Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Monday, December 8, 2014

A little obedience...a little abundant gift

I wonder if Peter had any inkling just how much his life would change when he met the Messiah.  I wonder if he knew just how many times his strength, his faith, his obedience would be tested. 

The very first time they met, Jesus gave him a new name.  A new definition of who he would become - a foreshadowing, if you will, of just how Peter would change.  Simon became Peter - the rock.  But it didn't happen right away.  Just like most of us, Peter didn't always learn things right away - but one night he quickly learned the lesson of obedience, faith, and confession.  He also learned just how abundantly Jesus would provide for him in return.

In Luke 5, Jesus is on the shore of lake Gennesaret and there is a very large crowd gathered there.  They wanted to hear him speak on the Word of God.  Jesus notices Peter  his up after a fruitless night of fishing.  I can imagine that Peter is tired, worn, discouraged and ready to get away from that boat and go home to rest.  Can you?  He's probably thinking of a bit of a meal...some fresh bread, a little wine, some fruit. But wait, what's that?

Jesus has walked up to his boat, and gesturing at the crowd, he climbs right in and asks Peter if he could take him out on the water so he could talk to the people.  No telling how long Jesus spoke while Peter sits and waits...and then, THEN, when he finishes, Jesus tells him to do one more thing.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”  (Luke 5:4, NASB)

Say what, now?  But Jesus, we fished all night...for nothing!  Peter's voice has to be just a bit incredulous...kind of "are you kidding me?"  But he must have seen something on Jesus' face...something in his eyes...his demeanor, because Peter turns right around and says, " but I will do as you say, and I will put down the nets."  That's obedience.  That's faith.  Somehow Peter knows this man wouldn't be making a fool out of him.  Somehow Peter sees that this man he just met is a man of integrity, a man worthy of trust.

And so those nets go in the water, and next thing Peter knows...they are filled to overflowing.  They are so full, Peter has to call for help to pull them up.  Those fish fill not just Peter's boat, but a second one as well - to the point that they are beginning to sink as they carry the load back to shore.

Abundant.  Overflowing.  Gifts of grace.  Peter obeyed, Jesus graced.  Peter had faith, and Jesus did not disappoint. What can we learn from Peter?  What areas in our lives are not being led by obedience?  Where is our faith faltering?  Are we willing to trust Jesus, even when the odds are against us?

Try putting your nets out in faith...and see where God takes you next....

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How do you spell relief?

Do you remember the old Rolaids commercials?  "HOW do you spell relief?"  I'm feeling like I need a little "Rolaids" action in my life right now.  One upheaval after another lately and I'm feeling a bit dragged out, tired, pulled in different directions, financially insufficient and just plain cranky.  I was asleep tonight until a phone call from one of my sons with some not-so-great news.  Now I find myself awake and feeling a bit edgy.

I need to sleep...have to get up early and travel to pick up my other son in the morning. 
Yet I cant seem to stop my mind from rolling and my stomach from churning.  Know that feeling?

So, how to get relief?  The words from this old hymn came to mind as I was laying here trying to sleep and feeling overwhelmed by all that life has dealt to me in the last month or so....

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there
 by Joseph Scriven, 1855

Jesus said  these words....
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (NIV)

...and also these...
" Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27 (NIV)

Need some relief?  Pray.  Need to unload some stress?  Pray.  Need to know that Someone's got your back?  Pray.  Turn all those worries, cares, burdens over to the Lord.  Consider how "big" your problems are and how BIG your God is....there's no comparison.  

So, I"m going to pray put all my burdens, my fears, my worries, my hurts at the foot of the throne of my God who is bigger than any problem I have.  And I will gladly accept the grace and peace that He offers.  And I might just hum a few bars of that old, precious hymn while I'm at it...

Friday, January 3, 2014

One Word for 2014 - Ponder

Well, a new year has begun.  I have spent the last several days thinking on what One Word I would choose for this year...or, more correctly, that God has chosen for me.  I've finally decided...after much thought and prayer and listening...that God is calling me to ponder in 2014.

The dictionary defines it as this:
: to think about or consider (something) carefully

I sometimes speak...without thinking.  I sometimes act....without considering.  I sometimes make decisions...without praying....without pondering what is the way God would have me go.

So this year...I want to be more like Mary:

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19

I want to take the time to speak words that encourage and uplift.  I want to behave the way God would have me behave...not the way my own selfish flesh would encourage me to behave.  I want to be wise in the decisions I make and seek God's guidance for my choices.  I want to slow down, be more thoughtful and just....ponder...

Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Psalm 111:2

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas - may you unwrap love, joy, peace and hope

A tiny little fist grasps onto a finger...four miniature fingers and a thumb wrapping round with a tight grip...holding on.  That hand grows in size, in strength, in power, in the One who came as a babe shares the love, joy, and hope of His Father in heaven.

That hand now holds you in a grip of grace that imparts strength and peace, as well.

Merry Christmas to all of you.  May the greatest gift you unwrap this season be the one that opens your heart and mind to the wonders of faith in the One God who loves you more than you could ever imagine.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.   John 3:16

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Repost: Give thanks in ALL circumstances

Today I'd like to share a post from September 24, 2011 originally posted here...


1 Thessalonians 5:17-18  NIV

17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Give thanks in all circumstances.  All?  Really?  Yep, that's what it says - in all circumstances.  It's easy to give thanks when things go well.  When we are being treated well, when good things happen, when we receive above and beyond our expectations, when the sun is shining and there are no storm clouds on life's horizon.  It's easy to smile, or jump up and down in joy, lift our hands to God and say "Thank you, God. Thank YOU!"

But what about when things aren't so great?  What about when life seems to be about tearing you down instead of building you up?  What about when those bad things that only happen to other people happen to you?  What about when your family members turn their backs on you or your friends suddenly don't want to spend time with you any more?  What about when you lose your job all of  sudden or your car is gone?  What about those times?

How can you say thanks for the times of pain and suffering?

Have you ever looked back on one of those times and realized that in the end, it was a blessing in disguise?  That you learned something big that will affect how you live your life in the future?  What if, through that difficult experience, you gained knowledge to help someone else who might be going through the very same situation?  What if it opened your eyes to see things from someone else's point of view?  What if it taught you something about yourself that needed to change?

"In all circumstances" doesn't mean just the good times, but also the not so good, and yes, even the bad times.  Give thanks in all circumstances.  Hate doing those humdrum chores around the house?  At least you have a house....or dishes to wash...or food to eat off those dishes you have to wash. What about when the car breaks down...AGAIN...but you have friends you can call who will give you a ride, or loan you a car, or even just listen to your frustration and empathize.  The chronic pain you suffer makes you tired and maybe a little blue...but maybe someday someone will cross your path who you can help through the same kind of pain.

We don't know where all these situations and circumstances will ultimately take us.  But we can still give thanks for God's presence, for His undying love, for His foresight and knowledge of how He will use all these things for good in some way.  Jesus came to our earth as a human being to share in all these things with us.  He's been there.  He understands fully what it means to be human, to hurt, to fear, to worry.  He understands the emotions we feel.  He gets the anger.  He knows.  And He is there to help us get through all those things.

So give thanks in all circumstances...and trust Him.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days - Joy in Perspective, Part 2

Here we are at the end of this series of 31 Days to Choose Joy.  When we put joy in a proper perspective, we see that it is possible to be joyful matter the situation.  It doesn't mean being happy and smiling doesn't mean being a Pollyanna wearing rose-colored glasses and trying to convince everyone that everything is just fabulous all the time.

Rather, it means focusing on Jesus.  It means remembering God's faithfulness no matter what is going on in our lives.  It means being grateful and expressing our thanks to God in all things.  It means living a life according to the values He places on our hearts.  It means living consistent with His will for us.  It means staying close to Him through worship, prayer, and studying His Word.  It means loving Him, and loving others according to His commands.  It means choosing joy daily, by choosing to follow Christ. 

Joy comes when we live as one fearfully and wonderfully made. When we accept the truth of who we are in Christ...the truth of what we have in this life as a Christ follower...the truth of what we have in eternity as a saved and beloved Child of God. 

So choose joy.  Choose Him.