It’s a new day

his mercies are new

Snow White had some companions.  Yes, the 7 dwarfs.  They each had a specific name and that’s how they lived their life.

Bashful — Long beard — Brown top, green hat, long eyelashes
Doc — Short beard — Red tunic, brown hat, glasses
Dopey — Beardless — Green tunic, purple hat, big ears
Grumpy — Long beard — Red tunic, brown hat, scowl
Happy — Short beard — Brown top, orange headpiece, smile
Sleepy — Long beard — Green top, blue hat, heavy eyelids
Sneezy — Short beard — brown jacket, orange headpiece, red nose

I think that I have been a little bit like all the dwarfs.  Really.  When I first saw the Disney movie, “Snow White” I enjoyed all of the dwarf characters.  Dwarf Dopey was the cutest to me.  I liked his big ears.  Doc was wise and commanded respect.  Happy is what I always wanted to be.  But sometimes, well more often than the rest, I was Dwarf Grumpy.

From an early childhood, I had trouble getting out of bed and getting ready for school.  Mom often lovingly called me Grumpy.  As the day progressed, the grumpiness left me and the day was a lot better for me.  I began to take the likeness of Dwarf Happy.

Those are childhood memories.  Life goes on and we all grow up and have to live an adult life.  I don’t think any longer at the dwarfs but rather look at these kinds of things.

Pain – We all have it from time to time and it is dressed in both mental and physical

Despair – Colored in the garment of No Hope

Turmoil – Sorry but this one should be also named, “Ugly”

Sickness – His clothes are torn and tattered

Focus – He is also called “The Wanderer”

Purpose – He has a lot of questions and some of them seem never to be answered.

Family – Another name for this one could be “Joy” or not

It quite a change from the Disney film isn’t it.  Our lives take so many different paths.  Each day is filled with choice and change.  Success and failure.  Joy and Sadness.  I can go on and on but I think you get the picture.  But friend, there is hope in the chaos of the world.  We can get back on track and fulfill our specially designed purpose.  The Bible says this, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

You might be saying that “it can’t be this simple because you don’t know what I face each day.  I wake up frustrated and then the day goes from there.  Somedays I’m OK, but most of the time I am either blasting off in anger or cuddled in a corner of despair.”   I tell you friend, I’ve been there.  But I’ve learned that there is a way for you to start over.  And that is with guidance and direction.  Hope renewed in the Name of Jesus.  Yes, that’s the way.  Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:48} and Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)  I believe that this is what gets me from day to day.  You see, it’s not my garment that I put on every morning, but rather the garment of Jesus Christ.  It is a garment of praise“The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:3) 

Friend, we don’t live in a fairy tale.  I know that.  But what we have is a Way.  We can face each morning with the promises of God or not.  I choose God’s Holy Word to start my new day.  Do I forget sometimes?  Yes.  I’m not perfect.  But God…does not hold it against me because He is merciful and His grace has me covered.  Let me pray for you.

Heavenly Father.  Thank You for Your new mercies each day.  There is hope in You and the promises of Your Word.  Lord, turn our eyes and heart towards You each day.  You order our steps, may we remain in Your hand and walk with You.  Give us strength to face each day as we trust in You.  In Jesus Name. Amen. 

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!

Our Redemption

Psalm 130_7Today I was thinking about my future.  In not too many years, I’ll be ready to retire.  I’ve worked my entire life since I was 9 years old.  The time is coming for me to say that’s it.  I’m done.  In those thoughts, I also meditated on all of what the Lord has given me.  How He redeemed me from my life of sin.  How He has healed me, restored me, poured into me His Holy Spirit.  I’m overwhelmed by all He has done and know He’s not yet finished.

As we approach the new coming year, my hope is not in what this world can provide.  There is no hope in this world and no man can convince me that I should place my hope and trust in him.  I know that things are terrible.  I know that there are those screaming for a change.  I know that some think that a new president is the answer.  I say, “No!”  Our only hope is in Jesus Christ.  Thank You Jesus for the truth and the promises of Your Word that I can confidently stand on.  Your Word will not fail.  Your Word will not break.  Hallelujah!!!

Lord it’s only through you that we are redeemed. May we place our hope in you. Father, my prayer is this. Pour out Your abundant redemption on Your children. Fill every part of them with Your love, Your healing, Your deliverance, Your provision, Your grace, Your mercy, and Your forgiveness. In the coming year Lord, may we turn toward You for all that we need. Lord, we receive this promise in Your Word and thank You in advance for a year of abundant redemption. For Your Glory, Lord. Amen.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

Missed opportunities

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42 NKJV

I read this scripture passage and my heart grieves. The triumphant entry of the true King of Kings was not recognized by Jerusalem. They did not know of the time of the visitation of their Messiah. The opportunity for peace had come and Israel said no.

How often do we miss opportunities that God places before us? I don’t have an answer for that question. But I know I’ve missed opportunities to share the truth about Jesus as our King of Kings. You know, when we pray for God to lead us to or give us individuals that need to hear about Jesus; when we ask God to be a lighthouse for Him and to enable us by the Holy Spirit to tell the world about Jesus, do we really understand what we’re asking?

There are two specific times that come to mind where I missed it. I missed my opportunity. They are seared into my memory so that I won’t ever forget them. The first was incredibly sad. The second was incredibly tragic.

Opportunity #1 – I was driving through town one afternoon, headed to an appointment with a pastor at my church. I was a little bit late so I was kind of in a hurry. I was meeting this particular pastor to let her know of my desire to partner with her in an evangelism ministry outreach. So as I was driving, my mind was on the meeting, yet something caught my eye. There standing on a corner of town, by the bus stop was a young lady who may have been 18 or 19 years old. She was wearing all black. Her face was pale and it caused me to see that she was weeping. Black streaks were running down her cheeks. At that instant, the Holy Spirit interrupted the moment and asked me to stop and ask the girl what was the matter. I heard the Holy Spirit as if He were sitting next to me. The traffic light turned green, I continued to drive, and I didn’t stop to ask. I was headed to a meeting on evangelism to tell the world outside of the church walls about Jesus and I didn’t stop. My thoughts were not on this girl’s eternal well-being. My mind was on getting to a meeting. As soon as I entered my pastor’s office, I sat down and began to weep. She asked me what was the matter. I told her I needed to confess to her and to God that I had turned my back on this girl when God gave me the opportunity. I didn’t know the time of His visitation with her. I had missed my opportunity.

Opportunity #2 – At one time I was a successful real estate agent working in our local community and in the tri-county area. I had a very nice office that was provided to me and my relationship with the other agents and brokers was exceptional. Everyone in the office knew that I called Jesus my Savior. Some embraced that knowledge while others just set it aside. There was one particular agent whose name was Tommy. For some reason, I felt Tommy was special and we always had a mutual respect for each other. From almost the first day I met Tommy, the Holy Spirit tugged on my heart to share the truth of Jesus Christ with him. I knew Tommy’s mom really well. She was also a real estate agent and we were friends. So when I began to feel the Holy Spirit prompting me, I thought thank You Lord. This one will be pretty easy. I already knew the family. And I also knew Tommy didn’t know about Jesus. Here is where the tragedy begins. My pride got in the way of where my heart needed to be. I had seen Tommy over and over in the weeks ahead. Each time I told myself I’ll talk to him the next time we see each other. One Monday morning, I came into the office as usual, but something was different. I felt a heaviness. There was sorrow surrounding me. I found out that over the weekend, Tommy had taken his life with a single shot from a gun. Tommy was 19. My whole being felt the grief. Every bone, every cell, every part of my body grieved. I went to Tommy’s wake a few days later and as soon as I entered the room, I began to weep uncontrollably. I hugged his mom and some of his relatives that I knew. I stood against the back wall of the room and continued to weep. The weeping didn’t end at the funeral home. I carried that with me for the next week as I wept each day at home. On Sunday morning, I walked in to my church’s Senior Pastor’s office and asked if he had time to talk with me. He said yes. I think it was because he realized I had been weeping. I asked him if I could address the congregation sometime during his morning message. I didn’t know what his message was, but I knew I had to ask. I told him this story. He said his message was on the opportunities God gives us to share the gospel with the lost. So he gave me time to speak to the congregation. I challenged the congregation to never pass up the opportunities God gives us. Later, I asked forgiveness from some of Tommy’s family who attended to our church that morning for not speaking to him and telling him about Jesus.

Jesus was entering Jerusalem as a proclaimed king but was not recognized as the King of Kings. Even though He was being praised as Hosanna, He knew He would be rejected. As Jesus approached the city, He wept over Jerusalem. By rejecting Him, Israel had chosen the way of judgment. It had missed the day and the moment. To miss Jesus was to miss the time of visitation and face accountability before God. And Jerusalem did.

I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord. God did not take away opportunities to share God’s love and the need for Jesus with others. God forgave me. His mercy has overwhelmed me. His grace has been undeserved and abundant. Will I miss opportunities again? I pray that I don’t. You see, every single person that walks and breathes on this earth is God’s creation and He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4 NKJV) Let’s not miss it. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV)

Heavenly Father. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. Forgive us Father when we let opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost go by the wayside. Help us to discern when those opportunities arise and anoint us by Your Holy Spirit to be obedient to Your call. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

He saw the greater need

So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. (Matthew 14: 10-14 NKJV)

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, though He knew of what would happen to John, in His humanness, He grieved. His friend had died. He wanted to be alone. But then something happened that changed everything. It says He saw a great multitude, and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. In the midst of the times in the land, Jesus’ grief and the sorrow of the death of a dear friend, He saw the greater need. He saw the multitude. He saw that the sheep were before Him. They, too, had great needs. Jesus, God in the flesh, set aside His personal grief, and what He was facing and ministered to those in need.

There are times in our life where we, too, face incredible stress, heart ache, and grief. It happens to all of us. We come to a place where we might think no one else has to deal with what I am facing. I’ve said that myself. But I’ve learned that when I can set aside just a little bit of the struggles I face and look to what others are facing and pray for them, I feel a release. I feel comforted in knowing that God knows what I struggle with and He is on it. And when my prayer for others opens up into an opportunity to talk with them, the release is even greater. I want to be able to see, and hear, and feel as Jesus did. With a heart of compassion that always recognizes the greater need.

Heavenly Lord, You poured out Your love to those in need because You desired for them to see their Savior in the flesh. You came to seek and to save that which was lost. As You walked this earth You always ministered with a heart filled with compassion. Help me Lord to walk with Your heart, to see with Your eyes, to hear with Your ears. To set aside our own needs to minister to those in need. May those we minister to see Your light in us. Help us Lord we pray. In Your precious Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!