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Archive for the ‘Seek Godly Counsel’ Category

Dieting Idols

I am on a diet. Not quite revolutionary. I think I have been on one since I was 10. Can you relate? Typical for a woman in America. This is a sorta last ditch really try hard for big results kinda thing. Its super restrictive, but it only lasts 8 weeks. Surely I can do anything for 8 weeks. The results are instant and dramatic. But 8 weeks?

Good grief I am so weak.

I have been shocked at the heart lessons along the way. I already knew I have a love (hate) relationship with food, but I had no idea I was obsessed. Nor did I know the level of worship I reserved just for myself.

Daily.

Daily I struggle with being hungry (and tired, and weak, and grumpy, and self-pitying). Not just the feeling of hunger, but hungry for all the things I am not allowed to eat. I have to constantly tell myself, “No! You can have it again in 8 weeks.” Amazing how long 8 weeks suddenly becomes.

Its only 8 weeks.

But the thing that shocks me the most is the depth of my belief that I deserve whatever I want. Whenever I want it. At whatever cost.

What if I was living in some remote village somewhere building a school, or feeding people that are hungry? And not by choice? Not because they need to lose 20 pounds of bread and cookies off their, ahem, butt and gut? What if I had to go morning after morning without coffee? And still be pleasant enough to honor God?!

Could I?

I am disturbed by the expectations and entitlements I carry in my heart. Shocked. Disgusted.

I want to lose 20 pounds. I think the Lord wants me to lose the belief that I have the right to worship… me.

By His grace and for His glory.

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Pre-Praise

My Father seeks to teach me of His great and faithful love and delight in me.

In you.

By adversity.

Confounding?

I think He wants to teach us to “pre-praise.” Adversity teaches us about His heart of faithfulness, but also about the idols (desires and expectations demanded) in our own hearts that need to be purged. It is good.

As we slip down the slope into a pit, in the midst of the No Matter Whats, the Lord asks us to praise Him anyway.

Who He is.

What He has done.

What He will do.

I see this as “pre-praise.” An acknowledgement that He is and He will. Its easy to praise Him when He has, but I believe He wants to teach us to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving when it is still- He will.

Search your heart. When you look deep inside what is there?

He might?

Or…

He will?

All praise and glory to the Father Who will… and Who has.

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They saw. They looked around and saw their desperate, hopeless, impossible circumstances, and they were gripped with fear.

Saul waited. He waited for Samuel to appear on the 7th day. To make it all better. At some point on the 7th day Saul’s source of hope, his deliverer did not come. In desperation Saul decided to take things into his own hands.

Action.

A plan. Saul needed a plan of action. A show of might and bravado lest all his men desert him. Saul, Saul. Where does your hope and confidence lie? In man? In your religious leaders? In human action? In what is seen?

Certainly not in his true Deliverer. Not in his Lord Most High Who had already given him victories. Always been faithful. Ultimately his hope was in himself, in what was seen, in human plans. For Saul, and so often for us in the midst of temptation or trial, there is no hope in Who the Lord is, what He promises, nor in obedience to this One.

We forget.

We seek solace in our own plans without consulting our Deliverer.

“I’ve got to DO SOMETHING!”

We do not do the next thing- that which we already know to do- for our hope is not in the One Who laid out the next thing for us.

Unbelief.

Obstinate even?

Pride?!

He has called us to His throne. To His love. To His heart. But He has also called us to obedience. Even when it makes no sense. For its not about the action but about trusting the One behind the plan. His process.

Believe and be free.

Soooo simple. Soooo impossible… without the Spirit.

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Circumstances. They looked mighty bleak for king Saul and his people. Hopeless. Many of his troops were paralyzed with fear, hiding, and even running away. If there really was help available… it was going to be too little and too late. The time for action was now!

I have spoken with many wives (and some women not married) who look around and see only hopelessness, fear, even anger grown out of bitterness. Its never enough. Too little and too late. I have been there myself in the past. I understand their pain and uncertainty, their weariness. In the midst of it all is guilt and shame because we know we should trust the Lord. Trust and wait.

How does one get to this hopeless state?

To the bottom of the pit?

I see a destructive path in this passage, one that we quickly and easily tread. The only way, so it seems. At first. Until it lands us at the bottom of the pit. Again.

Context. Saul had not been king very long, yet he had already enjoyed a tremendous victory clearly provided by God as he sought to purge the land the Lord had given him. Let’s assume the war with the Philistines was justified in God’s sight. That aside, here we find the first misstep.

1 Samuel 13.6. Read it. Do you see it? Quite simply… they “saw” and were afraid. Deeply disturbed. They looked around at their circumstances and grew increasingly terrified. Their eyes were on their temporary earthly circumstances. Their hearts forgot Who and What their God is all about.

And they grew faint.

That is the first step on the path to destruction. It is a very subtle shift. Subtle but potentially deadly.

So… Ladies… Focus.

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Often we go to the Lord and we request, even demand, a husband (or fill in the blank with something else). We request, and then we choose. In this process the Lord places this man over us in the roles of marriage (despite the fact that we are equal in God’s sight). The very thing for which we begged.

And the Lord tells us to fear Him, worship Him, and obey Him. He tells us to guard our hearts from rebelling against Him.

In the midst of this marriage with this man whom we have chosen.

Yet we grow discontent and dissatisfied. He warns us, and He tells us to watch the great things He is going to do in our lives giving us tangible evidence of His might, sovereignty, and His love.

In the midst of this marriage with this man whom we have chosen.

He yearns to reveal the gunk in our hearts that tears us away from Him. He puts us in trial and allows temptation to reveal to us that which is holding us back from Him. Choking us.

In the midst of this marriage with this man whom we have chosen.

Basic. Foretold. Promised.

Then the foolishness begins: Expectations. Circumstances. Fears. The Mundane. We take things into our own hands. Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself as that is in chapter 13.

The Lord, He is faithful. We are not. He tells us to just do that which we know to do. “Do the next thing.” Yet we want to add to His Word. Or take away. Even then He is faithful to forgive us. Even then. Always.

He tells us over and over again… Fear Me, but do not be Afraid. Despite your selfish foolish heart you can Return. Worship. Be Forgiven. For when you turn away to the ideology of the world, you walk toward your own destruction.

No profit. No deliverance. Just lies.

Oh that we would understand His heart for us. Oh that we would not seek after that which distracts us from Him and from His plan for us.

In the midst of this marriage with this man whom we have chosen.

Still the Lord will not abandon you. Return to Him. He will show you how if you but ask Him.

Return to Him and soar.

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I see the similarity. Seriously.

I study the basics. I get fantastic instruction. When I am in the presence of my instructor, he easily sees the details I perform incorrectly. He instructs me again with more detail. One week its posture. Another week its weight transfer. Then another week its my bent elbow and straight wrists. I practice shots in front of him and I improve. For the moment. I go home and practice the the exercises he gives me.

I meditate on the swing day and night.

I get counsel from Godly friends (often without asking, but always appreciated as I know in their hearts they want the best for me).

I practice at the driving range. (and while blowing my hair dry, and while watching TV and while…)

I even seem to be somewhat skilled at teaching. But I cannot live what I speak. Consistently.

I really really want to do well. Now.

Whiff.

I hit air.

I want to curse. I want to blame my clubs, my hormones, anything but my impatience and lack of flexibility as I try to maintain the stance.

I whine, “I’m trying!” I complain, “Why?!”

I beat myself up mentally because I cannot get it right. All. Now. And I beg in prayer for the Lord’s help. Daily.

“Wait on Me,” He says.

And it all begins again the next week.

Apparently growth takes time, effort, patience and a mighty act of God.  For my soul this mighty act was the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He accomplished EVERYTHING for me, despite His command for me to turn to Him. To DO something. Amazingly He already did it all, and I just have to respond. That’s my responsibility. Now I am Right in His eyes because I have Christ’s perfect life credited to mine. I have a living hope. I have purpose. I have a new Identity. What a gift.

For my golf swing… I’m still waiting for that mighty act.

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As I read through 1 Samuel 13-15 it struck me that some things apply well to marriage, but chapter 12 sets the tone for the drama.

Of a people yearning for the next great thing.

The people continuously forget from Whom they received deliverance, provision, purpose and identity. They looked around at their neighbors, the other nations, and lost sight of their Lord. Once again their wandering hearts sought confidence in what is seen.

“Give us a king,” they cried.

Oh, dear one, be careful for what you ask. For what you demand.

  • You have a mighty and just King, His government rules over everything.
  • You have a perfect Husband Who cherishes you, and takes care of you.
  • You have a faithful Friend Who is loyal, and offers life-giving counsel.
  • You have a powerful Boss that desires your success and promotion (even if the path He gives is rough)
  • You have a kind and compassionate Father Who is proud of you, and longs to welcome you home.

Yet our wandering heart points to what we see around us and says, “That, I want that one. Gimme.”

So where are your eyes? To where do you look for hope and purpose? For help?

We must pray for one another, teach the good and right way, fear the Lord and worship Him faithfully.

How? How do we do all that in a world that distracts us and leaves us angry or sad or weary?

Consider the great things He has done.

For you.

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