Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Great Expectation

My little man Reese is getting big enough now to ask me for the things that he wants as opposed to just crying when he needs something. He uses sign language and is learning to speak so it is so much fun when he toddles in and starts excitedly signing with his chubby little hands and jabbering something, sometimes understandable and sometimes not! I get so excited that he not only wants to ask me things, but that he wants to share everything with me. For example, as a general rule, trucks do not thrill me. But, when my little man comes running into the room, big eyes shining, frantically signing and saying "cuck!!" (translation: truck) all of the sudden a truck is the most exciting thing to me! I have also been noticing his attitude when he approaches me with a request. He comes with complete expectation that Mommy will meet whatever his need is. He knows that by coming to me, either his specific request will be granted or that Mommy will find something even better for him. Thus he comes before me with joy, excitement and expectation.

Reese's excitement at communicating with his parents has caused me to ponder the idea that we should approach our heavenly Father in the same way and that perhaps He responds to our communication with the same enthusiasm. Consider these verses.

James 1:6-7 says "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."

Isaiah 58:2 "Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God."

Luke 11:9-13 "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

I wonder if we approached God with total enthusiasm and expectation if our prayers wouldn't have a different outcome. I don't know about you, but I tend to approach God because I know He is there, because I always have, I am desperate, it is the right thing to do. I have been pondering lately the fact that perhaps I need to change my approach. Perhaps I need to approach Him with the same wide-eyed, joyful expectation that my son approaches me with because He is a loving heavenly Father Who joys at hearing from us and delights in giving us good things. It is so easy to ramble off my list of requests hoping that He will answer. But what I frequently don't acknowledge is the fact that every one of my requests is just as important to Him as it is to me and that I as His daughter don't have to hope for an answer, I should expect one.

Just as a disclaimer, I am not saying that if we approach God correctly He will always answer all of our prayers just the way we want. When Reese sees me using knives to cut up veggies for dinner he likes to ask for one. However, as his mom I know that would be dangerous for him. Even though he may fuss about it because he is little and doesn't understand, I want something better for him. Maybe we need to realize that God works that way too. He may say no to our request, but it is just because He joys in bringing us to where He wants us to be. He is not a cruel Father who joys in saying no, but rather a loving one who desires what is best for His children.

I also wonder if God does not get just as much joy from us approaching Him as we get when our children delight in approaching us. Maybe God gets just as excited over our joy just because we are His. Perhaps that is the visual we should have next time we kneel before Him. Maybe next time I have a request or just something that excites me, I should run with joy to the Heavenly Father Who delights in me and approach with excited expectation at whatever His answer will be. How do you approach our Heavenly Father?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Drawing the Battle Lines

Matthew 6:24a "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. "

James 4:4 "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."

Matthew 12:30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."

Joshua 24:15: "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Ammorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

These are just a few of the verses that God has been using to slowly break through my beliefs concerning the way that I live. I constantly ponder whether my life is pleasing to God and the more I look around me and the more I try to read Scripture for what it truly says, I am ashamed of my actions. I suppose that what I am about to say seems fanatical, almost crazy, but God does not ask us to be of the world, nor to shape our lives to the everyday norms in order to "infiltrate" the darkness, but rather God calls us to be "in but not of" and to be a light that pierces the darkness. That means being something that the world will see as different because the truly lost person is not seeking someone that claims to have an amazing hope, but in reality is just like him, but he is rather truly looking for someone that expresses the love that they are longing for. Which one am I? What does my life show. If I apply this to every aspect of my life what is the result. Movies? Music? Books? Heroes? Attitudes? Actions? Clothing? Possessions? Desires? Thoughts?

How much do we justify something to ourselves by saying "it is mostly clean, it just has a little of this or that"? How often do we watch a movie that we encourage others to watch with the admonition of "It is a great movie! Totally clean. They only swear and take God's name in vain a few times, but otherwise it is great!" or "There are only a few bad parts, but otherwise it is wonderful!"? Who am I to make allowances for the misuse of my holy and righteous God's name?! Is that justifiable in any way? Do I not realize that if I take part in these things in anyway then I am making it acceptable? Do I not realize that everything that I do is a representation of what I believe? What do I truly believe? God does not take His holy name lightly nor does He take any sin lightly. Am I lukewarm in my beliefs as I walk around parading a watered down Christianity and a god who is no longer just, righteous and holy? Or am I someone who proclaims God as He is? Am I at enmity with the world or with God? Who am I truly serving?