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

Posts tagged ‘wisdom’

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. 

The Brainy Beauty Queen

Esther-Denouncing-Haman

Esther Denouncing Haman by Ernest Normand on Christian Images Fine Art.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The Old Testament book of Esther begins with the Persian king Xerxes throwing a six-month long celebration that did not end well for his Queen Vashti, who refused to come present herself to the crowd. Vashti was quickly deposed and after Xerxes got over his anger, the search for a new queen of the Persian Empire began. The search took about four years to complete, with one full year of beauty treatments and a special diet for each of the potential queens before being presented to the king. Out of all the young women presented to the king, Hadassah or Esther as she was also known, gained the favor of the courtesans and stole the heart of the king. Not only was Esther a stunning beauty, there was much more to this girl than met the eye.

Esther was the child of Jewish captives taken by King Nebuchadnezzar and was raised by her cousin Mordecai after her parents died. She had learned to trust and obey Mordecai and from that obedience grew the wisdom and favor needed to handle the enormous responsibility of not just being the Queen, but to discreetly and shrewdly ensure the survival of her people.

Mordecai instructed Esther not to reveal her Jewish heritage when she was taken into the Persian beauty pageant. As a matter of fact, God is not even mentioned in the entire book of Esther, but there is no denying the fact that His mighty hand was working as the drama unfolded. There is too much to share here, so go read the ten chapters of Esther, whether you have read it before or not.

Queen Esther was wise, genuine and brave as she carried out her purpose in life. Her story serves as a beautiful model of how the content of our character and the depth of our faith can help us gain favor with those who are in authority over us while we do the work that God has set before us. We can follow her example as we go to work, care for our families and help those around us; without ever having to compete in a beauty pageant!

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. 

The Descent of Kings

Winchester-Bible-Samuel-Anoints-Saul

The Anointing of King Saul from christimages.org.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

I have often told my teenage children that one bad decision could change the course of their lives forever. It is hard for grownups; much less children to conceptualize this idea since we make hundreds of mundane decisions every day that seem to have little effect farther than that of the moment. The fact is that our lives are shaped little by little each day as a result of the small choices we make as well as the big decisions.

The choice to obey God is always a good decision and to do otherwise will have negative consequences. We can learn patience and obedience from the example set long ago by King Saul, who chose to disobey God during the second year of his reign in Israel. Because of his disobedience, the royal succession in his family was terminated. God selected King David to rule instead of Saul’s family. (I Samuel 13:8-14)

We can learn faithfulness from King David by the way he served God wholeheartedly throughout his lifetime. David’s unfaithfulness to his own family caused his home life to spiral out of control, culminating with the attempted coups by David’s son, Absalom. David may have been a strong national leader, but it is apparent that he neglected his family in the process. (2 Samuel 11-14)

As children often repeat their parents’ sins in ways that are bigger and worse, Solomon took hundreds of wives and failed to remain faithful to God. The consequences of these choices were that his son Rehoboam would lose control over most of Israel, maintaining rule in Judah only.

When Rehoboam was crowned king of Israel, one of Solomon’s enemies who had been exiled to Egypt, Jeroboam returned to Israel and asked Rehoboam to lighten up on Him and the servant class of Israel. Rehoboam first sought the advice of the elders who had been his father Solomon’s advisors. They told him to be kind to them and they would be loyal servants forever. Rehoboam then asked his contemporaries for their advice and they told him to make life even more difficult for Jeroboam and Israel. Rehoboam went with the latter advice and the result was a divided Israel for the next thousand years. (2 Chronicles 10)

In just four generations, we can see the decline of a great nation as a direct result of  poor decision making by its leaders. As we go through our days, we need to be extra mindful that our children are watching everything we say and do, especially the less-than-positive things. Will one misstep destroy our kids’ lives? Probably not, but over time, a pattern of unwise decision making on the part of parents can lead their children to believe that those poor decisions were quite all right, thus paving the way for the next generation of even worse choices.

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.

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