Christian Living

A Supernatural God

Good news: we baked our MacBook’s logic board in a toaster oven and it fixed the problem šŸ™‚ I love saying that. It’s true though. The graphics card was the problem and baking it fixed the issue–at least for now. Thank you everyone who prayed!! So I’m back on my computer and I’m so, so, so thankful to be able to write like a normal person! I missed working on my novel all those days of computerlessness.

I love how something that sounds insane was actually the fix. Supposedly, baking the graphics card (which is attached to the logic board) causes the solder to melt and re-solidifies the needed connections.

Life’s like that sometimes, isn’t it? God calls us to do something that sounds insane to outsiders–like tithe or take time for a quiet time even with things being ridiculously busy. Recently, Exodus 14:15-18 has come up in my quiet time. If you’re not familiar with the section, it’s just after the ten plagues cause Pharaoh to let the Israelites go–and then he changes his mind. Moses and the Israelites are standing in front of the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his army bearing down on them. God says to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.Ā Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground” (NIV).

I have to admit, I cracked up over God’s response. Here Moses is actually crying out to God rather than trying to do something on his own and God says, “Why are you crying out to me?” Does anyone else think that Moses responded with something like “Duh!”?

God tells Moses to stick his staff out over the waters to divide them. Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but this wouldn’t be a normal person’s first thought. I mean, I could see why it could have been Moses’ since God had been manifesting Himself through Moses’ staff. But when you hear the instructions, is there a moment of “say what?”?

I had one of those moment’s when I read that it was possible to fix my computer by Ā baking it in the oven.

But that’s what God does. He calls us to do things that aren’t natural. Not because they make sense, but because God is God over the natural–He can do more than what’s natural. I think I told you guys I’m working through Jennifer Dean’s study on prayer. That’s where this passage came up. I was really convicted that I don’t often enough ask God to do the supernatural. I’m like Moses, standing by the banks of the Red Sea, staff in hand, crying out to God because I don’t see any way a situation can work out. I limit God to what’s natural.

Our God is supernatural. He does what He wants. Like the disciples said, “even the winds and the waves obey him” (Matt. 8:27 NIV).

There are things in my life that seem huge–insurmountable… as insurmountable as the Israelites’ situation with Pharaoh’s army on one side and the Red Sea on the other. God is fully up to the task of doing something amazing. And, if you have huge things in your life (which I’m sure you do), God’s just as capable of taking care of them too. We just have to stop freaking out, listen for God’s response, and then obey. Like Moses did.

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Christian Living

Why You’re Too Busy to Skip Your Quiet Time

As I’ve mentioned, I’m working my way through Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study on the Sabbath calledĀ Breathe.Ā And I’m really enjoying it–she’s got a LOT packed into the four weeks of homework!

In week three, she has this great phrase: “Take care of God’s business. Let Him take care of yours.” The section is on the Israelites in Exodus 16 and how when God instituted the Sabbath they were out in the desert and had been commanded to gather manna. It’s pretty amazing! God tells them to gather 1 omer per person per day and when they go out to gather, they find that no matter how much or how little they gathered, it still ends up to an omer per person in their household. Makes you wonder if the Israelites were all scratching their heads come time to measureĀ the manna.

The other neat thing about this passage is that the Israelites are commanded to gather a double portion the day before the Sabbath. Priscilla argues that the people spent the same amount of time gathering as they did any other day and it just ended up being twice as much. I’m not familiar enough with the passage to agree or disagree, but I do believe that God gives us enough time to accomplish the things He’s called us to do and that He can definitely double our effectiveness.

Anyway! So in this section, she talks about how when we honor God with a Sabbath, He makes sure everything else works out okay time-wise. You see this principle in Matt. 6:33 where Jesus says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (NASB) The idea being that we focus on God and He takes care of our needs.

This is definitely something I’ve seen happen in my own life, particularly with my morningĀ quiet time. Before I had children, I had a very inconsistent quiet time. After my first daughter was born, I was overwhelmed–there never seemed to be enough time in the day. A Bible study I was doing challenged me to start having a daily quiet time and see what God would do. To my shock, I discovered that the days when I did have a quiet time would go so much smoother. I’d get more done. I’d be less stressed about it. I remember one particularly crazy day when we had to get up early to leave for a trip and I told my husband that I had way too many things to do that day to skip my quiet time. šŸ™‚

The reality is we’re all too busy–it’s part of American culture. We’re too busy. And I hear that excuse so often when people explain to me why they don’t actually have a regular quiet time. But I’m here to tell you that when you give God the first part of your day, He works out everything else. Do your quiet time and you won’t be too busy to have a quiet time because God will fill in the gaps with your house, your kids, your job, etc., etc.

The reality of our situation is that we’re all too busy to skip our quiet times.

Christian Living

Rushing through the Holidays

Raise your hand if you feel like the holidays are some sort of bizarre mad dash where the finish line is a date instead of a place. Yeah, me too. This time of year is so busy! I’ve had a few conversations with folks lately about why the heck we put so much pressure on ourselves to check off some kind of list of activities thatĀ haveĀ to happen before Christmas. Buy the perfect gifts, make the perfect meal, bake the right amount of perfect cookies, send Christmas letters/cards, put up a tree, go caroling, etc., etc., etc. Lots of things on the checklist.

I’ve been thinking a lot about being busy this year–not because I’m so superly awesome at handling busy-ness and having margin in my life and resting. No, it’s because I’m superly not-awesome at being busy. I get stressed and demanding and I forget to take breaks. I’m not a fun person to be around when I’m too busy.

This week I was reading a story that’s pretty familiar to me but it hit me in a new way. Here goes: Jesus shows up at your house. He’s actually physically there, hanging out on your living room couch, and He decides, while He’s there, to talk about the Bible. So you have the author of the Bible actually explaining what He meant. With me so far? Do you A) sit down as close as you can get and ask questions? or B) go bake some awesome cookies to share?

I chuckled as I wrote those choices because I cannot imagine NOT sitting down and getting the scoop on how God designed things to work. On how I’m supposed to work. It’s Jesus! There are hundreds of questions I’m dying to ask Him: What was it like becoming human? How did He fully surrender His life to the Holy Spirit? Does He remember being born? Or being in utero? What’s His relationship with His human parents like? Why the heck did He allow various things to happen in the world and in my life? To name a few.

Anywho, I was re-reading Luke 10:38-42 and it hit me that that’s what Martha was doing. Jesus comes to Lazarus, Martha, and Mary’s house and Martha freaks out because she’s so overwhelmed with her to-do list and Mary isn’t helping. She goes to Jesus about it but Jesus tells her that Mary had chosen the good and it won’t be taken away from her.

As I read, I was reminded of the Israelites during the Exodus: reading how visibly present God was (pillar of fire/cloud) and how many miracles He did for them, I’m always amazed at how little faith they had. And then it hits me how little faith I have. God’s still the same God today as He was when He provided manna in the desert for forty years and yet I’m worried about how to pay our car repair bills.

Looking at Martha, I was reminded how easy it is for me to tell God that I am too busy to do my quiet time, that I’m too busy to pray, that I’m too busy to stop and sit in His presence and just bask in being His child. If Jesus was physically here, I’d put my whole life on hold to spend time with Him. Yet when I’m given the opportunity to study His Word and hear His voice through His Word, I skimp on my time or rush because I have so many other things to get done afterward.

The holidays are busy. I’m not trying to say we should deny the reality of the situation. Schedules and to-do lists get nuts. But we have the opportunity to be with Jesus, to spend time with the God of the universe and to hear His words. Let’s not forget that even when life is at it’s busiest.

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Surrendering the Good

So, how’s everyone’s week been? Par usual, mine has been busy. Sadly, that seems to be the norm lately. It’s not bad–in fact, I’ve been really thankful for how things have been going. I think I’ve told y’all that I’m in the middle of readingĀ The Sacred SixĀ by J.B. Glossing and I’ve been applying some of those principles. It’s amazing how productive I can be when I just have six things on my to do list at a time.

As I’ve said before, I’m working my way through the companion study my husband and I wrote that goes with my new bookĀ To Push on the RockĀ (hopefully getting published some time this year!) as a way to just see how it works on a practical level. One of the things I’m doing is reading through the verses in the footnotes. I came across this verse last week: Exodus 8:15Ā But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said (NIV).

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the story of Moses and the plagues. This verse fits in after the frogs and before the gnats. The same scenario is repeated over and over throughout the plague chapters–Pharaoh refuses to let the Israelites go, God sends a plague, Pharaoh relents, God relents, Pharaoh refuses to obey. I’ve heard and read the story dozens of times. The thing that hit me this time was that Pharaoh doesn’t obey when things are good.

I don’t know about you, but I have less trouble relying on God when things are going badly. There’s no chance that I can manage the situation on my own. I’m far less prone to ask God for empowerment in the middle of something that’s going well. But that’s not how life with Jesus is supposed to work. We’re supposed to live by the Spirit when things are going badly and when they’re going well (Gal. 5:16-24). It’s just as vital for us to be trusting, surrendered, centered, connected to God, and engaged with all of ourself and what’s going on around us when things are going well.

I have a friend who was recently talking about how if we gave God our best, we could do/live incredible things. GodĀ does incredible things with our falling apart, worst moments, but how awesome would it be to see what He does with our best? What could we accomplish when we’re surrendered and living out of the essence of who we are when thing aren’t falling apart?

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Legacies

My grandfather passed away almost two weeks ago. It’s been difficult, harder than I expected. He was 93, so it wasn’t a huge shock. And yet, I can’t seem to wrap my mind around it. Both my grandparents gone. The ones who nurtured me in ways I can’t even explain. They supported me in my chosen college and chosen major, even though it’s definitely not a money maker. My grandfather taught college Spanish and journalism–my love of teaching and my love of writing are not at all out of place. So much of who I am is a result of who they were.

Death has a way of making you think about legacies, both the legacies the dead person left you and the legacies you’ll be leaving behind. So many of the changes I’ve made have been because I want to pass along something different to my children. I don’t want them to end up with the same emotional, spiritual, or physical issues. I figure I can pass along what I’ve received or I can give them different psychoses.

Lately our bedtime reading has been out of Exodus. It’s always amazing/terrifying to me the things that Israel got to witness. God even says that the plagues are supposed to be faith building to them:

Exodus 10:1-2 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among themĀ that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD” (NIV).

And yet, even after seeing these miraculous signs and watching God make a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites, this is the generation “whose bodies fell in the desert” and who was unable to enter the land because of “unbelief” (Hebrews 3:15-19 NIV). They left a legacy of unbelief. They didn’t even circumcise their children (Joshua 5:2-9) or celebrate Passover (Joshua 5:10-11). They didn’t live like people who belonged to Yahweh. And that’s the legacy they left their children.

Thankfully, God can always change our family tree–He can raise up godly children out of an ungodly heritage. Even so, I want to be intentional about leaving a godly legacy. God, change me to be the mother You want for my children. Show me what kind of legacy I’m leaving now, and help me to live in the light of my descendants, rather than being entirely focused on myself. Circumcise my heart and the hearts of all my descendants to love You with everything we are. Thank You for changing me the ways You already have! In Jesus’ Name, amen.