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

Posts tagged ‘Lifestyle’

An Open Invitation to Worship

Hezekiah's Messenger_BiblePaintings

Illustration courtesy of Visual Bible Alive Resource Center.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Hezekiah became king at a time when Judah had already been overrun by Syrians and many of the people were carried off as captives. 2 Chronicles 28:5 makes it clear that this defeat was due to the unfaithful lifestyle of his predecessor, King Ahaz. This time, Israel defeated the Syrian army and eventually returned the captives to Judah. When Hezekiah ascended the throne, the first thing he did was open up the temple, repair the doors and summon the Levite priests to clean up and start doing their jobs again. Hezekiah understood that God’s blessings only came when the nation was obedient to His commandments.

Once the leadership had repented and were committed to worshipping God as He required, Hezekiah sent messengers with letters to all of Israel and Judah, inviting them to join in the Passover celebration. The letters begged the people to consider the consequences of their ancestors’ choices (many of the Israelis were captives in Assyria) and to come back to serving God, “that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.” (2 Chronicles 30:8c, NKJV) The letters went on to assure that if the people in Israel repented and committed to serving God, those in captivity would “be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” (2 Chronicles 30:9, NKJV)

What do you think was the response to this generous offer? Many of the people of Judah and some from a few of the tribes of Israel humbly came to the celebration, but most of them “laughed at them (the messengers) and mocked them.” (2 Chronicles 30:10b, NKJV) Sound familiar?

We have all been given a similar message to deliver to the world: turn away from practices and behaviors that cause pain and sorrow, repent and come serve the LORD God with all your heart. Those who accept God’s generous offer of salvation and eternal life can testify that there is no judgment in their new life. As messengers, we should not be discouraged by the jeers and laughter; we will all face the same God in the end. Ours is to make sure that the message is delivered humbly and with the complete love that only God can give.

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.

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.

With All Your Heart

sleeping_dog

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

I Samuel 12:24: “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart, for consider what great things He has done for you.”(NKJV)

How much of our work can we honestly say we do “whole-heartedly?” Most of our lives are spent completing mundane tasks with an underwhelming sense of accomplishment. We apply just enough effort to get the job done to the satisfaction of ourselves and maybe we add a little more “umph” when we think our work may be scrutinized by others. Truth be told, we may only give our all when there is something of value to be gained for ourselves.

When it comes to serving and worshipping God, we are commanded throughout the Bible to offer our complete lives to God. If we hold anything back, can we really say we are committed to Him? Not if we consider the examples set by the godly men and women in the Bible. Jesus said it well in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (NET)

The great thing about serving a God who is all loving and all powerful is that He can bring about positive change in our lives. If you trudge through life unsure of your purpose and value, serving God with a whole heart will give you purpose and show you just how valuable you are to Him. Your very perspective on life will be different as you start seeing things from an eternal perspective. Colossians 3:17 provides the proper motivation to go through each day with the right attitude, “…whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (NKJV)

I challenge you for the next week to express gratitude to God and go about each day dedicating all your words and actions to Jesus. See what happens to your attitude!

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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