Thinking Devotionally

(In an attempt to increase my online presence and my writing in general, I have assigned a writing topic to each day of the workweek. On Thursdays I will share a thought that has beeen meaningful or challenging from my devotional reading. I pray it will bless you as much as it does me.)

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A friend loaned me this book for my devotions this year. She felt it had enriched her life. So far, I’m agreeing with her. From the back of the book:

Take My Heart, Oh God will do more than motivate you to make intimacy with him a part of your daily discipline. Its rich reminders will help you offer yourself to the one who understands you best and loves you most.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that phrase, but with a slight twist. God has always been the one “who knows me best and loves me most.” A God wink? It was for me.

Yesterday I read: Our soul thirsts; he alone can satisfy. We hunger to know the depths of God’s love; he fills us to overflowing with nourishment from his Word.

And I wondered, “How hungry am I, how thirsty?”

Then last evening I was reading a book recommended by a blogger/writer I follow, No More Faking Fine. In the introduction she describes her desperate hunger for God. She wrote about how she would go to sleep on the Bible in hopes of absorbing truth for her aching heart.

Odd? Perhaps. But being desperately hungry can bring us to unnatural places and actions.

A dear friend of mine, many years ago, was going through emotional warfare that rocked her soul, threatened the foundations of her faith. She kept a small Bible in her car, and would read it at stop lights: gulping down the promises and soaking up the grace.

It would have been easier to sit at the light and ruminate on her crumbling marriage and the potential disasters waiting around the corner. She could have focused on the problems and pain, and easily shut God out. Where was he when all this started falling apart?

But instead, she chose to fill her mind and her heart with his promises: to never leave her, to make all things work for good, to do exceedingly above and beyond all she could ask or imagine.

One Sunday, right in the middle of all this chaos, she was scheduled to bring the special music during worship. I still don’t know how she did it. She stood in front of the congregation and sang, “And whatever it takes to draw closer to you Lord, that’s what I’ll be willing to do.” 

We can’t get to that place running on empty.

How hungry, how thirsty, are you?

I invite you like the Psalmist, “Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).”

Fill up on him and his Word.

Taste, Test, and See

A few days ago, my wonderful husband surprised me with a trip to Chipotle for dinner. He had a gift card. We love that we can buy a meal and turn it into two or three.

Lots of other people love Chipotle, too. The line was pretty long, but we don’t mind the wait. I used the time to scan the menu board. Here’s what caught my attention:

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I never noticed this before, probably because I get the chicken every time. I was intrigued…but not enough to risk my dinner and next day’s lunch on something I wasn’t sure about.

As we were just about to check out, an unusual boldness bubbled up, and I asked the gal slathering the guacamole on my bowl if I could have a taste of the sofritas. It was no problem for her. She passed a cup to the sofritas scooper, he put a very large scoop in the cup, stuck a plastic fork in it, and handed it to me with a smile.

Once we were seated, I tasted the new stuff. I started with a little nibble. I had never heard anything good about tofu. I watch a lot of Food Network and Top Chef shows and no one ever says, “Oh goody, tofu!” Not without sarcasm.

The texture was a lot like the chicken I always get, and with all the spices…I couldn’t tell it wasn’t my regular fare.

But I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t tried it.

Did you know that God wants us to give him a try?

Taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is the one who takes shelter in him. (Psalm 34:8, NET)

When I came to faith I likened it to the old “Nestea Plunge.”

https://youtu.be/3pPR004UWQo  I thought I had to fall into God totally.

God knows that doesn’t work for everyone. So try him. The old hymn says, “For I’ve trusted, and tested, and tried him, and I know his promise is true.”

Scripture includes several examples of times when God wants his people to take steps towards him. I learned the joy of giving because of God’s invitation to test him:  “Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.” (Malachi 3:10, NET)

So whether it’s the beginning of our faith journey, or at a new learning juncture, God wants us to know he can be trusted. He will pass the test.

PRAYER: God, thank you for knowing sometimes we need to sample your greatness before we can take the plunge. Thank you for your goodness and faithfulness in all the areas of our lives. Amen.

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Even a Booger

20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:20

Once upon a time, in a very distant church, a young pastor was given the task of providing children’s stories during the Sunday morning worship hour. That pastor was me and I loved it.

It was so much fun to bring spiritual applications to the wide open minds and hearts of children.

It wasn’t hard for me because I grew up believing Romans 1:20. I sang about it in church choir. I can still sing the song. “There is enough of God in nature, his power is clearly shown. A man has no excuse for wandering. God and heaven are known. God and heaven are known.” (You can find the whole musical on youtube: The Apostle-Continental Singers 1973.)

I am wired to see spiritual things in common place things. This is so true one girl told her mom she thought I could make a sermon illustration out of a booger. I probably could, but I’ve refrained and restrained myself.

But it all came back when I was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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My grandson is in a PBJ phase. But a simple sandwich is not enough for him. He prefers one that looks more like this:

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He is happiest with a super thick layer of chunky peanut butter and a thin smear of strawberry jam…and it has to be triple decker.

So can God be seen in a triple decker PBJ sandwich?

I don’t mean like some people see him:

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What I referring to is seeing God in the ordinary, the everyday.

What spiritual implication is there in a PBJ? I think we all go through phases where we want to taste and see that God is good (Psalm 34:8), but he wants to be the God of exceedingly, abundantly, above (Ephesians 3:20).

When we reach for all that God is, we find satisfaction and fullness of life.

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Where will you see God today?

PRAYER: God of everywhere, thank you for wanting to be seen, wanting to be known. Open my eyes to see you, my ears to hear you…my heart to receive you. Speak to me in the ordinary, plain, and everyday things around me. Amen.

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