marched their final time around the city, and then they stood amazed as the walls began to fall.

In my own life there have been many times I have felt what God was asking of me did not make sense. And far too often I have been consumed with fear as I imagine the worst.

But God.

He is always faithful despite my fears or my doubt.

And just as He did the amazing things listed above for those who trusted Him despite their fears, He can and will do the same for you and me.

Yet, if I’m not careful my fear can far outweigh my faith.

But, I know from the past, that when I let go of the fear, and trust Him with what He is asking of me. That these are the times I clearly see the Lord do the most amazing things in my life.

What is God asking of you today, asking of your family?

Will you allow your fears to overtake your faith? Or will you trust God with all the unknowns, with all the giants you have to face, and with all your fears?

Oh may we be like the saints of old, ready and willing to trust God, even when what He ask doesn’t make sense!

Ready to watch God do that which is beyond human explanation!

Praying for your Teens

I don’t know how it happened. My little boys who use to make mud pies, drive cars through the dirt, and wear cowboy hats and boots, have become teenagers. These boys who use to love being wherever I was, now long to go hang out with their friends.

It is the natural way of life. Yet, I have found that the older they get, the harder I pray. For when they are young, they depended so much on me and their dad. Yet, as they grow older they must learn all the more how to depend upon the Lord.

So I pray regularly for them, not that they’d be a success in the eyes of this “world”, but that they would be pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

10 things to pray for your teens:

1. Pray that they will have their own “real and personal” relationship with the Lord.  One that is not based upon what they have been told, but rather what they have experienced in their own lives with the Lord.

2. Pray that they will desire the things of the Lord more than their own way, and be willing to follow hard after Him. 

3. Pray that they would seek the Lord and His wisdom first before making decisions. Being willing to wait upon the Lord and His perfect timing.

4. Pray that they would seek and desire after a godly mate, and that God would bless them with a wonderful marriage.

5. Pray that they will remain pure until they are married.

6. Pray that no matter what God ask, no matter how big or how small, they will walk in obedience to His leading in their lives.

7. Pray that their lives will reflect their walk with the Lord, that others will see Jesus when they look at them.

8. Pray that they will never become so successful that they depend upon themselves rather than the Lord.

9. Pray that they will raise up their children and your future grandchildren in the ways of the Lord.

10. Pray that they will always know how much they are loved, how special they are, and that “in Christ”, they are perfect.

As a mom we want our kids safe, we want them successful, we want them to have friends, to experience love, to enjoy life….but I’m realizing that more than all of that, our greatest desire should be that they truly love the Lord their God with all of their hearts, mind, and strength.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 1:4

Lessons from Genesis

You are the God whose ways are best (Genesis 15:5). Your ways, and your thoughts are greater than my understanding. Though I can see only now, you see tomorrow, next week, and next year, so you know best. And thought I don’t always understand, I must trust you, rather than try to “help” you, which always leads to trouble.

You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13). You see everything going on in my life. Your concerned with every detail, and what matters to me, matters to you. Nothing is hidden from your sight. You see the burdens on my heart, you see the problems both big and small. You see, and you know.

You are the God with whom all things are possible (Genesis 18:14). No matter what is happening in my life, you are bigger. No matter how difficult a situation I find myself in, nothing is too difficult for you. When things seem or feel impossible, I know it is a small matter to You.

You are the God who keeps His promises (Genesis 22:1-2). What you say, that you will do. It may not be according to my time-table, it may take many years, but I can know and believe that it will happen. For you are always faithful and true, and you can not deny yourself.

You are the God who provides (Genesis 22:14). No matter how big of a need I have, you can fulfill it. You provide just what I need at just the right time. You are able to provide what I need for today, tomorrow, and all the days of my life.

You are the God who whispers to my heart, “Do not fear, for I am with you (Genesis 26:24).” You see, You know, and you care. Yet, despite whatever is taking place in my life, I need not fear. For you are with me. No matter where I am, no matter what I am doing.You are with me, so I need not be afraid.

“You are the God who never forgets me and who hears my prayers (Gen. 29:22).” Though sometimes it feels like you have forgotten me, I am never forgotten. You remember me and my request. For you are the God who hears the cries of my heart, and knows my desires. And though things don’t always happen according to what I think is best, you are at work, and will bring about the request of my heart in your perfect time.

Thank you Lord that though I don’t always understand, and sometimes you feel so far away. You are always there with me, you see and know my heart, and you care about everything that matters to me.

The Greatest Love of All

The greatest love is the love of Christ!

Our Mission to the Himalayas and Beyond

deep love of godWell, I’m probably going to show my age, but I can remember it well, it was my senior year of high school and somehow I had won Most Talented at my school. And was asked to sing for the Favorites Show. I was a nervous wreck! They had asked me to sing a Whitney Houston song nonetheless, “The Greatest Love of All.”Such a nice song, with such a wrong message.

This past Friday as I wandered through the back roads of Kathmandu, headed to find a bus. I heard the bells ringing, smelt the incense burning and passed numerous people bearing the tika on their heads.

And like I often do in such situations, I began to silently pray as I walked the dusty roads. Praying that somehow, someway God would open the eyes of the people here to the Truth of Jesus. Praying that they would understand that…

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A Changed Name

who i am in christHe was known as deceiver from the time of his birth, and lived up to this name. Jacob deceived or tricked his brother Esau into selling his birthright for a bowl of stew. Then later with the help of his mother, deceived his father into giving him, Esau’s blessing.

Jacob gets a taste of his own medicine, when his father-in-law Laban tricks Jacob on his wedding night. Giving him Leah as a bride rather than Rachel.

Later Jacob’s sons learn his ways, and deceive the men of Schecum, when Schecum takes Dina against her will. They claim they will intermarry with this nation, but only if they will be circumcised. Yet, after their circumcision, the sons of Jacob strike them, and plunder them.

Then one day, God who is rich in mercy, changes Jacob’s name. No longer will he be known as deceiver, he will be called Israel, meaning God will prevail.

As I thought upon this today, I was reminded that Jacob did nothing deserving of this new name. Yet, God in His amazing grace, gave him a new name, a new beginning.

And God does the same for each of us.

It matter not what our past is, God makes us a new creation.

Though we may have once been known as sinner, unrighteous, unforgiven, unholy, enemy of God.

When God saves us, He changes our name.

Now we are called forgiven, righteous, redeemed, holy, and child of God.

Yet, it wasn’t enough that God gave Jacob a new name. He desired that Jacob no longer live according to his old name, rather, he was to live according to his new name.

Likewise, God desires not that we continue to live according to our past, to who we once were.

No, He desires that we live in accordance to who we are in Christ!

We do not deserve this new name. We need not do anything to earn it. Yet, God supplies it by His grace.

No longer does He want us to lived defeated, empty lives according to the god of this world.

He has changed us. We are new creations. The old has passed, behold the new has come.

Therefore, may we lay aside all that entangles us, and may we run the race to which God has called us. Living as children of God, who are forgiven, redeemed, righteous, and holy.

I challenge you today to listen not to the enemy who wants to call you by who you once were. Live instead in the grace of God, according to who you are now in Christ.

 

The Who’s Who of Matthew 1

Family-Tree-of-JesusIf your anything like me, you probably come across the genealogies in the Bible and rush through them, or skip them all together. I mean how much can you really get out of a list of names which you can’t even pronounce?!

That is how I felt until one Christmas many years ago when a lady I worked with at Bellevue taught this passage, and suddenly I learned so much.

Now, I love to read the genealogy of Christ because through its reading, I find hope.

Hope because if God could use some of those listed there, He can use me.

The people you find in Christ genealogy are quite surprising, especially the list of women.

Tamar who tricked her father in law into sleeping with her, so she could have children.

Rahab who was a prostitute, yet who hid the spies, and believed God.

Ruth a Moabite (an enemy of God), yet who was willing to follow and care for her mother-in-law, and trust God to care for her.

Bathsheba who had an affair with David.

Mary, a simple peasant girl, yet, no one special.

Then in the list of men, we find, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Manasseh, just to name a few.

David who plotted and planned the murder of Uriah so he could have Bathsheba as his wife.

Solomon who had 700 wives and 300 concubines, who all led him astray.

Hezekiah whose pride and self-sufficiency led to his downfall.

Manasseh, who according to the Bible did more evil than any other king, and who sacrificed his children to other gods. He was downright wicked.

But God…

In each of these lives and all the lives of those listed, God showed up.

Changing and using the least of these to bring forth His Son, the Messiah.

God adores using those the world thinks are useless. He delights in taking the weak, the rejected, the least, and using them to do great things.

For when this happens, He receives all the glory.

Many times the enemy would have us believe God can’t possible use us.

He whispers lies and says we aren’t good enough, we’ve sinned too much. We aren’t qualified, we don’t know enough etc.

But God says, no one is good enough, but we are made righteous and holy through Christ.

God says, our sins are removed from us from as far as the east is from the west, and He remembers them no more.

He says, in Christ we are qualified, for we have every spiritual blessing in Christ.

And God’s Word says that when we don’t know what to say, He will give us the words to say through the Holy Spirit.

We mustn’t believe the enemy… he would love for us to quit, to believe the lies, because then we are no threat to him.

But we must remember that if God can choose and use those listed in the genealogy of Christ to bring forth the Savior of the World.

He can and He will use you and me, when we surrender to Him.

As Christmas draws near, may we never forget why Jesus came. May we not lose sight of His purpose. And may we surrender afresh and anew to the Lord, and how He can use our lives for His glory.

“For He alone is worthy, for He alone is worthy, for He alone is worthy, Christ the Lord.”