Jul 29, 2009

I'm still here

It may seem like I've dropped off the planet, but I'm still here. Hubby had a small battle with melanoma but the surgeon was able to get it all, thank God! Before that, I was on vacation, and this week, I'm at a work conference.

Will return soon.

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Jul 12, 2009

The Tumbleweed and the Cottonwood

As Christians, there are two ways we can live: 1) according to the sin nature); or, 2) according to the Spirit (Galatians 6:7-9). We are given a vivid word picture of the contrast between these two lifestyles in the following Scripture.
Jeremiah 17:5-8

5 This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

Have you been that bush in the wastelands? . . . just a dried up pile of twigs in the desert, burned out, isolated, and unable to see the good things in life? . . . I have. That’s the fruit of self-effort and self-reliance.

What a contrast we see between the tumbleweed in the desert and the majestic cottonwood by the stream. When we walk in the Spirit (relying in faith on God to live through us), hard times still come but we are not destroyed by them. We continue to bear fruit for God, and are free from worry. Our roots go deep, drinking in the Water of Life; we may be shaken but will not be torn down.

It may take 100 years to grow a cottonwood, so if you're still the dried-up bush, wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:13-14). If you continue to put your confidence in Him, you will eventually flourish!

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Image: Circle Z Ranch

Jul 2, 2009

Ask Anything!

I used to be afraid to ask God for something that might not be His will. After all, I thought, isn't Jesus our example when He prayed, "Not my will but Thine be done"? (Luke 22:42)

But the truth is that when Jesus prayed that way, He knew God's will clearly. He realized it conflicted with his own desires at that time, and His prayer was one of surrender to His beloved heavenly Father. In contrast, I have prayed "Thy will not mine" out of unbelief, thinking that if I asked and God said "no" my faith might be shipwrecked.

Petitioning God for His will is not the only way to pray. Jesus also told us we could ask God for anything (John 14:14). We can enter His throne room with confidence (Hebrews 4:16) and pray for whatever we want, anything at all.

If we ask Him for bread, He won't give us a stone, or a scorpion (Luke 11:11-13). If you think of one of your children requesting something that isn't best for her, you wouldn't give it just because she asked for the wrong thing! You would simply tell your child, no. God won't give us a bad outcome because we pray for something that's not His will, for He is the supremely loving Parent.

Perhaps you are afraid of disappointment if you don't get what you ask for. But isn't it just as disappointing to not ask and not get (James 4:2)?

Although I try to be led by the Spirit when I pray, I usually just ask God for what I want in faith, knowing He is conforming my desires in large part to His own (Psalm 37:4-6), and I let God decide what His will is!
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Image: The Passion of the Christ
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