12 August 2012

a true reward

So yesterday I looked at a short verse concerning a man named Cornelius who was a devout individual committed to prayer, to serving and furthering the purposes of the kingdom of God. He was faithful in well-doing and the LORD heard his prayers and saw his actions.

Cornelius understood the importance of not losing strength in one's committment to do what is pleasing in God's eyes. Likewise, there is a need for us to not grow weary in well doing and a greater need of understanding that the true reward for doing well is not necessarily so that we will reap a physical reward (although we do at times), but that He is our reward.

The Amplified version of John 14:21 reads:
'The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]' 

Jesus lets us know in this verse that the true reward for loving Him and following His commands is the love of the Father and intimate revelation of who Jesus is.

As we look at the life of Cornelius, we see this action:
  • Cornelius receives a message that his faithful living has come up as a memorial before the LORD (Acts 10:4)
  • Interestingly, his reward for doing well is not riches or fame. The LORD extends an invitation to Cornelius for him to keep on working by partnering with God and sending for Peter (Acts 10:5-6)
  • Peter shares truth and revelation with Cornelius and those assembled in his home (Acts 10:25-43)
  • The LORD pours out His Holy Spirit upon them (Acts 10:44)

As a reward for his faithfulness, Cornelius was privileged with additional opportunities to co-labor with the LORD. He learned more truth and experienced the outpouring and power of the Holy Spirit. Now that is a true reward!

'...God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.' Acts 10:34-35

11 August 2012

doing well ...

"Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before the LORD" Acts 10:4  

In this passage, Cornelius has been visited by an angel of the LORD who has come to let him know that God has heard and seen ...        

He heard the prayers of Cornelius and He made record of the service of Cornelius to His kingdom purposes - ministering to those in need and demonstrating the love of God in the earth.       

He is a seeing and hearing God ...    
When the enemy screams in your ears and it appears that all is for naught, there still exists a God in heaven, the one true and living God Almighty, who sees and hears everything!        

Often times it is quoted, 'Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.' Galatians 6:9   

However, I like the verse in II Thessalonians 3:13 which simply states, "But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good." [PERIOD] 

He does not admonish the brethren to persevere because of some reward that they will receive. He simply commands that they not grow weary in doing well. Neither the challenge nor the remedy have changed in over two-thousand years.

'Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.' Col. 3:17

'The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]' John 14:21AMP

Have confidence that God sees and hears and let that be reward enough, knowing that you have pleased the heart of the Father by doing what is acceptable in His eyes and in His estimation.      

I have to remind myself of this truth from time to time (as recently as this past week).    

We serve an awesome and faithful God who deserves all honor and glory. And we can confidently place our trust in Him and in His principles. 

Have A Blessed Day!

10 August 2012

you give them something ...

'But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something...!”' Matthew 14:16

Several weeks ago, I had someone say something very interesting to me. They said, 'God has been showing me your face all week and I was praying, "God I don't know what her need is but I pray You supply every need."' And for some reason, that comment got me thinking about this verse.

This week, I saw a living example of a response to this comment/command  from Jesus.

Each morning I leave the house at 5:40AM to get to work by 8:00AM - walking approximatley two miles to catch a bus and then walking about another two miles after getting off the bus. Well, as I walked to work this week, I was offered a ride three days in a row (once by a friend and twice by a 'complete stranger'). It just so happens that 'the stranger' also turned out to be a fellow Christian who works at the same company where I am employed.

Independent of my expressing a desire for assistance or any prompting from an individual, they each made decisions that could not have been more aligned than if they had planned it. They decided that they would not pray for the need to be met. Instead they took action to meet the need.

I believe they each had the sentiments from James etched in their minds and heart: 'far be it from us to tell someone 'be warm and filled' when it is within our power to do something.' (See James 2:15-17)

They were not providing warmth -
Warmth was not needed since it was 80-degrees
But, the air conditioning from their vehicles was refreshing

They were not offering food -
But, they were 'feeding' a need

This is what Jesus was emphasizing to His disciples that day. They viewed the situation as too great for them to be able to effect change. But Jesus had a different perspective. Just for the record, He often does.

He said, 'They do not need to go away; you give them something!'

Please do not misunderstand my intent and the value that I know exists in prayer. Yet how often do we pray when God has called us to be the change that we desire to see? How many times have we missed participating in a miracle because we felt like what we had to offer was insignificant? Worse, how many times have we missed out on partnering with God due to laziness or selfishness?

Having been on the giving end in countless instances - it is very different, heart-warming and humbling to be on the receiving end. It reminds me of God's faithfulness and His words of promise, 'Give and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over, shall men pour into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it shall be measured back to you.' (Lk. 6:38) What a blessing!

I pray that my eyes and heart will be open to recognize opportunities to partner with God in being the answer to someone's prayers - whether it be financial, material, emotional, physical or spiritual. And may I act with a sense of urgency, eagerly and joyful responding to the needs of others and the call of Christ.

05 August 2012

with an everlasting love

This weekend has been an interesting one ...

I truly wish I could come up with a more descriptive word.

This has been one of those times where God keeps letting me know just how much He loves me.

Now, you might think that I should already know that - and I should. However, if I am honest, there are times when life beats me up so badly that I lose focus and struggle. It is not a disbelief in who God is or what He is able to do. I'm not quite sure I can describe what it is but, when I hit that wall, my Father knows exactly what I need.

I started out this weekend trying to encourage myself - listening to praise & worship, praying, singing and reading. Yet God knows when I need more and He met me right where I was, speaking through each situation.

I am currently taking a class on 'A Woman's Passionate Pursuit of God'. It is a great class, we have an excellent facilitator and the fellowship with other women is encouraging. This morning, as I did some of my weekly reading, I read about a father and son team (Dick and Rick Hoyt) who have defied odds by participating in 1,000 races. Why is this odds-defying? Rick Hoyt sustained oxygen deprivation at child birth which left him with cerebral palsy and in a quadriplegic state. His dad Dick Hoyt, pushes his son in his wheelchair in each race. In fact, some of the races have been Iron Man triathalons where Dick Hoyt has to swim, pulling his son in a boat, then ride on a specially designed bike and then run, pushing Rick in custom-made running chair. As I read their story, I was touched by it and the awesome love between a father and child.

Having been raised by a single-mom from the time I was four, I have experienced challenges in this life with truly comprehending the love of a father. My father and I are developing in our relationship now but growing up there was a gap which has left some residue. And every time I think I have finished dealing with everything, it seems there is just 'smidge' left to address. I think even that is God's mercy. If I were to attempt to deal with it all at once, I don't know that I would be able to handle it.

Well, after reading, I went to church ... online that is. I started out the day with Redemption World Outreach Center where they got 'stuck' in praise and worship and lingered on the line 'He loves us, Oh, How He loves us'. Then I followed it up with online service at my home church Bridge Church where they were singing about 'Power in the name of Jesus ... to break every chain'. Then this evening I was flipping through the channels and came upon a program with Jentezen Franklin/Free Chapel. And wouldn't you know that he was mentioning Team Hoyt in his sermon.

Now, I am not a huge believer in coincidence. I know God is in control and that He orchestrates situations and circumstances to achieve His purposes in the earth and in our lives individually. And when I realized that Jentezen Franklin was talking about the same individuals I had read about this morning, I knew the LORD was speaking to me and here is what I believe He is saying:

I love you with an everlasting love

I went back to read up on Team Hoyt and saw the most touching video on their website. And as I watched with tears streaming down my face, I was able to catch a glimpse of a father's love. Yet in that moment, there was a tugging at my heart that said, 'I love you more than that.'

You see, God will permit situations and circumstances to point us toward His love and give us glimpses of it but I do not believe that there is any situation on the earth that can fully show us just how much He loves us with the love of a Father. The only event that fully demonstrated it, occurred over two-thousand years ago at the cross of Calvary. And there is nothing else that can capture it - which is why we are called to commune with God and reflect upon the sacrifice of Jesus and the amazing demonstration of love that was put forth for all of humanity but more specifically and personally, for me ... and for you.

As I watched that video of this father and son, I saw myself and I saw the Father and I recognized the fact that:
* I am that person in the wheelchair, being pushed by a Heavenly Father
* I am that person in the boat, being pulled by my Heavenly Father
* When I am too tired to walk, He carries me
* When my attempts at encouraging myself fail, He steps in and holds me
* When chains of the past try to choke my present & future, He frees me
* When I feel I am all alone, He whispers, 'I am here'
* When I don't listen to the whisper, He states with a thundering but loving voice, 'I am right here! I will never leave you or forsake you'

I love the LORD and I know He loves me ... Yet I also realize that He is desiring for me to move to another place in my relationship with Him - one where I truly comprehend that He is not just Creator of the Universe, He is 'Daddy'.

I am so thankful that He takes the time out to speak to me personally and that He is so incredibly patient with me.

'I have loved you with an everlasting love' Jeremiah 31:3

02 August 2012

confident hope

We put our hope in the LORD.
      He is our help and our shield.
   In Him our hearts rejoice,

     for we trust in His holy name.
Let Your unfailing love surround us, LORD,
         for our hope is in You alone.

                       Psalm 33:20-21NLT