Saturday, June 30, 2012

Discussion: The First Book

If you know me or read the about me section of this blog, you probably know I’ve written a book with the intent of making it into a series. If all goes according to plan, there will be a sequel and a prequel. Why didn’t I start at the beginning? Because I want events and truths to unfold in such a way that the reader learns as my protagonist does.
Like me, any author of a series can tell you why they chose to begin where they did. It was not an accident. It was planned.
Many believe the first book of the Bible was Job. If this is true, have you ever wondered why God started here? Why didn’t he start at the beginning? What was written that was so important that He needed to begin here?
In reading Job—again—something jumped out at me. While God and Satan are chatting, God is the one who brings up Job…not Satan. Chapter 1 verse 7 shows God and Satan engaged in small talk. Satan tells God he’s pretty much just hanging out—walking around on the earth—boring stuff. Verse 8 says this, “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
Satan basically tells God to take away the blessings He’s given Job. Surely without all his riches, Job will curse God, right?
But God doesn’t do that. Instead, in verse 12 he says to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
Gulp. God is telling Satan to use the power God gave him to throw a serious hurting Job’s way. And it’s His idea.
Why do you think God did this? Why did He suggest Satan hurt Job? Why did He enable him to do it? And, of all the books in the Bible, why do you think God chose this one to share first—before the beginning?  
My thought: God wants us to know where all the power truly comes from. He wants us to know who is in control. He wants us to love him, to refrain from sinning, despite our circumstances. He wants to help us grow. He wants us to trust him.
What are your thoughts?
His servant,

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breaking the Law

This morning I was driving along, following the car ahead of me, not paying attention to the speed limit when I looked in my rearview mirror to find a police car following me. My immediate reaction was to ease my foot off the gas pedal then look at my speedometer. I was going ten miles per hour over the speed limit. Oops!
Fortunately, the officer didn’t pull me over. But he followed me for quite a while. I was a picture of the world’s best driver after that, following the speed limit to a tee. I’m not going to lie – it was stressful. I had to remain vigilant, something I was not accustomed to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a habitual speed limit offender (anymore). But, I have been driving for many, many years. It’s become quite automatic and I’ve developed a bad habit of not paying close enough attention to the speed limits. I may fall in behind someone else and allow them to dictate the speed whether it’s within the limits or not or, if left on my own, find myself going too fast because it’s all too comfortable.
Do we do this as Christian’s? Do we fall in behind others to find that we’ve strayed from our path allowing things into our lives that we shouldn’t? Or do we do it of our own accord when we fail to pay close enough attention? What if we were constantly aware of the presence of God behind us? Would we be more careful to follow the rules?
By the way – He is always there, watching us. Just sayin’
I’m not trying to be overly legalistic. But, the rules God has given us are for our own good. There is a reason for each one and we should be intentional in following them. Imagine God behind you, keeping tabs on you. The more you follow His rules, the easier it becomes and the less likely you’ll be caught breaking the law when you look in your rearview and find Him right behind you.
His servant,
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Tear Down the Walls

There was a time when I wanted nothing to do with God. At times, I felt Him tugging on my heart. He placed people in my life to bring me to Him. But I resisted. I constructed walls to divide us.
Wall #1 – I wanted to live for myself.
                I knew some of the Bible. I knew some of the rules. I didn’t want to live by them. I wanted to have fun, to live for the here and now - for me.
                Tear it down: Living for yourself leaves you empty, hollow, constantly searching for something to fill the void. Ultimately, it leads to death.
Wall #2 – I wanted control.
                I was strong. I could do it all… blindfolded, with one hand tied behind my back. I could raise a child, finish my college education, take care of the home, bring home a paycheck, etc. etc. etc. - Blah. Blah. Blah.
                Tear it down: Don’t mistake dependence for weakness. Quite the contrary - it takes strength. And if you think you’re in control…think again. Once you’re comfortable, God will throw you a curveball. He’s in control. His will prevails whether you’re with Him or against Him. Would you rather be in His good grace, working with Him or beaten up, haggard and tired from fighting for the wheel?
Wall #3 – I thought religious people were sheep.
                I didn't think Christians thought for themselves. I thought they blindly followed others. I was too smart for that.
Tear it down: There are people out there who haven’t researched their faith (just as many haven’t researched their unbelief). But many have. In fact, there are people who set out to dispel the “myth” only to become Christians themselves after discovering the evidence for rather than against Christianity. Take reporter Lee Strobel for instance. He set out on a two year investigation to convince his wife her newfound faith was unfounded only to become a believer himself. The result: he wrote “The Case for Christ” which has led to the salvation of countless people, including my husband.
Wall #4 – I thought Christians were hypocrites.
                I've witnessed Christians behave in ways that fly in the face of their teachings.
Tear it down: If you hear a Christian say they’re perfect, go ahead - call him a hypocrite. Real Christians don’t say that. They know they often fall short. But they keep trying.
Someone once told me the major difference between people in church and those outside is that those inside know they need help. The church is like a hospital where sick people get well. We’re all human, we’re all flawed and we all make mistakes. But is that a reason to stop trying? True believers with the Holy Spirit within will forever walk the road to perfection, to Christ-likeness, until they’re reunited wholly with their creator in Heaven.
Wall #5 – Religion destroyed my family.
Before I was a year old, my mother joined a religious cult. So I was raised without a mother. I learned that people do stupid things and cause destruction…even in the name of God. Because of this early lesson, I didn’t trust the church. I didn’t trust people.
Tear it down: I've learned to place my trust in God. I love people, despite their inevitable flaws. I seek wise Godly counsel, then ensure it jives with God’s word. I pray for wisdom and discernment. I seek God’s will. I do my best and often fall short. Sometimes very… very short. But I pick myself up and try again.
Look into your heart. What walls have you constructed between yourself and your Creator who loves you? Tear them down. Ask Him to help you. Get out the sledgehammer and let the demolition begin…
His servant,
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