‘Bad things’ explained by a 9 year-old

April 14, 2018

Last night, with our grandkids, we were spellbound watching some videos of Nick Vujicic of “Life without Limbs”. Nick was born in 1982 in Australia without arms and legs. He has an amazing story of hope and redemption in Jesus that he’s shared in over 60 countries to many thousands of people. He is a motivational speaker and evangelist. His videos are captivating. Besides watching him skydive and surf, we saw him speaking to crowds of teenagers and stadiums full to capacity.

Curious, five-year-old, Kayra asked, “Why was he made like that?” to which Milos immediately replied in a big-brotherly way: “Because God does ‘bad things’ so people can hear about Jesus.”  I almost gasped out loud, thinking that there was such deep theological truth packed in that statement, and that a child unpacked it! God wants everyone to hear about Jesus. And yes, sometimes ‘bad things’ happen so that they can. Milos was right!

This morning as I was reading in Acts 9:32-35, I saw that truth in the early church. We read that Peter “found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” That jumped off the page. Bedridden…paralyzed…healed…all who saw him turned to the Lord!

There are other ‘bad things’ that happened in the Bible that caused people to hear about Jesus.

We can read of the blind man in John 9. Because of him, Jesus presented Himself as “The Light of the World.” He is still lighting up the world, even now.

How about the case of Lazarus in John 11? Because of his death, Jesus declared Himself as “the resurrection and the life” and gave a promise that we still cling to: “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

If you have had ‘bad things’ happen to you, or you struggle with ‘bad things’ right now, think Biblically. God just may have allowed those circumstances in your life so that others can hear about Jesus.  Check out Nick’s website and be encouraged! www.lifewithoutlimbs.org.

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS…REALLY?

January 1, 2018

Raise your hand if you ever made a New Year’s resolution that you kept all year.

Yep. Just what I thought. I didn’t see any hands raised.

In the book of Proverbs, the wisest man in history wrote: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

We can make the most important resolutions, and have the best intentions, but we fail to keep them. For the believer in Jesus Christ, starting the New Year isn’t about making resolutions and trying to keep them. It is about acknowledging Him in all our ways and letting Him direct our paths. It’s asking God for guidance and letting Him do what has to be done in and through us so that He gets the glory.

Let’s re-think our resolutions. Maybe the only resolution we should consider is submitting to God’s plan!


OUR GOD TEACHES US

August 15, 2016

science-1121481__180Educators practice active engagement as a tool for effective teaching. Words on a page or spoken by the teacher come alive in a hands-on situation. One educator wrote, “While hands are engaged, minds should be questioning, sorting through sensory input, and making connections.” (www.teachhub.com)

As history’s most effective Teacher, God teaches us through His written word and through active engagement – our life circumstances and experiences. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • We read that “the Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” (Psalm 18:2) We think we understand those words, but they become real when the storms hit.
  • We read “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and think those words are nice to repeat. Then we are thrust into a situation that leaves us helpless, and we grasp the fullness of God’s strength.
  • We read that we should forgive others as Christ forgave us. (Colossians 3:13) Those words become unforgettable as we experience the freedom of forgiving someone who’s hurt us.

God teaches us through His Word; then He orchestrates our life experience to get us actively engaged. As we question, sort through our sensory input and make connections, true learning takes place. Let’s make the Psalmist’s prayer our own: “Lead me in Your truth and teach me.” (Psalm 25:5)

Yes, our God teaches us. Let’s learn!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share more discoveries on my quest to know God better)


OUR GOD KNOWS OUR NEEDS AND HAS THEM COVERED

April 11, 2016

Our needs don’t take God by surprise; He knows all about them. God even has his plan in motion to cover all of our future needs. Take Jacob’s family, for example. (Genesis chapters 37-50) God knew that a future, severe famine would ravage the land, and also knew that Jacob and his family would have no food, but He had them covered.
– Jacob didn’t know about his future needs when he held Joseph’s blood-stained tunic in his hands, and weeping, “…refused to be comforted”.
– Joseph’s brothers didn’t know about the future famine when they threw him into the pit.
– Joseph himself didn’t totally understand God’s plan when his brothers sold him to the passing traders, or when he was unjustly accused and imprisoned in Egypt.

But God knew; His plan was in motion. Before Jacob’s life-threatening need for food, God already had it covered. Following his imprisonment, Joseph was put over all of Egypt, and God used Pharaoh – the pagan ruler – to give Jacob and his family not only food during the famine, but also the best of the land.

In Matthew 6, Jesus specifically mentions material needs just prior to assuring His audience that “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things”. (v. 32)

Maybe you have tremendous material needs right now; or you may have needs in the future that you are unaware of now. Jacob’s story and our own experiences confirm Christ’s words: our Father God knows what we need. Trust Him. He’s got them all covered!

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


OUR GOD, OUR CREATOR

March 28, 2016

God’s creativity is beyond our imagination. All of His designs are unique and perfect; we can’t comprehend the intricacies of His creation. There are some interesting facts about the human body on www.factslides.com/s-Your-Body and here are some of them.

  • Your nose can recall 50,000 different scents.
  • Your eye can distinguish about 10,000,000 different colors.
  • Your brain, in your lifetime, can hold up to 1 million, billion separate bits of information (one quadrillion!!)
  • Your heart will pump enough blood to fill 200 train tank cars in your lifetime.

Of all the amazing facts about our bodies, one shouts out, “You are OOAK!” (One Of A Kind): your tongue print, like your fingerprint, is unique.

Our Creator God made each of us unique and special; OOAK. We were not mass produced, and we’re not clones. God is responsible for our unique existence from the moment of our conception. In Psalm 139:13,14 the Psalmist declares: “…You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God – You’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!” (The Message)

So when you look at yourself in the mirror, stick out our tongue. It proves that you are OOAK. Then join the Psalmist in praise to our God, our Creator, who made you unique – and special!

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


OUR GOD NEVER GIVES UP ON US

March 21, 2016

Two years ago, we moved into our home, a fixer-upper. Since day one, major projectIMG_20150608_075153799s have been going on: the floor plan was modified to be more functional; the bathrooms and kitchen were gutted and transformed from ceiling to floor. Even the front porch and exterior were renovated…but we’re not done yet. The project is big and progress is slow, but we’re not giving up until it’s finished!

We are God’s “fixer-uppers”. The apostle Paul says that we, who are Christ followers, are being transformed into the image of Jesus; we are in the process of being changed through the power of the Holy Spirit.IMG_20150715_170514332

God may be gutting wrong attitudes from our lives, or tearing down walls of prejudice, unforgiveness or pride. Maybe He’s restoring our faith in Him, or changing the floor plan to make us more functional. God may be peeling of the wallpaper of hypocrisy and criticism to beautify us with His grace.

Whatever God is doing in us, it’s a process. We have the confidence that “…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) Even though the project is big, and the progress seems slow, He’s not giving up on us, and we can thank Him for that!

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


DETOURS

September 10, 2013

In the past few weeks we’ve been seeing “Detour” signs all over our community. Because of road repair, they are popping up everywhere – especially when we’re in a hurry to get to our destination!

The purpose of a detour is not to irritate us or to make us late. Unexpected detours are not set up to confuse us, make us angry, or leave us stranded. Detours are planned and set into place to allow travelers to eventually get to their destination safely, with the help of signs and arrows. If we would be left alone to figure out which way to go, we would have cause for despair. On the unknown route of a detour, we can be grateful for guidance.

Sometimes God allows detours in our lives: a major change of plans, an unexpected illness, a sudden loss or tragedy can alter our course. At that point, we are disoriented and blinded by our circumstances. Facing the unknown, we need to rely totally on the wisdom of the One who planned that detour in our lives and look for His signs and arrows to guide us. When we face a detour, God’s promise to His people comes alive. He said: “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

If you are experiencing a detour, remember this comforting truth: God planned it for you and He will be with you all the way. Thank Him for His guidance and praise Him because He will NOT leave you stranded!


LOOK WHAT ELSE MADE THE HEADLINES!

August 3, 2013

Since I found out how entertaining headlines are, I’m on the lookout for new ones every day. I still don’t read the articles; I just keep shaking my head in unbelief as I mumble an “Are you kidding?” to myself as I read how ridiculous some of them are. Read the latest bunch and you might find yourself just as appalled as I!

Does Happiness Make You Fat? I can’t seem to make the connection here. Experience has shown me that what I eat makes me fat. It’s superfluous to defend that fact!

Cellphone Use May be Making Us Fat.  The more you talk, the more you eat? The Apostle Paul disciplined his body and brought it into subjection. (1 Cor. 9:27). We should be moderate in all things, too!

DirecTV to Launch Channel for Dogs. So can we assume that the actors and news anchors will also be dogs? Shows about dogs, by dogs and for dogs?

Are Open Relationships OK? That’s not God’s plan. His plan is 1 + 1 = 4. (1 man, plus 1 woman, equals  a marriage relationship 4 ever.)

Will Owning a Home Really Make You Happy? No guarantee! Proverbs 16:20 says: “…whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.” Homeowner or non-homeowner!

Need a Reference? Hire a Liar! The Apostle Paul foresaw that when he wrote that “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:15)

Avoiding Estrogen Treatment Can Lead to Death. Last time I heard, everything leads to death. Hebrews 9:27 reads “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” with or without estrogen!

Could There Be Another You Somewhere New? I’m not sure how I got to that “Somewhere New”, but I am certain that I’m on God’s wonderful earth by His design. Psalm 139 assures me of that.

Can Thoughts and Words Affect Water? Absolutely!…but only the words of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  He spoke the words that created water. Matthew 5:45 says that “He sends the rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Dream Control Could Make Sleep Extra Satisfying. When we trust in the Lord, we enjoy extra satisfying sleep, because HE controls our dreams and our lives; we are safe in Him. Psalm 4:8 states it well: “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” THAT is extra satisfying!


MAKE ME LIKE JESUS!

March 14, 2013

We know that we, as Christ followers, should “be like Jesus” and that God wants to mold us into “the image of Christ”. The apostle Paul reminds us of that in Romans 8:28,29: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose…  to be conformed to the image of His Son”. Although this is quite a noble aspiration and godly plan, it is also vague enough to slip by as another Christian cliché or, worse yet, simply…slip…by…

What does it mean to “be like Jesus”? … to really let God reproduce the image of His Son in us? Where does the process start? How is it carried out in our everyday lives?

As I was digging into this topic and praying about it recently, we saw something very interesting on TV.  According to www.famousplastic.net, a 52-year old English woman has had 50+ plastic surgeries, spending over $320,000.00 to look like the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Living between approximately 1370 BC and 1330 BC, Nefertiti was perhaps better known than her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV). It is said that even in the ancient world, her beauty was famous, and Nefertiti is perhaps best remembered for the painted limestone bust, now in Berlin’s Neues Museum .  (These facts were taken from  www.touregypt.net and www.wikipedia.org. )

Watching the TV documentary regarding Nileen Namita, the English woman who believes that she is the reincarnation of Queen Nefertiti, we were appalled, gasping and cringing in unbelief. I immediately thought of my quest to be more like Jesus, and asked myself: “Am I that willing and committed to “looking” like Jesus? Would I go to that extreme pain and pay that lofty sum of cash to be like Him?”

Fortunately, no surgery is involved, nor is there any cash requirement; but commitment is definitely involved. Being like Jesus depends on us AND on God: our commitment and His strength. They go hand in hand. Even if we sincerely commit to being like Jesus, we won’t get far without His power through the Holy Spirit working in us. On the other hand, His strength and power is totally available to us, but will be ineffective until we surrender our inability to do it on our own; until we commit ourselves and say “Lord, I cannot do this if You don’t do it through me!”

We know that God’s plan is to make us “look like” Jesus. Let’s check our commitment level, get on board with His plan, and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to make that a reality in our lives!


WHO SAID IT?

February 24, 2013

If we believe something or not depends on who said it. When a known “exaggerator” tells us there were about 200 people at the party, we nod and think, “That means there were 50…” On the other hand, someone who is very precise with facts and careful about what they say makes the same statement, and we believe them. Whenever we hear a declaration, it’s good to know who said it!

If we really believe God to be Who the Bible reveals Him to be, the words “for He has said” should be life-changing. Digging into His Word, we understand the following:

God is unchanging. He’ll NEVER modify the script of anything that “He has said”.
God is sovereign. He has a PLAN, backing up everything that “He has said”.
God is all powerful. He CAN do everything that “He has said”.
God is faithful. He WILL do exactly what “He has said”.
God is just. He MUST do everything that “He has said”.
God is loving. His compassion MOVES Him to do all that “He has said”.

Applying the truth of WHO God is to what “He has said” might look like this:

Let your conduct be without coveteousness; be content with such things as you have. For HE HIMSELF (the unchanging, sovereign, powerful, faithful, just, loving and compassionate God) has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…”
(Hebrews 13:5,6)

We can’t just glide over the “He has said” statements in the Bible! Let’s meditate on Who said it. If we believe WHO God is, we’ll see our fears diminish, our faith grow and our lives will be transformed!


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