Tag Archive: God


“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”   Psalm 136:1

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   John 1:1-2, 14

Words are powerful.  They have the ability to question, exclaim, describe, uplift, encourage, comfort, or destroy.  I have always loved words and enjoyed using them; writing, singing, studying, talking, you name it, and once I became a Christ follower and started reading scripture…oh my, those words!

Scripture is alive.  It breathes and can affect a person like a sucker punch, hitting directly at the heart.  Words found in the Bible not only uplift, encourage and comfort, but they offer guidance and truth.

I very much enjoy spending time reading God’s Word.  Don’t get me wrong, it can be very confusing and foreign at times but if I continue reading, God always reveals a phrase, a story or a truth that I can grasp… and then Scripture sings.

God opened my eyes to the power of words when I tried to break the habit of saying “Oh my gosh.”  Instead, I made a point to say “Oh my word” but found, as you can read in my post: OMG!, that using the phrase “Oh my word” is almost worse because as scripture tells us, the “WORD” is God…and more specifically, Jesus himself.

The area that I struggle with words most is memorization.  My kids attend AWANA, the youth program at our church, where they are taught to hide God’s word in their hearts. (Psalm 119:11)

Scripture memorization is vital in our Christian walk.  For instance, verses of praise help us appreciate God’s creation.  Verses of encouragement help when we’re feeling depressed, sad, or lonely.  God’s promises equip us to recognize His miracles in our life, get us through challenging times at work, at home or at school, they keep us strong against temptation and prepare us to share our faith with others.

God revealed to me through a friend last night in our small group how effective memorization truly is.  If John 1:1 is true, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. then why would we not memorize?  Psalm 119:11 says “Your word I have treasured in my heart…”

If Jesus truly is the Word, then when we memorize Scripture are we literally placing Jesus and His power into our hearts?

Definitely makes memorizing a little more interesting, doesn’t it??

 

I am so glad I have boys.

Boys love to show how strong, fast and brave they are.  They want to protect the world, rescue the damsel and save the day.  Their heart’s desire is to be the hero and I tell you, a girl and the world wouldn’t mind being rescued now and then.

But because I have these boys in my life and am also married to one, I have been forced to become very familiar with all the great superheroes and villains; their powers, their weaknesses, their costumes and their movies.

I have now seen The Avengers movie more than once and I tell you, it is an absolutely outstanding movie and one I will watch over and over and over again.

The Avengers is a superhero action movie featuring Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America, who incidentally have movies of their own, but you don’t necessarily have to know about these characters before you see this movie…although I’m sure you’ll want to after you do.

But what I love so much about not only this movie, but superheroes in general, is how God’s character is revealed through them.  The feelings we get and how we respond to watching these superheroes is exactly how we should feel about our amazing, wonderful, strong and powerful God and how He should be seen.

Let’s start with THOR  as Wikipedia describes him: In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing, and fertility.

Clearly resemblant of our creator…

“When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses.”   Jeremiah 10:13

“He covers His hands with the lightning, And commands it to strike the mark.”   Job 36:32

“Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, That it may do whatever He commands it On the face of the inhabited earth.”   Job 37:11-12

And then there’s IRON MAN  as Wikipedia describes him: Iron Man possesses powered armor that gives him superhuman strength and durability, flight, and an array of weapons. The armor is invented and worn by Stark. Iron Man’s standard offensive weapons have always been the repulsor rays that are fired from the palms of his gauntlets.

Like Iron Man, God offers strength, power and unique protection and also possesses a trait portrayed best by Stark; God wants our eyes focused only upon Him…

“Ascribe strength to God; His majesty is over Israel And His strength is in the skies.”   Psalm 68:34

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”   Ephesians 6:11

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”   Deuteronomy 6:5

“I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.”   Proverbs 8:17

“for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”   Exodus 34:14

Wikipedia describes the HULK as a gigantic, green, irradiated, mutated humanoid monster with incredible strength and an inability to control his rage. The Hulk is sometimes characterized as hyper-aggressive and brutal, other times as cunning, brilliant, and scheming. The Hulk possesses the potential for limitless physical strength depending directly on his emotional state, particularly his anger and is resistant to most forms of injury or damage.

Although the Hulk is typically cast as an anti-hero, our God portrays similar attributes; angry and wrathful, although rightly deserved…

“A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.”   Nahum 1:2

“for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.”   Deuteronomy 6:15

“that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”   Joshua 4:24

And I just love the way he takes care of a false god in the movie and the only two words he utters…

 

 

Saving the best for last… my favorite, CAPTAIN AMERICA. As described by Wikipedia, Captain America has no superhuman powers, although as a result of the Super-Soldier Serum and “Vita-Ray” treatment, he is transformed from a frail young man into a “perfect” specimen of human development and conditioning. Captain America’s strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, durability, and healing are at the zenith of natural human potential. Rogers’ body regularly replenishes the super-soldier serum; it does not wear off.

Not only is Captain America a beautiful picture of the power and strength God fills us with, the captain is the epitome of all America and humankind holds dear; truth, humility, justice, strength, love and hope and is the best portrayal of God’s true character.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”   Psalm 18:2

“… God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”   Psalm 46:1

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.”   Psalm 89:14

There is even one scene where the Black Widow is explaining to Captain America who Thor and Loki are, saying “they’re basically gods”  and it was in Captain America’s response that had me cheering…

 

 

I serve an amazing God.  The sacrifice He made for me is astounding, the love he has for me is astoning, and the fact that He made me and wants to use me is mind-boggling.

My God surely is an Avenger.

Plugged In movie review

“Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.”   Psalm 119:18

I took my daughter Sydney to the orthodontist the other day.  I picked her up from school and being just the two of us, she was able to snag the coveted passenger seat…and in a family of six, while not being the oldest child, that doesn’t happen often.

As we were driving, we passed some roadkill and Sydney asked, “what was that?!”

“What” I returned with surprise, “the roadkill?”

As if a light bulb went off in her head, she exclaimed “Ooooohhhh!  That’s what roadkill is!”

I couldn’t believe she had never seen roadkill!

In a state where deer, squirrels, and bunnies practically out number people and one or the other can be found squished on any given side street or highway, you’d think she’d have noticed.  But when I thought about it, vision can be very limited when you sit in the back of a van your entire life.

Because of the seats or other things blocking the view, it is easy to focus on yourself instead of what’s going on outside the van…and often you don’t even realize there is a bigger picture whizzing by because you aren’t able to see it clearly.

When we’re struggling, isn’t that exactly how we see life??  We focus on what is most affecting us; an upcoming exam or paper due, a fight we had with our significant other, the empty fridge or lint filled pockets, our broken or hurting body, job loss, difficult children, unhappy marriage…

The list could go on and on and one may even seem more trivial to us than another, but it’s not to the person in the middle of it.

Thankfully there is more than what concerns us, there is more going on than just our pain.  God has a reason and a plan for everything and although we can not see it, He is using our struggle for His glory and if we remain faithful, He will one day open our eyes, remove the things blocking our view and allow us to see.

“So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.”   Isaiah 51:11

SIDE NOTE: In God's great wisdom and perfect planning, He allowed Sydney an eye opening, up-close and personal example right in front of our house.  A poor bunny literally lost it's head... and has been just a wonderful illustration.
Will someone come get this thing?  Really...wonderful illustration no longer needed.

Sunset Mist

“Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it.”    Isaiah 45:8

What can I say?  With four kids the first day of school is always a whirlwind!  This was the third year in a row that I had to leave before the kids left for school…so I didn’t get to do the Happy-Mother’s-Day!-the-kids-are-finally-gone happy dance.

Hmph.

But what a wonderful greeting when I got home from work!  Backpacks and papers strewn all over the house, shoes flung haphazardly teetering upon the couch and coffee table, the kids playing video games and practically grunting their hello-mom-I-missed-you-so-much-today greeting as I walked in.

Yup, feel the love.

I gathered all the school papers; news, calendars, lists and noticed Tristan, my 1st grader, had the most papers and stuff in his backpack.  It was astonishing how much stuff he came home with on his first day of school, and after I took out all that he had left in it from LAST YEAR, he didn’t actually have so much.

Just sayin’.

One of the papers Tristan brought home was titled Sneak & Share.  Each kid is to bring in a special item from home to share in class, but the item is to be brought in a bag so the kids won’t be able to see it.

“So what’s something special that you want to bring in?”  I asked.

He responded; “I want to share something I have with me always but it’s in my heart.”

“What’s that?”  I asked

“God…”

I was in awe.  I am so envious of that boldness.  I love that he doesn’t have to worry about what kids think.  In first grade they are accepting no matter what you look like, who your parents voted for, who your favorite football team is, or what you believe.  He could be himself and share his heart without worry of ridicule.

My heart flew.  Oh what a joy it is to know your child loves God and wants to share Him with others!

“…but what do I put in the bag?”  He asked.

I suggested a little Bible and he turned his nose up, then I said maybe a cross or something else and Tristan’s eyes lit up.  He ran over to a little popsicle cross he made at church a couple years ago that we had sitting on the thermostat on the wall.

He brought it over and plopped it in the bag with a huge grin on his face.

My heart could have burst I was so excited and proud of him.  “So what are you going to say?”  I asked, and he stood there for a moment the smile slowly falling from his face.  He was silent for quite a while then he said,

“I don’t want to bring this.  I want to bring a toy.”

My heart fell.  “Why?”  I asked puzzled.

Tears began streaming down Tristan’s cheeks as he struggled for a response.

“Why don’t you want to bring the cross?”  I prodded gently.

Tristan began sobbing and through his distorted, tear stained face he said,

“Because they won’t understand.”

Boy, do I see myself in him.

How many times do I back down?

How many times have I missed an opportunity to share God with others because of that EXACT thought?

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”   2 Timothy 1:7

I have been in that exact position.  In fact, I wrote about it in my post:
Origin of Species ~Charles Darwin

But what I learned from that experience is precisely what Jax told Tristan;

When we want to share Him with others, that’s God’s whisper…
“tell them about Me.”

When we second guess and begin to question, that’s the evil one suggesting…
“they won’t understand.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”   John 14:27

What has God asked you to do but you still believe the evil one’s lies…

“They won’t understand!”
“You aren’t good enough!”
“You don’t know enough!”

“…do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”   Matthew 10:19-20 (niv)

Don’t wait another day!

God has given us the Good News, no…the BEST News!  Stand up!  Go out and share it!

When I was about ten years old I was a girl scout (and I find it a bit disturbing that the exact girl scout uniform I used to wear -above- I found the image on the Smithsonian legacies site.)  I should’ve just gone downstairs and taken a picture of my old uniform!

Anyway, that’s not the point although I kind of dig the fact that I have waaaay more patches on my sash.  🙂

We used to go camping as a troop and one time we stencil painted our names and an adjective to describe us on a pillow case.  The catch was the adjective had to start with the first letter of our name.

Great.  There were only 3 words I could think of for N;  Nice, Naughty & Nutty.  (I know, there are far cooler N adjectives… give me a break I was ten.)

We went around the circle telling everyone our adjective…

Cute Christy

Sweet Shannon

Adorable Angie

Jumping Jena

Oh they had such cute names, I was totally going with Nutty Nicole.  It was fun and would make people laugh…oh yes, that was the one.

As we went around the circle, it stopped at the other Nicole in the group who was just as inventive on N adjectives as I was.  “Nutty Nicole” she said.

I about had a heart attack.  I was certainly not going with naughty, and nice was just lame!  The circle rounded  its final turn and I was last to go, and I said…

It is so funny the silly regrets we have in life. The little things we wish we could change… and I can assure you no one else even remembers the adjective I chose back then, but I do not still have and never did use that pillow case!

Do I wish I would’ve gone with another word?  Absolutely!  Any other; neat, nifty, noble, notorious, even noisy would’ve been good, but what I find so interesting is how desperately I did not want to be associated with the word:

           

We are born with an innate sense of right and wrong since the fall of mankind.  God didn’t want us to have to choose between right and wrong.  He had one rule…

“…You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”   Genesis 2:16-17

We are made in the image of our Creator who cannot do wrong, but since that fateful choice to eat from the tree, all the generations since have possessed that choice… and so we struggle.

“…Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil…”   Genesis 3:22

Thankfully as Christ followers we have help…

“… he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”   John 14:16-17

Although we all will fail at some point after giving our lives to Christ by making a wrong choice, I have frequently found myself labeled and placed in the “naughty” category, often by other Christians, because of the songs I listen to, the jokes I laugh at, the movies I see.

One of my favorite songs is “Fly Away” by FFH;

This song speaks to my heart.  I love it’s sound, it’s beat and especially it’s message.  I sang this song as a special one Sunday a long time ago at a church we used to attend,

and got in trouble for it.

At that same church I lead the youth program, AWANA, and used some Go Fish songs to teach the the kids;

it was frowned upon.

The God I serve is an exciting, colorful, and fun-loving God and I have been taught that the way I see Him and life is wrong.  Thankfully He brought us to the church we now call home, where I am surrounded by other people who enjoy life, a good laugh and a strong beat.  They are just as crazy as me in thinking God is alive and energetic and wonderful.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”   Zephaniah 3:17

“…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”   Isaiah 62:5

Our five senses point to His creativity and enjoyment.

Why do we have taste buds?

Why does our skin long for touch?

Why does He create things of beauty for us to gaze upon?

Why do we prefer certain sounds?

Why can we be satisfied by a scent?

And why then did He create laughter?

Of course we must have a healthy fear of the One who created us.  He has rules we are expected to follow and we are to glorify Him through our actions and our lives, but to say He doesn’t want us to fully enjoy Him and this world He created specifically for us, is silly.

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”   1 Timothy 6:17

Find out for yourself how great God is.  He wants you to live life, love life, and love Him.

 

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”   Job 1:21

Job shook me this morning.

How do I respond when ‘bad’ things happen in my life?

Do I say “Why me?”

Do I complain?

I need to take a lesson from Job.  If I think I’m struggling in my life, I certainly have not struggled as Job has.

I have not had the heartache as Job has.  I get a “No. Thanks anyway,” response back from an article I sent to a magazine and I question God.  Job lost all ten of his children in one fell swoop!  [Job 1:18]

I have not had the physical pain as Job has.  I get a hangnail and I whine.  Job had painful boils from head to toe and scraped them off with a potsherd for relief!  [Job 2:7-8]

Job had incredibly difficult struggles and yet He trusted God’s plan.  He accepted his trials and understood them as something God had every right to give.

“… Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”   Job 2:10

I need to stop being so drama queen.

Comparatively, my life has been quite easy.  My struggles, minor.

I need a new…  perspective.

What are you struggling with?

Don’t look at it with your own eyes…you’re too close, your feelings too real.  Look at your situation through God’s eyes…

God gave us amazing examples in His Word.

Maybe you just need a new… Job.

Isn’t it funny how God prepares us?  So many times I have seen God allow pain and heartache to come into a person’s life…they struggle as the storm engulfs them, wish it hadn’t come, pray for comfort and relief, and when the storm finally passes, praise God for how He works.

It seems so unnatural and against every fiber of our being… and yet when God allows us to be tested and we become more like Him; we get through the challenge, we stand firm and lean on His plan, His leading, we are grateful and equipped to help someone else walk down the same path we dreaded in the beginning.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”   1 Peter 5:6-7

Praise God for how He works!!

I mentor a young lady named Hayley.  Love this girl. Now, when Hayley does something, she goes big.  She just turned 16, and went on her first trip… anywhere.  Hayley and her family hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain named Ana, and now Hayley was invited to spend a month with Ana and her family in Spain.

Hayley left July 1st.

She was so excited and so nervous at the same time.  Her excitement was infectious, and I couldn’t wait to see what God had planned for her overseas.  Now, I had a similar experience in high school, where my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Mexico.  The summer after graduation I was invited to go to Mexico for a couple weeks to stay with Liliana and her family…so I knew the fun and challenges awaiting Hayley.

I warned her that the first 3-4 days would be hardest.  Being away from home, in a different culture, speaking a different language… it is very difficult.

However, one HUGE difference between Hayley and I at that time??  I didn’t know Christ.  That places a whole different set of rules and challenges on Hayley.

True to form, a few days in I started receiving emails and messages from her expressing her heartache… she was so homesick, missing her boyfriend and struggling really, because she is surrounded by girls her age who drink, smoke, curse, and are quite affectionate to their boyfriends.  Hayley was very much struggling with staying strong, but feeling quite alone and set apart because of her beliefs.

I tried to encourage her, by giving her scripture to focus on…

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.”   Psalm 37:23-24

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”   Psalm  55:22

But I felt strongly that God had called her there to be a witness, and if she stayed strong somehow He would show her.

I asked if any of Ana’s friends were believers, and she said many called themselves Christians, but didn’t act like it.  I told her I felt that perhaps there was one there, who is struggling as she is with standing up for their faith.  That perhaps God is using Hayley to give that person strength to stand up for God as well, and I would be praying for God to call that person out.

I got this email from Hayley yesterday:

“Today I could not be happier, I am so excited to tell you about the experience I had today! One of Ana’s friends and her started asking me questions to practice their English and it turned into a ton of questions about my faith. They asked me a bunch of things about the Bible and we discussed a couple miracles of Jesus, and how he died and rose for us, and how you can’t just be “good enough”.

Her friend asked me about a lot of things that are in the Bible and we even discussed why I won’t be intimate until I’m married. Please pray for him, I know I will be, and I’m sad because tomorrow is the last day I will see him but I know he is growing in his faith because he believes but has a hard time living it because of his friends and family.

It was hard to discuss because of the language barrier and I had to really try to explain things simply but it was amazing! This was the greatest day ever and I’m so excited!!! Love you! (: and miss you!”

Oh God, I praise you.

I praise You for how you work in our lives. I praise You for your protection.  I praise You for helping us understand our need for a Savior and the hope we have when we trust and rely on You and You alone…

And then you use us to point others to you?!

Oh, what an amazing God you are.  It is a pleasure and real honor to follow you.

Has God given you a promise that you aren’t sure He can fulfill?

Have you seen Him work and verify the calling He has made on your life, only to find yourself question and doubt whether it will come to fruition?

In who have you placed your trust?  Are you relying on God’s promises or your own ability?

There are so many stories in the Bible of God revealing His plan, and in response hearing an “are you out of your mind?!”

Sarah:
“The LORD said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’  Genesis 18:10,12

The Shunammite woman:
“’At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.’ And she said, ‘No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant.’”  
2 Kings 4:16

Moses:
“’Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’   But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’”  
Exodus 3:10-11

Gideon:
“And the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?’ And he said to him, ‘Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.’”   Judges 6:14-15

Sounds familiar.

I have felt God’s strong presence and calling in my life to write.  He has provided many stories of amazing provision and proof of His existence that I long to share with those who don’t yet know Him, as well as to help encourage and realize His movement in the lives of those who do.

I have been filled with an unsettling beyond anything I’ve known.  An awareness of the path He wants me to take and yet the road stands before me; a path filled with light as well as shadow, straight, sure ground and questioning, uncertain curves.

I find myself shoulder to shoulder with those who have come before me, echoing their mistrust, questioning the One whose promises we are to rely on.  But no matter the make of the road or the curves that lie ahead, I will blindly follow while likely questioning the whole way, but in the wake of those who trod before me,

I will take one more step forward,

and trust that His plans are better than my own.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”   Proverbs 3:5-6

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