July 14, 2012

“Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done…so will the Lord do…” Deuteronomy 3:21

By looking back, we can be certain that our God (who NEVER changes!) will work in the same way in the future. Moses experienced that, and we can, too! When I have questions, doubts, concerns, I simply look at what God has done for me in the past. The monologue goes something like this:

Will God take care of me in the future?”
*   I’ve seen God lavish His goodness on me too often in the past…why would I ever doubt His care for me in the future?
“Will God ever let me down?”
*   I’ve experienced God’s faithfulness too many times up till now, to think He would ever fail me!
“Will God maybe give up on me?”
*   I’ve witnessed God’s work in my own life throughout the years in such a way that I cannot believe that He won’t finish the good work He started in me.
“Does God really hear my prayers? Will He answer me?”
*   I’ve received too many answers to even wonder if he hears and answers me!
“Will God lead me when I don’t know what to do?”
*   I’ve been led by Him to many times to think He would expect me to forge my own path!
“Will God carry me through this valley?”
*   I’ve been carried in His everlasting arms too often to think He’ll not uphold me now!
“Will God comfort my heavy heart?”
*   I’ve rejoiced in the comfort of God’s Word too many times to sulk in any situation.
“Will God always provide for my needs?”
*   I’ve marveled at God’s provision on so many occasions that I can’t even imagine Him expecting me to try to cover my own needs.
“Will God fulfill His promises?”
*   I’ve seen so many of God’s promises become reality, that I cannot doubt even one of them!

Praise God! He does NOT change, and that is why we can have reassurance for the future.


December 31, 2010

Marshall's Department Store in Barberton

When I was in High School, I worked part-time at Marshall’s Department Store in Barberton, Ohio. The last week of the year we did a year-end inventory. The owner needed to know exactly where the business stood – if there was a loss or a gain, and how much. There were no computers back then. With a notepad and pencil as our only tools, we sat on dusty boxes in the dingy, dimly lit third floor of the building, counting and classifying each piece of merchandise and recording our findings. Slowly, methodically and tediously we plugged along, until we finished this necessary task.

How about doing a year-end inventory of our lives? Notebook and pencil in hand, we can look back over 2010, and see pretty much where we stand at this year’s end.

My 2010 year-end inventory reveals some beautiful, specific answers to prayers – and others that have not yet been answered. I tally up victories in some areas, and find other issues that still need more work. I see blessings I didn’t ask for or deserve. I’m thankful for old friends, new friends, and people who have blessed me. I find there were times of confusion, and distasteful events; celebrations as well as moments of disappointment. But what really stands out as I tally up my year-end inventory is God’s unfailing kindness and goodness. I can emphatically testify with the psalmist David: “You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.” (Psalm 65:11)

Have you done your year-end inventory?


May 31, 2010

During the three years Jesus was with his 12 disciples, there were a number of times when they just didn’t get it. In the gospel of John chapters 13 and 14, we see Jesus and a very confused group of followers. It was at the “Last Supper” that they seemed to have more questions than answers. When Jesus announced His betrayal, we read that “the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.” asking, “Lord, who is it?” (13:22, 25) After Judas Iscariot was identified as the betrayer,  Jesus told him “What you do, do quickly”; they had no idea what was happening. Their confusion mounting, Jesus offered them reassurance for every question they had.

Jesus announced that He was going somewhere and that they couldn’t follow Him. Peter asked “Where are you going?…Why can’t I follow you now?” (13:36,37) Confusion. In response, Jesus reassured them with the timeless promise that has comforted believers ever since: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions;…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also…” (14:1-3)

Still confused, Thomas spoke up for the whole group. “We do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” (14:5) Jesus reassured them, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. (14:6) Not satisfied with that, Philip asked that Jesus show them the Father. Again reassuring, Jesus replied: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”. (14:9)

Understanding their bewilderment, Jesus continued reassuring them with promises.

He reassured them that their prayers would be answered. “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do.” (14:13)

He reassured them that they would not be alone. He promised them the Spirit of truth, saying “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you…” (14:18)

He reassured them of eternal life: “Because I live, you will live also.” (14:19)

He reassured them of His love: “He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him…” (14:21)

He reassured them of His peace: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…” (14:27)

Like the disciples, sometimes we have more questions than answers: our future, our employment, our families, our health, our finances, our relationships…. we get confused, and spill out our concerns and doubts to the Lord. Just as with them, He understands us and puts us at ease with the same promises: Our prayers will be answered. We are not alone, He is with us. Because He lives, we live. He loves us no matter what. He gives us His peace. Praise God for His reassurance in times of confusion!

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