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!

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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!


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)


LOOK UP! Psalm 121

February 9, 2011

“I will lift my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
If God created the entire universe with such perfection, can I trust Him to take care of me and my little world? OF COURSE I CAN!

“He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel (insert my name in the place of “Israel”) shall neither slumber nor sleep.”
Is there ever a time that He is off-duty, or resting? When He’s not caring for me? NEVER!!

“The LORD is your keeper; the Lord is a shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.”
Is He looking out for me day and night? ALWAYS!! How close is He? AS CLOSE AS MY SHADOW!

“The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.”
What does He protect me from? ALL EVIL! He protects my SOUL!

“The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”
How long will this protection/help/care last? FOREVER! From now on, and FOREVER!

What a privilege! What a blessing that I can look up to God and know that these are not mere words, they are not theories; they are truths that the Psalmist experienced and that I can also experience!
Praise God! I can look up and KNOW that He will always be wide-awake, on His throne, preserving my soul from all evil. He never gets tired of showing me His mercy. He will never retire or go on to bigger, more important projects. While He’s spinning the world on its axis and holding the universe together, He’s concerned about little me, and will be forever. I cling to and believe these truths. And THAT’S why I look up to Him! PRAISE YOU, LORD!


THE GUARANTEE OF GOD’S PROMISES – Part 2

September 17, 2010

Time passed, and the day came when Jorge and Adriel packed the car, the trunk and luggage rack with Adriel’s belongings, and they left for Cordoba. Totally by faith….They took all the money we had to make the trip, find an apartment for Denise and Adriel, set up housekeeping for them, and leave them enough money to live on for at least a month. They took it all. All $700 dollars we had! We all knew that it wasn’t nearly enough, but it’s all we had. We didn’t know how God would work this out, but we trusted in His promises to provide for all our needs. Those promises were our guarantee.

Just a few hours after the lasts hugs were hugged, the last recommendations were given, the goodbyes were said and my tears were wiped away as we waved them off, God brought us the guarantee of His faithful promises right to our door. The mailman brought an envelope with the biggest monthly offering we had ever received in our 20-some years of missionary service! It was $2,400. Immediately I called Jorge, who was as awe-struck as I. We agreed that Dino (our youngest son) and I would catch the overnight bus and meet him the next morning in Cordoba.

Our hearts overflowed with thanksgiving to our ever-faithful God as we found an apartment for Denise and Adriel, paid the down payment and first month’s rent, furnished it with the bare essentials, filled their cupboards and refrigerator and left them enough for their daily needs for the first month! Not only that, but God faithfully provided for their financial needs every day during their entire college careers! God emphatically showed us that His promises are the only guarantee we need, and we praise Him for that eternal truth. He is faithful! He is good! His promises are the ONLY guarantee we ever need in any situation! Praise Him for His faithfulness!


THERE IS NOTHING TOO HARD FOR GOD!

July 15, 2010

“Ah, Lord God! Behold You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” Jeremiah 32:17

Take a look around at God’s creation: the beauty and intensity of colors, the intricacy of shapes, the variety of sounds, textures, and flavors; the synchronization and perfection of everything He created: it -was all engineered, designed, and created by the same all-powerful, all wise God who has sustained it since its inception. Everything from the minutest detail to the most immense heavenly body was – and is – the work of His hand. All of that is visible evidence of a changeless truth: there is nothing too hard for God!

Jeremiah, a prophet of God (722 BC – 585 BC) considered all the visible evidence of a changeless truth, and expressed it to God as the opening statement of his prayer. Then he laid his concern, his burden and his worries out before God, being convinced that there is nothing too hard for Him. He understood WHO he was crying out to.

When we look to God for help, strength, wisdom, guidance; when we lay our burdens out before Him, let’s also remember WHO He is: the Maker of the heavens and the earth. With that truth in mind, let’s ask ourselves:

  • Is the issue I’m struggling with too hard for Him? NO
  • Can I trust Him to work out the details of this situation that is stressing me? YES
  • Will He be able to handle this complex issue? YES

Let’s repeat this truth, along with Jeremiah, when we trust in God for what seems to be impossible: “There is nothing too hard for You.” Let’s believe it today as we trust Him with our cares!


The Symbiosis of Trust and Praise

June 15, 2010

At www.Merriam-Webster.com we can read the following definition of symbiosis:

1 : the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms (as in parasitism or commensalism); especially : mutualism
2 : a cooperative relationship (as between two persons or groups) <the symbiosis…between the resident population and the immigrants — John Geipel>

sym·bi·ot·ic \-ˈä-tik\ adjective

sym·bi·ot·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb  

 I am not a biologist. But when I think about trust and praise, I’m reminded of a symbiotic relationship. They live “together in more or less intimate association or close union.” Can we separate trust and praise? I think not.

I praise God because He is who He said He is, and who He showed Himself to be throughout all of history, and in my own life!
I trust in God because He is who He said He is, and who He showed Himself to be throughout all of history, and in my own life!
I cannot fully trust Him without praising Him. I cannot sincerely praise Him without trusting in Him.

Praise is an expression of trust. Trust is an expression of praise.

In the measure that we learn more of God, and see how He works, we trust Him more fully and praise Him more sincerely. Praising Him for who He is – the faithful, compassionate, holy merciful, eternal, unchanging, forgiving, all-wise God, we realize He is trustworthy! Then, as we trust Him, we learn even more of Him, and praise Him more!

“But You are holy, enthroned in the PRAISES of Israel. Our fathers TRUSTED in You; they TRUSTED, and You delivered them.” (Psalm 22:3,4)

“I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I WILL TRUST; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be PRAISED.” (Psalm 18:1-3)

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart TRUSTED in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I WILL PRAISE HIM.” (Psalm 28:7)

The psalmist may or may not have understood the biological definition of symbiosis, but he had a very clear understanding of the symbiotic relationship of trust and praise! I say AMEN to his convictions. How about you?


My Mom Gave Me Back!

May 21, 2010

“Your kids are not yours. God owns them. Quit stealing!”

When our three children were growing up, I found this statement in a magazine. Because I wanted to remember it, I cut it out and taped it inside my weekly planner. Those of us who are parents know – in our head – that our children don’t belong to us. We have to remind ourselves of it all along, but that reality takes on a new meaning when our children are leaving the nest. That’s when our hearts understand it.

My Mom’s heart understood that very well, and her attitude towards my leaving her and Dad when I was engaged to marry Jorge – whom I had never met – and move to Argentina left a lasting impression on me. I can still hear her words…

There was a dear elderly man in our church for many years who we all affectionately called “Uncle Pete”. When he was young, Uncle Pete Krstch left “The Old Country” and immigrated to America. Having lived here for so long, he came to appreciate everything our great country offered him, and he couldn’t understand why anyone would want to live anywhere but here, in the Good Ol’ USA. Knowing the plans Jorge and I had to live in Argentina, Sunday after Sunday Uncle Pete would try to convince me that we should live here. The conversation would go something like this: “You should get Jorge’s papers fixed up and live here in the US.”   I would invariably reply, “No, Uncle Pete, we’re going to help out in the church in Argentina.” He just didn’t get it until one Sunday when Mom happened to be standing there. After our “You ought to…” and “No, Uncle Pete…” routine, he turned to her and said: “Helen, you tell her to get Jorge’s papers fixed up and then they can live here.”

And then it happened. I found out that Mom gave me back. She firmly and unwaveringly said: “Uncle Pete, God gave Kathern to me for 23 years, and now I’m giving her back to Him.” Needless to say, the conversation never came up again with Uncle Pete because Mom intervened on my behalf. I recalled the incident often since then, but I never truly appreciated the concept until our children left to be on their own. I’ve learned how freeing it is to give our children back to God, and to trust Him with their lives. I understand now that our kids never were ours. They always belonged to God, who loves them infinitely more than we ever did and ever will. Thanks to Mom, I’ve learned that one of our responsibilities in raising them is…to give them back to Him!


“Do You Take Happy Pills?”

April 28, 2010

“DO YOU TAKE HAPPY PILLS?” That’s the question my co-worker asked me in response to my cheerful greeting this afternoon at work. The question took me by surprise, and I prayed a lightning-fast prayer for God to give me the right answer. “I sure do!” I responded. That got her attention. As a very quizzical look came over her face, I explained: “Every morning I take one Happy Pill. It’s called the Bible, God’s Word. I open it, read it, see how much He loves me and realize that I can trust Him again today. THAT’S my Happy Pill.”

When I got back to my desk, I looked at the verse I have on a 3×5 card placed between my keyboard and my monitor. It is Psalm 28:7, which says: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I will praise Him.” Along with the Psalmist, I can testify that happiness is a result of trusting in God. Trust Him for what? For everything. The more I trust, the happier I am!

Happy Pill, anyone?


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