Posts Tagged ‘rebellion’

Depending on God, Not Others

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah,and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel (1 Samuel 8:4-6, NKJV).

In an election year, with campaign ads hitting us from every side, it would be wise to consider the above scripture verses. Samuel was not happy when the leaders of Israel demanded a king so they could be “like all the nations.”

Samuel knew Israel was not meant to be like the other nations. God was to be their Sovereign Leader. But the Israelites weren’t content with that provision. They wanted to look to human leadership for direction. Samuel realized they were asking for trouble.

Now it’s true that none of us lives in a theocracy these days, as did the Israelites of old. Still, the principle holds true that if we place our dependence on human leadership rather than God, we are asking for trouble — regardless of whether that leadership leans left or right, supports our personal beliefs or rejects them entirely. People are just that — people. Fallible. Weak. Sinners. There are no exceptions. We live in a broken world, inhabited by broken people — and that includes us. True, we hope for the most godly human leaders possible, and hopefully we vote accordingly (assuming we live in a country where we are indeed blessed to vote).

Regardless, as Election Day approaches, we would be wise to remember Samuel’s concerns about putting our confidence in humanity, rather than God. If we claim Christ as Lord and Savior, we have no excuse for not being in prayer for our country, particularly now as election day looms. I don’t pretend to know God’s precise plan or purpose for America (or any other country, for that matter), so far as elections or political leadership goes. I do know, however, that He has promised that if those who are called by His name “will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,” that He “will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV).

That’s where our focus and energy needs to be at this crucial time in history. May we stand together, in unity and humility, seeking God’s face and imploring Him to heal our land!

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award) and Special Delivery.
No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Are You Angry with God?

Friday, July 13th, 2012

“The Lord asked: Have you any right to be angry?” Jonah 4:4

Jonah quarreled with his God. And who has not? We may not speak as plainly as he did–but we have been in the same sullen temper, and manifested the same morose spirit.

Very few are well satisfied with the Lord’s plans.

Fewer still are always pleased with the Lord’s works.

How many quarrel with His sovereignty!
What hard things have been spoken against it!

How many complain of His providence–and think it
unwise, unkind, and almost unjust!

Beloved, we are often angry with God!
This temper shows itself . . .
in fretfulness,
in complaining,
in sullen gloom.

“Have you any right to be angry?”

Angry with your Father . . .
whose wisdom is infinite,
whose love is as constant as the day, and
who constantly showers His blessings upon you!

Angry with your God, who has . . .
pardoned all your heinous sins,
provided for your innumerable needs,
blessed you with countless spiritual blessings!

Surely it is a sin, a grievous sin, not to be pleased . . .
with all that He does,
with all that He has provided,
and with all that He requires.

“Have you any right to be angry?”

~ James Smith

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Not a member yet? Join us!

Do You Value Life? Do Your Kids?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19, NKJV).

I recently saw a newscast about a teacher who was horrified when high school students posted pictures of themselves with dead animals, mocking the animals and using them in grotesque poses. That same week I saw a video of junior high students bullying a grandmother who had volunteered as a bus monitor, taunting her and making cruel statements that brought the poor woman to tears.

Heartbreaking? Sure. Shocking? Not so much. Not when you consider that today’s children have grown up in a society that for the most part does not value life or honor the One who gives it. Today’s youth has no memory of a culture that didn’t actively promote abortion or that wasn’t sliding more and more toward legalizing euthanasia. They watched as Terri Schiavo was starved and dehydrated to death by court order, and we wonder why they see no need to place a high value on God-given life.

But it isn’t just our children who have been blinded by what I think of as a “spirit of abortion,” meaning the bent toward doing away with any life that negatively impacts or interferes with someone else’s desires. If we aren’t careful we can all fall into it. When I served as my mother’s primary caregiver for the last twelve years of her life, there were times I was stretched to the ends of my physical and emotional endurance. Had it not been for the Lord’s strength to renew and carry me through, I could easily have succumbed to that same thought process that drives women with “inconvenient pregnancies” to sacrifice the most helpless among us for their own purposes and desires.

God’s Word to us is to “choose life” — in any and all situations. It may be the harder choice sometimes, but God has promised that when we make that choice, both we and our children will be blessed.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award) and Special Delivery.

No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

What Have You Done?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

1 Samuel 13:11: “‘What have you done?’ asked Samuel.”

The Israelites sensed danger when they attacked the Philistines and hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns” (verse 6).

Meanwhile “all the troops with [Saul] were quaking with fear.” I’ve been terrified myself at times, and you probably have too.

Samuel the prophet was to meet Saul in seven days. When Samuel delayed, Saul offered a burnt offering to the Lord even though he lacked the authority to do so. Don’t we sometimes react in fear or out of stress rather than wait on God?

When Samuel arrived, he asked what Saul had done. Saul said since he had “not sought the LORD’s favor, [he] felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

Before we judge Saul harshly, let’s look at ourselves. Don’t we sometimes justify our behavior? Even though we disobey God, we give our sin “a holy twist.”

“‘You acted foolishly,’ Samuel said. . . . . ‘Now your kingdom will not endure.’” We too will suffer consequences for disobedience. However, God hopes we will learn from them and not repeat the same behavior, which hurts us.

In chapter 15 of this same book, the prophet said God wanted Saul to “attack the Amalekites for what they did to Israel.” Saul was to “totally destroy everything that [belonged] to them.” He was not to spare anyone or their animals (verses 1-3).

Once again, Saul had his own version of obedience. He took King Agag of the Amalekites alive and “the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good.” Saul destroyed “everything that was despised and weak” (verses 7-9).

Samuel returned to the sound of bleating sheep and lowing cattle, but Saul dared to say he “carried out the LORD’s instructions” and kept the best sheep and cattle “to sacrifice to the LORD” (verse 15).

In verses 22-23, Samuel said, “To obey is better than sacrifice . . . Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” How much are we willing to lose to live in denial and disobedience?

Dear God, help me to obey you totally. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week exactly as God commands?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2010-2012, Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC

All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Are You Pursuing Your Own Plans and not God’s?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans”? I’m not sure if God laughs when we outline our plans to Him, but I do know He doesn’t change His plans to fit ours. And seriously, aren’t we glad of that?

When I look back on my life (and trust me, there’s a lot to look back on these days!) I find that my greatest regrets came about as a result of trying to pursue my own plans instead of God’s. Conversely, when I chose to walk in His ways — even if they didn’t make sense to me at the time — I always ended up in a place of blessing and peace.

So why do I still try to make my own plans and go my own way — and then, almost as an after-thought, ask God to bless the outcome? Okay, I know, I know. Even after nearly forty years of walking with Him, I’m still trapped in this imperfect physical existence and living on a broken planet. Hence, the call to serve self still echoes in my heart, despite the fact that I know better than to heed such a deceitful siren song.

You can relate, can’t you? You too are trapped in an imperfect physical existence and living on a broken planet. It won’t always be so, and that’s something to anticipate with joy. Until then, however, let’s continue to pray for one another and to commit our hearts to follow hard after Him, rejoicing that He is directing our steps, that His plans for us are good (see Jeremiah 29:11), and that He will never lead us down the wrong path.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award) and Special Delivery.
No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Are You Avoiding God?

Friday, April 27th, 2012

What’s stopping you from following your dream?

That’s the question I asked as the guys at the retreat prepared for a day of mountain biking, hiking, 4-wheeling, and rock climbing. I challenged them to talk with their companions about the fears that get in the way.

One particular response was particularly revealing. “I’m afraid if I really listen to God, He might tell me to do something I don’t really want to do.”

What a wonderful—and brutally honest—insight. It’s an interesting twist on a common complaint.

Lots of folks grumble that God never speaks to them. What if the real problem is that we’re afraid to listen? What if we intentionally keep God at a distance to avoid disrupting our self-created illusion of security?

Most of the guys around the fire that night agreed. We seek to serve—when it’s convenient, when it fits into the schedule. We want to finish well—but we need to guard the 401(k).

We want to follow—on our terms.

What if we’re not-so-secretly afraid that Jesus was serious when He said, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)

What if our efforts to follow Jesus in a safe, sanitary manner actually cause us to avoid God because we’re afraid of what He might say?

I stated my goal on Friday night: I wanted to pose some questions that might create a bit of internal dissonance, prompt conversations, and cause each guy to lose a few minutes of sleep. Sunday morning brought several mostly good-natured complaints, and demands for extra coffee, from men who didn’t sleep quite as much as planned.

I intended challenging questions. I didn’t plan on answers that would keep me awake.

Are you avoiding God because you’re afraid of what He might tell you?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! Dixon
Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

The Word In A Box

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Do you have a “favorite” Bible passage?

I like ice cream. A lot. I like lots of other things—baseball and dogs and riding my bike. But I REALLY LIKE ice cream.

So I struggle in an ice cream shop that offers dozens of choices. They’re all wonderful and choosing one means rejecting the rest. I want that one… no, that one, no …

That’s sort of how it feels when someone asks, “What’s your favorite Bible passage?”

However, I can clearly identify the passage that impacted me most powerfully the first time I really heard its message. I can still see where I sat and feel what I felt when I heard these words:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1,14

For me these words capture the profound mystery of my faith, the juxtaposition of infinite and personal, the miracle of God becoming man. These verses remind me that this notion of following Jesus is boundless and miraculous and beyond my comprehension.

When I read these words, I imagine a box. Maybe it’s a big box or a small one, but the box represents what we do with Jesus. Since we can’t comprehend an infinite reality, we put Him in a box that represents the small part we can get our minds around.

Then we pretend that the box is all that is. Jesus becomes doctrine, a particular collection of political policies, a national interest, and whatever else we decide to place in the box.

We reduce Jesus to something understandable and therefore more manageable. We’d prefer not being challenged too much or pushed too far from our comfort zone.

The box transforms infinite personal mystery into finite ideology that conforms to our agenda. We worship what’s in the box, our self-created perception of Jesus.

That’s idol worship. Doesn’t matter which box, how big, or what’s in it.

The goal isn’t to create a more accurate box or a bigger box or a more inclusive box. The goal is to understand that we can’t fit THE WORD into ANY box.

Jesus isn’t a set of ideas to be learned and promoted. He’s a person. He didn’t ask us to define or constrain Him.

He invited us to follow Him.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Have you ever experienced a divine appointment?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Some of us are old enough to recall Apollo 13 as something besides a movie. The mission launched on April 11, 1970 to complete the third manned moon landing. To outside observers, spaceflight had become almost commonplace. This appeared to be just another routine mission, but Apollo 13 reminded everyone that space exploration was anything but “routine.”

We all know the disaster that occurred when an oxygen tank explosion ripped a gaping hole in the spacecraft. Critical systems were crippled, the moon landing was aborted. I remember watching with everyone else during the following days as an army of engineers and support personnel did about a million things at once to save three astronauts and figure out how to get them safely back to Earth.

Apollo missions included planned course corrections necessary to hit precise navigation targets. Computer guidance normally accomplished these complex adjustments automatically, but the explosion damaged those systems. As the crew rounded the moon and began their return trip, their fragile ship drifted off course. They would have to manually alter their path. Using untested methods and calculations relayed from ground controllers, three men had to hit a tiny moving target more than a hundred thousand miles away.

To save their lives they had to set their ship in a trajectory that would bring them and the target to precisely the same point. Even a minor error would send them to their deaths.

I can’t imagine how impossible it must have seemed to hit a moving re-entry window less than thirty miles across from tens of thousands of miles away. The astronauts had to establish a curved trajectory that anticipated numerous variables and aimed at an empty spot in space. Their skill brought them and their target to exactly the same point at the same time.

I think that’s how God works most of the time. He makes seemingly small course corrections (one-degree miracles) that sometimes send us in directions that don’t make sense. It’s as if we’re headed into empty space.

I think that’s what happens as we do our best to listen and follow. He gently re-directs us and sets us on trajectories that bring us to places He can use us.

The problem, of course, is that we can’t possibly see what He sees. We try to draw straight lines and make simplistic cause-effect conclusions, but it’s not that simple or immediate.

Think of a time when you’ve found yourself in just the right place with just the right people in a setting no one could’ve anticipated, a time when something powerful happened that changed lives in a powerful way. And if you believe in God you know it didn’t happen by accident. It was a “divine appointment.”

Now imagine all that went into bringing those folks to that point, all the small decisions and twists and mistakes that placed people on trajectories that intersected in that tiny window of time. Imagine the endless course corrections, one small moment of each life building on thousands of others, all leading to that divine appointment.

What are your thoughts about trajectories and divine appointments?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

God is Rewriting the Text of Your Life!

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
(Psalm 18:24, The Message).

I seldom use The Message for personal Bible study or quotes, but when I came across the above phrase, the writer in me responded with a hearty “Yes!”

Can anyone relate? Have you ever caught yourself bumbling along, trying to orchestrate your life, order your steps, direct your future—and then stopped and asked yourself, “What was I thinking?”

We are not the captain of our own ship or the master of our own fate, but we sure act like it sometimes, don’t we? Oh, I know, before we become Christians we actually believe that we are and live accordingly. Then we come face to face with the Savior, turn our lives over to Him, and we never make that foolish mistake again. Right?

Well, theoretically, we don’t. And most of the time, not intentionally. But unless I’m different than every other believer on planet earth, we do slip into that faulty thinking on occasion. And oh, what a mess we can make of things! Those self-written chapters of our lives are made up of text we’d like to delete, aren’t they?

Psalm 8:24 holds the secret to the edit button. Though we can’t go back and erase what we’ve already written, if we will be honest with God about the foolishness and regret in our heart, He can (and will) rewrite the text of our lives. Though the sins and mistakes of the past may still have consequences today, we can be assured that the God of the universe will somehow bring good out of even the worst pages of our past.

As a writer, I know how easy it is to go off on a self-imposed tangent, to become distracted and get off-track. The result is poorly written material and lots of wasted time. But just as God has so graciously redeemed my poor writing and wasted time, so He will redeem and rewrite the text of our lives if we will just open our hearts to him and allow Him to finish our book for us.

He is, after all, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Copyright 2009-2012 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

and


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

No Greater Love

More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Why Humility?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Humble yourselves. That sounds obscene. At least to the culture of self-promotion and “get ahead at all cost” and “don’t look back, the competition is gaining on you” it sounds obscene.

Humility is a forgotten virtue. Often confused with weakness or timidity, humility is about knowing our proper place in the world without flaunting it. Only God can exalt in a permanent way, so the key is to know our place before him and let him put us in the place he chooses to honor him.

A humble heart is tender towards God, and He responds when it cries out to Him. And that may be why He sometimes allows hard things into our lives – to bring forth the fruit of humility.

As God does great things in our midst, we don’t ever want to forget what He’s brought us through. We can do nothing without His intervention. But as we keep humble, contrite, tender hearts, there is no end to what He can accomplish not merely in our own lives, but for our children’s children.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Copyright 2010-2012, Chaplain Michael Clark

All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Chaplain Clark is a Speaker and Writer,
Addiction Counselor/Professional

as well as a Recovery Support Specialist

Shadows of the Cross Ministries, Prison and Recovery Ministry