31 March 2010

canine college

So, I woke up late today. Actually got up when the alarm went off but decided to lay in the bed and close my eyes for a while. Well when I opened them, it was time for the boys’ bus to come and they weren't even up yet. So, I got up and the first 'good morning' I received was from my little Min-Pin Chico.

Then, I had to drive the boys to school because I got up late. Chico, who stayed at my heels while the boys were getting ready, insisted that he be allowed to ride along. When I got back home, I went up to my room, leaving Chico downstairs. He hasn't climbed the stairs in over a year because of problems with his eyesight.

Well, guess who just walked in my room?

He is bound and determined to do anything to be by the side of his master today. I was his first thought when he got up (even before his bathroom break). He stayed right at my feet while the boys got ready. He rode with me while I took care of what I needed to address. He overcame his fears. He stopped listening to that voice that has been telling him for years that he is too old or too sick to climb the stairs. He abandoned his comfort zone because he had to get to where I was.

 Are you bound and determined to be at the side of your Master today?
 Was He your first thought this morning? Did you have to tell Him 'hello', even before you took care of your most basic needs?
 Have you insisted that He take you wherever He is going today?
 Will you stop listening to the voices which tell you that you are 'too young' or 'too old' or 'too sick' or 'too poor' to ascend to high places with God?
 Will you push past your fears and abandoned your comfort zone to be at His side?

When I took Chico back downstairs, he sat right across my feet - so that I couldn't leave his side and so that he could follow me as soon as I moved.

You can learn a lot from a dog!

‘God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty’ I Corinthians1:27

28 March 2010

no condemnation

Watched a movie yesterday and a young lady (full of hurts/regrets & facing impossible challenges) said, ‘I was so lonely I threw my life away to be held for one moment ….’ Amazing how one comment can derail you and instantly take you back to issues you thought you’d dealt with years ago. Hearing that took me right back to some past decisions of my own. And the bad news is regrets can haunt us indefinitely if we do not know Christ. BUT, ‘there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1)’. Any man in Christ is a new creation … the old is past and the new has come (II Cor. 5:17). Thank God for Jesus!

24 March 2010

will you stay in the fire?

This is not a message for everyone. Just for those truly unique and brave individuals who trust in the One True and Living God, who are bold enough to call themselves, Christian.

Once again, I was wrestling to understand the age old question which gnaws at many people, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ As I considered several perspectives, three arrested my attention:

 First: It must be acknowledged that good is relative. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ Romans 3:23
 Second: We live in a fallen world where things occur that God never intended as a direct result of the sinful nature of man. ‘Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.’ Romans 5:12AMP
 Third: It is what must be – at times.

Now you may be questioning that third possibility, just as I did. How can a good God allow bad things to happen to His people – to people who trust in His Word, who call on His name, who follow His commands and who live for His purpose? Yet if we look through Scripture, we see many examples of God allowing (seemingly) terrible events to befall His people. Why would He do this?

For me the answer came in the form of a question. ‘Will you stay in the fire long enough for somebody else to see Jesus? This is the question of the day. This is the question that I ask in my upcoming book, When Storms Rage. This is the question that I ask of you today, the question that God asked of me several years ago.

Now, all throughout my life, I have been advised that you should not answer a question with a question. Yet we understand from His Word that, our thoughts are not His thoughts – neither are our ways His ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9). Faithful and true, God knew that I would discover the answer that I sought if I would only consider the question that He asked.

Remember the three Hebrew boys. Daniel 3:16-18 tells us that ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king …. ‘let it be known to you , O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.’ They refused to disobey God, they stood up for righteousness and they were thrown in the fire. Not only were they thrown in the fire, they were kept in the fire … until someone else (the king and all the onlookers) could see Jesus. Daniel 3:24-29

Next, let us review the situation of three siblings whom Jesus loved – Mary, Martha and Lazarus. As we know from Scripture, Lazarus became ill and His sisters sent for Jesus. Yet He (Jesus) did not respond immediately to their cries for help. He waited until Lazarus died so that He could raise Him from the dead and the glory of God could be seen (John 11). ‘Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.’ John 11:45

Lastly, we have Tabitha - certainly not the last that there is, but the last that we will consider. Scripture states, ‘This woman (a disciple) was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died’ But Peter came and prayed and raised her from the dead. ‘And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.’ Acts 9:36-42

All were serving the Lord. All were loved by the Lord. All were facing and endured terrible situations and circumstances – with the consent of the LORD!

So I ask you again, ‘Will you stay in the fire long enough for somebody else to see Jesus?’ Will you face the illness and even death? Will you endure the ridicule and bouts of poverty? Will you stand up under the disappointment of delayed or broken dreams? Will you selflessly and joyfully subject yourself to extreme conditions to ensure the salvation of another?

Will you be like Jesus, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross?

Hebrews 12:1-3 (Message Version)
'Do you see what this means—
all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?

It means we'd better get on with it.
Strip down, start running—and never quit!

No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.

Keep your eyes on Jesus,
who both began and finished this race we're in.

Study how he did it.

Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—
that exhilarating finish in and with God—

He could put up with anything along the way:
Cross, shame, whatever.

And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

When you find yourselves flagging in your faith,
go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through.

That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!’

Sometimes a little perspective is all that is needed to give us the strength to stand the test. And when you have done all to stand … keep on standing!

May God Richly Bless You …

18 March 2010

Strength to carry on

Someone asked, 'How do you hold onto hope when all your plans fail and you face heartbreak?' I am learning that sometimes you don't have the strength to hold onto faith ... and that is when faith holds onto you. It tells you to hope again, to trust again, to believe again, to love again. Then you rise and face another day ... with God ... in victory!

Be Blessed!