Friday, March 29, 2013

Looking to the Cross, Part Three

As we finish up this three-fold look at the cross, I want to focus on the word forgiveness.  It is only because of Christ's death on the cross that our sins can be forgiven.  Were it not for His sacrifice, we would stand guilty before a holy God.  But because Christ died and rose again, we can now come boldly to the throne of God with the promise that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us.  No questions asked.  Forgiveness extended.

What we must keep in mind is that God is a holy God and, as such, He cannot bear to look upon sin, even when that sin covered His beloved Son.  As Christ hung on the cross, God had to turn away.  As much as it must have broken His heart, He simply could not look upon the ugliness of our sin.  That means that at the very moment God was turning away and saying, "I'm sorry, but I cannot bear to look at you," Jesus was uttering the words, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

That prayer was not only for the soldiers that mocked him or the people who cheered for his death.  No, I believe that prayer was intended for us too.  For every time we would sin, Jesus uttered, "Father, forgive them."  In a sense, He was saying, "I'm paying for that sin.  Don't hold them accountable."  And because of His request, we can take our requests to God and know that He won't deny them because of our unworthiness.

It's important to bear in mind that forgiving is not the same as condoning.  In the book of Romans, Paul asks, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"  He answers his own question with two words:  God forbid!  Forgiveness doesn't mean that we have a license to sin.  On the contrary, forgiveness is meant to remind us of the price that was paid so that we can be forgiven.  And that thought ought to cause us to sin less, not more. 

As we approach Easter Sunday, may we not lose sight of the cost of Calvary.  May we remember how Christ carried the weight of the cross, but more importantly, the weight of our sin.  May we meditate on how He bore the shame and humiliation, not to mention the marks of the guilty.  But most of all, may we think long and hard about what He gave up so that He could offer us forgiveness.  And may we never, ever take it for granted!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Looking to the Cross, Part Two

The word I want to look at today is the word "bear".  While this word has many definitions, I want to focus on three:

1) To assume or accept - When Jesus died for us on Calvary's cross, he bore the penalty of our sin.  Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.  With His death, Jesus purchased eternal life for us.  He died so that we could live.  He paid a debt He did not owe, but not only that, He paid it gladly.  He subjected Himself to the most horrible death, so that we could live the most extraordinary life.  As the old hymn states, "Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe."

2) To accept or allow oneself to be subjected to, especially without giving way - Jesus' death on Calvary (not to mention the events that occurred before that) was a display of shame and ridicule.  I'm angered every time I think of how my Lord was mistreated.  Stripped of His garments.  Spat upon.  Beaten with rods.  Ridiculed with words.  Set up as a display for all to see.  Can you imagine anything more humiliating?  That should have been us receiving such treatment.  We should have been the ones bearing such shame.  But once again, God's great love had other plans.  Jesus allowed these men to make a mockery of Him, but He did it gladly, so that we would never have to bear the shame of our sins.

3) To admit of or allow - Through His act of sacrifice, Jesus bore the marks of a guilty man.  The nail prints in His hands and feet declared Him a criminal.  Even today, He still bears those marks.  The sinless Lamb of God bore the marks of the guilty so that we would never have to.  For those of us who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, when God looks at us, He sees only righteousness.  He doesn't see our mistakes and failures.  He doesn't see our guilt.  He sees only the blood of Jesus and the nail prints in His hands that declare the price for our sins has been paid.

May we never forget what Jesus bore (and what He is still bearing) so that we might spend eternity with Him.  The price has been paid.  The sacrifice has been given.  Have you accepted what Jesus did for you?  Have you made Him Lord and Savior of your life?  If not, why not take care of that today?  He's done so much for us.  It's the least we can do for Him.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Looking to the Cross, Part One

With Easter upon us, I can't help but think about the bittersweet account of the cross.  The more I think about, the more I am humbled by the great sacrifice God made for us, a world of sinners.  While preparing for my Sunday School lesson last week, I was brought to tears by the realization of Calvary and all that it entails.  I was also convicted by how often I take it for granted, even without realizing that I'm doing it.

This week, in honor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I want to draw our attention back to the cross.  And in so doing, I want to focus on three words, all of which are definitions of the Hebrew word "nasa".  The three words are carry, bear and forgive.  So, without further ado, let's begin.

According to my online dictionary, the most basic meaning of the word "carry" is "to hold or support while moving".  We know, from the Biblical account of the crucifixion, that Jesus was forced to carry His cross up the hill of Golgotha.  What we often fail to realize, however, is the weight of that cross.  First of all, we must consider Jesus' physical state.  We know He had not slept the night before because He had been in prayer in Gethsemane all night.  Who knows the last time He had slept.  Add to that the mistreatment from the soldiers.  He was beaten with rods, scourged with the cat-of-nine-tails, punched and smacked, His beard plucked from His face.  And after all of that, the weight of the cross was laid on His back.

Jason and I heat our home with a wood stove.  Our furnace hasn't worked in several years, so the wood stove is our only source of heat.  That means that cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood are simply a part of life for us.  And in the winter, each day's routine includes a trip or two out to the exterior wood shed to bring in loads of firewood for the inside wood box.  Because of Jason's hectic work schedule, this unpleasant task is usually left to me.  I really don't mind the chore except when we have very green wood. . . especially oak.  Why?  Because it's extremely heavy and multiplies the number of trips I have to make because I can only carry a few pieces at a time.  I have no idea what type of wood the cross was made from, nor do I know the exact dimensions, but I can guarantee you that it was heavy.  Is it any wonder Jesus stumbled?

An even more sobering fact, however, is that the weight of the cross was nothing compared to the weight of our sin.  Jesus wasn't just carrying a piece of wood that day.  He was literally carrying all of our wrongs.  Remember the Greek god, Atlas, who was said to have held the world on his shoulders?  Big deal!  The weight of the world is nothing compared to the weight of the sin of the world.  The sinless Lamb of God took all the sin of the world (past, present and future) and carried it on His back up Calvary's hill.  If you want to see a picture of love, my friend, there it is!

 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. - II Corinthians 5:21

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

Instead of sharing a comedy video with you today, I decided to share this little funny that I heard last week at a ladies' meeting.  This is so me it isn't even funny. . . and I'm not THAT old!  Anyway, I hope you enjoy.  Maybe you won't recognize yourself in the following scenario.  I wasn't so lucky!


AGE-ACTIVATED ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

I decide to wash the car; I start toward the garage and notice the mail on the table. OK, I'm going to wash the car. But first I'm going to go through the mail. I lay the car keys down on the desk, discard the junk mail and I notice the trash can is full. OK, I'll just put the bills on my desk and take the trash can out, but since I'm going to be near the mailbox anyway, I'll pay these few bills first. Now, where is my checkbook? Oops, there's only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk.

Oh, there's the coke I was drinking. I'm going to look for those checks. But first I need to put my coke further away from the computer, oh maybe I'll pop it into the fridge to keep it cold for a while.

I head towards the kitchen and my flowers catch my eye, they need some water. I set the coke on the counter and ooh oh! There are my glasses. I was looking for them all morning! I'd better put them away first.

I fill a container with water and head for the flower pots - - Aaaaaagh! Someone left the TV remote in the kitchen. We'll never think to look in the kitchen tonight when we want to watch television so I'd better put it back in the family room where it belongs. I splash some water into the pots and onto the floor, I throw the remote onto a soft cushion on the sofa and I head back down the hall trying to figure out what it was I was going to do?

End of Day: The car isn't washed, the bills are unpaid, the coke is sitting on the kitchen counter, the flowers are half watered, the checkbook still only has one check in it and I can't seem to find my car keys!

When I try to figure out how come nothing got done today, I'm baffled because I KNOW I WAS BUSY ALL DAY LONG!!! I realize this is a serious condition and I'll get help, BUT FIRST I think I'll check my e-mail...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's a Party, and You're Invited

Today is my birthday! Yes, today I turned another year older, but unlike many people I know, birthdays don't make me gloomy. On the contrary, I love birthdays! Maybe it has something to do with the presents or the chocolate cake, but whatever the reason, I choose to see birthdays as a milestone not a gravestone.

As I contemplated what to write about on this special day, my mind was drawn to the thought of a party. As many of you know, I throw some grand pity parties. But that is not my goal today. Instead, I would like to invite you to a praise party. Rest easy, no presents are required, only participation. This is how it works: click on the comment button and tell us something for which you are thankful. Your comment doesn't have to be long or eloquent. You don't even have to identify yourself if you don't want to. The goal is to glorify God, plain and simple. Instead of honoring me, let's honor the Lord. Will you join the party?

To kick off the party, I'll go first. I want to thank the Lord for another year to serve Him and for the many blessings that He's given me that I do not deserve. I thank Him for His patience with me and for His never-ending mercy. But above all, I thank Him for His faithfulness.

Okay, it's your turn. Just click on the comment button below and say a few words in honor of our Lord and Savior. I couldn't ask for anything better on my birthday. And thank you, in advance, for attending my praise party. I hope it will be a blessing to many!

Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. - Psalm 150

Monday, March 18, 2013

One Man Can Make a Difference

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. - Romans 5:12

Romans 5 makes it quite clear that sin entered into the world because of one man, Adam. Yes, Eve was the first to eat of the fruit, but the Bible tells us that she was deceived by the serpent. Adam, on the other hand, ate of the fruit willingly, knowing full well what he was doing and the consequences of his actions. And so, one man's disobedience led to sin which, in turn, led to death. I guess it is true what they say – one man can make a difference. And if the story stopped there, we would be in sad shape indeed. Fortunately for us, Romans is a book of much more.

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. - Romans 5:19
Yes, one man's disobedience lead mankind into a downward spiral, but thanks to the obedience of Christ, salvation is available to each and every one of us. The Bible tells us that Jesus was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He didn't have to die. He didn't have to sacrifice Himself. But knowing that His death was our only way to eternal life, He willingly gave up His life for ours. Once again, we see that one man can make a difference. Granted, Jesus was not just any man; He was the God-man. But the point is that what was done because of Adam can be undone because of Christ.

The key here is to make certain that you have accepted Christ's payment for sin. He willingly laid down his life for yours, but you must acknowledge the fact by asking Him to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Make Him the Lord of your life and allow Him to work in you and through you. He loved us enough to die for us. Shouldn't we love Him enough to live for Him?

If you do not know the Lord as Savior, and you are unsure how to be saved, please contact me. I'd love to introduce you to my Savior and Friend. Today is the day to trade in your filthy rags for a robe of righteousness. I urge you to act today before it's too late.  One man can make a difference -- especially when that one man is the God-man, Jesus Christ!



Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. - Romans 5:20-21

Friday, March 15, 2013

What I Learned from Robin Hood

Yesterday, during my lunch break, I decided to watch an episode of BBC's Robin Hood. It is a good, clean show and caters to my love of all things medieval. On this particular episode, and abbot of the church was secretly translating the Bible into English. If you're familiar with history, you'll realize the reason he was doing this secretly was because the church was against people reading the Bible for themselves. The philosophy of the church of that day was that it was up to the clergy to read and interpret the Bible and teach the people according to their interpretation. (Unfortunately, this is still a typical practice of the Catholic church.) The available copies of the Bible were written in Latin, which very few could read.

This particular abbot, however, did not agree with the teachings of the church and felt that every man and woman should be able to read the Bible for themselves. By translating the Bible into English, he was risking a great deal, including his very life. The thing that truly amazed me during the episode was the response of Robin Hood and his men when they discovered the abbot's secret. They were in awe at the possibility of being able and allowed to read God's Word for themselves. They simply couldn't believe it. Over and over again, they uttered the phrase, "This will change everything." And as we know from our history, it did.

As the show ended, I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes. "It really makes you see how much we take things for granted. Here, these men couldn't believe that they could actually have a Bible in their language that they could read for themselves. Yet we, having more Bibles that we can count, leave them unread and sitting on the shelves collecting dust. These men were willing to die for the chance to read God's Word, yet we can't find time in our busy schedules to read a few verses and meditate on God's promises. We think we've progressed so far, but I fear when it comes to the things that really matter, we have backtracked. What a sad commentary for the human race!

I don't know about you, but I am no longer content to leave my Bible on the shelf where it can collect dust. Now, more than ever, I realize that it is so much more than just a book. It is a love letter from my heavenly Father. It is a book of remembrance of the things my mighty God can accomplish. It is an instruction manual for how I should live my life. It is my light in the darkness and my road map when all seems lost. It is a collection of His promises and encouraging words, as well as warnings and directions to keep me safe. It is a gift from my Savior, and I'm finished taking it for granted.

Lord, please forgive me for not realizing how precious your Word is to me. Forgive me for not remembering how much blood was shed so that I could hold a copy of the Bible in my hands and read it for myself. Help me not to take that privilege for granted. I long to read Your Word, to immerse myself in Your promises. I want to meditate on everything You have to say to me, understanding that the Bible is timeless and its truths are as relevant today as they have ever been. Please, Lord, help me to not let other things distract me from spending time in Your Word. And as I sit down with my Bible in hand, please help me to have the attitude of Robin Hood and his men – this will change everything!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Looking for God in All the Wrong Places


Did you know. . .

A woman walked to her car and noticed a smudge on her driveway that resembled the face of Jesus. She dug up the concrete and sold the slab on eBay for $1,800.

A ten-year-old toasted a grilled cheese sandwich that supposedly bore the image of the Virgin Mary. It sold on eBay for $28,000.

A man was fixing his breakfast one morning and claims that Jesus' face appeared in his pancake. The pancake had reached bids as high as $14,999 when it was pulled by eBay, claiming that the seller had violated posting rules.

There is a website called Yo-God.com that sells God detectors, devices advertised to "give God a way to send a simple, unambiguous message of His presence." According to the website, there are over 4,500 of these devices out in the world.

What a misled group! Spending their life savings searching for answers from God when all they really need to do is open their Bibles and open their hearts. Now, I will be the first to admit that God's voice is not always easy to hear or understand. Take, for example, when He called me to leave my teaching career and start writing. At first, I didn't hear. Then, once I heard, I didn't understand. Finally, after the twentieth thump on my head, the message was clear.

The problem with most people is that they want answers from God but they want them in their time, and they want those answers to be what they want to hear. God doesn't work that way, but He does work. Whatever the question, God will answer in His way and in His time. And the great thing is that He will keep speaking until we get it. If it takes twenty times, He'll be faithful. He won't give up on us just because we don't hear or understand. He'll keep on until we have no doubt about His answer. He did for Gideon.

When the angel first appeared to Gideon and told him that he was the one who would save his people, Gideon was more than a little skeptical. He asked for a sign and then another one and then another one. When God was done with Gideon, Gideon had no doubt about what God had said. The God who spoke to Gideon is the same God who speaks today. He doesn't need a detector, a concrete slab, a cheese sandwich, or a pancake to make His presence known. He only needs a listening ear and an open heart. He'll take care of the rest.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Majoring in the Minor

I love minor keys. I love to hear them. I love to play them. There's just something about them that is beautiful to my ears, and yet there is also a sadness in their melody. For all their beauty, they are solemn and almost mournful. Strangely enough, the feelings evoked in me are not those of sadness but those of peace and serenity. Pieces played in the minor tend to set my mind at ease and help me to find rest for my weary soul.

I have heard minor keys referred to as the tragedies of life and major keys as the triumphs of life. But I ask you this: how can one have triumph without first having tragedy? It is not possible for one to be victorious without first fighting a battle. For one to be an overcomer, he or she must face struggles. And while one can play in a major key without using the minor keys, is the melody as sweet?

I shudder to think of all the classics that would be lost if we were to throw out all music with minor keys. To do so would be simply insane. Yet why do we often insist that God remove the minor keys from our lives? Why do we plead with Him to remove the battles through which we gain our victories? Why do we ask Him to take away our struggles which in turn prevents us from being overcomers? Why do we implore Him to remove our tragedies thus also removing our triumphs? Why can't we simply leave the music alone?

Life is full of music, but it takes both major and minor keys for us to fully appreciate either one. Do not fear the mournful tones or the solemn silence between the notes. Instead, find peace and serenity in the flow of the music, knowing that the Master Musician is planning a grand finale that will take your breath away.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Driving Miss Dana

I hate to drive.  I always have.  I can't tell you why.  Maybe it's because I'm navigationally-challenged.  Maybe it's because I fear being in an accident.  Or maybe it's because I'd just rather be home on my couch typing away on my laptop or reading a good book.  I don't know.  All I know is that I don't drive unless I have to.  Weekly errands, fine.  Trips back and forth to church, okay.  Otherwise, no, thank you!

Fortunately, Jason loves to drive, so he doesn't mind chauffeuring me around to hither and yon.  Yes, I'm perfectly content to sit in the passenger's seat and tell him how to drive.  (I wish I were being funny there, but I do tend to be a bit of a nag.  Sorry, Jason.)  Being so patient and good-natured, however, Jason doesn't allow my backseat driving to hinder him from acting as my chauffeur.  It's never a question of who's driving at our house.  The answer is obvious.  Unless my husband is sick or extremely tired, he'll be the one doing the driving, and I prefer it that way.

Which makes me wonder why, in my spiritual walk, I always insist on taking the driver's seat.  For one who hates to drive so much, I sure do seem to spend a lot of time behind the wheel.  What's that all about?  Why can't I be as content to have the Lord chauffeur me about as I am to have Jason chauffeur me about?  After all, the Lord is both willing and eager to take the wheel.  There's really no need for me to worry myself about directions or driving procedures.  The Lord is more than able to take me where He wants me to go.

Hmm, could it be that the last statement reveals my insistence on driving myself.  The Lord is more than able to take me where He wants me to go, but what about where I want to go?  Will He take me there?  Not unless it's in His will.  And deep down, I know that truth.  So could it be that I often insist on getting behind the wheel because I want to make sure I get to wherever it is I want to go?  Oh me, oh my!

Several years ago, the song "Jesus, Take the Wheel" became very popular, and while I never really listened to the song much, the title alone is enough to voice my prayer for today and for all days to come. 

Lord, please take the wheel.  I don't want to drive anymore.  I'm tired of wandering aimlessly down the roads of life searching for the things that I thought would make me happy and fulfilled.  I understand now that true peace and joy can only be found when I sit back in the passenger's seat and allow You to steer my life in the direction it should go.  You don't need my help.  You don't require my advice.  But, Lord, I know You would appreciate my cooperation.  Help me to hand the keys to You willingly, knowing that the destination You have in mind is better than anything I could ever dream of.  Please help me, Lord, to simply sit back and enjoy the ride!

Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. - Isaiah 48:17

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Look to the Skies

Have you ever doubted God's faithfulness?  I know it's not an easy thing to admit.  God is so good to us and so holy that we feel guilty admitting that we have, on occasion, doubted that He would do what He said He would do.  Typically, these doubts come during some of life's harshest storms when it seems the sun will never shine again.  But what we often fail to realize during these times is that just because the clouds fill the skies doesn't negate the fact that the sun is still there.  Hidden from view, yes, but there nonetheless, and no amount of cloud cover can change that.

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. - Psalm 89:1-2

I can't tell you how many times I've read through the Psalms, but it wasn't until last week that the last phrase of verse two caught my attention.  I truly believe God reveals these heavenly nuggets to us at the times we need them the most.  If you recall, last week was a tough week for me, and while there was a lot coming out of my mouth, it certainly wasn't praise or worship.  No, it was more like complaints and pleading to discover why God had turned His back on me.  And in the midst of my doubt-laden storm, I found this truth:  thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.

Many times in this life what we feel will collide with what we know.  And in those confusing times, we often find our moods and actions dictated by our feelings and emotions.  We feel like God has forsaken us, so we act accordingly.  But according to this wonderful verse in the Psalms, God has given us unmistakable proof that He is and always will be faithful.  In fact, every time the sun rises and sets, I can be reminded that God is faithful.  Just as my feelings can't deter the setting or rising of the sun, neither can they change the faithfulness of God.  It is always there, perhaps hidden by my clouds of doubt, but there nonetheless.  And to make sure I never lose sight of that, He gives me daily reminders.  The rise and fall of the sun.  The phases of the moon.  The twinkle of the stars.  Not only do the heavens declare the glory of God, but they also declare His faithfulness.  Day after day, night after night, God gives us unequivocal proof that He can be relied upon.

Are you feeling forsaken today?  Do you find yourself wondering if God is still faithful?  If so, look to the skies?  Did the sun set last night?  Did it rise this morning?  Did the moon follow its proper course around the earth?  Yes, yes and yes.  So, is God still faithful?  I think you know the answer.

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Boatload of Blessings

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. - Luke 5:1-5

I want you to picture this story through your mind's eye. Jesus, standing tall at the edge of a great body of water. People gathered all around him, hanging on his every word. Two empty boats bobbing up and down on the water's surface.

Now, look off to the side. A group of fishermen sit huddled together, scrubbing their nets (not that they needed cleaning--after all, they had remained empty all night). Take a close look at these men. Their eyes bespeak weariness. Their expressions portray disappointment. Their posture indicates defeat. They had labored all night and had absolutely nothing to show for it. There was no fruit of their labor. There was no evidence that they had been hard at work. There were no fish, which meant there was no money. After all, fishing was their job.

If you listen carefully, you can even hear their conversation. "What do you think went wrong?" asks one fisherman. "I don't know," answers another. "Maybe this isn't what the Lord called us to do after all." "What's the use?" cries a third fisherman. "It's just too hard, and it's not fair. We work just as hard as the other fishermen. Why do they get all the profits while we sit here with empty nets and heavy hearts?"

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Whether it be your job, your family, your church, or something else entirely, you put your effort into it day after day only to be rewarded with pain and disappointment. You work hard, doing the tasks that you believe God has called you to do, and NOTHING! No fruit! No reward! No compensation! Nothing but the bitter bite of defeat. You feel like giving up. You feel like changing directions. You question if maybe you heard God wrong, and this is not His will after all. But most of all, you doubt. You doubt if God even cares about you or what you're going through. Sound familiar? If so, read on.

And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. - Luke 5:6-9

Did you catch what just happened? The fishermen had toiled all night (the best time for fishing, mind you) and hadn't caught a thing. But, now, in God's time, they caught so many fish that their nets broke and two boats started to sink under the weight. (Imagine the smell!)

God still works miracles today, but He does so in His own time, just as He has always done. His ways are not our ways. They may not make sense to us. They may not seem the best to us. But, if we will allow Him to lead us and if we will be faithful to follow that leadership, we will see miracles. Our disappointment will be replaced with great joy. We will be able to trade our defeat for victory. But, we must wait on God. It's difficult, I know, but miracles don't happen without Him.

If you're weighed down with questions today about God's purpose for you and your ministry, talk to God about it. Follow His leadership, and then wait for His miracle. It will come, but only in His time! And when it does come, it will take more than two boats to hold the blessings!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Know or Believe?

Have you ever said the phrase, "I believe with all my heart"?  I certainly have, but it wasn't until this past week that I realized that such was not always the case.  In fact, some of the most fundamental parts of my life that I said I believed with all my heart were tried and tested, and in the end, I became aware of sobering fact--I didn't believe with all my heart; I believed with all my mind.

Please note, I'm not talking about salvation.  I have, in fact, trusted the Lord with all my heart, and I do not doubt that I am saved and on my way to an eternal paradise.  Yes, for my eternal life, I believe with all my heart.  For my temporal life here on earth, however, I discovered I was believing with my mind but not truly with my heart.  I knew the truth, but I wasn't believing the truth.  I knew God cared, but I didn't really let it sink in.  I knew He had plans for life and that those plans were for my good, but I didn't really believe it because the evidence around me seemed to prove to the contrary.  My head knew.  My heart balked.

It's one thing to know something, and quite another to actually believe it.  No wonder I was struggling so much to find peace!  No wonder I seemed so out of sorts.  My head and my heart were literally at odds with one another, and while I was telling myself that I was taking God at His word, the truth was that I wasn't.  I know this now because of the fruit of my unbelief.  If I truly believed that God was working things for my good, then I wouldn't be so upset and thrown for a loop when things don't work out the way I think they should.  I would simply say, "Thank you, Lord, for working things for my good.  Even when I don't understand, I know I can trust you."  See what I mean?  I wanted to believe, but I wasn't really believing.

Today, I feel as if I'm beginning a journey.  I'm out to discover what I truly believe and what I only think I believe.  I'm taking a step toward faith that I believed I had already taken.  By God's strength and with His help, I am surrendering my life and my will to Him to do with as He pleases.  Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Good Medicine

Have you ever had one of those weeks when it seemed like life was out to get you?  I hope not because, let me tell you, they're hard on the soul.  Yes, you guessed it.  It's been one of those weeks around here.  From malfunctioning appliances to neck and shoulder pain, it's been a rough few days.  I'm frustrated, discouraged and overwhelmed.  Not a good combination for writing an encouraging blog post, you know?  How does one describe God's faithfulness while feeling that God has forsaken her?  How does one apply Biblical truths that don't seem quite so true at the moment?  Deep down in the recesses of my soul, I know what's right and what's true, but right now, there's not enough light to see into the dark corners of my soul where God's promises reside.  I'm completely out of sorts.

That's why I decided to do something a little different today.  Instead of writing a post, I'm going to share with you a snippet of good medicine I came across on Facebook this morning.  I do not know the author of the following quote, but I appreciate her encouragement.  The Lord knows how much I needed it today.

"God wants you to move through this day with a quiet heart, an inward assurance that He is in control, a peaceful certainty that your life is in His hands, a deep trust in His plan and purposes, and a thankful disposition toward all that He allows. He wants you to put your faith in Him, not in a timetable. He wants you to wait on Him and wait for Him. In His perfect way He will put everything together...see to every detail...arrange every circumstance...and order every step to bring to pass what He has for you."