Monday, March 29, 2010

How to Avoid Transplant Shock

I recently moved & I wrote about how I learned to overcome the shock at Take Root and Write. Here's a portion of it.

Last year I wrote about Overcoming Transplant Shock which addressed the shock that new believers in Christ face when making the decision to leave the ways of the world behind to follow Christ. Yet believers face times in their lives when the Lord physically moves them.

When God leads a person to move from one location to another, a believer needs to be Totally Transplanted in Christ for the transition. A tree that has been transplanted can experience stress-related problems that can kill it called "transplant shock." When tree roots are cut for moving, it makes the tree vulnerable as it loses a bulk of its root system. Even after being placed in new soil, it is susceptible to diseases, insects, drought, and other issues.

What are some steps we can take to avoid transplant shock?

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Inquire of the Lord

The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. ~~ Joshua 9:14-15 NIV

How many times have each of us made a decision to regret it later? Oh my! I have so many times that I wish there was an "undo" button on life like there is in Microsoft Word. My husband and I have made decisions without seeking the Lord and it has cost us--both financially and emotionally.

Well scripture is full of these types of examples as well. Joshua followed Moses in leadership of the nation of Israel. He led them into the promised land--the land flowing with milk and honey. The Lord told him through Moses that He gave them the land. Joshua followed the Lord's commands and saw success in Jericho. (Joshua 6)

Then after cleaning the sin out of the camp, Joshua led the army of Israel to defeat the city of Ai. After this victory, Joshua set up an altar to the Lord and worshiped the Lord by reading to the whole congregation the Book of the Law. (Joshua 7 and 8)

After conquering two cities, word spread all throughout the land about Joshua and the Israelites. Many of the inhabitants planned to go to war with the Israelites, but the people of Gibeon planned a ruse against them. These people intentionally planned to deceive Joshua by wearing old and worn out clothes, taking dry and molded break, and old wine skins on their three day journey to meet Joshua.

When the people of Gibeon met with Joshua, they lied and said when they left the bread was fresh, the wineskins were new and their clothes were new, but now worn out from the long journey. They told Joshua they heard about their fame because of the Lord their God. They sought to have a peace treaty with Israel.

Based on what the men of Israel saw, they believed the men of Gibeon. Therefore, they entered into a peace treaty with them. Then only three days later the Israelites learned that the Gibeonites were neighbors with them. (Joshua 9)

After experiencing success, we can be deceived into believing something is good for us. We've experienced some really convincing sales calls that sounded really enticing. Yes, we've spent too much money on products or memberships that we did not need that led to remorse.

We've learned through experience that we need to inquire of the Lord before making decisions. I've been learning that that offer will still be available. If not, then perhaps it was not a deal that I needed anyway.

I am starting to realize that it is more beneficial to inquire of and wait on the Lord than to rush into a decision that will lead to regrets later. We can take time to inquire of the Lord.

Monday, March 15, 2010

God's Unconditional Love

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should
change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not
fulfill? ~~ Numbers 23:19 NIV

God is the sovereign ruler over the heavens and the earth. Yesterday, I attended a church service and heard a powerful message. To emphasize one of the points of the message, the pastor stated, "We're loved by God no matter what we do."

The words, we're loved by God no matter what just resonated in my being. I confess feeling fear of rejection because I say the wrong thing, act the wrong way or do not purchase and wear designer clothing has been a way of life for me.

But God is not a man that he will reject me or anyone else who comes to Him through Jesus Christ. His word is His promise to us. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, NIV).

He loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son so we who believe will not perish but have everlasting life. He promised to love us no matter what.

When we stumble and fall by trying our own way, He still loves us. I saw that as I read through the book of Numbers. God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptian slavery. But when they were in the wilderness, they forgot about what God had done. They grumbled and complained against Moses and God.

Yet, when Balak asked Balaam to curse the Israelites, God stopped it. "But God said to Balaam, 'Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed'" (Numbers 22:12, NIV).

God's people are blessed, even when they sin because God loves us. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NIV).

Yes, we sin, but that does not stop God's love for us. His love is unconditional. And we're loved by God no matter what we do. We do not have to fear. I do not have to fear for God will not reject me. Yesterday, I felt he acceptance of me in spite of what I've done.

First John 1:9 states, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (NIV).

God does not lie or change His mind. His promises are true and He forgives. I know for I experience His mercies every day. His love is unconditional. Please share how you have experienced His unconditional love.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Do You Remember?

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. ~~ Numbers 15:37-40, NIV

This past weekend, my son played in baseball tournaments. We paid for him to play in the tournament. We paid the umpires, and we paid park entrance fees to see the tournament.

The park personnel were kind enough to allow re-entry the same day if you left for a while as long as you allowed them to stamp your forearm. The stamp was necessary as so many people came and went, the gate attendant could not remember every face.

Sometimes we can’t remember everything either. And it seems to be less I remember the older I turn. Like the stamp reminded the attendant that I already paid the entry fee, we need reminders.

To help me remember, I write my to-do lists on a calendar. Or I’ll set alarms in my cell phone. But I have to remember to write it down or set the alarm, otherwise I probably forget.

The Lord realized that we have a short memory span. He told Moses a long time ago to have all the Israelites throughout all generations to place a blue cord on each corner tassel of their garment.

The garment referred to is called the prayer shawl, or tallit. The cloth has four corners with the tassels hanging off each corner. The Hebrew people were instructed to tie a blue cord on each tassel to remember the commands of the Lord.

Since stone carved copies of the commandments were not available for every household, the people memorized the commands of the Lord using the memory triggers such as the cords on the prayer shawl.

Today the Bible is readily available in most American homes. And it is definitely available online and through the iPhones. Therefore it is easily accessible. Though we have God’s word available to us, we’re still commanded to hide His word in our hearts so we won’t sin against Him. (Psalm 119:11)

I confess, I do not memorize enough scripture. I used to carry around 3X5 cards with scriptures on them to help me. But I gave those cards away.

I know this, that if I do not consistently read the Word of God and memorize scripture, I sin much more easily. I don’t always remember God’s word and commands to me. I need the stamp or the blue tassel or something else to help me remember.

What do you to help you remember?