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

Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

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. 

Advertisements

In His Hands

lightning-thunder-huge-JJVerhoef

Photo by JJ Verhoef on Flickr.com

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Over two hundred fifty years ago, Jonathan Edwards (the preacher, not the politician) preached what became a famous sermon entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” If ever there was a hellfire and brimstone sermon, this is it. I cannot argue with the premise of this sermon, because according to the Bible, all who have not believed in Jesus Christ and confessed that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9) are in fact, doomed to the horrific eternal punishment that Edwards so eloquently described in his sermon.

What really resonated with me about the sermon is that Edwards wasn’t just talking to the people who were outside of God’s will and knew it, but he also addressed those who went to church, behaved properly and were Christians from all outward appearances, but did not have the faith and belief in Jesus in their hearts.

I thought of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” while reading I Chronicles 21. King David did something that made God really angry. David confessed his sin and God made David choose from three different consequences: three years of famine in Israel, three months of being overrun by Israel’s enemies or three days of a deadly plague at the hand of God.

David threw himself at the mercy of God, “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” David belonged to God and understood that the best place for an imperfect person who belongs to God is in the hands of a merciful God.

Either way, we are always at the mercy of the all-powerful God; wise people will trust in Him and live under His mercy. Otherwise, we are indeed “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” The choice is yours to make today.

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.

How Soon We Forget

Image

(Photo from morgueFile)

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

There are several recurring themes throughout the Old Testament, one of which is the recount of the miraculous Exodus from Egypt. It seems hard to believe that the Children of Israel soon forgot the trauma of being enslaved in a foreign land, as well as the miracles that God demonstrated to secure their release. In order to help them stay focused on the greatness of Jehovah God, the judges, prophets and priests reminded them of the Exodus over and over again. Within a generation or so, the people forgot their history, time and time again.

I used to ponder how people could forget the lessons they learned in life, but then realized that the example set for us by the ancient nation of Israel is not different from the way we stray over time from our own important life lessons. Things start going well, or not; and we fall right back into the same old habits that caused our downfall before. “I’ll do it smarter this time, I learned how not to get caught!” This exercise in insanity is so common to humanity that the Writer of Proverbs had this to say, “As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11, NKJV) If you have ever owned a dog, you know exactly what this means!

Life lesson amnesia is yet another reason why it is important to spend time each day with God. Staying centered on our Loving Creator daily is a great way to prevent repeated mistakes in our lives that cause us so much pain and suffering. Yes, we can make poor choices that lead to our own misery. The first thing needed to get out of the cycle of failure is to take responsibility for your own choices and stop blaming everybody else. The next thing to do is to humble yourself before God, ask for His forgiveness (He loves to forgive) and then to ask Him for wisdom to make better choices in the future. God also loves to hand out wisdom. James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (NKJV)

Ask God to pile on the wisdom and He will, just like that!

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.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: