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Finding Hidden Treasures

November 15, 2020 Leave a comment

Don’t you love to find a word from the Lord in your Bible that you’ve never seen before? That happened to me just recently when I was reading the last verses in the little bitty book of Jude, so small it doesn’t even have any chapters.

The verses I hadn’t noticed before were verses 24-25 of . . . well, just Jude.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

While there’s so much in these verses, I’ve highlighted three phrases that blessed me especially.

Present you blameless: I love being reminded when believers stand before his presence one day, we’ll be considered blameless. How great is that? And notice how it happens—through Jesus Christ our Lord.

With great joy:  Notice the one doing the presenting of us before His presence will do so with great joy. He—Jesus—will be delighted to make everyone who believes in Him known to His Father. It will be His pleasure to do so. He even asked the Father in John 17 for this to happen. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory.”

Before all time: Our God is an eternal God. There has never been a time when He didn’t exist. He was before all time, and He will go on forever through all time, even when time is no more. This is mind-boggling, hard to grasp, and yet, strangely reassuring.

There’s so much more in these two verses, and in the days ahead, I plan to give more thought to the treasures to be found there. I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed.

What a Surprise!

October 15, 2020 Leave a comment

God reveals Himself in Scripture as a God who loves surprises. Throughout the Old Testament, God manifests Himself in surprising ways, He chooses surprising people, He acts in surprising circumstances.

God Manifests Himself in Surprising Ways:

  • A burning bush
  • A whirlwind
  • A bunch of dry bones
  • A barren womb

God Chooses Surprising People:

  • An idol worshiper
  • A murderer
  • A con man
  • A shepherd boy
  • A prostitute

God Acts in Surprising Circumstances:

  • A Flood
  • A Battlefield
  • A Famine
  • A Murder

In the New Testament, God Himself becomes the surprise. From His birth announcement, His earthly life, His horrible death, and His anticipated return, it’s one surprise after another.

His Birth Announcement Surprised:

  • His mother Mary
  • His father Joseph
  • The shepherds
  • King Herod

His Earthly Life Brought Surprising:

  • Miracles
  • Teachings
  • Revelations

His Horrible Death Surprised:

  • The Disciples
  • The Unbelievers
  • The Roman Soldiers

His Anticipated Return Will Surprise:

  • The Unprepared
  • The Uninformed
  • The Unbeliever

How will God surprise you? It could be a way in the wilderness or a river in the desert. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19. 

God will surprise you. Anticipate it. Look for it. Embrace it.

Happiness?

September 23, 2020 Leave a comment

It’s been a couple of rainy days here in Oklahoma. Not much sunshine. I’m not a person given to depression, and I really like rainy days, but I still found myself longing for some sunshine.

People just seem to be happier when the sun is shining. As I thought about happiness, I remembered a devotional I’d read about mankind’s universal search for happiness. 

In the article,  this quote is referenced, “All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

A bright cloudless day can’t really make a person happy. Only God can do that.

Turn your face toward the Son. Bask in the warmth and happiness of His Light today.

“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

Lost Your Way?

August 12, 2020 Leave a comment

Find Vs Lose Your Way Puzzle Pieces 3d IllustrationIt’s easy to lose your way in our world today. We’re inundated with a myriad of messages, images, and ideas. How do we choose what to believe, what path to follow, how to live? We can explore all our options, saturating ourselves with philosophies, practices, and beliefs.

But, like hikers exploring a new trail, there are some precautions we should take before we head off into the unknown. Otherwise, we’re sure to lose our way. These practices should serve us well, whether we’re looking at a belief system, a political choice, a new set of friends, or exploring health issues, anything requiring our time, money, and effort.

First, FIND a way to have a Daily Quiet Time.
Spend at least thirty minutes every day in Bible study and prayer. It doesn’t matter how you do this. There’s a Bible reading plan out there that will match up with anyone’s learning style and preferences. The important thing is to put yourself in a position where your Father in heaven can communicate His love, His plan, and His desires for you, and you can catch a glimpse of His Glory each and every day.

Second, FIND a way to worship God in a group setting, even through media.
Praising, loving, and serving God with other people will strengthen and enhance your faith. It’s about gathering with like-minded people who desire to give glory, honor, and praise to an Almighty Creator who sacrificed His only son to make sure we spend eternity with Him.

Third, FIND a way to express your faith.
Our belief in God requires an outlet. Otherwise, stagnation sets in. This expression can take many forms, and it may be different according to personality types. For some, it may mean singing, speaking, teaching, or preaching. For others, it may mean journaling, writing, serving, or counseling.

Hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Rest for your soul as you find your way. What could be better than that?

God Loves You

July 11, 2020 Leave a comment

God is LoveThe words, “I don’t love you,” have to be the most hurtful words ever spoken. As human beings, we are born with the desire to be loved. Whether it’s romantic love, family love, brotherly love or even self love, God gave us the desire to be loved and to love God, others, and ourselves.

Love comes from God. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7).

Because human love is so flawed by sin, none of us can ever love ourselves or another human being perfectly. In the same way, until we receive our glorified, perfected bodies, we can’t love God perfectly.

God has no such hindrances. He loves perfectly. On three different occasions, the prophet Daniel was told by the angel Gabriel that he was greatly loved by God. “I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” (Daniel 9:23). The same thought is expressed in Daniel 10: 11 and Daniel 10:19.

How sweet those words must have sounded to Daniel! How would you like to hear those words for yourself? Well, you can.

Paul says in Ephesians 2:4-5:God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,made us alive together with Christ.”

God’s love is on display for us in Romans 5:8.But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Like Daniel, God sent word to us that we are greatly love. He sent  His Word in the form of His Son who demonstrated how much he really loved us by paying the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross

Accept His love. Bask in His Love. Know His love for all eternity.

Four Things I Pray

June 3, 2020 1 comment

PrayerSometimes, I get so caught up in praying for the needs of others, I fail to pray for myself.

I was reminded of this during my quiet time, when I got to I Chronicles in my daily Bible reading.

In the margin of my Bible, I saw a previous note I’d written when I’d read the passage before—I’ve been reading the O.T. once a year and the N.T. twice a year for many years now—and I realized I’d gotten away from praying these four things for myself.

I pray the Lord will  Bless, Prosper, Guide, and Protect me.

Bless Me—spiritually, physically, and mentally.

Prosper Me—spiritually, personally, and financially.

Guide Me—spiritually, intellectually, and creatively

Protect Me—spiritually, physically, intellectually, and financially.

The common thread is that I’m always praying for myself spiritually. If the Lord will bless, prosper, guide, and protect me spiritually, everything else will fall into place.

The Biblical basis for my prayer is found in I Chronicles 4:10: ” . . . Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm . . .”

We Keep Waiting

April 22, 2020 Leave a comment

Wait Room 5Are you tired of waiting? I know I  am.

During this Covid-19 pandemic, it feels like the whole world is in a waiting room. I’m sure you’ve been stuck in a waiting room before, so you know that feeling of helplessness that comes over you after you been there an hour—or two.

While I’ve been waiting to be released from our city’s quarantine restrictions, I’ve found myself thinking about all the times I’ve been in God’s Waiting Room.

God’s Waiting Room is a place familiar to all praying believers. Those who petition the Father for answers, for relief, for deliverance, for guidance, for comfort, often find such requests are not answered immediately. That’s why God designed His Waiting Room.

If the waiting goes on for months, even years, God’s Waiting Room can become a place of discontentment, anger, frustration, and unbelief.

It’s happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you.

Through the years, I’ve learned waiting on God doesn’t have to be unbearable, not as long as I follow some basic principles.

1. Don’t wait alone. Waiting is always easier if the wait is shared, even if it’s virtual sharing.

2. Find something to do while waiting. Occupying body, mind, and spirit makes the wait easier.

3. Encourage others as you wait. Empathy for others who may be going through similar circumstances lightens your burden and blesses your  soul.

4. Recognize God has a sovereign purpose in the length of your wait. Waiting is no different from anything else in your life—God is working all things for His Glory and your benefit no matter what it is.

Those willing to wait on God are given a special promise. It’s found in Isaiah 64:4: “No eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him.”

While you’re in God’s Waiting Room, He’s out there working for you.

Keep on waiting.

Ring a Prayer Bell

March 5, 2020 Leave a comment

Bell2I can’t remember where I got this little “angel bell.” It was given to me years ago. Other than a decorative item on a bookshelf, it isn’t much use to me, except when someone around our house gets sick. Then, I put it beside their bed, and when they need something, they ring it.

My mother, who was in a wheelchair during the last years of her life, had to use the bell a lot more than most family members did.

Whenever she rang it, she would apologize. “It’s nice to have an angel when I need help,” she’d say, “but I hate to be a bother.”

One day, when my grandson stayed with me when he was sick, I put it beside his bed.

He didn’t use it the way my mother did.

He rang it just to see if I could hear him ringing it. He rang it to ask for a drink, a cracker, or a bowl of ice cream. He rang it to call attention to something on television. He rang it because he was bored. He rang it to tell me he was happy to be at my house. He rang it to tell me he was glad he didn’t have to go to school.

God also has a bell. He calls it prayer. Whenever I ring His angel bell, He’s immediately at my side.

Sometimes, I think I’m using it too often, and  I need to apologize. “I’m sorry I have to ask for this again. I’m sorry I can’t  remember what you told me. I’m sorry I have to keep asking forgiveness for this sin.”

However, at other times,  I act just like my grandson. I ring it often, and sometimes, I’m asking for things I don’t even need.

But, according to Scripture, God doesn’t mind when He hears the angel bell ringing. He’s delighted His children want to spend time with Him, even if it’s just to ask Him for something. He’s happy His children believe He’s the answer to everything that matters.

God is overjoyed to hear that prayer bell ringing! Start ringing!

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

How Can I Believe in God?

February 9, 2020 Leave a comment

Believe 1I’ve never had a problem believing in God. It’s as natural to me as breathing.

That doesn’t mean I’ve ever seen God, or had an angelic visitation, or received some special sign from Him. I’ve never seen any writing on the wall or heard an audible voice, or had some tangible proof He’s real.

My belief in God comes from trust.  I trust what the Bible tells me about God. Ironically, the faith to believe in Him, to trust what the Scriptures tell me about Him, is a gift from God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Believing in God is not something I can do for myself. The ability to believe in God comes from God.

Any person who sincerely wants to know God will find Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.

I believe in God because He created the desire for me to believe in Him; He provided the means for me to believe in Him, and He made the provision for me to believe in Him.

And, He didn’t just do it for me; He did it for you as well.

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

I Wear A Dusty Crown

January 25, 2020 Leave a comment

789crown

I love the way David describes how God treats His children in Psalm 103. David says He satisfies your desires with good things.”(Psalm 103:5).

Later on in this Psalm, David writes, “He remembers we are but dust.” He writes this in connection with the compassion of God.  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers we are but dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14).

God created human beings out of a common substance, a substance of little worth, just a handful of dirt. Inside this dirt-formed vessel, He placed an image of Himself. When a handful of dirt became a man, something of little value became something of infinite value—a living human being. Every human being born after Adam reflects this God-likeness.

Even though we bear His likeness, we’re still just dirt. He remembers this. He knows our frailties and all our weaknesses. He knows our dirt. He has compassion on our dirt. The Psalmist says, “He crowns you with love and compassion.” (Psalm 103:4).

Even though we’re made of dirt, we have a regal bearing. As God’s children, we wear the crown of His compassion and love.

Perhaps this is why David begins and ends this Psalm with these words. “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (Psalm 103:22).

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