It Explains So Much!

He is roaming the earth…going back and forth on it.

He has a very large team of spirits who watch us….figuring out when we are weak so they can whisper lies and temptations into our ears.Sept 8 2014 it explains so much

They tell us just enough truth to make it sound good and then they twist some lies into it.

These evil spirits help us rationalize away our sins of our lives.

They help us blame others instead of taking personal accountability for what we say and what we do.

They make bad things look ok (as long as we don’t think about it or pray about it too much).

By appealing to our rebellious side with its sinful desires, they can make darkness look like light and selfishness look like self-preservation.

When we read the book of Job, we get a front row seat to the spiritual battle which is going on right now in the heavens.  It starts to make sense that several of the angels who are mentioned in the Bible by name are leaders of the heavenly army.  They are in a constant battle for us – defending us and pushing away the darkness.

I’m sure Satan doesn’t like it whenever we read the Bible but especially the book of Job.  We read how he challenged God directly and was SO WRONG about Job.  I’m sure Satan loved the parts where Job’s friends were so confused.  They thought this was all happening to Job because of unconfessed sin in his life.  Wrong!

And Satan really liked it when Job’s wife gave up, told Job to curse God and die.

Satan won a couple of battles but he lost the war.  And that pattern will be repeated over and over until the end of time.  We see evidence of Satan winning some battles today – child pornography, homelessness, human trafficking, starvation and terrorism, etc.

But he will not win the war!

Because Jesus has already defeated Satan!

Jesus is victorious!  And through faith in him, we also become victorious!

When we are obedient to him, he can help us win our day to day battles with Satan’s team.  Through our obedience, he is also able to continue the process of transformation – turning our sinful desires into a stronger desire for the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

When we put our trust in Jesus, we are in a win-win situation!

Thank you, dear Jesus!

Temporary Insanity

The God who created all of the universe holds it in his hand right now.  It all stays together giving us light and breath because he wants it to.

He created the gravity that keeps us walking upon this earth.  We know why the sun is just the right distance from the earth.  God made it that way so we have heat and light but we don’t become a big ball of fire.

He is a God of order and reason.  The sciences and mathematics were created by him – that’s how he works.

There are no mysteries to him – he knows it all. Sept 7 2013 Temporary insanity

And this all-powerful God wants to have a personal relationship with us.  With me.  With you.  That’s why we were created.

He wants to lavish his love on us.  He desires to give us the best this life has to offer.

So why do we rebel?  Why do we choose to do our own thing while turning away from the best the God of All Things has for us?

It must be temporary insanity.  That’s the only thing that makes any sense at all.

In the 4th chapter of Daniel, we read about King Nebuchadnezzar going temporarily insane.

But when he lifted his eyes toward heaven, his sanity was restored.

This sounds like a very wise idea.  When we’re lost in confusion, doubt or despair.  When we don’t like the place we’re at or the road we’re on.  Let’s life our eyes to God and ask him to restore our sanity.  Ask him to be our light.  He promises he will always be there for us.

Thank you, dear Father!

God Made You Special….

and he loves you very much.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading these words to my granddaughter, Eden, from a Veggie Tales book we own.  She is a fabulous 5- month old :)

Eden loved the book.  She was cooing and kicking her legs – really enjoying the pictures along with the little song it plays with the same words.Eden 5 months

And I began to think about how she had just come from God.

She had recently felt his hands molding her in her mother’s womb.

She had felt his power move inside of her when her tiny heart began to beat.

God had just designed her sparking blue eyes and her surprisingly deep and loud laughter.

He had recently combined a calm spirit with a sweet attitude to give her a personality that makes her fun and easy to take care of.

One of my goals in life is to make sure she never forgets how special she is and how much God loves her.

Because we can easily forget how much God loves us, can’t we?  When did the joy and excitement of anticipation  morph into adult worry and stress? As our responsibilities  and concerns grow into adulthood, it’s sometimes hard to remember that God made us special and he loves us very much.

Some of the other words of this Veggie Tales book are – ‘when you look in the mirror, you’ll see his touch.’

So…..go look in the mirror.

See his touch.

Remember how much God loves you.

How special you are to him. Today.  Right now.

We love you, dear Father.

Living Our Faith Out Loud

Think about the top official person of whatever you’re really interested in – the President of the United States, the Governor of your state, the Mayor of your city, the Commissioner of the National Football League :).  Imagine this person on TV announcing to everyone that ‘We are here today to give praise to the God of (your name).  (Your name) trusted in God and he came through for them.  So I am passing a new law that no one anywhere can say anything against this God.  For no other god can do what he did.”

This is bringing glory to God in a big way!  And this actually happened after Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego put their lives on the line in order to be faithful to God.Sept 7 2014 Because We Trust him

Very few of us get involved in a such a dramatic test of our faith.  But we have little tests all of the time.  Someone asks us a question where we could bring up God or not.  What to we do? Avoid the subject?  Not bring it up?  Or bring it up?  Let people who that we love God.

What do we choose?

As often happens when I write a blog like this, God challenged me 2 days ago about this same issue.  I was ordering a salad in the café in the office building where I work…I was in a hurry…lots of people I didn’t know standing around.  I often talk to the manager and he was taking my order.  When he was done, he asked me what plans I had for the weekend.

My plans this weekend were to be a group leader in an all-day discipleship training at church yesterday and go to church again today.   And fit in some time to get my hair done.  I was going to sound pretty ‘churchy’ if I shared my real plans, wasn’t I?  In front of all of these people?

I had already started this blog and I was immediately convicted about my second thoughts on sharing what I was really going to do.  So,  I told him the truth.  And he smiled and said he was planning to go to church Sunday, too.  How nice!  Now we have something more in common.

Little tests.  Small unexpected challenges to share what we’re REALLY doing or how we REALLY feel.

Please help us grow in being able to always live our Christian lives out loud, dear Father.

He Will Deliver Us

“God will deliver us” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego told King Nebuchadnezzar when they refused to worship the King’s gods or the gold image the King has set up.

They were confident that God was going to take care of them.  First, they said God will save them from what the King wants to do to them – throw them in the fiery furnace.

And then they said, “But even if he does not”, they still refused to worship anything but God.Sept 5 2014 Because we trust him

Even if he does not – because sometimes God’s deliverance of us is to take us out of this world.

We struggle with death because our perspective is so different from God’s.

When the people we love die, we feel grief and separation.  We sometimes wonder how God could let this happen.  When great Christians and missionaries die, we sometimes wonder why God ‘let’ this happen, they were accomplishing such great things for God!

God’s perspective is very different.  When those who love him die here on earth, they are alive with him in heaven – forever.  He ‘delivers’ them from the pain and brokenness of this life into a perfect life with him.  They receive the prize.  It’s not something he ‘lets’ happen, it is all done according to his will.

A year after my mother went to heaven, I got 12 blood clots that went to my lungs and 5 doctors confirmed that this should have killed me.  But it didn’t.  God told me right away in the emergency room that I wasn’t going to die from this – he had already taken care of it.

As a result of this experience, I got a very up close and personal new understanding of God’s omnipotence.  All of the scientific facts said that I should have died.  But God said ‘No’ and it didn’t happen.

God’s total and complete omnipotence gives me peace about my mother’s death, my own death when it happens and all death.  Death happens when God says and not before.  God ‘delivered’ my mother at his designated time.  And that was the right time for her.  I wouldn’t want anything other than God’s best for her.

He will ‘deliver ‘ me at the right time for me.  It’s already determined.  He has already decided and it will happen.  Until then, I need to fulfill the purpose he has given me.  It’s the reason why I’m still here.

Amen!

Hallelujah!

The Watchman

On my trip to Israel earlier this year, we visited a Nazareth village which is set up to show us what Nazareth looked like when Jesus lived there.

A watchman was placed high on the hill overlooking the village and the land surrounding it.nn watching over Nazareth

Ezekiel explains the watchman’s duties in his 33rd chapter.  He says the watchman needs to blow the trumpet to warn the people when he sees danger coming.  If he blows the trumpet and the people don’t heed the warning, they are responsible for their own deaths.

BUT, if the watchman sees the danger coming and doesn’t blow the trumpet, the watchman is responsible for their deaths.

What does this mean for us today?

We don’t have watchmen……or, do we?

We definitely have danger all around us.

When I read this, God reminds me that I am a watchman for the people around me.  I know the truth.  And I know what danger looks like.  So I need to sound the alarm when I see danger coming.

I wish it was as easy as sounding the trumpet.  It’s much harder today to warn others of danger coming their way.  Our culture is  more independent than that of the Israelites and many people don’t understand that God still holds us accountable for each other.

So how do we make sure we’re doing our job as watchmen?  We have a great role model in Jesus who used equal measures of grace and truth.  He didn’t judge people (except for the religious leaders who should have known better).  He didn’t condemn people who were in danger.  He communicated truth with love.  So people could listen.  And understand.  And avoid the danger.

Thank you, dear Jesus.  Please help us do the same.

They Said No

Why did they ask if they weren’t going to listen?

The remnant of Judah pled with Jeremiah to ask the Lord for direction.  They said, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we don’t act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tells us.” August 31 2014 They said no 1

So Jeremiah asked God and he told the people of the remnant to stay where they were – do not go to Egypt.  They would die by the sword there.

The people went to Egypt anyway.  And the swords of their enemies killed them.

If they were just going to do what they wanted, why go through this ‘big show’ of asking God?

We see a clue to their behavior when they tell Jeremiah that they will do everything the Lord your God tells them to do.

Later they changed that to ‘our’ but – which one is it?August 31 2014 They said no 2

We can tell by their actions that our Lord God is not their Lord God.  They didn’t listen to him.  He told them exactly what to do and what not to do and they did what he said not to do.

He obviously was not the Lord of their lives.

The proof that Jesus is really the Lord of our lives is when we say, “Yes, Lord.”

If we say anything else, we are not making him Lord of our lives.

It’s as simple……and as challenging…..as that.

Please help us always make you Lord in our lives, dear Jesus.

Tossed by the Wind

August 27 2014 Tossed by the windKing Zedekiah went to Jeremiah several times to find out what God wanted him to do.  The King even promised to protect Jeremiah with an oath which included, ” As surely as the Lord lives, who has given us breath.”

King Zedekiah knew about God and he obviously believed God had power.  He searched for God’s direction.  But then he still didn’t do what God told him to do.

James described a double-minded man in the beginning of his letter in the New Testament.  This man is like a wave, blown and tossed about by the wind.

This man sounds just like King Zedekiah.  Yes, there were big waves of conflict and deportation and death crashing around Zedekiah.  He responded to this by constantly checking in with Jeremiah to see what God was saying.

But then he went off and just did his own thing anyway.

Does this sound familiar?  Do we check in with God on Sundays and then go do our own thing the rest of the week?  Do we ever have serious thoughts of obeying what we hear from God?  Letting God change us?  Transform us?

Do we take significant action in order to get our faith solidly anchored on God, our Rock, so we’re not longer influenced and moved by the waves of our culture and the circumstances around us?

God promised to help us become single-minded people who know the truth.  All we have to do is ask.  We need to seek him with all of our hearts, souls and strength.  And we will find him.  Because he is always there.

Thank you, dear Father.

Frightening Words

“The time as come for me to act.  I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent.  You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions.”August 21 2014 Amazing grace

These words send a shiver down my spine.  God spoke them to the people of Jerusalem as the Babylonians attacked and the siege which would send the Israelites into captivity began.

I am SO grateful to be living in the time of God’s grace.  Jesus’ sacrifice now covers all of our sin, shortcomings and failures.

When God looks at us now, he sees us as his children and he lavishes his love on us.

We don’t have to pay for our sins like the Israelites did because Jesus died for our sins- once and for all.  By his wounds, we have been healed.

So the right response for us is to live in a perpetual state of gratitude for what God has done.  We all have circumstances and situations in our lives which aren’t perfect but our redeemed identify in Christ is secure.  Our future is already decided.

The end of our story goes like this,

“And they lived happily ever after in heaven.”

Amen!

Hallelujah! 

 

Standing in the Gap

Ezekiel had a lot of bad news for Judah.  The only good news he had was that God would extend his grace to them if they would turn back to God. If they would stop rebelling.  But they didn’t listen.ugust 20 2014 standing in the gap

In Ezekiel 22, God tells Judah that he looked for someone to stand before him in the gap on behalf of Judah.  He didn’t want to destroy them.  He searched for someone who was faithful but he found no one.

We read a similar message from God in Abraham’s time when Abraham negotiated with God over the number of righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah as he tried to save Lot.  We also heard this during Noah’s time on earth.  God looked over all of the people on the earth and found one righteous man – Noah.

When God looks at our broken and rebellious country today, does he see us standing in the gap?  Does he see our lights shining brightly where we work?  Does he see our servanthood setting the example in our churches and our neighborhoods?

Are we a conduit of God’s love to the people around us?

If so, well done, good and faithful servant.

If not, why not?