Friday, September 30, 2011

Listening and Hearing...

September 30, 2011

Ezekiel 20:8 but they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, not did they forsake the idols of Egypt

Am I willing to listen? Isn’t that the question? Am I willing to listen and hear that what I want might not be the outcome that God wills? Isn’t that the even better question? I find myself wondering as I read these passages of people who were willing, no matter what the situation or circumstance, someone had to be willing to put aside their desire for what was God’s will. I wonder what or how that was possible. Being willing…is turning out to be the hardest thing I have encountered as a Christian. Being willing to accept that God’s will might be different than my own is extremely difficult. And not because I think I know more than God, not because I don’t know that God  knows all things and is in control and not because I don’t whole-heartedly believe that God wants the best for me; but because believing that God’s will is different than what I desire is hard. It’s hard to accept that what is, is what will be.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hardheaded and Stubborn...

September 29, 2011

Ezekiel 3:7 But the house of Israe will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not wiling to listen to me: because all of the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart

Are we hardheaded and stubborn; do we only want things to go our way and no other? Are we willing to obey only so long as we get what we think we should out of a situation? In other word, are we putting conditions on our wiliness to obey? I’m learning much about being willing, and most of what I have learned is that being willing is a lot like having peace. Peace is not connected to our circumstances; rather, peace is something we have despite them. We have peace because we know God is in control and Christ resides in us. Being willing is like that; we aren’t willing just because we want a certain outcome. Or we aren’t willing in order to get a certain outcome. We are willing because God is in control and Christ resides in us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Honoring Obedience

September 28, 2011

Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;

I don’t think we should look at willingness to obey God as a means to get something; as a means from which blessings are delivered to us. Willingness isn’t the way in which we earn something; yet, God in His word is very clear about honoring obedience, and the manner in which He does so is making us more like Christ. Who better to learn willingness from; who better to model willingness than Christ? He is the perfect picture of being willing. God will honor those who are willing, and since He knows the heart of man, I wonder what He thinks of those who fake willing obedience?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

They Rejoiced...

September 27, 2011

1 Chronicles 29:9 Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord…

They rejoiced. It’s apparent that some sort of sacrifice was made whether it was monetary or time or whatever; they had to give up something. Instead of being resentful for that sacrifice they were rejoicing. They were happy. Wouldn’t we be the same? Wouldn’t we find much greater peace and happiness in the actual cheerful giving of our sacrifice (be it money or time or energy or whatever…) than we would ever get from what we sacrificed. I think I fail to see that; I fail to see that my reward is greater than my unwillingness to do whatever I’m called to do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Being Devoted and Dedicated

September 26, 2011

1 Chronicles 29:5 …Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?

Sometimes we know what a word might mean in a general sense, like how to use it in a sentence without really knowing its definition. That was the case with me and consecration. I know its general meaning but really did not know its definition. So, I looked it up. Consecrate means “to devote or dedicate to some purpose”; that’s an interesting way to look at willing. It really defines what our attitude of being willing means. Are we “willing” to devote or dedicate” ourselves to God and His work, whatever that might be? I think that our attitude probable reflects a more situation by situation willingness to serve. We are willing, but only if we enjoy, approve or like the situation. However, our attitude of willingness gets a little less when we have issues with what we are called to do; if it gets a little harder to be truly willing and we start faking it. I’m afraid I don’t see that attitude reflected in this verse (or in any of them so far, honestly); I see only an attitude of being devoted to God no matter the circumstance.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Faking it...

September 23, 2011

1 Chronicles 28:9 and you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a wiling mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him he will be found but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

“To serve with a whole heart and a willing mind”…I’ve done that before but I’ve also done the opposite. I’ve put the same smile on my face as always, and did the work that I knew I could do. I can fake it pretty good when I have to, however, that’s not a thing to be proud of. It was not done in secret. Granted those around me never knew that I had done that, that I was faking my willingness or my happiness, but God did. God knows the hearts of men and He knows what motivates us. He will know when my heart is willing or when I am merely just going through the motions just because, and He will also know the anger that breeds within me. I tell my children all the time that what they do in secret is always known to God, perhaps I should remember that myself! He will know when I am willing or when I am faking.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So they came...

September 22, 2011

Exodus 35:22 So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.

 I was asked a question, well; it wasn’t really directed to me but more a general question. But I was forced to confront myself about whether or not I was willing to do something. I came to the conclusion that I am unsure how to go about making myself willing. I mean either you are or you aren’t, so I have always assumed. Whenever I am in a situation like this, it is my habit to do a word study for my quiet times, so that I might learn what God says about that particular subject. So, for the next little while I’m going to be studying “willingness” and what the Bible says about it. Willing is defined as “Cheerfully consenting or ready.” OK, so I already know that I am failing in this situation so far because I’m anything but cheerful about it. In the verse above, Moses had previously called the Children of Isareal to contribute gold to be brought in order that they might build the tabernacle. This verse represents their willingness to give up their “money” so to speak, in order that God’s Tabernacle could be built to His exact specifications. It is assumed that some of this wealth is a result of things the Israelites were given as they fled Egypt; yet, they willingly gave it up for God. That I guess is the question; being willing to let go of whatever we are holding on to, whatever we have in order to obey God. Asking our self, is God worth giving up anything in order to obey? Sometimes that question is easier to answer and to obey but many times it isn’t; many times it’s a battle to just admit that you can’t.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our Time is Now...

September 21, 2011

John 6:67-71/7:1-24

V 6 Jesus said to them, “my time has not yet come, but your time is always here

“Your time is always here…” do we take advantage of the time that we have here on Earth; I wonder. I wonder if we live knowing that we really only have today; that is all that we have been promised. I know we know these things; I know that I know this and I believe it’s true. Yet, I think mostly we just try not to think about it for whatever reason whether it’s we are too busy doing busy things or we are scared to think about it, we are scared to think about what those possibilities might mean. However, Jesus is telling His disciples that it’s always their time. It’s always time to do the work that we are called to do; we don’t have to wait until something tragic happens or we don’t have to wait till Sunday we can do His work today…since that’s all we have anyway!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Keep On Keeping On...

September 20, 2011

John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him

John Macarthur calls this an abrupt departure. One moment they are following and listening to what Jesus is saying and the next they are gone. They didn’t like what He had to say; it was hard for them to get beyond what they had been taught to hear what He was trying to teach them. Jesus’ life is an example to us in many ways, well in every way really. His life shows us how others might treat us and His life shows us how to accept that treatment. There will be many who will never understand why we do the things we do or why the choices we make are so often contrary to popular opinion; yet, this is no reason not to make those choices. Jesus didn’t change His message when others didn’t accept and left Him; nope, He continued on in His Father’s will. This is the same for us; we can’t just choose to stop what we are doing when we meet opposition because it will come. No, we must model ourselves after Jesus, and keep on.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"...for the life of the world."

September 19, 2011

John 6:51 …the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh

The Book of John is absolutely full of statements like this. You almost can’t take it all in at once; I’m discovering I need processing time to really soak up its meaning. However, it is a very straight forward book about Jesus and His love for us and His Father. I can see why it would be a great place to start if you wanted to really find out about Jesus and His love for you. It’s been a while since I’ve read John and I’m discovering verses that I’ve never seen before. Today is an example of that…”…the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh”. We have already seen that He called Himself “The Bread of Life”, so it would stand to reason that He is speaking of giving Himself up for the life of the World. For people who will mock Him; for people who even after accepting Him will many times choose their sin over devotion. For this He gives Himself for the life of the world. I think that’s convicting…don’t’ you?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Challenge and The Comfort of Manna...

September 16, 2011

John 6:49

V 49 your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died

Thinking about God’s provision of the manna in the wilderness for the Children of Israel both challenges me and comforts me. He provided for them food when they would have died of starvation. He gave them food that fell from the sky; directly by His hand. This is what comforts me; God provided for them their food. There is something so personal about a Father feeding His children. God did this both physically and spiritually. He will do the same for me; I won’t get manna from Heaven, true, but He has promised that His will is for my good. The children of Israel reactions to this mana, this heavenly food, are what challenge me. To put it plainly, they spent a good amount of time grumbling and complaining about the manna. They were tired of it; they wanted something more. Now, it’s easy for us in the microwave generation to sit in our air-conditioned homes and judge these people harshly. But I doubt that we are much different. How many times have we complained to God about His provisions for us? How many times have we wished for a bigger…? (You fill in the blank); in so doing we are complaining about what God has provided for us. So, maybe we aren’t that much different from the Children of Israel after all. This is what challenges me. I want to always live in a state of thankfulness to God for His provision, not to wish I had more.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Root and The Bread...

John 6:42-48

V 48 I am the bread of life 

I love the picture that represents; I always have. I have written about it many times on this blog, in my journals. I have so much written to remind myself that “eating of the bread” is what sustains me; it is what makes the Christian walk I’m trying to lead possible. Last night in a class on the last chapter of Revelation, I heard of another way to descried Jesus. In Revelation 22:16 Jesus says, “I am the root…”, and when I read that I thought of John 6 where He said “I am the bread of life”. There are many similarities with these two statements. The bread or food to the life of a human is vitally important. We cannot live with out it. The same with the root of a tree; the root is fundamental to the survival of the tree. It sustains the tree; it controls the growth of the tree, it supports the tree, and it feeds the tree. The root helps secure the tree in times of storm. Jesus is that to us. He is our root. He is the food that sustains us, protects us, and I am constantly amazed that He desires to know us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


September 14, 2011

John 6:38-41

V 41 So the Jews grumbled about him…

In the NKJ version of the bible the word complained is used instead of grumbled. The Jews in this verse were listening to Jesus tell them who He was; the Son of God who had been sent to do His Father’s work. Those in the crowd who were listening to Him were upset because He was putting Himself on equal footing with God. However, I’m sure their upset rested more in the fact that Jesus was a threat to their authority than their anger on God’s behalf. So, they complained. That’s a human reaction to something that happens that we don’t like, isn’t it. Something that we haven’t planned for or something that will cause us to change what we believe happens and we immediately start complaining. Here these people we talking to Jesus and all they could think to do was complain. How easy it is for us to judge them and for us to say we wouldn’t have done the same thing? But we probably would have…

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


September 13, 2011

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us…

I was confronted with this a few days ago. Why do I do the things I do?  For what reason can I give those who ask me why my family has chosen some of the things we have. I could go into lots of reasons for our choices and they are all good and true. I think in our lives there are always lots of reasons we choose to do or not do something. Yet, what is the overwhelming reason; the main one, the one that without it you would not be doing what you are? That’s the one that counts; that’s the one that really matters. That’s the one that has to be because the “love of Christ controls you”; if it’s not you will not succeed or if you do succeed it will not be an easy victory!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Safe and Secure...

September 12, 2011

John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never cast out

To be safe is defined as being “secure from danger, harm or evil.” No matter what the storms of life might bring us; no matter the tears that will fall from our eyes, we are secure. I like that word secure. The meanings that it brings to me give me a sense comfort. Like a blanket on a cold morning or an armored tank on a battlefield. Jesus is all of those and more. To those that are His; He is everything.  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Seeing Clearly...

September 9, 2011

Psalm 66:5 “Come and see what God has done; He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man…

This is an easy verse to pray and shout when you’re having a good day. Isn’t it sad that on days when you’re sad or hurt or upset or disappointed it’s a harder prayer to pray. My circumstances be they good or bad does not in any way affect the relevance and power of God’s Word. It is true and right in all circumstances. I know that God has a plan for my life, every aspect of it is mapped out, and I know that it is for my good. His word as told me so. Yet, isn’t it always hardest to see His loving plan through the haze of our hurt and disappointment. At the same time those moments of pain and heartache are when we cling to Him the most; or that is when we should.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Am...

September 8, 2011

John 6:35-36

V 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst

What more can I add? What more can I say about this verse? It speaks to the heart of what it means to believe…it is believing. If you are in Christ you will not hunger to know God, you will not have to wonder what God is like. He will live in you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What are we looking for?

September 7, 2011

John 6:28-34

V 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always”

Jesus here is explaining that the only way to have all that you need spiritually is through Him. However, those that He is speaking to are only interested in what they can get out of Jesus. They are not interested in knowing Him because He is their savior; they want to know Him for whatever physical or material benefit He gives. Remember the Jews wanted Messiah to come, primarily because they wanted to be a part of the new kingdom He would establish on earth. Not so much because they wanted to experience salvation through Him. Have you ever felt used by someone; have you ever felt like someone in your life was taking advantage of you? Do we sometimes treat our relationship with God this way? Are we only interested in knowing Him because of the answers to prayers He can give us? Or do we really want to know Him for no other reason that He is God? What is the motive that drives our relationship with Jesus? The difference, and it’s a huge one, between us and God is that He sees the motives of our hearts. He knows what motivates us in our relationship with Him, what we are really seeking when we come before Him and He will not be mocked.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Clean House...

September 6, 2011

Isaiah 1:16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil

Have you ever noticed that some rooms in your house are cleaner than others? Those that are more likely to be seen by others or those that you have to look at the most are usually kept cleaner than those that are hidden or those that you might not spend a lot of time in. I had a chance to clean one of those rooms yesterday; Terry and I cleaned the playroom. Wow…we threw away lots of stuff that was unnecessary and was really just taking up space. As I was cleaning up, I noticed the parallel to our spiritual lives; sometimes we need to take a look at our hearts. We need to examine those areas that we tend to never go in that we just usually leave alone; we need to examine them and we need to purge them. We need to look at our lives and see what we might be involved in that is not what God would have us to do and we need to get rid of those. We need to make sure that all the rooms in our “house” are clean. This verse in Isaiah is dealing with God’s rejection of the children of Israel’s worship because their hearts and hands were not clean. Would God reject ours? Would He find our hearts and hands clean? Do we need to clean house?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Junk Food or Veggies...that's always the question?

September 2, 2011

John 6:18-27

V 27 Do not labor for the food that endures that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life

I read something recently that said we should “live on” God’s word. It should be the mainstay of our diet. Is it? We want to say yes because our hearts desire it to be; yet, in our day to day lives it’s a hard concept to live out. God’s word should be the mainstay of our diet. Let’s look at it like this…if God’s Word was literal actual food that we ate, would we be dying of starvation or in need of a diet?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

You Snooze You Lose...

September 1, 2011

Psalm 119:148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise

I believe that it is necessary to start of any morning off with time spent getting to know God through His word. God has shown me many times that this is truth. My days on the mornings that I do this are much more productive, run much smoother and are all around better than the morning’s that I do not. My one main problem with this schedule; I love to stay up late. Yep, love it! However, it makes getting up early difficult. I really long for the mornings when I would wake up way before anyone else and just enjoy the quiet alone with God. Yet, our selfish desires are hard to battle. It’s yet another example of my heart knowing what I should be doing but my flesh not willing to do what is necessary to achieve it. So, I’m going to endeavor to change my sleeping and waking habits; we will see how I do!