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)

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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 LIFTS US UP

March 7, 2016

The phrase “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” suggests that we have the capability of lifting ourselves out of an impossible situation by our own effort. Really? Can we really pull ourselves up?

“…there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” (Luke 13:10-13)

How many times, in those 18 years, did that bent-over lady try to straighten herself up? Maybe every day. Maybe several – or many – times a day. Or maybe she just gave up, resigned to being bent-over forever. Then Jesus showed up and did what she couldn’t; He made her straight.

What impossible situation weighs so heavy on you that it has you bent over? Your calloused fingers constantly tug on those bootstraps, but you’re still bowed down. There’s no way that you can lift yourself up; your impossible situation doesn’t change.

When your best efforts leave you bowed down and bent over, believe that God can lift you up. Let go of those bootstraps! Trust God today to do what you can’t.

“The Lord raises those who are bowed down.” (Psalm 146:8)

(Join me every Monday of 2016 on my quest to know more of God)


WHAT MOSES FORGOT

October 1, 2011

The last few months, a friend and I have been studying Exodus. That’s why the past few blogs have been about some things we’re learning. Here’s another one, and we have more to share!!

Moses was chosen by God to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt into the Promised Land, and on a number of occasions leading up to their freedom, God laid out His plan and strategy to Moses. One of the recurring themes was the fact that God would Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let them go.  (Exodus 3:19; 4:21) After the first encounter that Moses and Aaron had with Pharaoh, he cracked down on the Israelite slaves even harder, confirming that his heart was, indeed, very inflexible. The people’s logical response to his intense severity was rebellion. The entire group that Moses was to lead to freedom was worse off than before; they were very angry with Moses and Aaron, and let them know it!

So Moses had some very big issues on his hands. His first and biggest problem was Pharaoh; the second was the people, and the third was that God didn’t deliver His people as He had promised. Moses complained to God: “For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” (Exodus 5:23) Moses was so disgruntled with the situation, that he forgot a lot of the conversations he and God had leading up to that moment. He forgot:

  • God’s compassion: “I heard their cry…I know their sorrows…I have seen the oppression of My people…He looked on their affliction.” (3:7, 4:31)
  • God’s plan: “I have come down to deliver them.” (3:8)
  • God’s presence: “I will certainly be with you.” (3:12; 4:12; 4:15)
  • God’s person: “I AM…this is My name forever; the Lord God of your fathers.” (3:14-15)
  • God’s power: shown in the miracles He did with the rod. (4:2-17)
  • God’s provision: He provided Aaron as a spokesman for stuttering Moses. (4:11-16)
  • God’s promise: “I WILL bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt…to a land flowing with milk and honey.” ((3:17)

Finally, after a very frustrated Moses vented, God assured him: “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh” (6:1). He patiently reminded him that He was in total control of the situation, and that His plan would be fulfilled “to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.” (6:6-13)

Aren’t we all a bit like Moses sometimes? Don’t we get overwhelmed by the situation at hand that seems to engulf us and fail to see who God is, what He is doing, and that He has a perfect plan He’s working on? Don’t we, too, whine and complain when we make our problems bigger than our God? God give us the grace to remember often that He does have a plan; He is compassionate; His presence is with us; His power can overcome any obstacle; His provision is our daily bread; His promises are true; and that he was – and forever will be – the great I AM! AMEN!


The Jack – Discovery and Amazement

June 2, 2011

Ever since he was very little, our four-year old grandson Jehiel has had a fascination with tools. By far, his favorite place on our property is grandpa’s workshop. He would rather be there with “Lolo” (his version of Abuelo – Spanish for Grandpa) spending time together on a discovery adventure, than anywhere else. Power tools, hand tools, gadgets; wood scraps and absolutely everything arouses his curiosity. As Lolo patiently shows Jehiel what each tool is for and demonstrates how to use it, his already big brown eyes widen with wonder, and you can almost see the gears of imagination and creativity turning in his little head.

A few days ago, Jehiel discovered the jack. Lolo set it up under the cargo van, and together they raised up the back of the van. Jehiel nearly burst with excitement! He discovered that a jack can lift a very heavy vehicle, and no doubt he’ll always remember the day he helped Lolo do just that.

Jehiel’s discovery reminded me of Psalm 145:14, where the Psalmist declared that “The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.” When we are “bowed down”, weary, discouraged, burdened with a heavy load, let’s let Him raise us up! When we turn to His life-giving Word, He raises us up!…When we cry out to Him in prayer, He lifts us up…when we share our burden with a godly friend, He lifts us up…when we choose to believe His truth (that we already know in our heads) and trust His promises, He raises us up! Just as Jehiel discovered the power of the jack to raise up the van, I am constantly amazed at the power of God that raises me up, and I praise Him for it.

Take a few minutes to be blessed by this beautiful song by Selah that so appropriately expresses God’s power to lift us up. http://youtu.be/H2sZuJbxi8Y  Remember the times He raised you up in the past, and trust Him to do it again…today. You’ll be amazed!


MAKING LISTS (God’s Strength)

March 30, 2011

Everyone makes lists. To-do lists and grocery lists probably top the list of lists. Lists are good. If you follow my blogs, you may have noticed that I like lists. They help me focus. They simplify otherwise complex issues. Often when I read the Bible, I find myself making lists of several verses related to a certain topic and organizing them; lists of promises with who, why, when and where along side of them; lists of God’s attributes in a certain passage; and the list goes on…

Not long ago I listed and organized verses about God’s strength, and with each one, WHEN I need His strength. I want to share my list with you, just in case you need His strength. The list looks like this:

 WHEN I NEED DIRECTION:
2nd Samuel 22:33. “God is my strength and power and He makes my way perfect.”

WHEN I SEEK WISDOM:
Job 12:13. “With Him are wisdom and strength.”

WHEN I AM AFRAID:
Psalm 27:1. “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

WHEN I NEED HELP:
Psalm 28:7. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; I trusted in Him and I am helped.”

WHEN I NEED PEACE:
Psalm 29:11. “The Lord will give strength to His people. The Lord will bless His people with peace.”

WHEN I’M IN TROUBLE:
Psalm 37:39. “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.”

WHEN I NEED A REFUGE:
Psalm 46:1. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though….(fill in your own ending)”

WHEN I NEED MOTIVATION:
Psalm 71:16. “I will go in the strength of the Lord God…”

WHEN I DON’T HAVE ANY STRENGTH LEFT:
Isaiah 40:29. “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.”

WHEN I AM AT THE END OF THE ROPE:
Psalm 73:26. “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Notice that the very last word of the last verse is FOREVER. That’s how long we can trust God for His strength! This isn’t simply a list. It is a guarantee that He will always be our strength…FOREVER!


DIALOGUE BETWEEN DOUBT AND TRUST

March 18, 2011

When Mr. Trust focuses on GOD, who He is and what HE promised, Mr. Doubt is totally squelched. He’s a loser. Listen to the following dialogue:

DOUBT: “I don’t know why this is happening to me…”
TRUST: “But God knows! He has a plan for me, and He will perfect it!” (Philippians 1:6)

DOUBT: “I sure can’t see any good that will come of this.”
TRUST: “But God is working everything for my good – to make me more like Christ.” (Romans 8:28)

DOUBT: “I’m afraid…”
TRUST: “But God is my strength!” (Psalm 18:1,32)

DOUBT: “I’ll never be able to do that; it’s way too hard!”
TRUST: “But God can do exceedingly, abundantly more than I can ask or think!” (Ephesians 3:20)

DOUBT: “My resources are so few…I don’t have enough…”
TRUST: “But God is the Maker and Owner of everything. His resources are limitless!” (Psalm 95:1-5)

DOUBT: “I just can’t go on anymore.”
TRUST: “But God gives me strength and grace!” (2nd Corinthians 12:9)

DOUBT: “The future looks bad. Really bad.”
TRUST: “But God is with me, and promised never to leave me. EVER!” (Matthew 28:20)


OUR CELL PHONES AND OUR SOULS

November 11, 2010

Cell phones – what did we ever do without them? They’ve become quite a necessity! After a certain period of usage, my cell phone sends me a warning bleep when the battery is getting low, reminding me to recharge it. So I plug it in, let it soak up the energy, and after a short time it’s ready to go again. No doubt, most all phone owners experience the same. We have to be diligent in recharging them.

How about our eternal souls? They need recharged, too! The stress of daily life; dealing with situations beyond our control; having to make hard decisions or going through circumstances we would never have chosen…all those things drain us! We may not hear the warning bleep, but we know our strength is waning, and we, like our cell phones, need recharged on a regular basis.

The Psalmist was referring to the Lord, the Good Shepherd, when he wrote “He leads me beside the still waters. HE RESTORES MY SOUL.” (Psalm 23:2,3) Letting Him lead us into a place of quietness is the key to the restoration of our soul. It’s good to turn everything off: the radio, the TV, even the cell phone…and be still beside the refreshing water of His word, praying to our God, who restores us and gives us strength to go on.

Being diligent about plugging the cell phone into the charger is the only way it will always be useful and have a strong signal. In the same way, letting God restore my soul daily will keep me strong. Venting with my friends doesn’t restore my soul. Busyness and incessant activity will never restore my soul. Reading self-help books will not restore my soul. Good times with family don’t restore my soul. Nothing can do it…Only the time I spend beside the still waters with God restores my soul. The Psalmist was right:  “HE RESTORES MY SOUL”!


INTERVIEWS FROM THE PAST: “One Thing” (Part 3)

October 4, 2010

For the last interview, our reporter chose a very interesting gentleman. One of the most religiously correct and well-educated people of his day, Saul of Tarsis dedicated his life to persecuting the true believers in Jesus Christ. He was passionate about the wrong things. He mistakenly thought that his goodness depended on his religiosity, on who he was…until he had an amazing encounter with Jesus, who turned his life around (even changed his name to Paul) and empowered him to become one of the most famous evangelists in history and the author of much of the New Testament. Paul was a very focused man. I can imagine the interview going something like this:

REPORTER: “Paul, how can you explain the dramatic change in your life? You formerly persecuted the followers of Jesus, and now you’ve dedicated your entire life to teaching others about Him. What happened?”

PAUL: “That same Jesus met me when I was on a mission to turn His followers in to the authorities. Blinded by a tremendous light that surrounded me, I fell to the ground. In complete surrender to Him, I asked Him what He wanted me to do.”

REPORTER: “How amazing! What did He tell you?”

PAUL: “He simply said to get up and go into the city that it would be told me what to do. From that moment on, I realized that all my religion, my self-righteousness, my accomplishments were nothing compared to the love that Jesus has for me. He gave everything up, and even though He was sinless, He died to pay for the sins of the whole world – and more importantly, of MY sins! That realization gave my life a brand new meaning, and new direction!”

REPORTER: “Doesn’t your past plague you? You were religious and sincere, but wrong. You mentioned at one point that you were the “chief of sinners.” What is the ONE THING you do to keep on going with that kind of past now that you’ve changed?

PAUL: “The ONE THING I do?… “Forgetting the past, I keep focused on the goal: The prize at the end of the race. I keep going forward with faith in Christ, in His strength, and trusting in His righteousness, not my own.” (Philippians 3)

REPORTER: “You mentioned the prize. What is that prize?”

PAUL: “To become like Christ!”

REPORTER: “Hummmmm…..”


WEEKLY BIBLE READING PLAN – Sept. 20-25: Knowing God Better (2)

September 20, 2010

MONDAY: Nehemiah 9:31. Reading this verse, we praise God because He is a God of _________ and ______________.

TUESDAY: Psalm 62:7. It’s reassuring to know that God is a _________________ for us!

WEDNESDAY: 2 Peter 3:9. Thankfully, our God is __________________ towards us!

THURSDAY: Jude 25. God alone is ________________________.

FRIDAY: John 3:16. Besides showing us His love for us in this verse, we understand that He is also a _____________________ God.

SATURDAY: 2 Corinthians 1:3. God is the Father of _______________ and the God of all ____________ .

BONUS: Revelation 4:8. Reading this verse carefully, we can find 3 important characteristics of God. He is _______________,  ______________________, and ________________________.


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