Today we are taking Allison on her second college trip. She is full of wondering what the future will hold and where the Lord will direct her in reference to her college years. She made the statement the other day that we’ve all probably thought at one time or another – “I wish the Lord would just write His will about this in the sky.”
At that moment we had one of those mother-daughter talks that I pray she’ll always remember – I know I will. I shared with her a truth that was taught at The Wilds a few years back. Here’s a summary of our conversation:
Knowing and doing God’s will seems like this huge undertaking, but in reality it is very simple. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” This verse is telling us to obey the moral will of God, His commands. So first you need to ask yourself
- “Am I walking with God at this moment?” Then ask yourself
- “Is there any sin in my life that I have not confessed?” Thirdly ask,
- “Would this thing I desire honor God?”
As long as you’re know you can answer the questions to the affirmative then Psalm 37:4 encourages us to then do what you want to do! Does that sound radical? It isn’t. It isn’t a free-for-all – go out there and do whatever you want and God won’t care situation. Remember you must be obeying God’s Word, walking with Him and making a choice that would please the Lord.
Some decisions are so obvious. If a woman was trying to decide if she should marry an unsaved man, the answer is clear because it goes against God’s Word (the third question). But how about making a decision about something more vague like buying a house? There are no verses in the Bible about this! You’ve found several you like, they would keep you close to a good Bible teaching church, and are the right size, but you want to know which one is God’s will. Again, ask yourself the three questions, and then do what you like! If one was over your budget and would cause you to go into debt with a possibility of not being able to keep up your payments, the Lord’s answer on that one is clear.
Now about these colleges, they’re good Christian schools that would keep you close to the Lord and would train you for His service. Ask yourself the three questions before making your decision, and then do what you like…He will give you the desires of your heart! It’s really that simple.
God doesn’t want His will to be hard to find; we’re the ones that complicate it. In its simplest form it is: Delight then Do!
The empty nest is approaching oh so quickly…I don’t think this will be as easy as finding God’s will. **Sigh**
My blog has been under construction. If you’ve checked this site recently you may have seen at least a couple different looks in the last couple of days. While I’ve been working on this there have been LOTS of different looks. This is all quite new to me and I’m learning as I go along. My teacher has been my twin sister, Dianne. She first introduced me to blogging and I’m taking baby steps with her help.
First I started with the basic template that blogspot offers. It was fine. I tried to add a new entry every few days. Then I heard about a place that offers free backgrounds for your blog…ahhh, that’s better! I began adding an entry almost every weekday. Last weekend Dianne told me about Scrapblog; a place where you can scrapbook on-line, then transfer your page onto your background. There are many steps, and changing a small item like a flower means going all the way back to the first step. This whole thing is a work in progress. I now occasionally even add an entry on Saturday. Tomorrow you may see something totally different, so brace yourself!
Growing as a Christian is much like blogging. Someone told us about the Lord and our story began. Our life is what people read; it is our testimony – our blog, if you will. They watch and they see a living object lesson before them. The story is varied from person to person, of course.
Some Christians find a new discovery every day. One day they find a special verse in Scripture. Another day they have had an answer to prayer. An opportunity to tell someone else about salvation comes another day. They look for someone to help them learn and they’re discipled.
There are some people’s blog (life) that doesn’t change much after salvation. Oh, it might have gotten a new template at the beginning, but then they slow down and even fall back into a routine. They’re satisfied that they’re on-line (saved) but eventually they don’t make steps in progress forward or learn anything new; it’s too much effort. People may try to teach them but they resist. Pretty soon there’s nothing new to see. People don’t even bother to check in with them to see if there’s progress (not that that’s good). After a couple years of the same entry sitting on the Christian’s page some unsaved people begin to question if there’s really any difference between themselves and this saved person. All the while there’s a whole world exploding around them – Bible studies, revival meetings, church services, small groups, Sunday school, promises in God’s Word to claim, and unsaved people waiting to hear the truth, but it sits intact; unexplored.
What does your blog look like? Are you growing and changing all the time? Every day you’re either growing closer to the Lord or you’re retreating. Keep things fresh. Don’t let yourself get into a rut. People want something interesting to read as they watch your life. Don’t quit! Blog on!
Last year on our mission trip to Spain we had to go a couple days without a shower (hey, it was the mission field, and we were prepared for this!). We only had sinks in the bathrooms at the farmhouse where we stayed and only cold water spilled from the faucet. The routine each morning was to take water to the stove and warm enough for a basin-full. A sponge bath would do until we would take a trip to one of the missionary’s homes a couple times in the week and take our turns getting a hot shower. How wonderful that shower felt! The sponge bath made me feel only partly clean; after the shower it was wonderful to feel really clean.
I am reminded of that hot shower in my Bible reading this morning. As I read in Leviticus about the cleansing that was necessary for those that were defiled, the truth the Lord brought to my mind was that God loves cleanness. In Mark 7 I read where the Pharisees were upset at the disciples because they saw them eat with unwashed hands. It was their custom never to eat until they had thoroughly washed. Jesus told them that it wasn’t what they ate that would defile them; rather it was the things from within that would defile – things like pride, deceit, an evil eye. These were the things they should guard themselves against. The Pharisees were settling for a sponge bath when what they needed was a “hot shower” for total cleansing. God loves cleanness, but tHe dsires us to be cleansed from the inside. They concerned themselves with the outside and forgot that their motives and attitudes were defiling them.
It’s easy for me to be just like those Pharisees. I can be all cleaned up, doing the right things, looking just like I ought to look, when on the inside my heart is full of pride or impure motives. The Lord is more concerned with who I am than what I do. He wants my heart to be clean more than He wants me to be busy serving my family today with a wrong attitude.
It’s also easy for me as a mom to be more concerned with outside issues (dirty hands) of my daughter than the more weighty issues (what’s going on in her heart). Moms are programmed to train their kids to clean their room, do their school work, be polite, be kind to their siblings – all those outward things. While all those things are good and necessary, we need to remind ourselves not to focus on these issues while the most important needs go unchecked.
- Are they walking with God today?
- Do they desire to hear from him?
- Is their heart turned towards the Lord?
- Is there an attitude that needs to be addressed from God’s Word?
- Is there an area of their life that is bringing defilement from within?
We need the Lord’s wisdom to be able to discern spiritual needs, both our own and our children’s, but if we ask Him, He will reveal those things to us (James 1:5 – If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not).
God loves cleanness, but to be completely clean we need His cleansing from within. If we only focus on the outside we’re settling for a sponge bath instead of a hot shower that really cleanses.
I’ve got to tell you – the Internet blows my mind! My sister and I were talking on the phone this weekend while we were each at our computers. I sent her something, she got it immediately. How does that happen? It’s amazing to my little mind. I’m thankful there are smart people out there that have all these things figured out. My inventor spirit stops at the end of a glue stick! It’s amazing to me that I can put something on the Internet and my friends in Spain can see it and respond quicker than it used to take to make a long-distance phone call!
However, there’s another phenomenon that’s even more awesome than that – it’s called prayer. How is it that I can, in my smallness, call out to the God of the universe without even lifting my voice and He hears me? The psalmist said in Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord and He heard me…” In Psalm 116:1 he says, I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.” I am so undeserving that God would hear my prayers and answer them, but He does! He doesn’t do it because of who I am, but because of Who He is! There’s no dial up, no Explorer, no modem necessary. All that’s needed is a connection. A person must be a child of God by accepting Christ as their Savior, to have access to the Father. After salvation we stay connected by keeping our sin confessed. Psalm 66:18 reminds us “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.” What a blessed privilege is ours to be able to pray at any time anywhere and know that He hears and answers.
Computers break down. A poor connection doesn’t always allow you access to the Internet. Sometimes our server doesn’t function properly. We can easily get over the delight of this invention because of these issues, but the opportunity to pray will always be ours. God’s ear is always turned towards our cry. May we never get over the privilege of prayer.
Bill Gates may have gotten rich from his work with computers and Microsoft, but I’m the one who is rich from the ability to pray. That’s just like our God, isn’t it?
Recently I was talking with someone and they shared the terror of seeing their child choking on a small piece of candy that had lodged in their throat. It brought back my own memory of when as a teenager and had a similar experience. I was hanging my coat on a hook on the back of my bedroom door. I had a sour ball in my mouth, and when I tipped my head back to hang up the coat, the candy dropped into my windpipe. I ran into the kitchen where my mother was, pointing to my throat and gasping for air. As she realized what was happening she began to try to dislodge the candy by beating me on the back – all to no avail. It seemed to me like all this was happening in slow motion. I could picture the ambulance having to come, and the thought of death was very real. Finally my mom encouraged me to stick my hand down my throat and see if I could remove the sour ball that way. I did, and the offending candy went flying across the room. Air! Breath! How wonderful!
As I recently contemplated on that incident I thought, “The Lord could have taken me home right then, but He didn’t.” Even after all these years that situation made me realize again that God has a plan for my life and desires to use me. Each day that He gives me is a gift from His hand so that I can fulfill His purposes in my life.
It’s the same for you, Friend. God has preserved you for this day. He’s protected you perhaps in ways you don’t even realize. Or perhaps you’ve had some close encounters and are truly aware of just how He has kept you alive. It can give you a better perspective on today. Why are you and I here? For starters we could consider:
- To bring glory to God (I Corinthians 10:31)
- To live for Him (Romans 12:1)
- To tell others about salvation through Christ (Matthew 28:19,20
If we can take a breath today there’s a God-ordained purpose – to be a channel that God can use. http://www.playlist.com/playlist/15196177163
Have you ever noticed that whenever something bad is happening people seem to love to see it? Let’s just think of the realm of someone doing something wrong. If there’s a student in class messing up, the rest of the students are very interested in seeing the teacher correct him. If a police officer has pulled someone over brake lights will light up so the passersby can get a peek at the offender. If a child in church throws a fit and the parents take him out of the service, all eyes are on little Jr. Why are the court shows on television so popular? Because people like to see when someone gets caught doing something they shouldn’t have done.
Last night in church we were encouraged to take a hard look at our own lives to see if there is unforgiveness there. As we looked at many passages of Scripture we saw how Christ was treated because of our sin and also how He responds to us even though we are sinners. One verse especially caught my attention; it was Micah 7:18 – “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?…” Since I’ve been saved and have confessed my sins, God chooses to pass by my transgression. He doesn’t stop and stare at my sin, then look at me, like I would be prone to do. He passes by! What a wonderful truth! My nature is to look at a wrong someone has done and gawk, but not God. He has removed my sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Indeed, who is a God like thee? No one. He forgives and then chooses not to look!
Being a mother is a roller coaster event. Some days your children are sweet and obedient. Things go smoothly at home. They appreciate your efforts, express their love and respond with gratefulness to your sacrifices. The next day, however, doesn’t go as such. The children whine instead of obey. Nothing goes as it was supposed to – you run out of milk and the kids us Kool-Aid in its place (and half of it ends up on the floor). Supper burns because your attention was turned to children that were scrambling in a heap in the living room. When your husband comes home from work you’re frazzled and ready to turn in your Mommy badge!
We ALL have days like these, so be comforted in the fact that you are not alone. Eating the whole container of Oreos while locked in the bathroom is only a temporary fix. So what do you do when you find yourself in these house slippers? Proverbs 10:4 has a good remedy for us. It says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” It’s really tempting to want to throw your hands up and say, “I quit! I’ve tried and this discipline thing doesn’t work!” Or “Potty training has gone out the window, this child is never going to get it! He’s going to graduate wearing diapers!” Perhaps you’ve thought – “This child doesn’t realize the blessing of having Christian parents and I’m tired of being taken for granted!” Wherever you find yourself in the realm of motherhood, we can’t have a slack hand. We must wake up this morning with a renewed vigor to be diligent.
Call out to the Lord for His help today, and call all day long. He hears over the clamour of your children’s cries. He sees beyond the pile of laundry that never wanes. He understands your feelings of inadequacy. This is really the place He wants us, then we’ll depend on Him to strengthen our hand. Ask for wisdom to know what to do today, how to discipline and train, and when to step back. Just don’t quit. Be faithful. If you need to get out for a while, do it. Leave your child(ren) with a friend for an hour and do something to refresh yourself, all the while talking to the Lord about your family.
This passage says if we have a slack hand it will lead to poverty. Oh the riches of a mom that loves her family and is faithful even when it’s hard, even when there’s no return for her love and efforts. Your day is coming…this passage promises riches. Oh, not the kind the world thinks of, but riches that are eternal – children that love God, that grow up desiring to serve Him, that pray they can be a godly mother just like you, and hearing your Father say, “Well done.”
Stay diligent today…pay day’s coming.