Living in Darkness

This is a good description of a big portion of our culture today, isn’t it?

The light of truth is not shining in their minds – their thoughts are confused and fluctuate with the latest popular trends.

The light of love is not shining in their hearts – they have turned inward and cynical, victims of their own limited perspectives.

But those of us who have accepted Jesus’ grace and love and salvation have seen the light that shines in the darkness.  The light of God’s mercy shines in our lives every day as he helps us love ourselves and love others with his love.

We will never understand it all – that’s where faith comes in.

We still mess up regularly – that’s where grace comes in.

But we know the light and that’s where joy comes in.

Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied these things about Jesus before he was born.  Zachariah had a conversation with the angel Gabriel who stands today and every day in the presence of God.   Zachariah received a very clear insight into what God was about to do – send his son to save the world.  Zachariah knew the plan.  And his prophesy ends with ‘the rising sun will come to us from heaven..to shine on those living in the darkness…to guide our feet into the path of peace.’

Please guide our feet into the path of peace, Abba Father.

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.

I Know

I have read.

And studied.

And memorized God’s word.

I know about God’s relationship with humans since the beginning and I understand the promises he has made to those who trust in him for our future.

I know that God has been very clear that my first priority is to love God and love others.  Period.  End of story.  Everything in this world fits into one of those two categories.

So I know.

I know what God wants me to do today – and tomorrow.  I know how God wants me to act.

God reminds me as I read Daniel’s discussion with King Belshazzar that I know all these things and God expects me to let his truth change how I think, what I say and how I act.

Daniel told the King the he knew all about God but the King did not honor “the God who holds in his hand your life and all of your ways.”  As a result – that very night – the king was killed.

I know all about God as well.  And I need to let God transform me and my life through this knowledge.  This is not a Christmas and Easter or just Sunday thing.  God’s truth should to be evident in my life today – and every day.

Because I know.

Please transform me through your truth, Abba Father.

The Plan is Unfolding

And I have to wait for it.

God reveals one step of the plan at a time.  He knows the whole plan but he also knows that I can only handle one step at a time.  He knows you and he knows you can only handle one step at a time.

So my job is discern the small part of the plan that God has revealed to me today and do that.

While trusting him about tomorrow.

In Psalm 106, God tells us that the Israelites did not wait for his plan to unfold in the wilderness as they journeyed to the Promised Land.  They gave into grumbling and complaining.  They tested God by craving other things and he gave them what they asked for.  Their choices brought pain and death.

They did not wait and watch.  They did not obey and do what God had told them to do today.

Waiting isn’t easy.

Being obedient with the things he has told me to do today without worrying about tomorrow is not easy.

Trusting him with it all is not easy.

That’s why I need to focus.  I need to persevere.  All of my energy and concern needs to be used in being obedient today – knowing God’s got tomorrow and he will reveal the next step when its the right time.

God never promised me that this journey would be easy.  But he has promised that he is always beside me giving me strength and wisdom and peace as I wait for the rest of his plan to unfold.

I trust you, Abba Father. 

Where Is It?

Where can I find it?

Where can you find it?

Wisdom.  Understanding.

I could spend a lifetime searching for wisdom – trying to understand.

But I would never find it.  Because I’m not going to find it on TV or the Internet.  Twitter and Facebook will not help me grow wise.  Human knowledge does not bring wisdom.

God tells us through Job – “No mortal comprehends it’s (wisdom) worth, it cannot be found in the land of the living.”

S0 – where do wisdom and understanding come from?

“God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells”.

And God tells us, “The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding.”

This fear means to respect God and submit to his will.

Respecting God and obeying him makes me wise.  Turning away from evil and avoiding it brings me understanding.  I don’t have to look any farther than my relationship with God to find wisdom and understanding.

I love how clearly God speaks about these very important items…..

when I’m listening.

Thank you, Abba Father.