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

Posts tagged ‘cry’

Can You Hear Me Now?

mikelicht-cellphones-phones

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.

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God Said ‘No’ to Me!

Crying child illustration

Photo by RachelH_ on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

“Mom, Dad said ‘No’ to me!” Our three-year-old son came running to me one day to “rat out” his dad.

“Good!” I replied, knowing that what he wanted was not in his best interest. I honestly don’t remember what our son wanted so badly, but my husband and I were in total agreement that whatever it was would not be good for our boy.

Part of the job of responsible parents is to evaluate requests from our vast knowledge database of experience, or to put it simply, think about it and then tell the child whether or not he or she will be allowed to receive what was requested.

Sometimes, the child will be disappointed and that will be that. More often, depending on where you are and how many people are potential witnesses to the fallout; the child may attempt to throw a tantrum. I think I have seen them all, from whiny appeal to the all-out meltdown that requires a swift removal from the scene and heavy doses of love.

As much as we adults would like to think that we are above that kind of childish behavior, most of us would have to admit that we have at one time or another pitched a fit when our prayers to God were not answered in the way that we asked. How many of us have stood with our arms raised to the sky and wanted to scream, “Why are you doing this to me, God? Why won’t you give me what I asked for?” This is not the kind of outburst one throws from not getting the Lamborghini; this is more the cry of a wounded heart that has lost a loved one or the cry of despair when all the job leads have proved to be unfruitful and the unemployment is running out. God doesn’t want to hurt us; He loves us and wants what is best for us. Sometimes He has to correct us in the process, as Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV) describes:

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

God knows us better than we know ourselves and saying, “No” is part of our Heavenly Father’s job. Rather than breaking down or giving up on God, keep in mind that He has something much better planned for you. It is wise to accept God’s will and discipline, knowing that He always has your best interest at heart.

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.

When Disaster Strikes

Boston_Bombing

(Photo from Military Friends Foundation in news.yahoo.com)

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

No rational person wants bad things to happen, but if there is one thing to be sure of in this fallen world, catastrophes do occur. What do we do then? Do we get angry, do we fall apart, do we start pointing fingers before the smoke even clears? If you happen to find yourself in the middle of the event, hopefully you are one of the courageous people who drops everything to help those in need.

Those of us who witness the tragedy from afar may have a wider range of choices of how to respond to the news. In the closing chapters of I Samuel, David experienced a devastating trial and his response is worth studying. He and his exiled army were based with their families in the city of Ziklag. Upon returning from a mission, they found that their city had been sacked and burned and all their loved ones had been taken captive. The first response was to grieve. I Samuel 30:4 says that David and his men “lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. (NKJV)” So much for the stoic, burly he-man image; visualize an army of 600 warriors crying until there were no more tears to shed.

The next response was not unusual; the men turned on David and talked about killing him. David’s grief quickly turned to despair, but verse 6 says that “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” Here is where reading the Bible chronologically is so great. In Psalm 18, David records his prayer that strengthened him in the face of this adversity. David’s next reaction was to seek God’s guidance on the approach to be taken; go after the captors or not? God’s answer was clear: pursue them and you will get every person and everything back. David then went to the angry mob and rallied them to a more appropriate course of action.

I can hear you thinking, “Good for David, but I have asked God for guidance before and I never hear anything from Him.” True, we may not hear the voice of God clearly telling us what to do. Here is the key: as we develop a closer relationship with God by reading His word the Bible, as we spend time in prayer with Him every day, as we seek Him in all things, our path will become clearer every step of the way. It may not happen overnight, but remember that your journey with God is a lifelong one that stretches into eternity. Patience and faithfulness are required to develop a deeper trust in God; He will give you the wisdom to do the right thing in every situation you encounter in life.

For now, we can follow David’s example: grieve, strengthen yourself in the Lord, seek God’s guidance and then act accordingly.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two 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 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.

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