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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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Idle Words

I'm still here! I continue to read the Bible every day, and pray, but I don't feel very connected to the Lord. Today I read in Luke 24 about the time in between the crucifixion and the resurrection, when the disciples were in despair. The women go to the tomb to anoint the body, but instead of a corpse, find angels (Luke 24:5-7):

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise."


So the women run back and share this good news with the other disciples, and this was their reaction (Luke 24:10-12):

Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

The women burst into the upper room to impart the words of hope from the angels, but the message seemed to the men an "idle tale", and they didn't believe. The words "idle tale" jumped out at me this morning, because that is how scripture has seemed to me lately--idle words. The opposite of idle is "at work", or, even "powerful". The words in the Bible that I have been reading have seemed devoid of power. I know that they are true intellectually, but the heart connection hasn't been there. Apparently the disciples knew that feeling.

What did Peter do with this "idle tale", however? He ran to the tomb, the last place where he thought Jesus might be, and looked for Him. Interestingly, Peter did not at that moment see the risen Lord. He saw the abandoned grave clothes, and "marveled" at seeing them, and then went home. Extrapolating to myself, I need to keep looking for Jesus and to go back to the last place that I heard Him speak, and see what He wants to show me there. It may not be an epiphany just yet, but maybe a glimmer of hope that God's Word is not, in fact, idle.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sticking it Out

Okay, here it is: I am still reading in the Bible everyday. In the Old Testament I'm in the chapters in Joshua where the land is divided. Not a lot of practical application (that I can see). Also reading in the Psalms and the book of Luke. Surely I should be able to come up with something pertinent from them? Nope.

This moment is when it is tempting both to stop reading or to make something up that sounds really spiritual to convince myself that I am hearing from God. The truth is that there are many days when I spend time with the Lord and I don't have any giant revelation. I read even about the life of Jesus and just say, "Yes, yes, I remember this, I agree with this, but. . . ".

Today I prayed and asked the Lord to show me if there is anything that I am doing that is blocking me from hearing Him, and I am trusting that He will show me if there is. There may be some specific sin (there's always something)of which I need to repent. However, there may not be. It may be that this is a time that I need to walk in faith and stick with the discipline of a daily quiet time, trusting that the Lord will show up again. My closeness and worth to God are not measured in how much I "feel" Him or what insight I receive each day. Because of the cross, I am God's child as much on the days that I have goosebumps from feeling His presence as on the days when I can't focus to pray for more than ten seconds without thinking about what I need to do that day. I'm so thankful that my security is in HIM and His truth, not in my feelings or understanding.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another "Aha!" Moment

A few months ago I posted about how sometimes I will suddenly apprehend a truth that seems, in hindsight, pretty obvious, and not anything new at all. Today would be another day like that! In Joshua 10, Joshua and the Israelites are going to go fight some more Canaanites. The Lord says in verse 8:

And the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you."


My Bible footnote (yay for footnotes) points out that the Lord had given Joshua the land, yet he still has to go and fight for it. Bells, whistles, applause, I think it has clicked:

The Lord can give us the victory in an area, but we still have to go and fight to take possession of it. The Hebrews knew that the Lord had assured them victory because He told Joshua. However, it wasn't a victory of "Sit down on the couch and watch TV, and then I'll take care of the bad guys and you can move in tomorrow." Sometimes the Lord does move that decisively (Egyptians in the Red Sea), but not usually. The army had to go and fight. The Lord did intervene, in this case with hail and the sun standing still, but the soldiers had to march and Joshua had to lead.

So, when I read in the Bible that the Lord has given me everything I need (2 Peter 1:3), do I just sit and hope that I feel okay with that? I don't think so. I think my battle, in that area and others, is to have faith to believe that what the Lord says is true (the Israelites had to believe that they would win the battle even as they were fighting). I also must seek to know the Lord by prayer and reading scripture and obeying what I know to be true. Even when it looks like I am losing--when it doesn't look or feel like God is enough--I have to believe He is and walk accordingly.

I'm sure I have heard messages about this marriage of God's promises and our work (and let me be clear, salvation itself is a whole other animal), but I've never quite seen how it is all supposed to work together. I hope that I will be able to start playing my part in the battle with faith and determination, trusting that the Lord will give me the ultimate victory.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We Don't Know Everything

I'm reading now in Joshua, about the Israelites beginning to conquer the Promised Land. They start out well, with the defeat of Jericho. However, even in this victory, the people already are disobeying the Lord. He had told them that all of the gold and silver spoils were to be dedicated to Him, for holy use, but one of the soldiers took some of the treasure for himself (Joshua 7:1):

But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.


Joshua does not know that Achan has sinned in this way. So, without asking direction of the Lord, he determines to attack the city of Ai. Because of Achan's sin, the Lord is not with the Israelites, and they lose 36 men, and, worse, their hearts " melted and became as water (Joshua 7:5)." Joshua throws himself before the Lord after this defeat, and then the Lord reveals that someone in the camp has taken treasure belonging to God.

After Achan is revealed and punished, the Israelites try again to defeat Ai, and this time are successful, and, ironically, get to keep the treasure from their victory.

If only Joshua had inquired of the Lord before his attempt to take the city of Ai instead of after the loss. He thought he knew what the Lord wanted Him to do, and thought that he knew how to accomplish it. I have found myself in similar places--thinking that I know what God wants based on what He wanted last time, and proceeding forward without asking for wisdom or guidance. Joshua's problem was that he didn't have all of the facts. I, also, don't always have all of the facts. I need to remember the fact that I don't have all the facts, and remember to always ask the Lord what He wants me to do, even if I think that I know, because, just maybe, I don't.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Loosening the Dirt

In Luke 13, Jesus tells a parable about a fig tree that is not producing fruit. The owner of the fig tree wants to cut it down because, for three years, the tree has been barren. The vinedresser, though, says in verse eight:

And he answered him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it . . . '

The point of the parable, according to my Bible, is to show that the Jews were not receiving the blessing of God because they were not acknowledging the prophets or Jesus (my paraphrase). The end of the parable is not so good, because it is assumed that the tree will not have fruit the next year, either.

What I am thinking about this morning is the process of "digging around" the roots of the plant. The idea was to loosen the dirt around the roots so that water could get in and nourish the plant. I think the Lord does that in our lives. We have places that are tightly packed with junk we are holding onto--fear, sin, shame--and He needs to loosen that soil so that His love and forgiveness can seep into our hearts.

I don't think the plant probably likes this--it feels all secure and safe in its bundle of roots and tightly packed soil, and then comes God, poking and prodding and digging. . . I know I have felt that way before--there are moments when I don't want the Lord digging around in my life, pulling things out and loosening things up so that I will have to let go and deal with them. However, that's part of the growth process.

I do like the picture of the water of God's love and forgiveness flowing freely around the roots of my heart and life. May I have the faith to trust that the digging will yield fruit. . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

He's Not Us

I am thankful that the Lord is not like us. I am simultaneously reading in Deuteronomy about how the Israelites should be faithful to God but won't be, and in Psalm 78 about God's faithfulness to the Israelites in the face of their disobedience. The Lord did punish them for their "whoring" (Scripture's word, not mine) after other gods, but He did not annihilate them, which they deserved. The verses that spoke to me today were Psalm 78:37-39:

37Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
they were not faithful to his covenant.
38Yet he, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.
39He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and comes not again.

The line "He. . . atoned for their iniquity" touched me. It has always been the Lord atoning for our sin, making a way to be in relationship with Him, even before Jesus. If I could just understand how much God's heart is longing to be intimate with me. . .

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Unfaithful

I continue reading in Deuteronomy, where Moses is laying out before Israel their choice: Obey, trust, and follow God, and they will have abundance and blessing. Turn away and follow idols, and they will have curses. Even as Moses is describing the benefits of following God, my Bible's footnotes (ESV Study Bible) points out that it is assumed at the end of chapter 29 that Israel will be unfaithful. They are unable to be faithful because their hearts are not circumcised. Chapter 30 goes on to relate how Israel will repent and God will relent, and, finally in verse six:

And(I) the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

God had to work in their hearts so they could fully obey the Lord. I don't understand how all of that works or doesn't work. Why was Israel seemingly incapable of obeying, even after seeing with their own eyes the faithfulness of God--eating the manna, wearing the shoes that never wore out, following the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night? Yet they could not or would not be faithful. Why? Why did they run after gods of wood and stone when they had the power of the living God among them?

Why do I turn away from the Lord and worship idols of relationship, security, safety? I have seen God's goodness and power. Is it because I don't WANT to do what God wants me to do? It is because my flesh is selfish? Is it because I don't like to follow when I don't understand? I don't really believe God is for me? I don't really believe God is good? Are our hearts that prone to wander?

The end of chapter 30 (verses 19-20) is where I would like my heart to be:

Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days. . .

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When Thoughts are Wearisome

Do you ever get a headache from trying to figure out life? From trying to understand how people who aren't following God receive accolades and material success, and people who are trying to obey the Lord have hardship and pain? The person who wrote Psalm 73 struggled with these thoughts, too. He is thinking about how evil people appear to have many material blessings, and how that didn't make sense to him, especially after all of the instruction of the Lord that if the people obey the Lord, they will be successful, and if they don't, they won't. Verses 16 and 17 were what struck me today:

But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God. . .

So often I try and process events and it seems like a "wearisome task"--I can't wrap my brain around it, it doesn't make sense, I just have a headache and don't want to think any more about it all. This verse shows me that I need to take my thoughts to the "sanctuary of God"--I need to bring my thoughts and feelings before Him and have Him help me sort them out. In this psalm, the verses go on to reveal to the psalmist that, though the evil may flourish for a while, they will come to a bad end--that he needs to view them in light of eternity.

May we be quick to take our "wearisome thoughts" to the Lord.