Saturday, March 28, 2015

Day 34 of My Lenten Journey

34.  Small View of God

I don't really picture or think about "my view" of God on a regular basis.  When I do think about my view of God here is what I am looking at.
He counts the stars
    and calls them all by name. He covers the heavens with clouds,

    provides rain for the earth,
    and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.
He gives food to the wild animals
    and feeds the young ravens when they cry.
10 He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse
    or in human might.
11 No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
    those who put their hope in his unfailing love.  Psalm 147:4, 8-11
He sends the snow like white wool;
    he scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.
17 He hurls the hail like stones.[a]
    Who can stand against his freezing cold?
18 Then, at his command, it all melts.
    He sends his winds, and the ice thaws. Psalm 147:16-18

You rule over the surging sea;
    when its waves mount up, you still them.  Psalm 89:9

I also think of God when I see these things. 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. Genesis 1:24

So, I think my view of God is pretty big.  He is way bigger than me and I praise him for being omniscient and omnipotent.  

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, March 27, 2015

Day 33 of My Lenten Journey

33. Pride

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins and something God utterly detests.

To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:13

I think the place where I have the

biggest problem in pride and arrogance is musically. After having some success in my very early years, I became prideful thinking, "I did it!" I didn't give much credit to God for any part of it: the gift of my talent, the work put in, the people or the performance.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

How can I take credit for a talent and gift God has given me? As I have grown older and had more experience, I now realize that I was completely full of self-righteousness. I did not do any of it on my own. I have learned to be a bit more humble and my usual comeback when someone says what a great job I did is, "the choir did a great job! God just gave me the gift of waving my arms!"

Every now and then I will still
have an arrogant musical moment. It's usually when I'm bored or frustrated. This is where I need more patience and help to be better before I fall in a bad way.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

It's not what we say about ourselves that matters, it's what we say about God and his glory that is the big deal.

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:18

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Day 32 of My Lenten Journey

32.  Resisting Change

It's inevitable: death and taxes.  I would add to that list--change.  It happens in our lives on a semi-regular basis.  It's not something that we can avoid, yet it is something that is extremely hard for our habitual human nature.  Yet, there is a time for everything.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
  a time to be born and a time to die,
  a time to plant and a time to uproot,
  a time to kill and a time to heal,
  a time to tear down and a time to build,
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
  a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
  a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
  a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 
  a time to search and a time to give up, 
  a time to keep and a time to throw away,
  a time to tear and a time to mend, 
  a time to be silent and a time to speak, 
  a time to love and a time to hate,
  a time for war and a time for peace.  
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 I was blessed by a gift from Stephen through Taylor Davis (click his name to listen) with a musical setting of this passage which was sung at Cavett's baptism.  I was also blessed by Leah King who so beautifully cross-stitched the lyrics and now hangs in my kitchen as a daily reminder.

This scripture has helped me cope with and not resist my life changes over the past 11 years.

When Dadoo passed away and the healing of Mom.

The birth of our kids and the dying of Stephen's dad and my maternal grandparents within 3 months.

Uprooting from Houston to re-plant in Allen.

Mourning my Dadoo but watching my Mom dance with her new husband.

Throwing my resume out and seeing how it stuck and how I'm being gathered in to teaching now.

Maybe the office is next?  Tearing down and building?

The point is God has used all these experiences to guide, stretch and grow me in my relationship with Him.  Each situation is an opportunity for growth and to point to His glory in my situation.  This kind of change is desirable as we know that God is making us new and refining us to be more like Him.

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being
renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on my name and I will answer them;  I will say, "They are my people,"  and they will say, "The Lord is our God."  Zechariah 13:9

So, in our human nature in resisting change, we need to remember that this, too shall pass.  It is for our benefit and the glory of God.  Don't resist change; embrace it.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28 

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18

And, wouldn't it be boring if everything was the same all the time?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 31 of My Lenten Journey

31.  Idolatry

When people hear idolatry these days, they immediately think of things like "American Idol"  or the
Kardashians or some other famous person.  This is not at all what I think of.  I also, don't think about statues of some religious symbol that I bow down and worship.

In the time of the Old Testament, idols were a rampant problem.  People would put faith in a piece of wood, stone or metal and hope that it could do  something for them.  It replaced the one true, holy and powerful God.  And, from the get go God pronounced any worship of idol was wrong.

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to then or worship them.  Exodus 20:4-5

We are sinful people and the Israelites were no different.  They were constantly lead astray.  Moses came down from getting the 10 Commandments and there they were breaking rule number 2!  The book of Hosea even uses imagery of adulterous behavior to represent the Israelites problem with idolatry.  Even today there are religions that bow down to statues and think they hold some power on their lives.  Idolatry is different for me, but no less troublesome.

They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them.  Psalm 106:36

For me, idolatry is anything that comes before God and receives more importance first in my life than Him. Idols are anything in my life that make me forget the Lord or make me want to spend less time with God.

Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God's love for them.  Jonah 2:8

What is that in my life today that is an idol?  I would definitely say my iPhone and the internet.  They
can be useful tools and they can help me and others study the Word of God.  There are tons of apps for that, including my favorite, Bible Gateway.  But, it can be a problem if not left in check.  How many times do I wake up in the morning and check Facebook, my email or the weather before I pray? All too often.  It gets in the way sometimes of my relationship with God and therefore, I consider it an idol.

So, here I am confessing my sin in idolatry.  My plan is to change my pattern and make sure to start my day off with God first and check my phone later.  Will I sometimes fail?  Yes, but God is merciful and he always forgave the Israelites when they confessed as well.  The point is, we do our best asking for his help and trust God for the rest.

Dear children, keep yourself from idols.  1 John 5:21

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 30 of my Lenten Journey

30. Worry

See how the flowers of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Matthew 6:28
I feel like I have come to grips with this one.  Worry and anxiety are some things that a ton of people struggle with, people near and dear to my heart.  Don't get me wrong, I do have quickly fleeting thoughts filled with worry, but I have learned to give this one to God pretty quickly.

When Dadoo passed away 12 years ago, my life was turned upside down.  I knew I was not in control. There was no way that I could change anything.  I had to trust God and let him worry about it all.  I just couldn't deal with it.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

Worrying accomplishes nothing except to give you stress.  There is nothing wrong with realistically acknowledging your problems and thinking of solutions, but many times there is no solution other than trusting God.  For example, when Stephen began to take flying lessons, I wasn't going to stop him from doing it.  He made his choice to go up in the air in a tiny plane with one propeller.  I had 2 choices:  worry about him and his safety, or commit to prayer and give his safety over to the Lord.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  Matthew 6:27

When I do have something that is troubling me, the first thing I do is pray.  That is all I can do.   Nothing is too big or too small for Him.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

When we give Him our problems, he, in turn, give us his peace.  The peace of God that passes all understanding.  Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.  That only comes from the Lord.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

Maybe it is because I committed many of theses verses to memory long, long ago as a child or maybe it is that I just really feel I have His peace now.  Either way, I will thank God, the Prince of Peace, every day.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Day 29 of My Lenten Journey

29.  The Quick Fix

My most common desire of a quick fix is usually associated with my weight.  I LOVE to eat and drink.  But it is a daily struggle of watching what I eat and working out.  It takes hard work and time, but when my weight does go up, I want it gone.  And, I want it gone fast. Some remedies (cleanses, extreme diets, etc.) work for short amount of time.   But, it can't be sustained.  It's just a temporary, quick fix without lasting results.   Rarely does true transformation happen in 21 days or even overnight.   It takes discipline, which at its root word means to learn.

I recently read a Beth Moore article where she states, "Any kind of compulsive behavior represents an internal need for control. Anything that continues to make us feel shame or like we are less than we are in Christ, anything that steals our dignity in Christ is a stronghold that we need to be free of."  God is not a drive through window offering up Spirit-filled lives and quick fixes and answers to problems.  

God doesn't specifically speak of being over weight in the Bible, but he does talk about how he wants me to be transformed each day to be more and more like Him in my heart.   This is not a quick fix, but a slow transformation over time.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:18

We must trust God and be his disciple.  There is no magic wand or quick fix.  We need to seek his will and live with endurance in obedience to him and we will be transformed to be more like him over time.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 28 of My Lenten Journey

28.  Disunity

Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  2 Timothy 2:23-24