Through it all…

god's been good

I know that I know that God loves me. He rescued me from the depths of my sorrow, fear, feeling abandoned. I’ve had seasons of great challenge. I’ve had times of pain both mentally and physically. But through it all, God’s been Good. I’ve placed my trust in the Lord and have given up the things of the world. I once thought that these worldly things were necessary for me to be happy. They are not. God has saved me, He has raised me, He filled me with the Holy Ghost. He healed me, to the uttermost. He picked me up and turned me around. He placed my feet on solid ground. For all of this, I thank Him and give Him Praise. Again, through it all, God’s been Good in my life.

You might ask why I am so confident of this.  How do I truly know?  Well, each story or in this case, every testimony is different.  When I received the touch of God, I was at my rock bottom.  Really!  I’m not giving you the standard testimony of someone who now goes to church and is all happy.  That kind of person, I am not.  I am a realist.  I was raised to study and investigate and always question what lies before me.  I lived my whole life that this was the only way.  To cover all the bases; to get all the answers to all the questions.

So how long do you think I studied the question, “Does God love me?”  Well, I don’t have knowledge of how long, but I will tell you it took 45 years for me to think about that infamous question.  My life was at a point where I needed to make a choice.  Sometimes that’s where you need to be so that the only thing left is “Choose Jesus or Die.”   “Oh, come on, George.  Really?  Sounds to me that you are saying all the right things. Is this real?”  Before I asked myself the question “Does God love me?” I was ignorant. I was wandering around lacking any knowledge of God’s love.  Jesus was calling me to come home to Him.  All the while, I closed my ears and eyes of that.  I know now the truth.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)  Yes, He was chasing after me from the beginning of time, though I didn’t know it.

My testimony began with a man sharing his love for me by telling me that there was a man who loved me and wanted a relationship with me.  His Name is Jesus Christ.  For me it was like bait in the water of a great pond filled with fish.  Except it’s not about hooking fish.  It’s all about His mercy and grace that pulled me out with one great pull.  Great is the Lord. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:1-3 ESV) 

You may have heard the following praise, even if you don’t think of yourself as spiritual or religious.  It has been said, “God is Good all the time. And all the time God is Good.”   This has nothing to do with being spiritual or anything to do with religion.  It has everything to do  with relationship.  The Bible says this.  And it is a promise.  “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”” (1 Corinthians 2:9) “Does God love me?  Most wholeheartedly Yes.”  I now serve One Master.  It’s in Christ Alone that I give my life.  Has it been easy?  No. Have I been blessed?  If you’re looking for me to quantify this question, I can’t.  God’s blessings are immeasurable.  Overflowing.  More than I can even imaging.  His grace is sufficient for me.   Through it all, God’s been Good!

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing.  I  don’t know of the circumstances by which you live your life.  I don’t know if you feel that if God knew me, He couldn’t love me.  But I know this that God loves you with an everlasting love that can never change or be diminished.  If you knew Him like I know Him you would know that He is Alive and death has died.  Jesus paid the price for sin and death by His suffering, crucifixion and resurrection.  I’m just asking you to come to  the everlasting love of Jesus and have a talk with Him.  My joy is unspeakable because I know that someone will read this and join in everlasting life, the Family of God.  It’s not how much you have done.  It’s simply about belief.  There is nothing you can do to earn eternal life.  God paid the price for you.  It’s His grace that will be applied to you once you accept Him.

Jesus, You paid the price for all of us to receive Your grace and partake in everlasting life with You in Heaven.  You’ve not applied a lot of rules or duties to receive the greatest gift.  We only need to believe.  Then we will see Jesus in all of Your glory.  Thank You that You have been with me since the beginning of the age and through it all You have been good.  Help me to understand more and more about You.  Bless our relationship Lord.  Forgive me sin and come into my life.  Thank You Lord.  I will serve You until I die.  I’m on the battlefield for the Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 Don’t believe me. Believe God!

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!

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

 

 

 

 

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!