Imagine with me standing on a tall tower and overlooking a corn maze. You can see the entire maze, all the people in the maze and direct them. However, it is their choice whether they wish to listen to your direction. You see all the ways in and out, the best ways to get through the maze, and have the shortcuts. You have binoculars to guide them, have flashlights, have all sorts of fun stuff to give them aid. Some call up and ask for help. They thank you and receive help. They get through the maze without too much difficulty. Granted, they still are having to do the work themselves, but they know you are up there helping them. Some ask for help and then decide not to listen. They decide their way is better and get lost. Then there is the last group. They just ignore you altogether. You call and ask if they would like you to help. They don’t even look up. You watch as they struggle and get lost. Yet, if they will not seek the help, you cannot force yourself upon them.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. 7 For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].
We don’t often think and honestly, God doesn’t ask us to, from His perspective. I know the feeling of creating something for people I care for and having it be discarded whether purposefully or not. I am so often in my head. So often wondering about how things will affect me. I don’t often consider His view. Looking over the corn maze, which started this whole post today got me thinking about these verses.
Webster’s Dictionary defines double-minded as: adjective Having different minds at different times; unsettled; wavering; unstable; undetermined.
This began me thinking. What are the qualities that the Lord doesn’t want here?
- Doubting: billowing surge of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. I need pictures in my mind. So, enjoy this short video to give you a picture.
Did you notice there is no rhyme or rhythm to the waves? They are strong and powerful, but they lack direction and control. Now here’s the deal, friend. There’s a different approach. Did you notice it? Did you see it? The opposite of double-minded, of course, is single-minded.
single-minded having only one purpose, goal, or interest : focused on one thing.
So what, in this passage, does James want us to do when we lack wisdom? List it.
- Ask God. Why will this work? Why is this our fail proof plan? James has your answer. He gives generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
- Ask in faith.
- Have no doubt.
- If you doubt, expect nothing from the Lord (and here is where we come into the dialogue about the double-minded man.)
This single-minded focus means that we center in on trusting God. Asking in faith and releasing our anxiety and doubt to Him. Can I just tell you how easy that is type but how hard it is to follow through? MERCY.
I love Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer…
Really. Short. However, bear with me.
- Rejoice in hope. If you had read the first part of James, he had just spent a bunch of time telling his readers to consider it pure joy to face trials. Rejoice. Have hope. This is not the end. We have access to Him through faith.
- Persevering in tribulation. We have need of trusting God in patient endurance. Persevering, enduring, trusting are big ways of saying grab hold of His hand and stay put in His grace.
- Devote self to prayer. Not to anxious thoughts or wayward double-mindedness, but to prayerful focus on Him.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all [d]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So, in conclusion, love Him. I want to be one of those people who are looking up to the tower to ask and actually taking the help! I want to keep Him at His word and follow Him, because this is precious to me.
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
We are loved first by God, so keep His word. Treasure His message in its entirety. Christ will dwell in your heart. Enduring through the trials of our life knowing that the testing our faith produces endurance. (James 1) It all starts with trials. Not with the happy, good, lovely stuff. God molds us in the testing. Only follow Him through it all. Walk in His ways. Ask, seek, knock and the kingdom of Heaven is yours.
Imagine the day with me. The Bible doesn’t tell us the time of day, but I’d like to think John the Baptist has been hard at work all day, teaching, baptizing and guiding people to the truth. He is exhausted. Yet, he knows his purpose. He knows the plan. He will not give up. He pushes his hair from his eyes and looks up to the horizon and there he sees a man. This was not just any man. I wonder if the Spirit stirred within him as He did when John jumped for joy in the womb upon seeing Mary. He came to the water’s edge.
13 ·At that time [Then] Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River ·and wanted John to baptize him [L to be baptized by John]. 14 But John tried to ·stop [deter; dissuade; prevent] him, saying, “·Why do [Do] you come to me to be baptized? I need to be baptized by you!”
15 Jesus answered, “Let it ·be this way for [happen] now. ·We should do all things that are God’s will [or In this way we will do what God requires; L For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness].” So John ·agreed to baptize Jesus [gave in; consented; allowed it].
This was to be no ordinary baptism, no ordinary encounter. Listen to Jesus’ words even here.
Let it be… In a way, Jesus was calming the storms within John. Peace, be still. This is your calling.
Do all things that are God’s will…God has seen fit that John baptize Jesus. In doing so, we learn and see the Trinity.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then ·heaven[the sky/heavens] opened, and he saw God’s Spirit ·coming down [descending and lighting/settling] on him like a dove [C either in the form of a dove, or in bird-like descent]. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my ·Son, whom I love [dearly beloved Son; Ps. 2:7; Gen. 22:2], and I am ·very [well] pleased with him [Is. 42:1].”
Jesus, the Son..as soon as Jesus was baptized..
God’s Spirit…coming down lighting on him like a dove..
God the Father…a voice from heaven, This is my Son…
Jesus, there’s just about that name. From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:
- Greek: iesous
- is a transliteration of the Heb. “Joshua,” meaning “Jehovah is salvation,”
- Thus ‘Christ Jesus’ describes the Exalted One who emptied Himself, Phl 2:5, and testifies to His pre-existence; ‘Jesus Christ’ describes the despised and rejected One Who was afterwards glorified, Phl 2:11, and testifies to His resurrection. ‘Christ Jesus’ suggests His grace, ‘Jesus Christ’ suggests His glory.” *
Spirit of God. From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:
- Greek: pneuma
the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son
sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his personality and character (the “Holy” Spirit)
sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his work and power (the Spirit of “Truth”)
never referred to as a depersonalized force
How can I be so sure that we see the Trinity here? I know, the words. This is my Son. I’ve heard the argument, maybe it was an angel. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit speaking on God’s behalf. We can look no further than the Greek itself. Beautiful.
“a sound,” is used of the voice
(a) of God, Mat 3:17;
Friends, the voice? The voice was God’s. And, so Matthew has recorded here in his beautiful gospel the Trinity together in one place for us all to behold.
We can learn so much by study and reflection into the word of God. By learning and loving His word, join me, won’t you?
Pray on. pray on.
Good morning, friend,
This morning I woke up praying for my kids. I woke up remembering a post written by Brooke McGlothlin, she wrote it with her boys in mind, yet girls and boys would benefit from these ten prayers. Here’s the link : 10 Prayers For Your Son. You see, I forget too, as Brooke said so eloquently that our fight is not with our sons it is…
12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Ephesians 6 AMP
How quickly I forget this fact, jump in, and start fighting for my rights.
He’s not your enemy. But there is an enemy. McGlothlin
Each one of these prayers is wonderful. I love them all but the one that jumps out at me that not only can I pray over him, but over me AND sing a song to keep the verses in my head all day today? Number 10.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Here’s the song:
Now, to take it a step further for me, because for ME, the verses ahead of Philippians 4:8 are just as critical to my being ABLE to fixing my mind and praying for my kids to fix their minds on what is noble, just, pure, lovely, good report…let’s look…
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
How about a song to help us memorize some of those verses too? (Sorry, folks, no Ginsu knives…)
And friend, peace, when we look at our children, or wait, not just our children, how about co-workers, or family members, or church family or you fill in the blank…we don’t wage war against flesh and blood. Maybe they are not our enemy. Maybe we are wrestling with an enemy we cannot see.
Join me, won’t you? Pray, memorize these Scriptures, get yourself into the word of God and be transformed by the renewing of your mind!
Thankful today for a day at home.
Thankful for fresh bread today.
Thankful for a perspective shift today.
Pray on, pray on.
Good morning, friend,
As a child, I remember learning the song, B-I-B-L-E, yes, that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, the B-I-B-L-E, BIBLE! I’m sure you’ve heard and sung that song. VBS’ of old and Sunday schools would start us off with this rousing song. We were taught this song but did we have any idea what in the world this song meant? We were taught Moses parting the Red Sea. Joseph and His Amazing Coat of Many Colors. Noah and the Ark. Daniel and the Lion’s Den. Jesus’ parable of Good Samaritan. Of course, Jesus living, dying, rising from the dead. I came from a generation that didn’t teach the entirety of the Bible, just what seemed safe. Oh, yes, because what happened to the thousands of soldiers who were after Moses and the Israelites was very cheery. Or, the destruction of the entire world taught to children…
Am I on my high horse? Am I criticizing Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Gavin or my parents? No, no. As my family works harder and harder to create this habit, this daily routine of listening to the Bible, some nights, I will be honest, it’s not easy. Some nights, we get home late and it would be so easy to just, well, not. I know that sometimes my daughter will drift off before she hears the whole thing. There is something about hearing the entire story. Not just picking out the parts you like. Or want to read over and over and over again.
This man who reads to us every night, Brian Hardin, has been reading for the Daily Audio Bible for nine years. Nine years! Nine times reading through the whole Bible. You know, friend, I think somethings in my heart are changing about knowing the entirety of His word. My children knowing His word. Reading it over and over again. There is good reason for it. Do I get excited to read Leviticus? Not especially. Yet, friend, God, my God, has placed it in His word for me, for you. Maybe it’s time I read it all. I think that’s why I love reading part of the Old Testament, part of the New, Psalm and a Proverb.
A friend shared with me that she had no idea that these stories all connected and you know, I didn’t understand how they all connected until I started studying the Bible in-depth with Precepts. We have to stop taking a verse we like and making it our “favorite” verse and not knowing it’s context. We can’t keep plastering Noah and the ark on our children’s bedroom walls without stopping and thinking of the worldwide destruction. Cute little pictures of Noah and a little boat (trust I have them, I have a Noah) with a giraffe smiling, a lion, an elephant…this all puts the Eternal One, Mighty God in a box, our neat tidy box where He can be safe and happy. And when we separate the Bible into stories and not into THE story, we miss the LOVE story that God has been pursuing with us all along.
So, may I urge you, exhort you, come with me, yes, it’s the 16th, grab a…
1. Computer and listen to the Daily Audio Bible, so you are a little late? Whoopdeedoo! http://dabplayer.com/
2. Bible..read on your own with a plan of your choosing.
3. Chronological Bible…
Just don’t miss out on the Love story that Jesus died to tell you.
Good morning, friend,
Isn’t there something just so cool looking at a pile of rocks that claim to be Peter’s house? Well, the rocks don’t jump up, but the archaeologists have their reasons and arguments. People who have been to Israel say it changes their faith, to walk where Jesus walked, where the apostles walked, to see the history of our faith. I can well imagine. In a very small way, being also a lover of British literature and being able to visit England and Scotland, walking through Shakespeare’s hometown, seeing his grave, walking about the hometowns and such of many of my beloved authors is a memory I cherish. I loved looking at samples of their handwriting, places where they sat, forks they used, I mean crazy things like that. They are not just authors, then, they are real people, who lived and breathed.
And bringing it back to Jesus, that I believe, might be a beautiful thing for me about visiting Israel. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, visited us. He walked upon this earth, breathed in the air…I gaze at the picture above and wonder, could Jesus have visited this house? Could He had stepped through the front doors and taken off His sandals? Is this where He healed Peter’s mother-in-law?
14 And when Jesus went into Peter’s house, He saw his mother-in-law lying ill with a fever.
15 He touched her hand and the fever left her; and she got up and began waiting on Him.
16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were under the power of demons, and He drove out the spirits with a word and restored to health all who were sick.
17 And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, He Himself took [in order to carry away] our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases. Matthew 8 AMP
Throughout the book of Matthew, one of Matthew’s purposes is to showcase of Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. This specific one to which Matthew speaks can be found in Isaiah 53:
4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
He saw Peter’s mother-in-law. I know, I know, it’s not really that profound, but look again. He saw her. He could have walked past. He could have not gone to Peter’s house. He could have done so many other things that night. He went there. He saw her. He touched her hand. Maybe you need to remember that today, that He sees you today. Remember His name, the God who sees you (Genesis 16). He bears your griefs, your weaknesses, your sorrows, your pains.
Peter knew this truth, but added this praise,
24 He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian (the Bishop) of your souls. 1 Peter 2 AMP
Your griefs, weaknesses, sorrows, pains were born His body on the tree…this all has to die, friends, we need to live to righteousness. We are healed. We live in the light of eternity and grace and mercy.
So, when I see the rubble of Peter’s house, it makes me think. I want to walk where Jesus walked. I want to go to Israel, but now? Not in the budget. So, the next best thing? Walk in the shadow of His feet. Walk where He tells me to walk each moment of the day.
So I begin, with thanks,
I’m thankful for the joy of watching my kids play basketball and love it.
I’m thankful for the joy of friends who just give to us even when it’s inconvenient.
I’m thankful for time with the Lord this morning, for the rubble of Peter’s house, for Your fresh reminders. I love you, Lord.
Good morning, friend,
Today begins a new week. A fresh week, a fresh start. What are you thankful for this day? How do you begin this day today?
I am so very thankful today to have caught a Matt Redman concert on KLOVE last night as I drove to pick up my son from youth group.
I am thankful for Upwards basketball, HRK basketball and the impact both are having in my children’s lives this year. What a gift.
I am thankful for our church, to see our pews filling, see our children worshipping, my eldest up with me playing his guitar…we, as a church, voted to financially support TWR missionaries Mike and Wendy Lambert yesterday. If you haven’t had a chance to see the work that Mike will be doing in Guam for TWR, please check out his website. The need for Mike is critical. Right now, they have only one engineer working on the equipment that serves a huge audience of nearly two billion people and to work effectively the station should have three technicians. Please be praying.
What I am chewing on today…
a song that I heard for the first time last night by Matt Redman…Mercy. You know I have to share it with you. 🙂
May I never lose the wonder of Your mercy…
Do I ever just pause and wonder at the amazing depth and beauty of His mercy?
11 As high as the ·sky [heaven] is above the earth,
so great is his ·love [loyalty] for those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7].
12 He has taken our ·sins [transgressions] away from us
as far as the east is from west.
13 The Lord has ·mercy [compassion] on those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7],
as a father has ·mercy [compassion] on his children. Psalm 103 EXB
What sparks my interest, what motivates me, what keeps me studying are phrases such as we find in these verses in Psalms.
As high as the sky is above the earth (picture that with me) so great is His love…now, I think, we like to stop there. We like to stop with His love. So great is His love. And it is great. It is magnificent. And there are A LOT of verses about His love. Last night, Chuck Swindoll was talking about the reality of hell. Can I just be honest with you and tell you how badly, in the quiet of my house, I wanted to turn off the preacher and turn on worship music? It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like thinking about it. However, if we are going to think about His great love, we also have to think about sharing that great love with those that need to hear it most desperately?
So great is His love for those who respect and fear Him…
7 The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 AMP
So, reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord, starting with an awe of Him, going back to the song that started this whole journey of mercy for me.
I will kneel in the dust, at the foot of the cross, where mercy paid for me.http://www.songlyrics.com/matt-redman/mercy-lyrics/
That’s the start, that’s the beginning, the best part of this knowledge of the Lord that He loves. And the blessings just flow, my friends, we give Him this reverent fear. That’s where we need to be, covered in His dust. Covered in His mercy.
As you begin this day, His compassion, His mercy covers you. Now, who can you show compassion to this day? Who can see the grace and love of the Lord Jesus this day?
Pray on..pray on.
Good morning, friend,
We showed up to basketball practice on Thursday. Normally, I try to bring a water bottle with my son. This time, I brought my water (nice) and we didn’t bring his bottle. I relied on the church having drinking fountains, that they had water. Strolled in to see signs all over the place NO WATER, BOIL ORDER, drinking fountains had garbage bags taped over them. Ugh. I had forgotten. A pipe had burst. Grayslake had no water. It was unnerving.
Yesterday, news reports flash:
Which reports that 300,000 people are without water, they can’t boil it, touch it, be near it. It’s awful. It’s scary. There is not an end in sight to this scare. The pictures on the television show people scrambling for ice, bottled water, chemicals floating on the river…frightening images…
I was in ·trouble [distress], so I ·called [prayed] to the Lord. The Lord answered me and set me ·free [ I will not ·be afraid [fear], because the Lord is with me [Rom. 8:31]. ·People can’t do anything [L What can people do…?]to me [Heb. 13:6]. Psalm 118:5-6 EXB
31 So what should we say ·about this [in response to these things]? If God is for us, ·no one can defeat us [L who is against us?]. 32 He did not spare his own Son but ·gave him [or delivered him over;C to death] for us all. So with Jesus, ·God will surely [how could he not…?] give us all things. Romans 8 EXB
Burst pipes, chemical spills can send us spiraling into fear and worry. It doesn’t even need to be something as severe as a spill or pipe, but friends, freedom is not found in focusing our attention on what is wrong in our lives and in the world around us.
I was in trouble…so I sat and stewed and worried and fretted and stayed up all night and had terrible heartburn.No…..
I was in trouble…so I called ( love this word here A primitive root [rather identical with קָרָא(H7122) through the idea of accosting a person met]) so literally the Psalmist is pestering the Lord! Not letting Him go. Lord! Lord! Lord! Does the Lord ignore His beloved? No, friend, He does not ignore His beloved! Whether it is a chemical spill or a basketball game or a pimple or a test or an argument with a friend, no matter what the reason, we call, He answers.
The Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord answered me and set me free.
What if we enjoyed this day God gave us? What if we were not afraid of the day ahead? What if we believed what we read? Believe it, friend! Claim it! Live it!
Today is a new day. It is a good day.
Thankful for this day, it is my Mom’s birthday and I’m so thankful for her.
Thankful for this day, my kids’ first day of their basketball games, I think I’m more nervous than they are!
Thankful for a day with my husband today to enjoy time and space. We need a day!
Pray on. Pray on.