Archive

Archive for the ‘Guidance’ Category

Finding Hidden Treasures

November 15, 2020 Leave a comment

Don’t you love to find a word from the Lord in your Bible that you’ve never seen before? That happened to me just recently when I was reading the last verses in the little bitty book of Jude, so small it doesn’t even have any chapters.

The verses I hadn’t noticed before were verses 24-25 of . . . well, just Jude.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

While there’s so much in these verses, I’ve highlighted three phrases that blessed me especially.

Present you blameless: I love being reminded when believers stand before his presence one day, we’ll be considered blameless. How great is that? And notice how it happens—through Jesus Christ our Lord.

With great joy:  Notice the one doing the presenting of us before His presence will do so with great joy. He—Jesus—will be delighted to make everyone who believes in Him known to His Father. It will be His pleasure to do so. He even asked the Father in John 17 for this to happen. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory.”

Before all time: Our God is an eternal God. There has never been a time when He didn’t exist. He was before all time, and He will go on forever through all time, even when time is no more. This is mind-boggling, hard to grasp, and yet, strangely reassuring.

There’s so much more in these two verses, and in the days ahead, I plan to give more thought to the treasures to be found there. I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed.

What a Surprise!

October 15, 2020 Leave a comment

God reveals Himself in Scripture as a God who loves surprises. Throughout the Old Testament, God manifests Himself in surprising ways, He chooses surprising people, He acts in surprising circumstances.

God Manifests Himself in Surprising Ways:

  • A burning bush
  • A whirlwind
  • A bunch of dry bones
  • A barren womb

God Chooses Surprising People:

  • An idol worshiper
  • A murderer
  • A con man
  • A shepherd boy
  • A prostitute

God Acts in Surprising Circumstances:

  • A Flood
  • A Battlefield
  • A Famine
  • A Murder

In the New Testament, God Himself becomes the surprise. From His birth announcement, His earthly life, His horrible death, and His anticipated return, it’s one surprise after another.

His Birth Announcement Surprised:

  • His mother Mary
  • His father Joseph
  • The shepherds
  • King Herod

His Earthly Life Brought Surprising:

  • Miracles
  • Teachings
  • Revelations

His Horrible Death Surprised:

  • The Disciples
  • The Unbelievers
  • The Roman Soldiers

His Anticipated Return Will Surprise:

  • The Unprepared
  • The Uninformed
  • The Unbeliever

How will God surprise you? It could be a way in the wilderness or a river in the desert. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19. 

God will surprise you. Anticipate it. Look for it. Embrace it.

Happiness?

September 23, 2020 Leave a comment

It’s been a couple of rainy days here in Oklahoma. Not much sunshine. I’m not a person given to depression, and I really like rainy days, but I still found myself longing for some sunshine.

People just seem to be happier when the sun is shining. As I thought about happiness, I remembered a devotional I’d read about mankind’s universal search for happiness. 

In the article,  this quote is referenced, “All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

A bright cloudless day can’t really make a person happy. Only God can do that.

Turn your face toward the Son. Bask in the warmth and happiness of His Light today.

“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

Lost Your Way?

August 12, 2020 Leave a comment

Find Vs Lose Your Way Puzzle Pieces 3d IllustrationIt’s easy to lose your way in our world today. We’re inundated with a myriad of messages, images, and ideas. How do we choose what to believe, what path to follow, how to live? We can explore all our options, saturating ourselves with philosophies, practices, and beliefs.

But, like hikers exploring a new trail, there are some precautions we should take before we head off into the unknown. Otherwise, we’re sure to lose our way. These practices should serve us well, whether we’re looking at a belief system, a political choice, a new set of friends, or exploring health issues, anything requiring our time, money, and effort.

First, FIND a way to have a Daily Quiet Time.
Spend at least thirty minutes every day in Bible study and prayer. It doesn’t matter how you do this. There’s a Bible reading plan out there that will match up with anyone’s learning style and preferences. The important thing is to put yourself in a position where your Father in heaven can communicate His love, His plan, and His desires for you, and you can catch a glimpse of His Glory each and every day.

Second, FIND a way to worship God in a group setting, even through media.
Praising, loving, and serving God with other people will strengthen and enhance your faith. It’s about gathering with like-minded people who desire to give glory, honor, and praise to an Almighty Creator who sacrificed His only son to make sure we spend eternity with Him.

Third, FIND a way to express your faith.
Our belief in God requires an outlet. Otherwise, stagnation sets in. This expression can take many forms, and it may be different according to personality types. For some, it may mean singing, speaking, teaching, or preaching. For others, it may mean journaling, writing, serving, or counseling.

Hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Rest for your soul as you find your way. What could be better than that?

Four Things I Pray

June 3, 2020 1 comment

PrayerSometimes, I get so caught up in praying for the needs of others, I fail to pray for myself.

I was reminded of this during my quiet time, when I got to I Chronicles in my daily Bible reading.

In the margin of my Bible, I saw a previous note I’d written when I’d read the passage before—I’ve been reading the O.T. once a year and the N.T. twice a year for many years now—and I realized I’d gotten away from praying these four things for myself.

I pray the Lord will  Bless, Prosper, Guide, and Protect me.

Bless Me—spiritually, physically, and mentally.

Prosper Me—spiritually, personally, and financially.

Guide Me—spiritually, intellectually, and creatively

Protect Me—spiritually, physically, intellectually, and financially.

The common thread is that I’m always praying for myself spiritually. If the Lord will bless, prosper, guide, and protect me spiritually, everything else will fall into place.

The Biblical basis for my prayer is found in I Chronicles 4:10: ” . . . Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm . . .”

We Keep Waiting

April 22, 2020 Leave a comment

Wait Room 5Are you tired of waiting? I know I  am.

During this Covid-19 pandemic, it feels like the whole world is in a waiting room. I’m sure you’ve been stuck in a waiting room before, so you know that feeling of helplessness that comes over you after you been there an hour—or two.

While I’ve been waiting to be released from our city’s quarantine restrictions, I’ve found myself thinking about all the times I’ve been in God’s Waiting Room.

God’s Waiting Room is a place familiar to all praying believers. Those who petition the Father for answers, for relief, for deliverance, for guidance, for comfort, often find such requests are not answered immediately. That’s why God designed His Waiting Room.

If the waiting goes on for months, even years, God’s Waiting Room can become a place of discontentment, anger, frustration, and unbelief.

It’s happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you.

Through the years, I’ve learned waiting on God doesn’t have to be unbearable, not as long as I follow some basic principles.

1. Don’t wait alone. Waiting is always easier if the wait is shared, even if it’s virtual sharing.

2. Find something to do while waiting. Occupying body, mind, and spirit makes the wait easier.

3. Encourage others as you wait. Empathy for others who may be going through similar circumstances lightens your burden and blesses your  soul.

4. Recognize God has a sovereign purpose in the length of your wait. Waiting is no different from anything else in your life—God is working all things for His Glory and your benefit no matter what it is.

Those willing to wait on God are given a special promise. It’s found in Isaiah 64:4: “No eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him.”

While you’re in God’s Waiting Room, He’s out there working for you.

Keep on waiting.

Just A Little Nudge

November 7, 2019 2 comments

Sometimes, all it takes is a nudge. I’m especially susceptible to nudges. I probably wouldn’t have started writing my Titus Ray Thrillers, if someone hadn’t casually mentioned to me I should try writing a spy novel. Every day I enjoy a few minutes of mind-stimulating fun playing a word game on my iPad called Word with Friends, but if a very good friend hadn’t given me a little push to put the app on my iPhone, I wouldn’t have done so.

And, sometimes, a little nudge may be all a person needs to come to Christ, or to renew their commitment to Him, or to read their Bible or to . . .

Last week, I heard about a style of evangelism that’s become popular after a book was written about it five years ago. The book is called Nudge by Leonard Sweet. In it, Sweet says that “sharing the gospel should be a matter of awakening each other to the God who’s already there.”

Sweet writes, “Nudge evangelism is based on a simple premise: in everyone you meet, leave an impression–a Jesus impression, a Jesus dent. The nudge can be as simple as a smile, as profound as a prayer, as complex as a meal, as subtle as a story, as venturous as a witness, as ambitious as an altar call.”

To nudge someone toward Christ is vastly different from shoving them toward Christ. The gospels give a clear picture of how Jesus offered Himself to unbelievers. “Come unto me,” He said. If someone rejected the offer, Jesus was saddened by such a response, but He didn’t call them out, pronounce curses on them, or show animosity of any kind toward them. And yet, more than any other being in existence, He would have been justified in doing so.

Nudging people toward Christ can happen all the time in hundreds of different ways, and the form it takes is totally dependent on a person’s personality type. Extroverts will be more aggressive in calling attention to how Jesus is working in their lives but the quiet, thoughtful attitude of an introvert can be equally as effective.

As long as I keep one thing in mind, it’s easy for me to practice this kind of nudge evangelism. I remind myself that every person I encounter in my life—from grocery clerk to business man, from stranger to friend—is someone God has placed there, is someone God has prepared for me to nudge toward Him, is someone He loves.

Give someone a little nudge toward Jesus today. It may be all they need to discover the hidden treasure of Christ Himself.

1 Peter 2: 15-16 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

Secrets Are The Best!

July 11, 2019 Leave a comment

secretEveryone loves a secret. Whisper a secret to a group of children, and immediately their eyes light up. However, children don’t have a corner on the secrets market. Adults love to hear secrets almost as much as children love to tell them.

God has secrets—boy, does He have secrets! As if we didn’t know this already, the Bible tells us so.“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

When God came in the flesh in the person of Jesus, He revealed His secrets in a form mankind had never seen before. John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

Jesus revealed many secrets to his disciples.  He even revealed explicit details about his upcoming death. Matthew 20:18-19, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

God even gave us a promise about His secrets: “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)

Every secret God wants us to know, He’s already revealed through his prophets. Just to make sure those of us living in this century would have access to those secrets, He had His prophets write them down.

So, you wanna know a secret? Just read His Word. There you’ll find the best-kept secrets!

This Might Work!

February 26, 2019 Leave a comment

puzzleAs I continually seek to be a student and teacher of God’s Word, I encounter many different methods, programs, and suggestions about how I should memorize, use, remember, and put into practice what I’ve studied and taught, and it usually doesn’t take me very long  to recognize if something will work for me or not.

More often than not, I find myself thinking, “I will never do this” or “I can’t even begin to understand how this would work.”  However, here are three helpful suggestions I’ve come across that made me say, “This might work!”

How To Talk To God:  In this blog, Lisa gives some pointers about using God’s Word to talk to Him.  What happens when you speak God’s own words back to Him?  Find out here.

How To Walk By The Spirit:  In this sermon from John Piper on 1 Thessalonians 3, you’ll find a wonderful acronym called APTAT, which you can use to remember what to do when asked to do something you don’t believe you can do. Piper ‘s message is entitled “The Word Of God Is At Work In You,” and the application of this (which is about 30 minutes into the video if you want to watch it) is outlined in the written sermon called Applying The Text To Your Life.  Watch the video or read the sermon here.

How To View The Bible:  Along with many of you, I am reading the Bible through again this year.  In my plan I’m about to finish up Genesis, and I’ve seen the grace of God at every turn, from the moment of creation to God’s dealings with Joseph.  But this will not be the end of God’s grace.  In fact, the grace of God can be found in every book of the Bible.  Dane Ortlund outlines how every book of the Bible shows God’s grace.  You can read it here.

Maybe these suggestions will make you say, “This might work!”

2 Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

Being Afraid of God

January 22, 2019 Leave a comment

fear lordBe afraid. Be very afraid. Being afraid of God seems foreign to those of us who view God as the Lover of our Soul, who sing of His blessings, and who trust Him with our eternal soul.

Yet, one can’t read the Bible without encountering the oft-repeated admonition to “fear the Lord.” Throughout the Old Testament, there are numerous examples of God’s children receiving a blessing because they fear God. Also, because of fearing God, they do what He commands them to do. (Genesis 42:18; Exodus 1:17; Exodus 18:21)

Fear of God  is not just an Old Testament concept, though. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Nevertheless, there are times in my life when I’ve struggled with the concept of what it means to fear God. That’s why, when I recently came across a definition of fearing God in Drew Dyck’s book, Yawning At Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying, I spent time meditating on it.

Dyck says, “To fear the Lord is to be grounded in reality, to have an accurate view of God’s holy nature and his awesome power.”

Fearing God doesn’t mean we cower in His presence—like a dog who knows he’s displeased his master—nor does it mean we run and hide instead of joyfully approaching Him. Instead, we embrace the fear of God because we recognize His to-be-feared characteristics, such as His all-powerful wrath toward sin, His unending sovereignty, and His unapproachable holiness, are an accurate understanding of who God really is.

The  fearfulness of God is a reality, even if we don’t like it very much.

Having a true picture of God is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

We should fear God. We should  be in awe of His wrath and His judgment. Yet, at the same time, we should have peace, knowing He is shielding us from wrath, sheltering us in His arms forever.

%d bloggers like this: