Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Irritation Release 101

"The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:7-8 NLT

Lately something has been happening inside of me. I have felt this irritation for a couple of people that the Lord has in my life. They haven't hurt me so much, but their words and actions have been hurtful to my friend. I'm not perfect, but I don't usually get irritated at people. If I do, it comes and goes. But this has been just sitting there--do you know what I mean? Have you ever been here? It just irritates me (joke, hee, hee).

Anyway, I've been wanting to say something profound that would change these people's mind set and attitude. I want to protect my friend by saying something that was so God ordained that they couldn't help but cry for forgiveness and have an instant life change. I've even prayed and ask God for that very thing. If He wanted me to do or say something, then to please give me His words, His timing and His courage--but nothing has come of it--until this verse.

This verse hits right to my heart. It's not my words--but my actions--behind closed doors, "Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers." and in the open, "Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins," that will make the difference in these people lives. Do you understand?

Jesus changed more lives--not by running around, thumping a Bible and yelling, "REPENT", "CHANGE YOUR WAYS," "SAY YOUR SORRY!"--but by being a quiet, gentle, gracious presence in people's lives. That's all I need to do. I just need to pray a hedge of protection around my friend, pray for the others that are doing the offending and love them unconditionally. If I do all that, then if the Lord wants me to, He will give me the right words at the right time to do His work. If He doesn't, it's O.K. He's in control. And you know, this will work for you too.

Feel the urge to scream--pray and love. Feel the need change someone--pray and love. In the process, you may be changed too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


"Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. 'I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,' he said, 'so why are you coming to me?'

But Jesus said, 'It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.' So John agreed to baptize Him."
Matthew 3:13-15 NLT

John was faced with what appeared to be a contradiction. John knew that he was the one to precede Jesus' ministry. He spent his life preparing the way for Jesus. He recognized that Jesus was the judge and savior of the world.

But Jesus asked John to do something that seemed weird. The greater asked the lesser to baptize him. John tried to get out of it. But Jesus knew that His baptism had to happen at the hands of John. Jesus knew the scriptures and what needed to take place for them to be fulfilled.

John had to take a step of faith and obedience. He may not have fully understood what Jesus meant. But, he understood who Jesus was, and that was enough.

We don't always fully understand the Lord. In fact, the apostle Paul said that we live in the "partial." We need to be like John. We don't have to fully understand the "what" or "why." Knowing "who" Jesus is enough. He loves us fully. He knows fully. He can be trusted to care for us fully.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Job Connection

"'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.'" Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

I have a question for you. When things are not going exactly great for you, do you think that God is punishing you? That you must be doing something wrong--otherwise, it would be smooth sailing for you. But here you are, going through muck--yuck!

Well, you know, you may be right. Maybe the Lord is trying to make you examine your life and wants you to see something that might need confessing or put aside or brought out and dealt with. But there is also another train of thought. One is that sometimes, we go through stuff, not because we have been "bad", but because God may want to have you help someone else by your example. Do you know what I mean? I like to call it the "Job Connection."

Do you remember Job in the old testament? He had such bad times that he was able to write a whole book in the Bible about it. But was Job being punished because he had done something bad? No. Job was going through trails because the Devil was testing his faith. The Devil was telling God that it was easy for Job to be faithful when all was going so well for him. Just wait if God would remove His favor on him and he started going through trials. Oh, boy! That's when the fur would fly. Satan staked his life on the fact that Job would no longer be acknowledging God as his father but cursing Him.

Is that what happened? No. Job sang the praises of his Father even louder. What a witness he was to those who were watching his life trials! He came through the other side, stronger and more faithful than ever.

So, I would like to encourage you. If you are one of those that are going through hard times right now, please don't assume that it is because your Father is punishing you. This may be cold comfort, but you may be just experiencing a "Job Connection."

How can you know what the Lord is trying to do? Pray. Honestly and openly, pray and ask for wisdom. Ask your Father is there is something in your life that He wants changed, if so, to please show it to you. If it is a "Job Connection" then please give you strength, grace and discernment to know this. This way you can have peace. And please, whichever one it is, and whatever you do, don't let the Devil steal your joy and faith in the Lord during this time.

And whichever one it is, know with all your heart and spirit, that your Father is loving you completely through it.

Friday, October 9, 2009


"Then Jesus wept." John 11:35 NLT

Our Emmaus group was having a bible study the other morning. I went in for coffee and overheard one of the men saying that to him, the above verse was the most powerful and yet the shortest.

That got me thinking. If you know the chapter, it's the chapter of when Jesus' very close friend, Lazarus, died. He was told of His friend's bad health a few days before, but Jesus didn't drop everything and go rushing to Lazarus's side. No, He waited a couple of days and then started walking back to Judea, where Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived.

The chapter is a beautiful chapter of faithfulness faith--Mary & Martha's. And miracles--Lazarus's being brought back from the dead. But I could see what Dick might have been seeing when he said this was one of the most powerful verses in the Bible--and yet it's only three words.

"Then Jesus wept." Jesus knew what was going to happen. He knew that Lazarus was only gone for four days--that He was going to bring him back to life. What this shows, at least to me, is the power of compassion. Jesus was surrounded by people wailing and grieving for the sisters and the brother they had lost. He got "lost" in the moment, as we like to say these days. He felt the pain, the sadness, the loss of a loved one--and He wept.

Now a-days, it seems that we are not allowed to feel our true feelings. We get ourselves so busy, that we don't allow ourselves the luxury. We don't want to deal with feelings, so we bury them with business and such. Do you find yourself doing that? Thinking, if I ignore it, it will go away? If I pretend everything is OK, then it will be, right? If I show any feelings, I will be considered weak.

Emotions are good. God created us to be emotional creatures. Jesus laughed, cried, got angry and frustrated, felt compassion, joy. As long as you use your emotions appropriately, it's part of God's design.

So, give yourself permission. The gift of Emotions is that--a gift. If God has laid upon your heart to feel sadness, compassion, joy, love, anger--feel it. Just pray and lay the emotion on Jesus' lap and ask Him to help you deal with it the way He would want you to. You will be blessed with a freedom that you have never felt before.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Something That Pleases God

"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation.
They exult in your righteousness.
You are their glorious strength.
It pleases you to make us strong."
Psalm 89:14-17 NLT

Most of us want to please the Lord. We desire to show him we love him. One of the things that pleases the Lord, is when we depend upon him for our strength.

There are so many demands that zap our strength. We try to put ourselves in position to be strong. But the greatest thing we can do to be strong is admit our weakness, and depend on Jesus. Not only does he give us the strength we need, but he delights in strengthening us.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Angels Among Us

"'Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in.'" Luke 18:17 (The Message)

A friend was sharing with me this afternoon. She was in one of our pastors office, praying for our church service. This office was right across from the Nursery. This particular Sunday, the Nursery was wonderfully full to the brim and you could hear it.

Well, she said that she felt the spirit pulling her out of her solitude prayer mode and pushing her into the Nursery. She went in and sat on the couch when this little 3 year old boy brought her this book to read. She took the book and the little guy crawled onto her lap and was contently listening to her read to him. It was a story about angels.

When the story was over, she asked him if he had ever seen any angels. To her amazement, he told her yes. "Oh! Well, then, what did the angels do?" The little guy looked her straight in the eyes and said, "They told me that someday they were going to come down and take me back up to heaven with them." So matter-of-fact. No big deal.

My friend said she just got goosebumps! What an amazing example of pure faith! No pretense. No false build-up. No fear. Just acceptance.

Isn't that how we should be? Wouldn't that be great if we were? Some of us tend to get hung up on performance and getting everything lined-up and working out the kinks, acting "all grown-up"--when we should just be excited about the trip.

God has such great plans for us! All we need to do is to believe and accept what He has for us. Can you do that? Please give it a try--you will be SO blessed!