Thursday, July 24, 2014

Do You Know?

Yesterday morning as I was having breakfast with one of my daughters, she shared with me her apprehension about an event that was scheduled for the afternoon and because she did not know how the event was going to turn out, it was causing her to experience a lot of anxiety. The definition of apprehension is experiencing fear or anxiety of what may happen. As we continued our conversation, we both agreed that many times our fear is based on the unknown.  In other words, "What if this happens or what if that happens?" When these questions assault our mind, it can weaken and even cripple us from doing our best. 

We may not know our future, but do we know the God who holds our future in His hands?  When we are experiencing apprehension, do we transfer our fears of our “unknown” future to our KNOWN God?

I could not help but think of a scripture that talks about a city that had erected an altar to a god entitled: THE UNKNOWN GOD. In Acts 17:23, the Bible shares about a time when Apostle Paul was in Athens and was provoked within him when he saw that the city was filled with numerous pagan temples and many altars to many gods.

“Athens, with its magnificent buildings and many gods, was a center for Greek culture, philosophy and education. Philosophers and educated men were always ready to hear something new, so they invited Paul to speak to them at the meeting of the Areopagus.” Commentary

Below is a portion of what Paul said to the people of Athens:

“Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heavens and earth and does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’” Acts 17:24-28

Do you know the God who made the world and everything in it?

Do you know the LORD of heaven and earth?

Do you know the God who allows you to take your next breath?

Do you know that He is not far from you?

The next time we become fearful about anything, let's not meditate on what is UNKNOWN – but instead – let's mediate on the God who has made Himself KNOWN to us through His Son Jesus Christ!

Let's remember His faithfulness!

Let's remember His promises!

Let's remember His character!

Let's remember that in Him we live and move and have our being!

As I mentioned above, apprehension is defined as the fear or anxiety of what may happen. However, confidence is defined as trust or faith in a person or thing.

Let’s trust and have faith in our living God and by His grace, His perfect love will cast out all fear!

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...” 1 John 4:18a

“We can resolve our fears first by focusing on His immeasurable love for us, and then by allowing Him to love others through us. His love will quiet your fears and give you confidence.” Commentary

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all  your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8

Have you ever heard the phrase, “location, location, location”? In the real estate world this phrase means to buy in the best location that you can afford. It has been proven that over a period of time, the market value of those properties in the best location will perform better.

However in our life's, as we all know, "success" is not only about location – it is about the decisions that we make on a regular basis that could either lead us on the right path or on a detour that could be long and treacherous.

The best decisions are made when we receive advice from the best advisers that provide us with the most “accurate” information. However, that is not always the "best" advice.

When making your decisions, do you consult with the Creator, Savior and Lord? Or are you only relying on man’s “best” advice?

Over the thirty years that my husband and I have been together, we have made decisions based on both our own understanding and decisions based on asking God for His will. Those decisions that we made based on prayer and asking God for His direction, have been the ones that have brought us the most joy in our life. Why? Because God is not limited to the process that we humans are restricted to. 

In other words, God is not restricted by the economy, by what is happening in our relationships or by what the doctors say about our health. God can change our economy, soften the hearts in our relationships and can even change the cells in our body to improve our health if and when He wills it!

Do you have a decision to make today? May I encourage you to first pray to the ONE that created you, this world and everything in it! He and He alone will give you the “best” advice and guidance and once HE does – make the decision to take that action! It is important to note that in many cases, God's guidance to us appeared contrary to everything that we felt was the right direction. But nevertheless when we submitted to God's guidance, He proved to us that He had our best interest at hand and He will prove the same to you!

“Leaning has the sense of putting your whole weight on something, resting on and trusting in that person or thing. When we have an important decision to make, we sometimes feel that we can’t trust anyone – not even God. But God knows what is best for us. He is a better judge of what we want than even we are! We must trust him completely in every choice we make. We should not omit careful thinking or belittle our God-given ability to reason; but we should not trust our own ideas to the exclusion of all others. We must not be wise in our own eyes. We should always be willing to listen to and be corrected by God’s Word and wise counselors. Bring your decisions to God in prayer; use the Bible as your guide; and then follow God’s leading. He will make your paths straight by both guiding and protecting you.” Commentary

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Trust, Look, Remember, Watch!

“Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” Exodus 5:22

“Pharaoh had just increased the Hebrews’ workload, and Moses protested that God had not rescued his people. Moses expected faster results and fewer problems. When God is at work, suffering, setbacks, and hardships may still occur. In James 1:2-4, we are encouraged to be happy when difficulties come our way. Problems develop our patience and character by teaching us to (1) trust God to do what is best for us, (2) look for ways to honor God in our present situation, (3) remember that God will not abandon us, and (4) watch for God’s plan for us.” Commentary

I love Moses’ honesty with God as he expressed his frustrations. Moses asked God the question that we have all asked God at some time or another,“WHY”? In Exodus 6:2, God answers Moses’ question.: 

“And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them.” Exodus 6:2-3

This scripture touches my heart.  My Bible commentary explains it this way: “The patriarchs had known God Almighty. It is not that they had never heard the name Yahweh, but they had not known God in an intimate way.”

You see God wants an intimate relationship with us. Not just head knowledge that there is a God who made the world, but a heart knowledge that God cares deeply and is aware of every area of our life.

When we go through setbacks, and hardships and invite God to help us through them, and when we see His miraculous hand make a way out of no way, our love for Him will deepen, our trust in Him will increase and our hearts will melt within us as we see His deep love, care and concern for us.

The dictionary definition of intimate is: A close or warm personal relationship: an intimate friend.

God wants a close, warm and personal relationship with you!

God says to His beloved people, “I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great judgments. I will take you as MY people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.” Exodus 6:6-8

Are you expecting faster results and fewer problems? Try not to let your setbacks and hardships discourage you but instead trust, look, remember and watch for God!   God will surely bring you out of your situation and bring you into a place that is your right to have and is reserved especially for you!

Then you shall know…. do you know God in an intimate way? Don’t let busyness cause you to miss the sweetness and the sheer joy of having a personal, warm, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! 

When problems occur, and they will, remember to TRUST, LOOK, REMEMBER and WATCH for God's hand at work for you!
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” Jeremiah 9: 23-24

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Peace Through Discipline!

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Recently, I saw the beauty of discipline come to fruition.  Last night I went to my daughter’s basketball game and I recognized a new player on the court. Years ago, at a local YMCA, I use to watch a young girl being trained in the game of basketball by her father. I saw her father train her rigorously and consistently. I also saw this young girl cry, get frustrated and even get injured during her games.

Years have gone by since I have visited the YMCA but last night at my daughter’s high school summer basketball league, I saw this now young lady for the first time in many years. As I saw her play the game, I was able to see the fruit of all her father’s training in her life. All I can say is, “WOW!” The way she played the game was like no other on the court – even though she was one of the youngest! The way she moved with confidence on the court and the skill that I saw in her were inspiring! I could not help but think back to the times when I saw her endure hardship, cry and get frustrated while being trained so intensely by her father.  The fruit of discipline never looked so beautiful and the scripture above in Hebrews came ringing in my mind!

“God is not only a disciplining parent but also a demanding coach who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined. Although we may not feel strong enough to push onto victory, we will be able to accomplish it as we follow Christ and draw on His strength. Then we can use our growing strength to help those around us who are weak and struggling.” Commentary

The Bible says in Hebrews 12:7-10, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness.”

“Who loves his child more - the father who allows the child to do what will harm him, or the one who corrects, trains, and even punishes the child to help him learn what is right? It’s never pleasant to be corrected and disciplined by God, but His discipline is a sign of his deep love for us. When God corrects you, see it as proof of His love and ask Him what He is trying to teach you.” Commentary

FATHER, thank you for loving us so deeply that you take the time to teach us what is right. Thank you that You discipline us for our good in order that we may share in Your holiness.  Who are we that we may share in Your holiness? Thank you for Your loving Hand upon our lives.  Father, do whatever you feel is best in our life so that we can be all that You call us to be! Thank you again for when you teach and correct us and we endure it, it is for our good! In Jesus' Name - Amen.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord discipline the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son.” Hebrews 12:5b-6