and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Uncomplicated Faith of a Child

       There aren’t too many memories I have of my younger years, but I do recall that I never worried about having enough food (I’d have liked more sugary cereals and less macaroni and cheese loaf), enough clothes (would have preferred jeans over brown polyester pants) and rarely got the toys I wanted.  Still, I just always assumed my parents would tend to all my needs.  Most of us in North America grew up that way.  We didn’t always get our wants, but most of the time we had our needs met.

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 18:2,3

       Little children have a simple assurance in their parents to meet all their needs.  Children in this country don’t usually worry about what they will eat, drink, wear, where they will sleep, how they will get where they need to go, etc.  I think that is one of the things Jesus spoke about in Mt. 18.  As the Father’s children, we also need that kind of faith.

       It is not so difficult in good economic times, but the past few years are more challenging for us adults.  My own husband has been layed off for a while yet I have a confident belief God will continue to provide and he will get back to work.  We are not supposed to be constantly worried about how and when our needs will be met, but we can be assured God will provide (even if not to our ‘desired’ levels).

your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Mt. 6:8 
"So don't ever worry by saying, 'What are we going to eat?' or 'What are we going to drink?' or 'What are we going to wear?' …Surely your heavenly Father knows that you need all of them! But first be concerned about God's kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well. So never worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Mt. 6:31-34

       Don’t worry about tomorrow, trust in your Father to take care of you.  Even when you cannot comprehend how it will all work out, know that He knows your needs.  I can only say we have survived because of the grace and provision of God.  He has not let us down.  I may not have everything I want, but I want Him more than anything.  And I am confident He will continue to care for us.

The Lord loves you, He knows your needs.  Trust Him to provide.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Where is the Wonder?

But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled (wonder, admire), and glorified (magnified, praised) God, which had given such power (universal authority) unto men. Mt. 9:8 

       Jesus had just forgiven a man’s sins, and when that was rebuked, He healed the man.  This verse speaks of the reaction of the multitudes to the healing.  They marveled at what they had seen, and they praised and magnified God.  So, it leads me to question: when was the last time the multitudes (especially here in North America) saw anything from a believer that caused them to marvel and praise/ magnify God?

       Could it be that they don’t see the life and power of the Spirit working in our lives?  If that is so, then what do we do about it?  Prayer is only a beginning.  I remember months ago speaking to a friend about my many health issues and she said, “So what are you doing about it?”  Her words made me take further action.  We think we should just pray, but there are other ways we can take action:

-Read our Bible more.
     (The Bible) shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, Jos. 1:8
     Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1Tim.  
-Speak to other Christians often about faith, love, all we read in the Bible.
     And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Heb. 10:24
     But exhort one another daily  Heb.  
-Get in God’s presence as often as possible. (If you think this is only at church, you need to seek assistance.)
     …in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Ps. 16:11
     Let us come (hasten) before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with
     psalms. Ps. 95:2 
-Worship alone at home, and with others.
     By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually… Heb. 13:15
     And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God  Luke 24:53 
-Concerning prayer:
     Beg, plead, admit sin, repent, call on God, cry out,
     (humble self, offer self, be willing, listen for His voice)
     Evening, and morning, and at , will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. Ps. 55:17
     Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit  Eph.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Genuine Repentance

       “I’m sorry,” he said for what seemed like the millionth time.  There were the tears I’d come to expect and the typical flowers in hand.  He had been caught with another woman once again.  You wouldn’t think it’d be that hard remaining faithful for a few years at least, but it seemed he couldn’t do it.  Once again he begged for my forgiveness.  Oh, I will forgive him once more, but the trust, and our intimacy has been ruined.

       His words “I’m sorry” stopped meaning anything since they were not sincere, made obvious by the fact he did not change.  “Don’t take him back” my friends cried, “He’ll just do it again.”  But this time…  maybe…  I want to believe its true, but the truth is, I’ll only know when enough time has elapsed and he remains faithful.  Maybe then the pain will recede and trust and intimacy can be rebuilt.  Maybe then I’ll see that he genuinely loves me.
*     *     *     *     *

        Though this story isn’t true at all in my marriage, it is true for all of us in our relationship with the Lord- come on, admit it.  We are all unfaithful, committing adultery with various idols in our lives (money, self) and never really turning from our sin.  Ah, but I tried and it didn’t work, you say.  As the wise Yoda once said, “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  See, we often say we’re sorry and leave it at that expecting God’s forgiveness.  But ‘sorry’ becomes empty words when it isn’t followed by change.

       In the book, “The Five Love Languages of Apology” there are steps to follow in any apology that work just as well for practical repentance of sins. 

Express regret  (I’m sorry Lord) 2Cor. 7:10; Ps. 51:17
Accept responsibility  (I was wrong to…) no ‘buts’ allowed Ps. 51:3,4
Make Restitution  (What can I do…) Ps. 51:13
Genuine repentance:  “to turn around/ change one’s mind” or choose to change own behavior.
     -express intent to change (example: I will stop looking at
     -develop a plan to implement change (I will not go online and will
          throw out all my porn books)
     -implement the plan (stop going online and throw out inappropriate
Request forgiveness  (Forgive me Lord) Ps. 51:9-14

       It is too easy to excuse our continuing sin on our inability to change or our human nature.  We have been made new (2Cor. 5:17) and one of the ways we show that is by leading a life of repentance or turning from sin.  Eph. says, “That ye put off (put away/ cast off) concerning the former conversation (behaviour) the old man…”  So we must literally take action to do all we can to stay away from sin.  Imagine how hurt the Lord is over our continuing unfaithfulness.  Let each and every one of us give effort to true repentance.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Are Loved!

Happy God Loves You Day!

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.  John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.  
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.  1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.  1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.  Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father.  Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.  James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.  Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.  Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love.  Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.  Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you.  Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession.  Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.  Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.  Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.  Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires.  Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.  Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager.  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.  Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.  Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.  Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. 
Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.  John 17:23

Portion of:  Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications
Copyright 1999-2011

Happy Valentine's Day Jesus!

Monday, February 13, 2012

…Not By Sight

        I am hoping this will be an encouragement to keep actively pushing closer to the Lord in your own life.  Our journeys are difficult and full of trials and sorrows, but there is a place we can find in Him, not where we are free of those trials and sorrows, but where we are confident He is with us in them, He will bring us through them, and He will strengthen our character because of them in whatever way is needed.

       There is a place of peace, joy and love in Him that supersedes the emotional turmoil during difficult times and which we can find in Him alone.  Right now, I have never been more ‘there’ yet I do not say it is fully achieved because I am still growing and learning… and trying to get closer to the Lord more than ever before.  Let me explain:

What I see with my eyes right now:
       My body aches, other health problems, our finances (due to layoff and health) have not been worse, conflict at home and with extended family, house and vehicle are old- needing maintenance and repairs, struggling relationships with teenage kids, and all the other troubles I face daily.

How much any of the above worries me:
None to not much.

Great faith?
Bad memory?
It’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be?
I'm just crazy?

Real Answer:
None of the above.
       It is simply this.  Everything I have been through on my journey has caused me to become the person I am today.  Every trial and sorrow has changed me in negative and positive ways. (Hopefully more the second one. J ) Through all the difficulties I have been through I have learned and know deep in my heart: God loves me, wants His best for me and always works to that end whether or not I see or believe it. (Rom. )

       So I trust Him more completely than ever.  (It took me years to really trust the Lord again after He ‘let me down’ during my trials by not responding the way I wanted Him to.)  Yet, here I am facing many difficult problems yet feeling His peace, joy and love, doing what I can and not worrying about the rest- and so very thankful to my Lord for everything that has brought me to this place in Him.  That is not great faith to me… that is simple faith: not believing that great things will be done, but believing in the One who actively does great things (Ps. 126:3) in my life every day… no matter what I see with my eyes.

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 2Cor. 5:7 
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Rom.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Eph.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy… Ps. 16:11
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress… (that nothing) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom. 8:35-39

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Man in the Back Seat

       He was a big man, with muscles like The Hulk and a fierce stare like the Terminator.  I don’t remember inviting him into the back seat of my car, but there he was intimidating me from the back seat.  He glared at me like I was some kind of idiot who didn’t know what I was doing but I’d been driving for years.  Because of his appearance I didn’t even question his authority to be in my car.

       “Turn here. You’re driving too fast. You’re driving too slow. Stop you idiot! What did you do that for? How did you get your license anyway? Just go through, no one’s looking…”  His endless, barking commands bombarded my head, giving me a headache and leaving my stomach in knots.  Worse, I’d followed some of his orders: some intentionally to shut him up, and others accidentally.  This back seat driver was the worst passenger I’d ever had in my car and I’d put up with him far too long.

       “Be quiet!  Not one more word,” I ordered, and to my surprise he didn’t utter another word.  Still, he glared from the back seat and used gestures to continue to irritate me, shaking my seat and threatening me with looks to get me to do what he wanted.  After catching myself complying with what he wanted once again, I had enough. “That’s it!”  I whipped over onto the side of the road and ordered him out.  This massive, intimidating man got out without a word or fight and stood as I drove away.

       For the first time in a long time I felt better… almost free.  In the quiet I heard a whisper, “What took you so long…”  I pondered the meaning of those five words for a long time and finally realized that I could have stopped the man in the back seat from speaking right from the start, and even kept the door locked so he couldn’t get in- in the first place.  It was all my choice in the first place.

                           *     *     *     *     *

        Though we can blame other people, our human nature or other factors in our decision making process, the truth remains: it is our choice.  We can allow back seat drivers (our own carnal voice, the enemy’s voice, even friend’s voices ) to affect our choices, to send us in the wrong direction, doing the wrong things, or not doing the things we should, but in the end, we have the authority to tell those voices to ‘shut up’ and ‘get lost’.  I didn’t say it’d be easy, but more and more I am finding, with practice, the word ‘no’ is easier to use.

choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Jos. 24:15 
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Jam. 4:7 
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph. 6:10-13
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2Cor. 10:3-5