Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moving is....an Experience.

Well, we finally made it to sunny Florida. Moving is a challenge. Moving to another state is a double challenge. When the movers came somehow the price we were quoted was $700 more...amazing but in a days time we had everything we owned loaded and ready for transport. I wonder if we will actually get our stuff from the movers. I guess if we don't, someone else needed it more than we do.

Moving is letting go of everything that has been familiar to you and casting yourself into the great unknown. Moving to a new state is interesting but being compliant to the new state's rules is not so interesting. Not that I'm complaining its just a huge adjustment. But God is faithful and he has so graciously supplied us with all we need and more.

Not having a job and moving to a new state is an even harder challenge...not that I'm whining, I'm just being realistic. I didn't expect it to be all roses. Matter of fact, I was willing to stay or go depending on what the Lord had for us...it didn't matter to me. Doors opened and we followed peace, that's about all you can do in this situation.

Even here in the circumstance in which we find ourselves; God's grace is sufficient. Last night, we had dinner at some friend's house in Sarasota and we had a wonderful meal and conversation salted with encouragement that God has been and will continue to be faithful. Oh how quickly I forget. It was good for me to be reminded.

I wonder if this is how Abraham and Sarai felt when they endeavored to follow the Lord's instructions to go to a land he would show them. I wonder if they had trouble getting Internet service or had to drag every piece of evidence that proved they existed to the license branch just to drive their camels :)

New chapters in life bring new challenges and more occasions to be patient and kind with people. I'm learning...we all are...how to persevere. But we are more blessed than Abraham and Sarai...at least we don't have to live in a tent!! And we have the constant presence of our Lord with us; he comforts us and brings us peace.

Lord, turn up the volume on your voice and mute the voices of naysayers and fear. Help us to walk in faith, trusting you for our very existence. I thank you for this opportunity to see you move on our behalf! I praise you! Thank you for a kind banker and insurance agent who worked patiently through her lunch to get us the best deal. Thank you for friends who feed us and encourage our hearts. Thank you for supporting and welcoming us here through kind neighbors and friends with food. Woo Hoo! You are so good to us!

Part the waters as we watch and lead our steps through on dry ground. We believe! Amen!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Love is the Answer!

Recently, the Lord has been showing me how to stay with him continually. I’ve noticed in my reading time that how we treat others is highly important to God and why wouldn’t it be? He gave the life of his Son for all of humanity. I am so amazed; I have never made this connection before in this way.

In John chapter 15, Jesus is speaking and he his showing us how to remain in him and remain in his love. Did you ever wish that you could be consciously connected to God constantly? That’s a mouthful, I know, but it is the best way I can communicate this principle of the Kingdom of God. Let’s look into the word and find out.

John 15:4-5 & 7 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

Wow, so not only if we remain in him will be very fruitful for God but there is also a promise attached to this statement, that God will give us what we ask of him. If we remain in him and his word is in us we can’t ask amiss because he is in us! Our wishes have come from him who remains within us and why wouldn’t God grant his own desires through us? He wants to bring glory to himself so mankind will see him and know he’s real!

We had to have a place to begin, but how do we remain in him and in his love? Well, let’s read on…in verses 9-10, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

We remain in him and in his love by being obedient to Jesus’ command. This makes it possible for us to stay in a place of continual alignment with the Father! What is the command? Ah, here we go this is where it gets good in John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Ok, but what kind of “love” is he speaking about? How has he loved us? Again in verse 13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” This is what is called “Agape” love in the Greek and what that literally means according to the Strong’s Concordance is this… “To welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.”

This is a love that puts others before itself, that makes itself a servant to another and that is unconditional towards another.

This is the kind of love we are to have and if we are obedient and love others in this manner God says that he will keep us in Jesus and give us the things we ask him for. Have you been praying for something recently and can’t figure out why God won’t give it to you? Take a minute and ask yourself, how have I been treating others around me? My guess is that you will immediately know the answer.

This is not a way of manipulating God. This is walking in his ways and receiving the benefits of being obedient. I used to think that God had to give me this love but the scripture says we are to be obedient. This indicates to me that we have the love of God within us and we are disobedient when we choose not to love someone.

Our old nature would say, “You can’t love that person, look what they did to you.” In contrast, through the new nature that God has given us through Jesus we are to love them as he has loved us. He makes it clear that this is an issue of command and obedience and it is well within our ability to do because he has already extended his love to us. He showed us the way.

And now comes the test :) Pass it and be blessed!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's Super God!!

Faster than a speeding planet toward its just reward, more powerful than an evil adversary able to take us out, able to humble himself to die on a cross…it’s King Jesus Super God to the rescue!!!

These are the thoughts that came to my mind today as I read from my Complete Jewish Bible in Isaiah 59. Man, this is good stuff…help me Jesus! It is clearly explained to us why God turns and hides his face from us…listen to this:

“Adonai’s arm is not too short to save, nor is his ear too dull to hear. Rather, it is your own crimes that separate you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he doesn’t hear. For your hands are stained with blood and your fingers with crime; your lips speak lies, your tongues utter wicked things." (Isaiah 59: 1-3)

This scripture goes on to talk about the reason why there is no justice in our courts saying that no one is honest and all that is said and done is worthless. Verse 9- says, “This is why justice is far from us, and righteousness doesn’t catch up with us; we look for light, but see only darkness, for brightness, but we walk in gloom…”

Going on God shows the prophet the condition of the people’s hearts in verse 13-14 it says this, “...And our sins, we know them well: rebelling and denying God (Adonai), turning away from following our God, talking about oppression and revolt, uttering lies which our hearts have conceived. THUS JUSTICE IS REPELLED, RIGHTEOUSNESS STANDS APART, AT A DISTANCE…”

I love the build of these verses you can almost see God watching us, watching all the unrighteous acts of everyone everywhere…you can see the darkness coming over the land engulfing everything in its path like a spill of oil contaminating all it comes in contact with and then the prophet continues…

Isaiah 59: 15-17, Here is where King Jesus, Super God comes on the scene, “…Adonai saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, was amazed that no one interceded. Therefore his own arm brought him salvation, and his own righteousness sustained him.”

Hallelujah!!!! Here comes our hero to save us!!! “…He put on righteousness as his breastplate, salvation as a helmet on his head; he clothed himself with garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in a mantle of zeal.” Hallelujah!!! Hallelujah!!!

I can see Jesus taking up our cause and dressing himself with all these attributes rising from his throne and pleading with the Father to come to earth and I see the Father nod with approval, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased,” he says for everyone to hear. But let’s see the end of what the prophet prophesies….

Isaiah 59: 19-21 “…For he will come like a pent-up stream, impelled by the Spirit of Adonai. Then a Redeemer will come from Tziyon (Zion), to those in Ya’kov (Jacob) who turn from rebellion.” So says Adonai, “And as for me,” says Adonai, “this is my covenant with them: my Spirit, who rests on you, and my words which I put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children’s children, now or ever,” says Adonai.”

Wooo Hooo!!!! That is something to get excited about!! Jesus (The Word) saw our plight and from heaven brought his righteousness to earth to redeem those of men who would turn from their rebellion and his COVENANT, (or forever, unbroken, constant, enduring promise) with us is that Jesus will be with us!

He has swooped down from heaven to save us! Our part is to turn from our rebellion towards God and receive his salvation!

I leave you with this thought….if Lois Lane where falling from a building to her certain death and Superman came to save her, would she say, “no thanks, I have this all under control?!” NO WAY!! She would let him save her and be grateful! There are those spiraling down to their emanate doom and every day they take in breath, Jesus gives them opportunity …he comes to save them.

What will be their decision, will they yield to his Almighty hand? Will they go to their doom? Or will they fall into the arms of their strong and powerful Savior, ask his forgiveness and receive his love for them.

My prayer is the latter…Don’t say to Jesus today, "I don't need you, I have it all under control," for you may be falling faster than you think.