How Beautiful……

on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news.  Isaiah 5:7.

How beautiful it is when I share the Great News of Jesus’ redeeming love and gift of salvation!  How beautiful it is when you tell others about how much God loves them!

For God so loved the world……how beautiful!

Have you noticed that people are starving for love?  It actually explains a lot of the craziness in the world.   People are searching for acceptance and forgiveness just like we were before we accepted God’s grace.  There is a Godspot molded into each one of us that is empty – and it feels empty – until God’s Spirit comes to live inside of us.  The best thing those of us who have found the answer to this emptiness can do is share it with the people in our lives who are still searching.

How beautiful!

I think many of us got turned off by evangelism ‘techniques” we were told to do.  I know I was.   I have discovered that talking about Jesus and his love doesn’t have to be ‘in your face’ and regimented by steps.

I started what I call ‘living my faith out loud’ and it works for me.  This means mixing my faith and my beliefs into regular conversations – not waiting for someone else to bring up God.  My faith is a big part of my life so it should be a big part of my conversations, right?  It’s not just reserved for Bible study group or church people.

I have learned to talk about my beliefs, my experiences, my love for God honestly and naturally – just like I live it.  I bring up examples of real people from the Bible when it relates to something that is happening today.  I share the truth I have learned from reading God’s word or hearing a sermon.

There are no steps – I just include God and my faith in my regular conversations and it opens up that topic for other people to discuss.   When ever someone starts asking questions – even negative ones – I know God is moving in their life.  Something exciting is going on.   I’ll say a quick prayer in my head, ” Father, please give me the words.” and I’ll keep talking about my faith.  My life.  My experiences.  No one can dispute what I say about my own experiences – I’m the expert.

If anyone asks me a question I don’t have an answer to, I refer them to various books I have researched where the authors are reputable.  It’s even better if I have one of those books to hand them.  I don’t have a lot of the technical answers because I like the fact that God is too big to understand.  He is more awesome and more powerful than my 3.5 pound brain can comprehend.

How beautiful!

I’ve also bought a lot of extra Bibles in my time because I love to hand Christians Bibles when they start asking me questions that are answered by God in his Word.  He wants to make his Word come alive for each one of us, individually, as we read it and study it.

God calls each of us to share the Great News – what he has done for us.  We can just talk about gift of grace he offered to us naturally, as part of our conversations.  We can include how he redeemed our lives and has given us a purpose worth living for.

How beautiful!

Please give us the opportunities and the words, Abba Father.

When It’s Big

And bad.

There have been times in my life when huge dark clouds have rolled in and  completely filled the sky over my head.

What do I want to do when this happens?  I want to worry, get anxious and stop sleeping.

What should I do?

When King Hezekiah received a letter from of the King of Assyria telling him that he was going to destroy Hezekiah, Hezekiah went to the temple and spread the letter out before the LORD.

God heard Hezekiah’s prayers and send an angel to kill a hundred and eighty thousand Assyrian soldiers.  When the King of Assyria saw this, he ‘withdrew to his own land in disgrace.”  God won – of course.

Hezekiah knew it would be impossible for him to win the battle before him on his own.  So he laid it down before God.

How many of us have an impossible battle before us right now?  It’s too big.  It’s too hard.  I’m not strong enough.  I can’t do this on my own.

I’m there.  I’ve got a battle that I’m going to be fighting the rest of my life and I cannot possibly be successful if I try to do it by myself.  I need to take Hezekiah’s lead and lay it down before my God who is all-powerful.

Lay it down before my God who wants the best for me.

Lay it down before my God who is in control and can bring good out of every dark cloud.

As I’ve grown in my relationship with God on this journey, I’ve gotten pretty good at laying it down.  But, if I’m not careful, I’m also good at picking it back up.  Are you with me on that?

I need to lay it down….

and leave it at the feet of my Father God who fights my battles for me and who has already won the war.

Here it is, Abba Father.

 

A Great Light Has Come!

Isaiah 9, 2018 – 

I was once walking in darkness, but now I have seen a great light.  An everlasting light has dawned in my soul.

As I praise God, he increases my joy.  He has broken the bondage of sin in my life.

The battle is his and he has already won!

For unto me – and you – a child was born,  God gave us his only son.  He came from heaven with all authority and power.

He is our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, Everlasting Father, our Prince of Peace.  There is no end to his greatness.  He does what is right and just – now and forever.

The Lord Almighty has done all of this –

for me.

Thank you, Jesus

What Does He Want?

Trying to follow God can be confusing.

It can be difficult.

It can seem like a long checklist of things we need to do.  And then there’s that other checklist of things we have to give up.

When I feel like this, I know Satan is whispering his lies into my head because these lists are not from God.  Jesus told us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and love others as ourselves.   These two commandments include all of the laws he cared about.  No list.

The Prophet Micah simply states, “What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Not a long list of to-do’s.  And nothing on the list tells me I have to give up anything.

I have found, as I have been learning how to walk humbly with God, that he transforms my thinking and I want to give up things that aren’t good for me.

I want to act justly.

I want to love mercy.  These aren’t ‘have to’s’.

Yes, there are times when following God is still confusing and it’s still difficult.  But that’s not because of checklists.

And, yes, I have given up some things – because I wanted to.  I have given up my plans for my life, trying to do things my way and trying to be in control.

Now I submit to his will and his plans and I’m confident that he is in control.

There’s another thing I’ve given up – my heart.  It’s his.

I love you, Abba Father.

My Peace

“He will come from Bethlehem”.

Micah shared this prophecy with the people of Israel over 700 years before Jesus was born.  Micah told them the Great Shepherd would stand in strength and majesty, keeping his flock secure while his greatness stretched out to the ends of the earth.

“And he will be our peace”.

Jesus stands today at the right hand of God our Father.  As my shepherd, he cares for me, feeds me and provides for me.  He guides and directs me.  He gives me strength and security.

His greatness stretches far beyond the ends of the earth.

He is – and always will be – my peace.

Thank you, Jesus.

It’s So Easy…

to forget about turning to God.

I start doing my own thing –

making my own plans –

filling up my calendar –

acting like I’m in control.

But – when something bad happens – I immediately turn to God.

Does this sound familiar to you?

When bad things happen, I  am instantly reminded that I am not in control.   I know who is in control – God.

I turn to God because I am also instantly reminded that my plans are foolish when they are not directed by God.

I turn to God because he is my Rock,

my Shelter,

my Strength,

my Peace.

Turning to God – its my automatic response when something goes wrong.  I just need to get better at living out these truths every day – with every thing – good and bad.

This isn’t a new issue with any of us.

God tells us in Jeremiah that his people “have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble they say, ‘Come and save us!’.

God’s people – fickle, hard-hearted, unfaithful.

I don’t want to treat God like that.  Do you?

Please help us turn our faces towards you every hour of our day, Abba Father.

Get Ready!

Be prepared!

Know that it’s coming.

Stand up and do what needs to be done!

God gives these directions to Jeremiah as he begins his prophetic ministry.  God also gives these directions to us each day as we go about our lives – loving others and speaking truth into their lives whenever God gives us the opportunity.

God tells us that he will give us strength for the things he asks us to do.

I can’t do it on my own.  You can’t do it on your own.

Sometimes we feel powerless, don’t we?  I know I do.

Then I realize I feel that way because I am forgetting to plug into my power source –  God.  I forget to ask for and receive his help.  No wonder I feel powerless!

I need to remember each day to ask for his strength..

for his wisdom….

for his peace.

“For I am with you.” declares my LORD.

Please help me remember to ask, Abba Father.

Isaiah 58, 2017

Stop pointing fingers.  Stop the malicious talk that doesn’t build up or encourage others.

Spend your time and energy on actually trying to meet the needs of the hungry and oppressed.

Then your light will shine in everything you do.

The LORD will go with you to guide you.  When you think you have used all your resources and have nothing more to give, he will give you strength for the rest of the journey.

When you are connected to the source of Living Water, you become like a beautiful garden – always blooming, continually growing and constantly bearing fruit.

When you are connected, you and the people you bring with you can use God’s power to rebuild the broken.  You can use God’s truth to help others build a foundation for their lives that will last.

When you are connected, God will work through you to repair and restore the people whose lives you touch.

Amen, Abba Father.  Let it be so.

Lay It Down

Spread it out.

Leave it there –

at the feet of the Creator of the Universe.

That’s what I visualize myself doing when I pray.

I take my praises, my concerns, my dreams and my questions….

and I raise them up before my loving Father in Heaven.

I lay them at his feet.

And I really try to leave my concerns and my worries there.  I try not to pick them back up.

Because he is in control…

and he wants the best for me.

I trust him.

I love reading about King Hezekiah in 2 Kings.   He received a letter telling him that the huge enemy army of Assyria was coming his way.

To crush him.

To crush all of his people.

And Hezekiah didn’t have enough fighting men or resources to stop them on his own.  So he went to God and he spread the letter out before him.  He begged for God to deliver his people.

God answered with ‘yes’.  He saved the city – the King of Assyria left in disgrace.

How hard that must have been for Hezekiah!  Facing annihilation, he gave it all to God and left it there – even as the huge army advanced towards him.

He knew that God was his only answer so he stayed focus, he remained faithful.

How good am I at staying focused?  Remaining faithful?

I’m pretty good at spreading my concerns out before God but it’s really hard to leave them there.  Not to worry.  Not to fret.  Not to let a million concerns roll around in my head in the middle of the night.

How good are you at giving your worries to God and leaving them, trusting that he’s taking care of them?  Or do you take them back?

Please help us grow our trust, Abba Father.