Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rushing Waters and Washing Machines

With kids it’s always something. We happen to have older ones and younger ones (21, 18, 16, & 12) and though we love them dearly, there is never a minute without drama in our house. I know that when they are gone we will think back and long to hear doors slamming at midnight, the washer constantly squeaking, and many other strange but joyous noises all hours of the day and night.

I mention these sounds because they stand out in my mind from recent events but there are more majestic sounds than the sounds that emanate from our house and they are mentioned in Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation to name a few. These are the sounds of the voice of the Lord.
Ezekiel 1: 24 & 43:2 both relate the sound of his voice to be like rushing waters. This thought is also echoed in Revelation 1:15. Daniel 10:6 was the only other place I could find that described the sound of God’s voice and he likened it to the “sound of a multitude”.
On our recent trip to Florida, I thought a lot about the sound of God’s voice as I sat on the beach watching the water come in and out in waves. As it crashed upon the shore I wondered, is this really what he sounds like? What was he saying to me? It was quite a moving experience.
Today as I was reflecting on all of this, I was drawn to Psalm 29 and it also spoke of the Lord’s voice. Here I saw the affects and location of the Lord’s voice. According to this passage it hovers over the waters, it is powerful and can break cedars and make nations rejoice. This psalm says in verse 7-9 that the Lord’s voice strikes like lightning, shakes the desert, twists oaks and strips forests bare.

The voice of the Lord is very awesome and powerful and from scripture we can see that his voice is a very real presence in our lives; all around us in the very essence of nature God speaks loud and clear. He is real and very much in control of our lives and our environment. He is to be praised and worshipped because he is holy and worthy.

As followers of Christ, we are to be well acquainted with his voice so that we can obey his every command. We look to him for guidance and comfort. His voice is always with us constantly speaking but we have to have ears to hear. If you are struggling today and are in need of hearing his voice, just ask him to clear your mind and turn up the volume so that you can hear what he is saying to you.

Many times in scripture God speaks loudly so he won’t have a problem with your request! My prayer for the coming year is that God’s voice will be heard by his children above the everyday noise of our existence, above the squeaking washer and kid noises in the night, and that as we hear his voice we will be quick to be obedient to his will.

Have a safe and happy new year. God, I’m all ears!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Perfect Gift

In all of our running here and there to find the perfect gifts to fulfill the desires of our loved ones hearts this Christmas, there is but one gift that matters the most in life and in death.

It is the gift of Jesus Christ. His gift gives love to us every moment of every day from the time we accept him as truth in our lives. He is truly the only gift that will ever matter.

Jesus Christ, Jesus the Messiah, came to earth leaving all of his deserved majesty to take the human form of an infant. His love was his motivation, specifically his love for us, compelled him to take action and intervene in our lives. From his vantage point in heaven, he could see that without his intervention our souls would be doomed to hell, an eternity apart from God.

We were doomed because there was no way for us to live a perfect life fulfilling the law which he gave us. He is a righteous, holy God and no darkness or no other way of life is found in him. He is so righteous that there was no way, other than his sovereign intervention, for us to be able to spend eternity with him.

Christ came to earth, born for the specific purpose to die for us. He took our place and paid a bill that wasn’t his to pay. We were in debt to the law which we could not live up to. Why would Christ die in our place? He would do this because of his great love for us, a love in which we cannot comprehend its fullness. He would die for us not because we were such great and wonderful people, but for the sake of his love for us.

Love is a great motivator even for us. We love our children and would move heaven and earth to save them if their lives were in danger. Christ did the same for us, only there was more at stake than just our physical life here on earth, our eternal life was at stake. He could not bear an eternity apart from us, his creation, and his children. He knew we were helpless because he created us.

At the time of his death, after living and walking among us, he was unjustly crucified. The people of that time stretched out his arms on a wooden cross and drove nails though his hands. Then they stretched out his legs and crossed his feet and drove a spike through them. He was nailed to a cross.

He was not guilty of any crime at all; in fact, he had lived a perfect life completely fulfilling the law that we could not. No sin or shame was found in him; he was the perfect lamb, a perfect payment for our sin and God laid the weight of the world’s sin, the sin of all time and all people, upon him.

As his blood was shed, the sins of the entire world…past, present and future were atoned for leaving us who would receive him as our Lord and Savior cleansed of our sin forever. Christ made a way; he is the gate through which we come to the Father (our creator) with confidence. Now, we will live with him forever and we don’t need to be afraid of death.

Why are we here on this earth? Why would God bother if Christ was the sacrifice for all time? We must learn to know him, and in order to know him, we must suffer as Christ did many trials and tribulations to help us learn. The purpose of the life we live here on earth is to learn to lay down our lives for others and follow the example that Jesus Christ gave us. In doing this, we bring him glory.

This sounds crazy, why does she believe this? Where is she getting all of this? I get these beliefs from God’s word, the bible, which he gave to us to help us in our spiritual journey.

The bible is tested and true on every plain. It has been proven in my life’s experiences and many more lives throughout the ages and in the earth through archeology. God’s word never fades away; it has always been and will always be. God’s word is powerful and has intricately shaped and molded my life. God’s word is the moral absolute and without it we do not know that it is wrong to kill, steal, lie, covet, or worship idols.

Without God’s word we do not know how to love our God or others. We do not know the sovereignty and holiness of our God’s name. We know nothing of the sacred things of our God. We do not know that it is right and good to honor our fathers and mothers.

We would never know what can bring us life, health and peace. We would not know that we need a savior. We wouldn’t know about the wonderful sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf.

For example, a person may not believe in God, but they know that it is wrong to murder. Why do they believe this way? Because God’s word is God’s word and it says don't murder anyone, it rules in the earth whether or not they believe in him or his word. Because God says so!

God’s word cannot be partly true because God is not a half way God! He went all the way to the cross and beyond to fulfill his word!

This is my Christmas gift to you. This gift, Jesus gave to me, when I accepted him as my savior and the gift is eternal life. Not because I am someone special, but because Jesus Christ is someone special and he is calling out to you today, do you hear him? Do you have the courage to listen and make the necessary acceptance of all this truth in your heart and to receive everlasting life from him?

If you have courage and are ready for your life to change, today is your day. Pray with me…Father, I know I am a sinner, I believe that you came to earth; you died to save me from a life apart from you. I believe that you love me and I ask you to come into my heart and rule my life. I need a change and I believe you are the only way to that change. I want to be with you forever.

Thank you Jesus for hearing my request and honoring it with your presence in my life. Fill me now with your Holy Spirit and show me what to do next. Amen.

Now, as an act of faith, tell someone about the decision you’ve just made. I know that the weight of the world has just lifted off of your shoulders and you are filled with an awesome peace you have never known. This is his presence, and it is another reason why all I have said is true. He will never leave you or forsake you and you can count on that.

Merry Christmas, his beloved ones.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keep your Focus

Well, we are finally back on track with our bible study after several weeks of holiday and other obligations. It was good to set down and dig into the word together again.

We began with a word of prayer and a cry in our hearts that the Holy Spirit would come and speak to us. I was amazed once again at how God showed up and ministered to our hearts because I couldn’t remember where I had read, and there were others at the study that hadn't even had time to read scripture that day.

Even in spite of all that, the Holy Spirit led the way. We began in 2 Samuel 22 reading the extravagant praise that came forth from King David; it was almost like a psalm. He spoke about God and his power and praised him for enabling him to do things that were out of his power to do. David praised God for his deliverance as he was confronted with death; truly in his time of desperate need, God was faithful and helped him.

With this encouragement saturating our hearts, we moved to Proverbs 2:1-8 where God directed us to cry out to him for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding through a daily devotional that one of us had tucked away in their bible. It was beautiful to see how the Spirit was putting the pieces together to speak a powerful message to us.

We learned to seek God’s word as if we were looking for hidden treasure that we believed was real. We discussed how we must believe that God’s word is real and that it has a tremendous purpose and power in our lives for us to do his will.

We talked about the importance of knowing God and how all the circumstances going on around us are distractions that the enemy uses to get our focus off of the Kingdom of God to throw us off balance. It was as if God had reminded us who he was and was saying, just focus on me.

Jeremiah 33 was next. Here the Lord said in verse 3 once again, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Seek me, keep your focus on me and I will guide you. God went on in Jeremiah 33 to reveal his plan to the people even speaking of Jesus in verses 14-17 in this Messianic Prophesy.

God tells Jeremiah in no certain terms that he will keep his promises and he will bring these things to pass. God went so far as to say that we could be assured that these things would happen just like day and night never cease and the laws that are fixed in heaven and on earth cannot be changed by us. (Verse 25) His promises are true and trustworthy and we are to focus on him and not let the distractions of life entangle us. (Also see 2 Timothy 3-6).

In Genesis 25: 19-34 we read how Esau despised his birthright because he was worried about his survival. In this, God encouraged us not to despise or lose sight of our place with him that was given to us before we were born.

We were chosen and bought with a price and God has given us promises that are sure. We in turn should not worry about our daily needs by forgetting who God is and where we came from and are seated…with Christ in heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:6).

Matthew 6:25-34 shows us the mind of Christ and how we are to approach life and our needs and Colossians 3:1-4 brings focus to our every thought. We left the bible study encouraged, refreshed and strengthened. God had spoken clearly to us through his wonderful word and I give him all the praise.

Beloved, as the day draws near and the darkness envelopes us, so that we cannot find our way, we will need the light of Jesus to guide us more than ever. Look at life’s distractions through the light of eternity and regain your focus.

When we stand before God, will it be all the busyness of life that is important and pleasing to God? Or will it be that we have taken time to focus on him and know him? Don’t despise the rights that God gave you from before the time you were born; you were chosen and bought with a price. Trust in him and seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness.

I’ve said this before and I truly believe it, all we go through is in preparation for what is to come. This is boot camp! Dig in, know him and focus NOT on the distractions and circumstance going on in your life but on Jesus our only hope!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cat Encouragement

Look what the cat drug in is a familiar saying in our society with not so nice connotations. Well, this week at our house this saying was very true as our cat came in with a live mouse in its mouth…I screamed and jumped on my daughter in the loveseat, Atlee jumped on the couch and Matt darted about the living room with a cup bravely attempting to catch it.
What a scene! All this while we were trying to put up the Christmas tree, there were decorations and fake tree branches everywhere. More screaming and jumping ensued as the mouse ran under the ottoman. Then at some point we thought it had gone up inside the couch so we turned it over to see if it was there. We looked and looked but couldn't find it.

It must have scurried to the other side of the room behind the TV because later that night as things had quieted down, I spotted the mouse there... eeek! More screaming and jumping….oh the drama (and I’m talking about myself!)
That mouse is a master at hiding but our old cat (not the one who brought the mouse in…that was the young cat) knew that it had moved from the living room to the kitchen in the night as she patiently stared at the dishwasher for most of the next day.

Later in the afternoon she had moved her stance and was poised on the refrigerator. She was very persistent and I was amazed at how the old girl just wouldn’t give up. All day she waited and she didn’t even receive her prize.
This made me think of how many times I’ve believed God for things to come to pass but they never did. I had a choice at those times to give up on my faith in God or trust that he is my loving father and he knows what is best for me.

The bible tells us how trials of many kinds come at us and when they do, God’s purpose in allowing them is to develop our faith and make us mature. (James 1:3-4)
In Daniel 3:17 & 18, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were tried with literal fire for their faith. I love what they say to the king in these verses. God is able, but even if he doesn’t deliver us from you we won’t bow down to your god! This was their message standing firm on the knowledge of who their God was to them.

This is what we must be prepared to do as followers of Christ in this dark time. We will be tested and tried for our faith and we must know our God and be willing to trust that if he doesn’t spare our flesh he will save our soul! We must not base our faith in Him on whether or not he fulfills our expectations.
Job proclaimed in chapter 2 verse 10, “…shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Just as these patriarchs walked faithfully with God so must we. Our God is a good and loving God who is also righteous and just; we can trust his judgment because he sees the whole picture.
We, on the other hand, only see only in part as 1 Corinthians 13:12 explains.
If you’re facing a fiery test today, stand firm in what you know from the word to be true and believe that even if God doesn’t deliver you in the way you think he should, that he is faithful and true and has your best interest at heart.
To date our old cat hasn’t caught that mouse but I can tell as she faithfully stands guard over our kitchen that she will endure to the end. Either she will get that mouse or the mouse will die where it is…personally I hope she gets it… and I hope you will endure and receive your prize as well.

Turn to our loving Father, be persistent and he will help you.
Posted by Picasa