Category: thoughts by Kristi Huseby

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by Kristi Huseby

My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, you people; (pour your hearts out to Him), for God is our refuge.Psalm 62.7-9 (emphasis mine)

Growing up I was taught that God desired to have a relationship with me. But my pursuit of that relationship looked more like a rote exercise than anything else. It was less like a relationship and more like a student in a classroom.

Prayer became a list of what I needed and an expectation of God to answer. Because after all, I reasoned, God says He will give us what we need if we ask, right? It’s in the Bible somewhere?

I think many of us approach prayer as if God is our great Santa Claus in the sky and we’re disillusioned when He doesn’t come through for us. We have pursued prayer not to hear from God or to form a bond with Him but to get what we need.

God wants so much more for our relationship with Him! He sacrificed His only Son so that we could have a union with Him that is beyond all others! God is here! He has come near.

Will you pull up a chair and sit in His presence today? Why not discover who He is and pour your heart to Him? He is waiting.

Lord, I confess that I have followed after You more to get what I want than to know You. Change me. Open my eyes. I want to follow hard after You. Show me how to live in relationship with You. Amen.

Action Step: If you tend to rely on spiritual reading or a lot of talking in your prayer, try sitting in silence and listening for God’s words of love today.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2013/10/23/kh_academics-or-intimacy/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women

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by Kristi Huseby

hiding_place351I decided this summer to read The Hiding Place (by Corrie Ten Boom) again.  I’d read this book a couple of times before but this time in reading it I found precious gems of Truth that I had never seen before.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Hiding Place, it is the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her family who were taken captive during World War II in Holland for sheltering Jews.

As I perused this book again new truths came to light that caught me by surprise and took my breath away.

. . . As the rest of the world grew stranger, one thing became increasingly clear.  And that was the reason the two of us (Corrie and Betsie, her sister) were here.  As for us, from morning until lights-out, whenever we were not in ranks for roll call, our Bible was the center of an ever-widening circle of help and hope.  Like waifs clustered around a blazing fire, we gathered about it, holding out our hearts to its warmth and light.  The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the word of God.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:35

I would look about us as Betsie read, watching the light leap from face to face.  More than conquerors . . . It was not a wishIt was a fact.  We knew it, we experienced it minute by minute – poor, hated, hungry.  We are more than conquerors.  Not “we shall be.”  We are!  Life in Ravensbruck took place on two separate levels, mutually impossible.  One, the observable, external life, grew every day more horrible.  The other, the life we lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.

Did you catch it? . . . We ARE more than conquerors.  Not “we shall be.”  We ARE!

The LORD rescues the godly; He is their fortress in times of trouble.  The LORD helps them, rescuing them from the wicked.  He saves them, and they find shelter in HimPsalm 37.39-40

As I look at these verses through Corrie’s lens I realize that my understanding has been incredibly distorted due to my overwhelming need for comfort.

Corrie and Betsie’s life in the prison camp was filled with unspeakable horror.  And there is something deep within me that cries, “Why God, Why?  Why do you allow such godly people to suffer and die in such revolting conditions?  They followed you.  They gave you everything and yet look how You rewarded them!”

And it’s almost as if I can hear Corrie saying . . . “God was with me every step of the way.  He WAS my fortress in times of tribulation.  He WAS saving me and I DID find shelter in Him.”

I’m ashamed at how easily I slide into a faith that is only concerned about my comfort and not God’s ways.

LORD, rescue and save me from myself!  From my foolish desires, from my own need for comfort.  Teach me to follow you with my WHOLE heart.  Your love is never conditional – may my love for You never be conditional either.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2013/08/27/kh_comforts-primal-call/

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by Kristi Huseby

As a young girl, I looked forward to potluck dinners in the basement of our small church. I would stand at the top of the stairs and inhale the smell that was wafting its way up from the kitchen, causing my mouth to water and then I’d race down as fast as I could.

The various and sundry dishes seemed to stretch on forever.

My favorite thing to do, before it all began, was to walk up one side of the tables and down the other, trying to see all that was there. If I stretched my neck and stood on my tip toes I could just get a glimpse of what was in the those wonderful smelling dishes.

The good old standbys always brought a smile to my face; fried chicken, orange jello and deviled eggs. But other dishes like vegetables or weird salads would make me wrinkle my nose and rejoice that at this dinner I didn’t have to have a “no thank you” helping. And then there were the desserts, as usual the ladies of our church had out done themselves with warm brownies fresh out of the oven, enormous cakes, and pies galore.

My joy of potluck dinners was born out of a love for food and fellowship. My favorite thing about potlucks was that my parents weren’t as attentive to my eating habits which enabled me to eat whatever I wanted. This meant that I could forego the vegetable dishes and fill up on desserts to my heart’s delight.

I also enjoyed the freedom to be able to pick and choose what I wanted to eat. At home there weren’t a lot of choices. I had to eat a little of everything, even if I didn’t like it. I learned early in life not to complain because that would only get me more!

My love for potluck dinners was raised to new heights, when I realized for the first time that if I put something on my plate and didn’t like it, I didn’t have to eat it! That was never the case at home. The mantra, “Clean Your Plate” had been adopted by my parents, and there was no hope of changing it. Believe me, I tried.

Recently when I sat down to spend some time in the Scriptures; I was struck with the fact that I have a tendency to love God’s Word, like I love potluck dinners! Let me explain . . .

I choose to feast on verses like Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT) “The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

But turn my nose up at verses like Matthew 5:44 (NLT) “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

My desire for things that are easy and tasteful hinders me from developing strength and depth as His disciple. And I can’t help but wonder if this is what Paul was alluding to in
1 Corinthians 2:2 (NLT) “I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready. . .”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there are verses in the Bible that don’t have any value but the point I’m trying to make is that we hamper God’s work in our life when we pick and choose what we like and don’t take it ALL into account.

God’s Word is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. I readily confess that I don’t like to be cut open, to have my sin held up to the light of His Word. It’s so much easier to steer clear of God’s cleansing work in my life and focus on His unending love and faithfulness. But God desires so much more for me and for you!

My question to you is this: Are you approaching God’s Word like you approach a potluck dinner? Do you find yourself choosing the verses in God’s Word that are tasty and appetizing and avoiding those that seem distasteful or hard?

Lord, I confess in my heart of hearts I have approached your Word like I do a potluck dinner. I have feasted on Your grace and avoided Your commands. Thank you for extending Your mercy to me and open my eyes and my heart to ALL that you want to teach me. Amen.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2013/05/15/kh_scripture-smorgasbord/

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by Kristi Huseby

The church I go to and work at has chosen to encourage everyone who attends, from age 12 on up, to read through the entire New Testament in eight weeks.  When I first heard that we were going to do this, I confess I was a bit overwhelmed at the idea.  How was I ever going to do that during the busiest season of my life?  That’s a HUGE amount of reading in a very SHORT amount of time, I’m just saying!  BUT it is turning into one of the BIGGEST blessings that I have ever experienced!!

We all started reading this past Monday.  What makes this reading unique (other than the fact that we’re reading it in eight very short weeks) is that the Bible we are reading from has been altered a bit.  Before you start gasping for air and wondering what heretical thing we’re doing, let me explain . . .

It is the New International Version but they have taken out the chapter and verse marks and it reads like a story instead of an intellectual book.  They have also arranged the books by authors, i.e. Luke and Acts are the first books we read since they were written by Luke, and then we move into the writings of Paul which are arranged in chronological order.  Nothing has been taken from the Scripture and nothing has been added.  However, reading in this new format has caused me to see the Word of God in a new and fresh way.  I tell you all of this because I’m guessing that for the next eight weeks you will be reading in this blog the things I’m learning from my perusal of the New Testament Scriptures.

This week we are reading the book of Luke.  Last year I took on a project to copy down the whole book of Luke (I finally finished just a few weeks ago).  So I was secretly wondering if I would see anything new.  But as God has proved over and over His Word was a two-edged sword piercing my heart again with a very familiar passage.

The story takes place in Luke 2.41-49.  Jesus is twelve years old and has traveled with his parents to Jerusalem.  They are on their way home when Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus isn’t with them.  If you’re wondering how this could happen – let me tell you it’s easy when you have numerous kids, bunches of relatives and multiple caravans.  It’s easy to think they are with someone else, only to find they’re not.  (I speak from experience.)

When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.  Luke 2.45-46 (NIV)

When his parents saw, him they were astonished.  His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this?  Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

Why were you searching for me?” he asked.  “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  Luke 2:48-50 (NIV)

I’ve always struggled with this passage of Scripture because it sounds like Jesus is scolding his parents.  At first glance it seems that he might just possibly be a bit disrespectful.  But after reading this again this week, I saw something in there that I’d never noticed before.

It says that his parents returned to Jerusalem and then it took them three more days before they found him!  I always thought that it took them three days to get back to Jerusalem.
Think about it.  They had searched in Jerusalem for three interminable days before it dawned on them to look in the temple!

Mary and Joseph had seen the angels, the shepherds and the wise men.  They’d experienced the virgin birth of their son but in the ten to twelve years since all of that had happened they had forgotten who their Son really was and they went last to the place they should’ve gone first!  No wonder Jesus said what he did.

I couldn’t help but wonder as I read this if I have done the same thing?

I have a problem . . . What’s the first thing I do?  I get on the phone and talk to a friend.  I try to fix it on my own and only after that doesn’t work do I finally bring it to the ONE I should have gone to FIRST.  Why is prayer always my last resort instead of my first inclination?  Could it be that I’ve lost sight of who He is and what He has done in my life in the past?  Could it be that I don’t really KNOW who He is?

Let me ask you?  Is He the LAST place you turn to when you can’t solve things on your own or the FIRST place you run to in the good and the bad?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2013/05/05/kh_last-place-first/
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by Kristi Huseby

Last winter, I was driving down a back road and came upon an unexpected curve.  Because the road was icy and I was going too fast, I went right off the road and into a bank of snow.  Thankfully everything was okay and I didn’t have to tell my husband (except now he will know, ugh).

That curve caught me totally by surprise!

Life has a way of catching us by surprise, doesn’t it?  Maybe it’s an unplanned pregnancy, a trip to the dentist, a spouse that has left, a broken down car, a job loss, an angry embittered teen, a DUI, the loss of a close friend or family member.

We can experience many unexpected turns in our lives.  Some curves seem more irritating than anything else and others curves change our lives forever!

I have often found myself asking God . . .

Why are You allowing me to experience these turns in my life?  Why did you not give me any warning signs?  Why didn’t You straighten out the road so that I could avoid these turns?  You’re God, You can do that!

Years ago, I watched a friend of mine cope with an incredible unexpected curve in her life.  One day while working she fell from a high platform and was paralyzed from the waist down.  For anybody this tragedy would seem devastating but for Beth I think it was even more overwhelming because she earned her living by using her legs – she was an athletic director.  Beth is one of the most athletic people I know.   She was my volleyball coach when I was in College and that’s how we became friends.

Talking with her one day, I asked her if she ever struggled with anger and bitterness towards God.  Her answer didn’t surprise me because I know Beth but it did amaze me.  She said, “No, I know that this is His plan for my life and I’ve accepted that.  But I want you to know that I’m looking forward to Heaven!  I’ll have my legs back and you won’t be able to catch me!”

Beth has taken this unexpected curve in her life and embraced it!  She has found her identity in Christ alone and she’s allowing God to use her in the place He as designed just for her.

I’m becoming more and more convinced that life is a series of unexpected curves.

And the real question is NOT why did this happen to me or why did You allow this in my life?  BUT, how am I going to choose to live my life through this unexpected curve?  Will I let bitterness and anger invade my soul?  Will I turn away from God?  Will I refuse to see His goodness in the midst of the turn?  Or will I embrace the pain and surrender my heart to God?  Will I bow down to my Maker and acknowledge that He is God and I am not?  Will I trust Him when I don’t understand?

How do you respond when your life takes an unexpected turn?  Do you spend your time questioning His goodness or do you surrender to His will for your life?

Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Do you believe this?  Will you embrace the unexpected curves in your life? Trusting Him for the things you cannot see and resting in His perfect plan for you.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2012/10/11/kh_unexpected-curves/

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By Kristi Huseby

I don’t understand God sometimes!   To be honest, it’s really most of the time.

Why doesn’t He clearly reveal Himself to me?  Why does He often leave me guessing at who He is and what He is doing?   You see, I have these great expectations about God and what He could and should do.  And I get frustrated and disillusioned when I don’t see Him behaving like I think my God should. . .

My husband had a cousin who finally found love at the age of 40 and married a man who had lost his wife to cancer.  He had three children, who longed to have a mother again. They had prayed for three long years and she was their answer!

Her wedding was such an amazing celebration – so full of life and joy.   But only 3 months later we were in that very same church holding her funeral.  Her husband and her children were devastated!  And I found myself questioning God . . .  It seemed so senseless and even cruel! How could there be any good in this?

When my son was in High School he experienced an incredible amount of loss and disappointment in a 6 month period.  And as a result, he became disillusioned with God.  I begged God to show Himself to my son, “He needs to see You and know that You love him.  Will You just prove to him that you are God?”  But it didn’t happen that way and my son struggled in his faith.

Why does God do that?  Why doesn’t He feel compelled to meet our expectations?  After all He is God!   You would think that because He wants everyone to come to Him, He would be out and about proving who He was and what He could do.  So why doesn’t he do that?

As I was reading my Bible one day, I came upon a passage that echoed this struggle I was having with God.

Jesus was speaking to His followers and He was explaining to them that He was the Bread of Life. Look at his controversial words, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.  But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.”  John 6:53-54 (NLV)

Really!! Who wouldn’t be confused by those words?

It goes on to say that many of his disciples said, “This is hard to understand, how could anyone accept it?”  (No kidding!)

Many of his followers turned their backs on Jesus that day and so He turned to his twelve disciples and asked them if they were going to leave Him too?

Look at Peter’s reply, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69 NLV)

Do you see it?

Peter says, “WE BELIEVE and we KNOW you are the Holy One of God.”

I believe what Peter is saying here is that even though we don’t understand You . . . even though You aren’t meeting our expectations of what we think a Messiah should be . . . even though we can’t see the Way we will TRUST you.

And I love what he says right before that statement.  “Lord, to whom would we go?”

Times without number I have heard Peter’s words echoed by other followers of Jesus in times of disillusionment, “Where would we go?  How could we ever walk this road without Him?”

I’ve come to the conclusion that we cannot compel God to prove who He is.  He will do it in His time and in His way.

And His WAY is the way of faith.

So when I am disillusioned because my God is not meeting my expectations, I CHOOSE to believe, to trust that His way is good.

And I turn my eyes back to the Cross. . .

For how can I question His goodness, when He willing laid down His life for me?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2012/09/27/kh_great-expectations/

http://www.brokenandredeemed-kristi.blogspot.com/

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by Kristi Huseby

daily christian online devotionalHave you ever told yourself, “I’m done with that sin and I’m never going back to it!”?

I have – about a bazillion times!  I get so disgusted with myself and my sin that I decide I can’t live with it anymore, I’m done.   But that usually lasts only a couple of days before I begin to miss my comfortable sin and wish I had it back.

Why do we go back?   Because the past always seems to be better, because we don’t like the present, because we’re afraid of the future, because we can’t let go, because our sin feels so much more comfortable than the unknown, because, because, because . . .

And then devil has us right where he wants us – STUCK!  We can’t move forward when we’re turning back.  We settle for ineffectiveness, unproductiveness and fruitlessness.

The story is told a man named Herman Cortes who burned his ships to keep his men from turning away from the mission that he had for them.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah (a prophet in Israel) chooses Elisha to replace him by throwing his cloak over Elisha as he is plowing his field.  Elisha chases after him and asks him if he can tell his parents goodbye.  “Elijah replied, ‘Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.’” (1 Kings 19:20b NLT)

The next picture we see is found in verse 21 of 1 Kings 19 (NLT),   “So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.

Why is this recorded in Scripture? It doesn’t say that he told his parents goodbye and then followed Elisha.  It says he used the wood from the plow to make a fire and then cooked up the oxen and shared it with the town.  What’s he doing?

Elisha, like Herman Cortes, is “burning his ships”.   For Elisha, there is no going back.  He has chosen the mission that Elijah called him to which ultimately was GOD’S MISSION for him.  He’s clearly showing Elijah that he’s surrendered everything; his home, his family, his livelihood.  He’s refusing to look back!

Let me ask you, has God put a call on your life and you continue to turn back to your old ways?  Has He said to you, “Come follow me,” but you’ve been resisting, thinking that what lies in your past is so much better than what He might have for you? Are you stuck in a sin cycle you can’t you can’t seem to find a way out of? What’s holding you back from wholeheartedly following the Lover of Your Soul?

Following God isn’t easy.  It wasn’t for Elisha.  But think about it, Elisha traded in a lifetime of plowing oxen for service to his KING and through God’s power, he raised a child from the dead, caused an axe head to float, healed a man of leprosy and on and on the list goes.  I doubt that Elisha ever looked back and wished that he had kept plowing that field.

So I ask again, what is keeping you from fully surrendering and following God?

Is it a sin in your life that you cannot seem to overcome or a mission God has called you to that you don’t seem to have enough faith for?  Whatever it is I challenge you, like Elisha and Herman Cortes, to “burn your ship” and don’t look back!

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2012/09/13/kh_no-going-back/

http://www.brokenandredeemed-kristi.blogspot.com/
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by Kristi Huseby

I walked in from our garage into the kitchen and immediately smelled something awful! It was permeating the whole house.  I figured it was either coming from the garbage or the refrigerator.  I checked the trash and didn’t find anything too smelly in there.  So my next exploration led me to the fridge, it was full at the time and it took some sorting out to find the culprit!

I found it!

We had a nice science experiment going on in our refrigerator with a few spoonful’s of re-fried beans!  I couldn’t believe that such a little amount of food could cause such a great stink in our house!

Smell is a powerful thing.

A small whiff of an odor or fragrance can you take you back to a memory from long ago – your Grandmother’s perfume, laundry hung on the line to dry, bread baking in the oven.

The Bible talks about the aroma that a believer, who is a captive of Jesus Christ gives off.  Look at 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”

Have you ever stopped to consider what kind of a smell you are giving off?  Is it a sweet fragrance of surrender to Jesus Christ or an acrid repugnant odor of sin hidden in your heart?

Holding onto our sin is like carrying around a big smelly bag of trash.  We get used to carrying that bag and it actually feels good at times, we feel justified in our attitudes and our behaviors.  We don’t even realize that that big bag of trash is causing us to stumble and fall and to miss out on so much more that God wants to give us.

A big bag of smelly sin

How easy and comfortable it is to wallow in our sin, to justify it and excuse it while never realizing that it is weighing us down, tripping us up and holding us captive.

I have found that in my own life, when I allow sin to take root that it quickly takes over and I need to surrender to Jesus Christ and allow Him to dig it out and expel that odorous sin from my life.

Just as a refrigerator cannot rid itself of its own smelly contents, we cannot clean up our life on our own.   We need a Savior to rescue us from our depravity, our foolishness and show us where we need to go – that Savior is Jesus Christ.

Have you given over your bag of trash to your Savior?   Have you surrendered those areas in your life that are holding you back from wholeheartedly following Him?  What’s stopping you?

Exchange that smelly bag of trash for the fragrant aroma of following Jesus – I guarantee you won’t miss it!

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2012/08/07/kh_whats-that-smell/

http://www.brokenandredeemed-kristi.blogspot.com/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women