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Quote of the Day: 1/28/11 January 28, 2011

Posted by orualundone in Humility, Intimacy, Quote of the Day.
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True intimacy with God always brings humility.

Beth Moore

First Reactions September 1, 2010

Posted by orualundone in Attitude, Belief, Blessings, Nature of God, Trust.
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The other day I met with the two high school girls who I do a biweekly Bible study with. They’re great kids, and we’re making our way through Beth Moore’s Living Free – an excellent short study focusing on breaking free of the strongholds in our lives and learning to know God and believe him.

The chapter we were working was focusing on believing God – and the difference between believing in God (that he exists) and believing God (trusting him and his promises to us). One of the main verses was Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We all were familiar with the verse, but we spent a lot of time discussing what it meant (and the beautiful thing about Scripture is that it rarely just means one thing). There are lots of ways to look at it, the most common being that God is saying “I know what I’m doing and you don’t, so calm down”. Another is “God works in mysterious ways” or “Things that you think are bad God can work for good”. I think those are all very valid and vital interpretations, but we also came one more takeaway message from this verse.

If God’s thoughts are so much higher and better than ours, does that mean we’re always wrong? Not necessarily – everyone gets it right sometimes! But I think what God is trying to get at is that our first reactions are very often the opposite of his. We may eventually come to the right conclusion, for various reasons. But that gut instinct, that spontaneous first response – that’s the essence of “our way” and it’s usually the wrong way to go.

Here’s an example from my week, last week. Our old car broke down, to the point where it was clear that putting more money into it would be foolish. My first reaction was: “This is terrible. It’s so stressful, and now we have to eat into our savings to get another car, and it takes so much time and effort to find something and then take care of all the paperwork. This week sucks.”

That reaction is neither godly nor constructive. The way I should have (and eventually did) respond to the situation was more like “Well, that old car gave us our money’s worth. I’m so grateful that we live close enough to work that being without a car for a few days isn’t a hardship, and I’m so blessed that God immediately provided us with the perfect car that we were able to pay cash for without going into debt. The whole process of purchasing and paperwork went so easily. God is so good to us!”.

It took awhile to get there, but I believe that is the response that is God’s way, as opposed to “my way” which is ungrateful, pessimistic, and kind of bitchy – and completely unproductive since the situation is not going to change no matter how much I whine about it. I need to learn to check my responses when seemingly-not-so-great things happen and see how they line up with what I know of God’s way.

Not that I can know precisely or fully what he’s doing in a situation, but if I can learn to hold up my initial reactions to what I know of the nature of God, I will gain a more Christ-like attitude in my view of life. And the more I know about the nature of God through spending time with him and studying his Word, the more my first reactions to situations will start to mimic his, and the “higher” my thoughts will be.

Isaiah 55 August 4, 2010

Posted by orualundone in Blessings, Personal, Promises, Scripture, The Bible.
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I have been experiencing an incredible amount of fatigue this week. My schedule has been a little unusual and I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep, but I feel like the depth of exhaustion I’ve been having is more than can be accounted for by those factors. I don’t know if it’s a physical issue (medication change, insomnia, or vitamin deficiency), a spiritual one (enemy attack or struggling with faith), or an emotional one (stress, depression) – or some combination of all three. But even just staying awake at work has been a struggle. If I don’t feel better after the weekend I may go in for a blood test and/or sleep study to see if there’s a medical reason I’m so out of it.

That said, despite both a long nap this afternoon and some light exercise in an attempt to get a little energy, I am just too tired for a proper post today. But yesterday, I did something I hadn’t done in an embarrassingly long time – sit down and read the Bible. Like actually crack open a physical Bible (my online attention span is too short for anything more than looking up individual passages) and just read it because I wanted to. Without a particular goal or agenda or because I wanted to see what a certain verse said. Just read.

It was so refreshing. I read a good deal of the Gospel of John, Galatians, and part of my favorite portion of Isaiah. I’m not much of an Old Testament girl, but Isaiah 55 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible. It’s so full of hope and promise. I love how it starts, because I constantly spend time and money and energy on things that don’t satisfy, that don’t fill me or quench my thirst. I’m at a loss to explain why I do this, but it’s so good to know that God is calling me to true nourishment and refreshment. This is a great passage to use to meditate on so many of his promises to us.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.

See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of the peoples.

Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed.”

I’m off to read some more; if my body refuses to be refreshed at least my soul can be. Hopefully I’ll be back on my game tomorrow.