Have you ever had seasons in your life where you feel very overwhelmed? Sometimes we go through times where it seems like everything is broken & sometimes we go through seasons that just have lots of demands. Last week, I had one of those weeks – it was the kids last week of school, I had a couple of sermons to prepare, some work deadlines and a few other spinning plates. I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant on full open
Thankfully, this week has a little more breathing room. Regardless of the demands & pressures on our lives, it always helps me to remember that God is in charge & that I don’t have to be an “expert” on water pressure, time management, resource allocation, solution provision, energy distribution, etc. While I may have a few talents & skills, God is an expert at everything – most of all, God is an expert at loving us & helping us in our daily living, with or without fire hydrants ,)
I read this morning about how Saul and his friend went looking for his father’s donkeys (jackasses if you prefer a more earthy vernacular). Saul was looking for jackasses, but Samuel was watching for Israel’s next king, pre-selected by God.
Sometimes it’s easy to get earthbound with all of our responsibilities, concerns, challenges, etc. When you consider the contrast between Saul & Samuel in 1 Samuel 9, it’s an interesting study in viewpoints, priorities and the different ways that God directs our steps. Personally, I want to be more like Samuel than Saul. I prefer to be led by God based on a deep & intimate relationship with God rather than like Saul who stumbled into God’s will on the earthbound search for his dad’s jackasses ,)
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the various needs in my life. Sometimes I just think about them, but sometimes I get discouraged, sometimes I get frustrated and sometimes I get excited about them because I know that God has something good for me in these various needs. We all have needs – be that finances, emotional things, health, relationship areas, energy, wisdom, humility, etc. I think that part of being human means that we are designed to have needs.
Here’s what I feel like God has been speaking to me about on the topic of the various needs in our lives: needs are nothing more than God’s invitation to take a journey with Him to explore His provisions in all their different facets. I’ve been thinking about this in relation to Abraham in Gen 22, when God told him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Abraham took a multi-day journey in obedience to God’s direction, regardless of whether he understood God’s directive or not. Furthermore, he had confidence in God’s ability, provision & direction, as we can see in how he replied to Isaac’s question about the sacrifice (God will provide a sacrifice). Here are a few quick take aways that God is showing me from this chapter:
deficiency is often God’s test to show us what’s in our hearts – Gen 22:1
the journey to God’s provision requires our obedience – sometimes we have to get moving even if we dread where it seems like we might be going
keeping our eyes on God will help us to keep moving regardless of how we feel
God’s provisions are uniquely timed to meet the exact time of our need & often not before, even though this can make us super jittery
I’ve had an interesting recent 48 hours. Sunday evening, I was doing our family grocery shopping & I was chatting with God about something that was really bothering me. At the end of our chat, I basically asked Him to either help me accept this challenging situation & make adjustments or to change the situation. Within 24 hours, I found myself in a conversation that was immediately addressing the situation that God & I had just discussed. Needless to say, I’m thanking God for His speedy work!
Furthermore, this morning I was looking for a file on my computer & became frantic when I couldn’t find it because there were other people who are relying on this document! So over the course of lunchtime, I shot up another quick prayer asking God to help me find this file & voila – I found it!
While these things may seem small to you, for me they’re indicative of God who listens & is engaged in my daily living. What I like most about prayer is that its the place where I get to wholly be with God – where I eliminate distractions, tune into His presence & interact. I love sensing God’s presence, voice, direction, etc. Prayer is also a fun adventure to see the different ways that God answers our requests & needs.
We’ve been on a family vacation this week & its been really refreshing. Since we live in Denver, its very convenient to pop up to the mountains & go skiing / snowboarding as a family – a really nice interruption to the normal routine. As I’ve been up here, I’ve been talking w God about some different frustrations, seeking Him about direction & absorbing, w His help, some of His grandeur in this spectacular scenery. During one of my morning times w God, I read this verse that has SUPER encouraged me & I think it might just encourage you as well:
1 Cor 2:9-10, eye has not see nor ear heard nor has it entered into the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
So, keep your eyes & ears open, keep your heart tender & stay in love w God. He will show you things to come that you could never dream of on your own! 🙂
Temptation can be such an enchanting topic – we relish the allure of chocolate, ice cream, exercise endorphins, someone uber-cute of the opposite sex, a cool pair of jeans or shoes that are WAY out of the budget, an addiction we’re trying to break, . . . . . choose your pleasure. And Jesus teaches us that when we pray, we should ask our heavenly Father to lead us not into temptation.
In an earlier blog, I asked why Jesus would teach us to make this request considering that He, was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Furthermore, there’s lots of New Testament verses that tell us that tests & temptations (generally the same word in the Greek) are good for us with the strength & character they build. So given these thoughts, why does Jesus teach us to make this request of our Heavenly Father?
Here’s my sense on this conundrum (nice word, eh?): I think we miss the main point of what Jesus is saying when we get hung up on the temptation topic. I think Jesus’ main point was that by teaching us to pray that God leads us, He implies that we will follow God & that He will direct our lives. To me, Jesus’ primary objective for this request is for us ask God for His direction & guidance in our lives.
Fundamentally, each of us need for our heavenly Father to lead us each day. After acknowledging this need, then let us add that we’d prefer to avoid temptation – but if God should direct our paths in any given day past temptation, then let me encourage you to look to Him for the exit ramp from the temptation (1 Cor 10:13). But let us daily request our Father’s direction – we desperately need it.
Dearest friends, I’m asking for your help again – sorry to be “needy”. Two things:
can anyone tell me if I can allow someone to put a picture in a comment? If so, how do I do this?
TWO: This one is tricky. I’m working on the part in the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus teaches us to ask the Father to lead us not into temptation. How do you deal with this in relation to Matt 4:1, where it says that Jesus was led by the HS into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Furthermore, in James 1:13, it says that God doesn’t tempt anyone. So what do you think Jesus means in the Lord’s Prayer when you consider James 1:13 & Matt 4:1? Any help, insights, thoughts would be more than appreciated!!!!!