Archive for the ‘Divine Sensitivity’ Category

I’m Down and Out

I must admit it . . . my faith is weak right now.

I’m tired of trying to figure out why. There are plenty of reasons “why,” but they don’t really matter anymore. The fact is, I’m here in a valley and I want to find the road outta here fast!

I’ve prayed like the man who came to Jesus asking the Master to heal his demon-possessed son, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”(Mark 9:24) It sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? If I say I believe, then why is there still unbelief? After all, I do believe God can do all things.

The thought that is on the surface for me, is that I doubt myself. I’ve believed God has called me to do a certain task, and now I’m looking at myself (not a pretty sight!) and I’m looking at my seemingly lousy circumstances and figuring that I’ve been wrong.

I didn’t really hear God’s voice.

But then again, I think that’s sort of a cop out. God doesn’t really need me to be special in order to do His will. So when I look deeper, I see that I actually have a lack of faith in God because my circumstances aren’t panning out like I think they should.

But who am I to know what God’s will or activities look like? How do I know whether He is busy in the unseen spiritual realm making huge changes or not?

When I look back on my life and study the silent or quiet times of my walk with God (and there are plenty of those to choose from), I see that very often those were the times God was the busiest. Sure, He might not have been busy with my circumstances on those occasions, but He was busy in a bigger and more profound way in my heart. Oh, how I pray that is true this time around!

Are you facing a challenge in your life right now that has you questioning God?

Have you prayed about a certain matter over and over and still there’s no visible change in your circumstances?

Would you be willing to share what you’re struggling with in my comment section?

And if you’re not struggling, would you mind praying for me that Christ would help me to overcome my unbelief?

Thanks so much, Friends!

This post is linked toNo Ordinary Blog Hop and

Fill ‘er up!

Meditation is a cultural buzz word these days. I hear it everywhere from Dr. Oz to Julia Roberts. It seems as if this word is thrown around like a Frisbee to anyone who wants to play! And I know that I’m stepping into controversial waters with some, but I just have to say . . .

I don’t believe that Christian meditation and eastern meditation (or perhaps more appropriately, “popular meditation”) are the same thing.

Eastern mediation involves emptying your mind. Your only focus—if any—should be on your breathing. The goal is to reach the state of No Mind,” which is praised in Zen literature.

In contrast, Christian meditation is about filling your mind with God’s truth, His Word and listening for His still small voice. Instead of pursuing “No Mind,” it is taking on the Mind of Christ.”

First of All

I think many are being duped into thinking that one is as good as the other. In my opinion, there is no comparison. One may bring calmness, but the other brings truth and life. I also believe that although eastern meditation may bring a sense of calmness, it’s a dangerous practice that leaves you open and vulnerable to spiritual influences. Remember, you are to . . .

“Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (CEV)

And

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:11 (NLT)

Second of All

Even though “meditation” has become popular in our culture, for Christians, it is an often neglected yet important spiritual practice. Just as our gas tanks run empty, so do our spiritual tanks. We need to “fill ‘er up” so to speak and here are some ways to do so with meditation . . .

Ways to Meditate

  1. Memorize a Bible verse and meditate on it when you’re facing a stressful, tempting or painful moment.
  2. Pray a Bible verse, using your name or personal pronouns where appropriate.
  3. Read over a special verse, stopping and focusing on the first word to really absorb its meaning. Then reread the verse focusing on the second word this time. Repeat until each word has been given special focus. Consider if the verse has taken on a new meaning to you.
  4. Envision a Bible passage, such as the 23rd Psalm. Imagine a scene with Christ, as your Shepherd, leading you beside still waters, etc. What does it feel like? Look like? Smell like?

These are just a sampling of ways. It certainly is not an exhaustive list.

Do you have some ways that you meditate on God and His Word? If so, share your ideas with us!

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”Romans 12:2 (NLT)

My Humiliating Misstep

Have you ever gotten so obsessed with doing something that you did something really stupid in the process?

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I have done this so many times it’s not funny. But on this occasion, I was simply going to church and hurrying to find a certain person before the service began. My mistake came when I tried to scan the crowd for this person while walking.

So here I am, walking briskly up to the glass doors in front of our church. I passed through the first set unscathed. But there’s this second set you must pass through in order to step inside the atrium. I probably slipped to the side of the glass door to get another angle before stepping inside, and as I did, I failed to notice that the door was now to my right.

Now remember, I was busy scanning!

But my perpetual motion left me running smack dab into a glass wall!

Here’s a secret I discovered:

The good thing about a glass entryway is that you can easily see whoever is on the other side of the glass, and the bad thing about a glass entryway is that everyone else can easily see whoever is on the other side of the glass—and in my case, crashing into it!

As I peeled my nose off of the newly smudged glass wall, I was quickly jolted back to reality. And just as I was, I caught sight of a teen boy who was on the other side. I didn’t stay long enough to see who else had caught sight of my utter humiliation. Unfortunately, it was probably a dozen or so high school boys who were there for a youth focused weekend retreat. But I digress.

My point is – I have a tendency to get caught up in “doing things” before I walk through a door. It’s not that the “things” I’m doing are bad necessarily. It’s just that I need to focus on taking one step at a time. Very often when I worry about and try to do the two or three things that are miles down the road, I run into a wall.

It may be. . .

  • a wall of self-doubt or
  • a wall of resisting God or
  • a wall that requires more skill or dedication or faith than I’ve allowed God to build in me up to that point

In other words, the time is not right for me to proceed forward. I need to slow down and listen to what step God may be prompting me to do that I thought was unimportant, already accomplished or didn’t even know was a need. I guess this is my reminder, and hopefully yours too, that we need to slow down enough to keep in step with God and listen for what He wants us to do each step of the way in our lives.

So what is one step that God wants you to take today?

Mine is to remember that it doesn’t depend on me. And to trust God, who is able to face those challenges down the road with and through me!

Resisting or Resting?

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Generally, my condition is well-controlled by the medication I take. But I have this rogue knee that gives me trouble almost constantly.

When I was 13 I had surgery to remove a torn cartilage in one of my knees. Decades ago, that was the way doctors handled that kind of problem. Nowadays they’ve realized that they need to leave a whole lot more of that natural cushion in our knees than they first thought was needed. So not only do I struggle with RA in that knee, but bone on bone, osteoarthritis as well.

So I must rest.

In fact, I think that is one of the primary reasons God allowed me to have RA—just so I would slow down every once in a while!

But there are so many wonderful things that God teaches me and develops in me when I rest—things that I would miss if I were still going a hundred miles an hour! Of course, I get frustrated whenever it flares, but maybe I need to think of it as a blessing in disguise. Maybe God is gently nudging me to slow down, sit beside Him in green pastures and rest. After all, that is where He is able to restore my soul.

Is there something in your life that God is using to get you to slow down?

Are you resisting it or resting in it?

Take a moment to meditate on this familiar passage. Imagine yourself resting with your Savior as you sit beside a babbling brook. Ask Him to restore your soul today.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23 (NIV)

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Does God Have an Easy Button?

Since the Super Bowl was this past Sunday, my mind has been going towards memorable commercials. Now, I don’t know if the “Easy Button” commercial was a Super Bowl classic, but it’s one of my all-time faves. That’s because I often wish there was an “Easy Button” for life.

Two weeks ago, I posed the question, “Is God’s Will Always a Success Story?” I posed that question because I think there’s something inherent in each one of us that not only wants things to go well, but also to go easily. And I think many Christians are under the mistaken notion that if you are in the middle of God’s will, all will not only go well, but also be easy. Are you familiar with the “Doctrine of Christian-ease?”  If not, here it is: if it’s God’s will, he will open the door, or even better, “if he doesn’t open a door, he opens a window,” blah, blah, blah.

But what if you’ve endured years of hardship and unending pain? What if you’ve hit the floor every morning to pray for God to act in some way to improve your situation, and yet you remain in what feels like “the wilderness”? Does that mean you are not in God’s will?

When we look at the lives of those in the Bible who were submitted to and living out God’s will, we discover that God’s will didn’t guarantee it would be easy. Of course, sometimes the biblical characters caused the delay or difficulties by their own sinful choices. But very often, God had a purpose in the pain each person endured.

For example:

  • God made Abraham wait until he was 100 years old before he gave Abraham his promised son. It wasn’t Abraham’s fault for the delay—simply God’s plan to display His power.
  • In Joseph’s case, God used years of slavery, false accusations, and imprisonment as a tool to prepare Joseph for the second biggest job in the land of Egypt. It appears that Joseph was nothing but faithful to God during those dark years. So, where was Joseph’s door or window during that dark time?
  • God used the persecution, trials, and death of Christ to demonstrate the devotion Christ had to the Father and to each one of us. Pain was the very mode God used to accomplish his will.
  • The same could be said for every one of the apostles who lived an imprisoned, persecuted and beaten life, all so that the gospel could be spread. In fact, very often God used the persecutions to move the apostles into new and different territory—thereby spreading the gospel far and wide.

Sometimes I get discouraged and question if I am in God’s will because things continue to be so difficult. But when I look at all that can only be accomplished by the pain I experience in lifeand not the easeI realize that I need to kick the “Easy Button” to the curb and trust God to bring it on!

Is God’s Will Always a Success Story?

I’ve often struggled to understand God’s will. And once I’ve felt like I’ve understood it, very often I’ve had to go through some really hard and scary places. Those times are hard enough, but even harder are the times when I go through what feels like a place of failure. It’s at those times that I question if I’ve remained within God’s will.

From a practical point of view, I know that it has been in the tough times that I’ve learned the most. Perhaps that was all God was trying to accomplish in that situation.

I guess we all want that “happy ending” or that “miraculous event,” so that we can proclaim confidently that we were a part of a “God thing!” Today, I’m questioning that line of logic. It sounds all nice and poetic, but is it theologically sound?

Before I move on to pose the question to you, allow me to clarify. First of all, I’m not saying that God’s will has to go smoothly. Second of all, I’m not saying God’s will has to have trouble.

I’m just wondering, if we remain in God’s will, unhindered by our sin or other’s sin, should God’s will look like a success story–at least on some level?

After all, when I look look at the people in the Bible, I see many examples when they encountered difficulties, while being smack dab in the middle of God’s will. But were those difficulties they encountered a result of their sins or the sins of others, rather than God throwing them a curve ball?

What do you think?

If it’s God’s will, do you think it should always turn out “successfully” in our lives?

If so, what does being “successful” involve?

When God Doesn’t Seem to See Your Pain

Recently I pulled out some old journals that I kept religiously from about 1995 to 2000. I was amazed at some of the stories I recounted in the little book of my everyday life. But there was one story that really stood out—that seemed to tell more than just a story of my life, but of God’s faithfulness.

My husband and I were going through a painful trial in a church where we had been serving, and I had found great comfort in my “closet” of all things! I would go there and pray when one of my sons, who was only about two at the time, would take a nap. Here’s what I wrote in my journal about that experience:

“I was praying in my closet today. I had the door cracked just a little so I could see out, but I had the closet light off so no one could see in. I began to pray and pour out my heart, as well as tears, before the Lord. My questions to Him were, ‘Where are you, Lord? Are you working? Am I all alone in this? Will you deliver us?’

Just as I was in the middle of that excruciating time, I heard [my son] come into my room. He had just awakened from his nap and was carrying two big books under his arm. When he came into the bedroom and saw that I wasn’t there, he dropped his books and began to cry in despair. Then he ran from the room, frantically looking for me. He felt abandoned and alone.

That seemed to clearly picture how I felt with God. And yet there I sat watching the entire scene and [my son] didn’t know I was just inches away. I prayed that God would show Himself to me and Gary [my husband] just as I would show myself to [my son] and ease his loneliness and fears.

What a beautiful reminder God has given me. He is only in the shadows too! I hope I never forget.”

Are you wondering if God is aware of your pain?

Do you feel like He isn’t helping you, isn’t near you, won’t come through for you?

Just remember that even though you may not see Him, He is there and He cares.

I know, because He’s proven His faithfulness to me time after time after time. (And yes, as my now teenage sons often remind me, that means I’m getting old!)

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.” “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” —Psalm 34:15, 17-18 (NIV)

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