Tag Archives: Experience

Exodus 26; John 5; Proverbs 2; Galatians 1

I remember the first time I told someone God talked to me.  I now know why the reaction was so much of a recoil.

Moses was my first inspiration.  In fact, I remember vividly telling God that I wanted to be the next Moses.  I mean look at the details that God gave him – imagine the conversations.

You shall also make curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; you shall make eleven curtains.  The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; the eleven curtains shall be of the same size.  You shall join five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and the sixth curtain you shall double over at the front of the tent.   – Exodus 26:7-9 NRSV

Even Jesus told those in His time that if they really knew God, really heard from Him, they would know that He was God.  Why?  Because Moses wrote about Jesus.

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope.  If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” – John 5:45-47 NRSV

And in the copy of my first book, given to me by the wife/mother of a family that took us into their home when we had nothing – she penned this proverb…

My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—then you will understand the fear of the Lord  and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1-5 NRSV

I took all of this with me into my first pastorate experience.  That is where I found out just how many people “hear” what God has been telling them.  So the issue, I found out, really isn’t that God does not talk to us and that we shouldn’t take time to listen, the issue is – who am I listening too?

For I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[d] that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. – Galatians 1:11-12 NRSV

Lord, I want to hear your voice, I want you to speak through Your Word to me loud and clear.  Enable me to grow more intimate with You, to serve as You in our world and to leave this world a better place than when I entered it because I walked with You.  Thank You.  

evanlaar

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Galatians, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Uncategorized

Genesis 49, 50; Galatians 4

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:19-20

I can think of many times in my life when the enemy, working through other people, has tried to harm me in some way or another, whether physically or emotionally. In the midst of the experience it is hurtful and frustrating. It often leads to feelings of hopelessness and a total loss of control. In my flesh, the aggravation distracts me and I tend take my focus off of God, putting it instead on the circumstances that surround me.

When I realize that I have stopped looking to God, which sad to say sometimes takes longer than I’d like to admit, I know something has to change. I must put my eyes on Jesus. When I refocus on what matters I am more able to look objectively at what is really happening, and more often than not I can see God working through the difficulties. I can feel His hand on me guiding and comforting. I experience His grace and mercy and peace. He gives me wisdom for the situation and encouragement in the trial.

But sometimes it takes longer for me to see. Sometimes I fail to look to God until the situation has passed and I only see the truth through hindsight. I am grateful that hindsight is 20/20. It allows me to see the whole picture, the big picture. It allows me to see exactly where God was using the state of affairs to teach and grow me and it allows me see where He was carrying me through when I felt like I was all alone. It allows me to see the good that God produced from something horrible in my life and made it turn out for the best.

I truly believe that everything that I go through, even the bad experiences, are going to be used by God in moments of my future for the good of myself and/or someone else. I know that every challenge I survive gives me experiential knowledge that I can pass on; it gives me authority over an area of struggle and allows me to stand in the gap for others.

The enemy wants to kill and destroy me, but God redeems and restores everything in my life, using the enemy’s plans to harm me and brings something wonderful out of the ashes of my life.

Yesappa, Thank You.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Galatians, Genesis, New Testament, Old Testament

Judges 6; Acts 10; Jeremiah 19; Mark 5

But Peter said, “No, Lord! I have never eaten food that is unholy or unclean.”

But the voice said to him again, “God has made these things clean, so don’t call them unholy!” Acts 10:14-15 (NCV)

He said, “You people understand that it is against our law for Jewish people to associate with or visit anyone who is not Jewish. But God has shown me that I should not call any person ‘unholy’ or ‘unclean.’ Acts 10:28 (NCV)

Peter began to speak: “I really understand now that to God every person is the same. In every country God accepts anyone who worships him and does what is right. You know the message that God has sent to the people of Israel is the Good News that peace has come through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lord of all people! Acts 10:34-36 (NCV)

Interestingly enough, my husband and I were recently discussing whether or not God redeems what is considered ‘unholy’ by man.

Our oldest daughter was given kolusu, sterling silver anklets with little bells on them, by her uncle according to Indian custom. Though she didn’t wear them much in the US, she has been wearing them non-stop since we arrived back in India, which is great because I can locate her much easier when she is playing. I mentioned today that I would like to also get a pair for our younger daughter, to help stimulate her desire for walking, and maybe even a simpler pair for myself (I always loved the idea of wearing anklets).

My husband continued the conversation by saying that these anklets are not only an Indian custom, but also a Hindu tradition, allowing one of the gods to enjoy the sounds of the bells and to also keep the devils away. I countered by expressing my belief that God is the creator of bells and what the enemy may try to steal for his purposes is redeemed again by God. Our exchange ended with a “to be continued.”

I was impressed today by Peter’s understanding of the redemption in Christ in regards to people, concerning the laws of Moses. It is so easy for me to judge someone based on external appearances, customs, behaviors or choices that differ from my own. It is easy for me to deem something ‘unclean’ or ‘unholy’ because my opinion differs; and it is easy for me to throw random, out of context Bible verses at the ‘problems’ to try and make them go away or change. But my judgments of things is not God’s judgment of things; and it is not even my role to make judgment in the first place (James 4:11-12; Romans 2:1-4).

Jesus exemplified this revolution by consistently associating with those that the people and the law considered ‘unholy’ and ‘unclean’-tax collectors, homosexuals, lepers, prostitutes…the demon possessed, diseased individuals like the woman with the issue of blood, and those who had died-all those walking in sin, no matter how big or how small the sin.

He wasn’t concerned with their current state of uncleanness. He knew that their personal experiences of His Agape love would change their hearts forever. He knew that He was planting seeds in their hearts for the future. He knew they were simply diamonds in the rough. He knew that they were children of God who had not yet realized their true identity, and therefore had not yet been ‘cleansed’.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross changed everything. He brought redemption and restoration of hearts into countless lives. His resurrection, His gift of grace fulfilled the law and made holy what was once unholy through belief in Him. What an amazing inheritance, what an incredible birthright for God’s sons and daughters, those who know Him personally, and those whose eyes have yet to be opened.

Yesappa, Open the eyes of my heart and allow Your love to enter in a deeper way, Your agape love for Your people, the redeemed and those who have yet to give themselves to You. Help me walk in love and not judgment. Give me Your compassion for Your children and help me bring Your Light into their lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Jeremiah, Judges, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament

Genesis 45; Mark 15; Job 11; Romans 15

“Can you understand the secrets of God?
Can you search the limits of the Almighty?

His limits are higher than the heavens; you cannot reach them!
They are deeper than the grave; you cannot understand them!

His limits are longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.”  
Job 11:7-9 (NCV)

I know that everything that happens in my life happens for a reason. I am a believer of choice and free will, and I believe that the Omniscient God knows my journey in life as well as He knows the number of hairs on my head.

I don’t fully understand the purpose of the circumstances of my life. But, I also know that I can only see the tiny pieces of my days. He can see the big picture, where one day plus another day and so on add up to the whole, where lives interconnect and are forever changed.

Now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you to save people’s lives… So God sent me here ahead of you to make sure you have some descendants left on earth and to keep you alive in an amazing way. So it was not you who sent me here, but God… Genesis 45:5, 7-8a (NCV)

In the midst of the day to day of my journey I often don’t pay heed to God’s hand in any of it, the whirlwind of life demands my concentration and I lose focus on my Maker. It is in the aftermath of events, in the hind sight, where I take notice and connect the dots, when I finally see how God’s workings are evident.

A man named Simon, from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming from the fields to the city. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus. Mark 15:21(NCV)

 

When the army officer who was standing in front of the cross saw what happened when Jesus died, he said, “This man really was the Son of God!” Mark 15:38-39 (NCV)

When I read stories in the Bible, I wonder about the people: their hopes, their expectations for their lives, how they muddled through the circumstances that shaped them and made them into who they became. I get a bit and a piece, a snap shot of their lives, but not the inner workings of their minds, not the details. I read of the moment, but miss out on the big picture reflections.

I wonder, if Pilate, the Jewish Priests, Barabbas, Simon from Cyrene, Alexander, Rufus, the army officer, and every other person who was a first-hand witness to the death and resurrection of Christ looked back on that time the way that I can remember where I was when the towers fell on 9/11 or the tsunami devastated the islands in east Asia.

Did they look back on that day as a defining moment in their lives or pass it off as just another instant in their own cyclonic lives? Did it fundamentally change who they were or get forgotten in the midst of honey-do lists and everyday endeavors? Did they see the finger of God pointing them in the right direction, urging them toward His love?

Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope. Romans 15:4 (NCV)

I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity and the freedom to be able to read these portraits of life in the Bible, to learn from and be encouraged by the small glimpses into the big puzzle that we are all a part of, to peruse the past that, if I allow it to, can influence my present and alter my future.

I am grateful that I am able to look back on the days leading up to my own witness to the cross, and remember being drawn into Him and His love.

And, I hope that, in the twinkling of the moments of my living, I recognize the God-perspective more often and become more resistant to losing Him in the shuffle of my hectic schedule.

 

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NCV)

 

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

 

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans