These last few weeks many people have been waiting and holding their breath over the financial crisis this nation is in. And with good reason. People who are living on income they invested for their retirement days may see them disappear or severely shrunk. I may be one of them. People living on Social Security are concerned whether that is even going to be an option. The times and the futures of ones can be looking the darkest it has since the Great Depression. Believe me, I understand the concerns. I’m right there with both sets of people I just described.
It’s now though, that as Christ-followers we must remember who truly provides for us. It is time for each one of us to be praying for our leaders to reach a satisfactory resolution of this crisis. As long as Peter was keeping his eyes on Jesus, he had no problems walking on the water. It was only when Peter took his eyes off Christ, our Total Provider, and saw his circumstances with his worldly eyes that he started to sink. However, even then, Jesus loved His follower so much, He would NOT allow Him to sink. Let me paraphrase a question here Beth Moore asked in Believing God, do you believe God or do you believe in God? There is a big difference between these two points. Because if you believe God, you know He can do what He says He can do. You know He is who He says He is. And, most of all, you know you are who God says you are. You are His child.
As His child, as a kind, loving Father, we will never face anything alone. That is His promise to us from Genesis to Revelations. It is time to keep our eyes on Our Provider.
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Today I had one of those “Bonk, you could’ve had a V-8” moment. We’ve all had them. For example, you read a verse in the Bible over and over and over attempting to get the meaning. It makes no difference how many times we read it, the message flies over our head. Or a concept is being discussed and the whole discussion is like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon, “Wonk, wonk, wonk, …..” Then there are times when you don’t even realize the picture has been fuzzy and all of sudden someone says something or you read something and the blinders come off!! In the time it takes to snap your fingers, you are suddenly seeing a concept, a meaning, an individual, or a circumstance in your life in a whole new light.
What’s different? What just happened? The Holy Spirit just opened your eyes, or ears, or mind, or heart or all of the above so God could teach you; or, so the Master Potter could smooth some rough edges. I love it when this happens!!
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Last week, one of my studies was on forgiving. On Sunday, our pastor preached on forgiving. Now, I know I can be slow but I just couldn’t help but wonder if maybe God was trying to get my attention. Especially, when I open my study and what is today’s lesson? Forgiving!! Okay, with this last repetition, I knew He was attempting to get my attention. There was one more concept He wanted me to learn regarding forgiviness. Another concept?
From the time we first become a Christ-follower, asking forgiveness is probably the first concept we learn. It was one of the first words out of our mouth when we asked Jesus to come into our heart—Lord, forgive me for I have________. As we grow in our faith, we learn to ask forgiveness of ones we have offended. It is, most likely, the second concept we learn. But, is that not all we must know about forgiveness?
The last words of the lesson today was to give me the third concept He wanted me to grasp. It was Luke 6:37, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” All of us have read this Scripture many times. Many of us have memorized it. Yeah, I know. This is it? Upon reading it again, I could hear His Spirit whisper in my ear, “Make it personal, add the word yourself.” “Do not judge yourself, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn yourself, and you will not be condemned. Forgive yourself, and you will be forgiven.”
The third concept, quit judging, quit condemning yourself and forgive yourself and then we can be forgiven. Such a simple concept. Stop being so hard on yourself, stop condemning yourself, forgive yourself so He can forgive me. Unfortunately, it’s one we don’t talk about as much as the first two. Once again, Lord, thank you for concept number three!!
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged $20, flowers, worth, worthless on September 12, 2008|
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One of the emails I received this week tells the story of a “well-known speaker who started out by holding up a crisp new $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, ‘Who would like this $20 bill?’ Hands started going up. He said, ‘I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this. He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, ‘Who still wants it?’ Still the hands were up in the air. Well, he
replied, ‘What if I do this?’ And he dropped it on the ground and started
to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. ‘Now, who still wants it?’ Still the hands went into the air.
My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what
I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into
the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come
our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE.”
Too many times we forget that the same God who created this flower, the same God who created the sun to shine upon this flower is the same God who created us. “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (flowers-my insertion).” Matt. 10:31.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged abandonment, joy on September 8, 2008|
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What emotions burst forth when you look at this picture? Does it bring back memories of your youth? Does it bring a smile to your face? It does mine. Not only cause he is my grandnephew; but also, I know he was totally oblivious of me, his mother, and his father watching him. He was totally into the pure, unadulterated joy he was receiving from running through the sprinkler. His world, at that moment, consisted of that patch of grass, the sprinkler, and the game he was playing. Nothing else mattered.
I can’t help but feel God is gently teaching a lesson here. Jesus’ words in Matthew are repeating over and over again in my head “….unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Is this the type of abadonment we need when seeking God’s counsel? Is this the type of joy God desires when we worship Him? Is this the joy He feels when we walk the path of life knowing He is holding us in the palm of His hand?
I know this is the joy I feel when He frees me from the cell the enemy attempts to imprison me in. I know this is the joy I will feel when I go running across the fields of heaven with my right hand in His right hand of righteousness. I know this is the joy I feel when I truly repent and ask for and receive God’s forgiveness. I know this is the joy and total abandonment I feel when I allow Jesus to guide my life. I know this is the joy I feel when His arms are around me hugging me.
Come, return with me to those feelings of yesteryear……
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