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Posts Tagged ‘belief’


View from an ancient prison

Image by Natasha Lloyd via Flickr

Sometimes you just need to believe God.

We’ve all been there, hit that wall where it looks like nothing will ever come around to what it seems like God has said it will be.

I’m thinking of Moses. He, a prince of Egypt, ended up tending sheep in Midian for what must have seemed like forever to him. From Egypt, the super power of the ancient world, to the backside of nowhere in what must have seemed like a split second. Then staying on the backside of nowhere for over 40 years.

And, basically what was he doing? Waiting, learning and maybe even sometimes trying to believe this God of his people.

Just like Joseph in prison. Joseph who despite some youthful arrogance, that we all can claim quite frankly, did everything right, and still found himself in prison after he had been promised in his dreams that would be a leader.

Even though Joseph was in prison, taking care of the other prisoners and rising to prominence within the prison system, it must have seemed like he was on the backside of nowhere.

And, like Moses, basically what was he doing? Waiting, learning and sometimes even trying to believe this God who had sent him dreams.

Sometimes there is a close relationship between being put on the backside of nowhere, learning skills that seem meaningless at the time, and trying to still believe God. The wall of unbelief is sometimes so high, so wide and so long, that there is no way we can see our way around it, and I’m sure that both Moses and Joseph felt the same way.

The funny thing is that in their waiting they received the training that they needed to do what God wanted them to do. Moses, a shepard, had to lead God’s people out of Egypt and then take care of them for 40 years in the wilderness, while Joseph learned administrative skills both in Potiphers house and in prison that would help him to take the reins as overseer in Egypt.

These are the more obvious things they learned that played directly into God’s plans for them all along, but the less obvious lesson was that God was bigger than their doubts, their fears and, yes, their unbelief when everything looked dark and despair must have certainly set in.

They learned that although their unbelief must have seemed insurmountable, that didn’t have any affect on the God they served and His faithfulness.

Sometimes it is in our Midian’s when we find ourselves on the backside of nowhere,  that we learn who He truly is.

“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!””

Mark 9:24

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I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)

Image via Wikipedia

We toss around the word love so much in the western world. We use it to describe so much of our everyday lives.  We love chocolate, so we have to have it. We love football, so we have to watch it.  We love children, so we have to have more of them.We love God, so we have to have more of Him (really?).

But, what is this love that we base a lot of our decisions on? Is it just a feeling that can fly away as quickly as it came; a combination of hormones, chemical and electrical impulses that drive us toward the object of our affection ( no matter how changeable that object can be); or is it something more permanent?

Being a background dweller who has for many years been in the writing field where observational skills are everything, I’ve always had a great opportunity to see people, hear what they say and see whether or not what they say is actually reflected in their lives.

In most instances whether it be in the world of politics, business or the arena of the personal, the two don’t actually line up.

In the church, if you asked most people who or what they love the most, generally they will hesitate, a little wide-eyed at such a forward question,  before giving the pat answer of, ‘God.’ The answers get even more pat when you ask them what they think of Him, which says a whole lot about how much they know about this person they claim to love.

One of the brutal realities of life is that most people don’t live out what they say they believe. And, I’m certainly not excluding myself from this assessment. For all of us, what we know in our hearts, what we actually believe, at some point must start to play itself out in our attitudes, our behaviors and our decisions.

I think Del Tackett the maker of the Truth Project said it best when he said, “Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?”

Do we really believe that what we believe is really real? If we really believed that God loved us so much that He came down in bodily form and paid the price so that we could have a relationship with Him. If we really believed that that type of extreme love was really real and not the fickle, changeable type of love that we all seem to experience in our world, then I’m sure our lives would reflect the reality of that love.

When you love someone with the solid reality of the love that only God can give, there should be nothing we wouldn’t do for Him, nothing we wouldn’t give up for Him, nothing we wouldn’t hand over to Him. There should not be a day that goes by that we don’t want to share with Him.

“Hear O Israel, the Lord your God the Lord is one, Love the Lord you God with all you heart, with all your mind and with all your soul,”

Deuteronomy 6:4

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Across to the Promised Land

Image by Gauis Caecilius via Flickr

Promises. We’ve all made them, kept them, broken them, along with having had them made to us, with some of them kept and some of them broken.

But, what about the promises of God? He makes some huge promises in His word, “I will never leave you or forsake you”, “I Am” and “I will go before you” are just a smattering of them. His promises are interesting in that they are begun and completed by Him, yet some of them seem to include some sort of step by us  to make them a reality.

I am reminded of the Israelites in the desert after God orchestrated their release from Egypt. He took them the long way to the Promised Land, possibly because they were slaves, not experience fighters, and they would have been slaughtered by the people’s that populated the short way. All the while He was taking care of them in ways they didn’t quite realize, yet when they got to the Promised Land they had to do something. Take it.

Instead of taking it, they sent in spies and all but two of them came back with tales of huge men who would obliterate the Israelites if they even tried to take the land. They balked at the idea of taking the land and instead of believing who God had shown them He was and what He had told them, they thought the predicament they found themselves in was too big, too scary, too impossible.

They seemed to want the same thing we want today in regards to things that God has promised us, they wanted Him to just give it to them with no fuss, no fight, no conflict, no impossibility, no fear. They wanted to be given their Promised Land in such a way that they didn’t need to wholeheartedly believe in, and rely on, God to get it.

So, all of them but two were barred from entering the Promised Land for a whole generation. Forty years, they wandered around the desert with God providing for them, showing them the way, building their faith, until the time when the people were ready to take the land that he had promised Abraham all those years ago.

Yet, a funny thing happened when they were wandering in the desert. The people multiplied. They toughened up. They got stronger. Is it no wonder that when Joshua sent the spies into Jericho that Rahab said, ‘we have heard of you and your God and the people that occupy the land are terrified of you’?

Even so the people had to still trust God, believe that what He said was true and make the move to take the land. The basic’s were the same, trust God in the impossible, have faith that He will do what He has said, then move. It didn’t matter if it was 40 years earlier or at the time of Joshua,  the people had to have enough faith in Him and who He was, and is, to start to move in the direction of their Promised Land.

And, it’s kind of the same with us today. God may have promised you something that looks wholeheartedly impossible, but you need to believe that what He has said is true and have enough faith in Him and who He is to move towards that promise.

“Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance…. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:6 & 9

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I am not a huge fan of snakes. Not because of the whole Garden of Eden thing, but pretty much because anything that slithers around quickly, sticks out its tongue and hisses is more than just a little creepy.

In most parts of the world, snakes are a general part of life. But, be that as it may, I would guess that most of us who live with snakes, or the possibility of snakes, don’t like to think about the proximity of the creature that’s not winning any award for most popular animal.

And who does like to think about them? If we were worrying about running into one snake, or another, we’d be constantly looking at the ground before we take a step, or up in the trees if that’s where the snakes in your neighborhood tend to hang out.

But, looking at the ground for snakes, or one snake in particular, is exactly what I’ve been doing recently.

Not too long ago, my son and I were leaving for work early one morning. As I was walking towards my truck, I happened to look down into a little rock garden in my yard when I saw this foot and a half long neck decorated with neutral colors of black, tan and brown in patterns  topped off by a head with black beady eyes that was looking into another part of the yard.

Seeing the snakes profile and also seeing that it didn’t sense me at all, I started to back up. All the while I kept my eyes on it to see if it was going to move and also try to figure out where the rest of its body was.

My son came out behind me, and, I immediately told him to slow down because there was a snake in the rock garden. Because it has been drilled into his head that there are a lot of rattlers in our area, he too began to back up towards the house.

“How are we going to get to the truck?” I heard him ask behind me just as I saw how big the snake was.

It’s body was curled in amongst the rocks, wound loosely around them in an area of about three feet, which translated means it was really big. And it still hadn’t noticed us.

“We’re going to go around the long way,” I answered my son who wasn’t thoroughly convinced that was the prudent thing to do, since he wasn’t convinced that the mammoth snake in our rock garden wasn’t a rattler.

But, I was convinced that it was just a really big garter snake. So we went the long way around, lugging all our gear for the day in multiple trips. Because  when we leave for the day, we usually don’t come back to the house until early evening and have to take everything we may need for the day with us.

When we got home, the snake was gone.

“Where do you think it went Mom?’ My son asked as he craned his neck to see into the rock garden to make sure the snake was gone without getting too close to the potentially offensive area.

“I think it was just going across the yard trying to get to the trees over there. I’m sure it won’t come back,” I said, looking at the distance between those trees and my yard which wasn’t nearly far enough for me.

Since then, every time I leave the house my eyes sweep the patio, the rock garden, the yard at large, then the ground under those trees, just to see if there’s any movement or sign of the snake.

Besides a visit from a little baby garter snake on my patio, there hasn’t been any sign of any other snake for quite a while now. But, that doesn’t keep me from thinking about it.

“Where do you think  that snake is?” I mused out loud the other day when my son and I were walking around the yard.

He looked at me in surprise.

“You told me it went into the trees and stayed there and I believe you,” he replied with the finality of a case closed.

“You’re right,” I said smiling at him then thinking if we had a fraction of that faith in what God tells us when He tells us something, we’d all live our lives a little differently.

“Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.”

Genesis 15:8

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