Friday, November 24, 2017

Lost and Found

Matthew 18:12
"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

Lost and Found
I learn so much about my behavior from my kids. Two summers ago, we brought our girls to Six Flags. We were in the Wiggles World and had given my oldest the freedom to wait in line by herself for a ride. We watched her closely, she got on the ride, we relaxed a bit and waited with our younger daughter. The ride let out, and Maggie was not there. We panicked, found the staff and asked what to do next. They calmly asked what she was wearing, turned and pointed to a young girl, leaving a ride. It was Maggie. She had gotten on a different ride and we didn't see her. Unfortunately for her, we left our post and she couldn't find us either. Terrified, she called to us. When we were reunited, she was angry with us for losing her. A long lecture and the punishment of leaving the park resulted in her never repeating that drama.

I think I am a lot like that. See, I'll be walking along with God. We'll be pals. I call on him for help, he comes through, we're a team. Then, suddenly I get distracted. I decide that I know how to do my life better and I go about things my own way. "I can work out finances." or "Look how well I did at that!" I say. God leaves the picture. Inevitably, something goes wrong. I reach for God and he's gone. He's out of the picture. I can't find him no matter how hard I look.

I get angry and confused. I can't understand why he would leave me when I need him most. What I fail to acknowledge is that I left him, not the other way around. Like Maggie in Wiggles World, I had my own ideas, got lost and got angry. If I had stayed close by all along, I could have avoided the stress and confusion of being lost. Like a child, I ignore my role in the situation and blame God. Lonely, I cry out and accuse him.

Eventually, I find my way back, irate that I have been alone for so long. Suddenly, things seem clearer and life gets better. I get into my groove, count on him and feel better. I hardly even realize that I was the one who left and he is the one who brought me back. Luckily for me, he always seems to find me. Amanda Lynch

Heavenly Father, I know I am your child, and that you want what is best for me. So often, I walk away, convinced I can figure things out on my own. Inevitably I mess things up. I get scared and confused. I get angry and cry out to you. Without fail, you bring me back to you. By your side, I can do anything. Thank you for your compassion and companionship. Keep me close to you. Amen

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Blessed Thanksgiving 2017

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the 
hard pathways overflow with abundance.
Psalm 65:11 (NLT)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lost Baggage

Lost Baggage
Recently our son-in-law returned home to his family after two months of military training. The excitement and joy of his return was over shadowed by the frustration of the airlines losing his baggage! In my many years of flying or traveling by bus, I am grateful I have never experienced that. Fortunately his was located; and they brought it directly to their home.

God provides us with all needed baggage, equipping us for service; and it is always handled by Him with care. The equipping gifts are never misplaced or removed, “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).”

When luggage is lost, a person often must replace essentials to use until their personal items, contained in lost baggage are returned. Not only would that be aggravating, but would mean unexpected expenses as well. My mother wisely packed needed items in her carry on, including tooth brush and paste, extra set of undergarments, etc. Mom always thought of everything!

God knows our every need, “for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8b NAS).” How is that for speedy service? God not only provides our trip itinerary, (Matthew 28:19-20) but He packs our bags with gifts and power (Acts 1:8)! That baggage cannot be lost! PamFord Davis

Friday, November 10, 2017

Lord I Do Not Understand

Lord I Do Not Understand
My mind is unsettled, my soul is in a state of heightened awareness, I am spiritually confounded.

Lord, I sit here dumbstruck because events around me have my mind in a whirl, and if I am honest Lord, I am a bit at a loss. Things are just not suppose to be like this. No, not at all. So help me, Lord, to understand. Everything tells me that what a person sows that person is suppose to reap. But it is not happening, Lord, and I can’t seem to move on.

You see, Lord, I have been planting tomatoes for as long as I know, and my pals have been planting all sorts of vegetables. In every case we are reaping exactly what we sowed. Truth to tell, Lord, I thought recently that I had planted carrots, but now I see that thyme is growing, and when I checked my cupboard I see the carrot seeds that I thought I had planted. Lord, even when I made a mistake I still got exactly what I planted.

Lord, I heard the gospel preached, and I submitted to your call for redemption, and committed my life to you because you told me “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) Lord my soul needed rest, my spirit was broken, I felt crushed and traumatised by the world. Truth Lord, I felt useless and utterly unworthy of your grace and mercy because I know that I was bad, worse than bad; I was a reprobate heading for destruction. I knew it, others knew it and Lord, you knew it too.

And yet, Lord, you, knowing all this brought me to you, you cosseted me with your love, you filled me with your grace, you wiped my slate clean with your mercy, you even elevated me to a heavenly place with you and the saints, and not once did you condemn me, you did not badger me for my many faults, Lord, you dried my tears and took away my sorrows. And Lord, you know I haven’t earned any of this, I am reaping what I did not sow and Lord, I do not understand.

For my many sins you gave me peace and comfort.

For my waywardness you showered me with love and plenty of blessings.

For my many fears and insecurities you underpinned and supported me with your mighty arms.

Lord, through your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, you are showing me something that all believers are experiencing. You are showing me that you do not do anything by half measures, Lord, and I am so humbly grateful. Lord, I did not expect to have so much joy, so much deep-seated happiness, so much divine peace that I can scarcely contain my heart from bursting.

Lord, you told me, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22). Lord, I did and for the past 50 years you have kept these promises, in deed all your glorious promises are unshakable, timeless and applicable to all those who put their trust in you. Lord, I still do not understand how you do it, but in your mercy and grace I ask that you help me to keep hanging on.

All I ask, in addition to your blessings and love upon all believers in Christ everywhere, is that you, Lord, help all those like me, who may not fully understand the ineffable workings through your grace, but cling to the simple promises of redemption and glory through faith in Jesus Christ. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11) Dr Henderson Ward

Friday, November 3, 2017

Lord, Break Out

How often I have looked to heaven and cried, “Oh, that You would rend the heavens, Lord, and come down!” (Isaiah 64:1)
I have bent myself in my prayer closet and whispered, “Lord, come and break through the darkness.” (2 Samuel 5:20)

Lord, Break Out
There is nothing inherently wrong with these prayers and certainly we do want the Lord to come near and give breakthrough in our situations.

But lately, I have felt like the Lord wants to change my point of view. If I am always waiting for the Lord to break into my life and circumstance, I have adopted a mindset that He is somehow separated from me, outside what I am living in and walking through. This skewed understanding makes it seem as if He is sitting far off on some white cloud watching to see if I can figure things out in my life. My experience in this salvation is vastly different.

You see, I have known Jesus to be a Good Shepherd, always close and guiding me with His sheltering love. I have known Him to be the One standing firm footed on top of the billowing waves, pulling me out of the stormy waters when I wavered in my faith. I have known Him to be the One Who holds my hand as we walked together through the blazing furnaces of my hardest circumstances. I have known Him to be the wind blowing on my face in the secret place, eyes blazing with passion as I worship. No, I have never known my Jesus to be in any way separate from me. I abide in Him and He abides in me. We are connected. He is closer than the breath in my lungs. That is the Jesus I have known.

He will never leave us nor forsake us, Church (Hebrews 13:5). He is not far away waiting to break in. The Lord is very much present in the Body of Christ and in the life of the believer, and He is still very much a miracle working Messiah. All the power that surged out of Jesus as He walked the streets of Galilee still resides in Him now. The voice that healed the sick with a word, made devils tremble in fear, and raised the dead, is the same voice that whispers in our souls. We are filled with the mighty Holy Spirit, Church. Instead of breaking in, perhaps we should be praying, “Lord, BREAK OUT.”

Pray with me? Lord, we stand absolutely amazed at You. You fill us with wonder and joy. We are captivated at the very thought of You. We praise You. You have made our lives so much more than they were supposed to be. You have poured glory into us and we didn’t deserve such generosity. —Cynthia Bowen

Lord, as we look around at our community, we can be overwhelmed at the problems we see. So, Lord, do BREAK IN for those who around us, but can we dare ask it? BREAK OUT of us. Let Your light shine through these earthen vessels. (2 Corinthians 4:7) Let Your love be poured out of these frail vessels. Let Your miracle power be manifested through us. Let these earthen vessels leak the power of God.