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Monday, July 21, 2014

Letter From God: Waiting Is No Fun



My Precious Princess and Daughter:

When events in your life seem to take too long to work out, remember, I am patient. When my long-suffering nature seems to create suffering in you, remember, I am patient, unlimited by time. I see the big picture. I see the beginning from the end. You can trust Me; I know what is best. If you knew what I know, you would agree with the time schedule with which I proceed.(Tweet That!)
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Even though it may seem like waiting is negative and only causes you pain, do not worry. I care with an eternal love for you. You are My child, and I am intimately involved in your life. 

Although it may seem too far away to matter in your earthly time, once you join Me in Heaven, you'll understand and praise my patience. 

I know what you need, and I'm working even now to draw you closer to Me. So take heart! I may seem slow, but I always give you My best. (Tweet That!)Be patient because of that.

Lovingly,
Your Heavenly Father, the King

Friday, July 18, 2014

Are You Struggling Against Your Chrysalis?

Drum Roll! The winner of the drawing for an autographed copy of SuperGal vs. God, Lori Hynson's new book, is...Mary Ann. Congratulations, Mary Ann, and thank you to everyone who put your name in the drawing. 



You've most likely heard the story of the man who saw a cocoon of a developing butterfly and felt sorry for it. His heart went out to the butterfly which seemed to be struggling inside it's chrysalis.

In an effort to help the little creature, he took a very sharp knife and very, very carefully sliced the cocoon open so that the butterfly was exposed and could easily escape its confines.

But to the man's shock, the butterfly emerged with prematurely formed wings. The wings hadn't had enough time to finish growing and within a short time, the butterfly died. The man thought he was doing a good deed, but he actually created a disaster. It turns out that a butterfly's strong wings are developed by the struggle to emerge from the chrysalis.

I thought of that story the other day when I read a portion of Scripture that I'd heard many times, but had never paid close attention to a particular phrase in it. It's James 1:2-4. Here it is in several versions. Notice the highlighted phrase.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (MSG)

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (AMP)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (NASB)

There are two ways to think of this:
  • We are the man cutting the constraints of the butterfly (another person). We're rescuing others from the struggles God wants them to have. It's called "co-dependency" and we take actions which prevent or alleviate the trials or temptations of another person.
  • We are the butterfly cutting ourselves out of the chrysalis prematurely. We resist what God wants to do in us through our trials and temptations.
So, the story of the butterfly and those verses prompted me to ask myself, "How do I try to escape the confines of trials and temptations (Tweet That!) and thus cut short and prematurely end the work of sanctification that God is doing?" (Or how do I rescue others?)

After all, the Apostle James
is writing to a group of Christians who are suffering and he shares God's perspective of their trials. James encourages them to not question God about what He is allowing, but to cooperate with His purposes.

So how do I reject that wisdom?
  • When someone gently points out one of my faults, I get angry, defensive, and point back some fault of theirs.
  • I think I don't deserve to go through trials; I'm entitled to a happy life.
  • I reject the idea that it is God at work. It's just someone treating me badly.
  • I think I don't have anything that bad that needs to be changed.
  • I don't see the connection between suffering and my growth.
Since some of my resistance to suffering, enduring, or changing is based in seeing God's hand in it, I then asked myself, "What does my resistance to enduring through trials and temptations say about God?" Hmmm, let's see:
  • He doesn't know what He's doing.
  • He doesn't really love me otherwise He wouldn't make (or allow) things to be difficult.
  • He's powerless to deliver me.
  • He is ignorant of my struggle.
  • He doesn't care enough to be "present" with me in my struggle.
Can you think of other ways we resist enduring or other ways that we believe lies about God?

 In the end, do we want to be a beautiful butterfly or a butterfly with unformed wings as we emerge from our chrysalis? That's our choice.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Does God Want You to Know Him Better?

James I. Packer wrote, "What makes life worth while is having a big enough objective, something which catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance; and this the Christian has in a way that no other man has. For what higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God?"

Isn't that quote thrilling? It won't surprise us to know that the Apostle Paul said something similar in Ephesians 1:17: "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." 

To know God...what a wonderful goal. And guess what? God wants us to know Him in truth. (Tweet That!)

When I think about knowing God better, I must confess I can't really put my finger on how it happens, other than the obvious things like reading the Bible and praying. I know that, but how does it happen in my heart and mind? I'm not sure, but I do know that over the 48 years that I've "known" God, my view has somehow changed and definitely deepened. 

When I accepted Christ as my Savior as an eighteen-year-old, I viewed God as an ogre who didn't like fun, held an axe over my head waiting for me to mess up, and couldn't accept and love me until I became perfect. 

I'm so glad the Holy Spirit changed my perspective! How glorious to know Him in truth. Although I'm certainly not claiming to know Him perfectly or always rightly, I do believe I know Him a whole lot better than years ago!

If you seek to know Him better, consider making Moses' request your own: "Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly] and that I may find favor in Your sight." (Exodus 33:13 AMP)

What do you think God's response to Moses was?
Maybe He didn't answer at all because God likes to stay distant.
Maybe He told Moses, "Are you kidding? I'm not knowable."
Maybe He told Moses, "When you get good enough, I'll check in with you."
Maybe He told Moses, ????? What would you put there? Have you felt like God gave you an answer and it wasn't very inviting? 

Here's what God actually said to Moses: "And the Lord said to Moses, I will do this thing also that you have asked, for you have found favor, loving-kindness, and mercy in My sight and I know you personally and by name." (Exodus 33:17 AMP).

Not only does God want to be known, He says He knows us—personally and by name. (Tweet That!) How incredible is that? Do you feel known by God?

The knowledge of God is like a treasure that is constantly being revealed more and more. Some people are close to discovering Him but don't even realize it. Others aren't sure that what they think about God is really true and they live in uncertainty and fear. Others have believed a wrong view of God and wonder why they can't believe He loves them. Where do you think you are? 

In 1985 Mel Fisher found a Spanish galleon that had been sunk in 1622 by a hurricane off the Straits of Florida. After searching for this ship for sixteen years, Mel and his crew finally found their treasure. It was worth $400 million.

When the galleon was discovered, not only was its ancient gold and silver uncovered, but also more familiar objects—like monofilament line and sinkers. It turns out that fishermen had sat above the treasure for years, but all they were looking for was fish, when a vast treasure was there for the taking.

God wants you to know Him. Trust that He'll reveal Himself more and more, just as He promised Moses. Don't settle for a catch of fish which is like the lies Satan tells about Him. Instead, keep seeking the truth that God reveals about Himself in His Love Letter to you! It's work seeking Him—I think, even more than $400 million!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Enjoy Your Work! It's God's Gift

Enjoy Your Work! It's God's Gift

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
—Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)
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Enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and see work as a blessing. Tweet That!

"God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest."—Josiah Gilbert Holland

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Give-Away: "SuperGal vs. GOD"

I am so pleased to feature a brand new book by Lori Hynson. She authored the new book: SuperGal vs. GOD. Do I try to be SuperGal? You betcha. But Lori's book will help me—and other gals like me—to release my grip on SuperGal attempts and allow God to empower me instead.
There's a bunch of us who relate. If you'd like to put your name into the hat to possibly win a copy of Lori's book, check out the opportunity at the end of this post. She will send the winner an autographed copy of the book!
Here's her guest post! Enjoy!

 Your SuperPowers, or God’s?


Well, what’s a SuperGal? A fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers? Nope. She’s a non-fictional hero having extraordinary, or at least really high-functioning ability, to run her own life, and the lives of everyone around her! Poster child for Type A personality, multi-tasker, problem solver, people pleaser. Supremely independent.

Possessing SuperPowers? Yeah, baby!

Okay, so, what’s wrong with that? With being competent? Reliable? Perfect??

One word. Pride. It ain’t called a deadly sin for nothin’.

Pride is clutching a boa of arrogance around your shoulders. You’re an achiever. Successful. Somewhere along the way you actually started to believe you accomplished these things through your own efforts. Pride is a denial that those were a gift from God.

My nanny used to colorfully describe that as “smelling yourself.” Tweet That!

And pride, at its ugliest, is a denial of God’s abilities to run the entire universe, including even your little burg.

Ah, smiling, energetic SuperGal. All is well in our world so long as our alter-ego stays hidden. Right. That one. Bet you know exactly who I’m talking about. Behind closed doors, her dark presence lunges from her hiding place. She’s prideful. Haughty. Controlling. Not trusting in anyone but herself. She’s overwhelmed and overburdened. Embattled and embittered.

Sound familiar?

In The Screwtape Letters, author C.S. Lewis says, “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.”

So we live our SuperGal life (it’s terrific, right? Right?), and do our best to keep the Princess-of-Quite-A-Lot shoved to the back of that junk-filled closet. Where she thumps. And scratches. And manages to stretch her fingers out from under the door where we’re sure to trip over them. But we manage to control her. Hide her. We’re SuperGals, after all.

Proverbs 16:18 tries to warn us. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (NKJV)

But ears stuffed with pride can’t hear well. And sure enough, it happens. “That Day” arrives. That day a huge, horrible storm blows into our life. We knew it was coming, sooner or later. “No problem,” we say. “I can handle this. I’m gonna fix that problem, all by myself, just like I’ve always done.”

So we fire up those SuperPowers . . .Wait for it . . . But nothing happens. Huh? We try again, harder this time. Nothing. How can this be?

And then it hits us. Our SuperPowers have failed. Shorted out. Run out of juice. Unbelievably, we’ve failed. And we’re filled with remorse and guilt. Blame and shame. Everything we believed about our SuperPowersx was a lie. We were mere mortals all along.

Now what?

Then, in the silence of our despair, we hear it. A knock. God is standing at our door, and He’s holding all the power we’ll ever need. He’s waiting for us to open the door. He won’t kick it down. That’s not the way He rolls.

God, you see, doesn’t wish to be our Holy Help Desk, Tweet That! waiting for us to call for 24/7 live technical support when our lives have blue-screened. He wants us to trust Him for everything.

Trust. A hard, hard thing for a SuperGal to give. Trusting God means giving up control. Every last morsel. But it also means giving up the worry, the guilt and the fear. God’s power brings peace.

Come on, try it. Become a Recovering SuperGalaholic. Learn to trust Him in all ways, all days. Because it’s time to toss away Type A. It’s time to walk from Stressed to Blessed!


Lori Hynson - AuthorLori Hynson is the author of SuperGal vs. GOD. As a speaker, blogger and singer, she speaks in the heart of the woman who knows she can do anything, but feels the pressure to do everything! She blogs her Secrets of a Recovering SuperGal at www.lorihynson.com.

Always too busy and far too controlling, Lori’s life changed completely when she encountered a tragic storm too big for her own SuperPowers to handle. And finally, God had her right where He wanted her.

A wife, mother, Nana and retired business owner, Lori and her husband have five grown children, twelve grandchildren, and live outside Philadelphia, PA with Morticia the cat.
If you'd like to put your name in the drawing, please make a comment here or email me at Kathyspeak AT aol DOT com. I'll draw the winner on July 17th.

Drum Roll! The winner of the drawing for an autographed copy of SuperGal vs. God, Lori Hynson's new book, is...Mary Ann. Congratulations, Mary Ann, and thank you to everyone who put your name in the drawing. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grandma Love—Like God's Love

I was talking to another grandma and if you're in our camp, you know how we grandmas feel about our grandchildren. We're wildly in love. Grandma love! It's the closest kind of love to God's love. And when we show each other our photos, we try hard not to allow it to become a competition. But if we do, it's all done in teasing.

The new friend whom I'd just met was a grandma and we, like we do, began showing each other our grandkids' photos on our phones. When she showed me her granddaughter's photo who was about four years old, I heard her exclaim, "Isn't she so beautiful?" 

Hands Touching Stock Photo
(Photo by worradmu, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)

She looked at me and I really couldn't hide my reaction. And she caught on. I was so embarrassed but within a second, she whispered conspiratorially as if her granddaughter were in the room, "Y'know, I know she's actually not that pretty of a little girl, and actually, she's far from even being cute, but I just love her so much and I know her inner beauty. And when I can give her a big hug, I wouldn't care if she had three noses. She's my little girl and I love her." She looked down at the photo, and her love for that little girl just warmed her face. 

Her love for that little girl brought tears to my face and I thought, "There's a grandma who truly loves her grandchild...unconditionally."

It wasn't until later that I thought of the connection to God's love. That grandma's love is like God's love for us. Tweet This!I doubt there's ever been a conversation like this between Almighty God and Satan but can't you just envision Satan saying something like, "You think she's beautiful? You gotta be kidding. With all that ugly sin stain on her face? And with that evil heart? And right now she's having a temper tantrum! Ewww! What an ugly look of defiance. You love her?"

But the loving Father replies, "Yes, that is reality but I'm working in her outward appearance to bring her to accord in her inner holiness—a gift I've graced her with. Unlike Me, Satan, you ignore the beautiful robe of righteousness that I've wrapped around her and the crown of gems atop her head that I've given her. There are more and more gems in her crown now. Even that sin stain that shows on her face is being wiped off and it's doesn't have the hold over her as before. She's mine and I love her. Even your accusations, Satan, don't trip her up as much! Be gone!"

Isn't that what Revelation 12:10 tells us: “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night."

And here's the other side of the coin: “The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." (Zephaniah 3:17).

 Oh yes, a grandmother's (and grandfather's) love might just be the closest thing there is on earth to our Heavenly Father's love. Tweet This! We see the child now and she (or he) is, indeed, imperfect, yet we have claimed her as our own. Just as our Heavenly Father has claimed us.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We Met Because I Was Lost


We met because I was lost. That flit into my mind yesterday morning as I thought about it being my beloved's birthday. Larry, my husband, celebrated his birthday; we celebrated forty-four years of marriage on June 20th; and my birthday is Saturday. We always have lots to celebrate in June.






 It was 1966 and I was a high school senior. The water polo team for my school, Downey High School in Downey, California, was going to be playing in the state championship. I'd never been to a water polo game but my friend and neighbor, Margie Tweedie, thought it would be fun to see one. And as I thought of his birthday, I reflected on how we met and this statement flit into my mind: We met because I was lost. I hadn't looked at it before like that but it was an intriguing thought.

So Margie and I road the school bus to a distant school which had a huge indoor pool. Since it was a championship game, lots of people came from many schools, and after Margie and I got off the bus, we were enveloped by a mass of kids and adults trying to make our way into the pool arena area.

Before I knew it, I was lost. Well, only in the sense that I suddenly looked around and I couldn't see Margie anywhere. Where had she gone? Or maybe, where had I gone to be separated from her?Regardless, I was by myself. 

As I looked around searching for her, I saw someone I knew. It was Frank Dawson from the Episcopal church I attended. Oh, good, someone I know. I'll talk to him. 

I went over to him and said hi when I realized the Cute Guy standing next to him was a friend of Frank's. Frank introduced me to the Cute Guy as Larry. OK, Cute Guy has a name. Good. Tweet That! Larry and Frank explained to me that they were both on the water polo team at Warren High school, the other high school in Downey. Warren High and my school were rivals. 

After chatting a while, Margie still hadn't appeared in the mass of humanity, so when everyone started migrating to sit down, it just felt natural for the three of us to climb up the bleachers together. I found myself sitting next to Larry and I quickly hatched my plan. Since I'd never been to a water polo game, I put 2 and 2 together:

2: keep Larry's attention
+
2: ask him questions about water polo
-------------------------------
4: make Larry want to ask me for a date. 

I'm a good question-asker. I'm a very good question-asker. And I proceeded to literally ask questions the whole game—about water polo and about his life. I knew I was being successful because he seemed to thoroughly enjoy my interest in him. I just knew we'd reach 4!

When the game ended (I can't remember who won but Larry remembers), we climbed down from the bleachers and the magic moment arrived for 4! Larry turned to me and I knew the magic words would come out of his mouth: "I'd love to see you again. What's your telephone number?"

Instead, he said, "Thanks for the nice time. See you."

I weakly replied, "See you." I felt the blood drain from my face.

Wait! Where was the 4? I was so dismayed and disappointed. Yes, that's just like you, Kathy. You always get the fish on the hook, but he jumps off.

I didn't know until later (yes, obviously, Larry did call and ask for a date later) that he was afraid to ask me for a date right then in front of Frank. He didn't want to be embarrassed if I told him no. Hello! I had just paid rapt attention to him for several hours! And he thought I wasn't interested?! 

Well, had lots to learn about understanding a man--and 44 years of marriage later, I think I understand his motivation Tweet That! at that time.

But regardless, I'm so glad I got lost in that crowd. I'd like to tell Margie the result but I can't find her. Wouldn't that fun to tell her?

Is there a spiritual application? I'm not sure and I don't want to stretch a Bible verse to fit. 

Maybe you'd like to share the story how you met your husband or tell us a Bible verse that you think fits.

But I did find this intriguing verse:


"For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves." (Jeremiah 11:16 NIV)

God sometimes has to arrange circumstances so that we will seek Him. Although I knew I was lost in that crowd at the water polo game, I didn't know I was spiritually lost. I attended church and thought I was a Christian because I was trying to become perfect so that God could love me. I wasn't assured of going to heaven--I thought I could only find out after I died if my good deeds had earned enough favor with God for Him to love me.

But because I was lost in that crowd, separated from Margie, I met Larry. I started dating him, attended his church, and I heard the clear message there that I didn't need to earn my way into heaven. Jesus' death on the cross and spilling His blood to cover my sin was sufficient for me to be accepted by God. But I did need to receive Him as my Savior and Lord. And I could be assured of going to heaven. Talk about the lost being found!


Psalm 119:176 describes me at that water polo game: "I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands." (NIV).
How fascinating that the Psalmist says, "God, seek me!" It's God's work. Tweet That! I'm sure there are other verses where we seek God, but in this verse, we're pleading for God to seek us!

And in one aspect, He does that by watching over us. I didn't realize that God was watching over me as a high school student more than I could ever imagine. Like the dog above who is standing guard over those sheep, I had a Savior looking out for me, waiting for me to see my need and forsake my determination to save myself.

I know loved ones who aren't seeking God and are lost, yet I pray that God opens their eyes to see that God is seeking them and watching over them more than they realize. 
The photo above is of Larry and I at Disneyland when we attended his all-night party after graduation (six months after we met). Little did we realize, standing in front of the lake where Tom Sawyer's Island is located, that we were starting a history that has lasted 50 years. 

But God knew. 

We met because I was lost. That applies to Larry in my life and that applies to God in my life. What surprises you now about a past event that has become a momentous event where you were like a lost sheep, yet God was watching over you? Please share in the comments.