Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Women's Study, audio recording: Mary

Every Saturday I'll be posting up the most recent study on women in the Bible from our weekly Women's Breakfast held at the Succeed in Life Center on Houston's Southwest Freeway.  This week we started off with Mary, and we'll continue on for the weeks to come with studies of women from both the Old and New Testaments.  Ladies of Houston and San Antonio, thanks for coming!  There's more inspiration and fun to come  (not to mention the coffee and bagels!!)

Below is the link to the audio recording.  Enjoy!

Women's Breakfast, July 20: Mary

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Come on God, that's not what I would do!

“That’s so unfair!” I thought to myself as my 6th grade Sunday-school teacher taught us the long version of the story of God’s people who had suffered 400 years in slavery, and were only rescued after they cried out loudly.  Not only that, but their rescue came in the form of Moses who didn’t even want to go in the first place, who had to spend days and days arguing back and forth with Pharaoh and smiting the land with 10 plagues.  Then, they had to march for miles only to go through the trauma of being trapped between the Red Sea and a furiously advancing Egyptian army.  As if they had to march on and on through the desert, and of course they got impatient when Moses disappeared up Mt. Sinai for 40 days, wouldn’t you?  They shouldn’t have made that golden calf to worship, but did God really have to get so mad?

They finally they get to the promised land after all that walking and you’d think that God would be a little bit merciful and just hand it over with all the milk and honey flowing freely.  But no, they get to the Jordan River, and all these other nations are just having a good ol’ time in THEIR promised land, and after ALL those poor Israelites have been through! And then God expects them to fight?   Come on…

I would have fit in perfectly with all the grumblers and complainers among the Hebrew slaves.  “If I was God…” so went my childish imaginations, “I would just scoop them all up and carefully plop them down in the promised land with lots of rich farmland and all the things they would need.”  Those poor, poor, suffering Hebrew slaves.

But isn’t this childish thinking the way that we often view God?  The idea that the the whole ordeal of the Exodus was actually good for His people, is something we don’t like to think about when we’re going through our own Exodus.  We want pity, we want hand-outs, and we want it now.  But God is not a God of pity, but a God of compassion.

We’ve been talking lately in church about God as our Father, that there are some very distinctly male characteristics about God that we need to recognize.

  • He teaches us through experience, and lets us get a little scraped up by some hard knocks.
  • He always believes in us and is rooting for us to win
  • Though He knows we can feel like we’re in a scary place, He always encircles us with His protection, whether we feel it or not.
  • Getting the “big blessing” at the end of the trial, is not as important as the lesson of trust we learn in the process. 
  • He knows that once we get the “big blessing,” we’ll have much more maturity, humility and gratitude towards Him so that the blessing will be enjoyed and treasured far more than if it had been just handed to us
  • God never puts us through a test and then forgets about us when it’s over.  We are always guaranteed the reward He chooses specifically for us.
  • God doesn’t reward whiners
  • God doesn’t answer out of pity
  • God answers when faith and trust are acted out
  • If we fail, we always have the chance to try again, and again, and again

God’s rewards are HUGE compared to the little we are able to give
If we go all the way with Him, He goes all the way with us

Thank goodness we have a much wiser God than our selfish, limited little minds imagine.  For people who believe in free hand-outs and demand pity, God seems cold and uncaring.  But for those who are willing to learn and be led, to humble themselves, trust, and obey, He is the most generous and loving Father beyond our wildest dreams.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:17-21

*** On a side note, I have noticed how our society enjoys degrading men in the media, making them look like buffoons and mindless animals.  Interesting how there seems to be a trend to distance people from understanding the value of male character qualities and mindsets, which is very much a part of who God is.  The more we want a "mommy" God, the less we'll understand our Father God.  Take a look at this link here, sent to me by a friend, to see some of what I'm referring to.