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

Posts tagged ‘blessings’

A Man of Prayer

Christ_in_Garden_Gethsemane_Hofmann

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane painting by Heinrich Hofmann on Christimages.org.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Just as reading the Old Testament chronologically puts the events and people of the ancient years into a different perspective, reading the New Testament in the timeline of events also gives a fresh outlook on the life of Jesus and the history of the early Church. Jesus’ ministry began with His water baptism by immersion and then His departure into the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days. (Matthew 3:13-4:11)

The accounts of Jesus healing a man in the Temple on the Sabbath in Matthew 12, Mark 3 and Luke 6 each provide different insights into the encounter with the religious leaders over the question as to whether it was within the Law to heal a man on the Sabbath. Matthew details the tongue lashing that He gave the Pharisees; Mark points out that Jesus became angry at the challenge (hence the tongue lashing) but Luke 6:12 says that “…in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (NKJV)

Try to imagine the anguish that Jesus must have experienced when the religious leaders who were responsible for the souls of the people became angry and plotted to kill Jesus for making a disabled man whole. Even though He laid into them and warned them about the consequences of their disbelief, He still loved them and wanted nothing else than for them to place their trust in Him, the Messiah who came to save them.

The fact that Jesus withdrew often to the mountain to pray all night shows that even Jesus needed to spend great quantities of quality time with His Heavenly Father. If that is what Jesus needed to get Him through those stressful days, we need to do the same thing to get through our stressful times. Hopefully, nobody is plotting to kill you for the good things you do, but our lives are marked with uncertainty, disappointment, betrayal and brokenness. Don’t know how to pray or what to say? The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) gives a great model which can be broken down into the acronym ACTS:

  • Adoration: praise God for loving us and listening to us and for being powerful enough to act in our lives and in the lives of others.
  • Confession: tell God what you have done wrong and ask Him to forgive you. This is also a great time to forgive those who have hurt you and release any hurt feelings you might have.
  • Thanksgiving: give God gratitude for all His many blessings. Count them out!
  • Supplication: this is one of those “Christianese” terms that means to ask God for what you need and want. This is also a good opportunity to pray for other people, our nation and the world.

Just like Jesus, we need to spend lots of quality time with God the Father and trust in the wisdom, provision, strength and peace that only He can give.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, 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 is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

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. 

And Then There Was Silence

Candle in the Dark

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Less than fifty years after the Jews returned from the 70 year Babylonian exile to their homeland, the people were at it again. The last prophet of God recorded in the Old Testament, Malachi, brought a message of hope of the coming Savior, condemnation for the heartless, rote religion that was being practiced in Jerusalem and blessings for those who served God with all their hearts.

And then there was silence. Although God did not speak to humanity through prophets for about 400 years, He still was actively involved in shaping the course of history in preparation for the incarnate arrival of Jesus. To name just two things, the conquest of Alexander the Great brought oppression to the known world, but it also brought a common language that accommodated spreading the Gospel to the Mediterranean world after Jesus’ resurrection. God also preserved the hope of His people through the revolt of the Maccabees and the miracle of the candles which is still celebrated during Hanukkah.

There are times in our lives in which it seems that God is not speaking to us, but we can be assured that if we are faithful to Him, He is working behind the scenes to prepare our path for even greater events to come. With this in mind, go light a candle, read the book of Malachi (it’s only four chapters) and then rest in the knowledge that God is always with us and is working in our lives, even if we can’t hear His voice.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, 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 is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

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. 

Hope for the Future

Glimpse of Heaven

Glimpse of Heaven by sabrina’s stash on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

As we finish reading the book of Ezekiel, the story takes a sharp turn starting with chapter 40. God takes Ezekiel on a vision ride to the future Israel and shows him in detail how the devastated city of Jerusalem and the Temple will one day be rebuilt.

Ezekiel suffered greatly during his years of service, even having to go through the death of his wife without being allowed to grieve for the sake of being God’s messenger to his country. Because of his faithfulness to God, he was given a detailed tour of the new and improved Jerusalem and Israel, right down to the exact measurements of the Temple and the carved cherubim and palm trees that decorated the interior.

Then God gives Ezekiel the plans for the division of the nation of Israel by tribes with the tour ending with a walled city with twelve gates, each named after one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The book ends with the name of this city: Jehovah-shammah, or THE LORD IS THERE.

God allows us to go through difficult times in our lives, but He promises us that we will never go through those times alone, He is always with us. Ezekiel knew this and lived out his life in obedience to God. What a blessing it is to have such beautiful examples of faithfulness!

Reading the description of the new Kingdom reminded me of another glimpse of our future in Heaven as depicted in Revelation 21-22:5. I love reading this because it gives us all a picture of the beautiful glory that awaits all of Jesus’ faithful followers. It brings hope and encouragement to those who are suffering and comfort to those who are on their death beds. God never leaves us without hope; better things are to come!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, 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 is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

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. 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: