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 ANSWERS US

October 17, 2016

Silence can be frustrating. No one answers the doorbell. No one answers the phone call. No one answers your question. No one responds.

The prophets of Baal discovered just how frustrating silence is. After hours of desperately crying out to their god, the prophets of Baal faced reality: “…there was no voice, no one answered, no one paid attention.” (1st Kings 18:29).

Just silence.

Moments later, God’s prophet Elijah prayed “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God…” (1st Kings 18:37). Elijah’s God – our God who hears – answered, sending fire to consume the water-drenched altar, the sacrifice and the water in the trenches. As a result, the people acknowledged the Lord as the only true God.

That’s a perfect example of what our God does: He answers, just as He promised: “Call on me, and I will answer you…” (Jeremiah 33:3) Our God always answers us.

God may answer immediately, as in Elijah’s case, or He may delay; but He will answer us.

God may answer in an unexpected way, but He will answer us.

God may answer “No”. (Remember the Apostle Paul’s experience in 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10?) “No” is a valid answer, and with the “No”, God gives sufficient grace to deal with it…because He always answers us.

Whatever your situation, call on God, and trust Him. You won’t be frustrated by deafening silence, because…He promised to answer us!

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


OUR GOD GOES BEFORE US

September 5, 2016

Uncertainty enveloped us like the cold, thick fog. The school bus would stop; the driver would turn off the motor before crossing the train tracks. Silence. Then a brave volunteer – often one of my “big” brothers – would jump off the bus and walk across the tracks through the fog. Crossing before us, he assured our safe crossing. This scene repeated itself often on foggy mornings.

God’s people wandered in the wilderness for 40 long years, led by God’s appointed leader, Moses. Now, with the Promised Land in sight and Moses nearing death, uncertainty and fear reined. To dispel the fog of uncertainty, Moses assured his successor Joshua that “…the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) They would safely cross to the other side because the Lord was going before them.

Maybe you are trying to cut through the fog of uncertainty in some area of your life. As often as the scene repeats itself, stop. Turn off the motor. Listen! Be assured that God promised to never leave you. His presence will dispel the fog and lead you safely to the other side. Remember, our God goes before us!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in 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 FATHER WHO CARRIES US

January 18, 2016

After 40 years of wandering in the desert, and with the Promised Land in sight, Moses spoke to all Israel. Summing up their arduous journey, Moses gave this beautiful imagery: “God carried you, as a man carries his son…all the way…” (Deuteronomy 1:31)

footprints_clip_art_6107In 1936, young Mary Stevenson popularized this concept in the poem “Footprints.” The encouraging words of the Lord in the final paragraph of Ms. Stevenson’s poem are a response to the traveler’s question as to why, at times, there were only one set of footprints. These words have also encouraged many weary readers, even up to the present. “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of suffering…it was then that I carried you.”

Looking back at our own lives, we can pinpoint difficult situations when we felt God’s special care. That’s when He was carrying us. Let’s trust Him to carry us today – and trust Him to carry us all the way!

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


Miracles? or MIRACLES?

February 2, 2014

God doesn’t do miracles. He does MIRACLES! Ask anyone who has experienced God’s intervention in their life, and they will testify to that. Ask Joshua.

In Joshua chapter 3, after Moses had died and Joshua took leadership of the children of Israel, they were about to cross over the Jordan River. God instructed Joshua exactly what they had to do to cross the river, mentioning also that He wanted the people to know that, just as He was with Moses, He also was with Joshua; that He, “the living God is among you…” (Joshua3:10)

Joshua passed along God’s instructions to the people, ending with these words of encouragement: “…tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” (Joshua 3:5)  God also mentioned to Joshua The priests who were bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord were to step into the water, and the waters coming down from upstream were to pile up in a heap. That is exactly what happened, and “all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:17)

There are two things that made this a MIRACLE.  First, it was flood season; a time of year when the Jordan’s banks were overflowing. It was not just a trickle that the multitude had to jump over. Second, they passed on dry ground; it wasn’t shallow water and it wasn’t muck or mud. It was DRY ground. Those details point to one truth we can hang on to. Always. God does MIRACLES.

What MIRACLE are you praying for…waiting for…expecting? Will God do it half-way, and leave you with muddy feet on the other side? Absolutely not! Will He do it in a way that goes unnoticed? Never! God’s MIRACLES have a “wow factor”. That’s always the way God works, and He is the God I’m praying to; HE WILL pull off the MIRACLE I’m waiting for! AMEN!


FORGETTING GOD

October 19, 2013

It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily activities and forget God. O sure, we might say a quick prayer, read a verse or a short devotional in the morning. We might even have our radio tuned to a Christian station at home or in the car. But maybe – just maybe – all that has become so normal that it’s simply a routine and we don’t really incorporate God into our lives 24/7. We forget God.

Forgetting God was a problem as far back as the time of Moses. Several times in Deuteronomy, Moses warned God’s people to “beware that you do not forget the Lord your God…” (Deuteronomy 6:12; 8:11 NKJV) Unfortunately, they too often forgot God, who freed them from slavery, led them, protected them, delivered them and provided for every one of their needs. God repeatedly proved Himself to be powerful, sovereign, forgiving and faithful; yet “they soon forgot His works.” (Psalm 106:13 NKJV)

In Psalm 106 we can read that they forgot God’s mercies, they forgot His miraculous works, and they forgot God Himself. From examples in the Bible, we see that forgetting God has very serious consequences.

Forgetting God leads to sin. (Psalm 106:24-39)
Forgetting God leads to fear (Isaiah 51:13)
Forgetting God leads to fruitlessness (2nd Peter 2:1-9)
Forgetting God leads to doubt (Mark 8:18)

If you struggle in any of these areas, it just might be that you’ve forgotten God!

Let’s incorporate God into our lives in a greater measure, delighting ourselves in His Word. Let’s read it, meditate on it, study it, obey it and share it. When we remember often what He’s done in our lives and who He really is, He changes us. Do you want your faith to be strengthened? Would you like to have your hope to be renewed, to trust Him more and to be fruitful for Him? Don’t forget God!


LISTEN…REALLY LISTEN!

October 15, 2013

Earlier this year, one of our dear nieces and her husband visited us from Argentina. We had a lot of catching up to do, and enjoyed great conversations. At one point, when she and I were alone, she asked me, “Tía, (That means “Aunt” in Spanish) when you talk, does Tío Jorge really listen to you?”

Many wives can definitely relate to that question! We talk to our spouse, explain, complain, ramble, babble and vent…until we see that familiar expressionless look on his face. His glazed-over eyes, even though they are looking at us, are evidence that his mind is absent. Fishing? His job? The car? What’s next on his to-do list? His ears hear us, but he’s not listening. That’s the reality. Eventually we learn how to get him to listen to the most important of our monologues, and respond to them. (Not to discourage anyone who reads this, but it may take years. Be patient!)

When asked by one of the Scribes which commandment is most important, Jesus replied: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” Mark 12:29,30 NKJV) These verses are known as the “Shema”, which comes from a Hebrew word that means “to hear”. The Shema was part of God’s message to His people before they entered the Promised Land. He knew that we – male and female alike – tend to let things go in one ear and out the other. The first word of the most important commandment is “Hear”. God wanted them – and us – to hear that commandment and all of His words with our ears, so we can willingly respond with our hearts and lives.

Without glazed over eyes and wandering thoughts, let’s listen, really listen to the Shema and the totality of God’s Word. When we really listen, we’ll be in a good position to obey Him. Listen…really listen!


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!


A BUNDLE OF RAGS AND OLD CLOTHES

April 2, 2013

The book of God’s prophet Jeremiah is not exactly where most of us turn for a good read; however, there is a beautiful story tucked away in it that bring to life the Christ’s words in Matthew 5:7:

Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.”

It all started with a bundle of rags and old clothes….

Jeremiah was a model of faithfulness to God. Enduring a lifetime of humiliation, persecution and abuse, he continued calling out for his nation (God’s chosen people) to turn around and get right with God. That didn’t go over well at all with his contemporaries.

In chapter 38 we find Jeremiah cast into a dungeon. God’s enemies expected Jeremiah to suffer a long, tortuous death there. They lowered him down with ropes “and in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.” (Jeremiah 38:6)

Right after Jeremiah sunk in the mire, we find these words: “Now Ebed-Melech…”. Ebed-Melech was an Ethiopian serving in the King’s court, who interceded before the king on Jeremiah’s behalf. He begged the king to do justice to God’s servant and the king, moved to compassion, commanded Ebed-Melech to get 30 men and get Jeremiah out of the pit before he dies.

Here’s where the bundle of rags and old clothes come in: on the way to rescue Jeremiah from the miry dungeon, Ebed-Melech got old clothes and rags to cushion his pain when they pulled him up. He instructed Jeremiah “ ’Please put these old clothes and rags under your armpits, under the ropes.’  And Jeremiah did so. So they pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon.” (38:12,13)

What does that have to do with “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”? Later, when the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem, the king was carried away, the city was burned down, and Jeremiah had a special message from God for Ebed-Melech: “ ’I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword;…because you have put your trust in Me’ Says the Lord.” (39:18)

Ebed-Melech’s act of kindness toward God’s servant Jeremiah did NOT go unnoticed by God. God honored and rewarded him with mercy, because he showed mercy…with a bundle of rags and old clothes!

We might think that it really doesn’t matter if we show mercy or not; but it DOES!
We may forget that God uses His people (US!) to show compassion; but He DOES!
We consider it “no big deal” when we go the extra mile to help someone; but it IS!
We don’t understand how, when or why God repays mercy for mercy; but He DOES!

Even if no one sees that small act of kindness, God sees it and WILL reward it!
If all you have is a bundle of rags and old clothes to cushion someone’s pain, USE IT! You will be blessed!


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