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!

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!

 

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!

His perfect timing

His perfect timing

Friend, God’s timing is perfect. I’ve learned that when we release ownership of our circumstances into God’s hands, we are in a far better place. In God’s hand there comes His peace, His rest, and His love to carry us through everything we face. I pray for those who need to gain this understanding that He has made everything beautiful in His time.

His Timing is Perfect

To the mountain to pray

But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. (Luke 6:11-16 NKJV)

We see hear in the book of Luke that this Scripture places the choosing of the twelve apostles immediately after the remark about the beginnings of a plot against Jesus. You see, Jesus had just healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath. There were folks that were not happy about that. They were watching Jesus closely to see if they could find something to accuse Him of.

What I want to key in on is it says “He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” There is no other New Testament passage that speaks of all-night prayer. Jesus knew His ministry here on earth and the choosing of His apostles required prayer. He was building His ministry and knew that prayer would be necessary.

We often find ourselves praying for what seems to be a very long time for our family, our friends, our home, our desires, even our ministries, to quickly find out we have only prayed for a few minutes. Jesus knew what was ahead of Him. There was a revolution brewing. He knew His apostles had much to understand. And He also knew that His answers would come from His Father. He went away to pray all night. What should we do? How many minutes/hours are long enough? I don’t have that answer. But I know this. That every moment of time we spend praying to our Heavenly Father is not wasted time. Our Father wants a relationship with us that keeps Him on our mind and on our lips. The choice is ours. How much time will you spend?

Friend, today I challenge you to spend time with God in prayer and remain in prayer a little longer than what you are accustomed. Let your conversation with God permeate His throne room. Let the ministering response from God wash over you. Prayer is relational. The more you pray to God the more you begin to know and understand the everlasting love and grace He desires to impart to you.

Holy and glorious Lord. Thank you for hearing our prayers no matter how long they last. Sometimes a quick prayer is what is needed when we encounter something suddenly. But many times Lord we choose the amount of time we spend with You. Help us understand that every instant of time with You is blessed time. Where we can capture Your attention and we can share our hearts together. Let us set aside those things of the world that keep us from prayer and help us to redeem that time in a conversation with You. We love You Lord and desire a relationship with You. Let’s spend some time together. In Your Name Jesus. 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!

Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV – The “What If’s”

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The fear of the unknown is something that all of us encounter from time to time. Not knowing what lies ahead can be frightening. “If only I could know” has resounded from my mouth. If we’re going to be honest, we’ve all said that. We’ve wanted to look into the future. It’s a trust issue. We don’t want to deal with what might lie ahead especially if it will challenge us. Can you imagine what Jesus’ disciples might have been thinking? Jesus was ascending into heaven to sit on His throne and the disciples would now have to walk in faith and complete that which Jesus commanded them to do. “What if?”

Jesus gave His disciples assurance of where their help would come from. First, Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth. So the power of Christ over all things was established. Second, Jesus gave them a commission; to go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe the things Jesus taught them. And finally, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, now promised to be with them to the end of the age.

That same assurance is given to us. We, too, have the promise. It’s available to all of us. But, yes, sometimes we forget. The fear of the unknown takes over. What I’ve learned is that when I find myself asking myself the “what if’s”, that’s the beginning of the fear of the unknown. “What if’s” drive me crazy. For the unknown, there are a lot of “what if’s”. When we try to look ahead to the future and realize we can’t, we rationalize the challenge ahead with “what if’s”. What if I just took on another job, then maybe I’ll have enough. What if I worked longer hours, then I know we could make ends meet. If I just do these things, I know God would bless us. Instead, what Jesus is saying is, “I’m right here. You can come to me. I will hear you. My plans will give you hope and a future.”

Jesus Christ’s faithfulness is seen in His character. He is faithful by nature. “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” (Revelation 19:11 NKJV) Jesus is faithful because He never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV) And Jesus is faithful because He is the truth. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NKJV)

I’m going to be a little transparent again with all of you. Last year at this time I faced a surgery that caused me to ask the “what if’s?” What if something goes terribly wrong? What if they find something worse that they didn’t expect? What if the recovery isn’t like what they said it would be? What if my faith in my healing fails? You see, I tried to justify my fear. I forgot what Jesus said and what He promised. He gave me a commission. He placed a call on my life. He has all the power and authority I need to fulfill His calling. He has told me, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And yet, there have been times I’ve forgotten. I’m human just like everyone else. So one night just before my scheduled surgery my wife and I prayed.  Then we talked a lot about the “what if’s”. There were questions and even a few tears. And then I was reminded, so softly and gently, that when I find myself fearing the unknown, it is an opportunity to get closer to Jesus and call upon His name. I will find His everlasting love and the power of Christ will rest upon me. “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your strength and Your promise to always be with me. Forgive me, Lord, when the “what if’s” take over my thoughts and I place my trust and faith in my own actions. You Lord have called me to fulfill a unique and special purpose. All authority has been given to You, Lord, and You are my guiding Light. May Your power rest upon me, Lord, I pray. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!