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!

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!

Psalm 119:114 NKJV – Sometimes I just want to hide

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.

Did you ever have a day where you just wanted to become invisible to everyone around you? Maybe you made some poor choices or you might have said something you shouldn’t have said. Sometimes we just want to hide and hope what just happened will go away. Recently I made a poor choice and stood by a decision I made only to find out that people were not happy with my decision. When the discussion with them on the decision I made concluded, I realized I made an error in judgment. I just wanted to hide. I was wrong. I made a poor choice. My decision was based on inaccurate information. Yup. These kinds of events will happen. I placed my trust in something that proved to be weak.

God says that we can come to Him; He is our hiding place and our shield. You know, when it was all said and done, I felt the need to find God. I wanted His assurance that He was near. I wanted the feeling of security. I wanted to be safe. I wanted His comfort. I am more embarrassed than hurt by the inappropriate decision I made. But yet, I desired the presence of God to cover me.

God defends His own, especially when we are the most vulnerable. Today, I feel a little vulnerable. Nobody intentionally wants to make a mistake. Nobody intentionally wants to make a decision that is wrong and that affects others. But as Christians, we too, sometimes face trials and persecutions. We are no different. I was wrong and made a poor choice. But we must never forget that our eternal security is never threatened. I ran to God for cover. I ran to God for His security. I wanted a safe refuge. “Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more.” (Psalm 10:17-18 NKJV)

My hope rests in God. It is a total grounding of my confidence and expectation in God’s goodness and care even in the face of trouble. I have learned a lot. I will learn even more. Will I make another poor choice? Maybe…Probably. But maybe I have learned to stop before I make a poor choice and seek my refuge first in God’s eternal and incredible wisdom and care. “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:5 NKJV)

Friend, I have learned so much today. I share this with you so that you know that in the face of trials and poor choices and wrong decisions, we have a place to find shelter. We may have made a poor choice or wrong decision, but we don’t have to feel alone and secluded. We have a safe refuge. We have a hiding place. God is ready and able to gather us up to shelter us, to comfort us, to teach us, and to set us back out to do His will.

Precious God, thank You that we can run to You and seek refuge. Thank You that You are our shield. God, You walk with us even when we make poor choices and bad decisions. You never leave us. You are there to pick us up and dust us off and set us out again to do Your will. Thank You God for Your faithfulness. May all we say and do give glory to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 32:17-19 NKJV – In His rest

The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places, though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation.

The Holy Spirit brings a sense of well-being, contentment and wholeness to believers whatever their outward circumstances. Peace is therefore an indication of the Holy Spirit’s presence. What an incredible promise and thought. Especially in the times in which we live. It seems that there is torment and turmoil on every corner.

We find that the Holy Spirit brings peace of mind to those facing difficult decisions. “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 1:19 NKJV) My wife and I have been in a season of challenge and some might say, “a season of struggle”. There have been times over the last several months where our faith has been fully tested. Our trust was challenged it seemed almost every day.

But one of the things we found as God walked with us during this time was God’s amazing desire to gather us up. God brought us out of the situation as we called upon His name and brought us to a spiritual rest where the peace of God truly surpassed all understanding. It continues to be in those quiet times when all that is left is God, do we find our greatest strength and joy. This rest is promised to all who place their trust in God. Spiritual rest is found only in God. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

This is God-given assurance. It’s a promise to all of us. This assurance produces spiritual maturity and stability, so that believers may withstand the adverse conditions of life. Friend, we will stumble and sometimes forget the powerful assurance that God gives to us through the promises of His Word. We are human. But we have hope. Hope in the One who defeated all temptation, all struggle, all circumstances, and all sin. The Resurrection power of Jesus Christ conquers all that we face. When grounded in God, hope provides the motivation to live the Christian life even in the face of trouble and un-rest.

Heavenly Father, thank You that we can place our trust and faith in You and Your Word. God, we live in a world tossed around by turmoil and un-rest. But Praise God that we don’t have to fear because through You and Your loving care we have hope. We come to You Lord with our cares and struggles and place them before Your throne. We lift up our praises to You and thank You for delivering us. Holy Spirit come and encourage us as we walk together to fulfill Your plan. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Don’t’ believe me, believe God!

Psalm 71:14 NIV – I will praise You, Lord!

“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”

I can look back at my past and see how God has saved me, and I rejoice. God has done so many wonderful things for me that the list seems endless. His love has changed me. His protection has served as a fortress for me. His hand has strengthened me. His mercy and grace has forgiven me. His Word has taught me. And His Son, Jesus has saved me. All of this has given me hope which is grounded in God’s goodness and inescapable care even in the face of trouble.

Our hope can be placed in God in the face of difficulty or trial. The Bible tells us, “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10 NIV). His care for us here on earth is never complete. God will deliver us again and again; as much as we need. His care, just like His love for us, is everlasting.

God alone is good and He demonstrates His goodness. “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” (Psalm 119:68 NIV) We have this assurance that God works for our good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

We are encouraged by God’s loving care and faithful promises. God’s strength empowers us to live faithfully. God is the source of all victory, which He grants to those who obey His commands and put their trust and confidence in Him. In the past, I put my faith and trust in myself and the world and that got me nothing but heartache, trouble, and confusion. My faith now is grounded in trusting God for all things, including my life and He has given me in return eternal hope through His Son, Jesus and His death on the cross. God is King of everything and I want my life to praise Him.

Friend, where do place your hope? Do you place it in what the world can provide you? Or do you place your hope in God who is completely faithful. Where is your praise directed? This week spend some time in quiet prayer with God. Ask Him to open up your heart to hear the answers to these questions. And then, ask God to be your everything; your All in All.

Dear Lord, You are my everything. In You I place my hope. You are my deliverer, my healer, my protection, and my strength. Your care for me is like Your love for me; it’s everlasting. Continue to teach me to trust You in all things and to look upon You when I face trouble. Forgive me, Lord, when I trust in the world to give me victory. The source of all victory comes from You, Lord. I give You praise. In Jesus Name, AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!