In the Beginning

Where were you in the beginning?

Where was I?

I’m in my 6th consecutive year of reading through the entire Bible and I just realized that Genesis 1 and John 1 both start with the same words, “In the beginning,”

Genesis 1 tells us what God and the Holy Spirit were doing ‘In the beginning’.  John 1 tells us what Jesus was doing ‘In the beginning’.

God had a plan for you and me ‘In the beginning’.  He knew when we would be conceived and he knows the date and time of our last breath here on earth.  Of course he knows that – he has Jesus scheduled to come and walk those who believe in him and trust in him home.

God loves us and had a purpose for us right from the beginning.  God reminds me of his love and grace and plan for me as I look at my new granddaughter’s first picture. 

She ‘began’ only 5 months ago.  God is molding her tiny fingernails and stretching out her little legs as you read this.  He has a plan for her.  He knows the date and time she will come out to meet us and he has already determined her final day on earth.  He loves her and is caring for her right now in her mother’s belly.

God was with her in her beginning.

God was with me in my beginning.

And he also was with you when you began.

Take a moment to feel his loving arms wrapped around you.  We were in our Father’s heart and hands ‘in the beginning’.  We are still there today and every day.

Please hold us close, Abba Father.  Thank you for loving and taking care of my teeny new grand-daughter.

For Such A Time As This

God challenges me with these words as I read the book of Esther.

For such a time as this.

Now.

This next step.

Today.

Esther’s story is a very good example of how God orchestrates opportunities and invites us to be a part of what he is already doing.  We would be missing an important point if we thought this is the only opportunity God gave Esther.  There were many more, this is just the one he told us about because it’s a significant example of how he works to complete his will through her.

And how he works to complete his will through me.

And through you.

Today.

Today is ‘for such a time as this’.

Today I will be given opportunities to partner with God in what he is accomplishing in this world.  He has made it clear to me that this blog is one of my assignments.  So I continue reading the Bible every year, listening to him and sharing with you what he says.  And I’ll do that until he tells me to stop.

Recently, God has started sharing with me insights into how he is pursuing some of the people in my life who haven’t chosen to accept his free gift of salvation yet.  It’s very interesting to watch him work.  I know he’s opening my eyes so I am more aware of my role and better prepared when my opportunity and ‘time’ comes.

There is a reason I’m still breathing today.

There’s a reason you’re still breathing.

For such a time as this.

Open our eyes, Abba Father.

 

Short – Lived

Being inconsistent is the definition of being mediocre. Have you heard this definition of mediocrity?

This makes sense!  If I’m good at something once in a while but not all the time – that averages out to mediocre.

This is important to understand because, if someone tells me I’m good at something, I’m actually only going to be good at it if I’m consistently good.   If I’m good and then not good and then good again and then poor, I’m inconsistent.  And I’m mediocre.

This applies to my relationship with God as well.  One of my goals is to have a very good relationship with God.  In order to do that, I have to be consistently good in my walk with him.

I am reminded of this every time I read about people in the Bible who get all excited about God because he did a miracle and then – in the next paragraph – they are back to their old ways.  The excitement and the emotion are suddenly over – and so is the interest.

Daniel tells us about King Darius who was so happy God had saved Daniel from the lions he issued a decree for all of his people telling them to ‘fear and reverence the God of Daniel.”

That’s great! 

But there is no evidence that any one in Babylon actually listened and turned to God.  No one.

We read many examples in the Bible of people who had this spiritual inconsistency.  This mediocre relationship with God.

Very sad.

That’s not my goal.

Please guide us in being consistent and faithful in our relationship with you, Abba Father.

I Need Strong Hands –

to do what I’m supposed to do,

to complete the plans God made for me before I was born.

“Let your hands be strong.”  God spoke these motivating words thousands of years ago to the workers who were rebuilding his Temple and he is also saying them to me today as I read his word.

And now to you.

We will need strong hands to complete our purpose here on earth before our Father takes us home.

We need wisdom.

We need discernment.

We need to persevere.

We need strength and knowledge.

It’s a great thing that all of these come from God because writing that long list wore me out and caused a little anxiety.

It’s a lot.  And its tough.  But I’m in it for the long haul…

and it really is a long haul.  The older I get, it is becoming more and more clear how challenging this long haul is going to be.

My husband and I just moved out by the mountains and –  as the sun rises in my new backyard – God reminds me once again that he has my back.  He is here.

He is my Rock.

He is beside me every step of this long haul.

And he has given me strong hands to do his will.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Move My Heart

When my heart is moved, I am motivated.

Ready to go.

Willing to go.

God tells us in the beginning of Ezra that he ‘moved the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia.’

I love this because Cyrus was not a believer.  He was a pagan king.  But he moved when God moved his heart.

Cyrus released the Israelites to go back to Jerusalem.  He was moved to release them so they could rebuild the temple of God.

The king was also moved to give back 5400 articles of gold and silver that had been taken from the temple of God before it was destroyed.

God moved his heart so a pagan king orchestrated and sponsored the rebuilding of God’s temple.

I have to smile.

That’s my God.

He uses everyone and everything to accomplish his will.  Even those who don’t believe in him are under his authority and direction.

His will be done.

And I want to make sure I’m right in the middle of that – don’t you?

Please move our hearts, Abba Father.

I Ask

I make requests.

I intercede.

I come to God with my concerns.

I have the privilege of talking with the Creator of the Universe – not because I am good.

But because God is good.

This picture is the wall of my garage – the first thing I see every time I get back to my house and open up the garage door.  It’s a great reminder – something I need to remember every day no matter what my circumstances.

Daniel says in his prayer, “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”

I can’t earn God’s love.

I can’t work and save myself.

I can never be ‘good enough’ on my own.

I can’t look in the mirror to see what I’m worth – I have to look to the cross.  Jesus died so that I don’t have to be eternally separated from God because of my rebellion and sin.

This kind of mercy deserves a faithful heart.

This kind of grace deserves a heart that is submitted to His will.

This kind of love deserves a life lived in gratitude.  My life.

Amen, let it be so, dear Jesus.

Am I Good Enough?

Being ‘good enough’ is not our goal.

Getting our act together is not our goal.

Checking all the boxes – keeping busy with ‘God’ stuff – is not our goal.

The historical account of Jesus’ baptism tells us what pleases God.

We do.

When we trust in and are redeemed by Jesus through his sacrifice on the cross, we are adopted by God and become his precious children.

‘Joint heirs with Jesus’ – as an old hymn describes it.

As I read about Jesus’ baptism, I realize that he hadn’t started his ministry yet.  He hadn’t DONE anything for God except be his son.  But God was ‘well pleased’

Let’s take a moment to let that soak in, my brothers and sisters.

Jesus was God’s son and God was pleased with him – before his ministry began.  Before he did any miracles.  Before he did any teaching.

You and I are God’s children – and he is pleased with us.i-am-pleased

Feel his smile shining down on you.

Feel his unconditional love.

Feel his forgiveness for any guilt that is weighing heavy on your shoulders.

Feel his peace flow over you in a supernatural way.

Feel his strength flow through you as he walks right beside you each day.

Let his joy fill your heart today.

Don’t DO anything.  Just feel the pleasure he has as he looks at you.  He sees himself in you.  We are all created in his image, yet each one of us reflects different aspects of him – making us all uniquely his.

You are very important to him.  He has made you special.

And he is pleased.

Thank you, Abba Father.

How Do I Know?

What choice should I make?

What direction should I go?sign_roadsign_world_270309_l

What am I supposed to be doing?

We have lots of questions for God.

And there won’t be any answers unless we’re listening.  Unless we’re watching.

If I’m listening and watching – believing that God will direct my life – then I will get answers to my questions.

I don’t believe in coincidences.  When conversations/things I read/things I hear line up with each other, I call that a God-incidence.

God is speaking.

He is answering.

He is guiding.

road-closedI can choose to pay attention and relate his answer to my situation and know which way he is pointing.

Or I can just call it a coincidence and go on with my own plans, still wondering how other people hear God speaking to them so clearly.

As I read about the Wise Men going to visit Jesus, I realize they were pagan kings but they showed their wisdom when they correctly interpreted the dream they had and did not go back to Herod to tell him where Jesus was.  The Wise Men went home by a different route.  They were watching.  That’s how they saw the star that led them to Jesus in the first place.  And they were aware that a supernatural event was going on so they realized the dream also had significance.

It wasn’t a coincidence.

How about us?

Do we realize that there is a supernatural thing going on?  When we are redeemed, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us.  He resides in our mind, in our heart and in our soul.

And he guides us – supernaturally.  If we watch.  If we listen.

And the closer our relationship with God becomes, the easier it is to hear him….

because we know his voice.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

 

Can You Feel It?

It feels like the darkness around us is growing….

Or do we just hear more about it through social media?

Or is it because the overall media has become just like the tabloids?  If the news isn’t ‘viral’ enough, they sensationalize it so it gets more attention and higher ratings.

Whatever it is, it feels like the darkness in our culture is looming large and getting more perverse everyday.

The media is feeding it and, if we’re not very careful, they are filling our minds with it day after day after day.

It feels like the darkness is closer….and more oppressive.

please-shineThe Good News is that God sent his Son from heaven ‘to shine on those living in the darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into a path of peace.” Luke 1:79.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for coming to earth so we can know your forgiveness and grace.  Please shine your light of truth on our country.  Shine your light of justice into the darkest shadows of our culture.  Shine your light of love on all of the people who are living in darkness today.  And please guide us onto the path of peace – the supernatural peace that only comes from you.

Where you lead, we will follow.  Thank you, Jesus.

 

Celebration = Loud

When the wall around their city was finally finished, the people of Jerusalem rejoiced because ‘God had given them great joy.” Nehemiah 12:43.oct-13-2016-celebration-loud

Everyone celebrated!  All the men, all the women and all of the children.

And we read in the Bible that the sound of Jerusalem’s celebration could be heard far away.

That’s really loud!!

They were so filled with joy that they couldn’t keep quiet.

And this is not unusual in the Bible – God’s people celebrated a lot!  They had joy!  They worshipped God!  They were loud!

Can you even imagine how loud it was then the heaven’s were filled with thousands of angels singing for joy and praising God?

So where do we sometimes get the idea that our weekly church family celebrations and worship should be quiet?

There is certainly a time and place for reverence and meditation when we get together.

But there are also many reasons for joy and excitement and celebration as we worship together and are blessed.  Our traditions should enhance our worship, not restrain it.

Thousands of years ago, God’s people showed us how to express our joy, celebrate and worship God.

And it was loud 🙂

Please give us joy, Abba Father!