Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hoarding God's Word - Plus Giveaway

Hey Friend,

I thought I was heading home in my car, when visions of toilet paper began to dance in my head.  I knew I had enough to last a couple of weeks if we all have to hunker down, but the little imp called "Doubt" kept poking me.  "What if we have to quarantine longer?" I queried myself out loud.

Before you knew it, I was making a bee line toward the T.P. aisle at Target.  I scooped my ration of one package into my cart and headed toward the checkout.  

A store manager was in a rather animated discussion with a customer.  "This is your second trip back into the store in the past 15 minutes," she announced with a scowl.  "There's a reason why we say one per customer and that doesn't mean come back in a second time," she chastened.  Soon afterward, the manager had to scold a second customer for doing the very same thing.

These are strange times and they can tend to bring out the best and the worst in people.  

On my drive home, I reflected on this thought: What if we hoarded God's Holy Word like we have been hoarding toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, and hand-sanitizer?  Instead of storing up treasures here on earth, that will be gone tomorrow, what if we stored up heavenly treasurers? 

Hiding God's Word in our hearts essentially means memorizing and meditating on the Bible.  

God uses his Word - the Bible - to speak to us and show us how we ought to live.  It is our responsibility to guard our hearts and to keep track of the things we hide inside it.  So, what's in there?

“The heart is deceitful above all things and it is extremely sick; who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?"  (Jeremiah 17:9)

We think we can trust our hearts and the opinions it holds.  Many are the thoughts of our heart, but most are not from the Lord.  

When rain falls on parched land, it quenches like nothing else can.  Cracks and dust disappear and the land expands with goodness and nourishment. The earth is soaked in a life-giving balm. 

We need to water our thirsty hearts with the only thing that can quench our parched heart and soul - God's Word.  

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  (Philippians 4:8)

The only way I can have God's word at my fingertips for reassurance in troubled times is if I meditate on it each and every day.  Nothing else, but God's word, is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy...nothing.

The Jewish priests of old used to literally put God's word in little boxes and tie them around their hands and foreheads.  It was symbolic of what we are to hoard into our mind and heart...God's word.  

“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders." (Deuteronomy 11:8)

What would it look like if I "committed" myself wholeheartedly to God's word?  What if I coveted it like I did another package of T.P.?  What if I hoarded His life-giving word in my heart - hiding it in all the corners and crevices that I could possibly find?  Would my outer life look different?

Now, without the distraction of busyness and rushing from place to place, is the time to sit and soak in His word.  Like parched land, let us soak in the dewy goodness that can only be found in scripture.  Let's let our hearts be marinated in that which can bring forth life.  Now is the time to hoard His Word.

Giveaway Time:  "Transforming Your Thought Life" - Sarah Geringer
My good friend, and writer, Sarah Geringer has a new book out that has rocketed up the charts. Each chapter of "Transforming Your Thought Life" focuses on a particular kind of negative thought pattern and offers guided meditation through key Bible verses and prayers that will help you train your mind to stand strong.  Day by day, as you hide God's word in your heart, you will mover closer to the mind and heart of God.

To win this free book, all you have to do is SUBSCRIBE to my blog and you will automatically be entered...that's it. Next week I will finish my series on being "Stuck."  SUBSCRIBE and join me for when we are stuck in our brokenness...may it be a healing balm for your heart. 

Go to the subscribe tab above, enter your contact information, and then be SURE TO CHECK YOUR EMAIL INBOX FOR A CONFIRMATION EMAIL AND LINK TO CONFIRM YOUR SUBSCRIPTION.  (Check spam filters if you don't see it.). 

Winner drawn Mar. 28th (Winner will be contacted by email)

Be blessed and stay safe....  Cabin fever?  Check the Archives on my blog for a post title that speaks to you.  Know you are being prayed for...

Monday, March 2, 2020

My Way or God's Way?

Hey Friend,

Next week, I'll post the third and final part in my "Do You Feel Stuck?" series.  This week, I digress to something that's been weighing heavily on my mind. Bear with me, I'll get there...

When I tell people the story of how God used a middle-aged, suburban-living, SUV-driving, surgery-sidelined woman from North Caroling to begin a Christian school for orphans and impoverished children in perhaps one of the scariest and darkest corners of the world, they look at me with a mix of wonder, curiosity, and disbelief.  How? Why? are two of the first questions I'm often asked.

After I give them the full account, they often say something like, "Wow, that must have taken a lot of trust on your part.  I don't think I could have said 'Yes' to that."  

Yes, it took a lot of trust (which I didn't have) and No, I didn't say "Yes" right away.  

I put God through, what I call, my ABC's of Trust.

A:  I Argued with God.  I told Him, "God, I have absolutely no clue about starting a non-profit ministry, let alone one that operates in the Middle East??"  I even went so far as to tell God that He didn't have a clue about what He was doing. "God, that's the wildest idea I've heard...I know there is someone out there who is much better qualified than me!!" 

I get where Moses and Jonah were coming from.  I would have wound up in the belly of the big fish for sure!

B:  I Bargained with God. "You see God, I've got this plan for my writing. Yeah, I get that it was YOUR idea to start writing again, but I've got this great blog and book idea and I think I'm headed in the right direction.  This idea of yours is just going to mess it up.  I'll tell you what, I'll give you my time in some other ministry (Your choice) if you just let me pursue the writing thing."  

C:  I Came around to God's way of thinking.  But first I had to do a lot of wiggling, squirming, and side-stepping.  I gave God my very best persuasive speech on "Why Not Me."  It didn't work.  I came to that critical fork in the road where my fear intersected with my faith and I had to decide if I really trusted God?  I had to decide if I was going to let go of the "known" to pursue the "unknown."  

I had to answer tough questions like Who's smarter?  Me or God?  Who see's the bigger picture?  Me or God?  Do I trust God with my intense fear of failure?  Did I trust God...totally?

The ONLY thing I knew, for sure, was WHO I'd be traveling with.

I wish I could say that I jumped up and said with conviction, "Here I am, Lord, send me."  

You've heard the old saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."  Well, I don't think that saying is very Biblical.  What God was asking me to do was to let go of the one secure, known entity that I held in my hand - my comfort zone, my skill set, my "I've got this" certainty, my smart yet safe one bird.  

Furthermore, He was asking me to take a risk that there was going to be "two birds in the bush."  I couldn't see two birds. I may have to stand there empty-handed for a long time.  I would have to have the very essence of faith - trust in what I could not see.  

Let me just say that it was a super-duper leap of faith.  But, boy did God blow my socks off.  What He made happen was beyond anything I could have possibly dreamed or imagined.  What has been transpiring over the past seven years is something that only God could have scripted.  Redeemer Christian Foundation ministry is TOTALLY a God-story.

I learned that God is not some sort of cosmic killjoy, but just the opposite.  He wants us to have life and have it abundantly.  But takes faith.

Fast forward seven years until today.  I'm wrestling with something, yet again, that I have been wanting to do MY way instead of accepting GOD'S way.  Isn't it prideful, but sometimes I think I know better than God?!  Yes, there, I said it.

For over two years I have been estranged from both of my adult children.  To say that this grieves me is a gross understatement.  I have cried an ocean's worth of tears and lost many a night's sleep over this.  I've talked to a counselor, pastor, mentor, and friends to gain insight and advice.  I have literally gone, not to my knees, but prostrate on the ground before God in prayer.

I've asked God to examine my heart and if there is anything in me that needs addressing, to make it known.  I've been ruthless with myself.

I've Argued. I've Bargained. I've tried to manage, orchestrate, and even manipulate circumstances to bring about a reconciliation and I can't effect a change.  When my children were little and they were being selfish or head strong or disobedient, I could pick them up and put them either where they needed to be or put them in time out.  I can't do that anymore.  

I set boundaries; I asked forgiveness for my part; I reassured them of my love; yet nothing I've done has moved the meter.  I think it's time to Come around to God's way of thinking.

When the disciples dropped their fishing nets right where they stood and took off to follow Jesus, the Bible says they LEFT EVERYTHING BEHIND and 
followed Him.

After they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example]. (Luke 5:11)

They left their hometown, their livelihood, their income, their possessions, their security, their safety, their well laid plans for retirement, their families; they even left their children.  

Sometimes trusting God makes us let go of everything we hold near and dear with no certain guarantee other than God's goodness and faithfulness.  

Do I trust God enough to let go of my kids?  Do I trust that God can move even if I'm not in the mix?  Does He need me out of the way in order to move?  Am I smarter than God?  Am I going to do it MY way or God's way?  

That's the question I've been wrestling with.  I've tried everything I've known to try and God is asking, "Bev, do you trust Me? Do you trust me enough to completely let go?"  

What about you?  Have you ever come to this...or another fork in the road where you had to go with blind trust?  What fears hold you back?  What proof propels you forward?  What is your trust struggle?  Will you share?

Be blessed....

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