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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weakness and Winks or Power and Love

I'm having a quiet day today.  My thoughts are uninterrupted and I am trying to listen to what the Spirit has to say. 

I want to talk about a side of God that we don't normally mention.  I find that most people like to think of Him as a warm, fuzzy, positive presence.  We like to think of His angels sent to protect us.  We believe that God wants us to be happy and without suffering and without pain - ever.  I think many of us see Him as a benevolent Presence that either does not have the power to really change much, or does not care to.  This is a God Who is weak.  He wishes that we would obey His commandments, but winks at us or shrugs His shoulders when we don't.  We tend to think He does not punish rebellion or disobedience.  We just aren't that concerned with comitting a sin here and a sin there because we know He will forgive. 

Think about this.  Take a moment to ask yourself if any of this sounds familiar.  Ask God to show you if these ideas are like some of your own.  Then listen for His answer.  Really listen.  Your life may depend on it.  Matthew 13:14-15 says this:  "You will keep on hearing but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull.  And with their ears they scarcely hear.  And they have closed their eyes lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I should heal them."  These are the words of Jesus. 

Louie Giglio says that God is big - really really big, and FEROCIOUS and POWERFUL.  Also loving.  Genesis 1 tells us that God designed and created the universe and the earth and everything on it.  (What kind of power would that take?)

He HATES sin  (not dislikes or overlooks).  The Bible is very clear that He is not nuetral or half-hearted about sin.  Proverbs 6:16-19 says, "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet swift in running to do evil, a false witness who lies with every breath, and him who sows strife among brothers."

Sin brings death, and God is all about life.  John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Would you - as a loving parent be tolerant of cancer or some gross deadly deformity in your child's life?  Certainly not!  And neither is God tolerant of sin in a person's life, because it results in death - eternal separation from Him.  Hell, is the finished product of sin.  God doesn't just send people to Hell.  They wind up there because sin has them in Hell's grip.  Unless a person receives the gift of cleansing and is delivered from sin and death by God's Son - Jesus Christ - he will have no hope of being saved.  Because we are born tainted in a tainted world we are not clean - we are full of sin.

You may be thinking, "But I'm a pretty good person.  I don't sin."  However the Bible says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)  Indeed we are born in sin.  It is attached to us with chains that cannot be broken with human hands alone.  In God's fierce love for us He came up with a way to free us and be with us, and keep us from death and darkness.

God is love.  He has such incredibly deep and abiding love for you, and for me, that He gave His Son .  "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."  (John 3:17-18).  Did you get that?  God doesn't condemn, but we are condemned already.  God is fearless and will go to any length to save you.  Indeed He already has.

Would a weak dispassionate God who winks at sin do all this???  Ask God Who He really is.  Respectfully ask.  Whoever He is, He is greater than mere man

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Is Your Faith Today?

How is your faith today?  Is it dependent upon your circumstances?  When things get bad does your faith weaken and falter?  Do you have to see to believe?  Or is your faith healthy and robust? 

As you deal with Parkinson's Disease (or whatever your problem) are you able to believe in the goodness of God?  Are you able to believe that God is sovereign when just days ago a young man went berserk in a movie theater and murdered people indiscriminantly and without mercy as he shot them?  Are you able to believe in God when you're living in a world ruled by mad men just itching to go nuclear?

I hope so.  If you are not able to trust in God and believe He is all the Bible claims Him to be, today, then how will you survive through tomorrow?  Our world is precariously perched on the edge of an abyss.  God told us ahead of time this was coming and He is warning us in many ways,that if we don't change course we could face what Joel Rosenberg refers to as "implosion". 

I don't know why we see evil that befalls the innocent, but I don't have to see to believe.  My mind is only able to understand so much, and then the rest must be taken on faith.  I believe that God is love, that He is all knowing and all powerful and present everywhere.  My mind is like a car that runs out of gas.  It can only take me so far.  Then I need gas to get me where I'm going.  The gas is faith. 

Now is not the time to doubt or to be unsure.  Make sure your faith is healthy today.

Just My Thoughts

Today I read a little bit about the Great Awakening.  After fifty years of prayer and fasting for revival, it came in the early to mid 1700s.  Some of the finest preachers of the time experienced great desire to preach the gospel, and at the same time, people became hungry and thirsty to hear about God.  Preaching out in the open instead of enclosed buildings caught on.  Thousands were saved.  This came at a time when government was corrupt and people didn't know the difference between going to church and actually knowing Jesus.  Men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and John and Charles Wesley were born again.  They were highly educated but did not fall into intellectualism or elitist thinking.

Today I prayed for revival, as I have been doing for some time, though I feel I surely I need more inspiration to pray more passionately and for longer periods of time.  But, as I pointed out in the previous post, I have the time for prayer!

Today, I stood in the gap for friends and family.  I prayed through challenges resisting the urge to pick up the phone and dial-a-friend.

I have been inspired to seek a closer relationship with Jesus, wanting more and more as time goes on to be completely His without reservation. I want to hold back nothing so He might use me to bring others to Christ.  I want to be a blessing to my family and friends and even to strangers. 

These are just some of my thoughts today - because God gave me the time. What did you do with your day?  I'd love to hear....

Friday, July 20, 2012


I believe I have written to you before about what I am about to relate, but it bears repeating.

I have written a lot about prayer and how important it is.  I could never stress the importance of prayer enough.  Those of you who are not able to work have been blessed with days filled and brimming over with opportunities to pray.  The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing.  It also says that God's house is a house of prayer.  These bodies that we dwell in - like the Israelite's tent dwellings -  when they wandered in the desert for forty years - are temporary "tents".  Your body is the temple of God on earth.  It should be a house of prayer.

Recently, my mother-in-law had a mini stroke and had to be taken to the ER of a local hospital.  I was there with my husband.  It was a creepy experience as the ER was quite lively that night.  The first thing we were confronted with was a man that looked homeless walking up and down the hall muttering and talking to himself.  He had a disturbed expression on his face.

Moments later we heard cursings and screams from a young man declaring that nothing was wrong with him and he wanted to go home.  He was drawing quite a crowd of hospital staff.

Finally, there was an elderly man in the bay next to us, and every 3 or 4 seconds he would wail.  No one paid him any attention.

After about 2 hours, still bothered by all the commotion, I thought, "All these outbursts are stealing the peace that should be here."  Then out of "no where" the thought came that the man who was wailing was being tormented (not physically but mentally).  God seemed to say to me, "Pray for him - he's being tormented."  So, I did............

Immediately the man was quiet.  There were no more wailings!  I realized that as Believers we are the light of the world.  Everywhere we go, we are to pray for people.  Our prayers can bring peace and God's love into any situation.  Be creative today.  Find as many people as you can to pray for.  You will be a peacemaker.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Prayer to Start the Day

Lord, in the darkness of early morning, the possibilities of my day stretch out before me.  With trepidition I venture into the possibilites of this day as if they were patches of fog in a valley untraveled.  Already I am perplexed as to which way to go or what to do... so here I am - before your throne - in the presence of my King and my Father.

Please lead me through this day of endless options.  I don't know what I will face, so I am afraid.  This is not becoming to a child of the King.  I give You my fear, and You give me Your courage.  On this morning, I give you my weakness and You replace it with Your strength.  My sin for your righteousness.  Anxiety for Shalom....

I'm putting myself into Your own dear hands.  Guide me, protect me, and use me to Your glory.  I will hope in the good end of this day and believe that You have grown my faith and excercised it in the face of darkness and the unknown.

Together we are prepared.  Today we will move forward - You and I.  Thank you for hearing.  I love You so....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Face Giants by Remembering God

Our lives are populated with giants.  Giants are really big problems and they show up in our heads, our friendships, at work, at church, in marriages, at the doctor's office, in our families and every other place we go.  They must be faced and overcome or they will devour us. 

L. B. Cowman in Streams in the Desert says:  "'We will be stronger by overcoming them than if there had been no giants to defeat.'  In fact, unless we have overcoming faith, we will be swallowed up - consumed by the giants who block our path.  'With that same spirit of faith' (2 Cor 4:13) that Joshua and Caleb had, let us look to God, and He will take care of the difficulties."

Cowman says it so much better than I can, so the following is taken from the same devotion book as above:  "We encounter giants only when we are serving God and following Him.  It was when Israel was going forward that the giants appeared, for when they turned back into the wilderness, they found none.

Many people believe that the power of God in a person's life should keep him from all trials and conflicts.  However, the power of God actually brings conflict and struggles.  You would think that Paul, during his great missionary journey to Rome, would have been kept by God's sovereignty from the power of violent storms and of his enemies.  Yet just the opposite was true.  He endured one long, difficult struggle with the Jews who were persecuting him.  He faced fierce winds, poisonous snakes, and all the powers of earth and of hell.  And finally, he narrowly escaped drowning, by swimming to shore at Malta after a shipwrick nearly sent him to a watery grave.

Does this sound like a God of infinite power?  Yes, it is just like Him.  And that is why Paul told us that once he took the Lord Jesus Christ as his life in his body, a severe conflict immediately arose.  In fact, the conflict never ended.  The pressure on Paul was persistent, but from the conflict he always emerged victorious through the strength of Jesus Christ.

Paul described this in quite vivid language:  'We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body" (2 Cor 4:8-10)."

Don't be dismayed and lose heart because tragedy has struck and you are faced with the impossible.  You will make it through your day - one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time and one decision at a time.  The mountain of accomplishment is scaled one persistant step at a time - one effort at a time - one bit of knowledge at a time.

The giants will be defeated through continuous application of Truth and the works which flow from this Truth.  Rabbi Michael L. Munk in The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet says, " Do not believe that you have tried and failed.  Rather understand that you have not tried hard enough."

When you see giants, take a step back and remember Who God is then remember who your are.  Then taking one step at a time make choices and let your actions be in agreement with those two things.  Getting through your day is a process and it occurs time after time as the days go by.