“He [Abraham] went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 (NASB)
Oswald Chambers wrote this insightful description of faith…
“Faith never knows where it is being led,
but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.
It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason,
but a life of knowing Who makes us ‘go.’”
Isn’t it beautiful?
I couldn’t help but smile as I reread it several times in my mind and even out loud. I determined quickly that in relation to Abraham it really fits quite perfectly. As that specific thought came to completion in my mind I felt God very clearly speak to my heart… “try it on my child, let’s see how Abraham’s faith fits on you.”
As I tried it on for size I felt the burning conviction well up in my heart and I confessed that “no” it doesn’t always fit quite the way it should.
Fear has us wanting to know where were headed and love of self has us going anywhere but to God for the assurance of our safety. In this world we live in we must be very cautious. It will boldly offer us just the quick assurance we “think” we need. Left to our flesh we would have no trouble taking that quick assurance and overlooking the fact that worldly assurance is always a risk, it’s never guaranteed.
However, faith in God is something we can count on. Hebrews 11: 1 says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” As I reflected on His word I prayed “Lord I am sure that You are Who You say You are and I am certain that You will fulfill what You have promised, help me to know this truth all of the time so that my faith may increase.”
So, God will likely have to have this talk with me again, but for now in this moment I am going to wear Abraham’s faith and believe it for myself…
Heidi never knows where she is being led,
but she loves and knows the One Who is leading.
She lives a life of faith, not of intellect and reason,
but a life of knowing Who makes her “go.”
Go ahead try it on for yourself. Does it fit?
Is there less of me and more of Him?
The answer is yes. And I am so grateful for that. Do I wish I was further along? Yes. As long as there is sin in my life I will wish there wasn’t. But I accept that I am a work in progress. A flesh to be reckoned with.
You may have heard this story about the silversmith, but it so wonderfully explains what God is up to that I had to share…
Some people studying Malachi 3:3 which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”
This verse puzzled some in the Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”
He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.”
And a year later that scripture continues to express my hopes for the new year. I am not big on a list of New Year’s resolutions. Oh, I could make a list…
take better care of myself,
be a better homeschool mom,
a better wife,
a better manager of my time
Its date night, a rare but highly coveted occasion at my house and I’m on my second set of clothing. Turning in the mirror I ask my husband that question we all ask…
And I do what I always do, push out from his loving arms, sneer a little and roll my eyes (probably not so pretty) because I do not think I’m beautiful and he must be crazy to think I am or worse he’s just not being honest.
Then a few seconds later I notice a serious look on his face and I ask him, “What’s wrong?” He takes a deep breath and says, “It hurts my feelings when I tell you that you are beautiful and you don’t believe me.” He adds, “I love you and I do think you’re beautiful, even when you’re not at your best I think you’re beautiful. And, I’m concerned because our girls are always listening and watching to see how you respond and they will learn to respond to compliments in the same negative way that you do. I don’t want them to look in the mirror and worry that they look fat or that they aren’t pretty and I want them to believe me when I tell them they are beautiful, but if you don’t then they won’t either.”
In that moment I realized that my sweet husband sees me very much in the same way that God does.
It doesn’t matter if I just woke up or if I’m all made up, He thinks I’m beautiful.
It doesn’t matter if I’m overweight or the perfect weight, He thinks I’m beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, He thinks I’m beautiful.
Inside and out.
And, my husband is right. My girls are listening. Do I want them to believe it when they’re daddy says they’re beautiful? And, do I want them to believe HIM when He says that they’re beautiful too.
And it’s so much bigger than just believing my husband when he says I look nice, it’s more about believing that he is speaking and acting on behalf of God. That He appointed this man to me as a representative of Him. After all Ephesians 5:23 says “the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church.” Why wouldn’t I believe that my husband takes this seriously and is acting as such?
God reveals himself to me in my husband in so many ways and if I’m not careful I will miss it…
When he encourages me, it’s God.
When he imparts wisdom to me, it’s God.
When he provides for me, it’s God.
When he protects me, it’s God.
When he leads me, it’s God.
When he loves me, it’s God.
And, when he says I’m beautiful, it’s God.
I believe it now. Not just for my girls. But for me too.
I can’t tell you how freeing this Truth is, to not doubt my husband’s words or actions. It removes all the mental anguish that I place on myself. It allows me to just believe him, to smile and graciously say “thank you.”
What about you? Are you believing him because of HIM?
Warm Wishes from McDonalds Playland – A place where we can have peace on earth for a couple of hours!
Merry Christmas from Kelli and Heidi!
We really appreciate our bloggy friends who take time out of their million mile a minute days to leave comments that encourage us so much. We are so thankful for you!!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17 NIV).
Twelve Reasons For Christmas (John Piper)
1. “For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37)
2. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8; cf. Hebrews 2:14-15)
3. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
4. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
5. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
6. “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:5)
7. “For God so loved the world that whoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16).
8. “God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9; cf. John 10:10).
9. “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15).
10. “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many may be revealed” (Luke 2:34f).
11. “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)
12. “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” (Romans 15:7-8; cf. John 12:27f).
Our last appointment with the social worker is this morning. The paperwork is mountainous. The classes are time consuming. The extra babysitting fees are inconvenient.
But God… has a plan, has a purpose, and has a way.
My husband and I sit around the kitchen table scribbling across the pages and checking the appropriate boxes on our “Child Acceptance Survey” packet. These answers convey to social services what type of behaviors and/or characteristics we are willing to accept in an adoptive child. We are to mark each section with preferred, acceptable, would consider, and unacceptable.
There is an endless list of heart wrenching disorders: seizure disorder, blindness, difficulty attaching to others, sexual abuse, conceived out of rape, etc.
I think to myself, “Thank goodness God loves us just the way we are.”
As my black ballpoint pen scratches the surface of each page, God speaks.
“I don’t love you just the way you are. I love you in spite of who you are.”
God loves us in spite of our imperfections, mistakes, flaws, messes, rough edges, and disobedience.
To me, that makes the gift of grace so much more wonderful. Don’t you think?
This beautiful insight into God’s love inspires me to rethink how I love other people. God fine tunes my heart strings. My heart shifts from neutral driving me to a place where love comingles with acceptance.
God urges me to think more like he does—to love even though problems will arise, even though perfection will never be reached, even though hard times might be ahead, even though I may want to pull my last hair out, and even though I might feel like giving up.
Finding God while filling out a survey doesn’t surprise me. It’s so comforting knowing that God’s divine presence can fill even the smallest, most mundane moments in life.
… in spite of who we are.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, italics added).
As a result of such a loss, have you prayed a prayer like this…?
“How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day” (Psalm 13:2-4 ESV)? “I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out” (Psalm 6:6-7 NLT).
I’ve prayed this prayer more times than I care to admit. I’ve sobbed at stop lights, faked smiles, and said “I’m okay,” even when I’m not.
Like the author of Psalm 6, have you ever cried so hard your eyes hurt? Has grief blurred your vision to the extent you couldn’t see Jesus through the haze of sadness?
Weariness Depletes Our Energy.
When our bodies become physically worn out, our souls become spiritually worn out. The Bible says grief sneaks up and robs us of strength. Grief empties our energy, takes over, and completely wears us out.
When we are physically exhausted and spiritually weary, we need to…
Sweet friends if you are weary today, get to Jesus. He is the oxygen our soul gasps for. We will suffocate without it.
Being from Texas I’ve had my fair share of surprise insect run-ins. As a kid I can’t tell you how many times super-sized, stealth-like, buzzing insects have launched an attack mission on pig-tailed, bike-pumping me. I’m no stranger to poisonous scorpions, spiders, fire ants, chiggers, mosquitoes, swarming wasps and of course bumblebees.
I’ve had a tick removed from my head with a match and… brace yourself… I’ve even flushed an unsuspecting, disgusting cockroach out of my ear with full-blast faucet water in the middle of the night.
Let me say it for you…EWW… the thought of it still makes me cringe. I slept with earmuffs for a very long time after that and I am convinced that I suffer mental instability due to that one incident!
Needless to say I really dislike all things buggy and especially all things stingy. To this day they still evoke sudden terror in me. I know… just bugs, but still I don’t like them.
But what about things that really threaten us? Unexpected things. Like…
losing your job or your home
sudden or accidental death of a loved one
you fill in the blank… the list goes on and on
We know well that He is at work and that He will lead… but we must wait and see.
He’s proven to us that He is our comfort and our refuge in times of trouble… but we must stop and seek.
Because in our sudden terror when we wildly react in our own strength we often make matters worse. When a bee lands on me I break into a crazy dance, arms flailing, body shaking and I scare the bee… provoking it to attack… I make it worse. He tells us to be still and unafraid for long enough to remember that He is God.
It’s a trust thing. A faith thing. It’s a God thing.
I want it all, don’t you?
This is posted in response to Word Filled Wednesday at Internet Cafe Devotions!
I hear it everywhere. In lines. At restaurants. In movies. At the basketball games. Especially at the basketball games… where we have season tickets for our family! But, it’s everywhere. His Holy name casually being thrown around as vile profanity.
I’m sure you’ve heard it too. It makes me cringe in offense. My body physically responds similarly to the sound of finger nails dragged violently against a chalk board. Fists clenched. Back arched. Face contorted. Smile set to sneer. I am ready for battle.
But, what to do?
Shoot a look that will instantly slice them into a 100 tiny, painful pieces?
Chew them out verbally hoping to publicly humiliate them?
Break out my bible and share the gospel, hoping that they’ll drop to their knees on the spot?
None of that works. The dirty look goes unnoticed or only serves to spur them on. Giving them earful usually only gets a double earful back. And sharing the gospel, well you can imagine how well that would go over. I’ve come to the realization that judging, condemning and admonishing the lost serves no purpose, but to gratify my own sinful urges.
So, what should we do?
Well, this won’t surprise you, but the Bible gives us instructions on how to handle these rocky situations. And it also won’t surprise you to hear that it’s not them we need to learn how to handle it’s us.
We need to…
Exhibit self-control in the midst of outrage.
“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.” Proverbs 19:11 (NLT)
Be thoughtful and cautious with our words.
“Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Eclesiastes 5:2 (NLT)
Pray for the lost.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. .. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1,3-4 (NLT)
Getting into a verbal altercation with unbelievers in a noble attempt to “defend” God does not bring Him glory. In fact it tempts us into sin. Since when does God need us to defend Him? Never!
The best thing to do is pray. Right there. At the scene. Pray. And somehow knowing that’s all I can do gives me peace. That truth is like cooling water on my burning anger. Bringing me to a place of purpose, where I am filled with mercy and compassion for the souls of the lost.
How about you? Have you encountered God’s name being misused? How have you handled it?