submission vs. wishful asking

You know, I realized something today as I was taking a little hike and doing some praying.

I was praying “God, if this is your will then just orchestrate the details.”

And I just felt Him responding, “If it is My will, why would I not be orchestrating the details? If it is My will, it is bound to happen, so stop worrying about how or why or when or what.”

Duh. I know in my head that if something is God’s will then it will happen at some point, in some way.

What I realized was that often when I pray “if it’s your will, let it work out” is that really what I am saying is “I really want this, and I want it to be your will, so figure out how to make this happen. Please?”

I think, when we are given the example, “yet not my will but yours be done” in (Luke 22:42), the Will is already known it’s just the heart and mind that is not 100% in agreement. But the plan is made clear. When we are praying in this way I think we are giving up control – your will be done, not mine. But, in the way I was praying, it was more like going to God as a wish-granter, which I try so hard to avoid.

So, if the thing I am praying for is God’s Will then I don’t need to worry about the details. And if it is not God’s will, then again, I don’t have to worry about the details. I can just pray “Your Will be done in this situation,” and leave it at that.

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Who you are.

I am working on the “renewing of my mind,” per all the scripture (Romans 12:2, ) telling me to renew my mind, as I am a new creation.

Well, if someone wants to tell me how one goes about this, I’d be grateful. I still haven’t figured it out, but I have started the process of learning who God is.

And well, because I am created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), I can better learn who I am, and maybe what I should be thinking about, and maybe this will give me some insight into the renewing of my mind.

Tired yet? I sure am.

Here’s a helpful sermon by my boy Pipes (John Piper… is that offensive? I just feel like you and I are tight). Check it out for some help on the renewing of your mind.

But that’s not what this post is about – I don’t understand it enough yet to write about it.

This is about WHO GOD IS.

Because, brothers and sisters, when you know who God is, you can learn who YOU are!

AH! Is that not exciting? We were made in HIS image! To be like him!

I am very much into recreating quotes onto canvas to hang on the wall. But to do that, I have to look at an image, because I am not the best of artists on my own.

Here are some ideas on some of the attributes, or characteristics of God (via Challies):

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Those are good, and worth learning about. I also love the book The Attributes of God, by A.W. Tozer.

 

But when I think how I want to model myself in the image of God, I think of things like these:

  • unconditionally lover
  • seeker of justice
  • creative
  • beautiful
  • peaceful
  • strong
  • patient
  • humble
  • trustworthy
  • consistent
  • forgiving

What one attribute of God could you work on for yourself this week?

I’m going to work on “patient.”

Sunday Scripture: Psalm 88 & 89

Currently, at my church, we are studying various books of Psalms.

Last week we read over Psalm 88 – it is deep and dark, and not fully of praise and hope like a lot of the Psalms we are used to:

“my soul is full of troubles… you have put me in the depths of the pit…your wrath lies heavy upon me…you have caused my companions to shun me…”

Whoa, okay. Things are rough for the author of this Psalm. “Sorry for him, but really I’m not in that kind of time right now in my life so I can’t really relate, but I’ll take notes for one day (far, far away) when I am feeling dark and lowly,” I thought during the sermon.

Our pastor addressed how the psalmist still prayed during his darkness, whether or not he felt God was near.

He gave us a quote  regarding this Psalm, which sticks with me today (I cannot remember the source), “It stands as a mark of realism of Biblical faith.” We will suffer, we will find ourselves in the pit, we will feel a loss of hope.

And then my pastor stated, “lamentation is the recognition that where we are at in our lives is not where we are meant to be.”

A- to the -men! We are free to lament! God invites us to lament to Him! He doesn’t send condemnation, He listens and I believe offers a little side-smirk, as He thinks to Himself “oh, but if you only knew what is ahead!”

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So… funny how things work, because just 4-5 days later, I found myself in a bit of darkness…

And yesterday, it all came to fruition. I was in that pit the psalmist talked about. I sat down in tears and read Psalm 88 word for word – now from my own darkness. It took some time because the tears overwhelmed my outloud prayer/reading.

And then I continued reading aloud in prayer to Psalm 89. The author is not the same, nor is the tone of the Psalm.

Here, here there is hope! I like to think they were situated in God’s word like this for a reason.

Oh, we may not feel hope, but there is hope. Don’t stop at the pit, keep going, keep reading!

When things are tough, when you feel so dark and there is no hope, when you are deep in the pit – PRAISE!

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You are renamed.

Today’s post is inspired by the study of Ruth from #shereadstruth and also what God is teaching me in my life. I’ve said before, and I’ll say it for the rest of my life, I know God wants me to be learning something when it is continually presented to me in my life, in various ways. Today’s post is inspired by #shesharestruth:

Is there a discrepancy between the names by which Jesus calls you and the names you give yourself? Are there circumstances in your life to which you are giving undue power, power that rightfully—and in reality!—belongs to our sovereign God alone? Sister, who names you today—your God or your circumstances? 

 

My whole life I have been a people pleaser. And this, my dear friends, is not a good thing.

I have only recently realized how this has changed my life, how it has negatively affected me, and how I have let it influence my relationship with Christ.

Because of my desire to live up to the ideas and standards others have for me, whether or not these are real or imagined, I have done a lot of things I never expected. Not that these are all bad, not that they have all been a negative experience, but there are things that have transpired that I wish I could take back, simply because of my desire to please other people.

So I’ve called myself broken, ugly, unloveable, unworthy, dirty – whatever negative name I think someone else may think of me in a various situation – in my sense of failing. Failing not just people, failing my God.

You see, in trying to please all these other people, I have lost sight of pleasing my God. Not that He calls me to earn my salvation through my works, but He yearns for me to honor Him through my life – my words, my actions, and my thoughts. And when I forget to serve Him through my life, I feel guilty about this unearned grace He offers me over and over, and I call myself hopeless.

And then, oh then God reminds me – that is what my story is all about!

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That is the story of the gospel!

Yes I am broken, but He puts the pieces together again and I am used as a perfect vessel for His work.

I sure am ugly, but He calls me beautiful in the light of His glory and grace.

Unloveable – all the time. But when I allow Him to work through me, I can love better, and be more able to be loved by those around me. And He loves me. He loves me in all my dirty sin. Oh, how He loves!

And you better believe I am unworthy – not only am I unworthy of life, a job, my friends, my family, all the material things I have, etc. – I am unworthy of His beautiful grace and mercy, His salvation and the relationship He longs to have with me. Oh friends, I am unworthy. He makes me worthy through the death of His son.

Dirty – the dirtiest. So unclean and so full of sin. But praise be to God, He calls me clean. He has washed me white as snow.

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I urge you to stop calling yourself these terrible names. For the following week, when you think a negative thought, immediately stop yourself and consider how God sees you. Tell yourself that 3 times in place of the time you would be hard on yourself.

Change your thoughts.

your body.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.” 

That scripture from 1 Corinthians 6:19 is one that has been spoken to me numerous times. As a child I think people would use it to talk to me about how to dress at church, as a teenager it was used to teach me about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex. As an adult I have had it read to me in regards to my struggles with food and body image.

But today, today it took on a a completely different meaning. I was reading a devotional on #SheReadsTruth and as I was reading the scriptures about the temple, I began applying what was being said about the physical temple in the Bible and applied it to the truth of my body being the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s take a look at the scripture referenced regarding the temple:

Isaiah 56:7-8

“These I will bring to my holy mountain,
    and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
    for all peoples.”
The Lord God,
    who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
    besides those already gathered.”

Jeremiah 7:8-11

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house,which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.”

Matthew 21:10-17

And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.

Luke 19:45-48

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

Jesus gets furious with the people for how they were treating the temple.

I don’t want to say much more; I want you to read those scriptures and ask God how he wants you to change the way you treat your temple.

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Take this seriously, friends.

Joshua – Be Strong, Be Courageous!

She Reads Truth is doing something new for Lent – every Friday the reader’s share their own thoughts on a certain passage of scripture. This is my response for the week. 

This week, we are reflecting on Joshua 1:8-9.

Let me start by saying, all of this must have been very providentially, as if God really wanted to teach me something. The same morning I read that the passage this week for #shesharestruth, I also started listening to a podcast series from Oak Hills Church (home of our boy, Max Lucado!) The series is called “Glory Days” and it is all about Joshua, how fitting. Here’s a list of the series so you can go watch for yourself:

So, those are all the sermons so far, and they cover more than just verses 8 and 9 from chapter 1. But Lucado talks a lot about who Joshua is and where he is coming from, what he is coming from, and where he is being called to in the future. I think knowing the context of a verse is important, no matter what passage you’re looking at.

Using my study Bible, I also gathered information about Joshua (the book AND the person) that I found informative:

  • Joshua was chosen as Moses’ successor,
  • The book outlines Joshua’s leadership of the Israelites,
  • Joshua was a military leader and a strong spiritual influence,
  • He was submissive to God, and was obedient to his call,
  • The book displays Joshua’s obedience.
  • (and Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down)

Verses 1-9 of the first chapter of the Joshua are the Lord’s Charge to Joshua. Joshua should’ve been mourning the loss of a great leader, Moses, but instead God asks him to RISE UP and lead the people of Israel.

Joshua obeys.

God calls Joshua to be strong and courageous and to lead the people and Joshua accepts. Then, the important part for us this week, God says,

Study This Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

God taught Joshua how to be obedient, strong, and courageous, and successfully carry out His plan:

  1. Be strong, be courageous – it’s not going to be easy.
  2. Obey the law God has given.
  3. Constantly read the word God has given, think about, dwell on it, claim it, etc.

We too need to do those things, with whatever it is God is calling us to do.

We move forward without fear, for if God is for us, who can be against us?

We obey His commands (especially in what He is currently calling us to do, that which is requiring we have faith and courage).

We read His written word to us, we dwell on it, and we let it direct us as we are strong and courageous in obedience.

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Are you ready? What is God calling you to do – big, small, easy, difficult?

 

image is from my brother! Follow him @an_idiot_abroad on Instagram!