Why?

Why me?

Why now?

Why more?

We often ask these questions when trials and tough issues come our way.

When I ask this question, God gives me answers.  One of the answers is Romans 5.  “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

I have learned to watch for God moving in my life as I’m persevering through trials.  Where is he re-molding me?  What thoughts is he renewing in my mind through this suffering?  What is he washing out of my life through all of these tears?

I know he is building my faith as I persevere because it’s never more obvious to me how much I need him than when I’m going through a painful experience.  And I have watched him strengthen my character as I persevere.  He reveals areas of weakness in my thinking and replaces them with his truth.  He tests my convictions and transforms me as I ask for wisdom in my trials.

Through all of this, he gives me hope.  I can see him working.  My trust in God grows as I watch him bring light out of the dark sufferings in my life.  He has a purpose.  He has a plan as he draws me closer to him.

As I count on him, God covers the pain with his grace and love – every day.

This is why.

Thank you for answering my question, Abba Father.

Fighting My Battle Well

It’s not easy to fight the battle well.

It’s not easy to consistently stay in line with God and keep the faith.

It’s not easy when so many others around me reject God,

or shipwreck their faith with really bad decisions.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul challenges Timothy to fight his battle well and hold onto his faith.  And then he tells Timothy to pray for all people, including the kings and all of those in authority.

Pray.

How much different would our country be if everyone prayed for our government leaders instead of criticizing them and spending all of our energy spreading the scandals?  I think we would be pleasantly surprised by how much God can do in correcting the things that are wrong in our government and in our world.  If we would pray.

Paul tells us that our prayers please God who wants all people to be saved by knowing the truth.  “Therefore, I want people everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

It’s almost the new year.  Let’s fight the battle well in 2018.

May the way we fight the battle please you, Abba Father.

 

A Christmas Blessing – Colossians 1, 2017

I have not stopped praying for you.

I have asked God to help you know and understand the purpose he has planned for you.  May his Spirit give you wisdom for the journey.

May you live a life that pleases our Father God – spreading love and joy everywhere you go.  May you grow in your relationship with God and become strong in your faith, having great endurance and patience.

May you gratefully praise our Father who has saved us and adopted us as his children.  We are his holy people who will live eternally with him in heaven.

Thank you, Abba Father, for rescuing us from darkness by giving us the free gift of salvation through your son, Jesus.

Please bless all of us this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

A Bad Exchange

Taking steps forward – not backward.  Growing in goodness – not growing in selfishness.  Softening my heart – not becoming bitter and cynical.

Change can be good – or bad.  It depends on how and what I’m changing.

I’m reminded of this as I read God’s word to me in Romans when the Gentiles rejected God.  “Their thinking became futile and their hearts were darkened.  They exchanged the truth about God for a lie.”

They changed – in a bad direction.  They became defined by worthless thinking and dark hearts.  They based their lives on lies, turning away from the One True God.  Then they took it a step farther – they encouraged others to do the same thing.

They became filled with envy, murder, strife and deceit.  They became slanderers and gossips, God-haters and boastful.  They had no understanding, no love, no fidelity and no mercy.  And they approved of their way of life.

Just thinking about what their days were like and how it must have felt to live like they were living turns my stomach.  What about you?

They lived worthless lives doing exactly what Satan would like all of us to do.  Satan could ignore them – they were sold out to his lies and they had given in to his schemes.  They were no threat to him.  His work with them was done.

Exchanging the truth for lies is always going to be a bad exchange.  I’m so glad we’re all on this journey towards the truth together so we can keep our compass pointed right at God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

You Are A Letter

You are changed.

I am changed.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, his spirit comes to live inside of us.

He speaks to us.

He loves us.

He redeems us.

He changes us – when we listen and obey.

Paul writes about this transformation in his second letter to the Corinthians.  He calls them “a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tables of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

You and I are Christ’s letter to our world – not written in ink but communicated by how much we love God and how much we love others.

Faith, Hope and Love…

and the greatest of these is love.

We love you, Abba Father.

 

His Child

Redeemed from paying the price of my sins for all eternity.

Redeemed from trying to be ‘good enough’ to get into heaven.

Adopted by God.

I feel it –

don’t you?

Every moment, I feel God’s love – not as a servant or friend.  But as his child.

God tells us through  Paul in Galatians that he sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts and the Spirit calls, ” Abba, Father’.

Daddy.

This has a very special meaning to me because my earthly father went to heaven almost 40 years ago.  My heavenly Father has been my only Father here on earth for a very long time.

And my spirit calls him ‘Daddy”.

I know my Abba wants the best for me.  I know he can do anything – nothing is impossible for him.  He works good out of evil.  He forgives.  He is patient.  He loves me enough to discipline me……and comfort me.  He is faithful.

My identify as a child of God is the most important thing in my life.

Thank you for being both my earthly and heavenly Father for all of my adult life, Abba.

This Doesn’t Look Good

It looks like pain.

It looks like grief.

It looks harsh….

really tough.

Life happens to us and many times it doesn’t look good.  It’s nothing we would ever want to happen to us.  We would not choose this path in a million years.

Life like this keeps happening to me – I know it happens to you, too.  If you don’t have any trials in your life right now, just wait.  It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘when’.

When things are looking bad, those of us who believe and trust in God can be confident that God is working through this trial to bring good into our lives.  He has promised, so it will happen if we remain faithful and obedient.

I see God fulfilling this promise as I read the book of Acts.  The believers are being persecuted for their faith.  This is bad – a lot of pain and loss and problems.  So the believers fled.   And they shared the Great News as they fled, spreading the truth into other countries.  They touched many people who had never heard about Jesus and grace and salvation.  Good – out of bad.

God has done this in my life.  Evil was done and God is reshaping the results to bring good out of it.  It still hurts.  It’s not easy.

But God is proving himself faithful once again by bringing good things and purpose out of my trials.

When things on earth don’t look good, Abba Father, please help us look up.

Faith Is….

confidence in what I do not see.

I don’t see God, but I feel his love.  I see him moving in my life…

arranging the pieces…..orchestrating his plan.

I hear his voice…

through his written word and when he speaks into my mind.  Sometimes he speaks through others.

I experience his strength while I’m struggling with the issues and questions of today.

Every morning, as I witness the sun rising in the sky, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to me.sunrise

Right now, he is holding the world together….for me.  The gravity he created is keeping my feet on the ground.

He is providing my next breath.

I rest in your love, Abba Father.

 

Growing Through It

Trials in my life have brought me pain…

and much heartbreak…

and an ocean of tears.

But they have also helped me grow in my faith.  As I have persevered through my current darkness toward the light, God has kept his promise by constantly being right by my side.

After asking God for wisdom for this journey, I find that he has given me insight and knowledge when I need it to make decisions and take next steps.  I have no doubt that God hears all of my prayers and is in the process of answering them in a way that is best for me and my family.

But it is extremely hard to consider this all joy as James tells us to do in his first chapter.

Maybe in years to come I will consider some of this trial as joy.

a-sparkDon’t get me wrong – there are small sparks of joy now.

Sparks of  ‘this is why’.

Sparks of ‘God is moving mountains’.

And my trust – our trust – is growing as we have had to hold onto God with both hands as we figure out how to move forward.  There is some joy in that.

I trust that he has the best planned for me and my family.   Trusting brings hope and peace and strength.

Please help us to continue to grow, Abba Father.

Fan the Flame

Our passions….

burning inside of us.

The things we really care about.

When we are believers, God give us a passion for him and for his kingdom.  It’s our job to grow it and let God transform us so that we gradually become more like Jesus.

Paul tells Timothy – and us – in 2 Timothy that the Spirit God places inside of us gives us power.

God’s Spirit gives us love.

He gives us self-discipline.

We are meant to love God and follow him with power and self-discipline for the rest of our lives.

Paul tells Timothy – and us – to fan the flame of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which God has deposited within each believer.fan-the-flame

How are you fanning the flame?  What do your spiritual habits look like?

Maybe you regularly go to a Bible-believing and teaching church.  Great!  Do you participate?  Or just watch?  Do you go all of the time or once a month?

Fan the flame.

Maybe you read your Bible.  Great!  Do you read it daily or once in awhile?  Are you letting God transform you through his Word?  Are you listening and obeying?  Are you closer to God than you were a month a go?

Fan the flame.

Maybe you’re a part of a Small Group Bible Study.  Awesome!  Do you participate every week?  Do you meditate on the things you study, pray over them and let God change you?  Are you more like Jesus now than you were 6 months ago?

Fan the flame.

Just doing these activities is not the goal.  The goal is to let God into our hearts and minds so that he can change us from the inside out.  We fan the flame through our spiritual habits.

And God transforms us.

Thank you, Abba Father.