Seeking, Finding, Accepting

My devotions started in one place this morning but ended up in quite another. Bear with me.We live in a world filled with people who say they are seeking God but yet scuff and bristle at words of instruction or advice. I am not picking on anyone in particular here but am betting that more than a few people fit the category. It is you, it is me, it is the world we live in.

 Lets make sure that we do not fall back on human nature as our excuse to live out what we know is wrong. It may be easy to say that “it is just who I am and how I am”, but the bottom line is we all make our own choices as to how we are and who we are.

I ran across Proverbs 14:6 and 18:1 today. They are started with the following phrases, “A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none” and “ He who separates himself seeks his own desire” .

Could it be those who are seeking wisdom from God and not finding it are in themselves their biggest roadblock? Just asking, if it hit a nerve maybe that deserves a bit more prayer? If we are setting ourselves apart from God then we are certainly seeking that which pleases us and not God.

Those same verses end this way, “He quarrels against all sound wisdom”. It is the old I know what I want, I am going to get what I will argue against sound wisdom with every excuse in the book, no matter what stands in my way. The truth is offered and often glaring right in front of us, but so is evil.

However, scripture also says that knowledge comes easily to one who is in the presence of God. Understanding and knowledge will increase in a wise person who seeks knowledge in the presence of God. That is truth and what will get you the kind of knowledge that is profitable.

Oh but here comes the part that gets me every time. What if the knowledge I am seeking comes in the form of another human? You know that God sometimes sends those more experienced in Godly living than we are? Yes He does, is it comfortable, no it is not. Does it bring anger, at times, yes it does, that is simply human nature. But scripture says that a wise and understanding man WILL find the knowledge he seeks if he stays close to God.

It is when we step outside the presence of God and scurry back to our human (flesh) nature that we find ourselves being offended and even angry at words of truth being directed at us. Make no mistake, that instruction and wisdom that makes us uncomfortable can come from reading scripture that goes against our human nature, it can come from God pressing down on you (the voice over your shoulder) it can come from Godly counsel from a more mature Christian. We are human, our first instinct is to say how dare you…..blah, blah, blah.

Step back into the presence of God and see what He has to say, He does not mean to provoke anger, that comes directly from the foothold Satan has found to cling to. God gives us instruction so that we may live in harmony with Him. He gives us wisdom so that we may know and accept our inheritance and live in full blown color with Him.

Perhaps Ecclesiastes 1: 13 says it best…..and I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom and concerning all that has been done under heaven. ……….

Or how about this one, Ecclesiastes 7:25, I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. Notice the very first statement, “I set my mind and I directed my mind”, it seems that the ball is in our court!

Try it, see how it works for you.

Dottie

…………….and so I ride

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Coasting through yet another weight loss plan. Day One

I decided to participate in another weight loss challenge. I thought to myself that surely one of these days, one diet or another would miraculously make me thin. I saw the Healthy By Design- Weight Loss God’s Way 21 Day Challenge by Cathie Morenzie and I thought, what the heck, I will give it a whirl. Maybe this was my miracle.

 So I signed up, bought the book, (you know, to add to my collection) and settled in to see what happened. Thinking back on the last couple of days, I can see that I wasn’t really committed and not sure I wanted to put forth the effort it would take to give this a go. I guess I wanted to give it a shot to prove that I “was trying” to do something about my health And weight. I needed those around me to see (think) that I was putting forth an effort but I didn’t necessarily actually want to do it. . The fact is that the effort looked a lot more impressive from the outside than it did from the inside.

Quick overview of Day One- We were given Psalm 139:23,24 as our scripture. There was encouragement in the reaffirmation that there are no quick fixes and that change is a process. We were to begin doing the things we wanted to see in our lives, whether or not we felt like it because permanent change best comes through small but consistent steps. Healthy living and a healthy weight isn’t about eating the right foods and exercising, it is about a mindset, it is about behaviors and following healthy patterns.

Yea, yea, yea, I knew all that, had heard it a thousand times. I was still waiting for my miracle, my straight shot to weight loss. I was discouraged and my eating that day reflected that. Cookies for breakfast, deep fried pork sandwich for lunch and Alfredo for supper. Yes, it is true that I tracked my food as promised (another thing I could brag about) but I really had no desire to eat healthy. So far so good with this challenge.

Determined not to drop out of yet another challenge/weight loss plan, I decided to re-read some of the emails for encouragement. There was one short line that grabbed me and has not let me go yet.

“The answer to lasting weight loss lies in unlocking and ACTIVATING biblical principles and breaking the chains of bondage that bind us.” …………..oh…………….wow. Let that little phrase soak in a moment or two.

God has given us principles to govern our lives. What would happen if we actually put them in place and activate the authority and power that we possess as children of God? You know what? I want to experience victory, freedom and peace. God has already given me the tools, let’s see what happens if I own those things I already possess and use them in this weight loss/healthy living journey.

Dottie

…………and so I ride

Let’s play a little game.
I have a puzzle for you. If you are playing a game and you move ahead 4 spaces, then next turn you have to go back 3 spaces, next turn you move ahead 6 spaces and your final turn you have to move back 4 spaces. Are you still ahead of where you started?

It appears that yes indeed you are still 3 spaces ahead of where you started. You are advancing, you are on the way to someplace different than where you started. Right?

Now, let’s look at life.

We start something, a diet, a project, a new job, a debt reduction plan, our Christian walk, it could be one of a million different things. Then when we get half way through it we get discouraged and frustrated because what we think progress is not happening fast enough.

Just because you are not seeing progress does not mean it is not being made. If we would take a moment to think about it, and be honest with ourselves, we are clearly ahead of where we started at.
We are an impatient lot aren’t we? A little arrogant too. The prevailing attitude is that if it can’t be done in MY time, I am not going to do it at all. Why do we tend to think that slow progress is no progress? A little or a lot, progress in progress.

A lot of the time, a little more effort and consistent effort and our goals will be met. However, discouragement grabs us and we throw what progress we have made away instead of plodding along and slowly moving forward. We don’t see that six steps forward and three steps backwards is still ending up ahead of where we started. I am willing to bet that in those backwards steps we learned some valuable lessons.

I think that our Christian walk is often like that. We have to slowly and sometimes painfully make our way to the Kingdom. It can take years, decades or a lifetime filled with ups and downs. A winding path can be enough to cause us to take our eyes off the prize. If we are no longer focusing on our destination you can bet we are focusing on the wrong things.
It is frustrating and hard. We have to remember that forward progress is forward progress. It is a good finish that we are after, the journey is not always going to be easy or pretty.

It is tempting to give up on living the Christian life because we are impatient and don’t see any progress, or not enough progress. Let Hebrews 12:1 be our motto, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Our Christian walk is intentionally meant to be an endurance event. It is an event that shapes us and makes us into what God means us to be.

Sure our Christian walk with have lots of meaningful and uplifting spiritual moments, but it will not be comprised entirely of good things. Neither will the times be all bad. Mostly it is about the everyday things, it is about each little step that we consistently take in faith no matter the circumstances.

Dottie
…………….and so I ride

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