They were distracted.
I get distracted too.
Even though their every need had been met from the very hand of God. They missed it. Forgot. Their eyes wandered from His face to His hands. He wasn’t doing enough because He wasn’t enough.
Even though He has met my every need – not to be confused with want – I miss Him. I forget. I allow my eyes to wander from His face, to His hands. Sometimes I feel like He isn’t doing enough. I forget that He is enough.
They wanted more from Him. More things they could see, taste, touch.
I want more from Him. Lots more. Tangible things.
When His people were wandering in the desert, God wanted their hearts. He wanted them to look to Him. He provided for them even though they had disobeyed. They had chosen against trusting Him. Instead of striking them all dead, He had given manna in the desert.
As I’m going through life, God wants my heart. He wants me to look to Him. He continues to provide for my every need even though I disobey Him. I sometime choose against trusting Him and yet, He sustains me.
The price of whining and complaining is high. The cost of discontentment is staggering – dissatisfaction, malcontent, displeasure. Attitudes reflective of a heart condition, a deadly heart condition. These attitudes are the result of our taking a stroll on the dark side, of ourselves. These attitudes cannot be the result of walking in the Light as He is in the Light. These attitudes come from the pit of our own selfishness. These attitudes grow when we are distracted from His face by our own.
Ingratitude means we don’t get what He’s done. We think we have done it. We think we don’t need Him. His provision, His blessing, His grace, somehow we have come to believe we deserve them. That entitlement attitude equals ingratitude. Instead of praising Him for who He is, instead of thanking Him for what He’s done, ingratitude ignores and even criticizes both.
The Old Testament symbol of the bronze serpent in the desert, was a foreshadowing of Christ on the cross. God instructed Moses to fashion the symbol for the people to look at and be saved. When Jesus hung on the cross, God extended salvation to all mankind. Look to Jesus and be saved. “Look at Me!” Jesus says.
God’s desire is our hearts. His invitation – our attention. He wants us to look at Him, to seek Him, to depend on Him. He longs for us to run to Him in good times and in bad. Running to Him when we’re in a spot, when we can’t see a way out, when consequences overtake us, that’s when we wonder where He is, that’s when we call out, that’s when we tend to questions His faithfulness.
When we look at Him we are reminded of His sacrifice, His love. When we look at Him all fear is gone. Looking at Him puts all of our problems and issues and struggles in perspective. When we look at Him we gain strength and confidence, not in ourselves but in Him.
Focusing on Him makes all the difference. Looking at Him, and His glory, His faithfulness, His holiness, His truth makes all the difference. It doesn’t make everything make sense, but it grants us peace to know that He holds it all. He is in the process of redeeming it all, bringing it all together for His supreme purposes.
Nothing is an accident, nothing wasted. He uses everything our faith and our failures, our dreams and discouragements, our hopes and our hurts. Nothing wasted. Everything redeemed. In the worst situation, the most painful, the most overwhelming, the most hurtful, we can know that He knows, that He cares, that He is working it for our good and His glory.
Look at Me and be healed, gain strength, renew hope.
Looking at Him reminds us of the hope we have in heaven, in His immanent return. Looking at Him with tear-stained faces, when tired eyes and weary smiles.
He is trustworthy, He is faithful.
Look at Me when things are crazy.
Look at Me when the world is spinning.
Look at Me when you don’t know which way is up.
Look at Me whenever you need Me, whenever you have a question, a frustration, a hope, a dream, a loss, a wound.
Look at Me when you’re tired.
Look at Me when you’re lost, under attack, feeling alone, blindsided, confused, broken, bruised, outcast.
Look at Me!
Not him or her or them. Look at Me! Not that or that. Look at Me! Not the problem. Not the storm. Not the crowd. Not the enemy. Not your friends or family.
Look at Me.
Though tears blur your vision and stain your face.
Look at Me.
I am. Your Hope. Your Answer. Your Peace. Your Joy. Your Defender. Your Healer. Your Redeemer. Your Savior. Your Lord. Your Master. Your returning King.
Look at Me. I Am.
Look at Me.
I know. I get it. All the details, I understand them. The subtly, the nuance, the implication. I see you. I see them. I see through it all. I’ve got it.
Look at Me, just Me.
Let the cross be your focus. Nothing else.
Look at Me. Don’t get distracted.
I Remember the Day You were Born
Balloons. Cake. Candles. Presents. Decorations. Smiles and songs. Family and friends. And pictures—lots of pictures.
Celebrating a birthday brings back memories of the day someone came into the world. As a mom, all of the details come rushing back. The nursery. The shower. Choosing their name. Packing the hospital bag. The doctor’s visits (or the midwife). The predictions. The kicks, the hiccups, the nausea, the nesting.
I’m grateful that the memories of the labor pains really do fade with time—at least until it’s time to do it again. The emotional rush of the birth is exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. Smiling with tears dripping off my chin was standard.
Have you ever considered how God responded to your birth? Have you ever thought about His lordship over it? Ever think about it as part of His sovereign plan? Ever picture Him smiling with tears dripping off His chin?
Psalms 139 gives us insight. In the first twelve verses David acknowledges God’s omnipresence and omniscience. Those are just two big words that mean that God is everywhere and knows everything. Clearly these are words of both assurance and encouragement. David writes, “You have searched me and know me.” Pause just a minute. God knows you. He knows me.
Continuing, David states that not only does God know, He also understands, scrutinizes, and is intimately acquainted with all our ways. “You know it all, You have enclosed me behind and before.” Then, God “laid His hand upon me.” Then further on the writer asks, “Where can I go from Your Spirit?” Here again David is emphasizing God’s omnipresence and omniscience.
God cares about your birthday. And He cares about mine. He was there. As the psalmist writes, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb; I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Here are some Bible birth stories worth thinking about. What about Cain? After all, he was the first child born. Adam and Eve had no reference point, no What to Expect When Your Expecting books, no parties and yet, what a moment. Read little further on. What about the day that Isaac was born to a 90-year old Mom and a 100-year old Dad? Sarah and Abraham with smiles and tears dripping down their chins. Think for a moment about the day Rachel finally gave birth to her long-awaited son—Joseph. Similarly, think of Hannah when Samuel arrived after Eli promised that her prayer would be answered. Smiles and tears.
In the book of Ruth, Boaz accepted his role as kinsman-redeemer. Through their marriage, Obed was born. That was accompanied by great celebration! Obed became the father of Jessie who became the father of David. David was the youngest with six brothers and two sisters. His family already had a calendar full of birthdays! What about the child born to David and Bathsheba as a result of his adultery with her and murder of her husband? What heartbreak. Then came Solomon. Bitter sweet. Still, smiles and tears dripping.
Move forward now into the New Testament. Of course it begins with the birth of John the Baptist. After years of infertility, God chose Elizabeth and Zacharias to be the parents of the forerunner to Christ. John’s birth was greatly celebrated by his parents and community. Not long after the miracle of John’s birth, Mary and Joseph were alone and far from home when they welcomed Jesus, the Christ, and held Him for the first time. Smiles and tears had to be dripping off their chins. I wonder if the same thing was happening with God the Father’s too.
These are all physical births. And while God is present at each one, there’s another birth that He also attends. Spiritual birth. Nicodemus came to visit Jesus, at night. As a Pharisee he had some questions for Jesus. The whole issue of these two births (physical and spiritual) fueled their discussion. Jesus explained the importance of being “born again.” The idea thoroughly confused Nicodemus. All he could think about was the physical, but Jesus was talking about the most important birth—the spiritual one.
Jesus goes on to explain. This is the context of the best-known Bible verse found in John 3:16. The verse contains the words of Jesus laying out the Father’s plan and His role. God’s plan: send His Son as the Savior of the world. The Father knew that only a perfect sacrifice could pay the debt required by the sin of the world. Jesus’ sacrifice extended grace to all who would believe in Him and trust that His death was payment for their sins. Placing personal faith in Jesus signifies spiritual birth.
Do you remember yours? Do you remember the day you decided to place your faith and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? What was it like? What promises did you make? What assurances?
Now let’s consider one primary biblical example: Saul (aka Paul). Saul was born into a family of prominence. Intelligent and passionate, he trained and excelled in the Law and the Prophets. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews Gamaliel taught him, trained him. Saul was passionate about his role among the Jews. And when God got ahold of him, he was just as zealous about bringing others into the family of God.
Not every birth story is ideal. Some elicit painful memories, unanswered questions and deeps wounds. Some of us weren’t anticipated or possibly not celebrated.
Do you remember a favorite birthday of your childhood? What stories have you been told about your birth? No matter what, God fondly remembers the day you were born both physically and spiritually, complete with smiles and tears dripping.
Dare To Reflect
How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You?
Parenting isn’t easy that’s why…
In my new book How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? I write about how God uses those times when we are speaking to our children to speak to us. In the following pages, I present one part of a 3-part dare I present to the readers in this book. I invite you to dare to reflect, then pick up a copy of the book to help you reach your goal of having an even stronger passion for your family as well as stronger longing to grow deeper in your relationship with the Lord.
Love a challenge to do something you wouldn’t have otherwise considered doing?
Love the idea of digging down deep in yourself and demanding more?
Love the opportunity to grow and mature, to develop new habits, get rid of old ones and soar?
As kids we dare each other to touch something forbidden, eat something yucky or do something stupid all in the name of proving ourselves. When we participated we were driven by the desire to be accepted, respected, apart. The Bible is a great big dare. God invites us. “Dare to trust Me, My love, faithfulness and sovereignty. Dare to live like I AM on the throne. Dare to live thirsty for Living Water, to feast on the Bread of Life, to listen and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd, to walk in the Light, to rest in Me. Dare to live a life worthy.”
When we respond, engage He is glorified. When we trust, when we act, when we don’t know or understand or see – He smiles. When we hide or shrink, He implores and draws us. He wants a relationship with us personally. Longs for us to dare to know we can rely on Him, that He loves us.
A dare confronts us, usually makes us feel uncomfortable, uneasy, vulnerable, insecure, even weak. We feel exposed and unprotected. Dares usually cause us to pause and wonder: who knows about it? Do I have to? What difference will it make? Where can I hide?
But taking on a dare invigorates us. We feel a rush of adrenaline, an anticipation of possibilities, the exhilaration of hope. Its as if a fresh wind blows and we can feel it in the air. Change. New.
I’m inviting you today to a dare.
If you accept, you will be changed. Your perspective altered, your thoughts transformed. If you dare to allow it to, this dare will revolutionize your relationships with your children and your heavenly Father.
Depending on where you are coming from, it may sound daunting, unnecessary or pointless. Dare to do it anyway. Dare to try it. Dare to listen, to consider, to explore. It’s a simple dare really.
You are going to need to take some notes, so keep paper and pen handy.
(Tissues might be in order too.)
So – Download the Dare – Buy The Book – and Dare To Reflect!
Join the How Many Times Book Club
Hi friends! I’m launching a summer book club and I want you to be a part of it! Dare to hear the still small voice of our Father while letting his words flow through you to soften your heart and your words. We’re in this parenting thing together, friends! It’s exhausting, noisy, precious, frustrating, and so very important.
Because you’re in my inner circle I’m looking forward to spending a little more time together via Facebook chats and videos. We’ll be able to experience the book together, talk about ways we can apply it and cheer each other on as we put it into practice. My prayer is that this book encourages and inspires parents everywhere – will you be one of them?
I’m excited to offer everyone who joins me several fun things:
- A complimentary ebook: How Many Times do I Have to Tell You?.
- A complimentary ebook of interactive journal and coloring activities that you can complete with your kids and tuck away as a keepsake.
- Exclusive access to a private Facebook group where I’ll help you work through some of your questions about hearing God’s words as you read the book. Where we, as a community, will interact, strategize, and share ideas about parenthood and how to overcome some of our challenges.
As a member of the book club you’ll have the opportunity to encourage other parents by:
- Bringing a friend into the book club! That’s right! Once you are activated into the private Facebook group, you’ll be able to add a friend who you want to dive deeper with!
- Providing feedback and engage with us via Facebook.
- Sharing thoughts and insights from the book that you’ve found particularly encouraging. (We have some fun, interactive ideas that we hope you’ll find meaningful)
- Writing a brief book review on Amazon and/or other retailer site.
- Spreading the word about the book and how it is impacting your family.
Ready to dive in?! First, make sure you sign up here.
Next, on Friday, May 20th, we’ll select 250 applicants. We’ll notify you via email on Friday if you were one of the 250 applicants.