Is your jello sticking to the wall yet? Psalm 32:8 Part 1: Instruct

Are you adding your own nails to make i
stick? How is that working for you?

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. ” — Psalm 32:8 (NASB)

Do you feel like you are trying everything and nothing is working right? Are you like me and you want to know where to go next, what to do? Am I on the right path? These days we have Google Maps to talk to us and to say turn right or left in 1.1 miles. But what about our life? Are you throwing jello against the wall to see what sticks? Are you adding your own nails to make it stick? How is that working for you? Are you are going in all directions, picking up everything you can, to see what works. Is the stress relieved, has peace and joy returned? Don’t you wish you had someone to tell you in 1.1 miles decide to do this or not to do it? Psalm 32 tells us that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will do just that.

Psalm 32 reminds that God will instruct, teach, and counsel us.

Instruct means to provide understanding, insight, show what to pay attention to, show what you need to focus your mind on. The instructor is passing on his wisdom, knowledge, expertise, skill in order for the person to be successful in what they are doing. The concept of the expert instructing the apprentice is illustrated here. The expert imparts not only knowledge, but skill and wisdom. It denotes the concept of the instructor being circumspect or seeing everything in all directions and being able to tell you what you need to highlight and/or give attention to. The one instructed will become wise, prudent, skillful, have incite regarding the situations, and be able to discern what to do and when to do it, This wisdom and knowledge is not from the person but is a result of the instruction.

Do you feel like you are flying blind? Have you gotten somewhere and don’t know how to land?

Have you ever put something together and ended up with ‘spare’ parts(scary!)? Or tried to skip some of the instruction steps in a Lego build only to have take it a part and backtrack to where you went off on your own? Do you feel like you are flying blind? Have gotten somewhere and don’t know how to land? Now I know sometimes we try to ‘shortcut’ the directions. But what usually happens is we have parts left over or we reach a point where we need to redo to make the parts fit properly. Either way, we have wasted time and energy. The finished product may not work the best or worse yet, not work at all. I usually end up with frustration, stress, disappointment, anger (lot of negative thoughts!). When someone instructs us it is like reading the directions. If only I had followed the directions. If only I had humbled myself to receive instruction.

“But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.” — Proverbs 21:11 (NASB)

The word ‘wise’ is the same word for ‘instruct’ used in Psalm 32. It is a verb, “sakal”, which means there is ‘action’ required. There is also a link to the person doing the instruction and the one receiving instruction. There has to be a relationship. God knows just how to instruct us, but we need to be willing to be instructed. God is the only one with complete circumspection of our life. Without His instruction we are throwing the jello against the wall. Without God’s instructions we tend to focus in all directions, with no purpose. We lack understanding and knowledge of what is going on in our life and why things are happening to us. All our efforts are in vain. We may feel like our thoughts are overwhelming us to the point we cannot “think clearly’. Without clear instruction, energy is spent to keep the ‘plates spinning’ in our life with no victory in sight. We tend have the same dramas repeated over and over in our life.

“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.”– Psalm 32:3 (NASB)

The result was forgiveness, preservation and
deliverance. God’s living waters of forgiveness
could flow in his life
.

David wrote Psalm 32. It is described as a ‘contemplative happy’ song. However, in the beginning David is not happy. David describes how sin was ‘heavy upon me’. The weight of the sin was draining his ‘vitality’. He describes his body as ‘wasting away’ . It wasn’t just because of sin, but because he ‘kept silent’ (Psalm 32:3) If you keep sin silent and hidden, it will devour you physically, mentally, and emotionally. David describes how blessed and fortunate he was when he did not keep his sin hidden, but acknowledged it to God. (Psalm 32: 5). The result was forgiveness, preservation, and deliverance. God’s living waters of forgiveness could flow in his life. This forgiveness opened the doorway of David’s heart and soul to be instructed by God and the Holy Spirit.

Sin made it so that David could not hear, understand, and obey God’s clear instructions. The relationship was blocked. The same is true of us today. When we have sin that we have not confessed we cannot hear God’s voice clearly. We are numb to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us to Jesus Christ. We cannot hear instructions clearly. We read the Bible and lack understanding.

God sees what we are facing in all directions in our life and He knows what is ahead of us. God created us and knows our talents, strengths and weaknesses. He knows how to instruct us. The Holy Spirit is leading and guiding us to Jesus and His forgiveness. When we confess our sins and ask for the forgiveness that Jesus Christ provided for us through His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, the relationship is fully restored. The sin that was blocking the flow of God’s instructions in our hearts and minds is removed. The relationship between the instructor and the apprentice is restored. Jesus becomes not just our savior, but the Lord of our life. The word of God, the Bible, becomes our blue print, our instructions, that we can understand and receive in our hearts and mind.

Where are you looking for instructions regarding your life? Who is instructing you? Do you have ‘hidden’ sin that is blocking your relationship with Jesus?

Prayer:

Dear Jesus

I acknowledge my sin (___________________) to you. I acknowledge my immoral thoughts and actions. I confess my transgressions. I confess that my heart has rebelled against you and your Word. I ask for forgiveness of my sins. I ask for you to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9). I accept the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross to cleanse me from sin. I desire Lord Jesus to have my relationship with you restored. Holy Spirit please guide me in the instructions of God’s word. Bring to my remembrance all that God’ has instructed. (John 14:26) I pray that my heart and spirit will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit guidance and conviction of anything that is hindering my relationship with Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:5) Amen

But God

But God……..

But God, I want….

But God, do this…

But God, shouldn’t we do…

But God, this is the situation…

But God, why?

When we hear these words or see them written, they are usually followed by a cry of God help! I need_____________. I want________________. As a mom we here similar cries from our children. They usually occur when we tell our kids, “Hey we need to go do such and such”. Or “time to clean your room.” Or “time to do your homework.” Then becomes the all too familiar cries that sound like a crying animal, “BUT MOM!” In desperation they begin to plea their case of what they need and want. The pleas also come up when your child wants to go someplace, with some people, and do something. Mom says no and then hear comes the cries, “BUT MOM!” I recognize that throughout my Christian life, I have had times when I had similar cries to God. But maybe just maybe, I should have not concentrated on my cries, or the part after my plea. Maybe I should be concentrating on “But God.”

What does But God ….. mean?

The word ‘but’ is a conjunction that joins to things. So what are joining with God when we say “But God?”

In the Old Testament the words ‘but God’ was a phrase where the 2 words stood for one meaning. The phrase was usually used to describe times when man or rulers thought they were in control. Jacob was working for Laban. Laban changed Jacob’s wages ‘but God’ kept him from harming Jacob.(Genesis 31:7)

The word for God used here was specifically the name ‘Elohiym.’ Elohiym is first used in Geneses 1:1 “In the beginning, God…” The name ‘Elohiym’ for God includes God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In other words, Jacob had all the power of the trinity working on his behalf in these two small words “But God”.

In the New Testament, God is ‘Theos” the Greek word for Elohiym. The words for ‘but’ change depending on the comparision. “BUT” can show a comparison. It also showed a exponential comparison.

I know that people have written books about telling how their life is different because of God. God intervened and changed their life from one path to another. I can’t imagine what things would be like without God in my life. What if I had not accepted Jesus into my heart and His forgiveness on the cross. Even with this acceptance and forgiveness, as a Christian we still go through struggles. It is usually during these times of struggle that my tone is one like our frustrated children. So maybe it is our tone we should examine when we cry out ” But God”. I usually have a complaining attittude… But God why do I have go do this now. But God why is life so hard. Or maybe you are like me and just say the words with a pleading voice of the frustrated toddler “But God I want this” Or “But God I was good right so let me have this or change that or I promise never to do it again.” So much can be communicated in 2 simple words.

Maybe I should concentrate on the ‘But, God.’ rather than my situation. No more words, no more dots for etc. Just (deep breath) ‘But, God’.(deep breath out) (period). Allow the full impact of who God is to permeate my heart, mind, body, spirit. Allow Him to be God in full power and glory in the situation and in my heart and mind. Recognize that without God, nothing can occur. Recognize that though I face what looks like like an impossible situation, God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in all their power and glory are working in the situation. “But God” is with me, “But God” goes before me, “But God” loves me beyond all understanding. Recognize that when I look at the odds, I need to remember the “But God” factor which trumps all my mental rationalization of the situation.

Why Cheer When You Can Play?

Why cheer when you can play_

My daughter has a choice of being a cheerleader or playing basketball. Her response: “Why cheer when you can play?” Thus began years of watching her play. Sitting in the bleachers with a laminated “Mom’s Guide to Basketball”, I learned to appreciate the game. I saw my daughter grow and mature as she encouraged players one minute and drive down the court for a basket the next. One of my favorite pictures of her is her basketball picture. She looks so athletic as she stands wearing her uniform, hair in a pony tail and basketball in one hand. Then you notice the shoes.  She has lace ruffle socks above those Air Jordan tennis shoes. It symbolized the mixture that is my daughter. Strong and competitive, yet soft and feminine.

The truth is, Jesus made us all a combination.  There will be times when we are  called to play and times when we are called to cheer. To play means that you have to step off the bench, get out on the court, and be ready to pass the ball, or go down the court for a basket. Other times, we are to be on the sidelines, cheering as the players block, and then go for the three point shot. Paul talks of us being surrounded by a ‘great cloud of witnesses,” those that have gone before us, those that have played the game. He talks of encouraging one another, finishing the race strong.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1)

The one that cheers is just as important as the one that plays. Most likely the one cheering the loudest is the one who made sure your were registered to play, dressed for the game, made sure you were practiced up and  focused. That person made sure you had all the necessary things that prepares the player for the “swish” as the ball goes into the basket.  One is not more important than the other. As Christians we are always to be in the game, but there are times when we need to cheer, encourage, support, and assist another to play the game of their life. We are not called to be passive spectators.  It is not a time to watch the game as you watch a game on TV. Watching the game on TV is an easy  click ‘on’ and click ‘off’ with food in between. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good game on TV. But watching on TV does not require an investment on my part. The player cannot hear your words of encouragement, no matter how loud you yell at the TV. Jesus wants us to be servant leaders who come along side, cheer,  and/or if needed be ready to go in and assist. We are called to invest in the game and the players. It means we need to be willing to get out of the comfort zone of passive spectator and move in to the active zone of player or cheerleader.

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve…” (I Peter 5:2, NIV)

The phrase “eager to serve” in the Greek is an adverb which means ” of a ready mind”. It is the only time in the Bible that this particular word is used. To have a ready mind means to be constantly “in the game” whether you are on the court or on the bench. Remember, adverbs describe words.  They tell you to what extinct that we are to perform the action. Whether we are playing or cheering we are to do it wholeheartedly. Jesus wants us to be ready to jump into the game to play or jump off the court to cheer. We are called to be that combination of player and cheerleader, not passive spectator.

Are you willing? Are you ready to play? Are you ready to cheer? Are you ready to do both with a whole heart?

Prayer scriptures

Jesus, I pray that you create within me a shepherds heart. One who actively watches over those around me, one who actively tends to them, protects them, guides and instructs not because I must but because I am willing.  I pray that I continue to have a ‘ready mind’ that eagerly serves those you place in my life. Amen (I Peter 5:2)

 

Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Egg # 2

We live in a world of contracts. Contracts are easily broken, amended, or rewritten to suit our fancy. God, however, is a God of covenants, not contracts. Covenants are binding. Covenants typically involve three things: The shedding of blood, an exchange of items between the parties, sometimes a change of name which signified a change in the relationship.The first thing God did after Adam and Eve sinned and by eating the fruit was to make a covenant or promise that He would bring a savior:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

The word ‘bruise’ denotes a crushing or completely overwhelming. Jesus would completely crush Satan, Praise God. Bruising of Jesus’ heel is a foreshadowing of Jesus bleeding from His feet when nailed to the cross. There was blood shed and items exchanged. God killed the animals and clothed Adam and Eve. Also names were changed, Adam named the woman God had given him, Eve after Fall (Genesis 3:20). There are other covenants between God and man in the Old Testament, the covenant with Noah, Abraham and Moses. Overall, the Bible describes two main covenants, the Old Covenant, which was based on Moses’ laws and the New Covenant, which is based on Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant

tabernacle Legos
Ok, this pic is for all you moms of boys! Don’t you just love it! Holy of Holies replica from Legos! Too cool.

Under the old covenant the priest went once a year into the Holy of Holies portion of the tabernacle and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The priest did this once a year for atonement of sin. The blood came from a lamb that was spotless, and it was sprinkled seven times. It was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus, who was spotless and bled in seven places for our redemption during the Passover week. The blood cover our sins but it did not pierce our hearts.

The New Covenant    

sacrificial_lamb-300x199

 

God wanted to establish a covenant that would be written on our hearts. It would be everlasting, forgive sins and would establish Him as our God and us as His people (Jeremiah 31:30-33) It would be a cleansing  from the inside out, not the outside in. It would cause change at the very core of our being. This would be a covenant that God would establish. It would be instigated by Him. We could not establish the covenant because of the sin. We could not approach God to establish a covenant. It would be a covenant for both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus would once and for all enter the Holy of Holies as the high priest did in the Old Covenant. However, it would not be with blood of goats or lambs, but His own blood. Christ became the negotiator and mediator of the this entirely new covenant agreement.

He went once for all into the Holy of Holies, not by virtue of the blood of goats and claves (by which to make reconciliation between God and Mn), but His own blood having found and secure a complete redemption ( an everlasting release for us).” ( Hebrews 9:12, Amplified)
How to Access this Covenant

There is only one way. We cannot save ourselves, we are not without blemish. We cannot ‘do good works’ in order to put ourselves in right standing with God. We cannot earn God’s approval and love by doing good, being good, and working hard. The only way to bridge the gap and access a covenant relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. Many times we look for the perfect husband, perfect boyfriend, perfect family, perfect parents, perfect kids, perfect job to define who we are and bring our salvation and peace. The only PERFECT savior is Jesus Christ.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God“- Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[fn] The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19,NIV)

With the Fullness of Time…

christmas!

With the Fullness of Time…….

It is getting close to Christmas. My emails are inundated with sales and promotions. The parties have begun in full force. And under all the hustle and bustle I hear on the radio, “A baby changes everything…” I stop and think. As a mom of 3 blessings from heaven, I know how my life has been forever changed by a baby. For Mary, the mother of Jesus, I can only imagine how she felt. It was because of God’s love for us, that Jesus was even born. Mankind had been looking for the coming Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Redeemer. Mankind was waiting.

But when the fullness  of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. Galatians 4:4

I think of the times I waited. I waited for the delivery of my children. Did you feel that you would be pregnant forever? Then the labor pains start and you know that the end is near. That is when us women reach for our super power, that part of us that makes us determined to deliver this baby no matter what. When the baby is delivered, you rejoice and laugh and cry. This is the culmination of the waiting. Or is it? For a baby changes everything.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. Luke 2:40

The phrase ‘waxed strong’ refers to the growing of our spirit. It means to show yourself brave, to empower, to increase in vigor.The birth of Jesus was the beginning of God’s plan for our redemption, not the end. After the birth comes the maturing, the nurturing. This takes time, patience, and being purposeful. You may not be birthing a baby, but maybe birthing a dream or a goal. The waiting is agonizing. When will it arrive? When is the ‘due season’? When it does, then get ready to roll your sleeves up and press in to God. The dream cannot grow and mature without loving nurture and purposeful attention. That takes time, patience, steadfastness. It takes the Holy Spirit leading you and guiding you. Just like people, dreams were not meant to stay a baby.

A Baby Changes Everything