Tag Archives: resolutions

Making our Mark on the New Year

5 Jan

So, how has the New Year been so far?  It’s only day 5 of 2014 but I’ll admit to you that some of things I determined to do, to be resolute in, have already been difficult.  See, I took my own suggestions from the last blog.  I went to Bible Gateway and chose the 90 day reading plan.  I set up a separate e-mail folder to file and categorize the Girlfriends in God devotional that I receive daily.  I bought two new packs of neon index cards and I downloaded the Bible Gateway app onto my phone.  And now, for me, is the difficult part – following through!

I love the set-up of things.  The newness of the organization holds so many possibilities.  And the lists and plans look pretty to me all written down with exact lettering and arranged just so.  Might be because I’m writing from Michigan and we’re getting another snowstorm, but the “best laid plans” remind me of an overnight snowfall.

You look out the window and it’s beautiful.britt winter1

Pristine.  Fresh.  New.  Not a mark on it.


That’s how my calendar looks to me when I finish writing down the Scripture passages I want to read each day.  Or my index cards look after I write down the verses I want to memorize and put them in order of the way I want to go after them.  They’re beautiful.  Pristine.  Fresh. New.  Not a mark on them.

But eventually, someone has to leave the house, go get the mail, take the trash to the end of the drive—and there are the marks.  Tire tracks left behind to run an errand.  Cloddy old boot prints to the mailbox.  Trash bag drag marks cutting from the garage to the edge of the road.  And the unmarred beauty disappears.

Same with my 90 day calendar and my Scripture reading.  I have this perfect scenario dreamed up in my mind about the beautiful way it all unfolds at the beginning of each fresh, pristine, new day.  There I am sitting at my desk with a studious look on my face and a steaming cup of coffee by my side.  I’ve showered and have my make-up applied impeccably as I open my Bible, filled with the Holy Spirit, and dive into the Word.  The beauty of my time with Him remains intact and undisturbed.brittwinter2

No prints, no tracks, no drag marks.

It rarely works that way.  Most often, I’m still in my pajamas without even brushing my hair.  I’ve had coffee but I’m carrying my computer or my Bible from place to place with me, reading my Scripture aloud as I am doing things that have to get done every morning.  It doesn’t always feel like the beauty of meeting with Him is intact, whole, or undisturbed.

And my imagination doesn’t stop there.  I have the picture perfect completion of my scheduled reading time as well as the seamless transition to my next activity planned out too. In my pristine new day, I end my 90-day reading plan time, by using a new highlighter with an unfrayed tip to make a perfectly straight line over the passage I have read and I walk away feeling satisfied, full of the Spirit, and ready to begin working on the verses I want to memorize.

In my real life, I make a mental note that I’ll do that when I can find a highlighter that doesn’t have a tip saturated with black sharpie marker and I stuff my index cards into my purse so I can work on them at the doctor or riding in the car. “After all,” I hear my mind say, “I want to make God a part of every activity!”  And that’s true, but do you see how different my imagination and my reality are?  My reality doesn’t reflect the unmarred beauty of that newly laid plan.  My reality, like my highlighter, is a little frayed at the tip.

In my imagination, I somehow glided over the fresh snow and retrieved the mail without leaving a trace, soared in our minivan like Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to get milk, and floated, trash bag in hand, from the garage to the road without disturbing a single flake of snow—without marring the beauty in anyway.


In reality, I put on my old boots with the broken shoestring and left footprints twice the size of my feet from the front door to the mailbox.  And they weren’t even in a straight line.  The van was not occupied by anyone enjoying toot sweet candies and not only does it leave tread marks behind it, it drops pieces of dirty snow from the wheel wells.  And those trash bags, they are much too heavy to float with!

That’s my reality. The snow around my house doesn’t stay in its pristine state for long.   Life starts to happen and life, well, it leaves big old prints, hard packed tracks, and drag marks all over my fresh, new plan. The unmarred beauty quickly disappears.

But you know what?  I don’t think God minds a bit when I come or when you come to meet Him wearing cloddy old boots with broken shoestrings.  I think He’s glad we want to be there.  Does He want to see me looking that way every day . . . my guess would be no.  But, if on some mornings, it’s the best I have and I purposefully pull on those boots and stride across the snow to get to Him, I think He looks at those big old footprints and He sees love.  It might even be that He looks at the heart driving the determined steps of those boot laden feet, the ones that mar and disturb with each new stride, and He finds them to be beautiful.

God doesn’t look at our well laid plans.  He doesn’t look at our neatly written calendars.  God looks at the heart Sweet One.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

He knows your desire to meet with Him and He is not surprised by the challenges of your day.  You are not and I am not the first of His children to contend with interruptions or encounter obstacles.  And our God, who does not change, has never placed any value on the things that appear impressive to our limited human vision, but He has always seen straight to the heart of the one who loves Him.

Now we don’t take this as an excuse to have an attitude of license and give God less-than, but we protect ourselves from a posture of legalism by trusting Him to know the intention, the yearning, and the desire of our souls.

then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart), 1 Kings 8:39

Beloved, don’t take the task of deciding what beauty looks like from the Father’s perspective on yourself.  If I may be so bold, it doesn’t belong to you.  It isn’t yours to determine.  And simply put, you nor I are equipped to do the job.  We’re too extreme, swinging from one side to the other, justifying our actions in one breath and condemning our hearts with the next.   So, what say you and I decide that we’ll forge into every pristine day and we’ll proceed to leave our love filled cloddy boot printed, minivan tread tracked, trash bag drag marked prints all over it and then . . . . well, we’ll depend on the Beautiful One to see straight to our hearts.


Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel,

keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever,

and keep their hearts loyal to you.

1 Chronicles 29:18

God is Resolved to Speak My Language . . .and Yours

4 Feb

I have made much of God’s faithfulness to Himself in these first few posts because God has made much of His faithfulness to Himself to me over the last year and a half.  Really, God has been preparing my heart to begin grabbing hold of that foundational truth forever.  That’s one of the wonderful things about Him.  He doesn’t care how thick-headed or dull you are, He’ll just keep repeating Himself until He sees the flame of comprehension begin to flicker.

I have to tell you that as I wrote that last sentence I felt a smile spread across my face because I had never realized before that “thick-headed” is my love language.  Let me explain.  The thing that God uses, more than anything else, to romance my soul and woo my heart is the revelation of the connections that flow between the Old and the New Testament.  I love it when He says the same thing on both sides of the Covenant line — when He repeats Himself.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, thrills my heart more than having His Word come to life that way. Nothing makes my heart, my mind, and my soul stand up and praise in such complete adoration. In that moment, my spirit knows what God meant when He told us that His words are life.

Since “thick-headed” might not be your love language, let me give you an example of what I mean. I won’t be able to describe the whole process to you or explain exactly the way God leads me from thing to thing, but I think I can give you enough so you understand just how sweet He is when He peels back the temporal and gives me these small glimpses—which are enormous for this everyday woman– of His glory.

So this is how it often unfolds for me, just change the place in the Bible I am reading and the thing that catches my eye.  I open my Bible and read Genesis 3.  My eye catches on the fact that part of the curse/consequence of sin is the land producing thorns.  The Holy Spirit nudges me to wonder, “Do you think it’s possible thorns are linked to or symbolic of sin throughout the Scripture?”  I haul out my Strong’s concordance or go to Biblegateway and search for the different Scriptures that have the word “thorn” in them. God has used that process to start my train of thought chugging down tracks, with the destination unknown, time and time again.  That particular time, it played out like this:

 Genesis 3:18

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

The Problem: Thorns symbolize the curse

    • Thorns were birthed by sin.
    • They are the consequence/by product of sin and man will toil to be free of them
    • The land has no choice but to produce them.

Isaiah 10:17

The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers.

The Promise:  The curse will be consumed.

    • A Savior — the Light of Israel — will come
    • Sin will be consumed by the Savior 

Matthew 27:27-31 (Mark 15:16-20; John 19:2-5)

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Person:  Christ wore the thorns/curse.

Choo!  Choo!  We have arrived and the view is beautiful.   The thorns birthed by the curse in the opening chapters of Genesis have been overcome by the birth of redemption when our Jesus became the curse for us.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness and by his wounds we have been set free.  No longer are we held captive and forced to produce “thorns and thistles” we may now produce a crop that is fruitful and receive the blessing of God.   See the wonder of it.  Feel the overwhelming sense of Him.  God, who does not change (Malachi 3:6), leaves nothing unfinished.  Everything comes to fruition in the Son, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Choo!  Choo!

Now, you might be sitting there beside the tracks thinking, Bunny that does not trip my trigger at all.  I heard the whistle sound in the distance and it isn’t that I don’t find it nice, but to say it thrills me might be a little strong.  Well, take heart Sister, because while I might be dumbfounded that it doesn’t take you straight to the Holy of Holies, the One who matters is not!  He knows what you need to hear and He planned before time began to speak straight to your heart.  Do you really think He wouldn’t shout the “All Aboard” in your direction?

I have a beautiful Sister in Christ who indulges me all the time as I ramble on about the things God is showing me.  And she is sooo thrilled . . . for me.   Because at the end of the day, God says it, she reads it, it’s true.  End of story.  She doesn’t have the compulsion to know every detail.  That is not the language of her soul.  She loves to hear me talk about it.  She loves His truth.  But what stirs her heart is when you put that truth to music.  Music is the thing that leads her to that place of complete immersion and adoration.  And isn’t it just like God that He gifted her with song so they speak the same language fluently.

Not so long ago this sweet friend was struggling with some serious health issues.  The symptoms she had been experiencing could’ve pointed toward some very dire neurological diagnosis. A series of tests were ordered and as the day for their completion drew near we earnestly prayed that God would bless her with peace and a calm heart.  She arrived for her tests and entered the unfamiliar building with a heart full of confidence that God would be with her every step of the way.  And that same heart thought of her two kids and her husband and what God might call them all to walk through.  But true to His Word, her God did not leave her for a moment.  No, her God was right there preparing to sing a love song just for her.  After signing in, an older gentleman approached her in his volunteer vest and explained that he would be escorting her to the testing location.  She gathered her things and began to walk at his side.  As they journeyed down that corridor, with her heart full of her family, the old gentleman began to sing, “I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul . . . “  And she did.  Because the God of the Universe, the Lover of her soul, bent down low and whispered in her ear.  She had heard, in the voice of that old gentleman, the truth of God.

“The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

Dear One, never doubt for a moment that the Creator of communication is fluent in the language of your unique soul.  To her who has an ear, let her hear.

thSide Note 1: My sweet Sister has recovered in full and continues to sing in worship and praise to the One who has saved her.

Side Note 2:  (Read this part in a whisper so no one knows that I couldn’t end without telling you just a thing or two more) –I have the paper in front of me that has all the verses I looked up that particular day and it’s long.  It wasn’t what we needed for this example but I have to tell you I am totally agonizing about not painting the whole picture so please, when you have the time go to Numbers 33:55 because you’ll find out there that sin hurts if you hang out with it.  If you go to Judges 9 you’ll see what you give up if you not only allow it but actually ask it to rule over you.  And Ezekiel 2:6  is where we discover that even though sin and rebellion surround us we need not fear. And then in the New Testament read the Parable of the Sower in  Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8 because we need to know that sin can choke us to death.  All aboard!!

God has Resolved to be God–Malachi 3:6

28 Jan

2013 is somewhat of a milestone year for the Biddinger crew.

Brett and I will be married 25 years this September.


 Britt will turn 20 in April



we will celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the accident that rendered Brett a quadriplegic in June.


Yep, you read that right.  I chose the word celebrate when referring to what we believed, at the time, to be the worst thing that could possibly happen.    Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t start out with a spirit of celebration about the accident.  We have had and occasionally still have days of great sadness.  To be honest, we sometimes just get tired of doing the thing.  But those moments, praise God, are few and far between.

We most often embrace our lifestyle with joy and, without a doubt, the wheelchair has been the catalyst for faith lesson after faith lesson.  I’ve often heard Brett tell people that if he were offered the choice between a restored spinal cord and the faith heritage we are leaving Brittany that there simply would be no choice.   So my man and I walk through each day . . .well, I walk and he rolls (c’mon you have to have a sense of humor) . . .knowing that our God has gone to great lengths to redeem our inheritance and confident that He always does the good thing.

He always does the good thing because as we read in James, He is the Giver of all good gifts (James 1:17).  It is who He introduced Himself as in the opening Book of Genesis when He gave His good creation to Adam and Eve to steward.  It is who He was when He gifted us with Jesus and it is who He will be when He presents the beauty of the New Heaven and the New Earth to His children. And yes, personal experience confirms for me, it is who He is today.  You see ladies, your God does not change.

I believe that all of Scripture hangs on this one immutable fact:  God does not change.  He is and will remain the God who He announces and shows Himself to be:  always holy, always love, always compassionate, always trustworthy, always just, and always faithful.  If we could but wrap our minds around the unchanging nature of God, taking it from head knowledge to heart assurance, we would not worry or be anxious about . . . well, about anything.  We would have certainty that His intentions for us are good and we would have no doubt that what God sets about to do, He accomplishes.  Who knows, if we were to grab hold of that simple truth, we might even stop trying to be the god of our own lives. Believe me, as one who has tried to fill the position time and time again; we don’t have what it takes to do the job.

Yes , my God is faithful.  He is faithful to Himself.  What He has declared Himself to be is what He always has been and what He is today.  The same God that breathed life into Adam is at work breathing His Spirit into those who believe in His Son today (Genesis 2:7, Romans 5:5) .  The Almighty One who claimed the Israelites as His own and announced He would form them into a holy nation and kingdom of priests has claimed the same for His children in the present age.(Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9).   And the same God who dressed Adam in sacrifice has clothed those who believe from head-to-toe in Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:21, Galatians 3:27) .  Beloved, be secure.  Know to the marrow of your bones.  Trust beyond what your eyes see.  Your God will not change.

I wonder if we might have difficulty fully rejoicing in that statement or comprehending the gravity of it because it is simply beyond our human experience.  Unfortunately, we live in a world scattered with broken promises and filled with less than perfect character. Might it be that our experiences with those on planet earth have left us with preconceived notions of undependability and distrust that we hang around God’s neck?

Scripture seems to bear out that our penchant to compare what we know and have experienced to that which we do not fully understand does not surprise God.  In fact, He drew the comparison Himself and flat out says that He is not a man that He should lie nor a son of man that He should change His mind (Numbers 23:19).  The same verse tells us that God does not say He is going to do something and fail to follow through or make promises that He doesn’t keep.  It simply is not His supernatural style.  He has resolved to be faithful.  Faithful to Himself.  He has been God, He is God, and He will continue to be God.

I, the LORD, do not change.         Malachi 3:6

Try and set your preconceived notions and very human experiences aside for a moment and drink in exactly what that verse is saying.  The prophet Malachi was inspired to use the proper name of God (YHWH), which encompasses His wholeness and perfection, to highlight the absolutely complete and unchanging nature of God.  Barnes’ Notes on the Bible makes the following observation on this passage:

The proper name of God, “He who is” involves His unchangeableness.  For change implies imperfection; it changes to that which is either more perfect or less perfect:  to somewhat which that being, who changes, is not or has not.  But God has everything in Himself perfectly. (Emphasis added)

God cannot be dissuaded from being God.  His perfect character and nature require no alteration.  His perfection guarantees that who He is, is who He will remain.  He is perfect love and He is perfectly holy. And Beloved, He has chosen to love the very unholy and very imperfect — you and me.

It is warm and fuzzy to think that God’s faithfulness is simply to us, but the truth is, He is faithful to us because He is first faithful to Himself.   Read over that again and try to wrap your mind around the fact that God’s faithfulness has nothing to do with you.  One of the reasons that’s so hard is because, if we’re honest, we want everything to have something to do with us.

So why does God love you?  Because of your righteous and outstanding nature?  No, God loves you because He said He would (Romans 5:8).  Why did He send His Son to take your punishment and offer you a redeemed life?  Because you deserved it?  Again no.  He did it because He said He would (Genesis 15:17). And why has God blessed you with the indwelling Holy Spirit so that you might desire Him?  Again, God, in His full perfection and unchanging nature, said He would and so He does (John 14:26). And these things will not change because He will not change.

Praise His Name, He is immovably, unshakably, faithful to Himself which means that neither our lack of faith nor our imperfect acts have the power to change the Almighty.  That’s not my opinion, that’s His declaration:

if we are faithless, he will remain faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.

2 Timothy 2:13

Girlfriend, do you see the heart of your perfect God in all this?  None of your shortcomings, none of your “less than moments”, and not even your faithlessness can change the heart of God.  Author Jen Smidt takes all my ramblings and ties them together with a giant, red, succinct bow:

“Embracing God’s faithfulness to himself frees us from the devastating effects of thinking we have anything to do with the way he sees us.  God sees his children through the atoning blood of his Son, covering us for every act of treason and rebellion we have committed.  He isn’t faithful to us because of anything we have done well or poorly. . . .”

Sister, your God loves you so and He will not change His mind concerning you.  Your imperfections do not scare Him.  In fact, He longs to lavish you with His love (1 John 3:1).  He has promised to work all things out for your good and as we read in Numbers, and I have testified, He is always true to His Word.  I have no doubt, regardless of my circumstance or of what my limited vision perceives, that He is the Giver of all good gifts and, may I be so bold as to say, He’s wild about me.  And you know what?  He’s wild about you too.  He has summoned you by name and you are His (Isaiah 43:1).  Resolve to fix your eyes on the One who has His heart firmly fixed on you and you can be certain that He will show you His Glory.

Resolve: a firm determination

23 Jan

It is January 23, 2013.  For many people it is the time the rubber meets the road for those New Year’s resolutions.  Will they become life-changing habits or will we gently say to ourselves, “good try”? I honestly didn’t make any resolutions this year because I am praying that the resolution I made in 2012 will be at the forefront of my mind until I no longer glimpse Glory but live in His presence.  At the end of 2011, I sat with a group of the most beautiful Bible study partners a woman could be blessed with and listened as one after the other chatted about what they resolved to do differently in the upcoming year.  Now from the outside, you would think that every one of these ladies had it so together that they would simply need to keep doing whatever it is that they were doing to be satisfied in life. And yet, every single one ached to change.  To improve.  To be different.

Some described the changes they were after with embarrassed giggles and others with firm statements.  “I’m going to take all that laundry off my treadmill and really use it this year!”  “I’m pulling all those sticky notes out of my datebook and getting my schedule under control.”  “This will be the year I actually read through the Bible without skipping Leviticus!”  And the list of do’s and don’ts flowed through the room.  But no matter how it was stated or what area was being scrutinized, it was clear that the resolve to pursuit change was in the air.  Believe me, I had my own list as long as my arm, but as I sat there listening and in the days that followed I began to ponder the concept of resolve.

If you look up resolve in the dictionary, one of the definitions offered is: a firm determination.  And if you will let your mind wander to the last time you resolved to do something, you’ll see that the definition is accurately descriptive.  Let your mind’s eye glance at your determined posture as you contemplate the change. Your eyes are focused. Your jaw is set and your head is slightly tipped forward to take the brunt of any obstacle that might be encountered.  You Sister, are firmly determined to do the thing!

The truth is, rather we give voice to it or not, everyone on the planet is living a life of resolve. We are each engaged in the pursuit of something.  It looks different on different people, but it’s there.  Not only is it there, but it drives every decision and every investment of our time, energy, and resources.   So the challenge God put out to me, and the one I would like to share with you is:  What if, rather than pursuit the what of life, we resolve to pursuit the Who and allow Him to determine the what?

What might we experience if we resolve to know God better and ask for His blessing of wisdom and revelation to do just that (Ephesians 1:17)?  Where might we go if we resolve to submit to His authority and trust Him for all the outcomes in our lives (Proverbs 3:5-7)?  Will we do it perfectly never removing our gaze from Him?  No, but we can depend on God to bring beautiful things from our firm determination to seek His face (Psalm 37:23-24).  Our shortcomings do not take our God by surprise.   In fact, He was well aware of them when He “determined the time and exact place” (Acts 17:26) our imperfect resolve would be displayed for His glory.  And with full knowledge of our less-than-moments, He planned to bless those with eyes to see (Matthew 13:16) with glimpses of His glory.

Why am I so confident of this?  Because God has been demonstrating His RESOLVE to reveal His glory to His children since He began time and He will close our chronos with a fresh revelation of Himself.  It is who He has been and who He will be.  The Great I AM does not change ( Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).   Since we exist somewhere between Jude and the closing verse of Revelation, we can be certain that His resolve to be seen applies to us every bit as much as it did to the Israelites and the Apostles.  Beloved, God has chosen you as His child and has woven you into the world timeline.  He will not hide from you or change His mind concerning you.  And if we will lay all else aside and resolve to love Him and pursuit Him with all we are, I believe He will meet our very ordinary efforts with the very extraordinary–Himself.

This has been the desire of my heart for the last year and God has shown this ordinary woman more than someone like her ought to see.  His faithfulness to Himself and His promises have astounded me and He has amazed me for my sake over and over again.  And in my imperfect resolve to pursuit the Who, I have seen His Glory unfold in the Most Holy Place and I have been assured that I am welcome to dwell there.  Yes, the boundary lines have fallen for us in pleasant places (Psalm 16:6) and if we will resolve to live there with our eyes wide open, we will, without a doubt, glimpse Glory.  For the Glorious One has guaranteed that we, even in our imperfection, who seek hard after Him will not be disappointed.

I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you,

not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.

When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.

Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else,

I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 (The Message)

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