Main

Confusion Archives

November 29, 2003

An Open Mind

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45

Why is it that some days reading the Bible is like trying to read a German newspaper? I might be able to sound out the words, but I gain very little from it. In order to understand the true meaning of the words for either a foreign newspaper or the Bible often requires the same thing: someone to explain it to me.

That's where the Holy Spirit comes in. Without Him opening my mind to the Scriptures, the meaning always eludes me.

Lord, there are so many days that I open Your Word, and I am like a child attempting to read an encyclopedia. I forget to invite Your Spirit to open my mind, so the concepts, the insights, and the deepest understandings never seem to come. I am lost without You.

Fill my heart today. Open my mind to the Truth, so I might share it for Your glory!

December 15, 2003

How can I know?

But Abram said, "O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will take possession of it." Genesis 15:8

Abram believed that God would give him more descendants then he could count, but in the same breath he seemed to doubt that God would give him the land. He questioned God saying, "How can I know?"

Lord, why is the human heart so fickle? One moment I can be elated with Your blessing, and the next I am overwhelmed by dreadful darkness. At least I am not alone. Even Abram was fickle - believing one moment and doubting the next.

You have been so amazing lately, Lord. I have sensed Your presence when I have needed You most, but now my heart questions. How can I know that I am not alone? This past week has been overwhelming, yet You have been there. The next week has greater things in store. Will You be here again?

Father, forgive my doubts. Meet me on this journey. Keep me from the ways of darkness so that others might see Your light shining through me.

December 21, 2003

Simply Sit

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread.” Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. Genesis 18:6-7

Our concept of time has changed so much in modern days. When we hurry to do something, it generally can be done in minutes. At one time, the same task would have taken hours to complete.

One day Abraham had three visitors, one of which was the Lord Himself. Abraham hurried about to have a meal prepared. Now, meal preparation for Abraham wasn’t like it is today. The bread Sarah made would have taken hours to rise before it was baked. And the calf would have been killed, dressed, then cooked over an open fire. This, too, would have taken hours.

I wonder. What did the visitors do while they waited? Did they sit and talk with Abraham? Did they talk among themselves? Or did they simply enjoy the day?

Lord, I have been racing about for the past few weeks, and I have missed so many chances to simply sit and enjoy You. The ministry opportunities have been fabulous, but without You, none of this is worth it. I think I would rather stay home with You than to perform before hundreds of thousands.

Oh, I’ve felt Your presence. I have marveled at the blessings You provide. But to simply sit – to watch You – to listen for Your voice – this is what I miss.

Help me, Lord, to find the energy and desire to spend more time with You. If we need to meet like this every night, I want to be here. But I need Your strength. My body is too fragile. All this hurrying about means nothing, unless I can hurry to Your side and simply sit.

December 31, 2003

At the End of Our Lives

His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. Genesis 25: 9-10

I wonder if Isaac and Ishmael became friends. Although Ishmael was sent away, he was there to bury his father. At that time, Isaac was living near Beer Lahai Roi, a place that was name by Ishmael’s mother, Hagar, when she fled from Sarai after Ishmael was born. Oh, I’m sure Ishmael harbored resentment towards Isaac; Ishmael was Abraham’s first born, but Isaac was the chosen one.

I just wonder what kind of relationship they had towards the end of their lives. Goodness knows, the beginning was full of turmoil.

Lord, I wonder what my relationship will be with my siblings towards the end of our lives. There has been so much turmoil over the years, that now I find it easier to live my life apart from them. Soften our hearts, Spirit, so that when the day comes to bury my father, we can stand side by side without anger.

January 6, 2004

Prosperity at a Cost

In this way he may grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys. Genesis 30:43

There aren't many redeeming things to say about Jacob when he lived in Haran. In my opinion, he went from bad to worse. By day he manipulated his father-in-law's flocks to increase his wages, and by night he allowed himself to be used as a mere breeder in a game of manipulation between Rachel and Leah.

Some might say that he had it made. He could sleep with any of four wives each night, and he grew richer each day. But what kind of man was he? How much did Jacob's prosperity truly cost him? It is truly amazing to me that from a family this dysfunctional came the great nation of Israel. What a mess!

Lord, I sense that You want me to ask for the redemption of my own dysfunctional family. But I don't know if I want the responsibility that come with it. It has been too easy to simply walk away. I don't know if I even like them enough to deal with them.

Soften my heart, so I might become prosperous by Your hand and not my own.

January 27, 2004

Forced Destiny

When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim's head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. Genesis 48:17

No matter how hard we try, we cannot force the destiny of our children. Joseph was unhappy when his father Jacob gave the higher blessing to his youngest son. He tried to force his father into changing, but Jacob wouldn't budge. Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh.

Lord, I want the best for my children. Sometimes I wish I could make it happen for them, but I know their destiny is Your concern. Help me to take my hands off of them. Accept my constant prayers on their behalf. They are called to mighty things. Fill them with Your Spirit, so You will be glorified.

February 2, 2004

Glancing This Way and That

Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Exodus 2:12

Isn't it amazing what we will do when we think no one is looking? Moses murdered an Egyptian who beat one of his Hebrew brothers. Eventually, it cost him everything. He fled for his life!

How many times in my life have I glanced this way and that so I might do something I know to be wrong? I can't be with people every moment of every day. I don't want to! Alone time is a part of life. Without solitude, I would be a very shallow man. But too much secrecy can lead me to places I should not go.

Lord, help me to understand that I am never completely alone. You see all I do. Help me to continue in accountability to my Christian brothers. Their watchful eye sees into my very heart.

I long to be righteous. Keep me from the premeditations of my heart.

February 4, 2004

Please Send Someone Else!

But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." Exodus 4:13

Moses had quite a day.

As he went to investigate a flaming bush that wouldn't burn up, God spoke to him. Moses proceeded to hear God's plan to free the Hebrew people from bondage in Egypt, then he performed two wonders as practice for what he should do in case the Israelite elders didn't believe him.

How cool it must have been! Moses held a staff in his hand that became a snake - then a staff again His hand turned leprous, then became clean again. These things should be enough to convince the elders that God was the One who would save them.

But Moses didn't believe it himself! He told God, "Please send someone else." He asked God to do what He wanted, but to do it in a different way. I'm surprised God didn't kill Moses on the spot. Moses was speaking to the God of the universe - the God who created everything - and he wavered.

O Lord, how many times have I wavered? How many times have I seen You perform great miracles to only doubt You can help me overcome the challenges in my life? When the day comes that You determine to free some of Your children from worldly bondage, and You turn to me, will I doubt? Will I ask You to please send someone else?

Father, forgive me for ever doubting Your power. There are still ways that I am like Moses. I am too afraid to share the truth of my story with the world, so I say, "Please don't ask me to do that." I could more easily go to the other side of the earth to share You through service than I could to stand before those I know and admit how broken I have been.

Help me trust You, Lord. That was Moses' problem; he didn't trust you. It is my problem.

Use me despite my stubborn ways.

March 11, 2004

Too Small

"See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." Exodus 25:40

I am always amazed with people's perceptions of prayer. Some people I know refuse to pray about the little things. They often say, "God has more important things to do. Why should I bother Him with that?" Others I know pray for the small stuff all the time. From finding a parking space to getting a green light, there is nothing they won't talk to God about.

The thing I have come to realize in my life is that God majors in the minors. He loves detail! His instructions to Moses about the design for the ark of the covenant and the other items to be used in the tabernacle are very detailed. He is not going to turn us away because a matter is too small. My goodness, He designed the atoms that make up all matter! I think He can handle the small things AND the big things all at once.

I, on the other hand, am finding it overwhelming to deal with the minutia and the big picture. Maybe it's that age thing - that over forty mental state. My mind just doesn't work like it did in my twenties.

Lord, I need help to keep it all together. I love the details, but my perfectionism oftentimes gets the better of me. Mistakes become obsessions, and it slows me down.

Help me to get through the details of today. Calm my heart and mind with Your Presence. I really need to feel You today, Lord.

Is that too small a thing to ask?

May 2, 2004

Limitations

The Lord said to Moses, "Say to Aaron: 'For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God.'" Leviticus 21:16

God established requirements for the priests that are most certainly not politically correct. Supporters of the Americans with Disabilities Act would be up in arms if similar rules were established in businesses today. No man in Aaron's line could make offerings if he had a physical defect.

I've got a problem with this. I know God is Sovereign; He makes the rules, and His rules are always right. But this one is tough to understand...

...or maybe it's simply tough to accept.

Maybe my problem is: If God placed expectations and limitations on the priests, He will put expectations and limitations on me as well.

The priests were representatives - representatives of the people to God, and representatives of God to the people. God is without defect; therefore, the one serving at God's altar - who represented God - should be without defect. And just as the sacrifice presented to God was to be without defect, so should the priests.

Lord, there are things in life that we simply need to accept. I cannot do everything just because I want to. The sooner I learn this, the better off I will be. Without vision correction, I am legally blind. There are certain things I cannot do without my glasses. That's life!

An important point, though... Your requirements of the priests did not reflect their value. Aaron's descendants with some sort of defect could still eat of the offerings - they simply couldn't be the one to offer it.

Father, help me to accept my limitations. Help me to understand that I am valued by You. Help me to seek Your will and not mine.

Heal the defects of my heart that keep me from You.

June 17, 2004

Jumping to Conclusions

"But we are ready to arm ourselves and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land." Numbers 32:17

The Gadites and Reubenites saw a good opportunity to settle their families and care for their livestock east of the Jordan. Moses only saw one thing - rebellion. He called them a brood of sinners who would make God angrier than He was with their parents.

But Moses was too quick to judge. The Gadites and Reubenites would not abandon their brothers. They planned to go ahead of them into battle. With their families settled, their whole focus could be upon God's mission for them. Moses jumped to conclusions without hearing the whole story.

Lord, sometimes I am too quick to judge. Sometimes others don't have a chance because I am jumping to conclusions with only half the information. Give me Your wisdom, so I can lead as I should.

Spirit, I need Your help today. Again, I am facing too many tasks and too little understanding. You hovered over the waters when the earth was formed. You know the intricacies of creation. How could You not know the answers for my workplace? Help me to see the plan - or merely a glimpse of it. Encourage the discouraged. Comfort the downhearted. Let us see success, so others can be served and You can be glorified. Make me a blessing today.

June 22, 2004

Nowhere to Run

"'These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites, aliens and any other people living among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there.'" Numbers 35:15

A city of refuge was a place of protection - a place to which an innocent man could flee to avoid an avenger. On the other hand, the guilty man was to be put to death. There was no place to which a guilty man could run. A city of refuge did not exist for him. His days and nights would be filled with anxiety and worry. Anywhere he went, an avenger could take his life.

Lord, my spirit seems stuck on fast forward this morning. I feel like a guilty man with nowhere to flee. My attempts to pray have been interrupted by confusing thoughts - by worries - by anxious chaos.

Be my place of refuge. Quiet my heart, so I can hear You. Wash me in the blood of Christ. Remove this sense of guilt, so I might live in peace.

July 21, 2004

It doesn't make sense!

If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. Deuteronomy 21:22-23a

Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea - two Pharisees made known to us by their interaction with Jesus. They must have know the Scriptures. Any man hung on a tree is under God's curse. After the death of Jesus, these men hurried to take His body from the cross; they hurried to bury him. The Sabbath was coming. But the curse was already apparent.

I wonder what they thought. This man - this great prophet who spoke with authority, who cast out demons, healing the sick and raising the dead, was now a marked man - cursed by God Himself. How could it be that this man who told Nicodemus that God sent His Son, not to condemn the world but to save it, was now dead - hung on a tree - cursed by God? How awful it must have been. Everything they had come to believe no longer made sense.

The truth was: Jesus would rise again in three days.

Lord, there are times in my life that nothing makes sense. Like Nicodemus and Joseph, my head is left spinning. What is true? What in the world are You thinking? How could it be that Your hand is at work? Will I ever see Your kingdom lived out in my world - in my life?

I don't understand what You have in mind. In my twenties, I thought I knew. In my thirties, I realized I hadn't a clue. In my forties, I just want what You do.

Be glorified Father. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear.

August 11, 2004

The Power of Touch

Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses laid his hands on him. Deuteronomy 34:9a

Do we understand the power of touch? Moses laid hands on Joshua, and Joshua received the spirit of wisdom. Jesus took every opportunity to reach out, not just in His words, but with His hands. Do we understand that touch involves more that our physical bodies? Do we understand the impact it can have to hug a lonely man or woman? Do we understand the harm it can cause if it is abused?

Lord, I so often yearn for appropriate touch. I am still that lonely, little boy. Send someone to reach out - to touch me, so my spirit might be touched as well. Let me feel Your touch today.

August 20, 2004

Guilt and Condemnation

Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." John 8:10-11

How easy it is to get two feelings confused: guilt and condemnation. For years I seem to have equated the guilt I experience from my failures with condemnation from the Holy Spirit.

This is a lie.

Did Jesus ever condemn those who were caught in their sin and felt the weight of guilt? He condemned those who, in the pride, felt no guilt.

Just like the woman caught in adultery, we have all been found out - whatever our particular sin may be. But Jesus doesn't condemn; He loves.

Father, help me to accept Your grace and leave a life of sin. Make me holy as You are holy.

August 25, 2004

And It Was Night

As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. John 13:30

And it was night. What an eerie night it must have been. Jesus, the one the disciples had followed was doing the strangest things. Passover was time for reflection. There is something rather spiritual about it, but this Passover was different. Jesus was talking about leaving them, about betrayal, about servanthood. What was happening?

I wonder how the disciples would have acted if they knew what was coming. Would they have turned on Judas, this traitor of the Christ? Would they have hidden from the guards that would soon be there? Would they have run away into the night?

I guess it was better that they didn't know. Jesus knew the time was at hand. His disciples could have spoiled the plan. Well, maybe not. God's will would soon be done.

Lord, there are times that I wish I could know what lies ahead. Will I ever be in that place of holiness in this lifetime? Will I become the man You designed me to be - confident in You? Will I face a time when, like Peter, in fear I choose to deny You? So many times, I have hidden. So many times, I have betrayed. So many times, I have run away into the night.

Spirit, fill me with peace to accept the Lord's will - to accept a future I cannot see, but I know is in Your hands. If I find myself in the dark of night, come to me; comfort me until the sun rises again.

September 12, 2004

Starving to Death

... hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:5

Am I the man I want to be? Far from it! Those closest to me know that too often I am a pessimist, a negative thinker, one who tends to take life too seriously, and a man who is not very capable of forgiving himself.

Am I proud of this? Not at all! For a man whose personality type is like an otter - wanting to have fun all the time, I'd like to be known as the friendly one, the life of the party. But within me, there seems to be this other man, the pessimist. And to be honest, I don't like him very much.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about a simple story I once heard, a story of a young Indian boy and his grandfather. One day the grandfather told the boy of the challenge it is to be a man. "Within myself," the grandfather said, "are two wolves - one good and one evil. These wolves are in a fierce fight trying to win over the other." Concerned the boy asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" Without hesitation the grandfather replied, "The one I feed."

So which do I feed? The pessimist? Or the optimist? The sinner? Or the saint?

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul scolded the church for full acceptance - even pride over one in their midst who was sleeping with his father's wife. Without hesitation Paul advised them to hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed. There are times that the only way to overcome a sin is to suffer the consequence - to experience the pain - to starve it to death. Essentially, Paul is saying, "Don't feed the evil wolf."

Lord, I have always been afraid of the consequence, so it seems I have been content to allow this other man - the pessimist, the evil wolf - to feed himself, to grow stronger in me rather than weaker. Forgive me for clinging to my sinful nature like a frightened child clings to his mother. The desire of my sinful nature is destruction. How could I ever want him to remain in me?

Yet, here I am, facing the consequence of his action... of my action. Forgiveness from one, rejection from another. Help me to learn from these experiences. Help me to nurture the saint and starve the sinner.

Make me holy today.

September 26, 2004

Light and Momentary

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

Light and momentary troubles... I don't think I have ever viewed the troubles in life as "light and momentary." Maybe my view was distorted as a child. My perception when I was growing up was that the troubles in my life could never be overcome. Even though, as an adult, I understand that troubles are relatively short-lived, my childhood fears seem to continually plague me. I am constantly faced with thoughts of despair and hopelessness. Every difficulty becomes a chronic matter, rather than a mere problem to be solved. No matter how much I cover it up with outward actions, my heart tells me life is futile. Eventually the shoe is going to drop.

Lord, I need new vision. I need to see beyond the troubles of the moment. I need to see that even life-long troubles are "light and momentary." We have eternity awaiting us. In truth, we don't have to wait; eternity has already begun. But the eyes of my heart strain to see it.

Change me, Father. With my mouth I proclaim Your glory, but I struggle to fully grasp it in my heart. I've gotten pretty good at it - projecting life to others when I feel that I am dying. Save me from despair. Help me to see Your hope - to reach out and grab it, and to never let it go.

October 21, 2004

Smooth Talk

For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive. Romans 16:18

Despite all the things I know from this world - some of which I wish I had never learned - I am in actuality a very naive man. I can be easily deceived by the smooth talk and flattery of the enemy. That lost little boy inside of me is still searching. On the other hand, the man I am must daily ask the question: Am I serving Christ, or am I serving my own appetites?

How will people remember me? As a smooth talker? Or as a naive follower who would follow anything that promises to feed the emptiness in my soul?

Lord, there is void that I am struggling to identify. Why do I feel so alone when so many people have been placed in my life? Why am I so empty when You have done so much to fill me? Fill the emptiness, Father. I have yet to give it a name, but You know what it is. You were there when it was formed. It broke Your heart to see it. Help me to open my heart to the healing power of Your Spirit.

December 6, 2004

Increased Anguish

But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. Psalm 39:2

Whenever we begin to understand the depth and breadth of God's love, satan has an uncanny way of reminding us about the little things of which we are ashamed - those things we have tried so hard to forget. Increased anguish is his goal, and it is too often his undeserved reward.

Lord, why does the euphoria of Your grace seem so fleeting? How can that wonderful sense of freedom and forgiveness be dashed on the rocks of my memories? The reminder of unconfessed sin has taunted me, and I can no longer bear the weight. Give me the courage to no longer be silent. Protect me from the accusations of the enemy. Make me clean in the deepest parts of my soul - in those places no man has ever seen.

January 4, 2005

Grrrr!

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16

David had an amazing ability to praise God in the midst of the most frightening circumstances. And believe me, he had plenty to be afraid of. One particular night must have been terrifying. His father-in-law Saul sent a group of men to watch for David and to kill him. David's wife, Michal, helped him escape through a back window, and in the middle of all this, David did what he usually did... he wrote a song.

How in the world did he set aside his fear to praise God? All I seem to do is complain.

Lord, forgive my grumbling. In the midst of troubling circumstances, I tend to moan and groan. Fill me with Your Spirit. Help me to praise You - even in the darkness of night.

February 22, 2005

I know nothing!

"They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken." Psalm 82:5

No matter how much we might think of ourselves, the truth is: we really don't know anything.

Is God real?

Can we ever prove He exists?

Where is the missing link that God's followers can show to the lost to convince them that God is the Creator of it all? I can believe in Him. I can know beyond all doubt in my heart that He is in control, but do I understand enough to share the right words - the right facts - that can change the heart of a man?

No man can ever save the soul of another! Only God can reveal Himself. We are mere men.

Lord, I feel as if I have forgotten everything I have ever learned. If someone were to ask me to explain my faith in You, I fear my response would be a blank stare. The world has certainly run me over this past week. I know that You are my refuge, but I seem to have forgotten the path to Your door. The darkness has been calling me, and I fear I will answer. I feel like I have amnesia; I have forgotten who I am.

Reveal Yourself to me, Lord. The problems of this world will pass away, and You will remain. Lift me up above the crashing waves. I think I'm drowning.

February 28, 2005

The Valley of Baca

As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. Psalm 84:6

Those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. Even the Valley of Baca - the valley of weeping - is a place where new life begins. Times of trouble will come in this life; this is certain. But God's hand is always there for those who turn to Him - guiding, holding, loving.

Lord, one of my greatest struggles is to trust You. It makes no sense. I am trusting of other people. Too often I naively approach human nature, and I am disappointed. But never, when I have trusted You, have I been disappointed.

There was a news story on television yesterday about the BTK killer in Wichita, Kansas. Capturing this man, who hid in plain sight, has brought relief to an entire city. However, one man shared a story that broke me heart. He admitted that he turned his back on God after finding his family murdered. He decided there was no God, and if there was, he wanted nothing to do with Him.

How sad.

Yet... How have I responded in devastating situations? As a child, my family was fractured by rage. My reaction was to hide within myself. Who am I to judge any other man for his response to something so horrible?

Father, help me to trust You. Give me eyes to see Your handiwork - even in the midst of confusing circumstance. Bring new life from pain.

Save this man who lost his family from the darkness that has enveloped him.

May 8, 2005

Hidden Things

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

What things do we hide? And why do we hide them?

Like anyone, I've always hidden things I don't want others to see. As a child, I might have hidden special treasures - little touchstones, reminders of something I enjoyed. As I grew older, I might have hidden things that would have been embarrassing for others to see - little fantasies, reminders of a sinful nature that was gaining strength and control in my life.

As I consider hidden things, I am convinced that God's way is nothing like man's. With Him, nothing is hidden. Anything that He would have us hide will be seen by everyone. His Word hidden in our hearts shines to the world. His Spirit, who lives unseen in the hearts of those who love Him, is reflected in everyday words and actions.

To my human mind this makes no sense! Hide something so it can be seen? This simply doesn't compute.

Lord, throughout my life I have hidden things in my heart that I shouldn't have. I have learned that secrets about sin - like sin itself - can lead to death... the death of dreams, the death of hope, the death of a future. Forgive me for keeping things hidden that should have been revealed. Forgive me for allowing them to erode the plans You have for me. Help me, Lord, to live an unhidden life. Hide things in me that will be seen by all. Hide things that will bring You glory.

May 18, 2005

Sometimes, His Love is Tough to See

May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Psalm 119:76

There are times that God's unfailing love is tough to see. When the world encroaches - when bad things happen to good people, even if it is caused by their own choices, we are sometimes left wondering how a loving God could allow such things.

O Father, I am torn this morning. I know Your love never fails. I know You have a plan for Your children, but it's hard to see today. News from a friend has left me confused and angry. Positive for HIV... How could You allow this to happen? Yes, his choices were wrong. But how can You allow his family - his wife and children - to suffer such consequence? Pour out understanding. Pour out Your love. Give me the words to say.

August 17, 2005

Misunderstood Appearances

Then Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh replied to the heads of the clans of Israel: "The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to the Lord, do not spare us this day. Joshua 22:21-22

The job they set out to do was finished.

Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were free to return to the land which Moses had given them east of the Jordan. From all appearances, the first thing they did upon arrival was direct rebellion against God. They built an altar when God had commanded the people to only sacrifice offerings at the tabernacle.

The reaction of the other tribes reflected a good thing, a strong desire to follow the Lord. They prepared to destroy their brothers, however, without knowing the whole story. The altar was not for sacrifice. It was for remembrance. Future generations would see it and remember their spiritual heritage. God knew this. He knew their hearts. If their intentions had been otherwise, He might have taken the matter into His own hands.

Why are we so quick to judge sometimes? Only God knows a man's heart. There are circumstances in which we cannot trust what we see.

Lord, help me to not judge others simply by appearances. There are many things I might not understand that honor You. Give me a mind that is open to new ways, and give me a heart that is only focused on You. May You be pleased with the worship You receive, no matter how different from mine.

You are worthy of ALL praise!

October 15, 2005

Enough to Make Your Head Spin

So the cook took up the leg with what was on it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel said, "Here is what has been kept for you. Eat, because it was set aside for you for this occasion, from the time I said, 'I have invited guests.'" And Saul dined with Samuel that day. 1 Samuel 9:24

Saul's head must have been spinning. Here he was, probably a bit dirty and tired from searching for his father's donkeys for three days. He had run out of food and was unsure about what he should do next. Out of the blue, Samuel the seer invited him to lunch, seated him at the head of the table, and gave him the choicest meat from the sacrifice. He must have thought, "What in the world is happening?"

Saul didn't know what would happen the very next day. He didn't know that within twenty-four hours he would be anointed as the first king of Israel. Samuel knew. And Samuel prepared a place for Saul.

We may not know what God has in store for us. Tomorrow, He could make me a king if He would so choose. None of us really knows what He might do next. The thing I do know, however, is that He has prepared a place for me.

Jesus, to think that You have not only invited me to sit at Your table - but that You have prepared the choicest of meats for me, the finest of blessings - it makes my head spin. How could You love me so? Help me to live a life that is worthy of Your preparation - worthy of Your sacrifice. I long to serve You in the way You choose. Give me the strength and courage to get there.

December 13, 2005

Misguided Loyalty

Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, "For some time you have wanted to make David your king. Now do it! For the Lord promised David, 'By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.'" 2 Samuel 3:17

Abner is an interesting Biblical character. The cousin of Saul, the commander of the king's army - he was a strong warrior who commanded attention. When he spoke, others listened.

But did he?

Did he listen when the One who commands the most attention spoke?

The Lord made it clear: David was His choice as Saul's successor. Abner knew this. Yet he fought for the house of Saul. Unwavered, he stood against David's rule until it was apparent that Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son, was too weak to rule.

Why did he hang on for so long? Why was Abner so loyal to a cause that he knew was not the will of God?

Lord, help me to listen and follow. I don't want to be like Abner who knew the truth and stood against it. Let my loyalties be to You and You alone.

February 15, 2006

Trapped by the Ignoble

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some are ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21

I think I've been trapped by the ignoble. The Apostle Paul said, "'Everything is permissible for me' - but not everything is beneficial."

Lately, I feel like I've been far too focused on the permissible rather than the beneficial. Life has been completely overwhelming. My wife even told me I seem to be on auto-pilot.

So how do I cleanse myself of "the latter"? How do I become a noble vessel when it seems I have been overtaken by ignoble tasks?

Lord, there are far too many things on my plate. Every day is overwhelmed with the trivial - with new tasks that are passed my way - with the busyness of success. It seems the better I do, the more I am given. Now I can't do anything! Give me a bigger plate. Make me a noble vessel. Cleanse me from the ignoble things in life.

About Confusion

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in the Confusion category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Anxiety is the previous category.

Encouragement is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.31