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

Posts tagged ‘adversity’

The World Was Not Worthy of Them

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Photo courtesy of historic.brussels on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Over the past few months, I have been reading accounts of Christians in the Middle East, Asia, India and Africa who are being killed for their faith in Jesus. As I read through II Chronicles 24 the other day, I read about what appears to be the first martyr, a man named Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the Jewish high priest, who lived during the end of the reign of Joash. All stories of martyrdom are sad, but this seems to mark a turn for the worst in the life on Joash, who was crowned king of Judah at the age of seven and spent the better part of his life serving God and rebuilding the Temple.

Apparently, after Jehoiada died, Joash lost his way and allowed idol worship in Judah. The Bible says that “wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespasses,” (II Chronicles 24:18b) and that God sent prophets to them to try and bring them back to Him, but they would not listen. after that, Zechariah boldly stood before the people and told them that the source of their troubles was because they had forsaken God. This led to Joash ordering his death, in the Temple! Jesus even mentioned this tragic murder in Matthew 23:35. What stands out about this first Biblical account of martyrdom is that it was ordained by a good king gone bad and carried out by Zechariah’s own countrymen.

While it is impossible to know how many faithful men and women have been martyred since Zechariah’s time, the fact is that it still happens today. Hebrews 11:35-38 discusses the fate of some of the martyrs and then beautifully summarizes those who made the ultimate sacrifice: “The world was not worthy of them.” (Hebrews 11:38a, NIV) We need to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering right now for their faith in Christ and remember the example of those who have gone before us, faithfully serving God to the very end.

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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Can You Hear Me Now?

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Picture by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

This question was such a marketing success that it has become cliché, but how many times do we ask God that same question? In times of our deepest despair, we fear that we have been abandoned, so we cry out to God, over and over, louder and louder, “Can you hear me? Help me!” Then we wait for God to appear like a genie at our beck and call, ready to snap his fingers and grant our wishes and petitions. If God chooses not to show up at our queue, we may get angry and cry even louder, or worse yet, turn our backs on God and walk away from Him.

When I read the first five chapters of Proverbs, I get the distinct feeling that God might have some of the same feelings towards us. Over ten times in those chapters, God tells us to listen to Him, to pay attention to what He has to say to us, “Therefore, hear me now,” (Proverbs 5:7 NKJV) When we are crying out to Him, He is right there with words of wisdom for us, but because we are making so much noise like a child throwing a tantrum, we cannot hear Him.

“CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?” We scream.

“Can you hear me now?” God whispers. “I love you, my child. I know how much you are hurting and I am right here beside you, taking you through these difficult times. If you trust me and listen to me, you will gain more personal strength, wisdom and understanding because you experienced these trials.”

We need to trust that God has heard our prayers and then turn off the noise in our lives, quiet our minds and open our hearts to what He needs to tell us. Jesus assured us in Matthew 6:8 that God knows what we need before we even ask Him, but goes on to teach us to pray the Lord’s Prayer in verses 9-13. We need to pray, to talk to God because this is one way of drawing near to Him, but as with any conversation, we also need to listen.

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, 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.

Q & A with Katherine Weaver (part 2)

Simple thingsXL

I had the privilege of interviewing Katherine Weaver, the author of seeing God in the simple things early in 2013 and here is the second half of that interview.

Lisa: Are the people in your church receptive to you since your divorce?

Katherine: That was difficult because we were attending the church where I worked. I’m not one to talk about the trouble we were having in our relationship, but unfortunately, I was alone in that. Everyone was devastated when we split and he didn’t tell them the whole story, only that I was the unrelenting b**** who kicked him out. The environment became so stressful, that I stopped attending that church even though I did keep my job. I was getting lectured by people who weren’t there. No, it was not fun.

Lisa: But that kind of made you who you are now?

Katherine: It has given me more strength.

My pastor was saying, “If you look at King David, he had quite a journey in his life. If you look at the different points in his life and say, ‘That time he spent playing music for sheep in the meadow was wasted time. And the time he was in the wilderness when King Saul was trying to kill him, and all he did was run for his life that was wasted time.’ All he was trying to do was get to his rightful place as king, no. In the wilderness, David learned to follow authority even when it’s wrong and he learned how not to be king. He learned lessons in the wilderness that were not just another stepping stone, those were important lessons.”

The last 5-6 years in my life have been my wilderness. I have been doing some treasure hunting to find what I learned in the wilderness. I have learned some important things, but it was not fun.

Lisa: Did that experience help you find out where God is?

Katherine: I found out who God is. That is so important, when you watch him take us through something like that, we learn who He is and we lean more on Him. He becomes real.

Lisa: Will you be writing more books?

Katherine: Yes, I have more essays that are ready for the 2nd book, but that is in the background. I am developing retreat curriculum that is an expanded version of one of my speeches. It’s called Lizards and Dragons. It’s about how the issues in our lives (like anger, resentment and fear) can start out as little lizards, but if we don’t deal with them, they turn into dragons. The second book is coming along, but Lizards and Dragons is where I am living at the moment.

Katherine Weaver’s book, seeing God in the simple things is available for purchase online from Tate Publishing:
http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/search.php?search=Katherine+Weaver

Please visit Katherine’s website at booksbykatherine.com.

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