What is God teaching you?

What is God teaching you?

It’s an interesting question — because if I don’t ask myself this question often, I don’t really have an answer… Which is foolish of course, because there is no doubt that God is teaching me plenty of things.  However, a more penetrating question is: am I choosing to see and recognize what God is teaching me?  Teaching certainly falls about without a willingness to be taught, a teachable heart some may say.

Recently I heard someone ask another the ‘what is God teaching you’ question.  I hadn’t considered that in awhile, sadly.  It caused me to really think for a bit and conclude how much God is really teaching me through all my circumstances, both good and bad!  But my failure to frequently ask myself that question (what is God teaching me?) led to a slight deprivation of my soul versus an awesome awareness of great blessings God has provided for me.

So what is God teaching me?

I believe on my heart for awhile is the conviction of rest, Sabbath rest.  I am quite adept at making excuses.  Often it is the excuse of, “it’s the right thing to do“, or “it’s important“, sometimes “it’s Kingdom stuff, gotta help” and sadly sometimes the excuses are more pathetic like “I have too much to do“.  Whatever the reasons may be, I must move past the feelings of ‘laziness’ or ‘lack of productivity’ that I always encounter when I need to rest.

Rest is productive.  Of course it can become laziness, but that’s not what I am talking about.  I need to recognize the necessity of saying no to ‘x, y &z’, because I need to say YES to God & spend time truly resting in Him.  It takes time to Abide in Christ and it takes time and thought to pray and sit before The Lord.  Perhaps what I am learning in all of that is, I need to quickly dismiss thoughts or fears of being labeled ‘lazy’ and audibly speak truth to myself.  For example, “No, I am not being lazy, and I don’t mind if people think I am. I am spending time with The Father and that is of greater significance than the lies I may hear, be it from the enemy or from others”.  I am a big believer in the power of verbally speaking truth when temptation, or lies come at us.  I believe C.S. Lewis wrote about that. I cannot find the quote; but more or less the idea he spoke of is that the enemy can put lies and thoughts into our minds, but cannot hear the internal struggle we may have.  However, if we are bold enough to speak aloud, the enemy can indeed hear that response.  And in those words we speak, there is great power —  particularly if we’re speaking God’s Word into those moments.  Of the myriad of things God is teaching me, that one definitely looms large — and I am glad I overheard someone ask the question, “what is God teaching you”.

Of course now, I must ask you — have you asked yourself what God is teaching you?  Perhaps all it will take to answer that for yourself is to begin with a simple yet profound scripture, like the one below.

“Be still, and know that I am God”
— Psalm 46:10a  [ESV]

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Word Girl.

I love words. I love how much love you can show someone with your words. I love how you can encourage others. I love when my husband leaves notes in my car for me to find on Monday morning, because…Monday. I love the notes my Fourth Graders try to sneak on my desk from “anonymous.”

I also love goals. But, somehow, in spite of my love of goals I have never met a New Years Resolution that I carried out for 365 days. I can rest easy knowing I am in the majority here. So, this year I put my love of words and goals together. Instead of a resolution, I prayed and asked God to give me a word for 2016. A word to fix my eyes on so that I might draw close to Him. This is not a new concept. I have read of many lovely women making this part of their new year.

Intentional. The word the Lord pressed upon my word. The scariest word in some ways. I immediately knew that this could mean a lot of different things for myself. For me, I knew this call to intentionality would affect every aspect of my life.

 Jesus was intentional in every aspect of His life. He set the supreme example. The loveliest for us to follow.

Jesus was intentional in the way He served others. He washed the feet of His disciples. He came to serve.

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life — a ransom for many.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:28‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

Jesus was intentional in His purpose. He knew He was the access between humanity and a living, saving God. Jesus was fully aware of the brutal death He would die on behalf of our sins. 

“…yet not my will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42 NASB

Jesus was intentional in the way He forgave and forgives.  Peter denied Jesus three times. Jesus in His limitless grace forgave the one who betrayed Him, and forgives us constantly when we betray Him in different ways. 

Intentional is a large calling and a tall order as I focus on this year. But I serve a gracious God, who sent me Jesus as the most perfect example. 

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” ‭ 1 ‭Peter‬ ‭2:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Heroes

Our world, our culture perhaps, is increasingly focused on ‘Heroes’.  Whether it’s the major resurgence of action hero movies, whole entire series of comic characters brought to life on screen, larger than life political characters or even social activists.  Whatever, or whomever the heroes may be — we are looking for something or someone larger than ourselves.  There are probably countless reasons for this search, but I believe the most simplified answer is that we want to know someone else is more powerful, more in control, more ‘on-top-of-things’ and possibly can rescue us or ‘make things better’ from the seemingly difficult position we may find ourselves.  It’s not always an easy thing to discern, to see in our lives, because it requires humility to verbalize that we aren’t as independent or self-sufficient as we’d like to portray.

As such, we end up pledging our allegiance, hanging our hopes on our heroes.  This hero may be a political figure, religious authority, but maybe even a father, brother, grandmother, cousin or even a friend.  The heart breaking reality of so many of our heroes is that they can inevitability disappoint us.  Take the example of a young boy who somewhat ‘idolizes’ his father.  He loves his father, follows him everywhere, mimics Dad and wants to be like Dad when he’s grown up.  Sadly as life and time often do, we see a more complete picture.  Our father is not perfect.  Our friend disappoints us over and over.  Our political leader doesn’t deliver the grandiose plans they promised.  The significant other in our life isn’t the ‘larger than life’ savior we hoped they were.  It’s dashing, devastating and can end up causing resentment, bitterness and a jaded outlook.

We desire to have a hero — one who will protect us, advocate for us, comfort us, save us and if necessary redeem us.  We want to know something outside ourselves is big, powerful and present.  Our earthly heroes can never completely satisfy this desire.  Our comic book heroes (who are by the way fictional) also cannot meet this in reality.  But nonetheless, this fascination with heroes points to a greater need — and if we accept it, a greater gift.

Jesus is that hero.  Jesus is bigger.  Jesus is stronger.  Jesus will redeem.  Jesus is worth imitating.  Jesus is ‘on-top-of-things’.  Jesus promises and delivers comfort.  Jesus is present.  Jesus is faithful.  Jesus wins.

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”
— Romans 8:37 NASB

The part about this that so many folks struggle with is that this kingdom, this reign and majesty don’t necessarily exist in the physical world within the terms we’d prefer.  Jesus doesn’t exactly cater to our human expectations and desire to fit in neatly and orderly into our particular box.   Jesus clearly was helping us to understand through His words while he was here on earth that His Kingdom was not of flesh and bone or brick and mortar — it was of a Kingdom of Heart and of Spirit.  Which in a rather poetic realization, is a Kingdom that can NEVER be destroyed.  Nothing done to us physically, politically, emotionally, etc. can defeat or tear down the walls that Jesus has built in the Kingdom of God.  And that is ‘Amen’ kind of good news.  It doesn’t always feel like Jesus conquered the world — but that’s because His Kingdom is SO much greater than this world.

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
— John 16:33 HCSB

Jesus has defeated the world and established His Kingdom.  Jesus has already won.  He is indeed the hero we long for, that we look for earthly examples of.  We should look to Jesus, He is the hero our hearts long for desperately.  Jesus is that hero.

A New Era

No one really ever read it, but this blog has existed for years — probably close to 10.  Yikes.  But it was never really used, often forgotten for long stretches and not really cherished.

Well today is the beginning of a new era.  The previous posts have been hidden and Clara & I have given new life to this tired old blog.  In a sincere effort to take time to reflect, slow down, pursue The Lord and really create Sabbath rest in our lives, we are both going to be writing on bmaloy.com.  Our thoughts will often not be profound, but they will be honest and hopefully vulnerable.  And if anyone else ever reads them, we pray that God uses them to encourage and draw them closer to Himself.

We don’t have a true ‘agenda’ of what we want to write about, although have plenty of ideas!  But the goal we are really pursuing is to slow down and create margin in our lives.  Margin for God to use us, for us to pursue Him and hopefully reflect His image to the world around us.  It may be through theological ramblings, could be through intentionally artsy photos, strange recipes for vegetables, honest journal entries or difficult questions.

If you’ve read this far, thank you.  We pray that God uses this time to grow us in Holiness and in a closer abiding love with Himself.  So here’s to the surrender we need, to accept the gift of abundant life Jesus already graciously battled for.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

— John 10:10 NASB