But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” – Luke 10:40
Jesus’ response of “Martha, Martha” is incredibly well-known and oft quoted, but I’m always fascinated by Martha’s initial complaint. Her demand that Jesus require Mary to pull her weight. How many people in the Bible feel justified to boss around the Son of God? To lay a guilt trip at the feet of the Lord and think it’s going to work? I mean really. Continue reading
As a homeowner and struggling lawn keeper, I’ve often wondered what possessed God to create dandelions. They are the bane of gardeners everywhere, an impossible to kill nuisance that seemingly does nothing but cause headaches. Yes, I know you can eat them…I tried that as a kid. Bleah. Not interested in doing it again during adulthood. As we took our family walk today, I became awash in an old familiarity with this little weed, that offered me a new, and yet nostalgic, perspective.
One of my favorite things about writing down my devotionals is that I can come back to them and see how much (or in this case, how little) I’ve grown. I wrote this in 2011 – and the words convicted me this morning every bit as much as three years ago.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I was talking to a friend the other day over Skype (best invention ever) about how amazing the peace of the Lord is. When I happened upon this scripture in my devotional time this week, I knew it was meant for sharing. Continue reading
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.
There are times when it seems like God is not there. Days that stretch into weeks of wondering why He doesn’t seem to be fixing it. Making it better. I struggle in the helplessness I feel when facing a problem that is obviously too big. Too complicated. Too hard. I forget that I’m not the one who’s supposed to conquer my troubles. Continue reading
1 Samuel 17:8 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
One of the most well-known stories in the Bible, the tale of David and Goliath was one of my favorites as a child. To this day I love the trust David displays in the Lord. The unwavering knowledge that since God was with him, nothing could destroy him. He went out to battle ready to face what none other would because he knew firsthand the faithfulness of God. And didn’t doubt Him for a second. What I have never caught before in reading this chapter in 1 Samuel is the reaction of David’s brother. The anger and snide remarks seem to betray loathing for David’s faith in the Lord. Or maybe Eliab’s history with David made him unable to see the mighty call God had on his brother’s life. He took David’s sureness of the Lord’s might as bravado, conceit and wickedness. I wonder how often my familiarity with people in my life taints my view of them. Instead of seeing them as God does, I judge them based on past experiences. Continue reading
2 Timothy 2:5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
This verse is kind of a side note for today – but I had to put it in here. I get a lot of grief for being competitive, clarifying the rules and expecting everyone to play by the established understood guidelines. In life, in sports, games – whatever. I want to know what the rules are, and I want everyone to be playing by those rules. Cheaters drive me nuts. Seriously. Absolutely crazy. I do not understand why on earth you would cheat to be the winner. What exactly did you win, if you cheated? I have always said that winning is worthless if you didn’t get there honestly. I learned that lesson after I cheated to win when playing “Sweet Valley High” with my sisters in 7th grade. Yeah sure I made it to the dance and had my boyfriend in tow…but I felt like a total loser because I knew I cheated. And now look – I found in my devotional reading today this verse that totally backs me up. Hooray. Now, on to the real guts of what God taught me today. Continue reading
1 Corinthians 4:3-5 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
I love love love having people in my life who I can turn to and simply say “I don’t know how to handle this”. I love it even more when those people (thanks Pastor Phil) point me right back to God’s word.
Somehow I managed to miss these verses yesterday…and they were part of my devotional reading. Go figure. I’m totally human. Now that I’ve had them pointed out to me, I feel so much better. My pastor encouraged me to trust in Christ’s righteousness instead of trying to prove my own. To not allow the way others see me, to warp how I know I’m viewed by God. So, I’m going to. I will make a conscious choice to have faith in the Lord’s acceptance, regardless of the rejection of man. I will take things to the Lord with an open, honest desire to search myself for areas I need to change. And then simply rest in what He shows me, knowing that His is the only opinion that matters. Whew. I feel such peace right now. It’s incredible. What a powerful thing it is to know who my judge is. Not other people, not myself – only God. I just need to remember that.
Acts 20:22 And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
Sometimes God asks us to do things that are uncomfortable. Things we really don’t want to do. I’m facing a “Jerusalem” of my own. I know I’m supposed to go there. I know the Lord has compelled me to take the journey, but I do not know what will happen once I get there. I anticipate hardship, tears, pain and hurt. Not quite the prison hardships Paul was facing on his journey to Jerusalem, but I know it really isn’t something to look forward to. This isn’t a vacation in Hawaii kind of trip. Actually, I really want to chicken out. In my own strength, I know I cannot be faithful in the task at hand. But I also have the knowledge that God will be there to carry me through any task he sets before me. That if I just trust in him to give me the wisdom and strength I need, I’m going to be just fine.
So, I’m going. I’ll be covering myself in prayer before I leave, along the journey, and during the visit. All I can do is rest in God’s peace that I know I’m doing what he’s asked of me. Because no matter how hard the path, if it’s the one the Lord has asked me to walk, it is right. As much as I want to take the “easy way out” – I know following my own desires is not going to solve anything. My own way isn’t going to do the work God has in store for my heart and others as well. So, I’m willing to go. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know the Lord is sending me there. For now, that’s what I’m holding on to.
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
I love people. Some of the most fulfilled moments in my life are when I really connect with another human being. That’s probably why it hurts me so much when I feel disliked, judged, misunderstood or outright lied about. Pretty much, I want to be liked by everyone. When it is wholly apparent that someone seems to loathe me, especially when it seems to be for reasons I can neither control nor change, it’s possibly the deepest wound I can bear. It hurts me beyond measure when someone’s aversion to me affects those I love. I really don’t know how to handle it.
You can probably tell, I’m struggling with a personal relationship right now. But you know what? God is faithful. I am not an early bird, but this morning, I awoke at 5 o’clock and couldn’t get back to sleep. I had a rough afternoon yesterday, discovering a duplicity that shocked me, and wrestled with my own emotions for hours before sleep finally came. The battle continued as soon as my eyes opened this morning. I tried to work it off at the gym, but still felt unsettled when I got home. I should have known to go to God first. This verse in Zephaniah (a book I don’t think I’ve ever read before) was like a soothing balm to my soul. As I re-read the verse, God’s love overwhelmed human hatred. I remembered that it really doesn’t matter what someone else thinks. It’s not important. I am precious to the Lord. He delights in me. What an amazing thought! Not just that He knows who I am, or that He occasionally checks in on how I’m doing. He delights in me. This same word (suws) is used in Isaiah 62 to describe a groom delighting in his bride. That’s how highly God thinks of me. Wow.
So really, how can I let the resentments and judgements of one little person affect me if I know I’m all good with God? Later in this passage (vs 19) God talks about dealing with those who oppress me – giving praise and honor where I’ve been put to shame. I am a fixer. It’s what I do. If something is wrong, I want to talk about it – out in the open and deal with it. But sometimes, that just adds fuel to a situation that’s being manipulated already. I need to rest in the knowledge that God has my back. I don’t need to prove my worth, argue my convictions or convince anyone to like me. I just need to respond in love, not allowing anger over the hurt to take hold, realizing that the only One who matters is already delighted to know me.
Oh Jesus, thank you so much for being with me this morning as I struggle with hurt. Thank you for calming my aching heart with your love and showing me (again) that the situations of life are never outside your command. Help me to hold on to your peace thru all conversations – to cling to your word’s promises and not allow the ugliness of revenge and resentment to seep into my relationships.