Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who holds your future?

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. Revelation 21:4-6

It’s a new year – a time when everyone takes time to look back and look forward. Self evaluations bring hope, fear, depression, excitement – the gambit of emotions. Somehow we feel the necessity to celebrate a new start, a new beginning, another chance at our dreams and goals. The parties go on all over the world.

But Father Time goes on without knowing it’s a new year. Not even God takes note of our man made milestones. The significance of newness is not measured by what we hope the future will hold. What will 2010 hold for us? What is our 5 year plan for life? Where do we want to be in 2020? What do we have to look forward to in our distant future?

The answers to these questions might be very important to us for our lifetime. But what about the question of eternity? What does that hold for us? There will be no marking of time then. We will not be looking back anymore, and we won’t have to deal with old issues or problems. Behold, all things will be made new! No more sorrow or pain, no broken lives, no insecurities, no fear of the future. My thirst will be forever quenched – how about yours?

It will be a new beginning that will never end. Now that’s a party I don’t want to miss.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whom will He use?

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His followers asked him, ‘Teacher, whose sin caused this man to be born blind – his own or his parents’ sin?’
Jesus answered, ‘It is not this man’s sin or his parents’ sin that made him be blind. This man was born blind so that God’s power could be shown in him.
…he spit on the ground a made some mud with it and put the mud on the man’s eyes. Then he told the man, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.’ So the man went, washed, and came back seeing.”

John 9: 3, 6 & 7

We all want to put blame somewhere when there is tragedy in someone’s life. Whether it be injury, death, infirmity or poverty. It seems impossible to us that these things could have come about only to give glory to God. Surely, someone must be at fault. Surely sin has taken its toll.

But here Jesus says that not only was the infirmity not born of sin, but it was designed to give glory to the Father. How shocked his followers must have been to hear those words. Our human minds cannot comprehend that God’s plans supersede any reasoning we may have about a given situation.

Then, to top it off, Jesus makes mud with his own spit and uses it to bring about healing for this blind man. Why, mud? Why not just speak the word and call it good? There may be several explanations for this, but I would like to suggest that perhaps Jesus wanted us to see that even the lowliest of tools could be used to accomplish God’s will. Formed from the dirt to make the healing balm, the mud - when given power by Jesus, worked the miracle everyone needed to see. God received the glory, and the people were taught a valuable lesson.

Let us not sell ourselves short. If Jesus can use the dirt to touch lives, He can use us and our talents. The goal is to give God glory, and we can be the tool He may use to do it. It doesn’t matter who or what is to blame for the infirmity. It needs to be fixed, and God will use us to fix it – if we let Him.

Jesus, use me to accomplish your will. Help me to see where I might be formed into a healing balm for my brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Come and be faithful

O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant
Come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning
Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n
Glory to God, all glory in the highest.

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Yet another carol of proclamation and invitation. The proclamation that Christ was born – come to us as the King of Angels. The invitation is to come and adore Him, to worship Him as Christ the Lord.

The invitation is ongoing – not just at Christmas time but every day of our lives. When we neglect the invitation, we miss out on the awesome opportunity to join the chorus of all those who worship Him. It is interesting that God not only invites us to worship Him, but makes it a commandment. He is holy and sovereign, and demands and deserves our adoration and attention.

We have free will to decline the invitation, and unfortunately we exercise that free will too often. It’s easy to remember the call to worship when the whole world is decorated and primed for a celebration of Christ’s birth. But what we do with the invitation all the other months and days of the year is really what loving Him is all about.

Jesus came to serve, but He also came to be worshipped. Follow the star, go the distance, bow before Him each and every day.

Jesus, we celebrate your birth. We come before You to adore and worship. Thank you for the blessed invitation.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Carol #1

“He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love,
and wonders of His love,
and wonders, wonders of His love.”

Last verse of Joy To The World

This beloved Christmas song is one of the most popular Christmas carols. This cheerful tune tells the world to rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus, the King. Its message of hope and salvation encourages us to take heart and be happy in the gift of Jesus. It inspires optimism and…well, joy!

This is a sentiment that should be on our hearts all year round. The miracle of Jesus’ birth and the promise of his return is the reason we worship – not just at Christmas – but even in our everyday lives. The song of our life should be Joy to the World. Through trials, danger, flood and sorrow, our voice should be heard above the rabble of the downcast.

Perhaps if we read the words of this Christmas carol once in a while, we would be reminded to “repeat the sounding joy.” We have so much to be thankful for – our hope and faith that came when Jesus came.

Thank you Father for sending your son that first Christmas day. Help us to share the joy of knowing him to a lost world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 9:38-39

Can anything separate us from the love of God? Is there anything we can do to cause Him to stop loving us? This scripture says an emphatic no. I don’t know about you, but I can’t quite wrap my head around this. I know it is true, because the word says so. I know God well enough to know his character would not allow Him to let go of us. His parenthood is a bond that cannot be broken.

As the mother of a prodigal child, I find this scripture comforting. To know that the Father still watches over, cares for, chases and waits for my child is what every parent stands on – especially for those who are separated indefinitely from that loved one. Even though I don’t fully understand the depth of meaning for this fact, I know I must cling to it.

The truth is that God does not love with human love. There it is in a nutshell. We measure God’s love with human love and come up so short that we can’t comprehend the depth. You can only measure God with God. Nothing else makes any sense. So we live by faith that He means it when He says his love is never ending and all encompassing.

Father, I live by faith and rest in the knowledge that you will never leave or forsake me or my beloved child. Help me to understand your love for us.

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 9:38-39

Can anything separate us from the love of God? Is there anything we can do to cause Him to stop loving us? This scripture says an emphatic no. I don’t know about you, but I can’t quite wrap my head around this. I know it is true, because the word says so. I know God well enough to know his character would not allow Him to let go of us. His parenthood is a bond that cannot be broken.

As the mother of a prodigal child, I find this scripture comforting. To know that the Father still watches over, cares for, chases and waits for my child is what every parent stands on – especially for those who are separated indefinitely from that loved one. Even though I don’t fully understand the depth of meaning for this fact, I know I must cling to it.

The truth is that God does not love with human love. There it is in a nutshell. We measure God’s love with human love and come up so short that we can’t comprehend the depth. You can only measure God with God. Nothing else makes any sense. So we live by faith that He means it when He says his love is never ending and all encompassing.

Father, I live by faith and rest in the knowledge that you will never leave or forsake me or my beloved child. Help me to understand your love for us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Give Honor To One Another

“Love each other like brothers and sisters; Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves.” Romans 12:10

Here’s a tough one. It’s not hard to do, just hard to remember to do it. Giving others more honor than we give ourselves. Just as Jesus gave honor to the Father, we are to esteem others higher than ourselves.

I don’t believe this necessarily means just with words of praise or compliment – words can be said loosely and without meaning. I do believe it’s the attitude of the heart that overflows into honor and respect for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and in the world. And the simple truth is that it’s a commission from God, not an elective service.

I have only a few friends and acquaintances that I can always count on to have a word of praise or encouragement that I know truly comes from a genuine attitude of honor. I am usually pinched with a reminded when I see them- a reminder that I fall short of this gift. All I need to do is to ask the Lord to give me this change of heart and He will do it. The rest is up to me to develop the behavior that goes along with a new attitude.

Troubles and trials may consume us, and if we let them, will draw us back to the preoccupation of self. It is only through commitment to the vision of true love for others that will keep us mindful of our commission. When we sign up with God, we sign up for a lifelong job of caring for those we come in contact with, and the equipment we use for the job is the Holy Spirit in us and the word of God.

Yes, it’s a tough one – only because we make it so.

Dear Lord, forgive me for failing to give honor to those you have placed in my life. Remind me daily to work on changing my heart.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can You Hear Him?

And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you.
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!
John 5:37-39

Have you ever opened a cupboard door to look for something and can’t find it. Then you step back and take another look. It was right in front of your face. You may have expected the item to look like something else, or you may have been distracted by the package of Oreos on the shelf. It could be that you didn’t really think the item would be there, and so you skimmed right over it.

It can be that way with seeking and hearing the message God has for us. Jesus said we search everywhere to find the message, but often come up empty hearted because we have no faith. Or perhaps we have been distracted, or think that God’s message will come a certain way in a certain form. It’s too easy to miss out on the message unless we truly believe there is a message to be heard. God seeks us out to commune with us. Are we too distracted or busy or skeptical to hear Him?

When we are born again, our spirit is joined with God. We are then programmed to be able to hear the voice of God. He whispers to us, and even if we don’t recognize it, He guides us in our spirit.

Tune your ears to Him so that you may hear his personal message to you. He desires to build you up with his words and point you to Christ.
Father, help me to hear. Point me to yourself, and teach me how to live.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Count on His Fathfullness

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
2 Peter 1:3&4

Did you know that there are about 8,000 promises in the bible? Considering they are given by a god who cannot lie, offers us eternal life, created the universe and loves us beyond our comprehension, I’d say we can count on Him to fulfill them. Our faith may waver because of the past broken promises of man, but we must separate that from the real truth of God’s word to us.

We must also be careful lest we impatiently impose natural nudging to see those promises come about. Just as Sarah took matters into her own hands when she grew tired of waiting for God to give her the child of His promise, we too are tempted to find another way to secure it. But that only delays the promise – we mess up the timing when interfere with God’s plan. Even when it seems impossible – if God said it was coming – it’s coming. He knows how old we are, how sick we are, how broke we are! He hasn’t forgotten us. He’s not too busy keeping score, too angry with your behavior, or too overwhelmed by mankind to remember his promise to you.

God is gracious to give us promises in order for us to “participate in the divine nature.” What a double blessing – to be a part of His own nature and be blessed by an undeserved gift, all at the same time. It all brings glory to the One who delivers the promise – as it should be.

Heavenly Father, I stand on the promises you have given your children. Help me to wait for your plan to be accomplished in my life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

There are 34 references to "give thanks" in the King James Bible. There are 29 references to "thanksgiving". Here are a few of my favorites. Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday wherever you may be.

Psalm 26:7
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

Psalm 69:30
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Revelation 7:12
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 106:1
Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Model For Prayer

"Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us." Luke 11:2-4 Matthew adds: And do not lead us into temptation. But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

The disciples that followed Jesus were in a position to observe His communion with the Father. No doubt they could sense there was special power in Jesus' prayers. If it were me, I would have wanted to have the kind of communication that existed between Jesus and his heavenly Father. His followers had been given a glimpse of the true Kingdom, but weren't sure how to enter into a fuller understanding of belonging there.

This model of prayer that Jesus gives them speaks to God's holiness, life on earth, provision, forgiveness and sin. Embedded in the words are declarations, praise and supplications. It is a guide for concise and deliberate prayer or conversation with God. It's simple, to the point and powerful.

We need not make prayer a complicated endeavor. God already knows our heart and the thoughts rolling around in our brain. I believe it is the praise and declarations that provide effectiveness for our prayers, and continual communion with our heavenly Father provides us with stability and peace.

Lord, help me to continually commune with you. I desire to seek your Kingdom and know You more.

Friday, November 20, 2009

So I Fall

“So brace up your minds, and, as men who know what they are doing, rest the full weight of your hopes on the grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ reveals himself.”
I Peter 1:13 The J.B. Phillips Bible

This verse reminds me of the exercise you might see at a group therapy session, or at a youth retreat. One person stands with their back to a group of their peers or friends. He puts his trust in them, that they will catch him as he falls backward into their arms. It can be a scary experience, especially if you don’t know the other people well. The exercise of trust is putting your full weight into another’s hands.

What is your full weight? It’s your life – all of you. Whose hands are they? Jesus’ hands.

We live our lives, pressing through each day, with an assurance that we can trust Him for grace, happiness and eternal life. I can’t wait for the day when Jesus will reveal himself totally. I will stand before him, weeping and jumping for joy. In Him lies all that is worth hoping for. He deserves all our worship, yet he came to serve us in this way. He points us to the Father with his love.

The pain of this world will disappear when we see the gates of our new home opened by the lover of our souls. We are to consider soberly what God has done for us in his great mercy. Even when we feel despair, anguish or fear, He is standing behind us, waiting for us to fall into his arms.

Will you trust Him to catch you?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Would You Go?

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings an before the people of Israel.” Acts 9:10-15

I can just see Ananias shaking in his sandals! The Lord has just asked him to rescue the zealous enemy of the early Christian church, and Ananias was clearly apprehensive to say the least. I greatly admire this man. He was just an ordinary guy, minding his own business when, out of nowhere, God speaks this rather large request. He may have hesitated a bit, but he did go. It took a lot of courage and faith in God.
I wonder if Ananias realized just how important a job he was about to do. Isn’t it just like humanity to argue with God when approached with this kind of proposition? But you must remember, this was a formidable foe, this Saul. I think I would have tried much harder to get out of the deal! But Ananias was obedient and did as he was told – not even knowing what this all meant to the advancement of the church.
Let me ask, how many of us have our hearts primed to hear God’s voice in the first place? It takes spiritual awareness and practice to know that voice speaking in your spirit. Secondly, how many of us would have gone where He asked us to go, even though it meant possible danger? Are we ready to take on the burden of doing the tough job if we are asked? If we were as in tune with God as Ananias was, and we were as obedient as Ananias, we could change the world.
I would like to think I am among the many Christians with a heart to serve God whenever and wherever. I know that I am still learning to hear his voice and to be obedient. If the work of God is to be done, we must answer “yes Lord.” He will prepare the way and stay with us through it all. Draw courage from the experience you have that tells you God is faithful. Ananias did, and see how incredibly he was used!

Lord, I want to say yes to you. Teach me how to recognize when you are calling me. Thank you for using even the meek and lowly for your glory.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How Big Is Your God?

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish hart was darkened…..For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 1: 21&25

What is your concept of God, and where did it come from? Boy, is it easy to miss the mark on really knowing who God is. It doesn’t matter how long we have been a believer, we can be mistaken in our thoughts about Him.

Often our conception of God is mostly made by the conclusions we draw from life and the opinions of others. It happens slowly and without us even being aware of what is happening. If our knowledge about life and its mysteries is faulty, or biased, or based on feelings, our “knowledge” of God may be the same. This makes God a mere magnified version of a human. Modeling Him upon what we know of man may be easier, but it doesn’t fit with who He truly is. If our God was nothing more than a super-human, living somewhere up in Heaven, He would not be big enough to handle this world and all His children. We are a handful!

Have we as a Christian culture exchanged the truth of God for a lie? Yes, According to the apostle Paul, in the case of the Romans, their worship of idols and behavior in unspeakable things led them to reduce God to nothing. They paid a great price for it – God handed them over to the darkness. We must be sure that we keep God where He should be in our lives and in our churches – on the throne. There He will receive the adoration that He deserves, and we will see Him as the big God that He is.

Lord God, forgive me for the times I reduced you to smallness in my mind and heart. Help me to change my thinking by reading your word and getting to know you more.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rescue Me!

“Yet I am poor and needy, may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God do not delay.”
Psalm 40:17

Have you seen the movie “Castaway”? Tom Hanks plays a man that gets stranded on a deserted island after his plane crashes in the ocean. It soon becomes obvious that he is not a survival expert. He spends his first night with only his wet clothes and torn rubber raft for shelter. The next day items from the plane start washing up on the beach. Several of those items were quite useful for his survival and actually saved his life.

He could have just sat on the beach, crying over why no one had come to rescue him. But he paid attention, and realized that the articles that washed up on shore could provide him with an answer, maybe not the answer he wanted, but it got him by until he was finally rescued. He came to see that he must use what was provided, and begin to build a solution to his dilemma.

How many times have we been in a situation that we thought was hopeless, and felt like we were stranded with no rescue in sight? It’s easy to sit on the beach, cry and be upset with God for not coming to take us out of that place. When we open our eyes to see that He sends us certain items or people to aid us while we wait, we can spend our time fashioning those things into tools for growing and surviving. Our rescue is sometimes delayed because God has something for us to learn. He will always send us help in times of trouble, but it is in his timing, not ours.

There is a danger that comes with refusing to wait for God’s rescue. We often invent our own way out when we tire of waiting for God. We leave the tools behind, and go out on our own. It’s hard to wait when you feel like you are in trouble. Don’t ever forget that God knows where you are, and knows just the right time to provide your rescue.

Father, help me to wait. I thank you that You care enough to send me aids in these times. I know you will come for me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Altar of Worship

“He (David) appointed some of the Livites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel: …They were to play the lyres and harps, Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God.” I CHRONICLES 16:4&6

The dwelling place of God was always at the altar of worship. There He waits for his children to come and offer themselves. His eyes and his heart will delight in our prayers when we set our minds in his direction. When we are fixed only on what God will do for us, we miss out on what He wants to be in our lives.

David knew the way to God’s heart was through worship. In battle, in heartbreak, in triumph – these times were always soaked in the sweetness of praise to God. There was no holding back. All the instruments and voices were directed at regular acts of worship before the altar. It was their custom to “make a joyful noise” before Him. All the Israelites were brought up to know that worship is essential to those who are God’s children.

When we don’t bring our best worship to God, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Others see and most importantly, God sees. His desire is for us to enjoy worship and do it with our whole heart. It is in worship that we can offer ourselves and experience the communion He desires to have with us. It is our choice to either engage or let the opportunities pass by. It’s a decision we all have to make to do whatever is necessary to express our devotion and gratitude to our Creator.

Worship is an attitude of the heart. Once we realize who God is and what He has done for us, we know what we must do. As we let our hearts receive the truth about worship, we will be transformed into the kind of worshipers God is looking for. It’s a matter of dwelling at the altar.

Dear God, I want to dwell where You are. Help me to learn how to praise You in a way that pleases You.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grow In Confidence

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27: 1, 13 & 14

This Psalm discloses David’s personal relationship with his God, and relates his experiences in a way that reflects an ongoing attitude of confidence. Through all the trials and calamities of his life, David could look back upon those days when God rescued him, and take courage in knowing he didn’t let fear corrode his faith. He understood that in order to accomplish God’s will, he would need the confidence that only comes through capturing the beauty of God’s character in his own life. It came to be as he sought His habitation daily.

If we have the courage to wait upon the Lord we will begin to see that our prayers will be answered, and that God is always in control. God uses waiting to renew, refresh and teach us. The very powerful words that the Lord gave to King David brought personal assurance to his walk, and focus to his task at hand. In our times of waiting, we can be in a better position to hear the voice of God. As we hear his voice, we grow in confidence – and confidence will be expressed in all areas of our lives.

Confidently express yourself with your talents and abilities with God’s power. You can then play your part in building momentum to take the church to the next level of faith. Waiting and listening are hard for us to do. It takes practice to feel comfortable in this seemingly passive state. We know from David’s writings that he did a great deal of waiting and listening. In turn, he came to know God in a special way – earning his favor.

All things, seen and unseen, are subject to the glory of God. As we yield to Him, growing closer to Him, we find the confidence we long for.

Dear Lord, help me to wait. I want to face my fears. Open my eyes to see the confidence I need to serve you better. Thank you for being patient with me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gather The Wind

“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6 NASB

“Are they as straw before the wind, and like chaff which the storm carries away?”
Job 21:18 NASB

My son left an unusual post on his My Space page some time ago. It was unusual because it was a thoughtful, well written story. Unusual because my son never writes, and doesn’t always articulate with clarity. The story was about a piece of newsprint he saw out his window. As he watched it blowing in the wind, he meditated on how he would like God to be the wind that directs his path.

I thought about this for several days after reading it. It was a great analogy and one that would speak to me in the days to come. It is amazing to me that God will use the simple observations in life to plant seeds of faith into our hearts. A piece of paper blowing in the wind reminded my son of God’s direction in our lives and I was fascinated at comparing the ways we let the wind guide us.

I personally would not want to be blown about, feeling myself pushed up and down, over and back. There seems to be no purpose to that kind of direction. The wind of our own choices, our worldly connections, and casual attitudes can blow us without plan or wisdom. We are propelled by a force that could either carry us a long way off track, or straight into the arms of God. It is a matter of being stronger than a thin piece of paper that is torn and tattered by life. When we are weakened by trials and misfortunes we are easily tossed to and fro by whatever wind would come along.

There is another kind of wind that directs. The wind of the spirit blows us toward the One who created it. If we have kept our hearts strong, we can be a sail that will catch the wind and capture the mighty power it brings. If we have taken great care in our responsibility for the plan, if we will stand tall in adversity, we will only be driven in the direction God would have us go. It takes courage and determination to be the sail and not the newsprint. The desire to be in the center of His will comes from a relationship with Him. He will fashion us into the sail we were meant to be. Then He sends the wind that we desperately need.

It takes faith to believe in things we cannot see, like the wind. But we will be pushed by it whether we see it or not. We can be tossed without purpose or driven in our Creator's plan. Our minds tend to waver, and our moods go up and down, but the stability God brings to us will make us sail worthy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Double Portion

“When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.” 2 Kings 2: 9

Elisha had been following Elijah around for some time. He had observed miracles and seen first hand the blessings of God on the life of this prophet. Elijah had been promised by God that he would be taken up to heaven in a whirlwind – the only prophet to be given an alternative to death. As time for that big event approached, Elisha stuck as close as he could to his mentor, not wanting to miss anything. Elijah knew Elisha would be succeeding him as prophet so he wanted to grant him a request to get him off to a good start, so to speak.

Elisha wanted to inherit a double portion of whatever it was that Elijah had. Elijah built a legacy and left it to Elisha. It was a legacy of faith and favor from God. Elisha did not ask to be left with riches, or possessions. He wanted the blessing. He wanted the inheritance of powerful service and a double portion of it! He was hungry for the kind of life that would bring the most fruit. He was ready to do it without the comforts of the world.

Most of us are caught up in the world we live in, and the desires of our hearts are not always for the things of God. Guess what, God knows that. He is aware when we are operating at much below our potential and gives grace for that. But He also waits for us to ask for the blessing. He longs to hear the words from our hearts that we are ready for a double portion of His spirit. We have followed Him around long enough to know what He is capable of. Jesus left us with a job to do, just like Elisha. We don’t always understand what we need in order to accomplish the mission.

Are you ready for a double portion? Are you ready to release the glory that God is waiting to share with you? Read, pray, listen, share. Stick close to God so you can succeed at the mission.

Father, show me how to enter into oneness of knowledge with you. I pray you will help me be ready for the job you have in store for me. Bring the harvest, Lord.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Just A Little While

And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:8-11 NRSV
All Christians will face resistance when their light shines in the darkness. Just as a trainer will tell you that resistance exercises build strong bones and muscle tone, the bible explains what resistance does for followers of Christ. Even though it can be a bit painful, in the long run it does make us stronger, providing we are answering the call to “his eternal glory”.
The choice to serve Christ is not a blind one. God has given us a road map, his word and his spirit, showing all the bends and turns, pit falls and valleys of life. He also provided for us, by his grace, rest stops and mountain retreats. Too often we tuck our maps away in the glove compartment of our cars and go racing off down the road. When we come into unfamiliar territory and the road gets rough, we frantically reach for God’s map! “Oh Lord, restore my path!”
Some suffering we bring on ourselves, not from serving God, but from serving the god of self. Thankfully, the grace of God still covers us, and even when we mess up He can restore us. What a great word that is – restore. It brings on visions of health and wholeness. Restoring us to strength again, we can stand firm and steadfast, growing stronger with each trial.
If we are in Christ we need not fear suffering, for it is padded with restoration, grace, and the promise of eternal life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Got Light?

“Later in one of his talks, Jesus said to the people, ‘I am the light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.’” John 8:12 LIVING BIBLE

The dictionary explains “darkness” as: “…entirely or partly without light, neither giving nor receiving light.”

Who among us has not been afraid of the dark- even a little bit? Why is that? It may or may not be a learned fear. Most of the time it just seems like instinct. Spiritually speaking, instinctual fear of the darkness may save our lives.

If you have ever been caught unaware in total darkness, you know it’s not necessarily a pleasant experience. The last thing you want to do is to take a step forward and find your way with no point of reference. No one wants to stumble and fall. All concepts of distance and depth are taken from you, changing your reality. When you open a door to a darkened room, and a little light gets in, it’s no longer dark! The same is with our hearts. When we are without God in our life, we experience spiritual darkness. The light of Jesus is our point of reference. It is up to us to crack the door so Jesus and the words He speaks can bring light. He gives us the light and wants us to share it in return.

There are plenty of influences in this world that encourage darkness. Our job is to reflect the kind of light that can dispel it. The little things we do and say may be the light someone needs to illuminate their heart and mind at any given moment in time. Remember, even a small candle can illumine a dark room.

Father in heaven, If you are not darkness, then I don’t want to be there. Help me to seek your light in my life. I don’t want to stumble around any more – I need You to guide me. Please use me to be a light, even in a small way, in someone else’s life today.

Monday, October 26, 2009


“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:2

I heard Jim Caviezel speak yesterday morning at a church service. A humble man and full of passion for a lost world. He spoke of how God has been moving in his life, and of the miraculous chain of events that happened as he was filming The Passion of The Christ. If some of you are unfamiliar with his name, he played the part of Jesus.

Alright, I will admit to you that as of this moment, I have not seen the movie. But I have read the book, and I know how it turns out. After seeing this man talk about the transformations, revelations and inspirations that transpired in his heart because of his role, I long to see it. But more than that, I long to experience the deep and intense sense of God that he spoke of. I will never have the opportunity to go through the journey he went through – nor do I want to. The suffering and near death physical trauma he endured is not one I feel prepared to duplicate. But I believe my everyday life has something to teach me, and I want to be better at getting it. I want others get it because of the way I live.

Jim said that four out of five scene takes were Jim playing Jesus, and one out of five takes were Jesus playing Himself through Jim. That one take was the one that ended up on film. He would pray for Jesus to come through – and He did. Jim was in a sense transformed into the likeness of Christ for the Glory of God.

Lest you think this a bit strong in theology, read the book of Revelation. It’s pretty strong in transformation theology. None the less, transformation is what our lives as Christians is all about. I heard about an extreme case this morning – extreme but tempered with compassion, humility and peace.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Devotion to God

Well, here I am starting a new blog. I have been writing devotions for some time. But it wasn't until recently (yesterday in fact)that I thought of sharing them in a blog exclusively for devotionals. So here is the first one. I hope you will enjoy, visit again and draw some meaning from what God has shared with me.

I Corinthians 13:13
"And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

I listened to a video sermon given by a friend of mine this morning. In his message he mentioned that real love - charity - perfects grace, mercy and kindness in our everyday lives. For some reason that brought me up short. Grace, mercy and kindness in my everyday life, huh? If you are like me, you tend to think of those attributes occurring only when there is a big issue to be addressed. I don't always think of exercising them in even the little things in my daily life.

Our lives are full of seemingly insignificant incidents. We engage other people, write emails, talk to family members and make choices every day. Bearing in mind that we are to reflect the light and charity of Jesus, how often do we operate in grace, mercy and kindness? Perhaps we should pay more attention to words, actions and attitudes that shape our final outcomes for the day. Days piled upon days shape a life. What shape will our life take, and how will we reflect the charity of Jesus? We do it moment by moment, remembering that the great gifts we give make a difference in reaching a lost world.

The greatest gift is charity - the kind that reflects Jesus.