Sunday, April 27, 2008

When God Says No

When God Says, "No"
April 21, 2008
Luke 22:42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

Jesus was earnestly praying shortly before He was executed on the cross. His prayer request was that He did not truly have to die on the cross, as His flesh had no desire to go through that physical torture. Jesus asked God to take "this cup," which represented Jesus having to spill His blood on the cross. But we all know how the story continues. Jesus went to the cross and gave His life that day, as God did not honor that prayer request of Jesus. God answered the earnest prayer request with a "no."

No one wants to admit it, but sometimes God does not answer our prayer requests. This does not mean He doesn't hear them, but He chooses something better through not honoring the prayer request the way we intend it. In the case of Jesus' death on the cross, mankind can now have eternal salvation. What a great ending to the story. If God had honored Jesus' prayer request of not going to the cross that day, you and I would be eternally damned to Hell. I'd say that I am thankful God did not honor Jesus' prayer request.

This sits well with us in the case of Jesus' death on the cross, but not in our own situation. We feel that if we pray hard enough and believe strong enough, the prayer request will be honored by God, no matter what. But sometimes that is not the case. I have known a pastor or two who was not healed of cancer, despite their earnest prayer requests for healing. The reason for this...God has something better in store that meets His design for you and mankind. If God is not answering your prayer request, then consider long and hard that God has something more important in mind; something either better for you or better for your fellow man because of it.

Notice the rest of Jesus' prayer, "yet not my will, but yours be done." Jesus knew that God's will was far more important than what Jesus wanted. And Jesus knew that God's will was better, far better than answering it the way Jesus wanted. So, too, in your situation. If it seems that God is answering your prayer request with a "no," then consider that God has something more important in store for you and your specific situation.

1. Have any prayer requests not answered?
2. Have you considered that God has something more important in mind?

Be Warm, Christian

Be Warm, Christian
Apr 14, 2008

James 2:16 "And one of you says to him, Goodbye! Keep yourself warm and well fed....what good does that do?"

We live in a Christian society where we love to spout off the platitude "I'm praying for you" anytime someone in the church, a co-worker, or family member has a degree of difficulty or problem. In fact, many times it isn't even a trite statement but something said with great sincerity. We add them to our prayer list or in the least we pray for them once. Unfortunately, this is not good enough. This is a "be warm and well fed" Christianity, where we wish them well but we do nothing about it. God suggests this is not Christianity at all.

In order to truly be a Christian, we must be able to step out of our comfort zone, take time out of our busy schedule, and make a move to do something about our brother's situation. If we deem his situation worthy of a prayer request on our own volition, then we deem it worthy of taking action on his behalf. This does not mean you must become the answer to prayer for him, but it does mean you must do something about it while waiting for the Lord to answer. Absolutely, pray for him, but then get out of your prayer closet and do something. Prayer is wonderful but it is only the first step in demonstrating your Christianity.

If you have the means to be the answer to prayer, then ask the Lord if He would have you be a willing steward of those resources. If you have no means, then find something you CAN do for them. This is truly an action word. To "do" something means to take action. In the least, you can walk along side them as they go through the difficult situation. This is still doing something, as long as you are available and present for them. Sit with them while they cry, listen as they vent, meet an alternate need while waiting for the Lord to show up. This could be simple stuff like: watch their kids, bring them a meal, take them out for coffee, buy them a book, etc. I'm confident if you spend time with them and do any of these things, it will become clear how the Lord might use you more purposefully in people's lives; the specific need that you can meet will become evident. These are all things that require you to be physically present, God meant it that way, as often times you being there is as valuable as the answer to prayer itself.

Most of you would agree with me as you read this, but how many of you have taken the easy road and sent an e-mail, mailed a card, or had flowers shipped. This does not really count. Absolutely, it is nice and serves a purpose, but you could at least make a phone call and take it from there. You never know what you are really doing, because as Jesus said it, "whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me." Notice that "do" word; (it means, take some action).

1. Are you part of the "be warm and well fed" church?
2. Isn't it time you stepped up a level and took action?

God Loves Hypocrites

God Loves Hypocrites
April 8, 2008
Romans 3:23 "..for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.."

Many times non-Christians express their frustrations regarding those who attend church. They respond with a true statement that everyone in church is a hypocrite. Politely, I agree, but then suggest not everyone in church is Jesus. True, the goal of being a Christian is becoming Christ-like, but it is impossible for anyone to be totally like Jesus, as our sinful flesh will always get in the way of physical perfection. Sure, we Christians try to be perfect, but fall very, very short of that.

This seems like a rational argument for why Christians are not perfect, especially from an outside perspective, but it does not explain why the people inside the church cannot see it the same way. As Christians, we feel that if we are in church for any length of time then we should know how to walk, talk, and act like a Christian 24/7. So, when we get to church, we play the well-rehearsed role of being a Christian. When in church, we never yell, swear, argue, hold grudges, envy, or act inappropriately toward our spouse and children. To everyone in the church, we look just like they do. We tell each other that we are fine and that our lives are on track with the Lord, after all, just look at how we are acting right there in church; model evidence.

Then behind closed doors, in the semi-privacy of our homes, the truth comes out. We engage in many of the same sins as all the non-Christians, not necessarily on purpose, but sin happens. We must hide these sins from all our fellow church members, though. They must never be aware, lest they judge. They must think that we are always becoming more Christ-like with very few, if any, shortcomings or failures. This is where the hypocrisy comes in to play, when we put on a front for the fellow Christians in our church. Heaven forbid they become aware of our humanity and find out we're real people.

The truth of the matter is, we are all very human and fail to be perfect and Christ-like everyday. Even the best of Christians struggles with loving his neighbor or dealing in kindness to his spouse. Even the pastor sometimes struggles with keeping his thought life pure. Even the deacons face apathy toward God and allow worry and doubt to creep inside. And almost everyone gets angry in their hearts while driving on the highway. The point is, non-Christians are aware that we are not perfect, but for some reason, Christians are not aware of this same fact. And if we are aware of our imperfection, we sure aren't going to admit it to any other Christian. After all, they might think we are a hypocrite.

Everyone else probably knows you're not perfect. Stop pretending; God knows who you are and loves you anyway. There is no judgment in the true house of God.

1. Have you been playing the role of the model Christian?
2. Isn't it time you allowed yourself to be vulnerable again?

Generational Curses

Generational Curses
March 31, 2008
Psalm 79:8 "Do not hold against us the sins of our fathers..."

Many cultures believe that a man often carries the blame or burden for his forefather's sin. This also results in bearing the consequences of those sins, whether they were committed ten years ago or 100 years ago. The Christian culture seems to perpetuate this same idea, as it is truly stated many times over in our Old Testament. It started with Cain's descendents being punished for Cain's murder of Able and goes on into almost every book of the Old Testament, where sons had to pay for their fathers' sins, or rather suffer for them.

These sins often resulted in curses that carried on throughout the family. Either the sin carried through the family line for ten generations or the curse stayed with the family line forever. The only way to escape the family curse was to die. In the Old Testament, you where born, lived, and died under these curses. This idea of generational curses was perpetuated throughout the Old Testament by, none other than, God Himself.

Even today, many Christians seem to be living under similar curses or sins that someone else committed. They believe that they are cursed or that their family is cursed or that they are paying for the sin of someone else. Somewhere down the line, some obscure relative must have done something so terribly bad. After all, the Bible tells me so. However, in true review of the Bible and further study, we do not see these generational curses or sins being passed on or perpetuated in the New Testament of our Bible.

When Christ came to this earth and died on the cross, He took those sins and curses with Him. Furthermore, He created a way for us to be born again and adopted as sons and daughters into the family of God. If then, we become saved and adopted into the family of God, becoming heirs with Christ, we are no longer of the same family line into which we were born. The New Testament does not carry on these generational curses because they are done away with, if we become born again. Hence the term, Born Again Christian. We are new creations, born into the family of God, leaving behind the sins of our fathers and those trailing generational curses. Be advised, if you are born again, those curses that have been following you are now broken and have no hold or power over your life.

1. Feeling a little cursed or that you are paying for someone else's sin?
2. Isn't it time you realized those curses where broken when you became saved?

In Heaven...

In Heaven...
March 24, 2008
Acts 1:10 "...they were gazing intently into Heaven as he went..."

After His resurrection, Jesus remained on the earth for only a few weeks and then ascended into Heaven. This is the whole goal of our Christian walk, to live on this earth in ministry, like Jesus, and then ascend with Christ to spend eternity in Heaven. We have this event to live for, eternal salvation, but so often we lose sight of that goal or the final result of our Christian experience here on earth. The whole goal, Christian, is to end this life and get to Heaven, a place of perfectness where our relationship with God is complete.

But if you think about it, seldom do we imagine on a daily basis what Heaven will be like. In most of our human goal setting, we have an end result in mind or a vision of the future, something to strive for. Do you envision what Heaven will be like? For many, the vision of Heaven incorrect; it is not a utopia of pleasure and enjoyment. Picture streets of gold, mansions for all to live, feasts and banquets and buffets, leisure activities, servants to take care of us, and crowns to wear. But this is a sinful picture of Heaven, a false vision of what God intends for us to experience in Heaven with Him.

Since in Heaven there will be no sin in our lives, many of those images of Heaven will not be important. There will be no pride, so a mansion to live in is pointless. There will be no gluttony, so those 24hr buffets are irrelevant. There will be no selfishness or jealousy so those crowns and leisure activities will not be of interest to you. This method of enticement might be acceptable for the immature Christian, but it takes a degree of emotional maturity to see Heaven for what it is.

Let me say then, that a correct view of Heaven is important to place before us, longing for that better life than this earth has to offer. In Heaven, there is no emotional pain, loneliness is defeated, insecurities are gone, and a sense of belonging is revealed. In Heaven there is uninterrupted rest and stress is buried with your sins. In Heaven, your current human body does not experience pain and toil in your work is not necessary; there is no relationship strife or bitterness. But most importantly, in Heaven, there is perfect peace in your heart and a fulfilling relationship with the Creator of your soul is complete where you are free to worship Him in all His splendor and glory.

No, these things may not appeal to our sinful desires for pleasure on the streets of gold, but they are correct interpretations of a life outside this earth. If you think long and hard, I bet you'd love to leave the emotional pain you experience on a daily basis. I bet you'd love to leave the financial problems you face while toiling at a job you hate. And I know for a fact that you'd love to be in a place where you belong and a true family with common interests is all around you. This is a place where you should be, standing before your Creator, praising His name.

1. Have an end in mind of that eternal place of worship and rest?
2. Isn't it time you set the correct view of Heaven in front of your eyes everyday?

Jonah, The Whale, & Iraq

Jonah, The Whale, & Iraq
March 17, 2008
Jonah 1:1-2 "Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, arise and go to Nineveh, that great city..."

In the book of Jonah, we see a man, sent by God, to preach the good news to Nineveh. We all remember the story; God tells Jonah to do something, Jonah doesn't want to do it, Jonah gets swallowed by a whale, Jonah finally agrees to do what God asked him to do, and the city of Nineveh repents. It is a story of obediance to the Lord, not necessarily of what God wanted to do for the city of Nineveh. God had a purpose in His heart and He needed Jonah to do that, even if Jonah never understood why God really needed it done.

Now, I am sure if you are reading this, you probably have never been swallowed by a whale. But I am confident you have had a leading in your heart to do something the Lord asked you to do. This was a burning in your heart, compelling you to do 'whatever' it was God asked of you. You may have never completed it but you knew you were suppose to do 'this.' It may not have been an audible voice, but it was a voice inside you, urging you on, knowing full well what needed to be done and why. Or you may have done it with no reason why or even known the result of your actions. The point remains, God placed something on your heart for you to do and it was important to God that you got it completed--even if you didn't feel it was important or ever got it done.

If you follow up on Jonah's story of preaching to Nineveh, you will find that the city of Nineveh is in modern day Iraq. You will also find that Nineveh is receptive to the Lord and actually a Christian city today, despite being in the middle of a completely muslim nation, with muslim nations all around. In fact, it is one of only a few places in Iraq that accepts people of the Christian faith without seeing them killed. Nineveh is a safehouse for God's people because of Jonah's obediance to the Lord several thousand years ago. If not for Nineveh, there may not even be any Christians in Iraq, all because Jonah obeyed the Lord. Who knows, the city of Nineveh could be the key to ending all the current strife in Iraq. Wouldn't it be great if revival started in Nineveh and lead to the whole nation of Iraq turning to God! Could this have been God's plan even way back when God and Jonah were having a conversation in the belly of a whale?

1. Has the Lord placed something on your heart to do?
2. Isn't it time you obeyed the Lord and got it done?

Praise Him For...

Praise Him For...
March 10, 2008

Ps 150:2-3 "Priase him for his acts of power; Praise him for his surpasssing greatness."

I was eating lunch with some men at a restaurant and highlights of their favorite team were on the sports channel displayed on the screens around us. Recorded in those highlights were a few key plays that caused the team to rise above the competition. The uproar at the table was unanimous, with their joy heard all around the room regarding the news. It seemed these men had something to be excited about and consequently their entire beings showed their exuberance.

In like perspective, I was sitting in a church service that night, singing worship songs to our Creator. I glanced around the room noticing the somber tone in people's voices and the lackluster expression on their faces. I wondered, had they just received good news about their favorite sports team, if their demeanor would change. For some reason, the people in the room didn't seem to truly have a reason to praise God our Father. Surely they had reason to praise Him, they were just not convinced of it.

All of us have reason to praise Him, many reasons to praise Him. But so often we forget what they are when faced with the realities of today's events. We go to church and enter into worship but it is just lip service to God because our hearts are not in it. For if it truly came from our hearts, we would have the same exuberance for Him that my friends had at lunch that day regarding their favorite team.

If you aren't convinced of a reason to praise Him, then I suggest you think long and hard about what the Lord has done for your life. For starters, He saved your life from the pit of hell. Let that be a good stepping stone in consideration for all the other things He has done. I know His power has been demonstrated, not just in Bible stories, but in your very life. He is a God that should be praised with more exuberance than a basketball team deserves, as His power and greatness are beyond compare.

1. Having trouble finding a reason to truly praise Him with all your being?
2. Shouldn't He simply be praised for His acts of power and surpassing greatness?

Glory Through Death

Glory Through Death
March 3, 2008

John 11:17 "On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days."

Word came to Jesus that his friend, Lazarus, was sick and on his death bed. Friends and family urged Jesus to come quickly to his aid and heal Lazarus before his certain demise. Jesus was not in a rush, however, and told them not to worry because the situation would not end in death. But, in this story we see that Jesus arrived too late to heal him. Lazarus was already dead and in the tomb. The situation seemed over, complete, and final. No problem for Jesus, though, he just raised Lazarus back to life and had dinner with His dear friend.

You see, Jesus was interested in bringing glory to God all the days He was on this earth. He knew that no glory would be given to God if the story ended with Lazarus eating a bowl of chicken soup and getting well in 7-10 days. It is too easy for man to take credit or physicians to be the heroes for someone getting well. If a situation turns around with any degree of human effort, then so often the credit goes to man and not God. But God wanted the glory, and He knew that in order to get it in this story there had to be a miracle, something where no man could deny that God was in control and that God was the reason for the situation turning around.

So, too, in your story or situation in life. There may have to be an element of death, just like for Lazarus, in order for your situation to give glory to God. If your situation needs turning around and it seems a demise is certain, then hold on and continue to wait for God. If your situation resolves in 7-10 days then there might not be glory in it for God. But, if your situation contains death, something that no man can turn around, then maybe, just maybe it would bring glory to God. Trust me, in all that goes on for you, Christian, God wants it to bring glory to Himself and He is willing to use the situation you are in right now.

1. Have a situation in life you'd like to see turn around?
2. Are you willing to bring glory to God through an element of death in the story?

God and Plenty

God and Plenty
Feb 25, 2008

John 10:10 "...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I was pouring a bowl of cereal for my three-year-old daughter recently at the breakfast table. She looked at her bowl, looked up at me and said in her cute, Mickey-Mouse voice, “No, Dad, that’s not plenty.” She was disappointed in the amount that I had portioned out for her. She wanted more. She wanted it to be plenty. She did not want to lack in any amount possible. She wanted to have her bowl filled to the fullest.

God wants us to have our bowl filled to the fullest but so often we settle for such a small amount of Him. He came to earth that we might have life to the fullest, to have life in abundance and yet so many times we take less, far less. I would submit to you that your life may be full of “things” but still has a degree of emptiness to it. Most of us have received such a small amount because we think that is all we are supposed to have or that it is enough, but God would tell you He wants you to have life in abundance. The words 'full' or 'abundance' carry with them a meaning of completeness or filled to the point that it cannot contain anymore. But I assure you, your life can contain more of God.

Is your life full of God? Do you have an abundance of LIFE in you? If you feel you might be lacking or that you could have more of God, He promises to give it. All you have to do is seek Him with all your heart and let Him know that you want more of Him in your life. This ‘more’ is not stuff or things, it is LIFE. It is inspiration, it is joy, it is completeness, it is fulfillment, it is….plenty.

When my daughter asked for ‘plenty,’ I did what every good father would do for such an earnest request for more. I gave her plenty.

1. Have you settled for far less in life?
2. Isn’t it time you had life to the fullest?

God's Love

God's Love
Feb 18, 2008

Ps 36:7 "How priceless is your unfailing love!"

The Bible references more than 100 times that God is unfailing in love or abounding in love. The words unfailing and abounding carry with them a meaning of perfectness and lavishness. His love is almost to the point of excess. And God’s meaning of love is different than human understanding. It cannot be qualified by and determined based on behavior or actions. His love comes to you no matter how many things you've done wrong in your life. His love is unconditional. You cannot earn it nor does He love you more or less based on your personal efforts.

Along with the unconditionalness of His love is the amount of love that He has. The Bible talks about His love like it is ever-flowing. His love is like a refreshing, spring fed mountain river. The water comes out of a crack in the rocks, yet you cannot see the source. The water appears to be coming out of an obscure object and yet it never stops. It is enduring. The water is always flowing, just like God’s love. You will never be able to see or understand the source of His love and it will never stop. His love is always there, in copious amounts.

And this love that God has is so ingrained into His character that it cannot be removed. God cannot stop loving and cannot stop loving you, no matter how you may act or what you may say. This love that He has for you is what drives Him to pursue you and your heart. He longs to be with you and wants you to accept His love, His lavish love that never fails. He loves you. Yes, even you.

1. Tired of Human love that is based on your behavior or accomplishments?
2. Isn’t it time you started accepting His perfect, lavish love?

Trusting in God

Trusting in God
Feb 11, 2008
Phil 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

This scripture has been said aloud many times in your life but I know for a fact that everyone still gets anxious. Though this scripture gives you a remedy if you do have anxiety, focus on the first part of the passage and it gives you a direct order, “do not be anxious.” But in order for us to prevent anxiety, we have to be able to trust. The whole reason we have anxiety at all is for the simple reason we do not trust the situation or other people involved.

This distrust is a natural preservation or an instinct to keep ourselves safe. It protects by enabling us to always be on guard of what may attack. If we trust someone and let our guard down then we are likely to get hurt, or so we think. But if we truly trust someone or a specific situation, then we are not anxious about getting hurt or of the potential outcome. Likewise, we would not have any anxiety if we put our trust in God, regardless of the potential outcome, knowing that He does not intend to harm us.

If we truly trusted God with everything, trusted that He is in control and will work everything out on our behalf, we would not have any anxiety at all. This is a rather bold statement considering the number of Christians who are on anti-anxiety medication. But I am certain you would not have any anxiety problems if you truly trusted in the Lord. All your worries and problems would not seem so frightening if you simply trusted your complete life into the Lord’s hands. This trust is that He would work everything out for your good and keep you safe. This trust is that He is in control of your life and circumstances and will make sure you are right where you need to be at just the right time in your life no matter what you may be going through.

1. Are you feeling a little anxious about a situation in your life?
2. Isn’t it time you started trusting in the Lord?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Working for the Lord

Working for the Lord
Feb 4, 2008

Eph 2:10 "...created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Imagine you’ve seen the white light and crossed over to the other side. You are now standing before the Lord in His throne room. The room is completely empty; just Him sitting on His throne and you standing before Him. He points over to the other side of the room and you see a giant cauldron sitting over a fire with something boiling inside. You look closely in the pot and inside of it are all the things you’ve ever done in your life.

You quickly realize that some of the things in the pot are rapidly boiling away and disappearing in the vapor. Then, suddenly, the boiling comes to an end and the water is drained. The remaining items in the pot are dumped out on the floor between you and the Lord. It seems to be a very small pile and you start reading the labels on the few items sitting there exposed. The labels read “things done for the Lord.” The pot contained all the things you’ve ever done in your life and the only things left are what you have done for the Lord.

When we become Christians, we have a new responsibility to allow our efforts in Life to be for the Lord and His glory. The Bible says that we are saved to do good works. Those are the only things that matter to God and those are the only things that will matter when your life on this earth is said and done. The Lord is not interested in how much money you made or what respected office you held in life. The Lord is interested in what you did for Him and His agenda. And His agenda is only one thing, that everyone might come to the knowledge of Him and be saved. These are the good works you are to do.

1. Considering everything you've done in your life, what will remain when its over?
2. Isn’t it time you stepped up and started working for the Lord and His agenda?

God the Healer

God the Healer
Jan 28, 2008

Psalm 103:3 "…and heals all your diseases."

Six years ago my wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The day I was told the stressful news will always be etched in my mind. We were told not to worry and that it probably wasn’t cancerous as it was only one of the slow growing kind of tumors. This did not abate my worry, however. My wife was not able to undergo any kind of treatment or surgery as she was pregnant with our first child; the only treatment available was prayer. We prayed, the church prayed, extended family prayed; we had everyone praying.

Many months later, after a routine checkup, it was found that the tumor was not in the slow growing family, but in the family of overachievers. It had doubled in size, was wrapping around her carotid artery, and pressing on her optic nerve. I was overwhelmed, not having a thing to do in an effort to fix the situation. But we prayed to the God who "heals all your diseases" and He listened. After over two years of having the brain tumor (and proof with many MRI ’s), the doctors could not find it anywhere, nor had my wife undergone any form of treatment.

Having been through that, I am aware and remember the power of the God who “heals all your diseases”. My two year old son was in the ER last week having an X-ray for some suspicious symptoms. They immediately rushed us to the children’s hospital and told us we would be meeting with the surgery team upon our arrival. On my frantic way to the hospital I recalled that God was the one who "heals all your diseases" and called upon my support system at church for prayer. We prayed, the church prayed, extended family prayed; we had everyone praying. The surgeons X-rayed my son again and told us that surgery was not necessary, the situation had almost completely resolved itself on the way to the children’s hospital.

It wasn’t the situation that had resolved itself, it was the God who “heals all your diseases.” If you need healing, God is the one who "heals all your diseases." It is interesting that the scripture doesn’t say He heals “most” diseases, but ALL your diseases. There isn’t a disease that He can’t handle. Having lived through this several times, I know it to be true; He is more than capable. If you need healing by the God who "heals all my diseases," please e-mail me and I’ll gladly add you to my prayer list. If you doubt that you can have this same healing, please e-mail me and I will forward you my wife’s medical file and let you see a picture of my smiling son.

  1. Are you, or someone you know, in need of healing?
  2. Isn’t it time you let Him heal ALL your diseases?

God Meant it for Good

God Meant it for Good
Jan 21, 2008

Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…"

A boy in the middle-east was destined by his father’s business to simply herd sheep and goats. Yet he felt different than his brothers and sensed a unique calling on his life from the Lord far greater than that of tending to the family’s flocks. Though his father intended him to carry on the family tradition, he, too, sensed he was different and even treated him with a degree of favoritism. His brothers became jealous and conspired to get rid of him as they did not have the same blessing or approval. Telling their parents he was dead, the man’s brothers kidnapped him and traded him off into slavery.

Once the young man became the property of someone else there was no escape. He was to be a slave forever, with no hope of fulfilling that unique calling on his life. He was reduced to nothing, mistreated, and eventually falsely accused and imprisoned. By this time, a man, he could have become bitter and angry with the Lord for allowing such harsh treatment, yet he chose to remain faithful to God and endure his circumstances.

The chances of this young man ever fulfilling his calling were virtually impossible. Nonetheless, in one quick twist of “fate” he was elevated to be ruler of the entire land. He could now get even with his brothers and avenge what they did to him. But instead, he forgave them and said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”

These wise words by this humble man should define our lives; learning how to turn something so awful and wretched into something that honors the Lord for Him and His purposes. If you allow it, the Lord will show you how He can create a fairy tale ending with your unwanted and unexpected from Life. God has your best interests at heart, and He desires that you know that and come into the realization of what He has for your life. Whatever you are going through, know that what may feel harmful may truly be intended for your good.

Feeling a little harmed by your circumstances or set back in life?
2. Try asking God what future good He may intend for it.

Submitting to God

Submitting to God
Jan 7, 2008

Psalm 81:11 "
But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me."

Have you ever been on a canoe trip or even whitewater rafting? One of the first things they teach you (or should have taught you) is how to handle rapids should you find yourself overboard. In rapid water, no matter how good of a swimmer you may be, drowning is inevitable. Unless, of course, you submit to the water. The only way to get out of rapid water alive is to relax, fold your arms across your chest, hold your breath, and let the water take you where it will. The human body is buoyant enough to allow you to pop up out of the water as soon as it is safe.

In life, we don't often submit to the Lord and whatever it is He might have for us. If that is the case, drowning in life is certain. Several thousand years ago, God's people did not submit to Him and let's just say they drowned in that rapid water. It frustrates God when we do not simply relax and let His water take us where He needs us, however rapid that water may seem. We usually try to swim our hardest, though we might be skilled, yet to no avail because His desire for our lives is so much stronger than our own abilities.

For some reason, the very word submit makes us cringe, as we feel we would no longer have a free will or be our own person. We feel as if the life we might live under submission to the Lord might be substandard, limited, or even boring. But listen to what God says regarding what He would do if His people would submit to Him. Listen to how vivid and awesome God's own words are in the verses following Psalm 81:11.
O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! Then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their doom would last forever. I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you." Psalm 81:13-16

Have any enemies you'd like to see cringe?
  1. Have you been swimming against the Lord and unwilling to submit?
  2. Isn't it time you were served with the finest of wheat and honey that would satisfy?

20/12 Vision

20/12 Vision
Dec 27, 2007

2 Chronicles 20:12 "…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

The children of Israel were minding their own business when word came that several neighboring nations were coming together to wipe out the Israelites. The children of Israel were clearly out matched for this fight and did nothing to provoke this vast army that was on their way to engage in battle. The Israelites were out numbered and out skilled. There was no way they could compete or even stand a chance of avoiding complete annihilation. They had no where to turn but toward the Lord. They had the correct vision as it states in 20:12 of 2 Chronicles. They put their eyes on Him.

This is exactly the type of vision the Lord wants us to have. It is where God's people, in this instance, simply looked up to Heaven and said, we don't know what to do but we are looking toward you for the answer and solution.” Many times, unprovoked, we face difficult situations in life where personal annihilation seems certain. We have no where to turn, no skills, no energy, and no resources to compete. This is when we look up to Heaven and tell God, I have no idea what to do but my eyes are upon you. I’am looking toward you for the answer and solution.”

Is this the easiest type of vision to have in life? Absolutely not, as it is so tempting to engage our own human efforts to find the solution. But the Lord loves an opportunity to be a big God in your life and in the situation that is facing you right now. Find yourself in a devouring circumstance? Place your eyes toward Heaven and make sure they stay fixed in that direction, never looking at the vast army but at the Lord. He is truly able to surmount any circumstance in your life. ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.

By the way, God completely defeated this vast army that marched against the children of Israel that day; they didn't even have to fight. And you thought 20/20 was perfect vision.

1. What situation in your life seems so vast that you cannot overcome?

2. Are you looking toward Heaven and keeping your eyes fixed on Him?

Hit the Nail

Hit the Nail
Dec 16, 2007

John 5:19 "...the son can do nothing of himself, unless it is something he sees his father doing…the son does in like manner."

I took my 4 year old son to a free craft workshop at a local hardware store. They provided the material and directions, allowing my son and I time to bond. The project was a little wooden boat, complete with nails for the pre-cut wood. My son was quick to grab the hammer and couldn't wait to hit a nail. I pre-set the first nail and then held my hand over his on the hammer, directing it to hit the nail and drive it in. I did this twice, my hand guiding his. I then let him have the hammer to do it on his own, only the nails were such that I had to hold them in place with my thumb and forefinger. As he wielded the hammer backward to take his first swing, I instantly realized this was a bad idea. There was no way he would hit the nail and my thumb was the next closest thing.

In like manner, our Heavenly Father leads us all of our life and prepares us for His use. The whole while He watches over us and helps us along the way, teaching us and guiding us, with His hand on ours, holding the hammer. He allows us to be instructed by others and their example many times without expecting much from us yet. Our training and guidance may last many years. Then comes a time for the Lord to take his hand off the hammer and allow us to wield it on our own, all the while holding the nail, still making sure we can do it, watching over us as we drive it in, hoping that we've been paying attention.

If the Lord has been equipping you all your life to do something and has given you many examples in your life to follow, then it may be time for Him to pull his hand off the hammer and allow you a turn. This may be a new venture for you, but one you've been preparing for your whole life. This may be your ministry opportunity. Watch as He holds the nail for you; this may be your time. Have you been paying attention to Him and His guidance in your life? Can you do it in like manner? Go ahead, give it a try. You might do better than you think.

My son did great hitting the nail, my thumbnail, that is.

1. What has He been equipping you to do?
2. Are you doing something for Him? Is it time to start?