Posted in Bible Study, Devotion

A metaphor too cool to keep in

This is too good of a metaphor not to share even though I should be going to bed.

“and he made from one man every nation of all mankind to live on all the the face of the Earth, having determined allotted periods and boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yes he is actually not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:24-27
I’ve heard the first part of this verse quoted by my Alma mater many times since it’s their motto, but maybe I’ve never read it in context. Some cool truths popped out at me tonight. God made the Earth with the intention of separating us into time periods and nations. The tower of Babel wasn’t God trying to discipline; it was part of the plan. That’s not even the metaphor I’m most excited to share. 

God separated the people so that we could seek him and feel our way to him. Feel for him? Seeking is usually done with the eyes. I seek for a friend in a crowd by looking, not feeling with my hands, but someone who can’t see with their eyes needs to feel. Therefore, God is saying here that we are blind. How are we blind? Both Paul and John refer to us being blinded by sin in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and John 12:39-40. Before knowing Christ, we can’t see. Only through Christ are the blinders removed.

It just gets cooler though. Here we are, before believing, grasping at anything around us hoping it’s what we desire, even if we don’t know what we desire. We’re blind and can’t see past our own sin, but God is still right there! Verse 27 says he’s not far. He’s there waiting for just the right moment to reveal himself and remove the blinders, but in the meantime he’s still close by. He was there letting us feel his presence and protecting us before we even knew who he was. 

That’s some pretty cool stuff. Do you interpret this passage the same way, or do you see something different?

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Posted in Bible Study, Devotion

Idols are more than golden calves

“Anything I put before my God is an idol. Anything I want with all my heart is an idol. Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.” 

These words come from Jimmy Needham’s song “Clear the Stage”, and they’ve made me address some of the idols in my life. No, I’m not building a golden statue, but in my mind certain ideas take up more head space than my thoughts of God. Those gradually become idols in my life. It’s not a conscious decision, but that’s how Satan works. He stealthily slips in a thought here and an image there until it consumes my thoughts. 

“Take a break from all the plans that you had made and sit at home and wait for God to whisper… Shine the light on every corner of your life until the pride and lust and lies are in the open.”

That’s what I did. I spent some time the past few days (thank you for fall break, God!) praying and reading the Bible. Every passage I’ve read lately has either revealed a dark part of my heart or given me strength and hope of destroying the darkness. Those are God’s whispers. 

“Then read the word and put to test the things you’ve heard until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken.”

Here is some of what I came up with.

“Think on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of excellence, and worthy of praise” Phil 4:8

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

When these thoughts begin to take up too much space, I’ll look to God instead. I’ll ask for strength, and I’ll praise him. 

“We can sing all we want to. Worship is more than a song.”

To listen to the full song, follow this link.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts. You’re awesome for supporting me.

Posted in Bible Study, Blogging for Books, Book Review

God Loves

I don’t have much, if any, experience in the romantic love department, so I’ve often just skimmed over Song of Songs as I’ve read the Bible. Dee Brestin’s He Calls You  Beautiful helped bring out the metaphor of the book. It’s not just a physical romance between a man and a woman; it’s the image of us as the dark-skinned scorned woman being wooed and falling in love with our King, God. Here are some truths I derived from reading this book.

  • God desires to have a relationship with each of us in spite of our sin.
  • Our eyes are to be like dove’s eyes: focused forward, avoiding distraction.
  • Just like in a marriage, God asks us to love him in sickness and in health. God never gets sick, but it may feel at times as if he’s not present or a little crazy. We still love him.
  • Just like the groom leaves the bride after she refuses to leave her mother and marry him, sometimes God leaves us to the consequences of our sins. Just like the groom though, God comes back to call us to him again.
  • In the bigger context, the bride in Solomon’s story represents the day when Jesus’ followers will be reunited. In her name you can literally find peace and in many instances she represents the new Jerusalem. You’ll have to read the book to get a better understanding of this metaphor.
  • At times my faith may become lukewarm, but just like the lover in the poem, God will stand at the door of my heart and knock until I open back up to him. Similarly he also leaves us with his word just as the groom left myrrh in the door to remind us of his love and push us to run back to him.

Though my earthly heart longs for marriage so much that it hurts at times, I am thankful that this book reminded me of my position as a bride of Christ. He has wooed me, chosen me, and continues to express his love for me. Someday we’ll be joined together for eternity in heaven, and it will be more sweet than any earthly marriage. For now I’ll keep preparing myself to meet my King, and maybe an earthly husband will be in God’s will as well.

Many waters cannot quench love, nor floods drown it. (Song 8:7)

I received this book from Blogging for Books.

Posted in Bible Study

God, I’m so…(blank)

This comic was posted by someone on Facebook, and while I chuckled, I also had some deeper thoughts in relation to it. 

This may be how we treat God sometimes, or at least I know I have. I have a bad day, and I rush to God and start complaining. My complaints are even sometimes similar to Dagwood. I expect God to listen to all of my complaints, and then I expect to move on with life. Sometimes I feel guilty about complaining, so I throw in a few comments about how great he is. Mostly though I just vent.

I don’t think God completely minds when I come to him with my problems and complaints. He does urge us to come to him when we’re weak and weary. He is pretty great that way. In fact he’s better than Dagwood’s doctor in that he can provide a miracle cure for my ailments. 

My problem lies in the time though when that’s all I come to God for over a period of time. If I’m only coming to God when I have problems, what kind of relationship is that, and how does that depict how I view God? God is so much bigger and more capable than any problem I’ll ever have. I’m grateful for that, so when things are going well, I need to come to him as well and thank him. In fact I can also thank him during problems as well because I know he’s capable and willing to give me rest. 

Thanks God!

Posted in Bible Study

God, I’m so…(blank)

This comic was posted by someone on Facebook, and while I chuckled, I also had some deeper thoughts in relation to it. 

This may be how we treat God sometimes, or at least I know I have. I have a bad day, and I rush to God and start complaining. My complaints are even sometimes similar to Dagwood. I expect God to listen to all of my complaints, and then I expect to move on with life. Sometimes I feel guilty about complaining, so I throw in a few comments about how great he is. Mostly though I just vent.

I don’t think God completely minds when I come to him with my problems and complaints. He does urge us to come to him when we’re weak and weary. He is pretty great that way. In fact he’s better than Dagwood’s doctor in that he can provide a miracle cure for my ailments. 

My problem lies in the time though when that’s all I come to God for over a period of time. If I’m only coming to God when I have problems, what kind of relationship is that, and how does that depict how I view God? God is so much bigger and more capable than any problem I’ll ever have. I’m grateful for that, so when things are going well, I need to come to him as well and thank him. In fact I can also thank him during problems as well because I know he’s capable and willing to give me rest. 

Thanks God!

Posted in Bible Study

God always provides

“and behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the such month with her who was called barren…. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:36, 41-42).

I can imagine that when Mary found out about her pregnancy she was scared, not only of being pregnant outside of marriage but simply of having her first child. I wonder if God provided Elizabeth a child not only for the fact that this child would proclaim about Jesus but also because God knew Mary would need a confidant. Mary would need someone who believed her claim about this baby being God and someone to share the pains and joys of having a child. 

This passage reminds me that God always provides exactly what we need when we need it. He’s given me friends when I’m lonely, rest when I’m weary, and reassurance when I’m feeling insecure. Notice though God provides what we need not what we want. Mary may have wanted everyone to believe her, but God only gave her one because that’s how his perfect plan worked. 

Posted in Bible Study, Book Review

This post is a bit premature considering I haven’t finished the book series yet, but the heart message that God is teaching me is ready to share. It’s not a new lesson, but it’s one I need reminding of often. So many times I ask God what he has planned. I want to know the details of when and how events in my life will play out. Specifically now with my 25th birthday coming up, I wonder if marriage is in my future or if I’m better equipped to serve as a single person. I also wonder if this physical place is where I’ll be for a while or if it’s only a short stop. Through the Above the Line series by Karen Kingsbury, music, and scripture, God is reminding me of his promises.

There are several plot lines within the series’s four books, but one key idea is woven through them all. Bailey Flannigan, the young college student stuck between two guys, wonders if her dream of going to New York to act is really what God has planned for her. Keith and Chase, the movie producer team who take Hollywood by story, wonder many times if the trials thrown at them are a sign that the movie is not God’s plan. Andi, the former missionary kid, wonders if God is really even part of her life at all. Each one of them come to a key verse from Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Recently another verse keeps popping up in numerous places of my life. In Romans 8:28, Paul writes, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” I know that I love God, and I know that he has called me to be in the place I am in right now. Just the other day, I was talking with a friend about his current situation in life and the part of Ecclesiastes about there being seasons came into the conversation. I am in a season right now where I feel both content and anxiously awaiting. The thing that God keeps reminding me though is that He has a plan that is perfect. I don’t want to step too far ahead of his plan with my wanderings or wonderings; instead I want to wait right here no matter how anxious I may feel about waiting and no matter how often I want to force some action to take place.

Finally, a song was played this morning at church that sealed the deal about my questions and anxieties. In her song “Trust in You”, Lauren Daigle sings about how even when things don’t work out the way she thinks they should, she still trusts God. She trusts that he “know[s] what tomorrow brings” and that “There’s not a day ahead [he has] not seen”. In fact she opens the song with these lines which to me are extremely bold: “Letting go of every single dream/ I lay each one down at your feet”. It’s so true; in order to see God work the most in my life, I have to focus on the season I’m currently living and stop wondering about the future. He has it all under control.