Month: March 2020

I am the Lord and there is none beside me.

Isaiah 43 is one of the most wonderful chapters in all of scripture. (Of course I say that about a lot of chapters.)

But what draws me to this particular chapter is how many times God draws attention to his own lordship. God is not capable of arrogance as it would sound coming from human lips.

He’s doesn’t repeat this time after time for his own benefit but for ours. He is reminding us that he and he alone deserves to be called the one and only Lord.

He goes on to recount his creation of all living things on this earth, we humans in particular. Paul quotes Isaiah 9b, “Will the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing?” In Romans 9: 20-21, it states that we are his to shape and mold as he sees fit without question.

To give someone else control isn’t easy. Giving our government control over our actions isn’t easy. None of us like being told where we can or cannot go.

But maybe we can use this restriction on our lives as a way to remind us that this is how we are supposed to place ourselves in the Potter’s hands to do with as he wishes.

Think of this portion of scripture the next time you bristle about your restrictions and confinement. Let those feelings of irritation remind you, remind me, that we are usually wrangling with God over these same control issues.

Assuming we are in right relationships with God, his molding of us will only draw us closer to him and his purpose for our lives.

If we are not in right relationship with God, he will have to continue getting us back to that starting point as a lump of clay and start all over again, many times all over again.

Doesn’t it make sense to cooperate with him the first time?

Let’s allow God to really shape us during this shut-down. Let’s think through our reactions about giving up control and try and determine if we treat God this way sometimes. Is there a correlation? Can we learn from this how it feels to give God control?

I wonder why we are all looking for something to do. I’ve even got a post coming soon with some ideas for you. But I wonder, why are we trying to occupy every minute?

I’m guessing it’s because we’re scared and being busy helps. But I’m not sure that’s so good. So while I, too, am getting bored and want to fill every moment, I’m also trying to make sure I have plenty of contemplative time. I want to think about this crisis and how it can make me stronger in my faith walk.

What about you? Are you taking time during this quarantine to simply think?

God bless and stay safe.

The post,”I am the Lord and there is none beside me”appeared first on faithsighanddiy.com.

white dandelion flower/energy is more than just physcial

Energy is more than just physical

Energy is much more than physical, and energy is all around us. As followers of Christ, I wonder if the Holy Spirit might be that source for us. Let me explain.

WHY ARE WE SO TIRED?

First of all, would you agree that we can feel exhausted and can’t get ourselves off the couch because we are so-o-o- tired but if something excites us or someone suggests a fun activity, we are suddenly energized. Or, we are having a low-energy day, and a high-energy friend comes over. Our energy increases because they bring energy with them, and suddenly we feel more energetic. Much of our energy deficiency stems from a lazy mind because we let our bodies dictate our actions instead of the other way around.

In starts in our head

Let’s be honest. Energy starts in your mind, not your body. And it works both ways. When your mind is energized, your body follows suit. And because your mind is highly malleable and easily influenced, the more active you are physical, the more your mind gets activated, and an incredible energy cycle builds up.

I have a friend that if we talk on the phone and she says she’s so-o-o-o tired, her energy bounces back if I visit with her later.

(Sure hope I don’t have to explain here that I’m not referring to fatigue when we are genuinely ill.)

I wrote the other day that I had had a bad gut day. It’s an ongoing issue that I’ve struggled with for a couple of years. My typical routine is to walk at least forty minutes six out of seven days a week. I was fatigued from the pain, and I didn’t feel like exercising at all. BUT I DID. That’s because I knew walking would boost my energy level.

So where does the Holy Spirit fit in?

white dandelion flower shallow focus photography/holy spirit

So, where does the Holy Spirit fit in all this? While I can’t prove by a particular verse that the Holy Spirit is the source of our energy, I can’t find any verses that suggest otherwise, either. And it seems to me that in every incident in scripture that mentions the Holy Spirit, there is an activity involved, meaning energy.

The Holy Spirit is ACTIVE

The Holy Spirit

  • is the giver (active tense) of gifts. (I Co:
  • pours (active) out his Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)
  • in the power (active) of the Spirit (Romans 15:19)
  • taught (active) by the Spirit (I Co 2: 13)
  • walk (activity) by the Spirit. (Gal 5:16)

There are too many verses for me to list them all. But I challenge you to think about this concept. Yes, The Holy Spirit also leads us to rest when needed. But that rest energizes us. Yes, we keep the Sabbath holy, but that doesn’t mean we lie on the sofa.

When I think of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, I envision great energy. Don’t you?

Could it be when we let fatigue take over that we quench the Holy Spirit as much as at any other time?

It takes energy to pray. Doesn’t the Holy Spirit empower us to pray?

We need the Holy Sprit for energy

I can’t think of any area in my life where energy is not crucial to everything I do. Energy is definitely more than physical.

So maybe when we pray we should pray that we are equipped with the energy we need to accomplish God’s purposes in our lives.

As I wrote this today, I became more convinced that the Holy Spirit is the one who energizes us.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

God bless each of you today.

We can learn a lot from our own prayers.

We can learn a lot from our own prayers. Actually, I love reading my old posts. It does two things for me:

  1. Reminds me that God is faithful
  2. Reminds me that most things are temporary.

Table of Contents

Before I let you read the older post, I want to make some points about learning from past prayers.

photo of child reading holy bible

Our prayers can reveal our honesty.

There have been hundreds of books written about prayer. I own a lot of them, not to mention the ones I’ve read but didn’t keep. It’s an all-consuming passion of mine.

Probably because I find it elusive and at times it seems to be the least effective spiritual discipline in my life. Before you judge me, you know down deep in your heart, you have felt the same way at times. When we cease to be honest about our doubts we hinder our prayer conversations with God.

God sees us anyway.

We learn from our prayers that sometimes we are less than honest and often pretend we are something we are not. It’s quite foolish when you think about it. This is God we are praying to. If He doesn’t see through our fakery, who does? And don’t we want Him, too, anyway? I don’t know about you but I find great comfort in knowing I am known.

But God won’t force our honesty.

And even though God does see our true self with all our warts, He won’t penetrate that layer to accomplish His plan in our lives. He has to have a willing heart. We learn how honest we are from our former prayers.

When we come to prayer in a kind of “false” state and pretend to be something other than we are, how does God get through to us? Our hearts are clothed with a film of pretense much like the film that forms over milk after it’s been scalded and cooled. But we have to remove that film before we can drink the milk.

How our prayers show a crack

Falsehood creates a barrier between us and God. Think about a conversation you might have with a child who is caught in the act of doing something wrong and you try to have a conversation with them to address this wrong. You aren’t going anywhere without that child being honest first. When we ask, “What are you sorry for”? and they won’t ‘fess up, we give that child a time-out. Without giving that child some time to reconsider and admit their wrongdoing, nothing constructive is going to happen.

Another example. You hurt a friend’s feelings. You both know it. Until you apologize and try to make things right, that relationship will continue to suffer.

When we are less than honest with God, as evidenced by our own prayers, a crack in our relationship with God surfaces.

Some examples

God doesn’t give time-outs so to speak but in a way He does. Take, for example, the fourteen-year timeout for Abraham after he had a child with Hagar, his wife’s servant, instead of waiting on God to fulfill his promise for a child by Sarah, his wife.

If people like Phillip Yancy, Dallas Willard, Charles Spurgeon, all admit to questioning the efficacy of their own prayers at times, why should any of us do less? It is in honest questioning and searching that we get to the heart of such matters. A careful reading of scripture supports God’s openness to our sincere questioning.

Can we question God?

First of all, we know Job questioned God. Also, we know Sarah and Abraham questioned God. But none of them dropped dead because of it either. However, they questioned God with a desire to understand and grow closer to Him. They questioned him with open hands not clenched fists, meaning with a desire to learn not to accuse.

However, to learn from our own prayers, we need to have some sort of record. I didn’t realize that blogging would become my way of recording some of my former prayers. So, I suggest you keep some sort of record, either a journal or a private blog. Just a few lines would suffice. Many people keep a prayer journal.

Rereading this post from seven years ago reaffirmed for me that prayer is a process. Furthermore, I learned from this older prayer that prayer is an adventure as much as it is a spiritual discipline.

Here’s the post:

When I began blogging, especially on “depressionsgift.com”, I promised to be honest, to let you in on some situations as they were happening. This is one such occasion.

These past twenty-four hours have been a roller coaster ride-although mostly down with only an occasional up. There has been a couple of ongoing situations that have been very stressful. Mostly because they involve people I love deeply. I even took a nap I was so overwhelmed. That is extremely uncommon for me.

During my devotions this morning, I pleaded with God (whined might be a better word) about why he hadn’t answered certain of my prayers yet. I reminded him of Ephesians 3:20 that says that “God is able to do more than we can ever even think of according to the power that works in us”. So I prayed, “OK, Lord if I can’t even think of it, how can I ask for it? So I asked the Holy Spirit to intercede for me and bring these “things I can’t even imagine” to God on my behalf.

I feel like the day has been spent on my knees even if it were only in my head and I am exhausted.

What eventually happened.

It’s getting late and I feel so blessed to report that one of those prayers has been answered. It’s the one that was “time-sensitive”. Now if you think I’m making the point that it was all my hard praying that made the difference, I’m not.

Actually, the older I get the less I’m sure of why certain prayers get answered and others don’t. That doesn’t bother me at all to admit that. It means I’m finally learning to trust more, with or without answers.

I’m learning to keep praying no matter what. Or maybe I’m learning patience. At this point, I couldn’t tell you. I’m just glad I’m getting ready to go to bed. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

The post, “We can learn a lot from our own prayers.” appeared first on faithsighanddiy.com/UnderHisWings

PS. This is kind of a red-letter day. I am using a program called Yoast that helps with SEO. Today is the first day I’ve gotten a total 100% across all dimensions! Yea! Took me hours to get this relatively short post ready.

sleeping monkey on branch/COVID

Well, COVID caught us

COVID has finally caught us. We’ve been double-masked for over two weeks. We purposefully have kept ourselves more or less isolated. However, we did have eye exams, my husband was in the doc’s office last week, and one day he got his haircut. So somewhere in there, we were exposed.

Go figure.

But we breathe a sigh of relief because now it’s over and done. I think I posted my husband is officiating at both our grandchildrens’ weddings. Next month! So needless to say, it has all worked out well.

We had symptoms for about three days and they are now a fog. I’ve never slept so much. I could not keep my eyes open. Plus, the coughing, the fatigue, the sneezing, all the typical Covid symptoms.

selective focus photography of sleeping monkey on branch/COVID

But the worst part? My quiet time with God. I virtually had none. I never realized how important that time is to me. We can certainly take things for granted. When I was awake and not blowing my nose, I tried to pray for the people I usually pray for. When I tried to read my Bible, my eyes were so watery, everything blurred.

But today, I’m back on track. I’ve been in a fog. While I was praying this morning, I felt like I was having a conversation with my best friend. Because I was and I really missed Him.

The great news, though? I wasn’t missing in God’s eyes. He was right there watching over me as always. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t talking to Him because He was talking to me. And I can honestly say, He revealed some things to me even as sick as I was.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures.” (They didn’t feel green.) “He restores my soul.” He did.

I hope all of you stay healthy. And anytime you’re sick, remember, God isn’t judging your lack of time with Him. because He’s still having it anyway!

God bless and have a good and healthy day.

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