Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Archive for June, 2013

I Love this Guy!

Elijah cropped

Cropped photo from tsheko on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Elijah is my favorite prophet from the Bible for many reasons, but here are the top three characteristics that endear Elijah to my heart.

First of all, Elijah boldly stood up for God at a time in Israel’s history when it looked as if he was the only one left who would. King Ahab and his queen Jezebel (ring any bells?) were in power and one of the first things they did was to round up all the Jewish priests who served God and slaughter them. No wonder Elijah felt so alone! Elijah told Ahab that there would be a severe drought in Israel because of Ahab’s wicked decisions.

Secondly, Elijah listened to God. One of the key concepts in the 1 Kings account of Elijah is that “the word of the LORD came to Elijah.” Each time this is stated in the passage, Elijah listened and more importantly, he obeyed; he acted according to God’s instructions.

How many times in our lives are we prompted to do something that we know is the right thing to do, but we are too busy, too afraid or too self-involved to carry out our orders? We will delve deeper into the art of hearing God later, but think about this question in the meantime.

The third quality about Elijah that I find intriguing is that this man of God suffered from depression. The important thing to remember about Elijah’s depression is that while he did withdraw from people when he was depressed, he never withdrew from God. Even at his lowest moment in 1 Kings 19:4, Elijah cried out to God. OK, he did ask God to kill him right then, but he sought God even in the depths of despair and left the actions to God. Knowing Elijah’s state, God sent an angel to tend to Elijah’s physical needs while he recuperated.

If you read on about the life of Elijah, not only did God not kill him then, God never did allow Elijah to see death, but rather took him straight to heaven! Remember to seek God at all times, especially when all seems to be lost. God be with you!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

The Descent of Kings

Winchester-Bible-Samuel-Anoints-Saul

The Anointing of King Saul from christimages.org.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

I have often told my teenage children that one bad decision could change the course of their lives forever. It is hard for grownups; much less children to conceptualize this idea since we make hundreds of mundane decisions every day that seem to have little effect farther than that of the moment. The fact is that our lives are shaped little by little each day as a result of the small choices we make as well as the big decisions.

The choice to obey God is always a good decision and to do otherwise will have negative consequences. We can learn patience and obedience from the example set long ago by King Saul, who chose to disobey God during the second year of his reign in Israel. Because of his disobedience, the royal succession in his family was terminated. God selected King David to rule instead of Saul’s family. (I Samuel 13:8-14)

We can learn faithfulness from King David by the way he served God wholeheartedly throughout his lifetime. David’s unfaithfulness to his own family caused his home life to spiral out of control, culminating with the attempted coups by David’s son, Absalom. David may have been a strong national leader, but it is apparent that he neglected his family in the process. (2 Samuel 11-14)

As children often repeat their parents’ sins in ways that are bigger and worse, Solomon took hundreds of wives and failed to remain faithful to God. The consequences of these choices were that his son Rehoboam would lose control over most of Israel, maintaining rule in Judah only.

When Rehoboam was crowned king of Israel, one of Solomon’s enemies who had been exiled to Egypt, Jeroboam returned to Israel and asked Rehoboam to lighten up on Him and the servant class of Israel. Rehoboam first sought the advice of the elders who had been his father Solomon’s advisors. They told him to be kind to them and they would be loyal servants forever. Rehoboam then asked his contemporaries for their advice and they told him to make life even more difficult for Jeroboam and Israel. Rehoboam went with the latter advice and the result was a divided Israel for the next thousand years. (2 Chronicles 10)

In just four generations, we can see the decline of a great nation as a direct result of  poor decision making by its leaders. As we go through our days, we need to be extra mindful that our children are watching everything we say and do, especially the less-than-positive things. Will one misstep destroy our kids’ lives? Probably not, but over time, a pattern of unwise decision making on the part of parents can lead their children to believe that those poor decisions were quite all right, thus paving the way for the next generation of even worse choices.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

Wasted Wisdom

Sheba & Solomon

Photo of woodcut illustration by kladcat on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

King Solomon’s marriages to 700 wives and his 300 concubines are used by those who would redefine marriage as one example of what they believe to be an inconsistent illustration of Biblical marriage, as opposed to the “Adam and Eve” marriage that God performed in the Garden of Eden. What these groups fail to understand is that God never condoned polygamy, even though it was a common practice in the ancient times and some of the other big names in the Bible like Abraham and King David had more than one wife. None of them were better for their harems.

What is more, despite the great wisdom that God bestowed upon Solomon, He also warned Solomon against the multiple marriages; that the women who did not share his Jewish faith would lead his heart away from God. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened; Solomon defied at least the first, second and seventh Commandments and over time, built altars in Israel to the gods of his wives. The consequences were devastating to the entire nation of Israel. I Kings 11:9-13 records God’s anger with Solomon’s foolish decisions and lays out the resulting judgment that would forever divide Israel. The only reason that even Judah was left under the rule of King David’s descendants was because of God’s promise to King David.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is the old man’s memoir of sorts, a record of his jaded perspective of the folly of his own life’s accomplishments. Sadly, there does not seem to be any indication that Solomon repented of his sins other than his acknowledgement of the best life to be lived and why:

“Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13b-14 NIV)

Whether you are raising children or leading a nation, your decisions and actions will have a ripple effect on all those within your realm of influence and beyond. We all have a choice to either learn from the wisdom of God and errors of others, or we can waste the lessons of history and repeat the same mistakes, only to witness the devastation that will surely come as a result of our poor decisions. The choice and the responsibility is yours today.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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