The Presumptuous Ladybug

A blog about Faith, Family, Life....and Anything else

Tag: Bible

When God Meets You in Your Meltdown: Grace for Ladybug

I was angry, hurt and feeling helpless.

I could feel the emotional meltdown swirling within me and I had to get out before I made the whole house cry.  I slipped on my coat and hurried out into the cold.  Spring snow was crunching beneath my feet as I walked down the driveway.  While I walked, I let the accusations fly.

“I’m not happy God!  I don’t like this.  You can change it, yet you do nothing!”  I was reaching four year old tantrum status quickly, “It isn’t fair!  Are you punishing me?” I yelled.

All my emotions released into the cold crisp air.  “I’ve done everything I was supposed to do.  I waited for you, and you never responded!  And you know what else?  I think it’s really crappy what’s happening in the Smith Family.  They’ve love you and follow you and have prayed…They have a little boy, you know.  He’s so young!  How could you let death into their home?”

I could feel the tears welling up as my anger gave way to my sadness.  I couldn’t stop the tears from pouring out, so I stopped walking instead.

“Where are you God?” I whispered sadly.

Suddenly I became aware of his presence near me.

“I thought you cared.  Don’t you love us anymore?”  I was crying now and while deep inside I knew that he did indeed care and that my verbal assault was unfounded, I let the words inside bubble out.  Instantly I felt Him silently wrap his arms around my shoulders.  “Don’t you have anything to say?”  I asked.

“I’ll wait,” He answered quietly.

“Wait?!  For what?   For everything to totally fall apart?  Are you waiting for me to say ‘you failed me’?  Well, I feel like you failed me God.  It isn’t one thing, its everything!”

I grimaced a little at my own words, still…now that I was being honest about my feelings; something told me that the LORD would see it through.

“I realize it isn’t fair to accuse you, but that’s how I feel.”

“Do you think Job felt that way?”  He asked softly, referring to a familiar book of the Bible.

“I don’t want to hear about Job.  And, you know what?  He got a crappy deal too.  Everyone says that Job was blessed in the end but no amount of money could make up for the children he lost.  It doesn’t add up.  You allowed the one thing that could never be replaced to be taken.  How could you do that?”

Gently He responded, “Are you done yet?”  His question rang out with a cautionary flair.  I was going a bit too far.  Stillness surrounded me.

When I answered my voice was barely above a whisper, “I don’t know,” I sulked.

For a moment we were both quiet and perfectly still, but he didn’t leave me.

Finally, God broke the silence with the same still quiet voice he had been using our whole conversation. “Look at the snow at your feet.  ‘From whose womb comes the ice?  Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the water becomes hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen? (Job 38:29, NIV) Do you know the laws of the heavens? (33)  Do you send lightning bolts on their way? (35) Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?  Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? (39:1Would you condemn me to justify yourself? (40:8)’  Do you not know that I love you?  Will you not trust me to take care of your daughters?  Do you think I have forgotten the Smith’s little boy?  I created them.  I formed them and I hold them in my hands even now.  I know what they need.  You love them, but you have no idea how deep and how wide and how high my love for my children is.  Can you love them the way I can?  Can you see the promises I’ve laid out for them?”

He was silent then, but, I could still feel Him standing beside me…waiting.

“Why do you love me God? Why do you pursue me?”  I looked up to the clouds and whispered, “I’m sorry…It just hurts so badly.  None of it makes sense, but it hurts.”

“I know,” He said sadly, “But, I’m not the enemy.”  A quietness found us once again, but this time it was a contemplative silence.  Then he said “Do you trust me?”

Thoughtfully, I looked back across the yard toward my front door, “Yes.”

We walked back toward the house and I knew something had changed inside of me.  I knew then that he did hear me and that he cared.  I knew that he had spoken to me gently when he could have squashed me.  He didn’t respond at all like an angry God, but kindly, more like a very compassionate parent.  A parent I frequently was not.  All at once, I knew that I could trust him with my family’s future.  I knew that he had been waiting for me to put down the facade and admit my anger and fear.  I knew that he was with me and that I didn’t need to be afraid.  I knew that God had met me, even in the midst of my meltdown.  There was a peace that came then; a quiet assurance.  As I turned the door knob and re-entered the chaos within my home, I quietly whispered, “Thank you LORD.  Thank you for loving us.”

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Happy New Year 2018! New Year, New Word, New Challenge!

I love the New Year.  Maybe I love it even more than some of the other Holidays.  Christmas is so fun as I watch my children open packages and delight in treats like Hot Chocolate and cookies, but the New Year brings with it a new sense of hope, longing, and excitement.

I had heard about Christians who asked God to give them a “word of the year” in the past.  I didn’t feel all that inclined to give it a try myself until I ordered a daily planner from Inkwell Press last December.  In it there was a note from the company owner with a word on a card.  Her note said that she and her cohorts had prayed over each order and randomly put words inside that she hoped would encourage the purchaser and that would give them new hope for their new year.

I stared at my word in wonder, amazement and perhaps a bit of fear.  The words staring back at me on the pretty little card was: “BOLD”.

Bold?  I felt anything but bold.  What did it mean?  Visions flashed before me as I saw myself embarking on new journeys and tackling fearful monsters with a new boldness, much like a knight in shining armor tackling the dragon without fear.

I wasn’t bold.

What could it mean?

As the year developed and unfolded before me, I thought about the word.  Was I bold in my faith?  Was I bold in my forgiveness?  Was I bold in my introspection?  Did I have to courage to look the truth in the face?  Did I feel bold enough to let the LORD show me where I had been living a lie, has been superficial, or acted like a hypocrite?  Was I bold enough to follow Jesus totally, no matter how it hurt or how hard it was?

I don’t think He is done working on me, but I’ve grown this year, I have become more bold in my faith; more sure, and more resolute.  I have taken some chances and spoken to non-believers with openness and genuine curiosity.  I have opened myself up to their questions and have allowed them to ask me things I don’t always have answers for.  I have asked God the hard questions, yelled at Him in my sorrow, and have admitted my lack of strength, my weak faith, and my need for Jesus Christ to be my all.  I haven’t changed the world, but I have grown and God has met me in my weakness and fear and He has indeed, given me a bit more boldness in my faith.

I didn’t ask for a new word this year.  Last year was hard.  Maybe this “new year, new word” thing is over rated.

But as I stood at the sink washing dishes, reflecting on the past year, a new word came into my mind with absoluteness: STUDY.

The word danced before me as the water flowed over the soapy dishes and washed them clean.  Study?

Yes…study…that is my word.

Something came to mind as I considered the word.  I had heard not that long ago that only 20% of Christians read their Bible regularly.  I walked to the computer and googled it.

LifeWayResearch.com posted data in April of 2017 which can be found here.  Their research states that only 11% of Christians have read the the whole Bible.  Only 9% of Christians have read it more than once.

Conversely, 30% of professing Christians have read several passages and stories and 13% of us have only read a few sentences, while 10% of Christians have not personally read any of the Bible at all.

I was floored.

Do we even know what we believe?

If the vast majority of us haven’t read more than a few passages in the Bible, how do we know who God really is?  How do we distinguish between our Jesus and a false one?  How do we have conversations with unbelievers without sounding foolish?  How do we grow in our faith?  How do we rest assured that what we believe is actually true?  How can we be sure?

How can I be sure?

I have spent endless hours studying Epilepsy, and gut health, and metal health.  I have spent 100’s of hours researching vaccinations, and essential oils and autoimmune disorders.  I have looked at the research on Global Warming, Global Change and Evolution.  I have read thousands and thousands of words on various topics.

I spent time in theology school 15 years ago studying God’s word.  But, that was 15 YEARS ago!!  I feel His words are written on my heart, but I can’t tell you where it says this or that spontaneously.  I can go looking for it later.  You know, “Paul said this, I think…or maybe it was James…”  I can tell you if something is in The Old testament or the New, but I can’t pull it up the exact words or reference immediately in my mind.

I have spent years using my brain to study things about the world, but….have I given my Savior and my God the same attention?

This year, 2018, is my year of study…

This is the year I go back to the One who really matters, and STUDY His words.

I don’t know what you see or want in 2018, but let me encourage you to make the living Words of God part of whatever you do.   Let me encourage you to pick up your Bible and read for yourself what the Living God proclaims and may we all learn to be a bit bolder in our search for truth and a bit more inclined to see what God says for himself about who he is and what he asks of us.

May we all grow in knowledge and in truth.

“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

God thinks You’re Cool- An Easter Message

Today is Easter Sunday.  As I’ve gone through the activities and celebrations of the day I’ve been thinking about the implications as well.  The concept of Resurrection Sunday, as it is also called, can be hard to grasp.  If I understand Easter as fully as I’m able, it’s even a bit perplexing…

Why would God Almighty go through torture and death for my sake?  Why does he want a relationship with us that badly?

Why are we important to God?

GOD?!

You see I find it immensely easy to remember all the reasons I have been rejected in the past.  All the reasons I don’t quite measure up.

It’s easy to consider all of the ways in which failure and lacking dwell within me.  Perhaps you can relate.

All the ways in which we are not Most Popular, Parent of the Year, Best Dressed, Most successful, Employee of the Month, Prettiest, Smartest…

The list goes on, doesn’t it?

Many of us are more likely to win Frumpiest, Hottest Mess, Clumsiest, Nerdiest, Dirtiest house, Owner of Worst Behaved Dog, Most Likely To Be Forgotten, Most Anxious, Most Spastic…

I mean….why on earth would God want us?

What is more, why would he sacrifice his life for us?  Are we really worth it?  Are we really all that great?

We kinda aren’t.

And yet…maybe we are…

I mean maybe we actually are pretty cool.

We are created in God’s image, we think for ourselves, we have the ability to believe or not believe to choose or not choose.  We can be utterly selfish or totally self-sacrificing.  We have the ability to love deeply and trust totally…

We have righteous potential and somehow God sees past all the crap and sees everything we can be and everything he created us to be; and what he sees are beautiful messes so complicated and so multifaceted that the question moves from “Why love us?” to “What’s not to love?”

We are worth it.

The lie out there is that we aren’t worth it.  That we are too damaged, too fallen, too unlovable, too dirty, to odd, too socially awkward, too silly, too dorky, too ugly, too fat, too dumb…

But…they’re lies.

Lies we try desperately to fight against when we don’t have to.

Who cares what other people think!

The God of the Universe thinks you are pretty awesome!

He loves you, he wants you, he died to prove it.  And, because he is God, he overcame death so that death doesn’t have to hold us back or keep us down.  The Spirit of Death doesn’t need to have any power in our lives.  Our souls can be free if we walk with him; if we say “Yes,” to Jesus.

He thinks you are so great and sees all your beauty, ability, and potential, all he wants is for you to want him back; for the love to be mutual.

The risk was worth it to him.

The risk of rejection was worth it!

That is how deep his love is for us…for you…

“I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays his life down for the sheep.” John 10:11

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

All you have to do is say “Yes.”

“Yes, I accept your gift of friendship.  Yes, I accept you into my life.  Yes, I surrender and will let you be my peace.  Yes, I will let you carry my burdens.  Yes, I am not perfect.  Yes, I sin.  Yes, I need your forgiveness for rejecting you up until now.  Yes, I want you in my life.  Yes, I believe.”

Are you ready to surrender?

“If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is LORD,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Believe and admit it.  Be willing to speak the name of Jesus.  Don’t hide your belief in him as if you are ashamed of him; that is all that God asks.

If you are ready to accept Christ into your life, don’t wait.  Do it now.  Then, let someone else who believes know and if you have a chance let me know so I can pray for you.

Peace be with you!

 

Who is God? Part 2 – Is God Really Good?

God of the Bible

The story of God continues with the birth of Cain and then Able in Genesis Chapter 4. Now sin and death have entered the picture and each boy comes into the world and develops different hearts and different desires. They still have access to God through the strained relationship their parents have with Him but Cain was self-indulgent and tried to pull a fast one on God, and God, knowing his heart, was not pleased. Cain got angry because God found favor with his brother Abel but not with him. God, like a parent, came to Cain and essentially said, “Why are you angry? If you make good choices and do the work you are able to do, then I would be happy with you.” (Genesis 4:6-10)

Cain found different solution, kill Abel.

A logical choice clearly.

God, knew that Cain was guilty of murder and Cain was forced to leave and become a wanderer.  Cain eventually married and had children, but, because Cain was not faithful to God that is where his story ends. Those who ventured off became their own master’s but they also missed out on the promises and blessings God intended for them. The Bible follows the story of those who were faithful to him.  And through their stories of faith, struggle, rejection, and redemption the story of God is also told.

After Cain and Able, Seth was born.  Seth was faithful and so the story of God continued to the next generation.  The population continued to grow and with growth came more people who rejected God while the faithful grew smaller and smaller in number.

THE FLOOD

That bring us to Genesis 6 and the flood. The people in the world had grown so selfish and prideful that they fully rejected God and his heart was grieved. But the real reason for the flood was something beyond that. God didn’t simply flood the earth because he was sad that he had been forsaken.  Genesis 6 tells us that the “sons of God” (angels) saw that the “daughters of men” (human women) were beautiful and desirable.

Then guess what happened?!

The angels started sleeping with these beautiful human women and impregnated them.

Ok, I know it sounds outlandish, but we are talking about the story of GOD! An all-powerful supernatural being…

Anyway, the angels slept with the women and got them pregnant and they had children who were half angel and extremely powerful and also immortal. These are referred to as The Nephilim. They were big shots and heroes so to speak, unfortunately, they were also “evil.”

Perfect!  What could possibly go wrong?

Super strong, evil immortals leading the people of earth.  Seriously, if you were God wouldn’t that be a little bit concerning to you? I’m just asking because I can see why this was a problem.

At that point God’s heart was so filled with pain at the wickedness of the people that He wished He had never created humanity. He decided that the only thing he could do was wipe the world out.  The people were wayward and wicked and following evil immortals and the world was getting pretty rotten pretty quickly.

This wasn’t what God wanted.  I’m convinced he put it off as long as possible and only turned to this option when there were no others.

But then, God saw Noah.

And, as it turns out, Noah was from the line of Seth and was a good man despite all the wickedness around him.

Is that not cool, or what?  Noah…from the line of Seth, who happened to choose God…

God saw Noah and saw that he was blameless among the people of his time. This does not mean that Noah was perfect, but he was walking with God the best he could. God saw his heart and had mercy on him.  This isn’t just for Noah because remember, God loves to be in relationship with us and Noah was still seeking God and so his story continued.  Noah built the ark and he, with all his family got in, and God sent the flood waters.

A New Beginning

After the flood, God got to start over, so to speak, with humanity. God decided to set up an exchange of promises with Noah. Start fresh with these humans and “make an agreement” kinda thing. So basically God told Noah, “Here are the new expectations for remaining in relationship with Me. Take care of the earth and the animals. By the way, you are welcome to eat the animals now,” (which makes sense since the vegetation would have been water logged and probably covered in mud). “I give them to you to eat just as you have always had plants to eat. And you will rule over them and they will fear you.”

Rule 1: Take care of the earth. Rule 2: You can eat the animals but don’t eat meat that has lifeblood in it. In other words, don’t be savages and eat or drink animal blood.  Rule 3: Don’t murder each other or there will be consequences. (Genesis 9:6).

So we went from 1 rule in The Garden to 3 rules post flood.  Three rules to follow, and actually, the first two aren’t even really rules per say, more like expectations that are to be upheld.  I don’t think God was being unreasonable here.

Again we see that God remained with the people who were faithful to follow and worship him.  God loves all of us, but he doesn’t promise blessings to those who reject Him.  This also does not mean that those who follow God are perfect but they are covered by his grace and able to remain in relationship with him.

THE POINT of the STORY

The rest of the Bible really, is about how God sought and found those who wanted Him. It is the battle of sin and the grip it has on our souls verses our freedom and peace with God. It is the story of the Israelite people; how God blessed them or withheld blessings when they were most sinful. It is the story of God’s heartbreak over their continuous rejection of Him despite His love for them. And, it is the story of his relentless pursuit of faithful people.

But, we can’t stay faithful and we fall away so easily.  Redemption seemed out of reach.  We needed a permanent solution.  Sin came into the world and it was messing everything up.  It needed conquered once and for all and only God himself could bring a permanent redemption and bring light to darkness, life to death, and relationship to brokenness.  But it meant doing something big…really big…

Author: Jacqi Kambish

This is Part 2 in the series “Who is God?”  where we are exploring the goodness of God.  Stay tuned for Part 3 due to post on Monday, April 23, 2017.  Feel free to go back and view the other parts of this series Is God Really Good? and Who is God?- Part 1