notesbynora

Walking by Faith Alone

Bring It On…

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I have always been a cheeror of the “underdog.” If one football team is favored tremendously over another, I usually choose the unfavored one and give them a ridiculous score for victory. I choose people in races with injuries; gymnast who have overcome tragedies; the kids with severe discipline problems; I like to get behind those who have flaws, but have the will to overcome them. Funny, if you will allow the comparison, God does too – a young boy against a giant; a baby in a manger; a female against an army of men. I cannot profess to know the reasons behind God’s choices but I would imagine it had to do with the outcome. How much more glory comes when he takes a boy, sold into slavery by his brothers, and makes him 2nd in command over all of Egypt. He didn’t choose a lawyer or business man with an MBA. He chose a slave and prisoner. Now that is some God!

There is a story in 1 Kings about Elijah the prophet. He is up against 400+ prophets of the god Baal. Two fire pits are built and two calves slaughtered. The idea is to see whose god can light the altar with a blaze of  fire. Elijah lets the prophets of Baal go first. They dance and sing, chant, shake their tambourines. Elijah shouts out to them, “Maybe you should shout louder. Your god might be in the bathroom!” The prophets shout louder, roll on the ground, stomp their feet, and smash themselves with swords, spilling their blood on the ground around the altar they’ve built. Elijah recommends, “Shout louder! Maybe it’s a holiday for your god.”  All day, into the evening, and no response from the god of Baal. Finally Elijah says, “OK guys. My turn.”

Elijah is so confident in his God that he taunts them. “Go get water and douse my wood. Build a trench around my altar and fill it with water. More water! More water!” The prophets of Baal add water, add water, add water. Elijah encourages them, “Bring More!”

1 King 18:36 ” At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” ”

No dancing and singing. No cutting of the wrist or rolling on the ground. No chanting or sweating.

38Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—He is God! The LORD—He is God!”

There comes a time in our lives when we have to look Satan in the eye and say, “BRING IT ON!”

Fear is a crippling emotion. It causes doubt. It makes us weak, anxious, and unable to think clearly. Fear is NOT of God or He wouldn’t spend so many verses of the Bible telling us “Not to Fear!”

I do not know what you are facing in life, but I do know this, GOD IS THERE. He will answer you, but your faith is the key.

On a daily basis I witness people who live two different lives- one in church and one outside of church. Business has nothing to do with God in their world. It is all about money, the game, winning at all costs. I consider them to be the prophet’s of Baal. People in the courtrooms who think because there are loop holes, they can destroy other’s lives. People who play games with those who cannot play back. If you are on the receiving end, I am here to tell you, shout as loud as you can, “Bring It ON! In the name of Jesus Christ, my redeemer and friend, Bring It ON!” Your God is greater than any attorney, any lawsuit, any judge.

(If you are the one dishing it out, thinking you are justified with your degree and your fancy shoes? Want to know what happened to the prophets of Baal? Read 1 King 18:40.)

Be encouraged children of God. We serve a mighty King. Stand up for Him today and He will come to your assistance in a mighty way. There is nothing our God would love to do more for you than to dirty the shoes of a prophet of Baal.

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

February 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

My Valentine

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Today I did something different. I took a Valentine to a perfect stranger. He was 96 years old. His wife had died 10 years ago, his daughter at the age of 16 years. It was one of those spontaneous gestures that came across my mind while I stood in the card aisle trying to find just the perfect fit for each one of my six children. Cards are extremely personal to me. I could never just grab one; no they have to say “just the right words” to represent the person on my heart. And He was on my heart.

I thought of Jesus and wondered who He would send a card to if given the opportunity. I assume all of us but in particular, someone who didn’t have a Valentine. I can’t say I felt comfortable at first, giving a Valentine to a man I didn’t know. But for whatever reason, I stood before an older gentleman who had lived life and had all the scars and wisdom to prove it. I told him of my divorce; my love of God; my precious six children; and my desire to impact the Kingdom of God. We laughed about chocolate candy and he wished for a Nehi Orange Soda. He and his wife had been married 63 years. He hoped there was marriage in heaven.

I included a heart-shaped red sucker but he wasn’t supposed to have sugar. He ate it anyway. And when it was time for me to leave, he told me it had been 10 years since he had received a Valentine. I accepted a kiss on the cheek and will forever remember turning back to see him still waving as I walked down the hall.

The aisles of Target were full tonight with last-minute Valentine shoppers. The cards were in such a disarray it was difficult to find the appropriate envelope that fit. The chocolate valentine boxes, once organized and neatly stacked, were scattered on various shelves. So many people – so many gifts.

Today I want to challenge you to buy an extra Valentine for a perfect stranger. It could be someone on the street, in a restaurant, in the hospital or nursing home, in your school, or in Wal-Mart.

I feel certain that is exactly what Jesus would do. Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

February 14, 2012 at 3:46 am

Did Judas go to hell?

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I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking about Judas, one of the chosen twelve disciples, and the betrayer of Jesus. Is there anyone as hated in the Christian faith? The man who sold our Savior for 30 pieces of silver, the price in that day of a slave. The man who turned Him over with a kiss on the cheek.

My interest in Judas came about when one of my Sunday School kids (I teach 3rd graders) declared one morning in the middle of a lesson about Jeremiah, “You know who is burning in Hell?”

Of course all attention left me and on this little boy. “Judas. He is burning in Hell right now,” he mumbled.

I quickly redirected the brains and attention of my class back to the prophet Jeremiah, but the thought intrigued me. Is Judas burning in Hell?

To summarized the story, Judas was chosen by Christ to be one of His disciples. Historically, it is recorded Judas was the only disciple from a region called Negev (present day Judea). On the night of the Last Supper, it is told  in John 13 that Jesus spoke to Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

For thirty pieces of silver, a very small sum of money, Judas agreed to bring the Roman soldiers to Jesus. He would indicate who Jesus of Nazareth was by simply kissing Him on the cheek.  Judas called out to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Greetings Rabbi!” and Jesus responded, “Friend, do what you came for.”

When Jesus was taken into custody, Judas realized what he had done and repented, “I have sinned,” he said, “For I have betrayed innocent blood.” He threw the money into the temple and then left and hung himself.

Would God welcome such a betrayer into heaven?

In my prayers and research regarding this hated man Judas, I’ve come to realize several important things:

  • An evil man would have bartered for much more money. Jesus was a wanted commodity.
  • An evil man would not have repented
  • An evil man would not have been so desperate as to hang himself, but delight in his victory.

Judas had witnessed first hand the splendor and majesty of our Savior. He had seen Him do incredible feats, miracle after miracle. Is it possible Judas was simply forcing the hand of God? Prompting Him to demonstrate His power? Judas knew the soldiers were no match for Christ. What a victory it would be when Jesus defeated the Roman soldiers and declared Himself King of all kings!  How often do you and I attempt to force God to do that which we desire Him to do?

Those stripes on Jesus’ back? How many are yours? How many are mine? Do we not in some way betray our Savior on a daily basis? Do we not misrepresent Him when we gossip, judge, cheat, lie, and fail to defend Him? How many of us on a daily basis kiss the face of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver?

Could it be that any one of us are Judas at some point in our lives?

We live in a world surrounded by sin. Can we really judge Judas? Do we have a right to hate him?

When I was a little girl my Dad used to put his pocket change in a glass bear money bank which he kept in his sock drawer. As much as I try to remember, I can’t think what it was that I wanted to purchase but I took money from him – probably a dollar in nickels and dimes at the most. I couldn’t sleep because I was consumed with guilt. Finally, I went to my Dad and confessed that I had stolen money from him, and I returned what I had taken.

Later my Dad came and sat on the edge of my bed. He told me he loved me. I thought he would spank me or lecture me. I thought surely I’d be in trouble for days. Instead, he kissed my forehead and never mentioned it again. It was one of the greatest lessons of my life and I never took anything that didn’t belong to me again.

My Dad demonstrated the mercy of God. It is simple really but so many of us do not ‘get it’.

I cannot determine whether Judas is in Heaven or Hell – only God determines such – for He knows our hearts.  And although I would like to blame Judas for all that Jesus suffered on the cross, I know I cannot. For the nails which penetrated His hands and feet; the crown of thorns which gouged my Kings forehead; the words which mocked Him; the spit; the stripes on His back; all are just as much my fault as they are Judas’s.

I am careful where I place Judas. Did he not do the will of the Father? The harsh reality of Judas and his part in the Crucifixion leads me to ponder – realistically, shouldn’t I thank him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Cents…

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The other day I had a meeting in Gainesville, Georgia. I arrived early, some 30 minutes early to be exact, and decided to have coffee while I waited. The restaurant is arranged in such a manner that it is difficult to see others seated in booths. My booth nestled up to a group of women – three in all – having a wonderful discussion about the life of someone. I quickly recognized the version and understood painfully, it was mine. I thought of moving but then, it would be awkward to meet eye-to-eye. I thought of leaning around the corner and saying something stupid like, “Peek-A-Boo!” (Seriously, those words popped in my head). But instead, I listened to the juicy details of what these three women perceived to be my life. Occasionally, they got it right. I actually took out pen and paper to jot down a few statements because I hadn’t heard those about me before.

It is an election year and our days are filled with discussions about this candidate and that candidate. As I sat in that booth waiting for my meeting, I resolved myself to speak only about what I liked in the public figures running for office. Realistically, whether we agree with them or not, isn’t it their desire to be a catalyst for change? Why else would anyone pursue the scrutiny of public opinion polls? The road to the White House has very little glamour. We spend too much time discussing what is wrong with people and very little time rejoicing in what is “right.”

Jesus had a very valid point when He explained in Matthew 7:3-5, “3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s.”

As for the ladies in the restaurant spilling the mistakes and failures of my life on the table?… : )

I bought their lunch.

 

 

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

February 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

I will pray for you…

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I find it difficult to imagine the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, sleeping while their Savior prayed. Did they not understand or observe the turmoil brewing within Him?

Mark 14:37-40, “And He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? Couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again He went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer Him.”

I tend to be critical of them, considering the fact they had the opportunity to witness first hand the miracles of God; to speak and learn from the Master Himself. Had He ever been concerned to the point of requesting prayer from them? Had His behavior ever been such? Our Lord and Savior, knowing what was going to happen, was sweating blood, and Peter, James, and John were sleeping. How could they?

In life, I have found that when I make a judgement against someone, God usually teaches me to point my finger towards myself. In this instance, it is no different. While I do not understand how the disciples could sleep at such a time, I do the same to others. I have slept while people depended on me for prayer.

A few years ago, a friend confided in me of a situation in her life. She was conflicted and anxious, worrying that the outcome would be too difficult for her to live. Through her tears I promised to fast and pray with her and diligently did for several days. Life distracted me, I guess, if there is a justifiable reason for my stopping my fast and forgetting to pray. Maybe I was too wrapped up in myself and my own problems. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I didn’t realize the depth of her fears. Maybe I was the disciples under the tree in the Garden of Gethsemane.  A week passed and she called me, excited the situation had turned positive for her and hope existed. Instantaneously, I realized I was no different from Peter or James or John. It was as if I too had fallen asleep. God didn’t let my sweet friend down, but I did.

I heard a sermon recently by a man who travels throughout the world to minister to others. He told of a story in which a tragedy struck his friend’s household. The young daughter of this man had died, right at Christmas time. What do you do in such situations? He reminded us of the Christian response, “I will be praying for you…” and rolled his eyes whispering, “…and you take out your checkbook and write him a check for $500.00 to cover Christmas so he doesn’t have to worry about it.”

We often use prayer as a scapegoat – a way to gently remove ourselves from the pain of others. “Oh, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I will pray for you.” But how often do we actually do what we say we are going to do? We use the most powerful weapon God has given us against Satan as a phrase similar to a greeting. “How ya doing?” “I’ll be praying for ya!”

After the incident with my friend, I started a prayer journal and schedule. By putting people on particularly days, I would be able to keep up with who I had committed to pray for and maintain how he or she was doing. A day for my children, a day for my government, a day for my friend’s in need…I still fall short. I still let friends who I have told I will pray for slip through the cracks, but I try very hard not to do so.

Are you sleeping while others are counting on your prayers? Do you do what you say you are going to do when someone asks you to pray for them?

Not too long ago I received an email from a person I had asked several years ago to pray for me. I actually met her in a medical environment. We were struggling with similar issues and had spent the morning talking, while waiting to be tested for this and that. We had exchanged emails and had full intention of keeping touch. Her email was simple, “I continue to pray for you daily my friend. Let me know how you are.” My heart was filled with hope and the joy of knowing someone had been praying for me. She did not fall asleep but kept a watchful eye for me.

Prayer is a powerful weapon, so powerful that Jesus used it! The son of God used prayer daily. Imagine the enormity of that! If He needed prayer how much more do we?

Make a practice of praying daily. Keep your commitments to others.

Job 42:10, “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

Prayer is quite an investment for the future, wouldn’t you agree?

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Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

January 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Be Unstoppable

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One of my favorite stories of the Bible is the story of Esther, a young girl taken from her home to become a “contestant” per say for the role of Queen. Esther, a Jew, hides the fact that she is Jewish, uses a different name, and becomes Queen in a land that hates Jewish people. A time comes when she must defend her people, for she is their only voice. Esther 4:16, “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me; and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I also and my maids will fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

One of my favorite books is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. To admit such tells a bit of my personality most are not aware for once you have read it, no other plot can ever compare. But it is a toast which Edmund Dantes, aka The Count of Monte Cristo, offers to a young man turning sixteen which intrigues me the most. “Life is a storm my young friend, you will bask in the sunlight one moment be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into the storm as you shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst for I will do mine.”

I, myself,  have been known to shout such a phrase into the wind when life has dealt a crippling blow against me.

My grandmother loved the Lord. She came from an aristocratic home in Atlanta, Georgia. Her father was Attorney General for the State of Georgia. He tried a case involving a black man and a white woman and found the black man innocent. My grandmother remembers the night the KKK came to her home looking for her father. Her mother met them on the front steps with a gun and five children standing firmly behind her. There was no doubt she’d shoot any one of them without blinking an eye.  “I have no cause to kill any of you;” she stated firmly, “Yet I will.”

Courage comes from a most unexpected place and when backed by God empowers us to Be Unstoppable. It is a boldness within that shouts to the world, “You may have knocked me down this time; but I’m coming back.”

No matter where you are in the life, The Creator of the Universe has an arm strong enough, long enough, compassionate enough, and comforting enough to rescue you. You only need to reach up and grab hold.

There’s a little bit of Lot in us all.

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I am spending time studying Abraham. To be honest, I am quite fickle in my loyalty as to my favorite Bible characters: Esther, Joseph, Daniel, Peter, Ruth. At this time in my life it is Abraham.

If you are familiar with the story, Abraham pleads with God (he actually bargains with him) to spare some of the people who live in Sodom and Gomorrah because his nephew Lot and family live there. These are the sister cities which God destroyed because they were participating in abominable sin. The Lord actually sends two angels to Lot’s home and they escort Lot and his family out of the city to spare them from the destruction of the cities. I’m giving a brief overview of a lengthy and involved story, but here is my point.

Would God have spared Lot had Abraham not asked Him to do so? Would Lot and his family have been destroyed had Abraham neglected to intercede on his behalf?

It is a rhetorical question for it is impossible to truly and unequivocably know the answer. Only God does, but it brings up an interesting aspect of prayer and God.

Peter refers to Lot as a ‘righteous’ and ‘just’ man in 2 Peter 2:7; yet, if we follow the story of Lot, once he separated from Abraham, his life changed dramatically.

Lot was blessed because of his association with Abraham and Abraham’s obedience and faith in God. It appears that when Lot separated from Abraham, Lot lost the favor of God.

Genesis 12:3, God tells Abraham, “And I will bless those who bless you.  And the one who curses you, I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Genesis 39:5, “It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD’S blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field.”

It brings to question, how many of us are living on the blessings of others? How many of us expect others to pray for us and intercede with God on our behalf, have faith for us, while we ride on their coat tails?

I heard a minister once say that one of the greatest separators of God and man is the blanket. Instead of getting up and meditating with God in the morning, we selfishly pull the covers over our head. In the middle of strife, we call our preacher to pray for us and avoid studying the word ourselves or falling prostrate on the ground in front of God and coming clean. I think there is a little bit of Lot in every one of us.

I have a friend who often texts me and asks what verse in the Bible says this or what verse in the Bible says that. Since it is my nature to help, I instantly stop what I’m doing and find the scripture for her. Recently, I heard Joyce Meyer speaking about the very thing I was doing. “Let her find her own scripture because then she will be in the word.” Sometimes in our desire to help, we prevent others from establishing a relationship with God. Was this the case with Abraham and Lot. I’m not sure.

To have a personal relationship with God, you must seek Him through church, Bible study, prayer, and meditation. Relationships are complicated and involve work. If Christ spent a great deal of time in prayer, how much more should we?

Find what works for you and pursue God with all that you have. What you’ll find is up to God…

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Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

January 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm

And yet there is HOPE…

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Lamentations 3:19 – 24, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

The verse came to mind this morning as I meditated on the past, where I have been, the hand at times life has dealt to me, and the powerful force that brought me through it all.

I spoke with a friend yesterday who has walked a similar path in life as I have. I recalled several years ago standing against a wall in a crowd and seeing her across the room. Although we are different in appearance, I felt as if I looked in a mirror, for her countenance was similar to my own. As we spoke by phone, the realization that both of us had not only survived the pain and misery of the past but thrived overwhelmed us with joy. We reflected on God’s hand and how His faithfulness to us in the storms resulted in our ability to have a second chance at life.

“I remember my affliction and my wandering…”

During the passover, God instructed Moses to rub bitter herbs on the meat to remind the Israelites of the years of horror they spent as Egyptian slaves and who delivered them from the despair. Jeremiah in this verse of Lamentations is expressing the same thought but concludes in the simple words “yet” there is hope.

What should we do when life deals a harmful blow and what we know is disrupted and torn from our hands?

1. Praise God: Sometimes it is the last thought to pass our minds when we hear the devastating news that we’ve lost our job; or the cancer has spread; our marriage is over; our child is in trouble…but have you ever been an onlooker to a fire? The extreme heat and the blaze is mind-boggling. Fear resonates through your body until you hear the sirens that help is on the way. Firefighters dressed in flame resistant coats and boots with helmets appear, hose in hand, and suddenly you feel everything will be alright. 911 has been called and they are here! God is our firefighter when Satan hurls a blow that appears to consume us. God is our peace and strength. Just as we wouldn’t wave off the fire engine speeding to the rescue of the blazing fire, God needs to be the first to whom we call for help. Shout at the top of your lungs, “I know you are here God with me and I praise you!”

2. Remember the times God rescued you before and shout them out!  Proverbs 21:13, “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.” When events happen in our lives that cripple us and cause us pain, God isn’t surprised. He isn’t thrown off-balance. Remember the times of your past when He has rescued you. Remember how He orchestrated events to make things work-out for you. In the end, the victory is His, not yours. No matter what situation you are in, prepare for the battle and understand that God’s will is the ultimate result. His timing is perfect. Remember and trust God to do what He has always done and help you out of the situation in which you are enduring.

3. Turn it over to Him willingly. This is the toughest part because we think we know what the best outcome might be. We have a plan in mind and if God will just do what we say… if God will just hear our plan… if God will just… Listen, God is so far ahead of your plans and ideas. I remember a time when I was in Russia. We were dealing with an issue that could potentially thwart all that we wanted to accomplish. I spoke up, believing that possibly my idea might help to which our attorney and expert on the situation at hand scolded me, “You are teaching me!” She was right. What on earth did I possibly know, an American in a Russian world. I couldn’t even speak the language beyond please, thank you, exit, enter, eat, and go. There is no need to ‘teach’ God. He is well aware of what needs to be done.

4. Ask what you can do to help. Women are funny about their kitchens. The worst thing you can do at your mother in-laws is to go into her kitchen and start telling her how you load the dishwasher or stir-fry onions. How would you like your dishwasher loaded? Do you hand wash your pots? What temperature do you prefer when stir-frying veggies? Ask God what you can do to help Him get you out of the mess. Read your Bible to give Him a passageway to communicate with you. Pray diligently and sit quietly to give Him time to speak to you.

5. Be willing to do what He asks. It is one thing to ask how He would like it done, it is another to actually implement the action. Do what you feel God is asking you to do even if it makes no sense to you at all.

And yet there is HOPE. No matter what you are facing in life, there is hope in God. Trust Him – not man.

His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness…”

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

January 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Let chameleons be chameleons…

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I like chameleons. As a child my brother and I used to catch these beautiful creatures and put different colored leaves and branches in the jar to see how many colors we could force the chameleon to become. We, of course, would set it free. (Disclaimer: No harm came to the chameleon during this project!).  : )

Chameleons have this incredible ability to avoid danger by becoming the color of whatever is around them – a tree branch, leaf, rock – and because of this adaptation ability, the chameleon survives.

I often wonder how many times as Christians we change colors to “fit in” or “belong.” How often do we justify our actions by exclaiming, “People would just find me too weird?” Social settings, the work environment, school cafeteria, parties, we tend to put God aside so that we do not stand-out, so that we are not different. Business deals are business deals – money is money – and we discard what we know to be Biblical with the simple notion that what we are doing is best for the company.  We are kind and thoughtful to strangers, but mutilate our spouse the moment we pull into the drive-way. We are critical of others around our children or use harsh words to our children setting the example that acting one way in public and one way at home is acceptable.

God calls us to a much higher standard. Believe me, if He had wanted you and me to be chameleons, we’d be chameleons. Defending God, standing firm on what is right, choosing to act one way when others go another, is difficult. But isn’t that what Jesus did when He came to earth to save us? Every day you make decisions to act one way or another. Choose the Biblical way to respond.

Let chameleons be chameleons.

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

January 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

In the beginning God…

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They are the first few words of the Bible. In every translation those four words remain the same. It is a point in time to help humans relate to the fact that God started everything.

Yesterday morning as my feet hit the ground the words popped into my head, “In the beginning God…”.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1.

But does it stop there? As Christians and believers in God, are we missing a significant point? Was God’s intention to simply pronounce that He Himself created the universe or is there more?

I am a believer in the more. Jesus’s teaching style was one that invoked thought. He didn’t “spell” it out in simple terms but gave us parables to contemplate the deeper meaning. He wanted us to find personal meaning in His teachings and a way to apply the lesson to our lives. I actually think He found delight in our pondering. Just as I think God smiles at those who find reason in “the Big Bang Theory.” It’s like a child’s belief in magic. It takes far greater intelligence to realize a higher power designed creation intimately and with careful detail.

As I got out of bed yesterday morning, I thought of those words. Shouldn’t they apply to all that we do? God calls us to give Him our firsts. The first of our day, first in our friendships, first in our marriage, first in our tithes and offerings, first in sports, first in our children, and first in our decisions. When we consider that if God is first in all that we do and say, then we fulfill His desire to be first in our lives.

I am learning to seek first God in all that I do and say. Before I write, I ask Him what He wants to say. Before I make a decision, I ask God for wisdom and guidance. Too many times we determine what we are going to do and then ask God for help to accomplish it.

At one point in my life I owned a restaurant. Great prayer went into the formation of the business and God was the center of the business. On a daily basis I gave it to Him in the people who came in to eat and in the people who worked with me. A year ago, I had to close the doors. Many have told me God took His hands off of it. Some have said, “It just wasn’t His plan for you.” A few have remarked, “You didn’t hear Him correctly.” Sometimes, God asks us to do something for reasons we cannot comprehend. Trials of this life come from God too and are not necessarily a result of something we did or did not do. God gives and takes away. We must learn to see blessings in all aspects of our lives.

Today as you go through life, say these 4 powerful words, “In The Beginning God…” and approach all that you do with Him at the helm.

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

January 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm