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So much of life is waiting. . .

As a Christian, I am waiting for a lot--for God to do His refining work in me, for Jesus to return, for me to GET how much God loves me and for me to see what He is doing . . .

What to do in the meantime? I have learned much about what the Lord is trying to teach me, tell me and show me through the discipline of daily time spent reading the Bible. So often we make this time harder than it has to be.

This blog was born out of wanting to share what God is showing me and wanting to be an example that daily time with God is not a deep or mysterious thing (well, every once in a while it can be), but simply a time to read scripture and note what jumps out at you that day. We don't have to be scholars or super-holy or ministry leaders to do this. Some days I hit the jackpot and others I come up empty--but only by persevering do I give God the space in which to speak and myself the stillness in which to hear and obey.

As of June of 2017, I've now decided to include parts of our adoption journey, which is, so far, yet another chapter of waiting.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Over & Over

Do you ever feel needy and like you struggle with the same issues over and over and over? The Lord encouraged me through Psalm 71:3 this morning:

Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come. . .

Specifically, the word "continually" made me smile. I know that I continually need to know that God loves me. I continually need His strength. I continually go to Him for wisdom and help. I am so grateful that He can handle me. Indeed, this is the relationship to which He has called me: Utter dependence.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Questions

Sometimes I come away from Scripture with more questions than answers. Reading in Luke 8 about Jesus healing the man with all of the demons. This man has been an outcast on an island, naked and crazy. Jesus comes and heals him, sending the demons into a herd of pigs. You would think that the observers would be excited and happy, eager to follow Jesus and see what He would do next, or what He would do for them. No. Verses 36-37 say:

And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned.

The people were so afraid that they asked Jesus to leave. Why? Were they afraid of what Jesus would do to them? Were they fearful of what belief in Jesus would require of them? Were they scared of what they could not understand? I have thought a little about it, and I don't know. I can't think of a parallel for my life, exactly. I know I have been fearful of what the Lord will require of me, and have kept my heart from Him sometimes because of this, which is comparable to them asking Jesus to leave. . . I just don't know.

Thoughts?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's Not Us

Continuing in Deuteronomy, with Moses reminding the Israelites of who they are and Who God is. He is urging them not to imagine that the Lord is giving them the Promised Land because of their good deeds or merit (Deuteronomy 9:6):

Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.

Ouch. I guess God has no illusions about what lies beneath our service and sacrifice--I know that I myself, anyhow, underneath it all, pretty much want what I want and don't like it when I don't get it. I have moments of unselfishness and love because of the good God has put in me, but in my heart remains the tendency to choose what I want. Yet, I am redeemed and God has given me a new heart. . . That paradox, (which Paul apparently understood: Romans 7:19: For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.) makes this life frustrating sometimes. When I mess up, I am tempted to think that God is surprised or disappointed in me. However, God already knows the evil of my heart, and He didn't save me because of my righteousness and He doesn't love me because I am good.

Later on in Deuteronomy 10 (verses 14-16) Moses states it even more clearly:

Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn


The Lord chose Israel, and us, because He wanted to. HE decided. Not me. He decided knowing full well the sin and stubbornness of our hearts. Knowing this should be motivation to submit our willful hearts to Him so that we can fully experience His fellowship, but that submission will not increase His love, only our awareness of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

He Knows

I continue to read through the Old Testament, and started Deuteronomy this week. It's one of my favorite books of the Bible, I have decided. The Israelites have been wandering in the desert for 40 years, but are about to get the the go-ahead to conquer and possess the Promised Land. A good deal of Deuteronomy is Moses talking to the people and reminding them of the past and encouraging them to trust the Lord. In Deuteronomy 2:7, Moses says:

For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.

The Lord knew about the wilderness, the Lord knew the people in the wilderness, the Lord stayed with them through the wilderness. Even though the people deserved the wilderness for their lack of faith, and in spite of the fact that the Lord is the One who put them in the wilderness, He has walked with them and sustained them in the wilderness.

Even when I am in a wilderness of my own making, or a wilderness of punishment, the Lord has not abandoned me. He led the Israelites daily. He sent manna and water and gave them shoes that never wore out. I have trouble seeing the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, but this verse makes it clearer to me. The Lord remained in the wilderness with the people. He didn't say "See ya in 40 years" and walk away. In fact, I wonder if there was a part of the experience that was special to God, because He had His people all to Himself.

I want to remember that, no matter how alone I feel, or how many times I have circled in the desert, the Lord is still with me, leading me and providing for me all the while.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ethiopia Thoughts

I'm back!! I plan on continuing to share thoughts from my quiet time, but also wanted to write about the things the Lord showed me in Africa, so there may be "Africa" posts mixed in with "quiet time" posts.

I think that travel helps me to broaden my image of God. Somehow I tend to imagine that the Lord is just working here in the USA, in the life of my church, my friends, me (just a wee bit of self-centeredness). Seeing Christians in other countries helps me realize that God is SO much bigger than I think that He is.

The first Compassion program that we visited was the Child Survival Program (CSP) in Holeta, a little village outside of Addis Ababa. The CSP is a program in which the poorest of the poor moms are linked in with a Child Development Center. They work with a health worker and a program implementer to have their needs met. These women are usually illiterate, frequently single moms, often destitute. They live in huts with mud or cow dung walls and mud floors. There is often no bed, no crib, no playpen, no toys, no inside kitchen or plumbing. Babies crawl on dirt floors. There are no diapers, no wipes, no sweet-smelling disinfectant. Imagine having a baby in such an environment.

The moms shared their testimonies with us. One mom talked about, how, pregnant with her third baby with no means to support herself or the two children she already had, she was going to commit suicide. She had it planned and was waiting for the opportunity. One night she had a dream in which she saw her baby laying on a Bible, and felt that God was telling her that He would take care of her baby. She didn't know what this meant, but she delayed her suicide plans to find out. A week or so later she was asked to be a part of the CSP, giving her food, medical care, emotional support, and literacy education.

The same God that speaks to me, and works in my church is sending dreams to illiterate, impoverished African women to show His love and care for her and her children. God is not oblivious to anyone's suffering. He is caring for "the least of these".

Appropriately, I read in Luke this morning about Jesus standing up in the temple and sharing these words from Isaiah 61:

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Therapy for Control-Freaks

I am now reading in the book of Numbers (which has, amazingly, lots of lists of numbers of things). Today I was reading in chapter 9 about God appearing over the tabernacle in a cloud. As long as the cloud was over the tabernacle, the people camped. As soon as the cloud (signifying the presence of the Lord) left, the people packed up camp (no small feat with possibly 2 million people) and moved too. Sometimes the cloud stayed there for one day. Sometimes it stayed for several days. No rhyme. No reason--at least not one discernible to the people.

Okay, fellow control-freaks. Can you imagine? Never knowing day by day whether you would be staying in camp or packing up to move for. . . one day? Two days? To go. . . wherever God leads. No map. No itinerary. Not even a compass. Just keeping your eyes on the cloud and following where it leads:

At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out. They kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by Moses. (Numbers 9:23)

If I think too hard about it, I could have a panic attack--it would surely wrench the reins right out of my hands. On the other hand, imagine growing up with that model. A lifestyle of complete obedience to the Lord's leading, submitting the whole of your day to His direction. It would, at least, be clear direction--there was no doubt: Cloud above, stay. Cloud moved, go. Would that I sense the leading of the Lord so clearly and obey so completely.

P.S.: A really accessible picture of this phenomenon is in Francine Rivers' book: The Warrior, which is about Caleb.

P.P.S. There may not be many posts in the next two weeks, as I will be going to ETHIOPIA to meet my Compassion child!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trusting

I haven't posted for a few days. Nothing in scripture has jumped out at me. I know there are things that the Lord is showing me that I need to keep pursuing, but those things haven't presented themselves in an easily bloggable form.

Days like these show me my kinship to the Israelites. It's only been three days, but my unfaithful and fearful heart can magnify those days until they become a Sign That God is Silent. It's hard to wait for any amount of time. Moses left for a few weeks and BAM, a golden calf. I don't hear from the Lord for three days and BAM, He's never speaking to me again.

I am thankful that the Lord knows that I am "but dust", and that He is patient with my fickle and fearful heart. I will keep seeking, and He will speak again. In the meantime, I want to keep a heart that is believing that His next move is right around the corner, instead of preparing for disappointment.