OUR GOD GIVE ASSURANCE FOR THE FUTURE

December 26, 2016

The future can be scary. No one can be 100% sure, when leaving home in the morning, that they’ll return. Our lives can be changed forever with a phone call or an unexpected event. If we dwell on uncertainty, we’ll quickly spiral down in a vortex of worry and anxiety – to a place no one wants to be.

Thank God, He gives us assurance for the future in His word. No matter what happens, as Christ followers He assures us that…

  • Nothing will ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:36-39)
  • He goes before us and will never leave us. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • He Himself holds our hand and encourages us. (Isaiah 41:13)
  • He renews His compassion and unfailing love every morning, because He is faithful. (Lamentations 3:22,23)

With countless other truths, God gives assurance for the future. If you are anxious or stressed, stand on His truth! And remember… “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)

As we step into a new year, let’s remember that no matter what, our God gives assurance for the future! AMEN!

(Thank you for following me during 2016 in my quest to know God better. We’ve just scratched the surface, and I hope you keep digging deeper in His word to discover more of Him. God bless you in 2017!)


OUR GOD SEES WHAT NO ONE ELSE CAN

December 5, 2016

James Cameron, an explorer and filmmaker for National Geographic, was the first human to make the 2 hour, 36 minute descent into the deepest part of the ocean in March of 2012. At the depth of 8.6 miles, he saw what you and I will never be able to see in the Mariana Trench…but God can see it. He created it.

Thousands of years ago, when choosing the successor to Israel’s King Saul, the prophet Samuel was sure it would be Jesse’s handsome oldest son Eliab. But the Lord chose the unlikely youngest son, and informed the prophet that he saw something in David that no one else could see; God saw David’s heart. He created it. 1st Samuel 16:7

Our God alone can see our heart, too. Think about your heart and meditate on what God says about it.

  • If you are brokenhearted, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
  • If your heart is restless, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret…” (Psalm 37:7)
  • If your heart needs cleansed, pray “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
  • If your heart is heavy, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22)
  • If your heart is anxious, give Him your anxiety and “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Only God can see inside our heart. He created it. That’s why we can be open and honest with Him, and praise Him with David, who wrote: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)


OUR GOD GIVES SWEET SLEEP

October 10, 2016

The sleep industry is growing exponentially. Because of our collective insomnia, the global sleep aids market was valued at 58.1 billion dollars in 2014, and is projected to reach 80.8 billion by the year 2020. (“Global Sleep Aids Market” www.globenewswire.com July 31, 2015) This profitable market includes medication, mattresses, pillows, sleep labs, music and ambient sounds, and therapy. Yes, sweet sleep eludes many;  millions of people suffer anxiety-induced insomnia.

That was not the case with the Apostle Peter! In Acts chapter 12 we read that King Herod had just beheaded James the Apostle, and Peter was next. The night prior to his scheduled execution, Peter was incarcerated under maximum security under the watchful eyes of 16 soldiers, chained to 2 of them. Five words in that account are worth noting: “That night Peter was sleeping.” (Acts 12:6)

Peter was sleeping…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Let’s face it. Our circumstances may hardly be as difficult as those that Peter was living, yet sweet sleep often eludes us. Here’s a suggestion: Write this verse on a 3 x 5 card: “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) Memorize that truth and keep the card on your nightstand.

The next time you have anxiety or fear-induced insomnia, turn to the tried and proven best sleep aid – the same one Peter relied on: The Lord. Let our God give you sweet sleep! zzzzzzzzzz

(Join me each Monday of 2016 for more of my quest to know God better)


OUR GOD CAN CARRY OUR BURDENS

October 3, 2016

Walking down a country road, a traveler was struggling under the heavy load he was carrying on his back. When a kind farmer saw the man, he stopped and offered him a ride on his wagon. Both the farmer and his horse waited patiently while the traveler got settled. A few minutes later, the farmer looked back and noticed that the colossal bundle was still on the traveler’s back, and asked him, “Why are you still carrying that heavy load?” the burdened man answered, “I thought it would be too much for the wagon. I’ll carry it.” Unfortunately, the man didn’t get relief from his back-breaking load because he didn’t trust the wagon.

Sometimes we’re like that foolish man. Our cumbersome load may be impossible to carry; we stagger through our days under its weight. Maybe we even pray about it, but keep trying to shoulder it on our own. We find no relief. The Psalmist encourages us in Psalm 55:22: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.”

Let’s not be like the traveler on the wagon. Let’s lay our heavy burden down on the only One who is kind enough and strong enough to carry it. Our God CAN carry our burdens. Ahhh…what a relief!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better!)


OUR GOD IS OUR HELP

June 20, 2016

Legend has it that a proud – but frustrated – owner of a very early model of Ford was detained on the roadside with car problems. A kind passerby, seeing his predicament, stopped to help him, quickly and efficiently resolving the mechanical issue. As he left, the helper introduced himself as Henry Ford, the designer and manufacturer of the early car. Could there have been a better helper? Absolutely not!

Several Psalms affirm the fact that our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Could there be a better source of help than the One who designed and created everything that’s visible and invisible? Absolutely not!

We don’t know whether the Henry Ford story is true or not. But we can be sure that what the Psalmist affirmed in Psalm 124:8 is true: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

Next time you, like the owner of that very early model of Ford, find yourself in a troubling predicament that you can’t resolve on your own, stop. Call on God. He is a “very present help in time of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

(Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share what I’m learning on my quest to know God better)


RUNNING TO THE NAME OF THE LORD

January 28, 2014

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

Reading this truth not long ago, I meditated on the following:
Running for safety means we are under threat of harm or approaching danger, or being attacked. We run to a “strong tower” because we know where to go; we know where it’s safe. We know that, even though the enemy approaches, threatens or attacks, we are no longer vulnerable. We are safe!

When are we vulnerable?

  • When (in our thoughts) we allow our problems to be bigger than God.
  • When we wonder if He really cares about what’s going on in our life.
  • When we doubt His goodness, His power, His plan for our life.
  • When we try to figure out the “what if” scenarios.
  • When we are worried, anxious or stressed.
  • When we try to do (on our own strength) what we can never do, and what we should let HIM handle.
  • When we’re focused on earthly “stuff” and not on eternal realities.
  • When we lament something about our past that we can’t change.

Those times of vulnerability are when we must “run to” the name of the Lord. Not just say it, but cry out to Him! Reading of His character in Bible stories and Psalms; singing worship songs to Him; filling our mind and life with Him; studying what his name YAHWEH means and why that’s relevant to us today; praising Him for who He is. That’s how we “run to” the name of our Lord.

When we know the name of the Lord, He is our strong tower. We run to Him, trust in Him and find safety in Him. We praise Him, along with the psalmist who declared: “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You. For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10)


“GOOD” ISN’T A BIG ENOUGH WORD!

August 2, 2013

“…the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting…” Psalm 100:5

I open my eyes this morning and praise God because His compassions are new again today. Just in the first hour of this brand-new day, He pours His compassions on me. God is good, but “good” isn’t a big enough word.

I can think. I open my eyes after a restful sleep. Nothing hurts. I am healthy.  I can see the person He gave me to share life with, who lives out His love to me, and who I’m deeper in love with than I was when I met him. He’s right beside me. I hear “Amazing Grace” being sung on the radio and praise Him for that grace. I get out of our comfy bed. The temperature is perfect. I’m in our own home. I go through my morning routine, enhanced by hot, running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity. I smell the coffee and enjoy breakfast. I taste and savor each bite. I can walk, talk, breath and digest. I have enough food in my refrigerator to prepare my lunch to take to work. I am employed.

I take my steaming mug of dark-roast to my office and sit in my cushioned chair. As I open my Bible and notebook to worship my good God and Savior who makes all this possible, my all-time favorite guitar player is playing a worship melody from his office, right beside mine. “Cuando pienso en tu amor tan bello, y te veo a ti en santidad…te adoro a ti…la razón por la cual yo vivo es para adorarte…” (I worship You…the reason I live is to worship You.)

I pray, “Lord, let me start off each new day with a sense of awe of You; with thanksgiving and praise, blessing Your name. You are our unchanging God. You are good”

At that point my heart nearly bursts with gratitude as I “taste and see” God’s goodness (Psalm 34:8) God is good, but “good” isn’t a big enough Word!


GOD – OUR PROVIDER

April 28, 2013

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink;
nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

So why do you worry … O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry… your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

(Matthew 6:25-33)

This part of Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” is very convicting. I can never read it without feeling several things: overwhelming gratitude that God values me, knows every one of my needs and provides for them, and simultaneously I feel shame for being so quick to forget that.

So to exercise my memory and boost my faith, I dug into the Word to pinpoint specific people and events where God proved Himself to be The Provider in unimaginable ways. There are countless examples, but I want to share just a few of them here:

Can you imagine that God provided for generations of a family after a young man was sold by his evil, hate-filled brothers as a slave to foreign, pagan merchants? That horrific event, followed by decades of pain and separation is exactly what God used to prove Himself to be their Provider. (Genesis 37-50). He turned Joseph’s very painful situation into a historic display of provision.

Can you imagine food falling down from heaven daily, water springing from a rock, and footwear that endured 40 years of trekking the rough desert terrain? That’s how God dealt with a grumpy, complaining, disobedient and rebellious group of people- His own chosen people – because He is a merciful Provider! In Nehemiah 9:20,21 we read “You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.
Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out.”

Can you imagine the grandson of a former king being hosted at the reigning king’s table every day of his life? Mephibosheth had every reason to fall on his face before King David, because according to ancient Middle East traditions, he could have been executed so that he wouldn’t retake the throne. Yet David showed mercy to Mephibosheth, restoring all the lands to him that belonged to his grandfather Saul, and hosting him at the royal table for the rest of his life. (2nd Sam. 9) High ranking authorities can even be part of God’s plan to provide for the needs of His people!

Can you imagine the astonishment the helpless, poverty-stricken widow felt when she kept pouring oil into all the empty vessels her neighbors loaned her? God was very much aware of her need. Because of her obedience to do something bordering on ridiculous, (“Hi! Can you loan me as many jars as you can spare? I’m starting a new business and will need all the jars I can get…”) God provided not only for the moment, but a lifetime income for her! (1st Kings 4:1-7)

Can you imagine God commanding birds to carry food to his servant when the country was suffering severe drought? Can you imagine God commanding a widow to provide for him?…or an angel suddenly appearing with food that filled him enough to last 40 days and 40 nights? (1st Kings 17:4,9; 19:5-8) Those are some of the ways God proved to Elijah that He is The Provider. Elijah had no reason to think that he would starve to death!

An evil act; years of pain; daily, miraculous provision; the summons of a kind and generous king; multiplication of a meager supply; birds, widows, angels…God used unimaginable ways to prove to people of the past – and to us – that He is The Provider.

So if we have no resources, or what we have is not nearly sufficient; if we’re trying to figure out how all of our needs will be met, let’s remember this: GOD IS OUR PROVIDER! Just as He used unimaginable ways to provide for His people in the past, He CAN and WILL do it again! AMEN!


FAITH NOT SHAKIN’, NEVER FORSAKEN!

March 28, 2013

Digging into the “why”, “who”, “when” and “what” of the truth that God does not forsake His children, I uncovered some facts to solidify my sometimes jellylike faith. Maybe you need a reminder…

WHY?
Why does God not just give up on us when we let Him down? Because of who He is!
Nehemiah 9:17,19: “…but YOU are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and DID NOT FORSAKE THEM….in Your manifold mercies YOU DID NOT FORSAKE THEM in the wilderness.”
Even when God’s chosen people were grumbling, dissatisfied, floundering in their faith and rebellious, GOD DID NOT FORSAKE THEM BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS!

WHO?
Who promised to not only be with me, but care for me, even when no one else is around?
Psalm 27:10: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then THE LORD WILL TAKE CARE OF ME.”
THIS SAME GOD WHO WILL NOT FORSAKE ME BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS, WILL ALSO CARE FOR ME!

WHEN?
When can I count on the presence, provision and faithfulness of my God who will not forsake me?
Psalm 37:25,28: “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have NOT seen the righteous forsaken, nor His descendants begging bread. The Lord loves justice, and DOES NOT FORSAKE HIS SAINTS; THEY ARE PRESERVED FOREVER”.
THROUGHOUT ALL THE SEASONS OF MY LIFE, GOD WILL BE THERE AND NOT FORSAKE ME!

WHAT?
What can my response be, having the assurance that He will never forsake me? BOLD TRUST!
Hebrews 13:5,6:Let your conduct be without coveteousness, be content with such things as you have, for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear.’ “

MY FAITH’S NOT SHAKIN’,
‘CAUSE I’M NEVER FORSAKEN!
AMEN!


FAMOUS LAST WORDS

March 9, 2013

A few days ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died after a long struggle with cancer.  According to Gen. Jose Ornella, the Chief of the Presidential guard, the President’s last words were: “I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die…” words of despair and helplessness.

That detail about Mr. Chavez’s caught my attention, because a few days earlier I was thinking about “Famous Last Words”. Researching internet, I found some were interesting, some were cynical, and others very straightforward. Here’s a sample of what we can read on www.mapping.com:

Lady Nancy Astor (1879-1964) “Jakie, is it my birthday or am I dying?” (Seeing all her children assembled at her bedside in her last illness.)

Louis XIV (1638-1715) “Why are you weeping? Did you imagine that I was immortal?” (Noticing as he lay on his deathbed that his attendants were crying.)

Elvis Presley (1935-1977) “I hope I haven’t bored you.” (Concluding what would be his last press conference.)

George Washington (1732-1799) “It is well, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.”

We can also find the last words of men of faith in the Bible. Let’s look at three of them: Joseph, Moses and Joshua.

Joseph proclaimed the certainty of God’s faithfulness in the future. Joseph knew that God was always with him, and he never stopped believing in the promise that God made generations earlier to his forefathers. In Genesis 50:24 we read: And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Moses gave words of blessing and assurance. Moses personally experienced God’s eternal arms holding him up throughout his lifetime, and often saw God fight the enemy for His people.  In Deuteronomy 33:27, after Moses blessed the children of Israel on his deathbed, he assured them that “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will thrust out the enemy from before you.”

Joshua reminded the people of God’s faithfulness in the past. Joshua experienced it all: the miracles, the journey across the wilderness, the giants, victories in battle, and the Promised Land. Knowing his time was short, he reminded his people of God’s faithfulness in the past. In Joshua 23:14 we read: “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.”

We’ll all have last words one day. Will they be words of despair and helplessness? Expressions of regret?  Will they be words of blessing and assurance? How we live our lives now determines what our very last thoughts and words will be. The last verse of “Bless the Lord” (10,000 Reasons) by Matt Redman  reflects my desire to praise God, even to my last breath!   Please take time to listen to it and make it your prayer, too!


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