Monthly Archives: June 2012

Your donkey is warning you!

Photo credit: Alexander Kalina

That’s right!  Long before Shrek and Dr. Doolittle, a donkey actually spoke to it’s owner.  In the Bible, (Numbers 22:21-34) there’s this dude named Balaam and his donkey.  In this particular story, God is not thrilled with the direction Balaam is heading.  Now, being the merciful and loving God that He is, God sends and Angel with a BIG sword to block his path.  Apparently, Balaam is so oblivious to the things of God and consumed with his own agenda at the moment that he doesn’t even notice this gift of God….but his simple little donkey does!  Three times his donkey reacts to the Angel in a way that makes Balaam absolutely furious.  So furious that he violently beats the animal each time.  Its a good thing he didn’t see the Angel and tried to beat the crap out of it!

Have you ever hit or kicked your car after it breaks down or gets a flat tire?  I have, and this is the kind of setting Balaam is encountering.  I would hope to notice an Angel standing in the middle of the highway before my car starts chatting with me.  God, may I never become so dense and self-centered that I can’t notice your hand directing my steps.

All of us are faced with these moments from time to time in our journey with God.  Sometimes we CAN’T notice God’s warning signs when we are heading somewhere we shouldn’t.  Other times, we simply WON’T!  We know we’re heading in a direction opposite the direction of Jesus, yet we continue…much like Jonah.

So, do you know if your life direction is pleasing God today?  If your answer is ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know’….begin looking for signs to direct you.  Spend time in prayer and in the Word.  Ask those believers around you who know well.  God will probably not use a talking Donkey or a blinding, majestic Angel.  Though often much more subtle, He DOES speak crystal clear to us when we are intently listening for His voice.

How has God spoken to you before?  Share your story with others here.  Comment below.

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The perfection of striving

Think about it…..God really does want you and I to be perfect!  I know, this bold of a statement isn’t usually openly accepted in the church today.  Yes, its true.  God’s grace and mercy does accept us where we’re at.  And none of us is (or can be) perfect in our humanity.  Despite this Biblical truth, our Heavenly Father still desires for us to be perfect.  Why?  Jesus, His son, was perfect.  He is our ultimate model, our goal, our picture of perfection.

Look at this verse.  How would you like the creator of the universe say this about you?

So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.  Genesis 6:22 (NLT)

Now, we all know that this is referring to Noah building the Ark when and how God instructed him to.  I’m sure Noah had some imperfections in his personality, thoughts, attitude toward others, etc.  The big question here is, “What has God ever asked you to do that you have done exactly as He had commanded you?”  I don’t know about you, but I can’t use the word ‘exactly’ in relation to anything I’ve done for Him….and have an absolutely clean conscious about it.

I’ll leave you with this though today.  Perfection might be the goal with respect to fulfilling His will, but its NOT our daily experience.  The perfection of striving must be our constant focus!  Celebrate the close to perfect days, and humbly ask Jesus to pick us back up after all the other days.  Its the journey, process, and experience that really matters.  Not the level of righteousness we can attain, but heart behind our approach to it.

What tends to hinder your attempts at Striving for God’s best?  Join the discussion…we’re all in this together.  The perfection of Striving!

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A Year With Jesus, by R.P. Nettelhorst

Since November of 2011, I’ve been including ‘A Year With Jesus‘ in my daily devotion and quiet-time with God.  The bold text on the back cover reads, “The greatest person who ever lived wants to spend time with you.”  This is the author’s approach through this book.  Intentional, guided, insightful time with Jesus.

This particular devotional includes writings grouped into main themes…like Love & Hate, Friends & Enemies, Deserved & Undeserved, and Life & Death.  Each day’s thoughts are on one single page and include about 8-10 Bible verses and a short reflection offered by the author.  There is a devotion for every day of the year.  The entire book is 398 pages in length.

These reflections are positive, encouraging, and give the reader something to meditate on throughout their day.  I’ve experienced most devotional books to include barely one complete Bible verse, and then a lengthy writing from the author.  I found this one, however, to be a refreshing change.  Half of each page is scripture, and the other half is the author’s thoughts.  You could use this as a stand-alone devotional resource for someone just starting out with making quiet-time with Jesus.  Or you could do what I did….and add it as an additional resource to a Study Bible and one or two other devotionals with journaling.  I would definitely recommend this book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com […] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 […] : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

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Look Down Upon Your Waves

I live in GA now, but I spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest.  One of my best memories is taking summer vacations on the Oregon Coast.   Sites like Haystack Rock, the Devil’s Punchbowl, and Yaquina Head Lighthouse are simply breathtaking.  In my quiet time this morning, these images were vividly brought back to my memory after reading these two verses.

From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed.  Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.   Psalm 61:2-3 (NLT)

Do you ever feel like the Enemy is having an easy time attacking you?  I’ve been there.  Well, I would suggest sometimes we simply need to climb higher.  When waves are endlessly crashing on the beach, you can climb up and stand on one of these rocks and be unaffected by the waves.  In fact, most of the time you can’t even feel the vibration of the waves hitting the rock underneath you!

This is what its like with God!

When we are being attacked from all directions, we can climb high upon Him and be safe.  Don’t be fooled, however.  We may still see  the waves coming after us.  But the key is being fully aware of what/who we are bracing ourselves on. Don’t try to secure yourself upon your own knowledge, a spouse, a best-selling self-help book, or even your Pastor.  They are not as stable and secure as Jesus.  Those things will always fall short of the security Jesus’ rock offers.

Challenge:  Identify your waves.  Are their origins coming from marital issues, finances, a medical condition, or unclear direction for your life?   Climb high on the rock of Jesus.  Sometimes being able to look down on top of your waves can reveal a different point of view on your situation.

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