“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV) Even in the darkest and most trying hour of our lives, God is near. Not long ago, tragedy struck Pastor Walters’ … Continue reading
Luke 6:41 “Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, He (Jesus) gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to his disciples…the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and … Continue reading
Not Yet and Wait! “Not yet” (John 6:17) “Not yet Nanna” and “wait!” These are words that our two-year old grandson, Jaden, has learned to say. I’m sure because he has heard them spoken to him multiple times in his … Continue reading
“from another place…” Esther 4:14 How often are we convinced that we are irreplaceable? If we don’t do it, no one will? We convince ourselves: “If it’s gonna be done right, I’ll have to do it!” Esther was chosen to … Continue reading
Aah…the middle school years…somewhere between ‘old enough’ and ‘not quite.’ We encourage our children to be independent thinkers among their peers. We also expect them to rely on our wisdom. It’s a struggle to define the line between: Independence and … Continue reading
But…This one little word can totally change the outcome of a situation:
- Reveal a completely different motive for doing something
- Be a game changer…turn around the outcome of a situation
- Totally change the meaning or message being communicated
God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel to expose the hearts of His people, with the purpose of turning them around. Turning them around to…worship Him with true and sincere hearts.
“My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With mouths they express devotions, but their hearts are____.” Ezekiel 33:31 How do we fill in the blanks?
When the heart acts out of devotion to God:
- Despair surrenders to hope
- Darkness yields to light
- The impossible fades as the manifestation of God’s handiwork emerges
When the heart acts out of devotion to self-gain, desire, or human reasoning, lives are ultimately destroyed. Continue reading
At times the road before me seems long, steep and challenging. I can feel lost. Uncertain. Afraid. Sometimes I’m not sure I have the strength for the journey. Then I remember that I’m not traveling alone. God is my ever-present guide. He knows where the road leads. He can see what lies ahead. That’s not all.
God also knows my concerns. He knows what I feel. That pain that I cannot explain to someone else, God knows. The fear of the unknown—He knows. And He offers me Himself.
Perhaps you feel overwhelmed today. You may be experiencing some sadness, loss or worry. You may find it difficult that God has called you to this path. “Surly,” you think, “God has an easier road for me to travel.”
The truth is we aren’t wise enough to assume that another path would be best for us. Maybe the easier road won’t make us into a better person who emulates the essence of Christ. Perhaps the difficult road is a path of grace—leading us to pure joy, peace and purpose in life. Could it be the difficult journey that enables us to be all God intends?
Out of all the possible paths, God knows the best path. Isaiah 55:9 says, “ His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” Because of this, we can take the path God has laid out for us today. We can trust, and not fear, in His infinite wisdom and love. And we can be certain that God will never lead us down the wrong road.
In what is now the new norm for communication, social media, it seems that every day there is an opportunity to engage with or against those we are connected to through this medium. And honestly you don’t even have to be connected to them to read and respond to what people think, feel and want to say. But with all this accessibility comes responsibility, especially for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. While we may hold tightly to possession of “our” Facebook wall, the irony of it is that we relinquish possession in some sense by giving mass access to it, thereby making us accountable to all those who see it in the manner in which we conduct ourselves when posting on it.
I am one who reads a lot and tries to stay informed in the hope of having a more balanced view of our world and the people in it! I like to be in the know! But after the recent weeks of emotionally charged issues, my spirit was crying “I need a cultural detox!” Anyone else feel that way? I honestly wanted to hole up in my house and purge and cleanse with the Word of God! While that is a necessary thing, we can’t stay “holed up” in our homes or we are not a light set on a hill but rather hidden under a bushel basket.
So how can we navigate the turbulent waters of our cultural, political and religious times, baring our thoughts and feelings through social media while remaining Kingdom focused, above reproach and gracious? I have been reminded of a few things from God’s word that I would like to share with you.
“The peoples exhaust themselves for nothing.” Jeremiah 51:58
“Exhaust for nothing!” What a statement! What a contrast to “they that wait [hope] upon the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings [soar] as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 “Run with patience the race set before us.” Hebrews 12:11
In an era of desiring fuel efficiency, energy conservation, and goal-driven life styles, we so often totally miss the mark of God’s Energy Plan—GEP. We spin our wheels—and accomplish little. We race from one point to another. We spend much, sleep little, run hard, eat and go (or eat on the run.) Our alarms wake us up as if to a life-race buzzer—propelling us forward in the day with too many laps to run, and miles to log. We live as though in training for the ‘Big Marathon in the Sky,’… all the while hoping (and praying) that our efforts will bring us to the desired end or goal. But, too often what we end up with is exhaustion, burn-out, and questions. God has given us His training manual with guaranteed results:
- renewed strength
- soaring high above all
- ability to run and not get weary
- being strong walkers
“…no awe of me” Jeremiah 2:19
In an era of spectaculars—technology often replaces the miraculous. Avatars (simulated humans which act out reality) rob us of true experiences. Children ride past God’s creation, oblivious to His wonders, as they watch technological marvels on their DVD screens. Movies replace catching fireflies and watching the starry hosts of heaven in the evening. We have diluted the meaning of the word “awesome” by using it to describe anything we really like.
Where is the awe of God today? Jeremiah the prophet described the state of being that God’s people had digressed to when forsaking the LORD and included in this description was the rebuke “and have no awe of me.”
I am reminded of my dear mother’s response every time she saw the hand of her creator: “Thank you God for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a good sound mind to recognize it as You who have created all this.” Several years ago God used an inchworm to change the life directionof someone very dear to me. Another time, God used a praying mantis on my windshield wiper to convey a vivid illustration of prayer.
Jesus often referred to nature in describing principles of the Kingdom of Heaven. May we never cease to marvel as a child at His amazing presence all around us.
Prayer of resolution: “Oh, LORD, remind me of your splendor and may I not let another rob you of my heart or mind. May I choose my words more carefully—reserving the best to ascribe to You the honor due You. May I deliberately seek to discover your mercies new every day in my life and those of others as well. You alone are my God, and aside from You there is no other.”
My challenge today is to look for God’s love note to us through His creation or created beings. How about you? How has God revealed himself to you today—yesterday? What has taken your breath away—captured you with the awe of His presence?