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

Posts tagged ‘mercy’

I Have Plans for You!

chicago-downtown-loop

Chicago Downtown Loop photo by Vincent Desjardins on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

This beautiful message of hope resonates loudly in these uncertain times; maybe as loudly as when the words were spoken through the prophet Jeremiah almost three thousand years ago. Did you ever stop to wonder why this message was delivered to the people of ancient Israel? What were the uncertain times that required these words of encouragement?

All you need to do is read the whole chapter of Jeremiah 29 and you will find your answer. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God was preparing His people for seventy years of exile in Babylon. Seventy years! That is an entire lifetime for anybody who was old enough to understand the words. Many people had already been taken to Babylon, located in what is now Iraq, and the message was to settle in, plant gardens, have families because they were going to be there for a long time. This exile was part of God’s judgment on His people for their disobedience and apostasy.

A modern day comparison could be the Soviet Union, an oppressive Communist dictatorship that smothered Russians for 69 years. Before the Bolshevik Revolution, there were as many as 1,000 churches in Moscow, but after the persecution of all religions other than atheism and state-sanctioned churches, fewer than 300 remained by the fall of the USSR. There were so many Russians who were born and died during those years, never knowing that there was any God other than the state.

God’s love and mercy will last forever (Praise Him!) but His patience apparently does wear out. He explained in Jeremiah 30:11 that He was punishing the people for their unfaithfulness, but unlike the nations who were allowed to oppress Israel for a time, God would not make a complete end to His people.

God has plans for His people who have been led astray by any of the shiny distractions this world has to offer. The question for us all is this: Are we going to continue following the shiny false gods of this world so that we, our children and grandchildren will have to suffer under God’s judgment or will we repent of our unfaithfulness and follow God with all our heart? In Jeremiah 29:13, He promises that those who will seek Him with all their hearts will find Him.

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 is also 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.

One Hundred Percent

david-goliath-5490152-l

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

David is one man who stands out in the Old Testament as “a man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22) The youngest of seven brothers, David was the ruddy-complexioned runt of the family who was sent out to tend the sheep and then forgotten when God’s prophet Samuel came to anoint one of Jesse’s sons (David) king. What was so special about David? What did he do to earn this honor from God? His own family did not seem to be very impressed with him!

David had bold faith. When he went out to fight the Philistine giant, Goliath, David first told King Saul that since he had killed a lion and a bear to protect his family’s sheep, he knew that God would give him the victory over Goliath. He then told Goliath, “This day the Lord WILL deliver you into my hand, and I WILL strike you …that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” David’s words were resolute and his actions were not self-serving.  David was extremely offended by the giant’s taunting of God and the Israeli army and was intent on doing something to restore respect to Israel.

David respected authority. Even when King Saul was tracking him down to execute him, David refused to do the king any harm even when he had two opportunities to kill Saul. (I Samuel 24:4-7, 26:5-12) David understood what so few Christian Americans get, that God sets up governments and He takes them down according to His purpose. (Daniel 2:21) Rather than spending the years in hiding from Saul bemoaning his circumstances, David helped people when he could and gathered a faithful following of warriors who would be his royal army when the right time came for him to rule.

David repented completely. David was not perfect and when he did sin, he did it big. Although he already had several wives, King David seduced Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, a soldier in the Israeli army. Bathsheba became pregnant by David, so David had Uriah killed in battle to cover up the misconduct. After avoiding God for a year and a half, the prophet Nathan confronted David with his wrongdoing and David confessed and repented before God. He did not try to blame anybody else, he did not try to rationalize his sins, he just fell on his face before his merciful God. Psalm 32 is David’s beautiful song of repentance and praise for God’s forgiveness.

There are many lessons to be learned from David’s story, but being open and honest before God and giving 100 per cent of ourselves to God are two of the keys to being a man or woman after God’s own heart.

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: