Friday, November 30, 2012

Jesus, My Hero

I think I have been seriously overlooking something very important.  Another moment of re-learning!  

My Lord Jesus is powerful!  If anything is standing between me and him, he is able to get rid of the obstacle, or help me to do it. He is able to help me with anything!  ...Anything!  

He cannot be treated like just a friend to vent to.  He can't be looked at as simply a comforter or a back-patter, sitting by sympathetically.  He rises up on behalf of us if we ask him to.  He fights for us in the heavenlies!  We don't have to helplessly wonder why our relationship with him is not what it could be.  We can just ask him to do what needs to be done to help us enjoy a hindrance-free relationship with him.  

He is bigger than the distractions that seem to constantly plague me, and I am asking him to bulldoze them.  I have tried and tried to do it myself, and it is painfully tiring and frustrating.  It has been like running repeatedly into a locked heavy metal door in an attempt to knock it down.  But what joy it gives me to imagine Jesus using his pinkie to effortlessly tear the door off it's hinges, toss it aside, and smile at me, now ready for intimate fellowship.

Please don't skip the scripture!  Try to read it like you have never seen it before:

16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Ephesians 1:16-21 ESV (I added some emphasis!)


Friday, November 23, 2012

Re-Learning... Again

It has been far too long!

Sometimes I feel like one of the most dense humans on the planet, because I seem to need to relearn things over and over and over.  Or maybe it's just that I have known things in my head for a long time, but the facts haven't traveled to my heart because my head hasn't fully accepted them yet.  Either way, I am glad the Lord is so patient, because if I were him, I'd probably be pulling my hair out over me by now!

I am also glad that I am "relearning" these things.  I'll share a brief overview of the truths that I have known forever, but have recently come to understand a bit deeper in my heart, in a way that I can apply to myself:

1. God and Jesus love me no matter what.  I started understanding what this means when I thought about my favorite person, the one I love most unconditionally.  I thought about how I feel toward them despite all their flaws and shortcomings, what I want for them, how I would treat them in the face of them doing something wrong or disappointing, etc... and I came to the conclusion that if I can feel so tenderly toward somebody, and if God tells me to always forgive and always love and always treat well, then he certainly does nothing less for me.  (I recommend doing the same mental exercise of thinking about somebody you just absolutely adore, and preferably know very well - it might open your eyes, too, if you have been in the same boat as I have)

2. Relationship is the most important thing to God.  That's why he made humans and why he sent Jesus.

3. But relationship with God is only fully experienced through obedience to him.  That way there is not only no guilt in blocking the way between me and God, but I can also be assured that when I obey, I am much more safe and protected.  God can only do so much for me, for example, when I decide to go against him and get in a fist fight with someone who has made me angry.  Additionally, when we obey, God's goodness is showcased to the world in an extremely powerful way because it so confounds and confuses the ways of the enemy.

4. I don't need to be perfect!  I can't be perfect!  The Lord does not EXPECT me to be perfect!  And, I will NEVER BE PERFECT!  And!  That is OK!  Good gracious.  Needless to say, I'll be relearning this one again next month. 

Anybody learning anything out there?  What a privilege to be able to encourage each other in all of our learning about our marvelous Lord Jesus and our Father God :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Working with God

I have often wondered why God works with certain people.  What makes him able to do so?  Or what makes them the type of person God likes to work with?  In what ways might people need to be different than everybody else?

(Quick sidenote:  I don't like the expression "use" in Christianity - "God used him" or "please use me, God" - it's not there, biblically.  God works together with us "to will and to do of his good pleasure," he doesn't control us and make us do things the way I "use" a fork, if you see where I'm coming from).

And, I don't really know the answer to this!  I don't know that any of us can fully understand why certain people were chosen, or ended up doing "big things" for God.  Often, these people are of no account to the rest of the world.  For example, Esther was just a Jewish child who, through God's provision, became Queen and changed the fate of her people.  But on the other hand, people in high up positions also become great in God's economy.  King David would be one such person.

I've been looking at possible reasons Daniel was such a great man, and why God was able to work with him.    More specifically, I've been considering what set Daniel apart for God's work.

Here are some things I discovered:

One of the first things said about Daniel (1:8), is that he RESOLVED that he would not defile himself with the King's food, which he was commanded to eat.  He took a big risk and asked the person in charge of him to let him eat something else.  Vegetables!  Who would choose to eat vegetables over the same food the King was eating?  (Which happened to be meat and wine, by the way).  Well, it was more important to Daniel to honor God than to enjoy tasty food that would defile him (I haven't researched, but my guess is that the meat was offered to idols).

Read the book of Daniel and you will see that over and over Daniel (and his awesome friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) chooses to honor God despite any personal harm or discomfort he may suffer from such a choice.  To me, that seems like a quality that would allow God to work with a person.  How could God do mighty things through us if we shy away from something that needs to be done if it is threatening?  Daniel and his friends would not have been able to make the statements they were trying to make if they had not stood firm in the face of death.

For example, Daniel, in chapter 6, continued to pray to God three times daily despite a grave decree from the King he served that anyone who petitioned any man or god beside the King would be thrown into the lion's den.  If he hadn't, it would have sent the message that the King is more important than Daniel's God, that Daniel is afraid of the King, that he doesn't think that God could save him from any peril, and that Daniel doesn't really take his relationship with God seriously.  But since he DID stand firm, it not only sent a strong message of complete trust and dependence on God, but it also gave God the chance to show the entire kingdom how awesome He really is, and that he can save anyone who relies completely on Him.

It seems like our culture is all about compromise and pleasing ourselves, and so it is no wonder that in America we don't see amazing things from the hand of God.  I think that it would do us well to get back to a place of true dependence on God, and to making the right decisions to show the world that we honor God above anyone and anything else.  I'm working on it, and I'm thankful for the examples in the Bible of people who did just that.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Good Morning!

This week, like a sharp poke in the side, I remembered a little lesson somebody taught several years ago. It was the principle of "spiritual breathing."

We need to breath in, but we can't only breath in or eventually it will be like we never breathed in, and we will turn blue. We need to breath out so that we can breath in again. Over and over.

Spiritually, breathing in is taking in, learning, receiving. Clearly, we need to breath in and be nourished.

Breathing out corresponds to giving, doing, passing on to others some of what we just got. We also need to breath out because it is part of the cycle.

If we only breath in, we become like a little pond that gets rainwater and then sits stagnantly, rotting. The water would not go bad if there were circulation - water coming in and going out.

We can't grow in a healthy way by taking in, taking in, taking in. We get fat that way. We get puffed up with all of our knowledge, but we don't learn how to use it if we don't actually go out and use it. We need to eat the word and then go and let it get burned up with exercise. Then we need to come back to get full again so we can repeat the cycle.

For me, I need to do a lot more breathing out. I'm learning so much these days, but I need to share that and use it. So one of my goals is to blog more so I can pass on the things that are benefiting me.

Proverbs 11:24
One gives freely,
yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give,
and only suffers want.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Tribute to My Fish and to Jesus

Last week, a tragedy occurred in the Trigg household.  My beloved Betta fish, Alfa, had his final adventure as he leapt out of his bowl and flopped all over my bed side table while I slept.  I found him before I left for work in the morning, nice and crispy, his gorgeous teal scales dried up into a horrible black color.  I wailed.

As shocking and sad as this event was (and believe me, it was sad - I cried every day for a week), I was reminded of the hope I have in Christ because of God.

Death is truly a horrifying, ugly, ruthless thing.  It rips and tears at everything it can dig its claws into, and leaves us traumatized and wounded.  But all of us have to face death!  And as indescribably terrible as it is, we have to remember that death itself will be destroyed.  Because of what Christ did to ransom us, someday the reign of Death will be broken, and death's evil prince, Illness, will no longer influence the world.  Instead, there will be Restoration - we and our loved ones who have fallen asleep beside us will be RESTORED!  This is an unbelievable salve for the wounds death has marred us with.

While I wait to be reunited with my dear little feisty fish, and, much more seriously, with my fellow brothers and sisters who have endured this life and fought in love for the Lord, I am SO thankful for the short time we have here together on this earth.  Honestly, what a gift each moment is!  I can say I enjoyed Alfa every day he was in my life (it's so easy to love a fish unconditionally), and I want to be able to say the same for each person I love when that time comes .

Finally, what dawned on me was that if a silly little two inch long fish that does nothing productive in life can capture my heart so, how precious must we be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ?  How do they feel when we die and they too have to wait until the Resurrection to hear our voice again?  Alfa's death just really opened my eyes to how loved we must be and how our lives must warm God's heart when we spend them with Him.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Revelation in Target

I have been very distracted from God recently!  I can't put my finger on just one thing that has driven me to distraction, but I can tell you it has not been fun losing connection with my Father and my Lord Jesus.  And the longer I stay away, the more lost I feel, the more distorted my view of who God is becomes.

Interestingly, I'm sure God knew that this might happen if I wasn't more careful, because I believe he warned me about it.  I was in Target, and I found myself aimlessly walking through the aisles and looking at EVERYTHING, even though I didn't need any of it.  Nothing necessarily wrong with doing some "window shopping" every once in a while, but all of the sudden I heard this phrase in my head like a caption beneath the cartoon of what I was doing: "She wandered from the faith."

"What?!?"  I stopped in my tracks, looked around wide-eyed and high-tailed it back to find my husband, thinking "I don't want to wander!"

But since then, that's what I have done without realizing it.  I didn't guard my morning time in the Word.  I let myself be too tired to stay awake in the morning, and allowed my mind to run around me in circles like a tiny, excited dog so that I could not concentrate on the Lord even if I were awake enough to do so.  I haven't kept it a priority to be in touch with my amazing Christian friends who encourage me and point me to the truth.  I stopped blogging, which really helps me work through things with God sometimes.  I have hardly prayed.  I didn't even want to go to church this Sunday (but I did because my husband made me, bless him).

I'm not listing all of those things to make myself feel worse, but because I think those are the keys.  My man and I listened to a teaching last night that addressed these things, which really brought into focus the causes of my current spiritual distress.  I definitely recommend you set aside some time to listen to it,* but I'll tell you that the suggestions (based on the Parable of the Sower) were to build godly, spiritual habits into your life, and to do whatever it takes to rearrange your life so that you can and do put God and our Lord Jesus Christ first.

Needless to say, I will be scrambling to restore my Father to his rightful place.  I'm beyond thankful that he hasn't, nor will he ever give up on me when I wander, and that Christ did what it took so I don't have to ever EARN God's love and acceptance.

*You can find the teaching at truthortradition podcasts - it is the February 2012 teaching of the month called "The Parable of the Sower" by John Schoenheit.