Divine Interruption

divine-interuption

Does anyone have a childhood memory of the summer vacation trips you took? I know I do.  I remember as a child thinking ahead of the day that we would leave.  I remember pondering what we would do; each time getting more and more excited.  I would count down the days.  But there were times when something would happen and times where plans had to change.  Mom and Dad had so much on their minds, trying to get things taken care of.  I know I didn’t think of what they went through so that my brother and I would not be too disappointed.  Sometimes things happen because that’s life.  Sometimes it just can’t be helped.  The world is an ever changing thing.  Even in the 60s and early 70s when family vacations really meant a lot to me, things of this world caused things to happen.  My dad had a certain amount of vacation time to take and if plans changed, he had to try to get his vacation dates changed.  Mom was a stay at home mom, but when dad was stressed, she was stressed.  All my brother and I knew was we weren’t going when we thought we were.  It was a sad time for us and I am sure mom and dad felt bad that we were disappointed.

Sometimes the hardest thing once my brother and I got over the announcement, was just trying to understand why. We saw how hard it was for mom and dad to tell us.  They knew that we were excited.  Yet, because of circumstances beyond their control, the plans had to change.  The best thing that my brother and I could do was to simply accept it.  But in our private conversations between brothers, we were very sad and somewhat angry.

The Bible speaks about someone who had their life turned upside down due to an announcement. Something she didn’t know would happen.  The world was about to change for all eternity and she had to try to understand.  Luke 1:30-33 (NIV) shares the announcement: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  Can you imagine what Mary felt?  Certainly it was much more than a change of vacation plans.

The Angel Gabriel wanted her not to be afraid. The announcement was good news, yet an incredibly HUGE event.  Mary was not only giving birth to a son, but she was giving birth to the Son of God.

When I was told of our change of plans I had to come to a point of acceptance. Mary also had to come to a place of acceptance, but I am sure there were times when her mind was filled with the “what if’s”.  And she must have thought about the effect on Joseph.  You see Mary was a virgin.  The culture that they lived in would allow Joseph to divorce or cancel his plans to marry her because she would be carrying a child in her yet not married.

So much was going on, yet Mary said this as written in Luke 1:38 (NIV): “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” When it counted, she responded in faith to trust the Lord.

Think about this for a minute. What would you do?  If you were either Mary or Joseph.  Mary was a teenage girl who now found herself pregnant with a son though she was a virgin.  Joseph found himself in a position to now understand how this happened. That’s no small dilemma for Joseph, especially since he is obviously not the father of the child.

Sometimes interruptions in our lives come from our relationship with God. I call them divine interruptions.  They take us by surprise, yet God has a plan for us and interruptions are a part of that plan. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “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[a] your paths.” Can we do that?  Or should I ask, “Do we do that?”  I know that I struggle with interruptions.  In my perfect world, I like having things go as I plan.  I think to some degree we all do.  I think that there’s a lesson to be learned from the story of Mary and Joseph.

Friend, interruptions are a part of our lives. They happen every day.  Divine interruptions are for our good and God’s glory.  When these Godly interruptions occur, pray.  Seek God in prayer.  Speak to Him and take time to listen.  Next, put the interruption into proper perspective asking yourself things like, “How bad is it really?” and “What difference will it make in eternity?”  Then think about God’s providence and who really is in control.  God is still in control.  And finally, give thanks to God for He truly cares for you.  Jeremiah 29:11 says this, “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.”   God had plans for Mary and Joseph and their hope was in Him.  God has plans for you, too. God bless you.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

Calvary: A hill worth dying on

Calvary

When I think of the incredible sacrifice that Jesus paid at Calvary, I’m thankful and humbled that He died for me; for my sins.  I know this post is after Easter when we celebrated Jesus’ triumph over sin and death by His resurrection.  I believed and received that same resurrection power in my life when I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  But I go back to the point of “He did it for me”.  It was God’s eternal grace and mercy that received me into His family.  My sins are forgiven.  Praise the Lord.

So why am I blogging today?  It may seem that I understand.  Well, my life experienced a month that shook me.  An entire month when it seemed I had to figure this all out again.  It was a month of medical setbacks and medical miracles.

I spent many hours wondering and praying about the why’s of what I was facing.  I spent a lot of time thinking about the physical stresses on my body and what I would need to do going forward to ensure a life out of the hospital.  I spent time thinking in the physical realm.  I didn’t spend enough time thinking in the spiritual realm.

Jesus went to the cross of Calvary because He knew it was a hill worth dying on.  He knew the mission He was given to save eternity from eternal death.  He knew that there was no other way.  Jesus prays in John, Chapter 17 concerning this.  Jesus prays for all believers.

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)

You see it was not only Jesus obedience to His Father, but it was His desire to go to Calvary.  The hill was worth it.  He said it.  “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me”.  While I was stuck in my physical thoughts, Jesus desired that I understand His eternal perspective.  He cause me to survive the physical, so that He could show me  His eternal plan that included further work and service to Him and to finally rest in His eternal and glorious presence.

No matter what I faced, victory was mine through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary.  Without the Cross there wasn’t victory.  His resurrection power was given to me only after Jesus completed the work of the Cross.  It was a hill worth dying on.

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing.  You may be facing an illness, or you may be dealing with a destructive addiction.  You may need your marriage to be restored or you may need a child to come home.  Whatever you need understand Jesus is ready to bring you victory.  He is ready to see you through whatever you are facing.  It starts with two basic things.  It starts with believing and receiving.

Romans 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  It is that simple.  Why? Because God’s Word promises this, For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ” (Romans 10:10)  Let God’s promises take you away from seeing things from a physical perspective and into living with a spiritual perspective.  I am surviving by the grace of God and the resurrection power that lives inside of me.  So can you.

Don’t believe me. Believe God

 

 

 

 

The Blessings of the Lord are so, so sweet.

Blessing of the Lord

We miss experiencing the blessings of the Lord because we are caught up in just trying to keep our heads above water.  I’m just being real with you.  There are times when we take living for granted.  We believe that each day is simply given to us because we deserve it.  That is so wrong.  I’m not trying to criticize anyone.  But the world grabs us and takes us captive.  Our lives are so incredibly busy that we begin to believe that being busy translates to being successful; to having our act together.

But this is the real truth.  You can decide to believe it or not.  It’s God that gives us each breath we take.  He causes the sun to rise each morning.  He causes the sun to set at night.  The leaves of the trees are birthed because He said so.  It’s the spring showers that He gives us that provides life to what was asleep in the winter.  And often times we don’t take the necessary time to look up and look around.  Often times we just don’t appreciate creation as He created it.

The Bible says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”  Translated it means, “Oh, taste and see, “Consume and Recognize” that the Lord is good.  Blessed, “being divinely favored” is the man who trusts “has confident expectation” in Him!”  It’s when we begin to trust in our Creator, God Himself, that our eyes begin to open, our ears begin to hear, and our hearts begin to receive all that God desires to give us.

God desires to bless us as we believe.  It’s pretty simple.  Yet the world is very complicated. The world is filled with rules and expectations and we are not able to meet them.  It’s impossible for us to please the world.  But with God it’s simple. Believe and receive!  Hebrews 11:6 says.But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  The verse simply says that it’s impossible to please Him without faith in Him. Our faith is founded on our belief that God is.  We must first believe that God exists. Believing not in a story, but believe that God is alive.  It is then that He rewards or blesses those who diligently “constant in effort” seek Him.

Friend, All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:3)  Our blessings surround us.  Can we see them?  Can we open all of our senses to see that the blessings of the Lord are so, so sweet.  I challenge you to believe and receive.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

 

 

 

It’s not your time

warehouse

He lay on the cold, concrete floor on what was simply a small mat.  He was brutally and savagely beaten.  He bled and his body ached and he knew his time alive would be short.  Others there simply walked by as if they could not even see him.  He remembers the pain and the blood that was running from him.  He looked at the light and closed his eyes. He knew it was the end.

He remembers hearing their voices and feeling their touches.  They were patting him on the back and embracing his neck.  He heard them say, “He’s here!  Welcome!”  Their voices he remembered and recognized.  They sounded so happy.  He turned around to see who they were.  He saw no one.

A great light and cloud shown around him yet in the cloud there was no form.  Within the cloud there appeared a great hand, reaching towards him.  He tried to grasp the hand but could not.  It was then he heard the voice.  The voice of the One who was in the cloud.  He said, “It is not yet your time.”  The statement shocked him.  The others he heard were now gone.  There were no longer any touches, embraces, or the welcoming sounds of their voices.

He turned and found himself again in the cold warehouse, on the cold floor, lying on the small mat.  There was no one around.  This time he could move.  There was no pain and no  blood.  He was alive.  He stood up and walked away.

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42 NKJV)

Don’t believe me. Believe  God!

 

 

Sometimes Lord I’m afraid

Psalm 34_4

Sometimes Lord, when the wind blows and the skies crash, I’m afraid.  Sometimes Lord when the world squeezes me to the point of bursting, I’m afraid.  Sometimes when I allow my doubts to rise up in my mind, I’m afraid.  I’m just being honest and open Lord.  My heart hurts and I’m shaking Lord and I wonder if you see what I’m going through.

Have you ever said any of these words?  Have you cried out to God to give you help or to calm your fears?  Have you ever wondered if God even cares?  I can tell you this.  I’ve said these words.  I’ve cried out to God for help to the point of tears.  I’ve wondered where God was.  But I will also tell you this.  God never left me.  God was always close.  God heard my cries.  God moved into my situation.  And God will do the same for you.

It seems we place God into the form of a mortal man.  We cry out in prayer to a God we believe exists, but we lower our expectations as if God was a man. As if God was limited or was unable to understand.  And this leads us to believe nothing is possible.  But I tell you that nothing is IMPOSSIBLE for God.  God is not a man.  God is a supreme being.  He is the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega.  He created all things that were created.  And He loved you before you were ever born so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to die for you. (John 3:16)  Yes, for you!  So that you could spend eternity with Him.

So what is the answer?  Belief is the answer.  Believe that God is who He is; the Great I Am.  So do not be afraid, the Lord is with you.  Every instant of time.  In every situation.  Believe what His Word says, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

 

Hello it’s me

 

Talking to God

Hello, it’s me God.  It’s been a rough few days and I know I’ve been trying to figure this all out by myself.  Again, I confess that I can’t.  You see God it’s overwhelming at times.  It seems that every day something new comes up and gets heaped upon my shoulders.  The weight is getting unbearable.  Yet, I think I’m superman or something.  I know you didn’t create me to be superman or any other super hero.  But I just seem to forget.

You know those white boards that we keep in our offices to keep track of things that need to be accomplished.  A visual “to do” list.  Well, when I was thinking about all of this before bed a few nights ago, I saw an empty white board in my thoughts.  And then all of a sudden the board was full.  Like there was no more room to add a single thing.  It was then I thought to myself, “That’s where I’m at.”  Again, it overwhelmed me.

I’m told God that You hear and answer every prayer.  I’m told that You are faithful and that You are able.  I’m told that You never leave my side and that You are my Rock, my Refuge, my Strong Tower.  Well, God, I really need You.  I’m at my end and I submit to You that I’m not able.  I need You to get through the next moment in time even if it’s just the next second because I have no more strength.  Help me God!  Really, help me God!

I have no more to say because I can’t put anything more into words.  So I’m turning to my faith and my hope in You.  Encourage me along the way because God I really need it.

Signed,

Your beloved.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

Sometimes you smile to keep from crying

Hand over hand compassion

God’s Word promises that through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed.  And because His compassions fail not, our mercies are new every morning.  Great is Your faithfulness God.  A rousing “Thank You Lord” is appropriate.  This morning I was watching a story on the television of a young man who has endured the death of his mother in his arms at a very young age.  As the interview progressed the young man said, “Sometimes you smile to keep from crying.”  That statement impacted me.  I grabbed the first blank sheet of paper I could find which was an envelope and jotted it down.  God has certainly been faithful to this young man each morning as he woke up.  The young man proceeded to say how much his life has been blessed.  I started to think deeply about what I had just heard.

How often are we asked, “How ya doing?”  How often do we reply, “Doing good” and we move on.  I have replied the same way at times so that I could avoid a long conversation with someone about exactly how I was feeling.  But this post is not about how I’m feeling but rather how the other person feels when they reply, “Doing good.”  God has given us His Holy Spirit to help us discern at times when someone is hurting or struggling so that we can show the compassion of God and offer His mercies to them.  I have to ask myself do I really cultivate that discernment?

I thought of how many times the young man was asked how he was doing over the many years since his mother’s death.  I thought of his emotions and how he really wanted to cry but yet smiled.  Today his life is being used as a testimony of God’s mercies and faithfulness.  He has moved past the event and into his testimony for God’s glory.

We all know of people who have faced or are facing very difficult and emotional events in their lives.  The Holy Spirit can bring us into an understanding of the need for a compassionate heart and the ability to offer grace and mercy.  Sometimes it is accomplished by words but sometimes it’s accomplished by a loving glance into the person’s eyes where no words are needed.  Sometimes just holding their hand or sending them a card communicates our love.

Friend, my prayer is that God would give all of us His Holy Spirit discernment so when we encounter a person who may be looking for a compassionate and understanding heart, we would be ready and obedient to respond as God directs.  It’s important to remember that the person more than likely is not looking for you to solve anything for them.  They are looking for the compassion and mercy of a faithful God.  Remember others smile to keep from crying.  Maybe just maybe when you need God to send you a person in your time of need with His compassion and mercy, He will.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!