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 CAN DELIVER US FROM ALL FEAR

September 12, 2016

“Simple” is good. Although I love to make homemade pizza, when my schedule is complicated, there’s a simple way to enjoy our Friday night pizza. I speed dial our favorite local pizzeria. Simple!

The Psalmist David also understood that “simple” is good. Take the example of fear. By his own admission, there were times when David was afraid. His antidote for fear was simple: “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4) Simple!

All my fears” included fighting a lion and a bear as a young shepherd, facing the giant Goliath, being on King Saul’s hit list. (That’s when he was being pursued by 3,000 of the King’s choice men. ) As Israel’s king, David also faced innumerable enemies – including his own son Absalom, who’s evil plan was to dethrone David. Even in those hair-raising situations, David knew that when he sought God, God would deliver him from all his fears. Simple!

When complicated unknown situations fill you with paralyzing fear, follow David’s example: go simple. Seek God, trusting Him to deliver you. If He delivered David from all his fears, he can deliver you from all your fears, because that’s what God does. Simple!

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


OUR GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY

August 29, 2016

What would we do without caller ID? It allows us to avoid scam artists, political campaigns and telemarketers when we don’t recognize the name on the screen. On the other hand, recognizing the name, we usually take the call; the caller is trustworthy and the message may be important.

In Psalm 9:10, David wrote: “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” God’s personal, relational name “Yahweh” is expressed in that Psalm.

In his book Every Name of God in the Bible (one of my favorite books, highly recommended), Larry Richards explains God’s name Yahweh, based on the dialogue between God and Moses at the burning bush in Exodus chapter 3. Mr. Richards wrote: “In essence, the name “Yahweh” revealed God as ‘the One who is always present’ with His people.” (p. 25); that’s exactly what David said: “For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” That’s the important message: God is always present with us.

Knowing God’s name makes all the difference. We trust Him with all of our needs because He is our ever-present God. We praise Him for His faithfulness, because He’s never forsaken us. Knowing His name, we get the important message: Our ever-present God is trustworthy!

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


OUR GOD REMEMBERS TO KEEP HIS PROMISES

May 2, 2016

“But you promised!” Stinging words are hurled, and the accusation is valid.
“I’m so sorry, I totally forgot!” is our feeble reply.

We blame busy days, countless responsibilities, endless distractions and life’s hamster wheel; but the truth is, we often forget what we promise. We let others down. Unintentional forgetfulness plagues us, because we are human.

Thankfully, our God is not human; He remembers His promises. He never, ever forgets any promise that He’s made, and He never fails to keep them. The Psalmist confirmed that God’s memory is perfect: “He remembers His covenant forever, the Word which He commanded, for a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:8)

Here are just a few of the promises that our God remembers:
God promises eternal life to those who believe in Jesus. John 3:16
God promises that all who seek Him will find Him. Jeremiah 29:13
God promises to bless His people with peace. Psalm 29:11
God promises to give His people strength. Psalm 29:11
God promises that He will never leave us. Hebrews 13:5
God promises to forgive us. Luke 6:37

I challenge you to add to this list. Dig into God’s Word and discover His “exceedingly great and precious promises”. (2 Peter 1:4). Our Promise-giver will never let us down; He always remembers to keep His promises, and we can praise Him for that!

(Join me each Monday in 2016 on my quest to know God better)


I ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER

June 7, 2014

We’re never too old to learn from others; even children have qualities we can imitate. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned lately have been from our grandkids.

Not long ago, “Lolo George” (their nickname for Grandpa Jorge) promised the boys that he would get them fishing poles. Now that we have a pond in our backyard, they were excited about going fishing with Lolo George.

When I picked the kids up after work on Thursday to bring them to our place, the first thing they asked was, “Did Lolo George get our fishing rods?” Not wanting to spoil the surprise, I said “Hmmmm….you’ll have to ask him.” Jehiel, 7, immediately responded “I already know the answer. It’s YES, because he said he would!”

They got their fishing gear, Lolo George taught them how to cast and they had a great time fishing. Their big eyes sparkled with excitement as they told me about the “fishes” they caught.

God is faithful, and He keeps His word. As I read His promises and pray, I want to get to the same level of confidence that Jehiel had, and be quick to say “I already know the answer. It’s YES, because He said He would!”


THE ELUSIVE BUCKET FULL OF DOLLAR BILLS

April 21, 2014

On the way to AWANA with our grandsons, I emptied out the coin bin in the car and handed both of them what seemed to be an equal amount of coins for the offering. “Wow! That’s really a lot!” Seven-year-old Jehiel exclaimed as he put his newly acquired coin counting skills into practice. “One dollar and 35 cents!” Then Jehiel spontaneously offered a child’s interpretation of the word “rich”: “Rich is when you have a whole bucket full of dollar bills!”

Unexpressed thoughts swirled through my head: It depends on how tightly the bills are packed, how big the bucket is, how much debt you have, current monthly expenses, where you are in life, or in the world…sure, a bucket full of dollar bills might mean you’re “rich”…

Then I remembered one of my Dad’s favorite Bible passages, especially in his later years: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1st Timothy 6:6-8)

Maybe as a 7 year-old, Dad had the same concept of “rich” as Jehiel has. By the time he was that age, World War I had ended and he lost his mom to the 1918 flu pandemic. With his 3 siblings, Dad had to dig the best potatoes from their crop to pay the undertaker for his mom’s burial because Grandpa didn’t have that bucket of dollar bills. Throughout his life the bucket was elusive: World War II, the Great Depression, being laid off at 43 with six children at home, starting a new business at that age…but no bucket full of dollar bills.

When Dad went to be with the Lord at age 94, he still didn’t have that bucket. What he did have – and it was obvious to those who knew him – was “godliness with contentment”, learned at an early age, and cultivated over many decades.

As the years creep up on me, the truth that the Apostle Paul expressed in 1st Timothy 6:6-8 becomes more real. I haven’t secured that elusive bucket full of dollar bills, either, and I’ll probably never have it. With contentment, I have something far more valuable: the assurance of God’s presence. In Hebrews 13:5 we are encouraged to “Be content with such things as you have. For He himself (GOD!) has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

And that assurance makes me much richer than the elusive bucket full of dollar bills!


THE GREATEST ACT OF LOVE – An Easter Acronym

April 13, 2014

Is Easter only about colored, decorated eggs, the Easter bunny, “Peeps” and jelly beans? Is it simply another long weekend? Or is Easter about having the table set with fine china, an impressive Easter centerpiece and an excess of well-prepared food? What is Easter?

We can best understand Easter by seeing what God has to say about it. After all, it was His greatest act of love that prompts this annual celebration: The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Looking at an acronym for the word “Easter” will give us insight into its meaning.

E – Everlasting life. That’s the foundation of our celebration. In one of the most well-known Bible verses, we read: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

A – Assurance. In a long heart-to-heart session with His followers shortly before His death, Jesus assured them (and us) “Because I live, you will live also.” (John 14:19)

S – Salvation. Before Jesus made his physical appearance on earth, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, announcing Christ’s arrival. He said: “You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

T – The Gift. Throughout the Bible, we are reminded that we are all sinners, deserving death. But we praise God that “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

E – Enemies. That’s what we were when Christ died for us. Because Jesus died, we are offered reconciliation. The apostle Paul explained it this way: “…when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” (Romans 5:10)

R – Resurrection. To a woman who was grieving the death of her brother, Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25,26)

Color the eggs. Eat the “Peeps” and jelly beans and enjoy your delicious family meal. But always remember God’s greatest act of love, and let the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection be the center of your celebration. That’s what Easter is all about!


OVERCOMING FEAR

February 15, 2014

It was the first time that real, gut-wrenching fear gripped me. I was in a strange room. Everything looked scary. An unknown man was coming towards me with something I’d never seen before in his hand, intending to do something to me. I had no idea what that might be, but I was sure he was going to harm me. Looking up, I saw a window right in front of me. My knee-jerk reaction was to jump out the window, even though we were on the second story. A physical struggle followed. The last thing I recall is that man, my mom and Uncle Joe restraining me. It took all three of them to hold me down long enough for him, the dentist, to place the ether mask over my face.  I was five years old and overcome by fear.

The unknown is scary. Fear is very powerful. It can overcome us and as we take matters into our own hands, fear can prompt us to do some very foolish things. I did a study of Bible characters that found themselves in unknown, potentially scary situations. As I discovered that they were instructed not to fear, I realized that they were also told why they shouldn’t be afraid. There are numerous examples, and here are a few of them.

To Abraham, God said, “Do not be afraid. I am your shield.” (Genesis 15:1)

To Isaac, God said, “Do not fear, for I am with you.” (Genesis 26:24)

To Joshua, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

To the descendants of Abraham: “Fear not. I will help you. I will hold your right hand saying, ‘Fear not.’ “ (Isaiah 41:13)

To Daniel: “Do not fear, Daniel…your words (prayers) were heard.” (Daniel 10:12)

So for me, no more crazy things like I attempted when I was 5 years old at the dentist’s; no jumping out of second story windows. No more being overcome by fear. Instead, I’m choosing to overcome fear by trusting Jesus, who said to John on the Island of Patmos, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more. AMEN.” (Revelation 1:17,18)


CHRISTMAS ACRONYM – A

December 17, 2013

In our Christmas acronym with the names of Jesus, (see post dated December 1), we come to “A”, and we will be encouraged today by looking at Jesus, the AMEN.

We find Jesus identified as the AMEN in Revelation 3:14: “…these things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness…”. According to Larry Richards in his book “Every Name of God in the Bible”, in his commentary of this particular verse he explains that, “Amen” is “the transliteration of a Hebrew word that refers to something being firm, reliable, or true.” That describes Jesus, the Amen. Firm. Reliable. True.

Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people in the Old Testament, and He is the foundation that makes all of God’s promises sure. The Apostle Paul declared that “…all the promises of God in Him (in Jesus) are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God…” Note that Paul mentions “to the glory of God”.

As we hear or sing “glory to God in the highest” this Christmas season, let’s remember God’s promises to us again, and thank Him for the firm, reliable and true foundation that they are standing on: Jesus, the AMEN…Glory to God!


CHRISTMAS ACRONYM – S

December 11, 2013

All in favor of a story with a good ending? “Servant” is the name of Jesus for the “S” in our Christmas acronym, (see the December 1 post) and the end of the story is VERY good! In fact, there never was, nor ever will be an ending to a story like this one.

In the prophecies of Isaiah, centuries before the birth of Christ, we find passages that are titled the “servant songs”. They foretell Christ’s mission of redemption and salvation; they promise that He would be a light to those who walk in darkness, and give freedom to all who languish in bondage. The suffering, sorrow, rejection and death of Jesus are all depicted. The story is bad, but it doesn’t end there.

The plot takes a turn in Isaiah 53:11, where it starts to get better. We read that “He (Jesus) shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge, My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.” We have the opportunity to be justified – acquitted from guilt and to be declared righteous before our holy God – because Jesus came as God’s righteous Servant. Praise God!

Later, the Apostle Paul, reminding us that Christ came as a servant, describes the events of the end of the story this way: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him (His Servant!) and given Him a name which is above every name, (here it comes….) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

Now we know the end of the story, and it will be good! Let’s celebrate Jesus, God’s Servant, this Christmas season by bowing our knees before Him in worship, and confessing that He is Lord of our lives. That will be VERY good!


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