Whatever

I remember using the word, “whatever”, in the midst of an argument with my brother. We youngsters at that time, had this motion with our fingers to add emphasis to our “whatever” arguments. The motions stood for “capitalized, italicized, and underlined” which we used to prove our point.

Lately, I’m turning “whatever” into a prayer rather than use as evidence to prove a point. My “whatever” expresses an openness to whatever God wants to send my way. Whatever gift, wrapped in whatever package.

Not that I still don’t list out my requests. No, I think our Heavenly Father encourages us to be honest about our desires, but to ask with humility, understanding that what we think we want or need might not align with His will, because our ways are not His ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts. Sometimes our desires align more with our flesh or sinful nature than it does God’s will.

We have a choice in our stance.

Loosely

Loosely (Photo credit: – luz -)

As I posted earlier here, we can stand with our fists clenched, demanding our way or we can stand palms up, open to receive whatever God wants to give. A quote I read from C.S. Lewis more eloquently states, “St. Augustine says, ‘God only gives where He finds empty hands.’ A man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift.” I will add to that quote by saying a man whose fingers are clenched shut is full of himself and can’t receive from God.

Isn’t that what we are when we demand our own way? Full of ourselves.

We live in a society where we are all demanding our rights. We must be careful of this sort of stance before God. Standing in demand puts us in a position saying God owes us something when the truth is He doesn’t owe us anything. He is not the debtor. We are.

We stand in need of emptying our hands.

I stand in need.

Frustration clenches my fists when what I want does not happen. Then I sulk for days until I unclench my fists and surrender myself to vulnerability, revealing my empty palms.

Yes, I went through this recently. Just call me Miss Stubborn Pants.

My Father waited patiently for me to relent. Once I did, He overcame me with peace and assurance that what He wants to give me is all good. And then a funny thing happened after I let go of my own way. Joy poured into my hands like water from a water pump. I cupped my hands and drew the water to my lips to drink in the refreshing goodness of God.

“Then Jesus called the crowd to him, along with his followers. He said, ‘If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing to even give up their lives to follow me.” Mark 8:35

KJV uses the words, “deny himself”. The Amplified Version expounds the phrase to “forget, ignore, disown, lose sight of himself and his own self interests”.

Psalm 48:9 O God, we meditate on your unfailin...

Psalm 48:9 O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple. (Photo credit: natil0ve)

Remember the rich young ruler? You can find him a few chapters ahead in Mark 10:21-22. Why would a rich young man walk away from Jesus sad? Because he didn’t want to empty his hands.

Let’s let go of our rights to our own self-interests. Lose sight of ourselves. Let’s live with our hands empty so we may receive whatever.

“Lord, whatever you want to give me, I stand with my hands empty, ready to receive. Whatever, Lord. Whatever.”

 

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Riding the BIG waves with Papa God

If you need a reminder that God has called you out into the BIG waves, here is some encouragement! The picture and video express a great illustration of our Papa God who is with us in the waves, teaching us how to ride the big ones.

In My Father's House

fatherlittlesonsurfingWe were made for adventure. But, as believers, fear can keep us bound in a predictable life of limitations and insecurities. But Papa God’s love casts out our orphan fear and He takes us places and doing things we’ve only dreamed of before.

I’ve included a video clip here because it made me think of this picture Mark Hendrickson posted on his blog here. You should check out what he has to say there.

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Clenched Fists

Clenched human fist

Clenched human fist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A clenched fist demands its own way which is why it can not receive from God. An open hand is humble and vulnerable, willing to receive whatever God places in its palm. (www.createdbythepotter.wordpress.com)

Saying “I Do” Before You Do

Dating. What is dating?

English: Created by Phil Scoville on June 25, ...

English: Created by Phil Scoville on June 25, 2005 Downloaded from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philscoville/21528732/ This picture is free to share and remix with proper attribution under the following license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it a sort of pretrial run at marriage? Guy and girl date to see if they fit together well enough to make a life long commitment?

The scenario I practiced and see others practice is about the same. It’s the same practice even in the Christian culture. This is the scenario: Guy meets girl. Guy and girl date. Guy and girl are inseparable for a long period of time doing everything together including co-signing a loan for a car, putting both names on title. It’s almost like they’re married only they don’t live together. They make important decisions together, consulting one another to be sure the decision is ok with the other partner.

Now, I’m just spit-ballin’ here, so correct me if my view is wrong, but why have we turned dating into another level of commitment like marriage?

Is dating really just another level of commitment that is a step below marriage? Or is it an interview to see if the person is really the right fit for God’s plan in your life?

I rarely talk about dating on here and it’s mostly because I’ve read so many books on dating. Yes, ad nauseam! Hence, my gag reflux at the topic of dating. Not that the concept is bad, I’d just rather be talking about other things.

Going through some tough dating relationships that ended badly, I turned to books for some wiser, more seasoned advise to figure out what I was doing wrong. I’ve read them all from “I Kissed Dating Good-Bye” to “Boundaries In Dating“. (For the record, I did kiss dating good-bye for awhile and then I had a reintroduction. 🙂 ) I’ve read many books just on singleness. I recently counted my collection of dating/single/marriage books and they total up to 41. You can understand my aversion now to the topic of dating.

I used to want to date the way I described in the scenario above. I got the idea from everyone around me. This is the way we date in America. This is how we roll in the dating scene. You meet someone and then that person becomes your life. Maybe you’ll get married. Maybe you won’t. You don’t have to figure that part out right away. Just have fun and be attached at the hip for awhile.

Then after a few relationships ended and I was left with broken pieces of a shattered heart once again, God showed me something. I gave my heart away way too soon. The guy didn’t make a commitment to be the keeper of my heart. I just gave it away hoping he’d catch it and keep it.

In a sense, I said “I do” to whatever guy I was dating before I actually got to the altar. How much sense does that make?

I said, “Here’s my heart, Mr. Maybe. Please catch it and take care of it always.”

Mr. Maybe said, “We’ll see. Maybe.”

I’ve seen ladies in my life date a guy for a few years and pretty much fulfilled all the duties of a wife except for the physical part. Clean guy’s apartment. Do his laundry. Run his errands for his business. Co-sign a loan for a car. Submit to his leadership, doing whatever he said. The ladies tried so hard to make the relationship work. They tried so hard to make it survive.

Until it didn’t.

Broken heart symbol

Broken heart symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And on the ground were left broken pieces of a heart and the ashes of a life wasted.

Ladies and gentlemen, dating and marriage are not the same thing. I think we need to define dating as a stage in a relationship where two people are getting to know each other to figure out if the other fits into God’s plan for their life. Which means, the dating relationship does not need to succeed. It’s not a commitment. It’s a pseudo-commitment, not a real commitment like marriage.

Marriage is the commitment stage of a relationship, a lifelong commitment, which means everything that can be done to keep that commitment should be done. Everything that can be done to save the marriage should be done.

God made a commitment to us written in the blood of Christ and then He asked for our hearts. God never asked us to give all of ourselves to Him before He made a commitment and I don’t think He wants us giving our whole hearts to another before they make a commitment to us.  He wants us to guard our hearts and only give it to those who are willing to commit to keeping it for the long haul.

Save the “I Do” for marriage. Recognize the dating stage of your relationship is a way to seek God for the best fit for His plan for your life. Doing so I think will save you some time and heartache and you will have a whole heart ready to be given away once you do reach that altar.

English: Broken heart sewn back together

English: Broken heart sewn back together (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Not About the Results

A more accurate definition of evangelism is needed in Christendom. We often think it has to do with results. What if it has more to do with speaking and teaching the Gospel with an aim to persuade people to the Truth rather than convert?

Already Not Yet

golden-wheat-field

From Aaron Armstrong’s review of Mack Stiles’ Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus:

If there’s one thing Stiles wants you to understand, it’s this: evangelism is not about programs or events. It’s not a technique or a specific kind of response. Many of our problems creating a healthy culture of evangelism stem from a lack of a biblical foundation. We count declarations of faith, hands raised, cards put in a bag, people walking down aisles—but do these things really mean anything? Maybe, but maybe not.

Regardless, if we’re going to see a culture of evangelism take root, “we must be very careful to conform our evangelistic practices to the Bible, because this honors God” (24). So, Stiles, general secretary for the Fellowship of Christian UAE Students in the United Arab Emirates and author of several evangelism books, begins by defining his terms—specifically, what evangelism means.

“Evangelism is teaching…

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The waterfall, river and reservoir of God’s grace

Great post on God’s grace. We often think of grace mostly as God’s favor to do good to us by giving us good things though we don’t deserve it, but there is more to it than that. Grace is also His enabling power in us to live out His purposes for us.

sevennotesofgrace

solid-joy-appI have been really enjoying a smart phone app called “Solid Joys” which comes from the pen of John Piper. Each daily devotion takes about a minute to read, and a few more minutes to contemplate. (You can look it up here if you would like to read online, or check your phone’s app store.) This one is on the theme of grace and how it relates to our past, present and future. Grace is not just about God doing good to us, but also in us. I hope you will find it as encouraging as I did.

The Different Tenses of Grace

We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and…

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