14 July 2013

HE IS with us ...

The sun is shining today in Virginia Beach, VA.

I am not certain if it is sunny where you are.
It may be cloudy and rainy.
Yet, you can rest assured that the sun is shining somewhere today ... 
whether you can see it or not

Likewise –
The Son of GOD, our LORD Jesus Christ is seated on His throne,
radiant in glory.

You may not be able to see Him but it does not mean that He is not shining;
You may not be able to see where or how He is working,
But it does not impact His activity in your life.
You may not be able to feel the warmth of His presence, but it does not change the fact:


He exalted and with us at the same time
He is working all things together for the good, for our good and His glory.

Here is a great song by Love & The Outcome – He is with us

“He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
Hebrews 13:5

Have an Exceptionally Blessed Day!

13 July 2013

moment by moment ...

Happy Saturday!

I thought I would sleep in today since I did not have to work. However, I have actually been up for several hours already. It is hard to believe all that has taken place in a little over one week. I have been exhausted. Thursday was a good day. Yesterday was a little more challenging.
However, as I drove to work yesterday thinking about some of the good moments we had Thursday evening, what should have been a fairly evident fact became real to me.

Life is moment by moment … 

My mom is going to have some really good days and some really bad days.
My goal and challenge is to ensure that I make the most of the good days, of those precious moments where things almost seem normal again. As much as depends upon me, I have to do what I can to ensure each moment is a good one. Because, you truly never know what the next moment will bring.

This morning …
I choose to place my trust in Jesus – this is a good moment
I choose to sit and write this post – this is a good moment
I am listening to my son play guitar right now – this a good moment
Later today, I will go to visit my mom –
And while I do not know what those moments will hold,
I do know Who holds those moments.

The LORD knows how to save …
Today –
Choose to enjoy every moment that you can on this journey we call life.

Have a Blessed Day!

12 July 2013

when signs lie ... revisited

Yesterday was an extremely long day. My mom was released from the hospital into rehabilitation. Only one facility would accept her due to her limitations. However, as I drove from work, the instrument panel on the van I was driving stopped working properly. The speedometer dropped to zero even though the vehicle was still operating and my speed was clearly not at zero. It stayed that way long enough to take me back to a situation that happened almost three years ago – and a post that I had written as a result. Once I got to the rehabilitation center today, I knew God was preparing me. He was reminding me not to base my feelings upon what I saw but upon who He is.
I hope you enjoy this post ... I know I certainly needed to read it again.
God Bless!

(Originally Posted: October 16, 2010)

when signs lie
Something happened earlier this week as I was driving.

I was traveling along and had just pulled to the side of the expressway to let a fire truck pass. However, as I started driving again, my son who was in the passenger seat asked, ‘Why are we driving so slow?’

This question puzzled me to a degree because I thought we were going at an adequate speed. Then I looked at the speedometer and realized it was reading zero. Instinctively, I started applying the brake. I think subconsciously, I wanted to make sure that I was not speeding.

Immediately, and for the rest of that trip, I started to gauge my speed based upon my feelings and the cars around me. It was twenty miles to get to where I was going. It felt like the longest ride ever. When I got to campus, turned the car off and restarted it, everything worked fine.

However, this little episode did two things: Stressed me out just a little bit and Got me thinking about the impact when signs lie.

Looking at the sign of the speedometer, my son and I came to two different conclusions – neither of which I believe were accurate. Seeing the needle on zero, he thought we were driving too slowly. And I – looking at the cars and working with a thorough knowledge of my tendency to have a bit of a ‘heavy foot’ – assumed I was likely going too fast. Both observations were based upon the signs we had available.

However, there are moments when you cannot use the signs because, they lie. We see this demonstrated within the kingdom of God quite a bit.

The Lord says in Isaiah 55:8-9, 'My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ As such, the signs in His kingdom are often inconsistent with human reasoning.

Being poor, can be rich, going down is actually ascension; death is life; demotion results in promotion; standing still is moving forward and remaining silent, can speak volumes.

Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused of attempted rape and put in prison. And he might have concluded that he missed God’s message and had fallen out of favor – if he read those signs. But the signs lied. Everything that happened, which looked like the wrong thing, was the right thing to set him up for promotion to the second highest office in Egypt. (Genesis 37-41)

The nation of Israel sent spies over into their land of promise. They wanted to survey the land and get an estimation of what challenges stood before them. There were plenty of signs: clusters of grapes so large that they had to be carried on poles between two men and a land flowing with milk and honey. However there were also large fortified cities and giants. Ten of the twelve looked at the latter signs and slowed things down to a stop. They convinced themselves and all of Israel that it was an impossible situation. The good was too good to be true and the bad seemed insurmountable. But those signs of giants and fortified cities were lies – lies which convinced them that what they saw was more powerful than who they were and more powerful than the invisible but ever-present, all-knowing, all-mighty God. (Numbers 13-14)

Later – during Israel’s second attempt at entering their promised land - Rahab received a promise. After helping two spies, she was promised that she and her family would be rescued during the impending invasion by the Isaraelites. For six days they marched around the city. Yet no rescue came. On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times and gave a mighty shout which caused the city walls to start falling. As those walls began to crumble, all the signs would seem to indicate that Rahab had been forgotten. But the signs lied. She was positioned for deliverance and ushered into a future she would never have imagined for herself. She was a textbook example for ‘being still and seeing the salvation of the LORD’ – even when the signs likely made her want to run and escape. (Joshua 2,6)

Why is all of this important?

If we do not understand that signs sometimes lie – we will react based upon what we see. We will speed up or slow down, and we might even come to a complete stop. This is dangerous.

We must stay in-step with God to ensure we remain in the center of His will. The estimation of our progress cannot be based on the signs or on how fast or slow someone else is traveling. It must be done through individual prayer, through study of His Word and through consistent application of His principles.

Once we know what His Word says and understand what His will is, we can stand or move in that truth, no matter what the signs appear to be telling us.

The signs say you have been defeated.
But God says that you a more than a conqueror in Christ! (Rom. 8:37)

The signs say you are losing everything.
But God says that He will supply every need! (Phil. 4:19)

The signs say it is an impossible situation.
But God says nothing is impossible with Him! (Matt. 19:26)

The signs say it is too hard for you to do.
But God says His Holy Spirit works in you to want and to do what pleases Him! (Phil. 2:13)

Understand that He who promised is faithful also to bring it to pass – no matter what your situation looks like. (Heb. 10:23)

I guess that is why God told us to walk by faith and not by sight!

I like what it says in the Amplified version of II Corinthians 5:7, ‘For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.’

Keep your eyes on God – especially when signs lie!

09 July 2013

at my end ... in the end

‘We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself’.
II Corinthians 1:8

In this text, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth and communicating the challenges that he faced and the impact it had on him.
This morning, I can fully relate to how Paul might have been feeling. Mine is not one of religious persecution however. Mine is an issue of life in general and what you do when multiple storms are raging at one time.  While, intellectually, we may know what we need to do – emotionally, we can become overwhelmed with the task of actually doing it.

Last week – on Thursday, July 4th – I was visiting with my mom when she had a stroke. I am so thankful that my oldest son was there with me. Subsequently, we found out that she has had no less than four strokes in the past week. Currently, she is still hospitalized and it has been completely overwhelming. It is so difficult to see your loved one with diminished capacity and struggling through challenges. Add to that concerns with quality of care, family relationships, my college classes, managing my household, job responsibilities and my own health concerns – and I feel that I have reached that place which Paul wrote of, the place of being under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure.

Recognizing that I am completely at the end of my strength, my prayers have been condensed to: Father, give me strength … PLEASE!

Paul went on to state that he had felt that they had ‘received the sentence of death’. However, his faith remained strong as he declared, ‘But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.'  II Cor. 1:9-11

Today – I am requesting that you help me by your prayers.

There are days when encouragers need encouragement.
Yet I do know and hold onto the truth that ...

My current situations and circumstances do NOT change His character.
When I am at my end ... in the end ... He is still faithful, constant and true:

‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’  Ephesians 3:20-21

‘No Storm Lasts Forever – Every Storm Must End’