Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why is it so hard for us to come to Him?

James 4:8
Come to God, and He will come to you..

Ok. WHY, WHY, WHY is this so hard for us to do??

To those who know me well, know that the past year I have been all over the map in my life. Spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.. A real roller coaster of a year. Between illnesses, emotional battles that I battle each and every day, and the spiritual warfare that was being fought within..

This past year, I really put God on the back burner and did what I wanted to do, against any advice from family or close friends. I'll even admit to the few times that I said I was done with God.. Not that I didn't believe in Him, because I knew I did, but because I just didn't want Him in my life or the guilt associated with not walking with Him. And to be honest, I sort of blamed Him for things happening or not happening in my life. For the several heart breaks I had experienced, for the lack of money or enough hours at work to earn that money. Just any and everything..

But that wasn't working for me anymore.. What is it that Dr. Phil says? "How's that workin for ya?" Yeah.. not at all... I was even more miserable, angry, and lonely. I finally came to a point where I found myself on my knees, humbled, and saying.. 'Lord, I'm done fighting you and your will for my life!'

I came to Him! And like the promise of that verse, He came to me! The transformation that has taken place in my life since I did that, has been a complete 180! And it is so amazing! Doors opened for me to get back to my kids, friendships became deeper ones on a level that I can't say I've ever experienced in my life.. His Blessings were, and still are, overflowing because of my obedience!

Psalm 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart",,

And that is so true. After I took the step forward to come to Him, I did what this last verse tells us and I delighted myself in Him and you know what? He has give me those desires...according to His will..

I'm with my children, my life is on the upswing, I have things and people near me that I have wanted and needed my entire life.. all because I swallowed my pride and came to Him!

And like someone who has beaten the odds of a life threatening illness, Things are much sweeter! Much more appreciated.. Its not being taken for granted.. Im not saying its going to be easy or good all the time..That would be completely naive of me, but I know that I know that I know, as long as I stay obedient, take rightious steps and follow Christ, He will be there to get me through..

My hope and challenge today is that if you are struggling with your own pride, like I did, of coming to Him.. SWALLOW IT! It doesn't work...

Depend on Him, Delight in Him, Come to Him.. And He will do just as that verse says.. It's His promise to us..

That He will come to you....

Friday, January 15, 2010


All of us encounter a time on our life that we need a little help. Some of us moan and groan and feel sorry for ourselves. Others worry as they attempt to solve the problems themselves. And still others bounce from persons to places looking for answers. Psalm 121 teaches us that when we need help, we need to look to the Lord. God is there for us and is willing to assist us.

Today, my devotional was on Psalm 121, which is very exciting.. many songs have come from this passage alone and as I'm typing this, they keep swirling around in my head!

1 I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
3 He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
5 The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
7 The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Have you ever wondered where does my help come from? I know I sure have! Whenever we feel this way, we NEED to lift our eyes to the Lord..
But also, when we are in trouble, we need to acknowledge the same thing. God WANTS to help us and rescue us from our difficulties! How big are your troubles? Do they seem too large for you to handle? Don’t worry, Don't Panic.. the one who created heaven and earth is coming to help!

He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber.
Sometimes we feel like we’re on slippery ground, that we might skid and fall into further crisis. But God will not let our foot be moved. He will hold us firm. . We may feel like we are slipping, or maybe we’re afraid and want to move away from what life is throwing at us, but God will hold our feet firm so we won’t be moved.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Do you ever wonder if God hears your prayers? This verse assures us that God never sleeps. He is always ready to help us. God does care about you. He will keep us no matter what struggles we may be facing.

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
Did you know that God will cover you from adversity? The writer or psalmist tells us that the Lord is our shade. We live under his protective shadow. Nothing can harm us.

The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
I googled ( I know) some quotes regarding this verse and this one really stood out to me. Charles Spurgeon suggests that this verse means God will keep us "from excessive heat and from baneful chills." Certainly this could be the meaning of this verse. But we know how the heat of the sun can 'smite' us during the day, and it has been shown that the full moon seems to adversely affect some people’s behavior. In fact the word lunatic comes from the supposed lunar effect on some people’s minds ( go sit in an ER on a full moon and you'll know what I mean). But God has promised that even this will not affect us. Whether you are facing heat or chill, whether you are facing scorching pain in your body or cold despair in your mind, whether you are facing difficulties at work during the day or trouble at home at night – no matter what hardship you may encounter, God will protect you. He will be there for you.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
At the bottom of my bible, it explains that the word shamar means keep in Hebrew. In this verse it is used twice. This is a series of affirmations that God will keep us safe. In verses 3 to 8 it is used six times – in verse 3 "he who keeps you will not slumber," in verse 4 "he who keeps Israel," in verse 5 "the Lord is your keeper," in verse 7 "the Lord will keep you from all evil" and "he will keep your life," and in verse 8 "the Lord will keep your going out and your coming in." The Lord is our keeper. We have nothing to worry about for it is God who will preserve us.
Here in verse 7 the promise is that God will keep our life. The Hebrew word for life is nepesh(yes, I googled it too) which also indicates the soul, or in other words, the Lord will keep all of you – your physical well-being, your emotional well-being, your spiritual well-being. As Charles Spurgeon tells us, "Our soul is kept from the dominion of sin, the infection of error, the crush of despondency, the puffing up of pride; kept from the world, the flesh and the devil; kept for holier and greater things; kept in the love of God; kept unto the eternal kingdom and glory." WOW! How 'bout it?!

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.
Some days, more often than not, I’m not sure if I’m coming or going. Do you feel that way? This verse promises that when we go out to begin our day, the Lord is there. When we come home at the end of a long day, God is still there. In fact this verse tells us that God is with us from this time forth and forevermore. What a wonderful promise of God’s keeping power over our life. He is always there for us. He will not abandon us. No matter what we are doing or where we are going, God is with us.

It is my hope today, that this encourages you, as it did me while studying it. We tend to, in our humanness, go everywhere BUT to the one who created us, for help.. I'm as guilty as the next guy. But it is my prayer AND challenge for us today, that when we are finding ourselves in a predicament of needing help, that we go to the Father.. He WANTS to help us!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I run to you...

Psalm 11:1-7
1 In the LORD I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
"Flee like a bird to your mountain.
2 For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.
3 When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do ?"
4 The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD is on his heavenly throne.
He observes the sons of men;
his eyes examine them.
5 The LORD examines the righteous,
but the wicked and those who love violence
his soul hates.
6 On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.
7 For the LORD is righteous,
he loves justice;
upright men will see his face.
God provides stability in the midst of panic.. Because we can trust Him, we can face our problems!
Faith in God keeps us from losing hope and helps us resist fear. In this David was comforted and optimistic because he knew God was greater than anything his enemies could bring against him!

When our foundations are shaking and we wish we could just run and hide, we need to remember that God is still in control. His power is not diminished by anything! Nothing happens without His permission and knowledge.
He doesn't preserve us from difficult times but He does test us.. For some of us, His test become a 'refiners fire' but others, they become and incinerator for destruction. Don't ignore these challenges that come.. Use them as an opportunity to grow!

When I feel like running, I know who I'm gonna run to!

He will restore goodness in HIS time!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our Greatest Joy!

Ok, so I'm a musician right? So of course alot of my favorite scriptures come from the book of Psalms.. besides the fact that it gives us GREAT encouragement in times of struggling, but also because there is soooo much music swirling around in that book..Hence the reason why alot of my stuff comes from there.. Today I thought I'd be random and open up my bible, close my eyes and point at what todays devotional was going to be about and this is what God 'randomly' gave me.. Very exciting!

Psalms 84-1-12
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 2 I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! 4 What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.
5 What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. 7 They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob.
9 O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed.
10 A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. 11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. 12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.
Ok.. so there are 6 benefits of worship that the writer in this passage records..This song was about the blessing of real worship and what it produced in the lives of the people of God that trusted Him. It was structured with two sets of six lines in Hebrew (84:1-4) and (84:8-11) that sandwiched in a small three line segment (84:5-7). Kinda like a PB&J, its the center of it that offers the sweetness.. He writes, claiming to find a place of LOVE or fondness there. "When I come to worship" he says, "I find a place of special love and relationship."

Then, he wites that worship "fills a hunger in him." (84:2-4). What is he hungry for? He longs to sing out (v.2), he desires to feel securely at home (v.3) and he desires to be with his family praising together. In short, he hungers to BELONG, and in the midst of his singing companions surrounding the sacrificial tables north of the altar - he can join the song!

A third benefit of worship is found in the sweetness of the center (PB&J, remember?), three Hebrew lines (84:5-7). The Psalmist uses a literal image to form a figurative idea. Hang on, it is worth it! He reminds the pilgrim that getting to Jerusalem requires a walk of hardened reserve (84:5) on a very arduous highway that passes through the wilderness east of Jerusalem. That highway was referred to by Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan as a dangerous place (cp. Luke 10). The dusty and dry wilderness highway is barren for seven months of dry, and then erupts with a few sprinkles of rain (84:6) into a flowered and somewhat green pathway. The end of the tough walk is the Mountain of the Temple, where it all becomes worth the journey (84:7).

That's the image given, but that's not the whole story! The valley mentioned in the heart of the text is Baca, the place of weeping. This gives away the figure of the image. The image is a journey of difficulty through a valley of tears. The fourth blessing of worship was the surprise in the text: worship reminds and teaches me to persevere in the valley to arrive at the place of freedom! (84:5-7).
There are three more. No worries I wont neglect them!

The fourth is that I have a place to outwardly proclaim (84:8) that I need a spiritual covering over me! (the word "shield" is a word for covering, while the word for anointed is a reference to a pouring or covering by God!). In my worship, I pull the covers of the Lord back over my life!

Fifth, the writer reflects on his choice to stand in the courts of Levitical song and praise rather than in the tents of wickedness. What a graphic contrast - a vast stone built courtyard versus a flimsy and temporary tent leaning against the outer city wall. The singer wanted a clean and permanent place, not a lean-to of temporary pleasure (84:10). (where the worship song 'Better is One Day' is written from.. One of my favs!)

Finally, the psalmist offers a final blessing of worship (84:11) before he closes with the chorus (84:12). The last blessing he offers us a reminder of is that standing before God in worship, I receive new blessing, grace and every good thing is poured out that I need for my continued walk in Him!

The Lesson?? I love to worship God because He wraps me in His LOVE when I do. He fills me up with a sense of belonging when I do what I was created for - praising my God! He offers me hope and reminds me of the importance of resolve when praise comes through tear-filled eyes because my song pours from a broken heart. He pulls a spiritual cover over me when I praise Him. He brings me to a secure, permanent and wholesome place where He can pour on me everything I need to keep going. 'That's why I love to praise', the writer says! It is no wonder. The benefits are abundant!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


You know the last couple days I have been struggling with something.. with the back and forth with the kiddos, I have had a hard time with my purpose in life.. When I say goodbye to them after caring for them for several days, I have a 'lull' and feel like I don't have any other purpose.. but to care for them..
So I went to my little instruction book for some encouragement on what MY purpose is.. this is what I found!

There is a purpose for your life.
(Note: This study is adapted from the book Who Do You Think You Are?)

Many people go through life feeling discouraged about themselves and thinking they do not have a purpose in life. But that's not true. Whoever you are—whatever your life experiences, talents, physical ability, or role—you have a purpose.

Let's take a look at one of my favorite verses in the Bible:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:1).

Notice two points in this verse:1. God created you. You are not an accident.2. God has a plan for you. You have a purpose in life.

You are created to know God.
One purpose in life is to get close to God. You can do this through Jesus Christ.
I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3).
I am the bread of life (John 6:35).
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me
(John 14:6).
If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10).
Would you like to learn more about how to know God?

You are created for God's glory.
One purpose in life is to glorify God in this world.
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made (Isaiah 43:6-7).
You are created to praise God.
One purpose in life is to praise and worship God.
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O lord; they will bring glory to your name (Psalm 86:9).
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever (Psalm 86:12).

You are created to grow the fruit of the Spirit.
One purpose in life is to grow in character.
The type of person you become is more important than your successes and failures in the world.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
You are created to spread the Gospel.
One purpose in life is to tell others about Jesus' love for them.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples (Psalm 96:3).<-p>
Make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted (Isaiah 12:4).
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).

You are created to use the talents God gave you.
One purpose in life is to develop your gifts.
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully (Romans 12:4-8).
Do not minimize your role.

Live life as an adventure—wherever you are.
All Christians collectively form the body of Christ. The body is formed of many different parts (Romans 12:4-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). All are important. It does not matter what part of the body you are.
On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it (1 Corinthians 12:22-24).
Overcome jealousy or bitterness.
Don't be upset if you do not have a place of prominence, for, as you read in the above verse, God gives special honor to people with "less honorable" roles.
Do not downplay the value of what you do.
Don't compare yourself to others or give up if someone seems to do a better job than you. Of course there are others who have more talent! If all the evangelists or witnesses or teachers in the world decided to stop trying because someone else did a better job, where would we be?
What counts is that you be faithful.
God gave you talents and abilities. He expects you to develop them. Study Matthew 25:14-30.

Have you felt purposeless in life?
How will you use the above information to live a more purposeful life?

I think that says it all!

My prayer today is that through Christ, I (and any one reading this lol) can live life with purpose in HIM! Everything else will fall into place! Duh! Back to the basics..