Saturday, June 28, 2008

Facebook and Old Friends

A couple months ago I got started on this Facebook thing, which to be honest, I don't fully understand. However, it's been a good thing! I have found lots of people I hardly ever see, like cousins, etc and now recently my friend, Bonnie, from high school. I don't think I have seen Bonnie for ten years and she was in my wedding! Just lost touch. She found me just the other day on Facebook and in emailing, it has been so fun reconnecting and learning what's been going on in her life and how good God is. His blessings are beyond measure. Thank you , Lord! One thing I have learned in my walk with Him is that our relationships are no accident. They serve a purpose and we rarely see the big picture of His plan. I look forward to seeing more of what He's got. Bonnie, if you're reading this, it's good to have you back. I've missed you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Whom Shall I Fear?

Over the past year, I've been thinking about doing a study on fear. My plan was to go through all the scriptures that speak of fear and really learn what God has to say about not only fears that weigh us down and keep us from being who God intends us to be, but also what it says about how we are to fear Him, in humble reverence.
One thing that struck me last week while spending time in prayer, was that the ONLY thing we should fear is God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If it is true that Jesus conquered Satan and his power and that there is nothing the world or may can do to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:28-29), then we CANNOT fear anything but the one who has overcome all. There is where the REAL power is. I want to be under that power, not coming up against it! To me, fighting against God is a terrifying place to be. You can't win, you can have your independence, He won't force anyone. AND He is kind, gentle, loving, patient, faithful...I could go on forever!
Anyway, I set out on this journey just today and I got about two verses in and was in awe. Let me share...

Deuteronomy 6:13 Fear the Lord your God, serve HIm only and take your oaths in His name.

The only thing we should fear is God Himself. Who we fear reflects who we serve. Whether it's someone or something. Who we fear influences our choices, beliefs and actions. THink about something you are afraid of... How do those fears, no matter how silly, influence your thoughts first, then your actions? I know they do for me and its something I want to overcome! When we fear something or someone other than God, we have walked away from His presence and pledged our allegience elsewhere. I think that might be a bit offensive to Him! Almost like a betrayal that we do unknowingly and usually innocently. We fail to grasp exactly WHO He is, so we doubt His strength to overcome our fears and His desire to do so. We doubt He really means what He says. Ouch.
Next passage:

Deuteronomy 10:12-18 And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

He only asks that we stay close to Him. Know Him. Abide in Him. Obey Him. Love Him with all our hearts, leave no room to love any other gods. We need to be sold out, passionately in love with Him. Consumed with our relationship with Jesus. If we are, who we fear will be Him. It will be a natural effect of that kind of devotion to our God and King.

Vs 14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and EVERYTHING in it.

This verse emphasizes exactly who this God is that we worship. Don't lose sight of the fact that He IS all-powerful. All things that can be named are under His feet. He created the universe (which in itself is beyond our comprehension) and the earth. He created them not from tangible materials, but from the spoken word. Who is like our God? Be in awe of His majesty and power! And guess what! He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He can still do miracles, and wants to.

Vs 15 Yet the Lord set His affection on your forefathers and loved them, and He chose you, their descendants, above all nations, as it is today.

He set His affection on YOU. He chose YOU. And me! Pause and let that sink in...

Vs 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.

The change must be from the inside out, beginning with the heart that is consecrated to the Lord. We can't fake it, we can't just do the rituals, speak the right lingo, and hang out with the right crowd and fool the Lord. Our circumcision is not on the outside for others to see, but in our hearts, only seen by the God who sees all things and from whom nothing can be hidden. Now, when our hearts are truly devoted to the Lord, others will see a change in us, but we don't start by changing our behavior. We start by surrendering our hearts, yeilding to Him.

Vs. 17 For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the Great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

Anyone who is in power and authority still comes under Him, even if they choose not to acknowledge Him as Lord and God. It doesn't change His kingdom and dominion. He cannot be manipulated. He does not care if you are rich, poor, beautiful, or plain. He is not influenced by appearances or flattery. You cannot fool Him. and we all try it at some point... It just doesn't work.

Vs 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and LOVES the alien giving him food and clothing.

I included this verse because I like how it finishes the discussion of who God is in power and majesty, worthy of our fear and devotion, with a picture of His compassion and attention to those who are suffering. He LOVES the outsiders, the misfits, the ones who belong to no one and have no home. He LOVES them, CARES for them, and PROVIDES for them. His love is not only strong, but is gentle. How fortunate we are to have a God that is not only unmatchable in His power and strength, but also unmatchable in His mercy, grace, love, faithfulness, forgiveness and COMPASSION. No other god or king has ever been, or ever will be like OUR God.
Worship Him, love Him, and FEAR HIM ONLY!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Indiana Jones in My Very Own House

John has been on an Indiana Jones kick for months now. The theme music is constantly being hummed by him, and we have grown used to it. Like its the theme music in our home. He has found many unique bullwhips: yarn, shoelaces, belts (dangerous), and my personal favorite... rhubarb. He spontaneously quotes lines from the first, third and fourth movies (we skipped the second-too scary!). Usually we have no idea what he's talking about. He also has found creative substitutes for grapevines: the swings with one side disconnected, the cord for the blinds (NOT allowed), and most creative award goes to those things hanging from the sides of my body, commonly called "arms".
We call him "Indy", for short.
Gotta love it.