Monday, August 30, 2010

Trust Factor

"Abraham didn't focus on his own impotence and say, "It's hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child." Nor did he survey Sarah's decades of infertility and give up. He didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That's why it is said, "Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right." But it's not just Abraham; it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God." Romans 4:19-25 The Message

Sometimes when we are in the midst of a difficult situation, it's hard to be positive. The giants that you are facing are too huge and strong and you are so small and weak. You've been in this circumstance before and you never come out on top. You have prayed about this before and God has ignored you--and here it is again.

These are lies--all lies! Sure, the situation is tough, the giants are big, the circumstance may be overwhelming or reoccurring--but isn't our God an AWESOME God? Doesn't He keep His promises? Isn't He mightier than ANY calamity, situation, circumstance that you could ever be in? YES He is!

The story of Abraham and Sarah is only one of many stories in Bible that show the faithfulness of our God. If you look, almost every chapter, every page, is full of the promise of God. Can you look and find the unfaithfulness of God? Broken promises? You could get a magnifying glass and look every and any where and you will NOT find one broken promise, one act of unfaithfulness, one moment of untrustworthiness. Why? Because that is not who He is. He is the essence of trust.

Now turn the tables. What about you? What about me? Could you look in your life book and find any unfaithfulness, any broken promises towards your God? If you got the magnifying glass out, would you be able to find one act of...oh, please, put the magnifying glass away. I don't need anything to magnify my sinful nature with my Lord, do you?

Just because at times we find ourselves in life situations that are not pleasant, easy or desirable, doesn't mean that we give up on our Heavenly Father--or that He has given up on us. This is not the time to turn your back on Him but totally the opposite. This is the time that we turn ourselves full front towards Him with our arms open wide, waiting for Him to fulfill His promise--to always be there for us, to never let us alone, to never give us more than we can bear, to ALWAYS love us, even when we withhold our love for Him.

"This is why the fulfillment of God's promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God's promise arrives as pure gift. That's the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it.... For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that's reading the story backward. He is our faith father." Romans 4:16 The Message

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Blessing

"The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God's Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: 'This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.'" Matthew 3:16-17 (The Message)

Every so often, the Lord brings this verse to my forethought and I ponder on it. As I ponder about it, I get this picture.

The picture is of me and how, all my life, I have wished that my own father--who is a good man and a wonderful father, that unselfishly provided for me and my siblings--would accept me as I am--not perfect, not brilliant or beautiful--but a good person who loves God with all her heart. A person that wanted to be valued and to be considered, now that she is grown-up, a friend.

But I have to insert here that to be totally honest, he may. But because he has never verbally told me or by his actions, shown me--I feel what I expressed earlier--that he has to love me because I am his daughter, but he doesn't like me or is proud that I am even his daughter. I don't feel like I have an important facet of my emotional makeup-- my father's blessing.

Are you in a similar emotional tangle? Can you relate? You may or may not agree, but it can really mess with you. It can affect your other relationships or how you relate to others. It can make you feel unworthy, insecure.

Turn it all over to Jesus. Speaking from experience, it is the best thing that you can do for yourself. That is when I was able to begin to shed the layers of my hangups, hurts and habits and truly be the person that God created me to be.

When I was finally able to accept that my Heavenly Father accepted me as I was, once I admitted that I was nothing without Him, that He wanted a relationship with me, that He was proud of the daughter that I am and am continuing to become--that was when I became empowered. That was when I was able to accept my father as the wonderful man that he was. That I was able to have compassion for him. Realizing that he wasn't on purpose withholding his blessing--but that he didn't have enough love and self-respect in himself to give it.

Do you see? In my case, it wasn't intentional. In yours, maybe it was. But no matter which way it is, the awesome part of it is that we, you & I, can be free! We can be free in the knowledge of Jesus that, by His graciousness and selfless act of giving up heaven for 30 years, dying on the cross and raising up again--we are priceless! We are cherished! We are worth every drop of blood that He shed for us. Can you grasp that concept? Can you grasp that if our/His Heavenly Father would ask Jesus to do it all over again, that He would in a heartbeat? No questions asked? That just blows me away and humbles me to tears all in the same instant.

You have your Father's blessing! Claim it, cherish it and then continually thank Him. Every time you approach Him, He is saying to you, "You are mine, chosen and marked with My love, delight of My eye!"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Time Issues

"But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames." 2 Peter 3:8-9, 11-12 NLT

The promise here is the promise of God's return--His 'coming'. What prompted Peter to write this passage was that there were people, (he called them 'scoffers'), that were going around making fun of God and the fact that He said that He was coming back, but, 'hello', where is He? They were saying that God was lying to us. But in fact, what our God's doing is giving us a chance.

He knows that we are a people that, even with good hearts and intentions, fall short. We have good days and bad days. Some of us are a very bull-headed, stubborn or hard-hearted breed. And since our God is a loving, gracious God, He wants to give ALL His children a chance to turn to home--to Him.

Because folks, whether we want to admit it or not, when He comes back, that's it--no more chances. No more retries. No more timeouts. Our witness is what it is--the good, the bad or the ugly.

What grasp at my heart was the concept that after all that we have done to Him--the denial, the rejection, the pain--He still wants us. He still wants me.

He's not the condemning, hateful deity that is just sitting up there above the clouds somewhere, waiting to pounce on us. Purposely trying to ruin our lives. He is my wonderful, loving, compassionate Heavenly Father that no matter what I do, wants to have a relationship with me. With you. Isn't that a humbling reality?

Your God wants to be in a relationship with you. He desires more than anything to have you turn from the world life you have and enter into the Heavenly life that He has so patiently prepared and waited for you to accept.

Will you? Can you? You can. All it takes is the bending of a knee, the humbleness to accept the fact that you are a sinner and that you need to ask for forgiveness,and finish with the wiliness to have an open heart that desires a life that is filled with God's presence.

Do you think that it'll be easy street once you accept your Heavenly Father's invitation? Wrong. But when you do have troubles, sadness, tragedy, sorrow, temptation--you have a God that will help you through it with His Holy Spirit. You never, ever have to do it alone again.

Come to Jesus! Today. For it is true, you will not know the minute or the hour--but He does and He's waiting for you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Simple Praise

"Do you have any idea how powerful God is?
Have you ever heard of a teacher like Him?
Has anyone ever had to tell Him what to do,
or correct Him, saying, 'You did that all wrong!'?
Remember, then to praise His workmanship,
which is so often celebrated in song.
Everybody sees it;
nobody is too far away to see it.

Take a long, hard look. See how great He is--infinite,
greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out!

He pulls water up out of the sea,
distills it, and fills up His rain-cloud cisterns.
Then the skies open up
and pour out soaking showers on everyone.
Does anyone have the slightest idea how this happens?
How He arranges the clouds, how He speaks in thunder?
Just look at that lightning, His sky-filled light show
illumining the dark depths of the sea!
These are the symbols of His sovereignty,
His generosity, His loving care.

He hurls arrows of light,
taking sure and accurate aim.
The High God roars in the thunder,
angry against evil." Job 36:22-32 The Message

Our God is an AWESOME God is He not!? Praise Him today. Praise Him for all He is and all He is not. Do you realize that some religions have gods that are always angry and judgemental? You have a God that is full of indescribable love, uncontainable light, limitless grace.

I'm afraid that at times, we take our Heavenly Father for granted. Don't! Truly take time and read these verses and mediate upon them. Take time to look at the spiritual vision that the Lord puts into your mind when you read each line. "He hurls arrows of light..." "He pulls water up out of the sea...""The High God roars in the thunder,.."

Praise Him and all His graciousness!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Godly Consistency

"I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope.

God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times." Lamentations 3:21-26 (The Message)

Have you ever been there? There at the bottom of your circumstance? At the point when you are wondering how in the world did you ever allow yourself to get to this point? Was that the time where you vowed never to let this happen again?

It is sad when we get to that point. It doesn't have to happen--but at times--we allow it to. Remember when the prodigal son left all cocky and thoughtless--only to have to come back, groveling on the ground, prepared to plead to his father to have mercy on him and allow him to come back, not as his son, but as his servant?

Why does this happen? Because your Heavenly Father knows you better than you know yourself. Because He knows that sometimes, He has to knock us off our self-serving, self-righteous pedestal in order to have room for Him and His wisdom in our hearts and soul. Because when we are at our lowest, that is when He is at His strongest. It's when we give up on us and allow Him to come and do His will into our lives.

The above verses are full of promise and praise and everlasting hope. Old Testament, New Testament--God's love, faithfulness and hope is never changing. It's there. Don't abuse it, but don't let your shortcomings keep you from experiencing the deepest feeling of forgiveness that you will ever feel.

Your Heavenly Father loves you the same today, tomorrow and yesterday. Thank Him for that and go forth with strength and God-assurance to get done this day, what your God purpose is meant to get accomplish!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spiritual Pictures

"Every word you give me is a miracle word—
how could I help but obey?
Break open your words, let the light shine out,
let ordinary people see the meaning.
Mouth open and panting,
I wanted your commands more than anything.
Turn my way, look kindly on me,
as you always do to those who personally love you.
Steady my steps with your Word of promise
so nothing malign gets the better of me.
Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women
so I can live life your way.
Smile on me, your servant;
teach me the right way to live.
I cry rivers of tears
because nobody's living by your book!"
Psalm 119:129-136 (The Message)

"Every word you give me is a miracle word." Isn't that verse awesome? How does it make you feel? How does it touch your spirit?

"How could I help but obey." David makes it sound so easy. Like an--excuse the term--no brainer. But if you see it together and think about it, it is a no brainer. If our Heavenly Father is our father, then shouldn't we obey Him and His commandments? Shouldn't we want to honor Him by respecting His words of wisdom? They are not just words, for the sake of words. You know that each and every word was given to us carefully, knowing that at sometime, at someplace, we would be needing that exact word or words.

A great idea for today. Please slowly read each line of this psalm. Savor the words and meaning. Each line has a visual that makes it come alive. Pray ahead of time and ask your God to please open your heart and mind to the personal meaning that He has for you in it--and then claim it.

Just look at these lines! "Break open your word and let the light shine out!" "Mouth open and panting, I want your commands more than anything."

Make this your prayer today! What a glorious day you're going to have! Can't you just feel it?

Monday, August 2, 2010

God Chosen

"Meanwhile, we've got our hands full continually thanking God for you, our good friends—so loved by God! God picked you out as his from the very start. Think of it: included in God's original plan of salvation by the bond of faith in the living truth. This is the life of the Spirit he invited you to through the Message we delivered, in which you get in on the glory of our Master, Jesus Christ.

So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech." 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (The Message)

If you are saved, do you think it was 'by accident' or was it a plan? Do you think that it is all up to you? If you haven't asked your Lord & Savior into your life yet, do you think you are the only one that has the power to ask or not ask?

These may seem like rudimentary questions, but reading this verse made me think. It made me think that we live in a time when it is somewhat advertised that you are in charge of everything in your life. That you have the power to create your life to be whatever you want it to be. Do whatever you want to do. You make it happen.

But it's not you. Yes, God needs you to be a partner with Him in this gift called life--but you need Him as much, if not more--than He needs you. He has planned this before you were born. It is no accident that you are called to be His. Every single person born, is born with the offer of a life in God--it's up to us if and when we accept it. That's when the 'you' comes in. God has planned since you were conceived, God has offered, now it is up to you to accept.

I don't know about you, but I think that it is pretty neat that God chose me when I was conceived in my mother's womb that I was going to be one of His. He knew me before I was born. He knew all my mistakes, my hangups, my hurts--and He still wanted me. It didn't matter to Him how 'not perfect' I am. He loves and wants me. ME! YOU! Isn't that so humbling incredible?!

Praise your Heavenly Father today! Praise Him for His agape love for you. His unconditional relationship that He wants with you. You'll never meet anyone like Him again in your entire life here on earth.

If you haven't accepted His invitation, please seriously consider it today. Your Heavenly Father desire more than anything to have you 100%. There's no magic words--just admit that you are a sinner and you would like forgiveness and please take your life and fill you with Him. A word to the wise, if you don't have a Bible, please get one. And also, if possible, find a least one strong mature Christian that you trust to come along side of you to help you on this new and exciting road.

And one last thing--don't forget to thank Him. We tend to remember to ask for things, but not always remember to thank. It is very important to remember to give Him heartfelt thanks. Then watch the miracles pour into your spirit!