Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Game of Life Increases Your Faith Level

People everywhere are playing games on the social media sites. Candy Crush is one of the favorites. Doctors, lawyers, bankers, stay at home moms, secretaries, teachers and athletes all play. I admit it, I play it as well.  I’m on level 125. I should say I’m stuck on level 125.  It’s ridiculous when I think I’ve had to play some of those levels 50 times before I could pass on to the next level.  Why would anyone spend so much time going over and over and over the same thing?  Everyone I know who plays the game keeps playing and playing and playing. 

I’m reminded of the game of life. We are bound at a level of rejection or indifference or heartbreak.  We want to go past it, move on, but we’re stuck. Sometimes we think it’s not worth the effort and we quit altogether. We’re ready to move on to something else.  Find another way to play.

Life is not really a game but we are participants.  We have to be serious about it to get through.  If we’re content to stay at level one we can do that.  But God is always encouraging us to step up, go up, move up.  There are great rewards at the higher levels with Him. 

We see the more difficult times of our lives as game ending events. But the Lord sees them as life enhancing events. As we go through it all our faith level is increased with every level.  God will give us the strength to go on when we lay that rejection at His feet, knowing that He was despised and rejected Himself. He knows how it feels and yet He went on to the cross, stepped into hell, rose again and is sitting at God’s right hand!

Sometimes the levels seem like a breeze, other times they are especially hard. But as long as we keep Jesus with us, helping us every step of the way, we will be victorious over the small things and eventually we will be victorious over it all.

Winners are not those who are better, have it all together or know the cheats. No, winners are those who know their limitations, see their inabilities clearly and call upon the One who knows how to navigate every degree of their lives.  Winners cannot be pointed out for their strength or their charisma or their talents. Real winners are those who have simply kept playing the game of life and never quit, always relying on the Lord Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think.

Oh beloved, if you decided it was easier to quit, God is lovingly calling you to get back in the game. It doesn’t matter what someone else has declared about you, you are destined to win. It doesn’t matter what kinds of obstacles to the next level you encounter, God has declared you an overcomer.  Nothing can keep you from winning because God loves you and He’s for you and that’s all you will ever need to be a winner in life.  

2 Kings 3:18 But this is only a simple thing for the Lord, for He will make you victorious over the army of Moab!

James 1:12 Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. (Amplified)

I John 5:4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

Psalm 44:3 They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was Your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from Your face that helped them, for You loved them.

1 Corinthians 15:57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bring Every Need to the Lord

I woke up this morning fully expecting to see at least some white stuff on the ground. But to my surprise there’s no precipitation happening, nor did any happen overnight here. The weather centers keep saying we are going to have bad weather, but it hasn’t materialized yet. I don’t know if I should keep relying on their word or not. Maybe I just can’t trust their word anymore. After all the we...ather forecast hasn’t occurred here, at least not yet. It’s not that I’m disappointed. I just thought they knew what they were talking about. After all they’re experts. They said they know and they’ve given us the word.

There are times when I have prayed and prayed about something. You know, that heart’s desire that is always on my mind and always on my lips. I research the Scriptures and I pray the Word over the situation or the person. I know God’s forecast says the Word is true and the answer will come. But it’s been a while. Do I keep looking out the window of my mind? Do I keep believing the answer is imminent? Or do I give up? Do I stand on the Word of the Expert or do I fold under the circumstances of what my eye sees?

As I am typing this very devotional I am beginning to hear the freezing rain outside my window. The weather officials were right. We are experiencing the answer to their word. I kept watching the news cast and kept looking for the evidence and it is occurring, finally.

Oh beloved. Most everyone prays about something. But you’ve been looking for specific answers to specific prayers. You’ve prayed and prayed and prayed. You’ve looked, watched and wondered. Others may have told you it was foolish to pray that prayer. But you’ve kept on praying. You also keep looking for the evidence of that answer. You’ve prayed in the car, in the bed, at the kitchen stove and in your office.

You’ve also stood on the Word of God and prayed that over the loved one or the situation. You can be assured that not one of those prayers is prayed in vain. God hears every single prayer. While the answer must always be left in His hands, (how can we make it happen ourselves?) we have assurance that if we keep seeking, keep asking and keep knocking He will eventually open that door to the answer. Don’t think your prayers are insignificant, unimportant or useless.

Unlike the weather officials, who sometimes do get the weather outlook wrong, God’s Word can always be trusted. Keep bringing all your needs to the Lord for He never ignores you. Keep seeking His face for that wayward spouse or child or parent for His desire is that all should come to the knowledge of God and live for Jesus. Keep praying the Scriptures over it all and watch. Let God encourage you when everyone around you says it’s useless.

Keep knocking on the door of God’s heart for He loves you and He’s for you and He promises that He will withhold no good thing from you as you seek Him earnestly in faith.

Psalm 69:13 But I keep praying to you, Lord, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation.

Luke 11:9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

1 Kings 8:28 Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You today;

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pour Yourself a Full Measure of God's Love This Day

As I was putting dishes up last night I remembered just how many coffee cups we have. The collection of cups from my parents is intermingled with our own. There are cups from motorcycle dealerships, Disney World, various vacations, scripture cups and more.  They are threatening to burst open the cabinet that holds them. Do I need this many cups? Not really. But which cup do I discard? Which cups are not worth having?  I can’t bear to part with one, for each has a history, each tells a tale and even the broken ones that have been pieced back together are important.

I choose my morning coffee cup often based on my attitude or feelings of the day. I love to drink from “It’s YOUR Day!” a birthday cup I got many years ago. It reminds me to tell the Lord it’s his day to do whatever He wants to do with my life.  I enjoy the cup that reads “Go ye into all the world…” to share the Love of God with people, the Gospel, the Good News.

That rag taggle, mismatched group of cups reminds me to keep asking God to fill my cup. I would be a totally empty shell without God’s love filling me to the brim. There are times when I need an extra helping of God’s love to get me through. Just like I need more than one cup of coffee.  Without a serving of God’s love that I allow myself to have every morning I would be tasteless and there would be no sweetness to draw on for my day.

Oh beloved, as you drink your cup of steaming coffee, or cocoa or spiced tea, take a moment to savor the richness of God’s love. Pour in a generous, running over cup of His love. Stir it into your heart. And drink of it. Drink and keep drinking. Pour it again, fill it up and let it run over.  You need it. You will be lost and confused without it.  Don’t be miserly with this Love for it is never ending.  No frugality needed here, rather abundance should be the word.  The more you allow yourself to taste of God’s great love, the more you will know you are accepted, chosen, redeemed and forgiven.

Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord; Come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.

God loves you and He’s for you can drink from that truth forever knowing His love never runs dry.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

Psalm 36:8 They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.

Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails;

Friday, November 22, 2013

Are You Learning Your Lines from the Right Script?

You may think I’m an early bird, but I’ve been watching some of the Hallmark Christmas movies already. I love everything about Christmas - the tinsel, the glitter, the scents and the sounds. I also love all the various Christmas cantatas and musicals that are presented for the public to enjoy. My home is host to several nativity scenes reminding us whose birthday it really is.

Everyone who part...icipates in any kind of show has to rehearse. Can you imagine going to theater and watching unrehearsed performance? How would anyone know how to perform? What would they say? Where would their lines go? How could they time their dances and the entrances and exits? At best everyone would be confused. At worst it would be utter chaos. The orchestra would be doing their own thing, the singers would be making their own music and the actors would be jumping over one another’s lines. Center stage would become the platform for anger, animosity, jealousy, humiliation, confrontation, revenge and more. Someone might get hurt.

Rehearsal is absolutely invaluable for the believer as well. We are playing for an audience of One. We’re not performing for accolades, achievements or applause. We don’t necessarily care if we’re given a good review by man or if we’re considered worthless. We must rehearse daily. If we don’t rehearse daily we’ll fall victim to humiliation, animosity, rejection, humiliation, revenge and more. Chaos will run rampant in our hearts.

Oh beloved, open up God’s Script and learn your lines well. See what God says. Watch Him direct you. Hear His heart and learn it well. Unlike actors who eventually have to put away their script and perform without it, we never have to let go of the Word of God. It is more essential to us than our daily bread. If you do not learn His lines well, then you will find yourself spouting your hurts and your anguish and making it all up as you go. When you lean on Jesus and speak His truth over every situation, He will be glorified through you.

And you’ve got an audience of One, and He is in the wings and He is ever before you and He is applauding your every step. And He is coming to get you at the end of your run. And He is with you all the way, cheering you on to greater heights, higher ways and blessings untold. The Creator and the Director of your entire story loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters…ever.

Psalm 40:5 O Lord my God, You have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all Your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.

2 Samuel 7:28 For you are God, O Sovereign Lord. Your words are truth, and You have promised these good things to Your servant.

Psalm 119:147 I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in Your words.

Psalm 9:1 I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wonderful deeds! (AMP)

Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Do You Understand the Lord?

Over the course of my life I’ve heard this phrase used often and in many different ways: “Do you understand me?” There’s the plaintiff cry of a child who is trying to tell you something. They’re hoping you get it. There’s the exchange between people of different countries as they try to “talk” to one another. There’s the conversation between husband and wife – sometimes friendly, sometimes fret...ful, or sometimes angry. Then there’s the discussion between a manager and his assistants. It can be a put down or a humiliation depending on the manager and his or her attitude.

Funny how those words come across as many different feelings, depending on the inflection of the voice and the facial expressions brought along with it. A person who is kind and generous will ask the question with care and concern while a person who is arrogant and rude will be demanding and surly. Our responses to those different articulations show us how much we know about the person speaking. If we’ve been raised with many demands we are bound to cringe and avoid the speaker. If we’ve been given much love and mercy the response is completely different.

If God were here right now and He asked you “Do you understand me?” how would you feel? Would you cringe in fear that He was reprimanding you? Would you want to retreat a safe distance and fill your mind with other things so you can’t hear Him? Or would you respond as a child who trusts their father?

How we feel about God, for better or worse, is how we respond to Him. What we feel is what we think we already know about Him. We may see God as a harsh demanding father. Or we may know Him as a loving, forgiving, merciful caring daddy.

Do you understand the Lord? Can you wrap your mind around the fact that He loves you? Can you hear His voice and remember His nature? It’s so important to wash out the world’s system of thinking by bathing in the beauty of God’s Word. His nature and His attitude toward us is God breathed throughout the Bible. As you read about His dealings with the children of men you will know so much more about Him, so that when He asks you if you understand Him you will know that He’s asking in love.
Without knowing God’s nature intimately, we will respond to Him in the flesh. And we will be battling our feelings and hiding from God and refusing the full and limitless Grace of Christ. There are many wonderful things about God we need to know so that we will be complete in Him.

Oh beloved, listen to God calling you. He hugs you up tightly and whispers His love Words into your heart as He seeks to make Himself understood by you. It doesn’t matter who else has spoken harshly to you in the past. It doesn’t matter the harsh circumstances you find yourself in. The Holy Spirit is not a critical spirit. The only thing that held Christ to the cross was love. God will always speak to you in love, even when He’s correcting you. He will always call you in love, lead you in love and protect you in love. His love never fails – that means there’s never a time, not a single moment, when God won’t love you.

Open up His love songs to you this morning, before the world has opportunity to make you feel small, keep you entrapped and call you unworthy. The loving heart of God speaks over you this morning and calls you beloved, victorious, precious, called, redeemed, renamed, appointed and anointed. God loves you and He’s for you and everything He says and does is wrapped in those absolute truths.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

Romans 5:5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.

Romans 8:39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

There Are Always Mountains to Climb

Hiking and exploring has been one of our favorite pastimes. Some of our best family trips have been to climb mountains and walk beneath waterfalls. We love exploring nature and the outdoors. Arkansas has some of the best destinations for it. From Albert Pike to Petit Jean to Pinnacle Mountain to Blanchard Caverns, Arkansas has something for everyone.

We’ve taken easy treks and we’ve done things the hard way.  The hardest climb we ever attempted was the wrong side of Pinnacle Mountain. We’d never been there, so we chose to climb to the summit the hard way. I made it halfway, our daughter Melody made it a little farther. Danny and our other two children made it all the way to the top. When they arrived they discovered that the other side had rocks made into steps so that you could traverse it much easier.  We did it with a few other people and held onto tree limbs, climbed over boulders and slipped in the loose soil.  The ascent we chose is called “rugged”.  No kidding.

For the three who made it to the top their reward was the view.  It was breathtaking. You will experience a panorama of the Arkansas River and Lake Maumelle as well as the Ouachita Mountains and West Little Rock. We have gone back several times over the years. We even took our two oldest grandchildren on the hike a few years back. It is well worth the view if you are willing to go the distance. It is indeed rugged and it is not for the faint of heart.

Life has a lot of rugged terrain we all travel. There’s really not much way to avoid the trek. There are boulders of fear we come to that make us want to turn back. There is the loose soil of disappointment that threatens to cause us to lose our hold and slip.  There are huge trees and dense underbrush of trials, troubles and worries that can make us lose sight of our goals. Life is indeed a climb, with a few stops along the way in beautiful meadows of God’s rest. But we are climbing and along the way we are breathless, our heart is pounding and we’re often faced with the desire to give up.

The rockiest roads lead to the highest peaks that will ultimately provide the best view.

I hear God speaking to my heart and yours: My precious child. In life there are always mountains to climb. Unlike hiking, you don’t get to choose which mountains or when they will come into your life. But you can choose Me as your mountain guide. I will help you over boulders, I will carry you beyond the slippery soil and I will assist you in achieving the heights. Once we have arrived at the top I promise the view will be spectacular.  As you go through life’s challenges you can get confused by all the troubles, work and obstacles. But once you’re at the top you can view it all in perspective. You will see that I was with you all the time, all the way. You will rejoice that although you wanted to turn back or you thought you would surely slip to your death, you made it. The view of faith’s achievements shows you just how much I love you and how greatly I care for you. Viewing the difficulties you are facing is hard, but you can do it with Me. But going past the difficulties and seeing it all from the pinnacle will show the grand scheme of all I AM to your life. In the fullness of time, when you see it all with Me you will know that I cared for you all the way and you will know the purpose beyond the pain. Not only will you know that I got you to the top, you will see Me more clearly and know Me more inimately because you have experienced Me through it all.

Oh beloved, are you trudging through the rubble or are you scaling the heights? Are the sheer drops about you causing you great fear or are you looking at your Savior? Keep your eyes on Him and refer back to your guidebook often. For even when you think you have gotten off track or were sent around a wrong path, God will keep you headed straight for your goal. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s why He’s with you all the way. Trust Him, hold onto Him and rejoice with Him when you make it to the top!

Habakkuk 3:19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Amplified

I Samuel 12:22 The Lord will not abandon His people, because that would dishonor His great name. For it has pleased the Lord to make you His very own people.

Hebrews 12:2a  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…

Psalm 66:8-9 Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing His praises.  Our lives are in His hands, and He keeps our feet from stumbling.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

You are Indeed Beloved of God!

Forty one years ago today Danny and I had our first date. I know many of you don’t believe in love at first sight, but I will tell you this: once I met Danny face to face I never wanted to date anyone else and he felt the same way. Call it what you want, we clicked, we committed, we became a couple. I did everything I could to find out all about Him. His likes, his tastes, his hobbies, his about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The more we spent time together the more comfortable I was with him. The more I went out with him, the more I enjoyed his presence. He literally was perfect for me. I can tell you it’s been a wonderful life.

Thirty-one years ago I met Jesus. This too was love at first sight. Once I met Jesus face to face I never turned back. We clicked. I was committed. I began a lifelong plan to find out all I could about Him. I have studied to know His likes, His dislikes and more. I know His outlook on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I can tell you it’s been a wonderful life, living in Christ.

My life with Danny has managed to have a storybook ending in many ways, but we’re imperfect people making concessions for one another, overlooking faults and mistakes. We’ve learned a lot about things from one another. Because of Danny’s love for me I’ve learned about loyalty, faithfulness and truth. He will not lie no matter what. He remains my one and only love and I have remained His.

My life with Christ will have a storybook ending as well – the Book tells me that He is My one and only Savior. No one else will do. He is faithful to me and faithful to His Word. I’ve learned everything that’s worth knowing from Him. Because He loves me unconditionally, I know He can be trusted. His Word is true. He is my Savior and I love Him more and more each day.

Oh beloved, there are things you need to know about the Lord that you won’t know if you don’t give your life to Him completely. Halfhearted allegiance to Christ is about like being half married. And that’s not possible. He knows everything – everything about your life, about your challenges, about your disappointments and more. He knows more than you do – He knows how many days He has given you, what lies ahead and He knows how to love you unconditionally and yet completely. He’s not a man that He should ever lie. He is honor bound to His Word and His Word is honor bound to Him. You can trust Him with your whole heart for your whole life. No one else is so trustworthy. No one else can meet all your needs. No one else will be there for you no matter what. Whatever you are facing, He is with you for the long haul. Whatever you are dreading He will come in and walk with you. He is the Great I AM and He loves you.

He’s calling you today and He’s asking you to step up to a closer walk. It may seem a little fearful to put your trust in Someone like Him, but it’s worth it. He will take your life and guide you through every wreck, every valley, every mountain, every flood, every change in seasons, positions, friendships and more and stay with you all the way.

He loves you and He calls you beloved. He’s for you and He’s going to remain with you, on your side, forever. Pick up the Word and find out everything you can about Him. His love is real and His care is perfect and that’s all that matters as you live in the light of His love.

I John 4:9-10 God showed how much he loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Psalm 117:2 For He loves us with unfailing love; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?

Psalm 33:18 But the Lord watches over those who fear Him, those who rely on His unfailing love.

Psalm 27:8 My heart has heard You say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming”

Psalm 139:17-18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!

Monday, November 18, 2013

God's Light Helps Us See Clearly

It was just beginning to get light one morning as I stepped out onto the porch. I love early morning because it’s quiet and peaceful. As I looked across the street to the neighbor’s house I thought I spied a large dog. It was sitting there at attention. I almost whistled for it when I realized it must not be a dog. It was not light enough that I could make out what it really was. I went back to drink a cup of coffee.

Later, when the sun had brightened the view, I saw that it was just a soccer goal.
In the dark it was impossible for me to see what I was looking at but in the light it became apparent. Without the light there was no perception of color or shape. The eye was fooled, the mind was tricked. But as soon as the light of day crept in everything was apparent.

It is very hard to perceive truth from error in the dark. Without the light of God’s Word shed onto each and every situation we are going to have a hard time discerning what’s really there. Given our own personal preferences we are going to go for what feels good, what looks right and what everyone is doing. We’ll be going with the flow but we will be without sight – we won’t have real perception of our situations we find ourselves in. Oh we can still see the problem, the opportunity, the decision but we’ll be confused and confused about what to do.

But once the light dawns, once we take the light of the Word and look at our situations in the light of that Word we will be able to see clearly. The enemy won’t be able to fool us and neither will our minds and our hearts. Light dispels darkness and everything becomes crystal clear.

Are you perplexed this morning? Are you thinking about reaching out for something but you just aren’t sure it’s what you need to have? It’s important to your life to stop, pick up the Word and let the light dawn on your present situation. Let God show you whether it’s real or not. Let God instruct you on the truth about it. Let God’s Word give you better sight so that you won’t head for something you perceive as good that will ultimately be bad for you.

The Word of God will always protect you, defend you, direct you, keep you safe and guard your heart and mind. It may seem that God’s Word is restrictive and narrow, but it’s always the way of blessings. Take out His Word this morning and let it give you the right perspective. Let Him enlighten the eyes of your understanding so that you know the truth and aren’t fooled by things that come into your life. People try to convince you of things that are in direct opposition to the Word. The world’s system will tell you lies about yourself, about your hope, about your future. The enemy will tell you to reach out for something God wants to protect you from.

Oh beloved, take out God’s Word this morning and let its light give you better vision. He loves you so much that He gave you a book containing all you will ever need to perceive the truth about your life, your walk and your destination. And beloved, He’s on your side; He’s for you so you can trust what you are in the dark about as you shine His Word on every situation. Live in the light of His Word, don’t trust your senses, and watch as dawn breaks over everything and you live a life of blessing and strength.

John 17:17 Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your word, which is truth.

Proverbs 4:18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Psalm 119:130 The teaching of Your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.

Psalm 119:115 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Disaster House or Christ Built House?

Disaster House highlights home remodeling the “wrong way”.  The episode I watched showed them pulling out a load bearing wall by hitching the wall to a set of Clydesdale horses through a window. The horses pulled that wall down without much effort. But the after effects were bad: falling plaster, sagging ceiling, and the floor above falling down.

The results were truly disastrous.  The host did go on to show how to fix the mess once you’ve done it.  It took a lot more time, money and effort to repair the mess. They could have done it the right way to start with and saved a boatload of money and headaches!

Fortunately for us believers growing in faith and becoming Christlike don’t have to come at the cost of a disaster. Just like home remodeling, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things in the Kingdom of God. Unlike a homeowner who may have no background knowledge and no guidebook to go by, we believers have the knowledge of the Most High God spoken into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Our “resident” expert shines His Spirit on God’s Word and we can know that we know that we know how to live with one another, how to grow in unity, love and faith. We can also know how to build up one another, build up God’s ministry and repair any problem that arises.

But there will be times that we will have to start from the ground up. A lot of times we come into a situation with all of God’s knowledge but the building has sagged for a long time. Lack of prayer, lack of love, lack of the bolstering of God’s Spirit: all make for a bad situation.  We could just tear down the entire building or let it go empty. But is that God’s plan?   How do we go from the disaster house we find ourselves in to the Spirit built Kingdom God desires?

It may be that the disaster you are facing looks too far gone to do anything about.  You’ve tried everything and yet the walls are falling in everywhere. It may be your ministry, your marriage, your children, your future, your finances or your friendships.  While there’s nothing you can do to change things in the natural, there is always something you can do that will move heaven and earth on your behalf: you can pray. Keep asking God to show up and show out. Ask God to change your heart and then the hearts and minds of others.

Without God as the Master Builder and Chief Architect we all might as well go home. Without Jesus as the chief cornerstone of all we do we are headed for disaster. And would we want it any other way? Do we really want to do it all by the flesh? Are we really content when we’ve had our way? Do we feel great satisfaction when the things fall completely to the ground?  Does “I told you so” ever make the disastrous heap of rubbish look better or feel better?

Oh beloved, God has a wonderful plan for your life and for the life of those around you. His plan calls for Him to be first, for love to reign supreme and for the head of the building to be Christ. Can you work with that? Can you leave the choices to Him? If you do, you will watch Him display His wondrous power in glorious ways! He will take the crumbling edifice and rebuild it for His glory! And when it’s all said and done and our life of faith is over here on earth, we will arrive home face to face with the Stone the builders rejected.

God loves you and He’s for you – and that’s why He keeps asking you to let Him do the construction throughout your life as you learn to be more like Him. When it’s all about Jesus, He makes the reconstruction better than anything you could dream up on your own. You can trust Him as He builds your life into something magnificent to show forth His glory!

Ephesians 2:20 Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself.

Colossians 2:7 Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Matthew 7:24 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Jude 1:20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 3:11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

With a View to the Future

I was driving grandson Blake home this week and the sky was a brilliant blue. Not a cloud to be seen. I guess because the sky was so clear and blue, we were able to spot other things in the sky. Blake saw them first – a huge flock of geese flying in formation, headed south. Then we saw a smaller flock doing the same thing.

Just as I looked away from the birds I saw a glimmer. As we got to a stop, I looked through the trees and spotted it! It was a jet.  I told Blake to look but he couldn’t see it. I kept saying turn your head to the right and other directions but he could not see the jet.  Finally I pulled into a parking lot and said again, “LOOK!”  He turned His head, climbed up into my window and put his face right where mine was. He saw it!  Racing through the sky it looked like a silver bullet in the sun trailing a streak of clouds behind it.

Until he got my viewpoint he couldn’t see what I was seeing.  He might have just said never mind. He might have just gone on. He might have missed the magnificent view entirely. But he kept looking until he could see it from my perspective. 

God speaks to my heart: “With a view to the future”.  Such simple words. But He’s speaking to my heart and maybe you need to know it too beloved.  Often we are caught in a scene that’s right out of a horror show. It could be that we’ve held something so dear that we don’t want to let go. We see no point, we  feel no reason, we hear no promises. We’ve been rejected and that’s all we see.  We’ve been left out in the cold and that’s all we feel. We’ve been passed over, turned down, unanswered.  Unless we can get God’s perspective on our present situation we are going to feel frustrated or fearful or maybe even quit. 

It’s up to us.  The view is there. God’s openly showing it to us. He’s trying to get us to quit looking at things from the earthly view.  He’s urging us lovingly to keep looking, keep straining toward God’s face, keep seeking His heart.  He may even ask us to pull over and sit a moment alone with Him until we can find God’s peace.  At some point we have to let God in on our pain and let Him assure us. Who else can soothe us really? And how blessed are we that we have a God who didn’t just create us and leave us to try to figure out the scenes of our lives alone. No, He’s fully acquainted with us – fully prepared to walk us through every single day with us – fully prepared to give us His perspective, even though He’s the Lord of Heaven and Earth. After all, He is our Abba Father as well. Christ has gifted us with the opportunity to have a rich and intimate relationship with God Himself. If we can just let ourselves and our pains go and get into Father God’s lap and see things “with a view to the future” we’ll be able to live seeing God’s face when nothing else makes sense. We’ll know there’s a future for us because He has said so.

Oh beloved, climb up in Abba Father’s lap. Let Him wrap His loving arms around you. Let Him speak truth into your life. When you get his perspective, when you can view things as though you are going into the future, looking beyond yourself, you will know that God’s ways are best. Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God and nothing can keep you from seeing into the blue skies of His perfect will. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s worth slowing down, opening His Word, resting in His promises and moving into the future with fresh determination to live in the light of His Word.


Psalm 77:11-13 But then I recall all You have done, O Lord; I remember Your wonderful deeds of long ago.  They are constantly in my thoughts.  I cannot stop thinking about Your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy.     Is there any god as mighty as You?

Psalm 73:23-24 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.   You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Where Have You Been Shopping?

Since it’s just the two of us, Danny and I don’t need a lot of groceries. We have the usual staples and could whip up a small meal of just about anything. But when a holiday is coming or company is going to arrive, I need to go to the store and buy some extra things. 
I find that shopping takes effort and a good plan. If we’re hungry we have to be really careful. Otherwise we might come home with candy, chips, cokes and snacks. If we’re thirsty we’ll have lots of juice and bottled water. It’s best to go armed with what we really need so we don’t shop with our eyes because there is much to be purchased and lots of it is pretty useless for nourishment strength and health.
Have you been shopping lately? Are you walking through the aisles of your mind and feasting on your troubles, feeding your fears and stocking up on your mistakes and regrets?
What are you buying? Have you stepped into the world’s store? Are you buying the lie that you can’t be forgiven? Are you buying the story that it’s hopeless for you? Maybe you stopped by the craft department and you put some signs in your basket: worthless, useless, unloved.  Do you stop by the video section? Are you replaying things others said about you? Are you recording the false and leaving no room for the truth? Maybe you’re watching past mistakes and future fears. Nothing that’s fit for your eyes in Christ.
It’s time to empty the cart that the enemy and the world have helped you fill! Get a new cart and put the Word of God in it! Find your favorite Scriptures, walk the aisles of God’s love and fill up completely on Him. His Word is your necessary nourishment, for without it you will remain weak, discouraged, unhealthy and unfed. But as you feast on the word of God you will grow in grace, grow in wisdom, grow in knowledge!
While you may have spent your life’s savings on things that do not satisfy, God’s Word is free – all you have to do is take it in and live it out! Spend as much time as you need and go back fulfilled, satisfied, and strong. God wants to build you up and give you strength for the days you are going through now and the days ahead. His Word is like dainty morsels. His Word is like a huge roast. His Word is healthy as vegetables and fruit. His Word is all you need! 
Oh beloved, you are blessed beyond measure to have access to everything you need. God loves you and He’s for you and He’s welcoming you into His storehouse with no reservations so that you can live victorious all the days of your life.  
Jeremiah 15:16 When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven's Armies.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Psalm 107:9 For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 36:8-9 They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Let's Learn to "Sow"

My mother was a real seamstress. I know I’ve talked about that before. But this morning as she came to my mind I thought about her life and how she really did do a lot of sewing.  In her early years she used feed sacks to make dresses. She cut out old dresses and made new dresses from them. She would go to yard sales and find material or old quilts and make gifts and crafts of them. She didn’t sit around and lament that she couldn’t buy the finest cloth. She didn’t think “someday I will sew, when the conditions are right and I have lots of money or time or more ability”.  No, she just sewed wherever she went and whatever conditions she found herself in. Whether she had the best or not, she made something of it. She sewed.

Wouldn’t you know it? As much as my mother loved to sew, in her early 60’s she found herself working in a department store’s cloth department! Row upon row, shelf upon shelf of it. She could buy all kinds of the loveliest material at huge discounts. She had opportunity to visit with other people who loved to sew. She could buy patterns and make more things for her children and grandchildren.  God blessed her by letting her reap from the bountiful blessings of what He had stored up for her all those years.

Oh beloved, this is your day to begin sowing! You don’t have to wait another day. You don’t have to wait until conditions improve – sow right from your lack.  God blesses what we sow. He is working behind the scenes, fine tuning the machinery of your life, oiling the bearings, threading the needle and working the pedal. All you have to do is step out in faith and sow!  He has given you absolutely everything you need to sow for today, so don’t procrastinate, don’t hesitate and don’t whine about your shortage. If all you have is a smile – sow it into someone else’s life.  If all you have is a kind word, sow it! If all you have is a Scripture from childhood – sow it. Sow what you have!  And don’t forget to sow forgiveness, peace, joy, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, blessings, honor, and more. The more you sow, the more you will have.  Don’t hold back, don’t save the best for yourself, and don’t be miserly. Sow liberally and watch as you reap a harvest of blessings in return.

Today is the best day to learn to sow. You don’t need anything but the Word of God and His Holy Spirit guidance. If you begin today, in the conditions you are presently in, one day you will reap a magnificent harvest! The harvest will come at just the right time, with all the right bells and whistles and provide blessings beyond blessings for you.  Reap what God blesses you with today and He will bless you more!

God always supplies the things you need. God always gives you something you can sow into another’s life. Even in the midst of your pain, agony, troubles, rejections, trials or present need – God will provide. For that which He promises He will do. He loves you so He provides for you. He’s for you so He multiplies what you sow.  Rejoice as you and He make beautiful memories together that will reap a bountiful harvest of more of His great love and care!

Ecclesiastes 11:4 He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.

Psalm 126:6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

1 Peter 3:9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Flames of Faith Overtake the Chill

It’s cold outside this morning. I mean really cold. This is the coldest day of the season so far. When I arrived home yesterday evening I was chilled to the bone. Just this small cold snap reminds me that I don’t like winter’s temps. I wondered if I’d ever feel warm again. But I’m warm inside my house. My hubby built a nice roaring fire in the fireplace yesterday afternoon and it is still full of embers that are still keeping the house warm.  I may have to go out in the cold momentarily but I know that when I return it will still be warm inside.

There are times in our lives when it’s just cold. The chill of adversity has us shivering. The plummeting temperatures of trails, hurts and pain has us wondering if we’ll ever be warm again.  Will we ever feel the warmth of true friendship when others seem to walk away so easily? Will we know the flame of true love when we can’t seem to hang onto it? Will adversity keep battering away its high winds on the walls of our hearts and minds? People may try to warm us, make us feel better or console us, but we must find our way out of the chill in our hearts ourselves, so that we can stay warm and secure no matter what.

Oh beloved, rejoice!  God has kept the home fires burning! He is the fire of your warmth for days and nights like this. He is beckoning you to come in out of the elements and warm up to His love and His truth. Regardless of the conditions that surround you, He is your shelter in the storm. You don’t have to remain at the mercy of the howling winds of circumstances, for you are covered by His loving care.   You are never alone, never left out in the cold and never forced to remain distant from the Lord. No matter what, God is with you. No matter what, He will take you in. No matter what, He will cause spring to come again to your heart and the chill of today’s trials will melt in the light of His glory and grace.

Quit rehearsing the problems and begin to rehearse God’s Word over your problems. The flames of faith will overtake the chill and you will find that, even in the midst of it all, God’s love will warm you, God’s word will cover you and His peace will blanket you all the days of your life.

Psalm 36:7 How precious is Your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of Your wings.

Psalm 31:20 You hide them in the shelter of Your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in Your presence, far from accusing tongues.

Isaiah 12:2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in Him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory.

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 84:10a A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!

2 Corinthians 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Don't Take That Problem to Bed With You

Kids love to take their toys to bed with them. Between special pillows, action figures and trucks, cars and dolls, the bed is full. We even see it in the movies. The scene from A Christmas Story where Randy hugs his new blimp replica while Ralphie sleeps with his beloved bb gun reminds us that kids find comfort in their toys.

I used to take a teddy bear to bed with me when I was a little girl. “Teddles” is still in my cedar chest, though he is worn through and almost furless. There are even old photos of Teddles and me saying our prayers and having tea parties.

We grown-ups don’t take our stuffed animals to bed with us anymore. No, we’re far too sophisticated for that. Instead we take our problems, our resentments, our decisions, our worries, our day’s events to bed with us. We lay there and roll it all over in our minds. We replay them, we regret them, we try to rethink decisions and figure out how to get out of the problems. We cuddle our anger, our resentment, our fear and more as though it were a close trusted toy.

You can take that problem to bed with you, nurse it, cuddle it, look it over, remember it but that problem will never comfort you or bless you.

Or you can give that problem to the Lord. It’s hard to give up something you’ve cherished, like that resentment or that unforgiveness. You’ve held it a long time but it hasn’t brought any liberation. Replay after replay and still no relief. The fear you experience during the day never lessens in the dark of night.

When we give our problems, our worries, our fears, our emotions to the Lord, He will take them. Not only does He take them, He replaces them! Instead of fear, He hands us faith. Instead of emotions, He hands us Truth, instead of problems He hands us praise. Instead of unforgiveness He hands us a cross. He has a replacement for everything we’ve been holding tightly to our hearts. He will not just replace them either. He will give us rest for our weary hearts, peace for our worrying minds and contentment for our spirits.

Oh beloved, you don’t have to wait till bedtime to give your precious held troubles worries and resentments to the Lord. He is standing at the door of your heart right now asking you to give it to Him. Give it all to Him. He will take care of the problems that you have encountered and He will repair the feelings and emotions you’ve nurtured. He is speaking to your heart right now. He knows that nothing you’ve held onto so tightly has helped you in any way. But He knows that He can help you in every way. You can’t change a thing about the past, the mistakes, the missteps or the misguidance from others. But you can change your attitude as you hand each one off to Him.

God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why He delights in replacing everything that’s hurtful for all things that are helpful in His Word, through His Spirit and because of His Resurrection and life. Praise Him for His wonderful new and better gifts!

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Ephesians 4:32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Let God Take the Lead

Over the years Danny tried to teach me how to drive my own motorcycle. Disastrous is probably too hard a word but none of the times were pretty.  The last time he tired he put me on in the front and sat right behind me. He told me to just try navigating it. He would help do the throttle and everything else.

As we headed for the ditch (thanks to my direction) he laid his hand son mine and told me to let go. I couldn’t! I was frozen in the situation and simply could not release the death grip (literally) that was on the handlebars. He kept saying “let go”. At the very last moment I somehow managed to look away from the fear and let go. He steered us back into the road and stopped the motorcycle.  Right then I vowed never again. I was content to ride behind my husband and he was relieved to let me. 

It wasn’t the motorcycle itself that was going to cause the wreck. It was my death grip on it. Because I couldn’t let go I was destined to end up in the ditch. Because I was paralyzed in the moment I couldn’t move on, move out or move over.

But because my husband is a good, godly, loving man he just kept talking to me. Finally I realized what he was saying and I let go. I knew it was better for him to have the wheel than me. I was relieved, he was relieved and we lived to tell the tale!

Ever feel that you are paralyzed in a situation, unable to hear God’s voice? The pounding of your ears and the beating of your heart has overtaken you. You are about to wreck and you see no way out. The difficulty is insurmountable. You stepped up to the plate, you got into the driver’s seat but now you’re careening wildly. You thought you knew what you were doing, but this event is beyond your abilities. If someone doesn’t come along to assist or take over for you the ditch is where you will end up.

Oh beloved, it’s time to learn to let God do the steering. It’s imperative that you let Him have control of your life and your plans. Only the Lord knows the road ahead.  As long as you’re the one directing the ride, things are going to be your responsibility.  But as soon as you relinquish control and give it to God, He can take the situation and smooth it all out. Oh it might stay rocky for a while, you might still think a wreck is certain, but God will be the one in charge, so you can rest in His promises and delight in His direction. He is a loving, kind, compassionate Lord and you can trust Him.  Even if you find yourself in a ditch, you can cry out to the Lord and He will come and set you aright. There’s never a time when you cannot call on Him in Spirit and Truth.  There’s never a situation where He won’t come to your aid when you call.  Even in the ditch He can take over control and direction of your life and set you back on course of blessings. Don’t let the enemy of your soul convince you that it’s too late or you’ve gone too far. You are still alive so there’s still time to let God take over the direction of your life!

God loves you and He’s for you and that’s why you can trust His voice when He speaks to your heart, every single time and in every situation all the days of your life.

Psalm 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

Psalm 48:14 For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.

Psalm 37:23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalm 94:18 If I should say, "My foot has slipped," Your lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up.

Psalm 40:2-3 He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord. (Amplified)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

No Panic in Heaven Even When You Feel Stuck

Our youngest granddaughter Stella does not like her car seat.  She’s a bit of a Houdini and can wriggle herself out of anything less than a fully buckled in contraption.  Given a long enough ride in the car and she will begin to maneuver to get loose. “I stuck!” she will declare quite loudly. Lots of noise is made as well. Grunting, groaning and more declarations of her situation. It’s cute to us but she’s serious in that once she’s had enough we all know she’s had enough. She has no problem expressing herself, especially when she’s “stuck”.  Same thing happens when she’s trying to dislodge a toy from the toy box. “Stuck!” she loudly proclaims until she manages to pull the right toy loose from the pile inside the box.  Relief comes when Stella is freed from being “stuck”. Sometimes the situation gets so desperate for her that you can hear panic rising in her voice. “S T U C K!” Someone generally tries to come to her aide in those situations, either by calming her down or by helping her get the toy released. If you know anything about Stella’s story you know she has plenty of help – nobody lets her fret for long!

I think about times in my own life when I have felt “stuck”.  You know the times.  When we feel bound by life’s situations and circumstances we are like Stella – we begin to lament, often loudly, “I’m stuck!” We’re strapped in and feel like we’re in the longest, roughest ride of our lives. It’s hard to feel anything but the pressure of the straps of life. We can’t do the driving, we can’t choose the road, we can’t take a deep breath. We cannot get relief and we don’t know if relief will ever come. Are we destined to live stuck? Are we never going to get out of the situation and walk away?

Other times we are trying to get hold of things we want. They don’t seem to want to dislodge so we can take possession of them. We groan and struggle and huff and puff. Still that thing we think we must have is stuck. We continue to work and plan and beg and plead – just because we want it. Maybe we’ve been told we could have it so we’re trying to make it happen. Frustration, consternation, impatience and fury come to our assistance but they are no help at all.  Will we ever take hold of it? Will that prize ever come from beneath the pile holding it down so we can possess it? We find ourselves in a panic and that just makes things worse.

God speaks to my heart: My precious child. There is no panic in heaven. When you are stuck in the situation you don’t like and you are fretting and pleading and trying to force your way out, I am there. Nothing that comes into your life causes panic in the Kingdom. While you may be surprised at the sudden trap of trouble, trial or testing, I cannot be caught by surprise. While you are in a panic I am fulfilling My purpose in you. It is a teachable moment for you as you learn to let panic go and allow My peace to enter in.  In due time I will loosen the hold of the momentary light afflictions you are going through and you will feel free again. Don’t try to make things happen on your own – you’ll just stay frustrated. Relax your hold on even those things that are promises you have received. In due season you will reap everything I have for you. In time, the thing that seems so elusive, the promise that hasn’t come forth will be released to you.  You can trust Me in the meantime and relax for it is peace that will guard your heart and your mind so that you can quit being frustrated. I AM that I AM. No panic, just peace. No fuming, just faith. Look to Me when you feel you can’t go another moment and I will carry you through to the better day. I am loosening the hold life has on you little by little. Although it’s imperceptible to you, one day you will see just how truly free you really are in Me.

Oh beloved, replace that frown with praise! God is with you in your situation. God is working it all out for your good and His glory. God is changing things for you so that you will learn to walk free in Him, no matter what happens.  He loves you and He’s for you so you can rest in His promises for the rest of your life, free as a believer in Christ! Ultimately His goal is that you become more and more like Him. Relax, rejoice and remain – abide in Him and watch as He turns things around just for you.

I Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

What Storm Are you Going Through?

Our hearts are grieving for the people who live in the Philippines. One of our friends has a daughter and family who have built an orphanage there. Fortunately their area was virtually untouched by the typhoon. That in itself was a miracle. 

But photos are coming in and the devastation is great. The winds were marked at what may prove to be highest recorded in the history of record keeping. The ferocity of the winds can be told in the damage that is left now that the storm has passed. Homes are wrecked. Neighborhoods are gone. Even the loss of life is extreme and the count is expected to increase.

When a storm of this magnitude comes ashore there’s not a thing one can do to prevent it from doing its damage. The best thing that anyone can do is leave for higher ground and safer areas. In the United States coastal residents do well to leave for inland towns. But on islands in the ocean it’s hard to find a safe haven to remain until the storm passes by.

We pray for the people of the Philippines as they attempt to overcome the devastation and look for their property and their loved ones. And we pray for the rescuers and charity workers who go into the country to help in any way they can. We ask God to help for He is a help in time of need. 

There are all kinds of storms that threaten the believer.   For us, we’d like to prepare ahead and avoid the storms entirely. But we don’t know what’s beyond the horizon. Today may be calm and sunny. Tomorrow we might wake up with heartache and pain. We who are born again are not mysteriously immune to troubles, trials, sorrow, or agony. When we are in the throes of the storm we know it. Our hearts can feel crushed, our lives can seem insignificant, our whole lives can seem to be storm tossed and under the power of the winds and waves of destruction. We feel isolated, humiliated, barricaded and open to the elements. If we’re not careful we will let the storm itself become our mantra and let anger, resentment, sorrow, misery and cynicism take over our lives. We can feel powerless, defeated, depressed and paralyzed in our hurts and fears. Whether we brought the storm on by our own mess ups or we had it thrown at us by another, the pain is the same. We are destined to be the victim unless someone steps in to help.

When devastation threatens your heart, where do you find port in the storm? How do you survive? Where do you go? How do you live again after the storms, after the winds and after the floods? Is there anything you can do to survive? Is there anywhere you can go to live after the wreckage is surveyed and the storm is passed?

God speaks to my heart: My precious child. When you are in a storm, the storm of your life, I AM there. Not only am I there, I am in charge. Even when your mind feels disoriented and your heart feels like it will never beat again, I AM. I cannot promise you that storms will never come, but I do promise that I will be with you. I cannot keep you free of the weather patterns of life but I will show you how to live in spite of the storm. I am the one who will give you hope and victory even when all about you looks lost. You can trust Me because I love you. And because I love you I will see you through every storm that ever enters your life. When others come against you, I will be your bulwark. When the winds of adversity weaken the strength of your resolve, I AM your strength. When you feel alone and abandoned, I am your Ever Present Savior.  My Word is My bond. Before the storms you may feel my presence but after the storm you will know Me better, for I AM that I AM. No other God made of wood, metal or stone can keep you safe in the storms of life, but I AM the God who saves you, the God who watches over you the God who renews, refreshes and redeems you. I will keep you in all your ways as you hold onto Me.  

Oh beloved, I know it’s hard for some of you right now. The storm has been raging for so long that some of you are barely hanging on. I would never tell you that the storms of life are easy, for I have weathered storms myself. I know they hurt and they are so very hard to weather. But I know the Lord and He is able. What you are experiencing now will not last forever. Hold on to His unchangeable nature. Hold on to His unquenchable love. Hold on to His wonderful promises. For in due time the storm will pass. We are not victims, but victors. We are not overwhelmed but overcomers. Trust Him now, while the storm is raging, trust Him now while the darkness floods your heart. Trust Him now when you have nothing to hold onto. He is faithful and He will see you through. Some things in your life might be counted as loss, but you will never lose your faith and God will never let you go.

God always loves you and He’s always for you and that, beloved, will get you through and give you hope and cause you to stand on the Rock no matter what.

Isaiah 43:11 I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no savior besides Me.

Isaiah 25:4 For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall.

Matthew 7:25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

Psalm 20:1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!

Romans 8:37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.