Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Why Does God Take So Long?

image by gerait
Did you ever wonder why God takes so long to answer some of your prayers, while others—mighty few, if you ask me—get answers right away? Me too. 
            According Psalm 138:3, the Lord answered David on the very day he called. “On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul” Psalm 138:3 (NRSV).

God’s answer was to increase David’s boldness and strengthen his soul. He didn’t immediately rescue David from his enemies, but the fresh courage he gave David provided an answer in itself. God took away David’s fears so that he could confidently say, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” 

I always want God to fix every problem in my or my loved one’s lives immediately.Heal the disease right now—no more pain or suffering, please. Open a door for a new job today—no more living from paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet. Fix the relationships that are broken this minute—make us understand and accept each other and act like adults.

            He rarely comes through that fast. I often say to myself or others, “Why does God take so long?” I generally have to stand fast in faith for days, weeks, even years before I see the changes I want. 

            But he does answer me on the day I call. By offering me his supernatural courage and strength, He makes me bold. He causes me to stand up on the inside, rather than crumpling in defeat. I know he loves me. I know he listens when I call. That assurance gives me the confidence I need to say, with David, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.”

image by Alexas fotos
            Father, please increase your strength in my soul. Help me believe you’re at work even when it doesn’t look like circumstances are changing for the better. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Are you standing in faith for something today that makes you wonder, "Why does God take so long?"  How can I agree in prayer with you?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Why Trading Places Never Works

Trading Places or Problems?

“Would you like to trade places with Sandra?”
I knew that Voice. Had heard it many times, deep in my heart where secrets hid from everyone but Him. This time, it was a wish that I could make money as quick and deftly as my friend, Sandra did. And the Lord was not buying it as an excuse for jealousy.
I thought of Sandra, nearing forty and still unmarried. Although she lived in a lovely home, she had few friends due to her bossy nature, and her family was 12 states away.  

Never Mind

I reconsidered my longing to be like her.
“I’m sorry, Lord. I really don’t want Sandra’s life. I’ll keep my own, thank you. But could you please give us a raise, or help us find other ways to make ends meet on our dinky pastor’s salary?”
“That’s better, honey. Of course, I’ll help you. All you had to do was ask. I have plenty to go around for all My kids.”


Sufficient Grace

That little conversation between God and me was many years ago. At times, I am still tempted to think someone else has fewer problems or an easier life than I do do. Then He reminds me that I don’t want to trade places and problems with anyone else.
His grace is sufficient for me, where I’m at today. And He has plenty to go around for all His kids.
Even YOU.
Are you ever tempted ask to trade with someone for their seemingly problem-free life?

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

How to Turn A Zucchini into a Fiasco

The Great Zucchini Fiasco

“How do I get myself into these fiascoes?” I mutter, as I wipe the kitchen counter for the fifth time, hoping the neon green of zucchini pulp doesn’t stain. The phone rings. It’s my eleven-year-old granddaughter, who’s the starter for our three-kid-and-two-grands Sunday chat.

“Whatcha doin’, Gramma?” she chirps.

“Oh, honey, I am up to my elbows in Zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, and zucchini mini-loaves. I underestimated how much zucchini pulp would make a cup, so I had to triple the recipe.

She giggles before saying, “That sounds like a mess.”

“You have no idea, dear girl. I started out with a large bowl, transferred the batter to a huge bowl, and then had to graduate the bright green goo to my enormous chili pot. I ran out of flour in my canister, so substituted a chocolate cake mix for the final cup. I wish you were here to help me!”

We visit for a while, me cradling the phone on my shoulder as I fill muffins cups and loaf pans. Finally, I sigh with pleasure. “How many loaves and muffins do you think I ended up with?” I ask, mentally daring her to guess right.

Her giggle reaches through the airwaves again. “I don’t know.”

“Three large loaves, eight mini-loaves, and sixteen muffins. And there is still a fifth of a zuke sitting in the fridge wondering if I forgot it!”

I’ve often joked how I use gardening in the summer and baking in the winter as therapy, because they’re cheaper than a therapist is.  But the zucchini fiasco has me re-thinking that philosophy. I spent three hours of my time mixing and baking, another hour cleaning up, and have yet to ask forty-seven people if they’d like to adopt a loaf or a set of quintuplet muffins to make their home complete. Isn’t my time worth at least two sessions with a shrink, in an office devoid of stained green counters?

The upside is, I have enough breakfast breads to last the winter, my grandgirl and I bonded a bit, and my neglected loaf pans felt needed.

But the next time a friend offers me an 18” long zucchini, I will run the other way!

The above story is an excerpt from my book, Touchable God, Finding the Lord's Friendship through Prayer

Do you like to bake? 

Have you ever experienced a fiasco similar to mine? Do tell.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

2 Ways to Experience God's Love

2 Ways to Experience God's love
My four-year-old granddaughter, Jenessa’s hug was no different than usual, her tanned arms and spindly legs wrapped around my neck and waist like summer vines. What made this hug different—and what surprised me—were her words.
            Jenessa had always said “I love you” as sweet as a grape Popsicle when she hugged me, parroting the words my husband, Kevin, and I had told her since she was born. They were the same words we’d spoken to our own two kids thousands of times, words every child deserves to hear. But this time as Jenessa snuggled against my neck she said confidently, “You love me.”
            “Yes, I do!” I laughed, embracing her tighter. I was pleased that she felt secure enough not to ask me if I loved her, but to tell me. Was she reassuring herself, or reminding me?
            I had corrected Jenessa right and left for the last five days while her two-year-old brother,
baby sister, mommy and daddy stayed with us for the week of Vacation Bible School.  “Don’t tell me you want a banana; ask ‘may I please have one?’, “Swallow your food before you tell us something; we don’t want ‘see food’ at this table, “Sit still, Honey. I can’t read to you if you keep wiggling the book.”
            I’d also cuddled and kissed and teased her. I played in the sandbox with her in the blistering heat. I watched endless episodes of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and read countless library books. I even shared my favorite chunky peach frozen yogurt with her! So Jenessa took my correction in stride, knowing that my love was the supreme motive for everything I did.
Similar to a loving parent or grandparent, God corrects us, sometimes more than we like. Perhaps He convicts us when we think poorly of someone, repeat a word of gossip, or speak sharply to our spouse. He’s never harsh or unkind when His still, small voice whispers in our hearts, but we know He wants us to grow more like Jesus, so we’ll be happier.
Both Solomon and the writer of Hebrews encourage us to accept this correction as a loving act: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3: 11-12; Hebrews 12:5-6, NIV).

            We also get to experience God’s fun, loving side. He makes our tomato and zucchini plants grow tons more than we’ll ever need, so we can have the joy of sharing. He sends us people who make us laugh when we’re in a bleak situation. He puts us in a family called a ‘church’ so we don’t have to bear our burdens alone. His Holy Spirit comforts us. His Word renews our hope. He shed His blood, so we could be forgiven. All of this is proof that His supreme love is the motive behind everything He does. Even correcting us.
            What else can we do but climb into His lap and, like Jenessa, say, “You love me!”
The above story is a chapter from my book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top. 

What are some ways you experience God's love? 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Fix Those Holes in My Heart, Jesus!

I'm forever asking God to fix all the holes in my heart, help me be more like Jesus. I figure after knowing Him for over fifty years, I should be more "together" than I am. 

Recently He spoke to me  as I poured my empty soul out to Him in my prayer journal. His voice deep in my heart was a sweet but solid: “You are trying too hard. You cannot force grace; it flows from My heart. It isn’t wrenched out by effort on your part. You can’t fill yourself or grow 
yourself up.”

Oh. I knew that. Then how did I forget ? I had allowed that pesky demon, fear, into my life. Fear that I wasn’t good enough. That I didn't "do Christianity the" right way. Fear that God was disappointed in me … Have you been there?

I purposed in my heart to allow God’s grace to flow into my tank, filling me up with Him instead of trying to run this race myself. After all, it's not about me. It's about this gift of communication He's given me, burning a hole in my heart, compelling me to tell everyone I can how exquisite is this God that I love and serve.

What about you? How do fears paralyze you, hindering you from being and doing all God has called you to? I will stand with you in prayer in this fight against the enemy of our souls and destroyer of our dreams. We are a threat to Satan because we carry the source of life--Jesus--to a dark world.

My word to you today is: You can do this. You can be whatever the Lord has put in your heart. God is on your side. He believes in you and so do I. Just let Him love you into wholeness.