Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Step of Obedience

For 7-8 months I have not been obeying. I’ve about reached the point of being miserable because of it. I’m reading and studying God’s Word and praying but I’m still feeling like I’m stranded in a cave half way up the cliff. Nothing in front of me but fog and behind me is a dark cave with who-knows what lurking inside.

I know God has heard me. I know He’s still there. But I feel like I’m lost in the fog. I don’t want to go into the cave. I mean, I really, REALLY do NOT want to go into the cave, but the ledge I’m standing on seems to be getting smaller every day.

So what am I to do?
The simple answer is easy: Obey.
But things…life is never as simple or easy as that. Especially that particular word.
Obey.
But how can I obey when I know what it will involve? I know the time it will require. The focus. The energy. What if it means I have to choose between obedience and some (or worse, all ) of the things I’ve come to treasure?

I know why I feel like I’m lost in the fog.
Why it feels like God is far from me, and the space between us is ever increasing.
Why it feels like God is no longer talking to me.
My head knows He’s still there but my heart is missing His nearness, His voice.
It’s because I haven’t obeyed.
I haven’t done the thing I KNOW He wants for me to do this year.
God’s quit talking to me because I have yet to do the thing He’s already to me to do. I can’t take another step anywhere until I go back and do that one thing.

It’s a truth I’ve seen over and over again in my own life and in my friends’ lives. It’s a truth I enforce in my kids…
Until you do this (whatever this may be)
you cannot move ahead to the next thing.

So here I am, taking a step of obedience.

Dear Lord, forgive me for being so obstinate, for even now digging my heels in, fearful of what obedience will require. I want to obey You. Really I do. I want to feel close to You again. I want the joy and peace…YOUR joy and peace that comes with obedience. Help me to obey You because I cannot obey in my own strength. I’ve been trying and it doesn’t work. Please, Lord, give me YOUR power to obey, to do the thing You’ve given me to do.
SaveSave
SaveSave

Monday, October 17, 2016

Get Closer

It’s a dreary day outside and I was reminded of a lesson I learned in photography…

When the light is poor, get closer.

Closer allows you to see so much more. More color. More detail. The dreariness fades into the background as you’re consumed by color and detail. Things you couldn’t see from a distance are not only visible up close but beautiful.

That’s so true in our Christian lives too.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

When the light is dim, when it’s hard to see our path, get closer. Closer to Jesus, the Light of the world. Sit with the Word of God and read. Sometimes the only thing we can do when our world goes dark is get closer to Him and immerse ourselves in His Word. We can’t see which way to go. We can’t see where our path is or what’s on it. But we can read His promises. We can meditate the promises of God that we’ve hidden in our hearts. Words of life and light.

We still may not be able to see our path or know which way to go, but we will be closer to God, the One who goes before us and promises to never leave us.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6

On dark and dreary days get closer to God. Up close we see so much more. More color. More detail. More beauty.

Get close.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Diligence

For the past couple years I’ve had a word for the year. It has been such a help to me! Each word has helped me grow in ways I didn’t anticipate.

In November, when I realized how fast New Year’s was coming, I started asking God for my word. My experience has been that settling on one word for the year was…not as easy as you’d think. LoL. So, I started early. Surprisingly, within days I knew my word for 2016. I was amazed. And terrified. I have to admit, I hoped the word would change into something easier, nicer, even inspiring, but no. The word didn’t budge. Didn’t even wiggle.


(See what I mean?!)
I’m consistently INconsistent, so the thought of this word does awful things to me. Truly.

BUT…
As I look at 2016 and the things I want to do mixed in with the things I need to do, all overlaid with family and balance, I know the only way anything on my want-to-do list is going to be accomplished is through diligence.

Daily diligence in the little things.

Because the little things done diligently add up to bigger things.

My head knows this and I’ve experienced it, but putting this into practice when I have five other things pulling me different directions…well, let’s just say I’m very good at putting out fires and getting stuff done that needs to be done, and putting off things that I can put off. Like the things I want to do. The problem is that the things on my want-to-do list are things I believe God has called me to do. But those things aren’t standing beside me, pulling on my pant leg saying “Mom. Mom! MOM!!” (or some variation of that. You know what I’m saying.) Those things are part of that quiet voice in my heart. The voice that’s so easy to miss or set aside when the roar of life gets loud.

And there lies a good part of the issue.

The need to prioritize (shudder) and see that those things on my want-to-do list are so much more than that. They are actually my heart’s list of things I see that God has given me to do. Things that God has given me as a gift, just as He gifted the Levites with the service of the Tabernacle and Temple.

When I see those things for what they really are—gifts from God and things He has called me to do—I can prioritize my time and energy and resources to get them done. One small thing at a time.



Because little things done diligently add up.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How I Established My Devotional Time

For the past couple years I’ve had a word for the year. This last year it was Arise! Complete with the exclamation point, mind you. I have to tell you, I did not figure it meant literally, but it seems it did.

With all the changes going on in my life over the last couple years, my quiet time has bounced around a fair bit. Getting the time and the quiet was…tough. Some days it was impossible…because of how I ordered my days.

When God gave me Arise! for 2015 I thought it referred to arising to the challenge or arising to a new season in my life, NOT arising early in the morning. I’m fond of my bed in the morning. It’s so warm and comfy and snuggly with my hubs. Being the first one out of bed in the morning is not my idea of fun.

At least, it wasn’t.

Then my awesome Sunday School teacher challenged us to ask God for help doing something we knew we should do but hadn’t been able to. Something like not eating too many Little Debbie cakes in one day or spending time in God’s Word. So, I did.



How I (almost) painlessly established my early morning devotions

  1. Ask God to wake me up in the morning.
  2. Commit to obeying and getting up when He wakes me.
  3. Obey and GET UP when God wakens me.
  4. Thank God for waking me.

Remember I said almost painlessly?
There were mornings I groaned when my eyes popped open before I was ready. Those times I would roll over and try to go back to sleep. It never worked for more than a few minutes because I was guaranteed to soon have a massive headache and I’d have to get out of bed simply to relieve it. (Headaches are part of my life.)

I learned to be thankful for not just the days God woke me, but also for the headaches. Often, thanks to them, I had extra time with God and those times were special.

Arise!
It does, after all, mean get up.
Rise to the challenge by asking God for help.




Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A Personal Win In Spite of Losing

When Cheryl and I started the NaBloPoMo on November 5, our goal was daily posting for 30 days. Unfortunately, neither one of us made it but it wasn't a wasted effort. In the past, both of us have been avid bloggers but recently, with how our lives have changed, our blogs had fallen silent.

My goals were to get past the hurdle of a silent blog and to see how blogging would look for me at this stage in my life, and if I’m totally honest, to see if I could juggle it with everything else and if I even wanted to blog. Those goals were all met, even though I only posted 17 times in 30 days.

In one way I didn’t reach my goal. 17 out of 30 is a pretty pathetic percentage, BUT I’m counting it as a personal win. Here’s why…

  • I struggle with balance and I was determined to keep blogging in balance with the rest of my life and responsibilities. And I did. Thanksgiving week hit and my life slipped into high gear. I needed to focus on family and then work, and I did.
  • Jumping back into blogging like I did forced me over the hurdle I had been camped at for too long.
  • I found that I could add blogging back into my schedule, but it took determination and discipline. Lots of both, mixed with a generous portion of time—something I need to work on.
  • A major goal for those 30 days was to see what I posted when scrambling for posts (like I knew I would, LoL). I wanted to see if my focus had shifted while I was away from here. It was cool to see what came out. Because I didn’t make it the 30 days, I didn’t even get through my list of post ideas, and I didn’t touch the topics that I know are favorite soap-boxes of mine. But it was still enough to give me the answers I sought.

All told, blogging 17 days out of the hoped-for 30 days is a win for me. I remembered that I love blogging. I remembered the work it is yet how rewarding it can be. And I remembered how it kicks my creativity and thinking into gear and gets me rolling.

It was a very worthwhile endeavor.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Execute the Excuses

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m reading in the book of Judges right now, and the men there have really caught my attention, in unexpected ways. So, I’ve been thinking about them and poking around in their business. After being slapped by what Shamgar had to teach me,  I went back to read about Ehud again in Judges 3:12-30. He’s the left handed Benjamite who was mentioned just before Shamgar.

Let me tell ya, Ehud did not pull his left-handed punch as I read and reread his story.

Click to make bigger.
Warren Wiersbe says “the text of Judges 3:15 can be translated ‘a man handicapped in the right hand,’ which suggests that he was not ambidextrous at all but albe to use only his left hand.” If it’s true that Ehud was handicapped, then that might have helped him gain a private audience with the king of Moab. Instead of using his handicap as an exemption clause, he used it as part of his strategy and then followed it up with more action. He led Israel to victory over Moab and the nation had 80 years of peace.

Ehud did not let his handicap stop him from doing what God called him to do. He didn’t make excuses why he couldn’t. Instead, he relied on God and learned to work with and around his handicap.

If I want to succeed or even move forward in what God has called me to do, then I need to follow Ehud’s example and quit making excuses. I need to quit believing those excuses and basing my actions and my life on them.

There will always be excuses.
There will always be speed bumps.
There will always be obstacles.
My job is to follow Ehud. Adapt, learn what I need to, make the necessary adjustments and press on.

Only as I execute the excuses will I be able to move forward in obedience.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Reviewing Bible Memory Passages - Part 1

Bible memory. Scripture memorization.Patty Wysong at Patterings

I cannot tell you how much Scripture memorization has helped me this last year and the last few months in particular. It's made a big difference in my Bible study time, in what I take away from studying, in the satisfaction I find in my studying, and especially in my thought life.  Memorizing Bible verses has been a game changer for me.

Part of my Scripture memorization this time around has been relearning passages I had memorized years ago. I was encouraged to see how quickly I was able to relearn them! Yet even as I relearned them and added them to my "rolodex of Scripture" I wondered how I was going to keep them all in my head. My brain is like Swiss cheese...it's full of holes (so things seem to fall out as fast as I put them in my brain). So, I did some digging on ideas for reviewing the Bible verses you've memorized, and I found this gem with John Piper...



After watching this I found that I stressed less about remembering every verse. Knowing how I work, that itself will be a help.

I'm also putting together a list of verses that I want to have ready and available on the tip of my tongue, to pull out and use at any time. These passages are ones that I feel will help me where I am now and with what I see my ministry is.

So tell me, what is one Scripture passage that you want ready in your mind? 
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