Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"Do You Blame God?"

"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." John 11:21
Blaming God is nothing new... it started back in the Garden of Eden. "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." (Genesis 3:12) When things go wrong, or don't go according to our plans, or something bad happens, God seems to get the blame for it. Adam blamed God, Martha blamed God, Mary blamed God, many people all around the world blame God. They blame Him because He allowed something to happen, or didn't allow something to happen, or He didn't stop something from happening.  They blame Him because He didn't work their problem out the way they wanted Him to or because He didn't make a way when they thought He should have, etc... the list is endless.
Blaming God is a two-fold mistake: 1) It's incorrect. When you blame God, you are misplacing the blame. God is never to blame for anything. 2) When you blame God, you are pointing a finger at your only true source of help. Job never would have made it through his time of suffering had he blamed God and turned his back on Him because God was the only One who could have gotten him through it. God was the only one who could bring him comfort, strength and healing. Mary and Martha blamed God/Jesus- the only One who could help them. He was the only one who could give life and hope into their situation.
Bad things happen and things don't always happen to our liking. There is usually a place to place blame when they do, but it's not on God. He is your source. He is your strength. He is your deliverer. He is your comfort. He is the fountain from which you can drink, find rest and receive comfort when bad things happen.
Have a great day. Don't blame God when things are bad.  Don't turn your back on Him.  Don't cut Him off.  When you do, you are cutting off your own source of help.

Monday, December 17, 2018

"Real Strength"

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

Years ago I watched a program on television with Joni Erikson Tada and a friend, Renee as the guest speakers.  As I watched these two ladies, I realized that I was watching two extremely "strong" women. No, they weren't physically strong. They were confined to wheel chairs. They couldn't walk, they couldn't run a race, they couldn't dress themselves, they couldn't even brush their own hair or change their shoes. But as I listened to their testimonies, as I heard their words, as I saw the peace that rested upon them, as I looked at the grace that surrounded them, I knew I was not looking at two ordinary women- not because they were paralyzed and couldn't use their hands or feet- but because they were women of incredible faith and confidence in the Lord.

Strength is not measured by how much weight you can bench press. It's not measured by how fast or far you can run. Real strength is not measured by what you can do physically... it's measured by what you do/are "inwardly". Is strength the lack of tears in a sorrowful situation? No, strength is the confidence that God will wipe the tears away and turn your sorrow into joy. Does strength mean you are always "on top"-- always on the mountain, never in the valley or pit? No, it means that wherever you are, you know you are not alone because the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. Does strength mean that you always understand what's happening to you so you can endure it? No, to that also. Real strength means that you don't try to lean to your own understanding, but trust that some how, some way God will work all things together for the good.

The strength I am talking about doesn't give up even when all odds are against you. It goes the second mile- even when the first one was painful. It keeps looking up even when everything else says to look down. It holds fast it's confidence in God even when you feel like He has "slain" you. Those who posses real strength know that it doesn't come from exterior circumstances or outside help, it comes from abiding in the presence of the Lord and letting Him "infuse" you with His strength-- for His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Have a great day. Truly strong people are not those who have bulging biceps, but those who keep their trust and faith in the Lord even in difficult situations.

Friday, December 14, 2018

"Christmas Picture"

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:11

As I have been reflecting on the Christmas season, I began to think about the real meaning of Christmas---- CHRIST BIRTHDAY! The more I thought about it, the more I found myself making some comparisons between celebrating Christ and celebrating Christmas. Let me explain.

We will stand in freezing weather to watch a Christmas parade, but we won't get out of our warm beds to go to our prayer closet in our warm houses to spend a few minutes with the Lord. We will fight the traffic jam afterward the parade just to get back home, but we won't get in our cars on Sunday morning and go to church. We take our children to the mall and stand in a line of screaming children for hours just to get a picture with Santa Claus, but we can't sit in church for more than thirty minutes without squirming and watching the clock. We will spend the money that we don't have, borrow the money or max out credit cards to buy Christmas presents that we don't need, but we won't give tithes and offerings. We will get up in the middle of the night to be the first in line at the store to buy that hard to find item, but we won't get up even a few minutes earlier than we have to in order to have time alone with the Lord. We go to great lengths to cover our houses with lights, but we hide the light of Christ within us.

All that I have talked about are the things that we associate with Christmas, but something is wrong with the picture. There is something wrong when we give more attention, time and money to the "trappings" of Christmas than we do to the One that Christmas is suppose to be about. There is something wrong when we celebrate His birth but we don't celebrate Him. I think we need to step back and individually make some comparisons of our own lives during this time to see where we are putting the emphasis... on Christ or on Christmas?

Have a great day. Are you celebrating Christ? Or events?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

"He's A Big God"

"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" Isaiah 40:12
When we read this scripture it speaks of the awesomeness of God- exactly how big and how great He is.  The scripture above compares the size of God with the size of the universe. Did you know that if we traveled in a jet from the earth to the sun it would take 21 years to get there. Our next closet star is over four million light years away. And our galaxy is only one of millions that are out there, yet as big as the universe is, God can measure it with the span of His hand. There are billions of stars in the universe, but the Lord not only created them, but calls each one by name (and never forgets a name).

Personally, I can't fathom how big the universe is, but God measures it with His hand. I can't even fully comprehend the size of all the oceans in the world, but God counts every drop of water in them and holds them all combined in the palm of His hand. He knows how much the earth weighs. He sets the mountains and hills on a scale and weighs them like you would weigh a pound of meat. He knows how many grains of sand on the seashore. He knows how many blades of grass in my front yard. He knows how many apples on each tree, and He knows how many apples are in an apple seed waiting to be planted. He tells the ocean how far it call go on the shore. He knows the number of fish in the sea, birds in the air, cattle on the ground. There is no way to fully comprehend how big God truly is.

But at the same time, this big, awesome and amazing God knows me. He knows how many tears I cry when I am hurting. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows how many times my heart beats a minute. He knows my DNA without looking at it under a microscope. He knows how many blood cells are in my body. He knows my every thought even before I think them.

Don't limit the Lord, He is bigger and greater than we have the ability to understand- He can do anything! But don't limit Him either by thinking that He is so big that He doesn't care about you or have time for you. You are more important to Him than the stars of the sky, the sands of the sea or the vastness of the universe. These are all evidence of the greatness of God. But He humbled Himself and took on the likeness of sinful flesh then died on the cross to take away your sins-- that was His evidence of how great His love is for you.

Have a great day. He is bigger and greater than we will ever be able to understand but He loves us so much.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

"Where Are You Looking?

"Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me." Micah 7:7

Do you know why we get discouraged? Do you know why we get fearful? Do you know why we start murmuring and complaining? Do you know why we get discontent? It's because of where we are looking! When the Israelites looked at the giants that were in the land, they got fearful. When Peter looked at the winds and waves, he began to sink. When Lot's wife looked at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, she became a pillar of stone. When the Israelite army looked at the size of Goliath, their hearts sank in fear.

When we look at what we don't have instead of what we do have, we become ungrateful and begin to complain. The Israelites looked at the meat they didn't have and complained against God instead of looking at the manna that He was sending them each day. When we look at our problem instead of looking to the "hills from whence cometh our help", we become fearful and faithless. When we look at the situation instead of looking to God, doubt and discouragement will come in. When we look at the mountain, we lose faith and give up.

When you read some of the writings of David in the Psalms, you'll read words of complaint and petition. He'll say such things as- my enemies pursue me, they are stronger than I am, they are out to get me, my soul is cast down, I am in distress, my strength is gone, etc. But don't stop there he always goes on to say- but the Lord is my helper, I will put my trust and faith in the Lord, the Lord will show me the way to take, He shall destroy my enemies, He is on my side. This is what I like must about David- one minute he may be acknowledging his problem, but the next minute he is acknowledging the power and provision of His God. You can tell when he turns from the problem to faith in God- there seems to be a 'dividing line'. Do you know what the difference was? He stopped looking in one direction and started looking in another. He stopped looking at his problem and started looking at God (his problem solver, the One who was greater than his problem, the One who was able to handle his problem).

Where are you looking this morning- at the storm, at the giants, at the mountain, at the impossibility of the situation? Are you looking at the great I Am, the Healer, the Deliverer, the Redeemer, the Supplier? Where you look will determine if you are defeated or have victory. Where you look will either make you grateful or ungrateful, fearful or full of faith, discouraged or encouraged, depressed or at peace. It all boils down to what you are looking at- God or the problem.

Have a great day. What are you looking at?

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

"Ask And You Will Know"

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3

Someone who I am close to has been calling me for weeks to help give them some advice for a situation they are in. They have a decision to make and the time is getting short- they have to make it within just a matter of days. I asked her yesterday what was she hearing from the Lord in prayer about this matter. She told me that she really hasn't prayed about it. This amazes me! She is a very godly woman and even teaches the Bible-- the same Bible that tells her not to lean to her own understanding but to acknowledge the Lord in all her ways; the same Bible that says that it's not in a man to direct his own steps; the same Bible that says that there is a way that seems right unto a man but the end is destruction; the same Bible that says, "Without Me, you can do nothing."

There is a two-fold message in this word this morning: 1) Be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. It does you no good to just know what it says, be able to quote it or teach its principals to others. The benefit is in the application- in doing what it says, acting upon it, and following its instructions.  2)  You should never try to make decisions without the council of God. My friend keeps asking me what she should do-- I don't have any more of a clue than she does unless I seek the Lord for an answer. We (none of us) just don't know what's the best thing to do.  We just don't have the answers.  We cannot make wise decisions on our own.  We are so finite- confined to the knowledge of the moment- unable to see down the road, unable to see the outcome or see the avenues that are hidden from our view. So it's no wonder she doesn't know what to do--- "you have not, because you ask not".

Let me combine the two messages into one word briefly: Look to God's word and apply it to every situation and decision you are faced with- no matter how big or small it may be- because you don't have what it takes to make the right choices on your own.... but He does, and He will show you as you "seek Him first."

Have a great day. Are you trying to make decisions on your own? You can't do it!

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Handling Problems"

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
I have a picture hanging in my guest room that says, "Good morning, this is God. I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help... so have a good day." I thought it was a good reminder. When problems arise, not if they arise but when, because they do arise and more frequently than we wish, we tend to try to handle them ourselves. Even if we go to God with them it's not long before we find our hands on them trying to solve the problem, trying to manipulate the situation, or trying to make something happen ourselves. The end result of our "help" usually only makes matters worse. Abraham and Sarah tried to help God and got an Ishmael.

Are you trying to "help" God? Are you trying to tell Him how to solve the problem? Are you trying to take matters into your own hands? Are you trying to make something happen? Are you pushing God aside and trying to figure it out on your own? Or are you letting Him handle the problem- the whole problem- His way, according to His wisdom and plan, in His own time? Are you going to let go and take your hands off and trust Him to handle it? I would have a terrible problem if I had to figure out how to create a day. But He solved the "problem" of how to create it... because it was no problem for Him at all. "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27) Let the fact that today is here be a reminder to you that He is well able to handle anything on His own and does not need your help. But if He does need it... like my parents used to tell me... "if I need your help, I'll ask for it".

Have a great day. He doesn't need your help, if He does He'll ask for it, so take your hands off or you are going to wind up giving Him more than one problem to solve.

Friday, December 7, 2018

"One Tongue"

"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

There is a song that says, "Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing praises to the King". If we had a thousand tongues we still couldn't praise Him enough. Would we use all one thousand of them to praise and honor Him? Since we don't have a thousand, but we do have one, I have to ask the question... "What are you doing with the one tongue you have?"

How are you using it? Are you using it to edify, to encourage, to speak words of kindness and healing? Are you using it to bring hope? Are your words words of peace, faith, blessings? Do your words truly glorify God? Or do you use your tongue to backbite, discourage, intimidate? Do you speak words of unbelief, doubt, cursing? Do you tear down, condemn, murmur and complain? Do you use it for both- blessings and cursing, truth and lies, faith and fear, encouragement and discouragement?

Often, we just say what we want to say and give no thought to our words. I encourage, and challenge, you today to pay attention to your speech. Give yourself a test and take note of how you are using your tongue. Here is a prayer for our tongues which is posted on my Khawdash blog. Maybe we should be praying it everyday??

A Prayer for the Tongue: I pray forgiveness for my tongue. Help me, Lord, to never use it as a weapon against my brother. Remind me to wear my bridle so I can keep it under control. Teach me to bite it, so that I may feel the pain that it could cause others. Show me where to purchase a lock for my mouth, so that my tongue will not escape. Help me to think of it as a valuable object so that I will keep it to myself. I pray that my mind will be in gear before my tongue goes into motion. Take away the gift of gab. Thank You for my little tongue. Help me to never let it get big. Let it always be used for good and it tell the world of Your love. Amen.

Have a great day. We must use our tongues in a manner in which it glorifies God.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Hide My Guilt"

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." Genesis 3:8

One day when my granddaughter was only ten months old, I was keeping her.  That particular day she was sitting in her high chair and I was at the kitchen sink and she dropped her bottle for the fifth time. I looked at her and the look on her face when I asked her if she dropped her bottle again seemed to say,"What bottle? I don't know what you are talking about." Her expression, honestly, appeared to be that of someone who was trying to ignore the conversation to hide their guilt. Even if she was able to fully comprehend the situation and was actually trying to hide the fact that she dropped it, there was no way she could hide her guilt-- I saw everything. I saw what happened. I was well aware of the fact that she had dropped her bottle. There was no hiding it from Nana.

It reminded me of how we respond to God. When we "mess up", when we miss the mark, when we disobey, when we sin, we may try to hide our guilt or change the subject- but He knows. You can't hide it from Him. He sees everything. He sees what you've done, or haven't done- whatever the case may be. That was one of the first lessons He taught us in the Garden of Eden.

Adam tried to hide his guilt from God's presence. He tried to hide it behind a fig leaf. He tried to hide it behind excuses. He tried to hide it behind his wife. He even tried to change the subject by shifting the blame- but none of it worked. He couldn't hide his guilt from God's all seeing eye. He couldn't hide it, neither can we. We can come up with all kinds of "devices" to cover our guilt but it won't work. Therefore, we might as well come clean before Him and acknowledge what we have done. You know, we can never be successful in covering up our guilt, but God can. Once we confess it and repent of it, He can cover it by putting it under the blood and in the sea of forgetfulness. Wouldn't you much rather let Him deal with your guilt then you try to do something with it?

Have a great day. We try so hard to cover up our guilt and the only way it can be "covered" is by bringing it out in the open-- and letting God deal with covering it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

"A Brick Wall"

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:6

Have you ever come up against a "brick wall"? You're going down the road of life then all of a sudden, almost out of no where, you run into an obstacle. Your path is completely blocked- you can't go forward, there is no way around it, it's just there. What do you do? Do you sit down and just stare at it? Do you turn around and go back? One of the two is usually the course that we take. Neither of them are the course of action we should take- one keeps you stuck in the present and the other pulls you back to the past. We are suppose to be advancing forward.

There is another course of action that we can take. It's called praise, speaking to the mountain, putting your trust in God. As you look to Him instead of at the brick wall- praising Him, seeking His guidance, stepping forward in faith and confidence in His ability to cause you to keep going forward no matter what arises- something is going to happen to that wall. You will see it either move aside to let you by, see it vanish away, find a door of passage through it, or you will discover loose bricks that can be removed one by one until the way is clear.

Don't sit there and stare at it. Don't be discouraged by it and turn back. Seek the Lord about it, listen to what He says, let Him show you what to do, then obey Him. The Israelites came to a "brick wall", it was called the Red Sea. Moses acknowledged the Lord and waited to hear from Him.  God showed him the course of action to take and it was moved out of their way. The same thing with the walls of Jericho. Joshua sought the Lord for the course of action and the walls came tumbling down.

Have a great day. Seek God concerning the course of action you need to take so that you can keep moving forward.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"The Place Of Peace"

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1

The key to having peace of mind and heart depends on where you put your faith- what you believe in. There is so much in this life that will cause our hearts to become "troubled". We live in a world that is being shaken from one corner to the other. Countries are being shaken, governments are being shaken, economies are being shaken, the literal earth is being shaken through natural disasters- you never know what news you'll wake up to each morning. The whole world seems to be riding on a roller coaster- up and down, down and up, and back down again. It will make your head spin as the events move at such a fast pace, changing right before your eyes. Therefore, we have to place our belief (our faith, our trust, our hope) in the right place if we want to have peace.

Peace won't come by placing your faith in temporal things- in the things that are here today and gone tomorrow. It won't come by placing your faith in that which is frail- it falls at the slightest pressure. You can't have peace if your faith is in that which is limited- limited in strength, power and knowledge. "Don't let your hearts be troubled." Why? How is that possible? Because your belief is in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ. When your faith is in the Lord, it is rooted in that which is eternal- He will never pass away. It's anchored in the One who is anything but frail- the Omnipotent (All Powerful God). It is built upon the One who is not limited by anything- time, space, the economy, etc. He is not limited in strength, in wisdom, in power, in resources, in knowledge. There is no lack or limitation in Him. He isn't here today and gone tomorrow. His power and ability doesn't diminish with time. Bad reports done make Him shutter or shake. He doesn't become panic stricken.  He doesn't faint from fear or collapse under pressure. He is not affected by the economy, by world events, by the stock market, by fuel prices, by unemployment, by evil rulers, by terrorists, by threats of war or by bad reports.

God always remains at peace, because He IS peace. He doesn't just posses peace but the very essence of His being and His whole nature is peace. Wouldn't you feel safer, more secure, more at ease by placing your faith in the One who is peace. Let me give you a crude little analogy. Let's suppose you want to go for a swim, so you go to the coast with its sandy white beaches and inviting blue waters. But instead of getting in the water, you lay down on the sand, start kicking your feet, make stroking motions with your arms and wiggle around in the sand- you call yourself swimming. But you aren't swimming, you are flouncing in the sand. If you want to swim, you have to get in the water. If you want peace, you have to "get into peace"- God is peace- get in God. Trying to find peace in any other place- in the temporal, the frail, the limited- is like "flouncing in the sand".

Have a great day. The key to peace is by placing your faith in the One who is peace.

Monday, December 3, 2018

"Third Group"

"For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:8

My husband was telling me about a conversation that he had with a friend recently. They were talking about being persecuted for Christ- more specifically what would you do if it came down to denying Christ or being put to death. My husband was telling his friend that he needed to decide and determine that nothing is worth denying Christ for and losing your eternal soul. On the subject of giving your life for Christ, I told my husband that there are three kinds of "Christians"- those who live for Him but aren't willing to die for Him; those who are willing to die for Him but don't live for Him; those who live for Him and are willing to die for Him.

I don't know about you but I want to be in that third group. This is the group that is talked about in Revelations- "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev. 12:11) I believe that this is a subject we need to give some attention to- especially here in America. We think that we will never have to make that decision- persecution to that degree is a foreign idea to us, we live in a land of freedom. The idea should not be that foreign- our brothers and sisters all around the world are being called on daily to make the choice to either deny Christ or die- it is something we need to think about because who knows what tomorrow may bring.

Even if we don't face this kind of persecution and have to make this decision under "duress" the choice should be simple for us-- nothing is worth sacrificing our relationship with Christ or our eternal soul. Let me take it one step further- out of a "physical" context. When you give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, the third group is true Christianity. Everyday you should live for Him- not just in word only. And everyday you should lay down your life for Him- you should "die" daily to self will, to the desires of the flesh and to being the lord of your own life. This is why the Revelation group I mentioned earlier had no reservations in laying down their lives for Christ- they already "reckoned themselves dead to sin and alive to Christ". (Romans 6:11) They were already "dead". We are to be "dead" men already having denied ourselves and living unto Christ. Are you already "dead"? Is Christ the only one living in you because you have died to self-will? Are you still alive? Which group are you in?

Have a great day. Are you willing to live and die for Him? The decision is easy if you are already a "dead" man... dead men aren't worried about losing their lives because they are already dead.