I have idols

No, I don’t have a golden calf in my back yard, but I definitely let other things step in front of my relationships with God.

In fact, I am probably my own worst idol. There are things I want to have and do and while that in and of itself is not really a problem, when I put my attaining those things above God, it is.

Idols distract me from seeing important things. Chasing after them takes center stage and, considering I have already lived at least half my life, I look back and I see I have wasted a lot of time pursuing things that do not bring joy or whatever I thought it was that they gave.

Do you have any idols? Maybe yours are similar to mine: comfort, control, approval, money. I am sure I have more hidden under my tent, scattered here and there. Becoming aware of them is the first step. Confessing them and asking for forgiveness is the next.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 NLT

Dismantling them is the next part of action. But how does one go about removing, eliminating, destroying the idols in their lives? Each person might answer that differently.

May you have eyes to see your idols and God’s strength to discard them and live your life in His freedom and grace!

Wonderful Counselor

I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:25-27 NLT

God has given us so many wonderful gifts that we often do not take advantage of. One of them is His teachings. He tells us who we are. He tells us who He is. He speaks loving words — words of life — to us. And somehow, the world crowds out those words of beauty, mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, and restoration.

Stay close to The Word!

God gives us wise counsel. His guiding principles are all over Scripture. He offers us peace of mind and heart though we often search high and low all over the world to find it.

Remember His Words!

You are loved. You are His creation. He will never leave or forsake you. You are His child.

Today I am resting in God’s Words of love and grace — they give me peace of mind and heart.

Glory and Majesty

Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord! Psalm 111:3-4

A look at Creation surely reveals God’s majesty. It is easy to be in awe: the stars that fill the sky or the transformation of the butterfly. And there is the personal side of things: the provision of a Savior, the gift of love and sacrifice through Jesus, the daily gifts of grace and mercy.

The day gets so busy and sometimes seems to run away with me. But allowing a pause — better yet, creating the pause, allows us that time to remember His works in our world and His work in our lives and His work on our hearts.

As you start each day, may you create the space to reflect on God’s glory and majesty. Dig a little deeper into Psalm 111 today. Start listing the things God has done or is doing. He is always working to reveal is glory and majesty. When we stop for a bit, sometimes we can catch a glimpse. And, when we are face-to-face with Him in Heaven, I am sure we will be in absolute awe!

My Light and My Salvation

The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1 NIV

If you are reading this, the chances are high that you know who God is — that He is your light and your salvation. But, how easy it is to let the cares and concerns of the day overtake our hearts and spirits and suck the joy out of our days.

It’s so easy to lose our focus.

Let’s start the day recognizing who God is. Once we do that, we also can easily see who we are — and who we are not. Too often the events of a day or a week confuse us about who we are and what we are to be about. Taking some time to be re-oriented every day — sometimes multiple times a day — helps us remember who our Creator is and that we need His light and perspective, and, most importantly, His salvation.

The Places

There were times over the last two years that we hardly went anywhere and that was as much of a challenge as going places. In fact, we thought more about where we were going and who might be there over the last couple of years than we could have ever imagined.

So he we are, living in a freer world — stepping out and moving about, albeit a little cautiously. The places we are going may just be that: nothing special — simply locations. But there is effort and energy in the movement and we have to go.

Are there places you need to go but to don’t care to? Are there places you are excited about? Are there places you are dreading?

Me too. And God is in all those places. When I am heading to the places I need to get to, it helps me to remember that God goes before me, He comes behind me, and He hems me in. He is with me in all of the places.

When I need to go to a place I would rather not be, I say,

Be near me, Lord Jesus!

Give thanks to the Lord.

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord.

I don’t know your circumstance. You might be experiencing health, financial, or relational challenges. In spite of these potential scenarios, I encourage you to give thanks. God is good. Your situation might be devastating, but circumstances can’t change God’s nature.

I have been guilty of equating God being good with things going “my way”. Have you? When I am weak, discouraged, or worn down I am susceptible to this mode of thinking. When I am angry or if I have been violated or if someone I love has been injured, I might be tempted to forget God’s goodness. But I cannot.

I encourage you to remember God’s goodness.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.

Psalm 121:1-3

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.

I know when I am discouraged, disappointed, or depressed I often look down. I look downtrodden. I don’t see all that is in front of me.

The simple practice of lifting my eyes and looking up makes a difference on my countenance. And when I do so, recognizing Who it is that I am looking to for assistance, I am in a good place. I am in a place of humility. I am recognizing that I have a need and I am seeking God for the solution.

My help comes from the Lord.

From daily tasks to huge obstacles, God wants to provide solutions and encouragement. He has things for us to learn along the way, but He is a problem solver. He is a life giver. And He is my sustainer.

As you look at the day and week ahead, look up — seek His face. Ask God to be in your work and play.

Be still before the Lord.

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Be still before the Lord. 

I am in a season of learning this. Sometimes I am too patient, but most times I am just impatient. I am mainly impatient with myself– with my progress, or, more typically, lack of progress. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the cycle of doing stuff — anything to keep myself busy when that isn’t probably what needs to happen. Being still before the Lord is a process. It’s a way for my mind and heart and spirit to be quiet before God.

I love to meditate on a short passage of Scripture. It doesn’t actually have to be an entire verse. It can be a snippet. If I read it and it is resounding in me, I like to see why. Of course, all of Scripture can resonate with me, but every verse doesn’t grab my attention at the same time. It can’t. Focusing somewhere means you are not focusing somewhere else. And so when I am busy doing something, it takes away from my being still and hearing God.

Be still before the Lord.

When was your last uninterrupted time of stillness with God. What have you missed hearing because you were too busy doing? Give Him an opportunity to shine His wisdom on your life!

O my Strength.

Psalm 59:16-17

16 But I will sing of your strength;
    I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
    and a refuge in the day of my distress.
17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
    for you, O God, are my fortress,
    the God who shows me steadfast love.

O my Strength.

How often do I think I can do it “myself”. We have two grandchildren between the ages of 2 and 3 and we are seeing an increased amount of independence. Of course, that is normal and age appropriate. And the rest of life seems to be all about finding the balance between our physical and mental independence, strength, ability, dependence, and how it ebbs and flows during the years. And then, there is the spiritual side of things. In our weakness we see God’s strength. We wrestle with our circumstances. Does our own strength even matter? Are we stronger when we allow God’s strength to be shown? Can we be patient and let God do His work?

When we look to God for His wisdom and His strength, He will deliver. He is our fortress, our deliverer. He shows us His steadfast love.

O my Strength.

Be merciful to me.

Psalm 57:1-3

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
    he will put to shame him who tramples on me. 
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

Be merciful to me.

His mercies are new every morning. Do we start each day remembering God’s mercies?

I know there are times when my day simply starts and I don’t always pause to pray or dedicate my day to God and leave space for His work. But, I know my days always start better when I do. Recognizing my position in this world is important, especially in comparison to God. That isn’t to say that the things I am doing are unimportant, it’s just that knowing who I am in relationship to God helps me keep things in perspective. God…fulfills his purpose for me.