Archive | November 2012

He is NEVER late

We live in a rushing world. We rush to work, rush home to get dinner going, rush to the babysitters etc.. Seldom do we do things at a comfortable pace. Many of us our busy with our  jobs, family, cell phones, tv, internet and  electronic gadget and games! We move constantly, seldom taking the time to relax or unwind without filling that time with some type of distraction.

When we text, email or facebook message someone we are often annoyed if they do not respond immediately. We expect instant answers and responses.  People expect to be able to reach us through one means or another just about any hour of the day or night!  If we need information on anything we google it and receive info often within seconds. Waiting patiently has become a thing of the past.

When we spend so much of our life in high speed mode, it’s not surprising that we often come to God wanting instant answers. In case you haven’t discovered it yet, God does NOT work on our time schedule. 🙂 As we read in Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Oftentimes, it is our arrogance and selfish nature that demand instant gratification with regards to our prayer life. We think we know how best to resolve a situation and basically tell God what He needs to do to bring the resolution about. Thankfully, He seldom does things as we expect.  He knows so much more..including the beginning and the end of things. He knows the heart of the people we may be working with, He knows the overall situation and circumstance and isn’t just interested in our interests but all His kids interests. He looks at the long term results of our character and what He wishes to accomplish in and through our lives. It is out of love for us that He  may delay an answer or deny us our request. He will NEVER respond to our prayers contrary to His word. He will NEVER respond against His very nature. He WILL respond at the right time with an answer that demonstrates His love and His nature, even if that response happens to be NO. Just as a loving parent at times will withhold something from their child knowing it is not in their best interest, so will God withhold from us anything that is not in His best interest for us. We are changing from glory to glory daily and part of that is becoming more Christlike in our character. Answering all our prayers in the way we want them answered could prevent this!

One of the most dramatic examples of God’s perfect timing in response to prayer can be found in the book of John. We read the story of Mary and Martha and their sick brother Lazarus.  John 11:1-44 NIV 11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.35 Jesus wept.36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” 

There were so many ways Jesus could have answered Mary and Martha’s prayers prior to Lazarus’ death. All it would have take would have been for Him to speak the word and Lazarus would have been healed. His will however, was to allow him to die and be resurrected thereby increasing the faith of the witnesses and glorifying God even more!  His ways are NOT our ways!

The more we spend time in God’s word and in prayer, the more we come to understand how very much God loves us!  The more we understand this, the more we are able to trust Him, even when He says no or not now. It is never out of cruelty but always out of  love. God is the Creator of the Universe, the Ancient of Days, the Great I AM, the Alpha and Omega and we must remember that when we come before Him.  He will not be manipulated or strong armed into doing things our way or else. Instead we can come before Him, through Christ,  and make our requests known and then trust that He who ALWAYS looks out for our long term best interest, will answer our prayer when and as He sees best.

2Peter 3:8-9 NIV But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Gratitude…take the time to say thanks!

Though 2012 has presented some pretty large challenges, I am learning to recognize the movement of God’s  mighty hand in each and every one of them! His intervention has surpassed my biggest expectations. Though He has allowed some challenges to come my way, He has more than revealed His love and mercy along the way. For those who love Christ and follow Him, we have so much to be thankful for.

We are NEVER alone. We have an advocate that makes our needs and requests known to God the Father, on our behalf. He often brings answers before we have even learned to format the question!

We serve a mighty, loving and incredibly merciful God who loves to meet the needs of His kids. During my husband’s hospital visit for prostate cancer surgery, I saw God’s hand in so many details. From hearing about the wonderful surgeon from dear friends to having our financial needs met and surpassed, He has been with us and before us every step of the way. Mike’s recovery so far has been amazing! Though it will be some time before he is back to his old self, he has already achieved some incredible mile stones of recovery.

Am I surprised, frankly NO. I am learning that God always exceeds my expectations, despite the trial or challenge faced. He has provided us with a circle of great friends and family that have been supportive before, during and since his surgery. Prayer has been felt and we have already begun to see the results!

I am grateful and want to publicly thank God for all the beautiful ways He has demonstrated His love to us during 2012! I want to remember to thank God daily for all the ways He takes care of me and mine. For all the prayers He has answered and continues to answer that have come from my lips. He is so faithful and deserving of our thanks! I want to be like the Samaritan in Luke 17:11-19 NIV 11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”14 When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan.17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

If you are currently in the middle of a trial look to Christ to walk through it with you. Ask for His guidance and wisdom in your decision making and for His hand to lead you through. Give Him your needs and He will be there for you. He is no respecter of persons and offers His love and mercy to all who seek Him. As you lean on Him, remember to give thanks along the way. Don’t be like the nine ungrateful cleansed lepers. Take the time to daily thank Him for all that He has done, is doing and will do in your life. As the word says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV 18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV 18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

From Fear to Freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17

2 Corinthians 3:17

The past few weeks have made me more aware than ever of a “peace that passes all understanding.” There have been so many situations and circumstances that have arisen that would have simply turned me into a nervous wreck in the past. It was not all that long ago that I would worry about things that were about to happen, things that had happened and quite frankly things that never happened! 🙂

I am learning that there truly is a peace that Christ offers that cannot be explained. When we walk with Him we can have complete trust in His provision and ability to walk with us through any circumstance. Since June when we received my hubby’s diagnosis of prostate cancer, God has given me a peace that has exceeded anything I could ever imagine. We have been married for 33 years and I can’t even imagine my life without him. Without the peace and assurance God has given me, I would have been worried sick.  I have not. God has revealed His love and provision for us throughout this entire journey. From hearing of a wonderful surgeon from friends to providing for  our financial needs while he is to be out of work, God has met and exceeded all our needs. He is soooo faithful to His kids!

On top of the cancer diagnosis and surgery etc.. we have had some other family issues that God has moved in. Again, He answered our prayers! While on this life journey we will all go through difficulties. Some bigger, some smaller but eventually we will all have to walk through them. Today I went for my first mammogram. A few years ago I would have been worried about the results. Today, I went in and came out thinking, there literally is NOTHING that happens in our life that Christ will not go through with me. I am expecting the results to be absolutely fine, but if not, I have already learned first hand that my God is sufficient to see me through any situation!

He has freed me from fear. When it tries to rear it’s ugly head I just remember all the times and ways in which Christ has answered my prayers and met my needs and I am no longer a slave to fear but to freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

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He is our refuge

I am so glad that we serve a loving God. A God that loves us with a love that never ends. A God that loved us so much that He allowed His son to die on our behalf. Not only die but suffer the terrible death of the cross. Through Christ we run into the arms of our Heavenly Father.

Whether we are surrounded by storms or calamities, He is available to us. We can run into His arms with our concerns, fears and troubles and lay them at His feet. Once we have Christ in our life, we NEVER have to face anything alone again. As we walk in His ways and abide in His word, He will keep us on the right path. He will lead us where we need to go and how we need to get there. If we step outside His path for us, He gently leads us back inline through His word and His Spirit.

There is NOTHING that can separate us from Him. As long as we have breath we can turn to Him. When we die, we needn’t fear. He is there to greet us and welcome us home. In other words, we are NEVER alone! My heart hurts for those  who have never known His love and compassion firsthand.  There is nothing else that comes anywhere close!

Today I am reminded that as we turn to God we receive protection, blessings and His favor in our lives. We don’t have to worry about what man says or does when we are walking in obedience to the ONE who loves us. He not only offers us protection but will fight our battles for us.  Psalm 37:39-40 NIV  says it so beautifully,39 “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble.40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.”

So whatever you are currently facing, run to the ONE who knows you better and loves you more than anyone else possibly could. He is our stronghold in time of trouble! Put your trust in Him and watch as He delivers and saves you. HE truly is our refuge!

Psalm 37:7 NIV 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

From comforted to comforter

Have you noticed that when you are walking through a trial or difficult circumstance in your life you long to talk to others who have gone through the same or a similar journey as yours. Regardless of the type of trial, we really want to hear from others that have gone down the same road before us and how they coped and worked through their circumstance.  I remember when we lost our son Daniel in a car accident at the age of 20, I avoided talking to people that had pat answers and armchair solutions to my grief. I wanted to talk with other parents that had lost a child. They knew my suffering firsthand. They had walked the same road I was walking and had come through.

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer a few months back I found the same need. I wanted to talk to other people who had received the same diagnosis, and had worked through the treatment and come out the other side. They understood our questions and our concerns. We have been blessed to have friends that have shared lots of great information with us and been extremely helpful in understanding the road ahead. Their words have been invaluable!

God understands our need for help and comfort at times like this. Regardless of the nature of our suffering, we have an inner need for comfort and sharing during difficult times. Throughout my life, He has always provided believers that I could turn to for help and comfort when I needed it the most. People who had come through similar trials and challenges.

You may wonder from time to time, why we have trials at all?  The Bible contains many of the  purposes of trials in our life. Some of these reasons can be found in Romans 5:2-5 NIVThrough whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

As long as we are on this side of Heaven we will have trials. One of the things I am grateful for is the opportunity to see and feel the comfort of Christ during these times. He comforts us during our time of need and then allows us to comfort others with that same comfort He offers us. He offers us comfort as One who himself suffered deeply and willingly for us!  His words of comfort are not easy platitudes but are words from One who knows the pain of trials and suffering firsthand!

This is so beautifully described in 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

Though we don’t enjoy trials and times of suffering, we can choose to allow Christ to move mightily in us and through us during them. A day will come when because of our perseverance, character and hope through first hand experience with both of these, we will be able to offer the compassion and comfort of Christ to those in any trouble.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

HE will never be voted off the island!

I must admit, I was disappointed last night when I discovered who had won the U.S. Presidential election. I have family in the U.S. and know the struggles many are facing due to the high unemployment etc… Only time would tell whether Romney would have made an improvement on all the difficulties facing the people, however he will not be given the opportunity and that is democracy. The people voted and the results are what they are. I was reminded however that politicians will come and go and world circumstances will change. God however is still on the throne and will continue to be so!  Though the election results may prove more difficult for some, followers of Christ have no reason to worry or fear. Our ruler is still in charge! His word never changes and He never fails! He promises to take care of His children as we surrender to Him and look to Him for our needs. He will never get voted off the island, so to speak!!!

We need to remember that despite our outward surroundings, His plans do not change. When we place our faith in worldly leaders and people we will be disappointed. We are not to put our trust in anything temporal but in the creator of the Universe. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is not caught off guard by the election results. He is neither impressed or disappointed. He knows how it all ends and as followers of Christ, so do we. As we read in the book of Revelation, HE wins!

While we wait on His return, just who is it that we can count on? Let’s look at the word of God for answers…

Matthew 10:29-31 NIV 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Phillipians 4:6-7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I love this verse…Jeremiah 29:11 NIV 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Let’s not forget Romans 8:28 NIV 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. 

And finally this beautiful promise in Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

These are all beautiful promises from the lover of our soul!  This morning I had to shake off my disappointment and grumbling and remind myself  that leaders will come and go. His word will NEVER change and that when we see things happening around us that we believe will increase trouble and sorrows for some, it is an awesome opportunity to get on our knees before God and watch His mighty hand work amid the challenges!  He is election proof!

Vote for Jesus

Psalm 22:28 NIV 28 For dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations.