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 15:22 But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
We view obedience as such a nasty word. We require it of children, so once we reach adulthood we feel vindicated in stomping our foot and saying “Nobody is going to tell me what to do anymore!”. Sometimes we disobey God with the best of intentions. We think we are pleasing Him with our efforts. That thru service to Him, sacrifice in our lives and giving to others we’ll be bringing pleasure to the Lord. Other times it’s more blatant – like the king of Israel in chapter 15 of Samuel. He knew what God had commanded him to do, but in his own pride, thought he knew better. The spoils of war were not the offering God asked for, but Saul thought they would be a good enough replacement for the obedience he would not give to the Lord. Many times I bring my own version of “the fat of rams” to God as an example of how much I love Him – when all He’s asked of me is to hear His voice and obey it. God doesn’t ask for showy gifts or lives lived in utter sacrifice and deprivation. All He wants is for us to be His kids. To know Him and follow His guidance in our lives. Continue reading →
Psalm 64:6 They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.
I hear a lot how humans are basically good. That we can make for ourselves right and wrong. In many conversations I’ve taken the not too popular position that humans are not good. Not at all. That our natural inclination, our basic foundation of being is evil. That there aren’t “good” people. That belief is something I’ve long-held true, a belief I only have to watch my children to see firsthand. I mean, I didn’t ever have to teach them to lie, or be mean to each other. But I’ve never done any specific Bible searching about. It was particularly troubling me yesterday, and behold – God gave me a verse to start with in my reading today. He is so awesome at meeting us exactly where we are. Coming right down and essentially saying “So Tonya, something is bugging you? Let’s talk about it.” Man the Lord is incredible. Continue reading →
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
The context of this verse is dealing with sexual immorality, which is a serious issue and one handled at length by God. However, when I read this passage today – it struck me in a different way. These verses brought to mind ,weight, body image, self-worth & eating habits. My struggle in life revolves around food, not sex. In pondering the idea of my body not being my own relating to food, I thought of something I hadn’t before. What would I feed God? Continue reading →
Numbers 9:16-17 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents.
A cloud by day, and fire by night. What an awesome way to see God. The children of Israel sure had it good. They didn’t have to wonder where God was leading them. They just followed the big pillar of cloud and flames. How I wish God’s will was that obvious in my life sometimes. Continue reading →
John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The truth will set you free. Such a simple thought.
There was a time in my life when I was completely trapped and ensnared by lies. When I didn’t know what to believe because there was such a web of deceit around me. It was horrible. Truth, however difficult to hear is always preferable than being fed a lie. Pacifying with untruth only delays the difficult conversation. Trying to bury the facts in a mound of misdirection and confusion just makes the truth harder to uncover – it doesn’t change that it is in fact the truth. Continue reading →
James 2:15-17 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Yesterday I was taught a valuable lesson about faith in action by my four-year-old. I ran into the grocery store, leaving my kids in the car with my sister – and on my way out noticed a Salvation Army bell-ringer. I haven’t seen one all season…at the malls, grocery stores etc…not a single one. I decided to seize the opportunity to teach my daughter a life lesson about generosity and giving to those less fortunate. Or so I thought. In actuality, God was going to show me something about belief and actions to back it up. Continue reading →
Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
I read once that integrity is doing the right thing – even when nobody is watching. The fact is, it’s really difficult for our private thoughts and actions to mirror those up for public consumption. Even harder for me than achieving personal integrity is the unrest I feel when in my relationships with others, things don’t add up. There’s a disquieting of my mind as I try to think thru conversations and understand the motivation of others. There are things in my life I don’t want to talk about with others. Areas I’m ashamed of. While I can be honest with myself about where my personal convictions stand, I will never know the whole picture behind someone else’s actions. I cannot possibly hope to understand what drives others responses in life. The full truth of where they are. But God does. Continue reading →
Once we’ve realized who we are (princesses!) and stopped comparing our gifts to others, and we recognize a mature request – we have to get past the assembly process.
Some Assembly May Be Required
We all have natural giftings – things that require very little work. For example. I love to talk. I have never had a problem talking. Individually, in public, whatever – I can communicate on any level. Some people – maybe my husband – don’t necessarily view that as a great gift, cause he has to listen to me constantly, but there you go. There are times when you see a “gift” in another’s life that you want – that is not out of jealousy or envy, but an honest desire to grow. You take it to the Lord and it’s a mature request. In my own life I did this a few years ago. I wanted to be more merciful, able to give grace to others – because I was lacking big time in those areas. I wanted it to be pre-assembled. Ready to use mercy conveniently packaged up in a little box. I wanted to have it, and take it out whenever I needed it – put it away when I was done. But that’s not exactly how it works.Continue reading →
Between making and packaging a couple hundred truffles, setting up for a luncheon, speaking at that luncheon and throwing a birthday party for my son – I haven’t had time to think lately, much less blog or bake. Wow. What a week.
I wanted to share with you all what I spoke on over the weekend at my church’s annual ladies Christmas luncheon. Here’s part 1…
God’s Gifts Are GOOD!
(and He wants to give them)
Matt 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.
We all love giving gifts to our kids. It’s just plain fun. God wants to bless us with gifts too – and His budget is limitless. But there are some things that keep us from experiencing the fullness of God’s gifts in our lives.