What Do You Want To Ask God?

 

Do you ever wish you could ask God a question? Maybe clarify what to do about a specific situation taking place in your life? Would you like direction toward your calling? Perhaps you’d like relationship or parenting or employment guidance. 

The Bible is flawless, but what if your situation isn’t specifically addressed in it? I’ll talk more about this next week, but to get you started, what do you do when you want to know:

  • Whether to stay in your job or take a new one across the country?
  • If you should buy this house or that one?
  • Is homeschooling really be the right path to educate your children?

None of these issues are specifically addressed in the Bible. 

The only reasonable solution is to ask God to direct you through listening prayer. And he will. Priscilla Shirer says, “Do you really think God loves you enough to die for you but doesn’t love you enough to talk to you?”

I’ve created a quick video on listening prayer to teach you how to hear from God. Watch it then do the exercise. When you’re done, leave me a comment about how it went, and what you heard.

 

 

 

 

That’s A Wrap!

It is finished! 

Can I confess that when the calendar rolls past the holiday there is a certain relief that falls on me?

The pressure is off to send one more card or shop for one more present or bake one more cookie or attend one more holiday gathering. Curiosity is satisfied and expectations were either met or disappointments dealt with. 

It is finished. I’m grateful and even a little relieved. So where is the wonder and joy? 

Unexpected emotions.

For some, this Christmas was unexpectedly different. The death of a loved one left an empty space at tables and in hearts so vacuous that facing the cheerfulness of the holiday was nearly impossible.

Military families with service men and women serving far away from home secretly hoped for a surprise visit like something out of a television commercial. (I know I crept downstairs on Christmas morning hoping to see an Eli-lump on the couch. Sigh. Just throw pillows.)

Empty nesters sleep in on Christmas Day, missing the pre-dawn promptings from children eager to open presents under the tree.

Snowbirds celebrating Christmas in the south are unexpectedly sad, feeling the absence of family members, silently missing the familiar cold and snow.

College students back home for the holiday are more excited about reconnecting with friends and time away from studies than celebrating Christmas. The childlike wonder and surprise is missing.

The monumental expenditure of creative energy and resources can bring out the crazy in the best of us. I’m guilty of losing sight of Jesus in the crush and sorrows of Christmas.

Christmas is over, but Jesus remains. 

When the shepherds were told of Jesus’ birth, there was a good deal of excitement. Anticipation of our Messiah generated spontaneous travel plans, making arrangements for the sheep, getting cleaned up and their hair done (presumably) deciding what outfit to wear (perhaps) baking and creating gifts to bring to the party (maybe)? Ok, that’s a stretch.

Wonder and Joy

What we do know is the shepherds were filled with wonder and joy. A wonder and joy that could not be contained. The Bible says, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  (Luke 2:17-18) Enjoying the Presence of God will fill you with wonder and joy, too. All. Year. Long. 

Following the example of the shepherds, I’m going to find Jesus and be with him. In spite of changes and losses and angst about what next year holds, I’m going to take some time to recapture a bit of lost wonder and joy.

What’s next?

This week, I hope you’ll ponder and remember Jesus is the reason for Christmas and celebrations all year long. All the traditions and parties and gifts are just accessories to remind us that Jesus was born, and He came to save us. To be with us.

Sit in Jesus’ presence and be filled again with wonder and joy. I find Jesus in my Bible study. In my prayer closet. In my dreams and at my church. Where will you look for him first?

Leave me a comment where you connect best with Jesus to recapture your wonder and joy. 

30 Day Thankfulness Challenge

,

 

God works in mysterious ways

No doubt, God’s ways are far above my understanding, but He is often quite OBVIOUS in His direction. For the past several weeks, nearly every book, magazine article, podcast and Bible study lesson has touched on thankfulness.

Now, I like to think of myself as a thankful person, but apparently, God is raising the barre on my quota. He’s impressed on me to start a thankfulness journal. For one minute a day (I set a timer) I write what I am thankful for.

Initially, it was a piece of cake. It doesn’t take much effort to fill one minute with home, hubby, health, kids, etc., but now on day seven, the flow is slower. You can test me in this. I’d love the company.

Thankfulness rewires your mind. 

As the flow of things to write on my list dwindled from a stream to a trickle, I realize God is using this journal to cause me to deeply reflect on my blessings. 

Honestly, girls, God is wooing me and maybe to you, too, to appreciate what I have and not take it for granted. To chuck the “What have you done for me lately” attitude as I pray for more stuff and overlook what I already have.

Follow the example of Paul

Paul says in Phil 4:6, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.” 

What he practices a lot is thankfulness.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” Col 3:15

Read More

Celebrate! You’re A Work In Progress

My birthday was last week and I had a ball. (see photos below – and, yes that’s a tiara, cuz – that’s what happens when you take a dare at 50 and it starts a tradition!)

In the afterglow of a day of celebration and indulgence, I’m taking a timeout to look ahead. How do I get to this time next year wiser, healthier, better off than I am right now.

We are all works in progress.

Progress being the operative word. If we are not making progress we are stagnating or worse yet, decaying.

Mirriam-Webster defines progress this way: to move forward: to develop to a higher, better, or more advanced stage

Listed antonyms of progress are: decline, descend, deteriorate, weaken, decay, or relapse.

We are either progressing or decaying.

Read More

What Is That Stink?

No one wants to admit it, but we all have to face down stinky stuff in our lives.

What do you do when the computer swallows up your documents? How do you react when you discover your secret stash of Oreos has been raided? Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair? Imagine discovering that your car has been towed!

Delays, disappointments and doubts stink! 

In John 11, Lazarus is deathly sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are stuck in a stinky situation. When Jesus finally shows up, Lazarus is already dead and has been in the grave four days! 

The sisters are crying, the mourners are crying, even Jesus cries. They are still weeping and wailing at the cave/grave where a stone has sealed in the body of Lazarus.

Then Jesus makes the most remarkable request.

Read More

Your Legacy Starts Now

What will you be known for?

Do you spend any time pondering your legacy? How will people remember you? What stories will be told about you? How will you be described when you leave your current church, or workplace or neighborhood or this life?

We all want to be remembered well. Unfortunately, in an effort to create a great legacy, we can get into trouble by trying to do everything, and end up burned out and overwhelmed or feel so hopeless that we do nothing!

Lord have mercy! How do you find balance and direction?

What does God require?

Medical professionals use the term “potentiate”. It means to augment or accelerate the efficacy of a drug. So, when two drugs are taken together, the secondary drug augments or accelerates the effectiveness of the first one.

God commands us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30-31) and to love others as Jesus loves us (John 13:34).

Our legacy is built by loving God and loving His people using our gifts, talents and life experiences to demonstrate God’s love to others.

In other words, we are to potentiate God’s love to others.

What did God put in you to potentiate his love to the world?

Read More

The Secret That Changes Lives

 

When Sylvia and I started working the same shift, I liked her right away. She was smart and confident and full of life. She had good ideas to make the work flow better and it was fun to be in her cubicle space.

At lunch, I often read my Bible or worked on a Bible study. Sylvia had no interest in God, but she was intrigued with me. “How can you go through so many hard things and not be angry at God?” she asked when I told her I was working at the office because my husband had died at 39 leaving me to take care for our two kids by myself.

As we learned more about each other, I realized Sylvia’s performance at work was exemplary but her personal life was messy. Her weekends were parties and binging and hooking up.

When she first started to tell me about her raucous weekends, she anticipated being judged, shamed, and lectured. But instead, I showed Jesus’ love to her.

Sharing the secret

As she accepted my acceptance of her, she stopped trying to shock me and began to confide in me, asking for advice. It was the open door to talk to her about Jesus.

Read More

The Answer to Everything

Ready for an easy Bible Quiz ??

  1. Who was fathered by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin?
    Answer: Jesus
  2. Who was tempted in every way, yet remained sinless?
    Answer: Jesus
  3. Who is the Savior of the world?
    Answer: Jesus
  4. Who issued the great commission in Matthew 28?
    Answer: Jesus! 

The answer to everything.

At our house we say Jesus is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. 🙂  You probably believe that, too, but I bet you know lots of people who wouldn’t agree with us.

These folks with an underwhelming faith sit next to you in church, stand next to you at work, and live next door to you in your neighborhood.

They long for the kind of faith and trust in Jesus that stands firm in any situation but don’t know how to get it. Maybe a name is coming to your mind right now???

The great commission in Matthew 28 says make disciples who make disciples … who make disciples… who make disciples of Jesus! 

The great commission is to make disciples, but once a person says yes to Jesus (becomes a disciple), the real work of reconciling that decision with past habits and patterns can be daunting. Old temptations are alluring. The tests are real. The choices are many.

Read More

My Finest Recipe

The recipe everyone wants. 

Last week, I made the best balsamic Brussel sprouts … ever!  They were so good, everyone at the potluck wanted the recipe. (That didn’t surprise me, cuz I got the recipe at a different potluck.)

Though the recipe was simple, the dish was not easy to make. It took planning, timing, prepping and double-checking the instructions to make sure it would turn out well. But it was worth it to see it consumed with glee and share the goodness with others.

We readily share recipes for lasagna, banana bread and glazed Brussel sprouts, but what’s the recipe for a life that works?

The recipe for disaster.

I tried all sorts of things before Jesus.

  • Drugs.
  • Men.
  • Food.
  • Shopping.
  • Will-power.

Nothing worked till I surrendered my life to Jesus and found a woman to disciple me. Louise recognized how quickly a girl like me, who knew little about God and nothing about the Bible, could get discouraged or misled, so she took me on like a project and never made me feel like one. She provided a safe space for me to ask questions I was too embarrassed to ask in class.

  • How do I talk to God?
  • Where do I start reading the Bible?
  • Is there forgiveness for my past?
  • How can I let go of the pits and patterns that keep me stuck?
  • Where do I find peace in the midst of cruddy circumstances?
  • How do I know if God is leading me or if it’s my own idea?

Louise discipled me from starting out to standing firm. Could you do that?

Read More