God’s Alone Or For The People Pleasers Like Me?

“For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35

As a mom, wife, daughter, church member and employee, people and projects clamor for my time. Jesus handled the demands of others according to each situation in a perfect manner (in the temple at age 12, to his family who demanded to see him while He taught, with the mother of His disciples who begged Him to let her sons have a position of power).

I know the things in life that I like: cobalt blue, apricots, green paint, biographies, mysteries, pens with blue ink and a fine tip, all kinds of well-performed music, pima cotton… So why don’t I know what I want? And does that even matter?

People circle around me, asking (and sometimes demanding) my time, energy, and resources. God gave me the time, energy and resources in order that I might serve the people He placed in my life. So what’s the problem?

God tells us that He created specific work for each of us before the foundations of the earth. Every child of the King lives with a destiny. The Bible also tells us that our Heavenly Father will give us the desires of our hearts if we just ask. There’s a catch though. God’s desires must be our desires. If I am so busy listening to everyone else, no matter how close, authoritative, holy and spiritual they are, I might miss God’s whisper to me alone. My most important role in this life is as God’s princess, His precious daughter. If performing as church member or child of earthly parents or wife overwhelms what God is saying, there is a problem.

In order to know God’s heart I’m going to talk to Him before reading the next article that gets thrown on my desk. I’m taking everything that I’m told, every suggestion with a grain of salt.

Oh, God, let my heart be attuned with Your heart.

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He Hears Our Prayers

And have mercy on those who doubt… Jude 22

Lot didn’t deserve to be rescued, but then again, neither do we. It was a kindness, a mercy to Abraham, whom God called friend.

God also calls us to intercede for our family, friends, and even our enemies. I personally believe that He may answer our prayers because of His love for us. God loved Abraham so much that the pre-Incarnate Jesus, along with angelic company, physically went into Sodom and Gomorrah to rescue Lot and his family from the coming fire. The end of the New Testament book of Jude commands us to reach out “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” Lot doubted and was not quick to obey Jesus’ command to leave the doomed cities. But our gracious God remembered Abraham and blessed Lot and his family with safe passage.

Jesus delivers us in the same way. He knows we distrust and doubt. He hears the unbelieving words of our loved ones. You know what I mean ~ the words that play over and over in our memory at night. These are the words that break our hearts and make our pillows wet with our tears. Jude provides us hope and ends with, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” It’s His delight to save our loved ones and us. He grants us the privilege of sharing in the process.

Jesus, we are broken before You offering up our doubting and unbelieving loved ones. They know not what they do. You call me friend, so come to my rescue.  In Jesus Precious Name, Amen

Journal

Who are you praying for?

Do you believe that God will intervene?

What are your doubts?

He Came To Warn

But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. Genesis 19:15

One of the most dramatic theophanies is when the Angel of the Lord appears to Lot. Even in the Old Testament Jesus came to save.

Sampson didn’t have the corner on making bad choices. Many people came before him in biblical history that could share that spot. Even before Lot went to Sodom, he was causing trouble in Abraham’s camp. Lot’s shepherds fought with Abraham’s shepherds, which led Lot to make the brilliant decision to take his family to a little, unknown area called Sodom and Gomorrah.

God will never abandon His children and Lot is no exception. After every trail of poor choices is the opportunity for redemption. So God prophesied, to Abraham, the complete destruction of the sister cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It became clear, after a time of haggling, that this place was not worth saving. God decided that it made more sense to rescue the holy remnant, Lot’s household, than to spare these cities.

In this theophany, angels, including Jesus, we believe, went to Lot’s house. My Mom and I have encountered some scary situations on the road, but nothing holds a candle to this. A group of men, intent upon raping these holy beings, demanded that Lot give the visitors to them. Lot offered his virgin daughters instead to no avail. (This one action puts Lot up there with Sampson, in my book.) The angels blinded the mob and sent them into confusion. You would think that this would be enough to make Lot’s family flee but not even the prediction of destruction moved them. The angels physically pushed Lot, his wife, and his two daughters out of the city. Our almighty God was faithful to Abraham and merciful to his nephew, Lot. He offers the same rescue to us if we will only receive it.

Heavenly Father, Rescue me and deliver my whole family from potential destruction. Help me to move the first time that you ask.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Journal

How has God rescued you?

In what areas do you need deliverance and rescue?

Do you believe that God can help you?

In The Fire

“But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:25

I doubt that King Nebuchadnezzar had any idea what he was getting himself into when he brought young Jews to serve in his court. Their captivity would lead to spiritual freedom for others.

I’m not sure what King Nebuchadnezzar was thinking when he made an image of gold and told his people to bow down to it. Personally, I suspect that God, in His sovereignty, allowed the enemy to whisper this idea in his ear. Three young exiles stood out because they refused to obey the king’s command. Our almighty God set the stage for the most dramatic theophany of all. If this persecution had not happened, we would not be witnesses to this awesome deliverance. We would not realize that our hardships and torments have much greater significance than we realize.

I can just picture it. The king’s orchestra began to play and thousands of people flattened their bodies to the ground at the same time. The king was then made aware of three men in his employ that refused to bow down. The Bible actually says that Nebuchadnezzar “was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was set against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” But what should have been the end was only the beginning. The king looked into the furnace once it cooled down enough for him to approach. He saw not three, but four men standing in the fire. The fourth was the Son of God Himself standing in the flames.

Can you picture that today as you walk through your own personal fire? Jesus is Lord even in our pain. Even our persecutors will see Him. I think that is the point of this theophany. Jesus is Lord. He chose not to let the fire burn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Instead, hundreds of years later, He would allow the nails to pierce His hands for our freedom.

Heavenly Father, You are Lord over my pain. Shine through. Make this worth it all. In Jesus Name, Amen

Journal

What is your fire?

What is the purpose of it?

How can Jesus be made know because of your situation?

To Remind Us

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15

We know that God keeps His promises. But what about us? Do we keep the vows that we make?

Jacob, the third patriarch of the Old Testament, literally wrestled with God in one of the most physical of theophanies ever recorded. While his relationship with his creator was complicated, I admire how real and raw it was. Their relationship wasn’t one-sided like so many of our relationships with God in prayer. Jehovah God talked back and reminded Jacob of the vow that he made to Him at Bethel. That night, years back, when the angel of the LORD visited Jacob, they made a covenant with each other. Jacob said that if God took care of him, then He would be his God. Years down the road, God visited Jacob again in a dream to remind him of his vow. It was time to take his large household and livestock and travel to the country that God set aside for him. God kept His promise and now it was time for Jacob to keep his.

I believe that one of the many reasons that there was a need for theophany was that it provided the basis of trust. Before the written word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, people of the Old Testament needed to know the person who was asking the impossible of them. Only God’s provision and protection would lead His people to this new place filled with both bounty and enemies. We also need God’s provision and protection today, but we have access to God, through His Son, Jesus. What was a rare event is something that can live within us at all times. If only like Jacob we were willing to wrestle with our faith and have a two-way relationship with the God who calls us friend… If only…

Heavenly Father, I forget sometimes that I’m not alone. You’ve kept Your promises so empower me to keep mine. I can’t do this without You.  In Jesus Name Amen

Journal

Have you wrestled with your faith? How?

Are there any areas where you need to listen more and talk less?

What promise has God asked You to keep?

Two Fold Purpose

And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:6

God always takes interest in all of the details of our lives, even so more than we do. In everything He has not just one purpose for us but two.

He wants us to know Him. He wants our relationship to so overtake us that the overflow will impact others. That is exactly what He did with Moses, the most famous adoptee of all. After he killed a violent slave master in Egypt, he fled into the wilderness. Moses started over, getting married and starting a family. Forty years passed while he tended sheep. Then it happened. While he was tending his livestock, a nearby bush began to burn. God spoke out of this bush in what is probably the most well known theophany. This happened privately. Just as the angel Gabriel came to Mary when she was alone, God spoke to Moses alone. While the purpose was bigger than anything either of them could even imagine, God took interest in them first as individuals. Sure, we are all part of a huge purpose, but our Shepherd King takes great delight in rescuing each one of us singly, so than none will be lost.

God took the time to reveal His plan to Moses, building him up in the process. Moses had none of the luxuries or the tutors that he was raised with in the Egyptian royal house. Those many years in the wilderness humbled him beyond recognition. All he had was a staff. God said, “What is that in your hand?” (That was my grandfather Wyrtzen’s favorite topic for preaching.) God chose to use what Moses had, which wasn’t much. This man, brought to so low a place, only had “I AM” and his staff. Yet that is what the Almighty decided to use.

This same God is interested in you. He wants to know you. His purpose for your life will come out of redemption of your story. Will you trust Him with it today?

Heavenly Father, You are my Father! Thank you for loving me and using the redemption of my life to rescue others. I cannot help but sing of what You have done in my life. I love you! In Jesus Name, Amen

Journal

What is the lowest that you have been?

Have you asked God what His purpose was for that experience?

In what part of your life do you need to declare, “Is anything impossible for my God?!”

Why Theophany?

“O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.” Genesis 18:3

Did you know that Jesus appeared in the Old Testament? He came in the flesh for an important purpose before His birth.

This year, my Mom is focusing on the acts of Jesus in the Gospels while I focus on His acts in the Old Testament. A theophany can be defined as the physical appearing of Jesus before His birth. Some teachers focus on the New Testament while ignoring the Old but this is a mistake. We cannot fully enjoy the beauty of the New Covenant when we haven’t explored what came first. At Daughters of Promise, we went into this New Year with the goal of teaching a cohesive ‘scriptural whole’. We desire to give a big picture of what our all-knowing God did for us.

So why study theophany? We study it because it is the source of hope! Even before we were given the written law, the Son of God approached Abraham to tell him and Sarah that in their old age they would have a baby boy. The Son who was to come prophesied in the flesh a firstborn son. This, in and of itself, was a prophecy of His very own birth down the road.

Think about it, even before the words were written on the page, the Word came and spoke hope to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He walked into the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Jesus’s rare presence before His advent ushered in such profound consequences. Children were born to the ancient. Millions of people were protected from armies. Kings bowed their knees to the ground knowing that this God could protect His children in a fiery furnace.

Now, this God, whose physical appearances were so infrequent, makes available now to us His very own spirit. This year, let’s see the mighty things our God has done since days of old so that we can believe Him today for what He wants to do from inside our very own hearts.

Heavenly Father, I praise You for the ways in which You have revealed Yourself. Seeing what You did in days gone by gives me hope for what You can do in a willing heart tomorrow. So, today, take over every part of me. Let this heart be Your dwelling place.

Journal

How do you think people pictured God as before He appeared to Abraham?

How do you think Abraham was able to know that He was seeing Jesus?

Does this give you hope?