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

Posts tagged ‘personal’

Right in Their Own Eyes

King on his throne

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Have you ever reflected on past decisions and said something like, “I did what I thought was best at the time.” There were times in the Old Testament in which the behavior of the people of Israel was summarized in this way, “each did what was right in his own eyes.” On the face of it, trying to do what is right is a noble thing, that is, unless one lives in a culture in which there is no clear standard on which to determine what is right and what is wrong. In the days of the Judges, the statement that everyone did what was right in his own eyes was preceded by “there was no king in Israel.” (Judges 17:6; 21:25)

Let it never be assumed that this nation lacked leadership. Israel was established and led by God through men and women who were assigned the task of counseling that great nation. The spiritual leadership of the people was dutifully provided by the Levite priests. The standard of right and wrong given to the people, the Ten Commandments with the Mosaic Law, was literally written in stone so they knew what was expected from them. The people had all of the elements of civilized governance, but since it was different than the surrounding countries, they petitioned to be ruled by a king. Samuel, a wise and Godly judge, was heartbroken by the demands of the people, but God assured him of what was really happening, “…they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (I Samuel 8:7)

I see this same mentality in people today. According to the American Bible Society, 85% of US households own an average of 4.3 Bibles. The issue of lawlessness is not for lack of information. We live in a land which has rejected God and many people want to do what is right in their own eyes. In conjunction with the DIY moral standards is the only rule written in stone, “Don’t judge me!” Regardless of how blatant the sin, those who have chosen to reject God’s standards refuse to even look into a mirror that shows them the error of their ways.

I am not advocating for Christians to run around pointing out the flaws in the lives of others. Christians need to get back to reading the Bible, draw closer to God in abject humility and clean up our own spiritual houses. The problem here is the same with the problems in Samuel’s day; God’s people rejected Him and in so doing, failed to make any positive impact on the world around them. We have to decide whether we will stand out from the crowd by living Godly lives or continue to reject God and blend in. It is OK to be different!

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.

“I Am Who I Am”

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

When God showed Himself to Moses for the first time, this is how He explained Himself to Moses, “I am who I am.” This is a profound declaration of who God is: eternal and never changing, YHWH (Yahweh), LORD, Jehovah, the Great “I Am.” We humans live in a linear world, with a definite beginning at birth and an assumed end at death.  God, on the other hand, has no beginning or end, which may be hard for us to understand, but is essential to creation and eternity.

It is kind of mind-blowing to realize that this God who appeared to Moses in a burning bush, who declared “I am who I am,” who miraculously led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and sustained them in the desert for 40 years, is the very same God who reveals Himself to us through His Word, His people and nature. He wants to miraculously lead us out of our bondage of addictions, guilt, anger, hatred, fear, and all other kinds of personal shortcomings to which we are enslaved. He wants to sustain us, make us His people and be our loving God forever.

We live in a temporal world, so we tend to forget or not believe that God created us to live forever. Although our physical bodies will age and eventually die, our souls will live forever either in God’s presence or separated from Him, depending on the choices we make now. We have been given a few short years on this earth with a specific purpose from God, which we need to live to the fullest with an eternal perspective. What is that purpose? To use your talents and skills to love and serve God and others. This will make your corner of the world a better place!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother or four, 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.

God is Love

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

One of the most profound things I learned in my Lutheran High School Bible class was the direct correlation between God’s love and our freedom. In love, there has to be the freedom not to love; otherwise the love is not real, but is forced like rape or slavery. There is no love in either of those things. God had to give us the choice to love and obey Him in order for this loving relationship to work. Anything else would have been divine puppetry. I am so very glad that we do have the capacity for love, even if it means that we often make poor choices that lead to sorrow and chaos.

The Bible mentions love between 300-600 times, depending on the translation. In contrast, the word “hate” is used fewer than 100 times. There are some great passages that talk about love. The most well-known are I Corinthians 13, which shows how empty our efforts are without love and I John 4:7-21, which clarifies that God is Love; He loved us first and therefore, we need to love Him and love each other. As a matter of fact, verse 8 says that “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

Without God, it is not possible to really know love. Wow, that is harsh! Obviously, there is a placebo for love that is widely proliferated in our world, and that is extramarital sex. The farther people fall from God’s love, the more men and women will strive to fill their empty souls with extramarital sex, pornography and other addictions.

The good news is that if you are still alive, you still have the choice to love God and know what real love is all about. He loves you already and is just waiting for you to turn to Him and start learning all about perfect love!

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