Tag Archives: God

A New Look at Our Prayers

“What we usually pray to God is not that His will be done, but that He approve ours.”

— Helga Bergold Gross
Can we look at this carefully? Is that how we pray? Unfortunately, I’ve been too often guilty of asking God to approve my plans before I sat down and asked Him about His.
We share prayer requests. We ask for specific causes – healing, finances, relationships, employment. But did we ask God if that healing is our temporal idea of healing or His complete healing of our loved one in heaven?
We ask for finances, but are we in this financial place because here we have people to encourage and edify? Are we in this difficult relationship to be a means of bringing someone to God? Do we work where we work because our testimony is needed by our coworkers or our clients?
Let us resolve to find a quiet place, a holy space of time and silence in which to read His love letters to us and listen for His voice.

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Filed under Ambition, Faith, Prayer, Values

God’s Crazy, Lavish Grace

 God’s grace is radical. Extreme. Counterintuitive. He pours it out on the undeserving. God lavishes His grace on those not seeking it. He even generously extends it to those who hate Him and persecute His people. Saul of Tarsus fit that description. In the years immediately following the death and resurrection of Jesus, Saul was the archenemy of Jesus’ followers. He did everything “possible to oppose the name of Jesus” (Acts 26:9). He went from synagogue to synagogue to punish Jews who “belonged to the Way” (Acts 9:2). He traveled from city to city to arrest them and put them in chains. He zealously and violently sought them out and put them to death.

Yet even while Saul breathed out murderous threats against the believers, God wooed him with His grace. Years later, in his letter to the Christians in Galatia, Saul (Paul) acknowledged God had “set me apart from birth and called me by his grace” (Galatians 1:15). God workedin Saul’s heart and mind long before his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.While Saul worked strenuously to stop the Gospel message of Christ, God’s grace flowed all around him, preparing him for a life-changing meeting on a dusty road.

While Paul zealously tried to annihilate the Church, God pursued him. While Paul had his heart set on destruction, God had His heart set on Paul. And the same is true in our lives. When we were still running hard away from God, He pursued us with His grace. Doesn’t that just bowl you over?

Before God created the heavens and the earth, He chose to love you. He desired to make you His own, even before there was time. And He put a plan in place to make it possible. Before you ever knew you needed a Savior, the Father determined Jesus would be your eternal hope. Then with His lavish grace, He wooed you.

Throughout Scripture, God is the Initiator. Even in the Garden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sin entered the world, God sought the sinner.(See Genesis 3:8-9.) While we were still His enemies, God proved His love to us in the most radical way. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8, NLT).

We do not deserve salvation. We are not worthy of a relationship with God. Yet He chooses to love us. He lavishes His grace on sinners and makes salvation possible through His own sacrifice.

By definition, God’s grace flows from His heart. It’s based on His bounty, His character. We do not merit His grace. We cannot earn it. Yet in His loving-kindness He woos us to Himself and freely pours out His grace through the death of His Son.

Then after our conversion,on the born again side, God still woos us. Through times of rebellion , complacency, grief, and struggle, God gently draws us back to Himself with cords of love. He calls us from our wanderings. He longs to protect us from pain of our own making.His crazy, lavish grace refuses to let us go.

This post is adapted from Kathy Howard’s new Bible study Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing.

Lavish Grace is a 9-week journey with the apostle Paul that helps readers discover God’s abundant grace for their daily lives and relationships. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.

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Filed under Book Review, Faith

Political Season

Because political discussion tends to generate passionate emotions, I try to stay away from those topics on social media. Sometimes, however, something needs to be said. The following is not directed at any person or party in particular, but toward the process in general.

Is anyone else weary of the political season now in progress?  The name calling, the insults, the crude language, the jockeying for position regardless of the consequences all remind me of a school yard brawl. None of which makes me optimistic for the future of our nation.

The media hasn’t helped the situation. Reporters strive to ask “pertinent” questions which are actually impertinent and designed to generate more heat than light.

The public laps up the sound bites, thinking with their emotions and reflexes, not considering the ramifications of all the promises. At this point, it’s difficult to ascertain the truth.

Without a large dose of discernment, the public will go to the polls, salivating like Pavlov’s dogs, hoping that their choice will be able to deliver on the impossible promises that have been offered.

And the situation in this nation will continue to spiral downward.

We need an individual of real character, with an accurate moral compass, who has the heart of a servant rather than the arrogance of privilege to fill the oval office. I’m still waiting for that person to appear.

God help us.

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Filed under Politics, Society, Values

Together?

My friend, Shirley Corder, posted this on Facebook.

“Words of wisdom for a new year. Let’s work together this year to make it a success. Where do we start?”

Where to start is an interesting question.  How do we manage to work together with diverse people, some of whom we may not like at all?

After all, there is the co-worker who continually drums his/her fingers on the desk while talking with you. You can’t hear what he/she is saying for the throbbing. And when you’re finished with the conversation, you have developed a screaming headache.

Then there is the naysayer, the person who always throws cold water on any suggestion you might make.

And we have the whiner, the person who knows someone who tried this and had terrible results.

Moreover there is the constant talker, the one who never hears anything anyone else says.

Enough already!

There is a way to overcome these obstacles, but we have to go back to the beginning.  “In the beginning, God…”  God is our answer, not in some distant esoteric way, but in a very tangible way. The trick is to see what God sees in that person.

God designed each of us with a purpose in mind. He has a plan for your life and mine. His plans for my life have not yet been fulfilled, and I’m willing to bet that your life is in a similar state of incompleteness. But God sees us through the lens of His Son and His plans for us. He doesn’t consider our faults and shortcomings as part of His finished product.

Now, all we need do is ask Him to let us see others as He sees them. He sees them, as well as us, through the eyes of a loving father. Despite our infidelities to His purpose, He loves us still. He loves them as well.

God doesn’t shine a floodlight on our faults and foibles. He illuminates them one by one so that we can amend them.  There is an old saying “Life is hard by the yard. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.” So He lets us take one step at a time toward becoming who He intended us to be. We need to extend that same patience and grace to others.

If we can learn to see others as God sees them, I believe we will be able to work together successfully. At least it’s a start.

Do you agree? or not?

 

 

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Filed under Excellence, Society, Values, Work

God’s Favorite

At a writers conference some years ago, I met this beautiful, bubbly young lady. She came to the dinner table one evening overflowing with all the good things that had happened to her that day. She recounted them gleefully and capped her remarks saying “It’s all because I’m God’s favorite.”

As each person at the table told something good that happened that day, she’d respond to them with “It’s because you’re God’s favorite.”

It’s difficult for us to realize that God loves each of his children as if that child were the proverbially spoiled “only” child. But he does, and each of us is that only child.

When things happen in our lives, let us remind ourselves that we are God’s favorite.

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HACWN

The recent Heart of American Christian Writers Network Conference held in Overland Park, Kansas, taught me several things not in the curriculum.

First, go prepared.

Second, be ready to change plans.

Third, watch what God can do.

Suffice to say, it was a memorable weekend. More to come later.

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Filed under Faith, Values, Work, Writing