He Causes Me To Stand

 

 

 

Red winged black birds are common in our area.

Beautifully colored with yellow and red on a contrasting black, they are vivid to behold.

This past weekend, one came to rest in front of me on a protruding tree knob. A perfect opportunity for a photograph!

Looking at the image later, I happened to think about where he was.

I considered his little legs and feet.

Even though he was only a few inches above the ground, I don’t believe he could have walked there.

It would have been too steep.

He surely didn’t worry about that, however, because he was also equipped with…wings.

With wings, he could fly, and he knew it.

Up, down, sideways, high, low—they could take him there.

There are places we would like to go, things we would like to do.

There are places God wants us to go, things He wants us to do.

Many times, we look down at our scrawny legs and little feet and think, "No. I’d never make it. It’s just too difficult. The path is too steep."

We forget that God can give us unseen "wings."

Wings to give us flight to those places in life we thought we would never attain.

Wings to carry us up over the obstacles we think will win over our God given dreams.

Wings to send us far into the will of God for our lives.

Why not open up your heart to Him?

Where does He want you to………fly?

 

As for God, his way is perfect:
   The LORD’s word is flawless;
   he shields all who take refuge in him.
 For who is God besides the LORD?
   And who is the Rock except our God?
 It is God who arms me with strength
   and keeps my way secure.
 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
   he causes me to stand on the heights.

—2 Samuel 22:31-34

 

 

I Will Bring Them Back

 

 

I have had great concern in my heart for someone for a very long time.

Becoming aware of the hurts and disappointments in their life, I have witnessed a wandering–almost a retreat–from embracing faith in God. Floating ever so slowly, farther and farther from a daily reliance on Him.

At least, that’s what it seems to me.

I have come to understand that what I think I know about another person is derived from mere glimpses into their lives. Only God knows the entire story.

Still, with glimpses, I am determined to pray in this instance, convinced that He is viewing every need of the one for whom I am burdened.

In my Bible reading, I discovered a passage in Jeremiah about the exiles sent to Babylon. God regarded them in this way:

My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them.  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. –Jeremiah 24:6,7

Last night in my journal, I decided to write this prayer, modified from the scripture in Jeremiah:

I pray, Lord, that your eyes would watch over_____, for his good and You would bring him back home to You. I pray that You would build him up and not tear him down. I pray that You would plant him and not uproot him. I pray that You would give him a heart to know You, that You are the Lord.  I pray that he would be Your servant and You would be his God. I pray that he would return to You with all His heart. Amen

Is there someone in your life that needs to return home…to God?

 

Lovingkindness

 

 

For two days in a row, I was blessed to see a rainbow.

As my husband and I were driving our youngest son to a birthday party late yesterday afternoon, we saw it. After dropping him off, we drove to a nearby lake. There, the view was fantastic above the water and the lighthouse.

For those who are traveling by boat, a lighthouse is crucial in guiding them to safe passage.

As we are traveling through our lifetimes, looking to God as our "Lighthouse" to guide us is crucial, as well.

The combination of the rainbow and the lighthouse together is quite a reminder of God’s power coupled with His desire to guide those who are willing to follow.

But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. —Psalm 103:17-18

 

 

 

Then He Prayed

 

 

 

Do you ever feel like your prayers are useless?

That, just maybe, you aren’t important enough for God to listen?

From the book of James, chapter 5, verse 13, he says,"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray…"   He doesn’t put a stipulation on what kind of person should pray if they are suffering. It’s not "if any important person among you," or "if any wealthy person among you."

Later in the chapter he says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed." (from James 5:15)  Again, there are no clarifying words in between "therefore" and "confess."  No "therefore, you who are well known, confess…" or "therefore, you who have been the hardest workers, confess…" 

James further encourages us again by saying, " Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.  Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit." (James 5:17-18)

"Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…" 

If you ever feel as though your prayers are useless, remember:

Elijah prayed; God listened.

We can pray; God will listen to us, too.

 

 

 


 

For A Sign

 

 

The weather service declared that it was a severe thunderstorm.

There were a lot of lightning flashes and claps of thunder sufficient to cause our dog to bark in fear.

When the rain and rumbles had almost subsided, I could tell that the sun’s rays were creeping out into the gray canopy above.

I knew what would probably be on the way—a rainbow.

Grabbing my camera, I went out to check the sky.

Yes. Right on schedule. There it was!

It made an arc near the trees across the street from my house and seemed to beam down just above my neighbor’s rooftop.

The bands of light were glowing with pastel shades of color.

A sign from God.

A creation of Hiis making.

A covenant.

 

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;  I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud,  and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.  When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

—Genesis 9:12-17

 

 

 

Outnumber The Sand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking along the shore, I saw a single feather lying in the sand.

A single feather lying among grains of sand too numerous to count.

Millions?

Billions?

Trillions?

The Psalmist says that God’s thoughts would outnumber the sand.

Have you ever considered them in that way?

How many of God’s thoughts does it take to hold the universe in place?

How many does it take to form an unborn child in his mother’s womb?

How many does it take to cause the plants to burst into life from seed?

How many does it take to hold your every emotion, your every word, your deepest longings, in His hand?

For anything and everything in existance, God’s thoughts are maintaining them.

Period.

No one else is.

I agree with the Psalmist—-God’s thoughts would outnumber the sand.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.–Psalm 139:17-18


 

 

Awesome Glory

 

It was about two o’clock this afternoon when I went outside.

The sky was a brilliant blue as the sun was washing it with blazing light.

Suddenly, I noticed it.

There was a ring of rainbow colors surrounding the sun!  It wasn’t too close or I would not have been able to perceive it.

I have seen something similar to this at night when a ring of light is encircling the moon. Seeing this around the sun was a first for me.

Because of the tremendous amount of light, I tried not to look AT the sun, for fear of harming my eyes.

I wanted to photograph this wondrous phenomenon, so I guessed at where to hold my camera without actually looking in the viewfinder and just snapped a few shots. The halo surrounding the sun was in plain view in most of the photos.

In the Old Testament, in the book of Exodus, we find that the people of Israel saw "the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud." –Exodus 16:10b

Just imagine what that would have looked like!

The awesome glory of the Lord.

Surely, God presence is brighter than the sun’s rays—-yet we cannot bear to look at our sun directly.

One day, God will enable us to see with new eyes; eyes that will perceive His brighness and all the colors of Heaven without fear of blindness.

Seeing the fantastic ring in the sky today is simply a reminder that God’s ways are so tremendously higher than my own.

With complete wisdom, He set a halo around the sun.

With complete love, He beckons us daily to follow Him.

 

 

 

 

The Light You Think You Have

 

 

Is it possbile to just get used to sin?

Several months ago, as I was standing outside at work, someone walked over to speak to me. They said something like, "Wow! You smell nice!"

That was, of course, a compliment. I had purchased a small bottle of perfume and decided to wear the fragrance that day. The puzzling thing was, I could no longer detect it’s scent. As far as I knew, all its effects were long gone. No one would be making any comments about my perfume choice–or so I thought.

Being curious, I did a little research on the subject. Why could someone else smell my perfume when I couldn’t?

It seems that this entire process is called olfactory fatigue or olfactory adaptation.

Think of it this way—walking into your favorite restaurant, often the tantalizing smells of finely cooked food greet you at the door, beckoning you to have a seat and enjoy. A few moments after being seated, however, almost all the recognition of the original aroma is absent.

Basically, your sense of smell alerts you to a very real and present scent. As it is exposed to the smell over a continued period of time, your "nose" grows tired of alerting you and adapts to the scent—be it a pleasant aroma or an irritating, foul odor. Removing yourself from the presence of that which causes the scent to begin with will, in time, cause your ability to recognize it to return.

Since I had been exposed to my new perfume for several hours, my sense of smell had dismissed the need to remind me of its presence. For everyone else, however, it was still very apparent.

Well, now….isn’t that just like sin?

When we are first presented with the appalling reality of sin, we often recognize it for what it is–something displeasing to God.

Our hearts hear God warning us that danger is near. Galatians 5:19-21a lists a few of these dangers:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.

If we allow ourselves to "be seated" and stay awhile when these temptations come our way, slowly, but surely, our hearts become hardened in hearing God and our abilty to see them for what they are becomes lessened. Matthew 6:23 says,

But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

Even when our awareness of sin is our lives is muted, others are often very aware of its presence.

It may be time to take an inventory of what we have grown accustomed to—what we have accepted as pleasing to God.

What do you think?

Is it possible to just get used to sin?

 

 

 

 

Grateful Reflection

 

 

Do you ever experience nights when sleep seems almost impossible?

Most commonly, I have heard of lost sleep due to worry.

Many years ago, while attending a conference, I heard a speaker remark that our problems seem bigger at night.

When the fast pace of the day has finally run its course, the house is quiet and the room is dark, our minds begin the review—what happened during the previous hours, why did what happened happen, and what should we do about what happened, if anything…..

A friend once told me that she kept a box beside her bed. As she lay on many occasion thinking of a concern, she would simply write out whatever was bothering her and place the paper in the box. It could be dealt with in the light of day–tomorrow.

What if we were to try to replace our troubling thoughts with reflections on the postive things that God had done throughout the day?

Consiously making an effort to remember those things and thanking God for them would be the start of a calmer mind.

The next time you find yourself wide awake in the night, why not begin to pray?

If I’m sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. Because you’ve always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play. I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post.

–from Psalm 63:5

 

 


 

Open My Lips

 

 

 

 

There are times when I just want to open my heart to God.

I might be feel broken.

I might be filled with overwhelming gratitude.

I might be in awe of who He is and what He has done.

I might be incredibly aware of His presence with me.

No matter what the time may be, God is there.

As I pray, He hears.

When I sing, He listens.

How tender and precious is the love that God, our Father, has for us.

Open my lips, Lord,
   and my mouth will declare your praise.
 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
   you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart
   you, God, will not despise.

–Psalm 51:15-17

 

 

 

No One Knows

 

I hadn’t expected the scene.

Visiting a park that I do not often frequent, I came upon an area with opposing characteristics.

Some of its plant life had been shaped and carefully trimmed. Other plants and trees were growing in a naturally wild state, freely traveling along paths they had chosen for themselves.

A small stream ran almost silently in a downhill fashion toward the direction of the nearest lake. The sun filtered through the trees as the wind playfully swept through.

It was serene and welcoming.

The world’s beauty is inspiring, as well as captivating for those who care to notice.

If we are allowed to behold such beauty in this life, imagine what delightful scenery we will gaze upon in the next!

A new Heaven.

A new Earth.

But when will that time come?

The Bible speaks of that hour:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

    “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." —Matthew 24:36-42

We may not know the day the day that Jesus will return, but every day there are souls entering eternity because their lives on Earth have ended.

Babies.

Mommas.

Daddies.

Brothers and sisters.

Aunts and Uncles.

Grandpas.

Grandmas.

Husbands.

Wives.

We don’t know on what day that will happen, either.

We must be ready.

Admitting that we are sinful and in need of a Savior, we only must believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came into the world to die as a sacrifice in payment for our sins—

Then, repenting of our past failures, we invite Him to become the Lord of our lives, accepting His gift of salvation.

When the day comes that we meet Him face to face, our iniquities will be covered, and we will live forever in His presence.

None of us knows what day that will be.

Are you ready? Really, truly ready?

 

 

 

 

Moths

 

  "Don’t store treasures for yourselves here on earth where moths and rust will destroy them and thieves can break in and steal them.  But store your treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them.  Your heart will be where your treasure is." —Matthew 6:19-21

The idea of a time capsule is intriguing.

Putting articles of the day into a sealed container and burying it away for the primary purpose of having it opened in the far future.

Then, items deemed of great worth would seem simple and crude. What was so important before would likely have lost its value.

The contents of the capsule would probably be forgotten by those that actually put it together.

So, what is the real meaning of the objects, anyway?

A spiritual time capsule is also very intriguing. We each have one, whether we acknowledge it or not.

God is storing up for us the investments that we have made that are eternal.

Not a pair of shoes or a winter coat—-no.

Instead, what might be stored is the knowledge of how you BOUGHT a pair of shoes and a winter coat for a homeless person.

Not your last written will and testament….no.

Instead, what might be stored is the knowledge of how you gave your life to other people and showed them the love of Jesus.

Not a photograph of you when you were young….no.

Instead, what might be stored is your exact likeness—every cell of your body, every corner of your mind—-to live again forever with God because you accepted Jesus as your Savior.

Don’t store treasures here on earth where moths will come and ruin them.

Someday, when God opens your spiritual "time capsule," what will He find there?

 

 

It Is You

 

 

 

You know how it happens.

The disturbing phone call at work.

The email that informs you of news that you’d rather not have known.

Sometimes life becomes intense and complicated.

Just reading the day’s newspaper can be overwhelming.

King David knew what it was like to be overwhelmed—-and afraid.

In Psalm 142:1-3a he prays:

"I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who know my way."

God knows what’s up ahead. He is there with you whenever the trials come.

It is God who knows our way….

 

 

 

Rich In Love

 

 

 

A co-worker of mine celebrated her birthday last week.

Her family sent her a gorgeous arrangement of flowers to honor her on that day.

It would certainly seem that she is rich with love from her spouse and children.

Could this be so without God?

Is love even possible apart from Him?

Unless He gives us the capacity to love, we cannot.

Our Heavenly Father is rich with love and He freely gives it to us.

Shouldn’t we rejoice in returning our love back to Him?

Shouldn’t we show the love He has blessed us with to others?

Why not make a conscious effort to show love to someone?

Let’s get started…..why not do it—today?

 

 

 

 

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

The LORD is good to all;

He has compassion on all He has made.  —Psalm 145:8-9

 

Rejoice

 

 

 

I had to work late today.

As it turned out, the moon was just coming up as I was close to arriving at home. I drove past the entrance to my neighborhood in favor of traveling a little farther to find an area where I could more easily see it.

It was beautiful and full, creamy and bright, rising above the treetops and houses.

Having the light of the moon so high in the sky somehow suggests the thought that God is above us, watching and caring. As the moon gives us light in the darkness, so does God illuminate our path through the shadowy uncertainty we find ourselves in.

In the book of Zephaniah, God is comforting Jerusalem with words of restoration in chapter 3, verse 17:

"The Lord your God is with you;
       the mighty One will save you.
    He will rejoice over you.
       You will rest in his love;
       he will sing and be joyful about you."

Does God rejoice over us?

Can we rest in His love?

Does He sing about us?

Is He joyful about us?

I think so….

Don’t you?

 

All Things Through Christ

 

 

 

"I can’t do it!"

"What if I fail?"

"It’s too difficult!"

"I don’t have the skills needed."

"I’m really afraid to try."

"People will laugh at me if I am not successful."

"It will take too much preparation."

"It’s impossible."

 

I stood comfortably on shore watching a woman go out into the ocean. She was on her knees on a board, paddling with an oar. At some point, she stood, amidst the waves.

Not being very talented in the area of water sports, this was not something that looked easy to me. It really didn’t even look inviting. I was content to watch this nameless figure stand with waves rolling and crashing about her.

She had obviously made the decision to get into the water and try.

What things does God ask us to do?

Are they unfamiliar at times, like riding the waves with only an oar and a board?

Do they seem too difficult to conquer?

Philipians 4:13 says,

"I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength."

We have a decision to make: will we go out into the water and…….try?

 

 

 

A Covenant For Them

 

 

Do you ever think about how the earth is not perfect?

Do you ever think about how the earth will be perfect, someday?

I don’t know of anyone who thinks about a new heaven and a new earth within the context of disaster, fighting, anger and turmoil.

No.

It will be different.

Having considered how God will make all things new and bring peace to every living thing, a particular experience made me yearn for a time such as that will be.

I happened to notice that a large wasp was in the bathroom window. I decided that I needed to kill it, so that it would not sting me or a member of my family.

As I sprayed it with some air freshener (I didn’t have any insect spray) it moved about as though it were trying to sting, then suddenly, it stopped. It stopped completely. It had died.

Of course, I realize that what I am about to say may seem very unusual to a great many people. It is, however, how I felt.

I was truly sorry about the entire situation. Wasps sting people. Sometimes, when they sting people who have allergies to their sting, it can be life threatening for that individual. In order to protect myself, I made the decision to spray it. Wasps and people do not inhabit the same spaces in a friendly way–at least, not yet.

Some time after that, I was out walking near some very tall grass. A particularly melodious bird was perched there, looking this way and that way as I quietly tried to photograph him without scaring him away. That type of bird fears people.  People can cause harm.  In a perfect world, I could have walked right up to the singing within the flowing grass and listened. I would not have feared him and he would not have feared me.

Just imagine it—every living thing being at peace with one another.

God knows what that’s like and He wants to give it to us, but for now, we must wait.

There will come a day when I can hold a wasp in my hand and consider the form and beauty given to it by God without fear of its sting.

There will come a day when I can approach a singing bird within the realm of total trust.

Men will no longer fight men and all that lives will praise God.

Do you ever think about how the earth will be perfect….someday?

In that day I will make a covenant for them
   with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
   and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
   I will abolish from the land,
   so that all may lie down in safety.–Hosea 2:18

 

 

 

 

It Is Marvelous

 

 

Strolling along on the sidewalk, I happened to look down to see an unusual plant.

It was striking in its shape and form.

A little further down the way, I saw another plant, just like the first one. I couldn’t recall ever having seen this type of plant before.

Flowers are fascinating to me, displaying such mathematical perfection. This bloom was no exception; God had created a marvel of calculated arrangement. In a new way, He was revealing yet another declaration of His existence.  Everywhere we look, God is giving testimony to His reality. He is present with us, He loves us and His plan for our redemption through Jesus is truly real.

God’s provision for our salvation is fascinating. With it, He displays complete perfection of love. It is a marvel of calculated sacrifice and mercy. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection declare to us His never ending, eternal existance.

Everywhere we look, God is giving testimony to His reality and His desire to reconcile us to Himself.

The psalmist says,

The stone the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone;
 the LORD has done this,
   and it is marvelous in our eyes.
 The LORD has done it this very day;
   let us rejoice today and be glad.

—Psalm 18:22-24

 

 

Instead of the Thornbush

 

 

 

 

You’re there again.

Things just aren’t the way you had hoped they would be.

Everywhere you look, it seems that life is just a disarray of confusion.

One step forward, two steps backward.

Why can’t it be different?

Chances are, if you don’t feel this way now, you have at some point in the past.

When all your gardens are just weeds and dried up sticks, it’s hard to imagine a lush, green haven of life.

With God, however, all things are possible.

He can bring about miraculous change.

Talk to Him in prayer about the circumstances of your life,

then watch and listen for His response.

He can replace what’s bad with the good.

He can repair, renew and replace.

Why don’t you talk to Him…..right now?

 

Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.

—from Isaiah 55:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stone Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am I God-willed or self-willed?

Do I want what I want, even if it goes against what God chooses?

Those two questions are faceted with every angle imaginable as I go through my day.

What I want–what God wants—-in this instance, in that instance.

The victory is when I want what God wants.

At that point, my life is aligned properly with what I truly need.

I really don’t want my heart to be described as stone.

Stone is hard.

It’s unbending.

It is void of life.

Isn’t that what being self-willed makes you…. in the end?

 

 

 

 

Seek the LORD

 

 

 

The lake was calm as always.

I hadn’t expected to see the sailboat. I was delighted when I noticed it on the horizon.

Peaceful and golden, the sun was setting with a shimmering carpet of dazzling light.

I wonder what it felt like to be on that boat, sailing along on the quiet water, awaiting the dim shadows of dusk and the twinkling of lights from the boardwalk in the distance.

Was he lonely? thoughtful? prayerful?

The solitude of the moment might have been a welcome friend—a time to seek God and hear His voice.

The Bible says,
"Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near."  –Isaiah 55:6

Don’t you long for His closeness–to hear His voice and understand?

 

 

 

For God So Loved

When I was in college, the pastor of the church I attended was an older man, nearing retirement age. Through the years, I have thought of him as a very wise, committed Christian.

On occasion, he would utter a phrase that was previously foreign to me–
"Nobody loves me, everybody hates me; think I’ll go eat worms."

Surely, he must have been using this line when talking about self-esteem or depression. I cannot recall exactly. These words, however, have been tucked in my mind ever since.

I recently thought of them again.

I enjoy photographing nature. There is a remarkable beauty and design in everything that God has created.

Even so, I don’t want to eat just anything.

That, for me anyway, would include….worms.

Going with the idea that the unnamed person from which the phrase originated did not think highly of them, either, we are left to ask, "Why would you go and do something like that?"

For me, the assumption is that if no ones really cares about you, then it’s fine to hold your own self in that regard.  If no one loves you, why love yourself?

Eating worms is just not what I see people doing every day.
In fact, other than in a less-than-what-I want-to-watch reality show, I don’t feel that I am going to.

The attitude is there, none the less.

"Nobody loves me, everybody hates me; think I’ll go….

quit my job?"
leave my family?"
get drunk?"
take drugs?"
go to sleep?"
end my life?"
start a fight?"
overeat?"
starve myself?"

It’s a sad list.
One that can be changed, however.

The truth is, the phrase, "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me.." is a lie.

God loves us.
God does not hate us.

With this is mind, if God loves us, then we should love ourselves.
We should treat ourselves accordingly.

"Since God loves me, I think I’ll go…

work at my job as though I were working for Him?"
love and guide my family?"
immerse my mind in godly things?"
embrace every moment?"
live a full life?"
take care of my body?"

It’s a happy list.
One that is possible with God.

Go eat worms?

Not a chance……

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Spend Money

 

 

 

For at least two nights now–and maybe more–I have been reading from Isaiah 55.

All of us who are searching–searching for answers, for meaning, for love, for truth; for comfort, for forgiveness for joy, for real life–we should come to the place where that is really found.

All of us who have nothing to pay for any of this when we get there (it cannot be purchased by human standards) can come and buy it, anyway!

We can "buy" it all! Without cost!

Answers!

Meaning!

Love!

Truth!

Comfort!

Forgiveness!

Joy!

Life!

The shelves are packed with all these, plus more!

Is there any reason that we should use our resources to gain only substitutes for what we really yearn for?

Should we work so hard for a meal of plastic fruit?

Everything that is ever needed can be found with God.

We should take in what He offers and when we do, we will find that there is nothing in all creation that is better.

God calls us.

He wants us to listen so that we may live this kind of life–now and forever.

Tell me…..aren’t you searching for something?

 

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
   come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without cost.
 Why spend money on what is not bread,
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
   and you will delight in the richest of fare.
 Give ear and come to me;
   listen, that you may live."

—Isaiah 55:1-3a

 

 

 

 

And You Came

 

Did you do something nice today for someone?

Write a get well card?

Make a phone call to a hurting friend?

Take food to an aging neighbor?

Visit someone in the hospital?

Give money to a homeless person?

The list could go on forever.

In fact, it does.

As Christians, every time we care for another person in this world, Jesus takes note of it.

It’s as if we are doing our kindness for Him, when we do it for others.

Matthew 25:36-40 says,

I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Have you ever really considered that when kindness and love are shown to another person in need, it is though it is being shown to Jesus?

Think about it—-did you do something nice today for someone?


 

 

Open Up Your Lives

 

Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! –II Corinthians 6:11 The Message

How much do I long for my own family to know God in a great way?

To have a wide-open spacious life of living in relationship with Him on a daily basis?

Most of us have families—spouses, parents, children, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins.

Are we encouraging them in the faith?

To live openly and expansively?

Am I?

 

 


 

 

House On Sand

 

 

Someone had taken quite a long time constructing them.

The sand structures stood proudly on the shore, their artist long gone from his natural studio on the water’s edge.

The tide would probably come soon and displace the grains of sand with one mighty surge of water, first pulsing forward and over them, then immediately washing back down into the ocean.

There would be no trace of what had been built. The effort put into it’s design and construction would no longer be known.

Had I chosen to take a photo of a rocky beach, however, the story would have been different. After the crashing waves brought white foam bubbles into each pathway between the rocks, they would still be standing.

Jesus made this comparison of rocks and sand in Matthew 7:24-27:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Am I listening to Jesus’ words recorded in the Bible?

Am I putting them into practice?

I don’t want to be like the foolish man—-the sandy foundation of his life didn’t hold up.

Instead, I truly want to be like the wise man—when peril came, his foundation was in God; it stood firm.

I need to take a look at my life—a good look.

Am I spending time laying a solid foundation, or am I becoming distracted and putting my trust in sandy soil?

How about you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

He is Faithful

 

 

Is it hard for us to forgive?

Is it hard for us to forgive ourselves?

The Bible tells us in I John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

If we realize our mistakes and failures and confess them to God with a repentant heart, we will be forgiven.

We are purified!

The ugly, brown and brittle stems of sin entwining our blooms of righteousness are removed from around us. We become vibrant again, without blemish.

When God has forgiven us, it is over with.

We no longer need to bring up the old guilt feelings of the past.

Today is a new day to bloom for Him.

God is faithful!