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

Posts tagged ‘life’

God, That Is So Unfair!

baby_pouting-crying

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The focus of God’s message so far through Ezekiel was to the Jewish people of Israel and Judah. As we read towards the end of the book, the focus spreads out to include the world and the Jews’ neighbors in the Middle East and Africa. Prophecies of destruction were laid out to Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia (Ezekiel 25); Tyre (Ez. 26-28), Sidon (Ez. 28); Egypt (Ez. 29-32), Ethiopia, Libya, Lidia (Ez. 30); and Mt. Seir (Ez. 35). The destruction of Babylon was prophesied in Jeremiah 50-51. Don’t recognize some of the countries listed? That is because the prophecies came true; some were utterly destroyed while others like Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya never returned to their ancient splendor.

Why were these countries targeted for the wrath of God? Each played a part in the oppression and conquest of Israel and Judah. God kept His word that was spoken to His people way back in Genesis 12:3:

“I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (NKJV)

In Ezekiel 33:11, God makes His wishes clear, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” He then continues in the next nine verses to elaborate on how He will judge people according to the state of their hearts when they die.

• Righteous people who fall into sin will not be saved on the merits of their former virtue (verses 12, 18)
• Wicked people who turn from their evil ways will be saved because of their new found righteousness (verses 12, 14-16, 19)
• Righteous people who trust in their good works will not be saved (v.13)

God knew the hearts of humanity, because He also addressed the objections that He knew would follow, “The way of the Lord is not fair,” to which God’s response is swift and sure, “But it is their way that is not fair.” (v. 17, NKJV)

We now have the perspective of hindsight to understand that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all was the most unfair event in the history of humanity. He did not see it as unfair, but essential to restore us to the relationship with God as originally intended. Even though we now live under the law of Grace rather than the Mosaic Law, God expects us to be holy (Leviticus 11:44), and repeats this expectation in I Peter 1:16. What this means is that we should be the same people the other 6 days and 23 hours as we are while attending church.

Many people feel this is unfair and too difficult to even try, given our sinful nature, but if we want God to be fair about that, there is nothing we could do to earn an eternity in Heaven with Him. Despite this fact, God is gracious and provided the Way. THAT is so not fair!

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. 

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Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

people dancing

Photo by familymwr on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

If you could ask the wisest man one question, what would you ask? The meaning of life? Next week’s winning Power Ball numbers? Why bad things happen to good people and vice versa? What is most important in life? We all have so many questions and so many dilemmas that we carry with us through life, with seemingly little relief and few meaningful answers.

King Solomon had, for his time, endless resources in which to explore the deep meaning of life. He did it all, tried everything and came to a sorry conclusion: all that is meaningless. To him, all the endeavors one can take on in life are useless in the end. If you make a pile of money, have a successful business empire and all the trappings that life has to offer, you will eventually die and leave it all to somebody who did not have to work for it and can never fully appreciate your accomplishments.

As for the 85% of the world who work hard every day and struggle just to survive, there seems to be even less hope, unless you read on to see what the wise man concluded. At the end of the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon said this:

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—

Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 12: 1, 13 NIV)

This does not mean that we are to trudge through life as if we were in a lifelong death march. No, Solomon also advised humanity on how to approach each day as we remember our Creator:

“So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15, NKJV)

We are to enjoy our lives, where we are right now, rather than chasing after meaningless accomplishments and trappings that steal our joy during the chase and even after attaining them, should that ever happen. Find joy in the simple things, seek God in every mundane task. Go on, now, eat, drink and be merry!

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 Life Gives You Pickled Lemons…

lemons_smoorenburg

Photo by smoorenburg on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Remember that old adage that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade? There are some things that happen in our lives which cannot be sweetened up, no matter how much sugar is dumped over them. At times, the events of life cause deep grief and recovering from them takes time and patience. In the meantime, things can look pretty sour. And salty, if you were served pickled lemons. What can we do in the meantime to lift our spirits?

Today, I embarked on reading Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible by far with 176 verses. What caught my eye first was verse 11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” When we are down in the dumps, the first thing we need to do is run for our Abba Father God, rather than the refrigerator. He knows our hurts, shares our grief and is always there to comfort us.

As I continued reading, I noticed a pattern of phrases that dealt directly with depression and grief. “My soul clings to the dust; Revive me with Your word.” (Psalm 119:25) Ever feel like that? How about this one in verse 28: “My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.”

Read on to verse 50: “This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.” No matter what the circumstances, the Bible is here to bring us up out of the dumps and to encourage, strengthen and bring much needed comfort into our lives. The key is back in verse 11, to have God’s word in our heart. Nobody can take that away and God’s comfort is always there to shine in the darkest of times.

Are you still wondering what to do with the pickled lemons? They won’t make lemonade, but they do add zing to many Mediterranean recipes, so get cooking!

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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