God Still Moves

God Still Moves

God still moves.

Sometimes He’s subtle.

Sometimes He makes a statement.

In Isaiah 36-37, God made a statement. The Assyrian army stood poised to take Jerusalem. Israel had fallen. Judah, under godly King Hezekiah, was next in line.

Sennacherib’s field commander recommended surrender. After all, no one had survived Assyria’s onslaught. No god had withstood the gods of the Assyrians. Shock and awe barely described these ruthless and brutal people.

King Hezekiah sent men to Isaiah, then went to the LORD in prayer. God sent this word against Sennacherib to King Hezekiah (Isaiah 37:22-35). Here’s a portion:

“But I know where you are and when you come and go and how you rage against me. Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came.”

The results? Read verses 36-37, “Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.”

Let’s train with Hezekiah:

  • Have we forgotten how big our God is? Just as He knows our every move (Psalm 139), He is well aware of every act of evil. We know He is omniscient. But I tend to apply His omniscience to my own sin, not someone else’s. I forget He sees every sin—those against His children, those against the innocent, those against the defenseless.
  • He can and will do something about it. Who hasn’t wrestled with the question of why do bad things happen? Whether you are happy with His present decisions or not, understand, all will be dealt with. In His time. Not ours.
  • The results will be beyond our wildest imagination. When judgment comes, I don’t think we’ll be cheering. I think we will fall on our faces before a powerful and holy God and be thankful for the grace we’ve received.

God takes no sin lightly—and neither should we. He sees each one. Each sin will come under the blood of Jesus or will be judged. Don’t lose sight of sin’s seriousness in the day-to-day grind.

God still moves. In big ways. In small ones. Look for His activity. Expect big things. He is more than able.

Nail your spiritual workouts this week, and change your corner of the gym.

Workout of the Week: God Still Moves

Memory Verse: “Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.” Isaiah 37:36-37 (NIV)

Meditation Passage: Isaiah 37:22-35

Just Do It: Watch for Him.

Tweetables:

God still moves. Sometimes He’s subtle. Sometimes He makes a statement. Click to tweet.

 

 

Get Your Hands Dirty

Get Your Hands Dirty

Nick and Joe.

Wealthy. Respected. Godly.

Sitting together. Outside the city. Like a couple of unwelcome cowboys tossed out of the local saloon. Why? According to Mosaic Law, they were unclean from contact with a dead body. Purification required:

  • Separation “outside the camp” (Numbers 5:2-4)
  • Seven days of uncleanness with purification rites on Days 3 and 7 (Numbers 19:11-22)
  • A wait of one month before celebrating the Passover they missed during their “campout” (Numbers 9:6-11)

Does it count if the dead body you handled resurrects three days later?

So, here sat Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, two members of the Sanhedrin, tapped for undertaker duties. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost said this:

Christ made preparations for all events associated with His death, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled. This word (secretly in John 19:38) may indicate that Jesus had arranged with Joseph to make arrangements for His burial to fulfill Old Testament prophecy . . . It may well be that Joseph had hidden himself away in the recesses of the garden where he could witness the events transpiring on Golgotha without being observed. At the moment Christ cried, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and dismissed His spirit from his body, Joseph was ready to proceed with the burial.” (From Dr. Pentecost’s book, The Words and Works of Jesus           Christ)

Makes me wonder how it all went down. Did Jesus tap Nicodemus too? Did Joseph? Or did Nicodemus catch wind of it and volunteer to help? He brought seventy-five pounds of spices. That took some prep.

Did Jesus Himself come to them on Day 3 and perform their purification rites, or was purification a moot point? Did Jesus celebrate Passover with them the next month?

Can you imagine the next Passover for any of these disciples?

What can we learn from these two? Let’s train at the tomb today:

  1. No task is too small when the Master is asking. We all have our Esther moments of “for such a time as this.” We hope for a glamorous, mountain-top event. Yet, for Nick and Joe, two big fish in the Jewish pond of Jerusalem, the task was undertaker.
  2. Public perception means nothing in light of the big picture. Two prominent members of the Jewish council camped out with the lepers for the weekend. “Outside” the in-crowd for once. I don’t think they missed it.
  3. True cleanliness often means getting our hands dirty. Relationships trump ceremonial cleanliness. People died. Uncleanness wasn’t bad. Uncleanness wasn’t sin. Uncleanness simply separated one for a time. True cleanliness of heart means meeting people where they are, whether it’s a bloody cross or outside the camp.

Can you picture the two? Beneath the stars. Safe from arrest by their own uncleanness. Waiting for the Passover Lamb.

Nail your spiritual workouts and change your corner of the gym.

Workout for the Week: Get Outside the Camp

Memory Verse: “Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone . . . who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body. Numbers 5:2 (NIV)

Meditation Passage: John 19:38-42

Just Do It: Be willing to get your hands dirty.

Tweetable:

True cleanliness means meeting people where they are, whether it’s a bloody cross or outside the camp. Click to tweet.

Come When He Calls

Come When Called

Workout of the Week: Come When He Calls

Memory Verse: “And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:6 NIV

Meditation Passage: Romans 1:1-7

Key Thought: Come when He calls.

I’m waiting for my new puppy.

Our nest is emptying, and I want something more protective than Mizuno, our twelve year-old Lab.

I’m on the puppy list for a Belgian Malinois. The last time we had a puppy was the ’90s, so I’m reading up on dog training.

The first lesson? Come when called.

Whether it’s kids or puppies, this one’s important. As an adult, coming when called can be a challenge too. When God calls, I can be like the sleepy dog that’s content to stay on the bed or the eye-rolling teen with more important things to do. Check out the opening verses of Romans:

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God . . . Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1: 1, 5-7 NIV)

The NIV Complete Concordance offers three pages of references for call, called, and calling. Pages! Call means to summon. When I call my child or my puppy, I want them to stop what they’re doing and come straight to me. I initiate the call. The response I desire? Come. Now.

What will they find when they come? Who knows? A job. A treat. Something funny or information they need. Discipline? Maybe.

With a call comes an expectation. Do we assume the interruption will be negative? Mizuno comes quickly if he hears the leash drawer open. My youngest comes quickly if he hears the word Whataburger. Otherwise, they need some prodding. Here are a few things to remember with our own training:

  1. Remember what you were called from. God brought you to Himself, out of darkness and into light. (1 Peter 2:9; John 6:44) Look around and remember those who aren’t in relationship with Him. That could have been you.
  2. Remember Who’s calling. God’s driving the relationship. Do you really want to ignore Him?
  3. Come expectantly. Think treat, not vet.
  4. You have been called. It’s a privilege. What will you do with the opportunity?

Come when He calls. Nail your spiritual workouts this week, and change your corner of the gym.

Tweetables:

With a call comes an expectation. Click to tweet.

Do we assume the interruption will be negative? Click to tweet.

Remember what you were called from. Click to tweet.

Remember Who’s calling. Click to tweet.

Come expectantly. Think treat, not vet. Click to tweet.

Because He Says So

Because He Says So

Buy-in.

When you have it, you can influence.

Without it, you get pushback.

As our kids grew older, reason became our tool to gain buy-in. Reason, we hoped, would aid compliance. Sometimes it did. Other times, not so much. (Did I mention our kids are really strong-willed?)

As I grow older, I find the same thing. Reason has little influence on my own compliance.

Love exerts more influence than reason ever did, but I still want the why behind the what. God, however, often requires me to move out in both faith and obedience before I get the why.

Apart from reason.

Apart from common sense.

Because He says so.

When I pulled that line on my kids, I required action based on my authority as Mom. I wished I had read Luke 5 first, because Jesus doesn’t use it that way at all:

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Bible Gateway.com/NIV)

Peter obeyed not because he wanted to. He didn’t. He’d fished all night. Peter was tired and was ready to go home.

He obeyed not because it made sense. It didn’t. A carpenter giving fishing tips to a pro? Really?

He obeyed not because Jesus pulled rank. Jesus didn’t. He gave a simple instruction.

Peter obeyed because of Who did the asking.

“Because you say so.”

And his obedience led to a monster catch that broke nets.

A monster catch that nearly sank not one boat, but two.

A monster catch that left a group of professional fisherman gaping like a bunch of big-mouthed bass.

A monster catch that led to a career change for Peter that impacts believers today.

All because he obeyed when Jesus said so.

Questions:

When you hear “Because I said so,” what comes to mind?

Whose requests would you honor regardless?

Whose requests would you have to think about before you made your decision?

What is the difference between the two?

Into what category does God fall?

If He is not in the first one, what would it take to get Him there?

Tweetables:

Reason aids my own compliance little. Click to tweet.

Love restrains me more than reason ever did. Click to tweet.

Peter obeyed because of Who did the asking. Click to tweet.

Christmas: Surviving and Thriving

Christmas: Surviving and Thriving

Now that we’ve survived Thanksgiving and Black Friday, let’s turn our attention to Christmas holiday planning. For years Christmas was not my holiday of choice. Sandwiched between two of my children’s birthdays, Christmas formed the daunting middle miles of a December marathon. Take heart, we can survive December and even enjoy it, but it may mean going against the norm.

Prepare Your Hearts

Romans 12:2 (NIV) reminds us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

When I think conform, I think Play-doh. This is not what we’re going for—allowing the world to press us into its mold.

Think transform, as in Transformers, changing from one thing into another and lining up with God. And transformation comes from exposure to God’s Word.

Be as intentional about Christmas as you are about Easter and Lent. If you’re bailing on prepping for both, come on and join us! Here’s how:

  • Celebrate Advent.
  • Use a countdown to Christmas calendar that is Christ-centered.
  • Read through the Christmas story during December.

Start planning. This is the truly important stuff, so get it on the calendar first.

Place Santa Where He Belongs

If you’re a Santa fan, keep him in his proper place—on his knees before Jesus. One way to do this is to teach on the real Saint Nicholas who was quite the godly man. Put your nativity set (You do have one, right?) in a prominent place. Make sure the kids have one they can handle and play with.

One note on the nativity scene—please, don’t set your wise men at the stable! They were never there. Read Matthew. Instead, have them travel around the room. They didn’t arrive until Jesus was two years old, and trust me, Mary and Joseph were not living in the stable.

Note to parents: When you give Jesus top billing at Christmas rather than Santa, the gimmes (Gimme this! Gimme that!) mysteriously lose their pull. They might even disappear.

Holiday Planning Begins—Now

Sit down with the calendar now and schedule what is most important:

  • Preparing your heart
  • Time with your family and friends
  • Worshiping the newborn King

God will help you accomplish the other stuff when you put Him first. You will be amazed at how He will multiply your time, find you unbelievable bargains, and help you get a beautiful, delicious dinner on the table.

But don’t be shocked if He also asks you to turn loose of items you view as have-tos. If God is prying your fingers off, chances are it’s not a have-to but a want-to in disguise. Matthew reminds us to seek first the King and His Kingdom, then all these things will be given to us as well (Matthew 6:33).

So, come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Questions:

What is your biggest struggle with Christmas?

What do you think God desires for you this season?

How do His desires for you compare with the expectations you put on yourself?

Family Application:

Get together and talk about what everyone wants to do in December. Find out what is truly meaningful to everyone—and schedule it.

Set expectations for Christmas devotionals. You can find the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke. (Don’t skip the first part about Elizabeth and Zechariah.) Have a different person read a few verses from the Bible each night.

Watch The Nativity and other depictions of the Christmas story.

[Warning #1: Check for accuracy with Christmas TV and movies. Most get it wrong.]

[Warning #2: Be prepared for spiritual warfare. The enemy does not want your family to spend time together, especially time in God’s Word. Pray ahead of time and be ready to diffuse squabbles.]

Tweetables:

When I think conform, I think Play-doh. This is not what we’re going for. Click to tweet.

Think transform, as in Transformers, changing from one thing into another. Click to tweet.

If you’re a Santa fan, keep him in his proper place—on his knees before Jesus. Click to tweet.

When you give Jesus top billing, the gimmes (Gimme this! Gimme that!) mysteriously lose their pull. Click to tweet.

If God is prying your fingers off, chances are it’s not a have-to but a want-to in disguise. Click to tweet.

Triple D: Daniel and Defilement

Triple D: Daniel and Defilement

“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” (Daniel 1:8 NIV)

Daniel. A teenager. Yanked from home, family, and country of origin. Dropped into the capital city of the enemy.

New name.

New language.

New life.

Daniel had a choice. Assimilate or adapt. Assimilation meant adopting his country of exile and all that came with it. Adapting meant staying faithful to God and His covenant in enemy territory.

Daniel 1:8 shows only one of many stands Daniel must have taken. In this case, the issue was food and whether to follow the law given by Moses. Can you imagine the peer pressure? This is a teenage boy, and the other kids are eating bacon. Bacon! And Daniel chooses obedience with a side of broccoli.

Let’s take a look at his commitment.

Devotion

Daniel was devoted. He kept God first, even in Babylon. But I guarantee he had put God first in Israel before he was taken. His commitment to God didn’t depend on circumstance.

Discipline

Teenage boys are all about food. This diet thing may seem like no big deal to you, but I promise, it was. Veggies and water? My boys would have starved to death. Daniel willingly disciplined himself because of his devotion to God.

Difference

When Nebuchadnezzar brought the first group of exiles in from Judah, Daniel was one of many. Yet only four are mentioned by name: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Not only did their choices set them apart from their peers, their resulting blessing set them apart before the king.

“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Hebrew names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego); so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.” (Daniel 1:17-20)

So, what does defilement look like for you? And what are you missing because of it?

For me, it’s usually poor entertainment choices and fried food. Are you sensitive to the check of the Holy Spirit? Any and every check warrants our attention. Let’s get before God and do some soul searching, ask Him to reveal areas of defilement, and get His help to clean it up.

Dare to be devoted, disciplined, and different.

And watch God’s response.

Questions:

What does the word defilement mean to you?

Does a particular area of your life come to mind?

How does our devotion level affect our discipline?

Is peer pressure a factor? Even among believers?

Family Application:

If you were captured and sent to a foreign country without your family, what things would you hold on to?

What would you be feeling?

Would you be afraid to go against the flow in a new place?

What if your life was in danger? Would you compromise your values or beliefs in the face of danger?

Tweetables:

Daniel had a choice. Assimilate or adapt. Click to tweet.

Daniel chooses obedience with a side of broccoli. Click to tweet.

Choices set them apart from their peers. Click to tweet.

Blessing set them apart before the king. Click to tweet.

What does defilement look like for you? What are you missing because of it? Click to tweet.

Encouragement: Get Your Spurs On

Encouragement: Get Your Spurs On

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24 NIV)

Samson was uncooperative. He trotted nicely, but when I called for a canter, he just wasn’t interested. Megan, my awesome riding instructor, handed me a short whip and told me to hold it on his shoulder. No need to flick him, just let him know it was there. As we rounded the end of the arena, I gripped the riding whip, letting it rest on his right shoulder. I called for a canter—and Samson immediately responded.

The stinker.

A cowboy wears spurs is to “encourage” his horse to do something he’s not particularly interested in doing. The author of Hebrews tells us to do the same for each other.

Some versions of Scripture read this way, “provoke.” When my kids provoke each other, they’re looking for a response. The author of Hebrews is looking for one too.

And there are two ways to get one.

The Whip

When Samson felt the whip on his shoulder, he knew I meant business. Though I didn’t use it, the threat of force rode his shoulder—and he chose to avoid it. He responded with the canter I desired. Too many times I’ve taken the hard line in “encouraging” my kids to do something they should.

There is another way.

The Whoop

As this blog posts, I’m teaching swimming lessons. In Texas, swimming is a needed life skill, but frankly, most three to five-year-olds would rather not do the work to master it. So, moms go into cheerleader mode. And this is good.

Encouragement and reward help us get through the hard spots. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time for firmness and consequences. But if we can get there with sweetness, let’s do it.

So, provoke, spur on, encourage one another toward love and good deeds. Push someone’s positive buttons and lead them to good choices today.

Questions:

When you are provoked, do you respond? How?

What’s the best way to talk you into something?

Who can you spur on and how?

Family Application:

Talk out love and good deeds. Set specific examples of how you would like to see love in your home. Discuss possible good deeds. How will you encourage or spur on your family to make these a reality? (Notes of encouragement? Rewards? Opportunities for family fun?)

Tweetables:

A cowboy wears spurs to “encourage” his horse. The author of Hebrews tells us to do the same for each other. Click to tweet.

Encouragement and reward help us get through the hard spots. Click to tweet.

There’s a time for firmness and consequences, but if we can get there with sweetness, let’s do it. Click to tweet.

Push someone’s positive buttons and lead them to good choices today. Click to tweet.

From Defiant Sin to Devoted Servant

From Defiant Sin to Devoted Servant

Note: In the Law of Moses, there is no sacrifice for defiant sin.

None.

Lots devoted to unintentional sin. But for defiant sin? No recourse.

This Easter I find myself deep in the Pentateuch—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. (Your favorites, I know.) I’m taking Old Testament History 1, Genesis–Judges this semester. The journey from Genesis to Deuteronomy has been quite a ride. Check it out.

“But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has despised the LORD’s word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.” (Numbers 15:30-31 NIV)

Defiant sin is the “Shake your fist at God” variety. Blatant. In your face.

That’s a concern for this strong-willed child because I earned a ticket to hell on pride alone without a long list of other sins, defiant or unintentional. And in case you think that’s just Old Testament stuff, the New Testament book of Hebrews echoes the sentiment of Numbers.

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-29)

However, as far back as Genesis, God reveals His grace, and at Easter, we celebrate His offer of forgiveness to each of us.

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ.” (Romans 3:21-24)

As I look back at my proud and defiant moments, most stemmed from a shallow, inaccurate view of God. As God has revealed more of Himself to me, defiance has become less of an issue. I would rather draw close to Jesus than shake my fist at Him.

This Easter, I’m grateful for the blood that covers my sin and for the God who loved me enough to change my defiance to devotion.

Questions:

Have you been guilty of defiant sin?

What compelled you to go there?

Have you changed? Why?

Can you be saved and still live a lifestyle of defiant sin?

Tweetables:

As I look back at my proud and defiant moments, most stemmed from a shallow, inaccurate view of God. Click to tweet.

As God has revealed more of Himself to me, defiance has become less of an issue. Click to tweet.

I would rather draw close to Jesus than shake my fist at Him. Click to tweet.

This Easter, I’m grateful for the blood that covers my sin and for the God who loved me enough to change my defiance to devotion. Click to tweet.

KNots: Hanging On Through a Bad Day

KNots: Hanging On Through A Bad DayToday’s been a bad day, and I’m discouraged. My husband is traveling. I’m single parenting again, and my child is warring against my respect and self-worth. I’m tired and am at the end of my rope. Here are the knots God gave me to grab.

KNot 1:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

Even if the recipient of your good has a bad attitude. Even if the harvest seems a long ways off. Even when the ground looks rocky with no sprouts in sight.

KNot 2:

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)

God sees when no one else does.

KNot 3:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Pray about your situation and find one thing to be thankful for. Something. Anything. Stay put until you sense God’s peace.

Hang on. This bad day will pass. Tomorrow all things are new.

Questions:

What’s your default behavior when you have a bad day?

How’s that working?

Would you want your kids to follow this example? If so, please share!

What would you change?

Tweetables:

God sees when no one else does. Click to tweet.

Hang on. Tomorrow’s a new day. Click to tweet.

Ready and Willing: Does God Bless?

Ready and Willing: Does God Bless?

“When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed them. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said, “Be clean.” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.” (Matthew 8:1-3 NIV)

Blessing. The word gets thrown around a lot. We bless someone when they sneeze. We ask it of our parents when we marry. We covet God’s blessing too, but what are the terms?  Does God bless? How? When and why?

My concept of God had often been that He was able but not necessarily willing.

I mean I knew He could do X, Y, and Z. He was after all omnipotent.

But—willing? I wasn’t so sure.

Did His willingness depend on my behavior? Like Santa, if I’d been really good, would He come through in a pinch?

Or did my sin knock me out of contention in the favor department?

Turns out, often God’s willingness has nothing to do with me.

God desires to bless His kids. Period. That’s how He rolls. That doesn’t mean He winks at sin or that He hands out ponies or a Lexus just because we want one.

It means He’s a giver by nature, and He chooses to give to us.

It’s a concept that’s kinda’ hard for me to wrap my head around. Performance was ingrained in me early on, and it’s taken years to shed. I expected the worst from God because I knew that’s what my sin deserved.

What I’ve discovered is a God who passionately loves His children and who is ready and willing to bless their socks off.

And blessings range from gorgeous sunsets to two tickets to a Chris Botti concert at Carnegie Hall.

I’ve seen a practically brand new car priced ridiculously low because it sat on the lot for months. They couldn’t move it because of the color—the exact shade of blue our daughter wanted.

I have seen answered prayer, timely words of encouragement, and confirmation of decisions.

I’ve seen God work a miracle (salesman’s own words) on a beautiful engagement ring for an enlisted sailor at the low end of the pay scale.

I’ve learned—God is willing.

Willing to answer.

Willing to heal.

Willing to encourage.

Willing to say no to something small we want for something He has that’s greater.

Willing to open doors.

Willing to close them.

Willing to bless.

Just for fun. Just because.

That’s how He rolls.

Our challenge? To receive His blessings with a grateful heart and to go and do likewise.

Look for His blessing this week, moments when God winks and you grin in surprise. Point them out to those around you. Write them down so you don’t forget.

Teach your kids to do the same.

Then look for opportunities to bless others. Encourage the kids to follow your example.

Make it a family challenge. A blessing throw-down. A gratitude gauntlet.

Are you willing?

Questions:

What is your view of God? Is it spot-on with what Scripture says or is it perhaps a shadow of people in your life?

Is it easy or difficult to see blessing? Why?

Does a voice tell you that you are not worthy to receive God’s blessing? (Hint: It’s not God.)

What attitudes are you cultivating in your children regarding who God is and how He works?

What is one thing you will do this week to open your heart to God and to others?

Tweetables:

God’s willingness often has nothing to do with me. Click to tweet.

God desires to bless His kids. Period. That’s how He rolls. Click to tweet.

Our challenge? To receive His blessing with a grateful heart and to go and do likewise. Click to tweet.

Look for His blessing this week, moments when God winks and you grin in surprise. Click to tweet.

Make blessing others a family challenge. A blessing throw-down. A gratitude gauntlet. Click to tweet.