Archive | January 2014

Just a friendly reminder…

John 3:16-18 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Do you believe Newton’s third law of physics: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction? If you have ever spent a day in a science lab, you know this to be true. Science labs are all about doing something to find out what the reaction will be. Actually, that is true for a toddler, young person and teenager. Try this, see what happens. Some adults spend their lives in this manner as well. All that being said, looks like this law is true.

That being the case, guess what? It says to me that there are consequences. “Oh no! Not consequences! We don’t need consequences! Those are for someone else. It is never my fault. That equal and opposite reaction stuff is not for me. I won’t believe it.” If you don’t believe something, does that make it not true? Nope. Sorry honey, doesn’t work that way. You refuse to believe it is cold outside in Michigan right now and go outside in your bathing suit, trust me, you will run back in for a parka!

Just because it is inconvenient for you and you really don’t want to believe it, doesn’t make it not true.

In these verses, Jesus is laying out the truth for Nicodemus. God loves the world. He loves us enough to give us a choice to love Him. He doesn’t want robot zombies to worship, love and serve Him. He wants people who choose to love Him, worship Him and serve Him. But in that choice is consequences. Consequences for choosing Him and consequences for rejecting Him. Equal and opposite reaction. And if you choose not to believe this truth, it doesn’t make it not true. The Bible is Truth whether you choose to believe it right now or not. One day, you will believe. You will believe that moment before Jesus says to you “depart from me.” And off you will be to hell. Hell is a real place. Real people go there. Real people will spend eternity there because they rejected Jesus when they had the opportunity to believe. Sad, but true.

So, little miss sunshine here, to remind you that heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. And hell is a prepared place for unprepared people. Be prepared. Everyone has a choice. What is yours – smoking or nonsmoking?

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Plan C

Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

I know I have used this verse several times in the past, but bear with me.

How do you see yourself? Are you a control freak or do you roll with the punches? I like to think of myself as one who rolls with the punches. In truth, I think I am more of a control freak but subtly, of course. I always have a plan B. Well, most of the time I have a plan B. And when plan A and B don’t work, welcome in frustration. What really needs to happen is plan C – plan Christ. Truth be told, that should really really be plan A. But for some reason, I need control. I need to feel that I have it all together. But I don’t. Most times I am flying by the seat of my pants. If I know from one day to the next what will go on, I feel good. I hate going into a day and not having a clue how it will go. God likes to give me those days from time to time just to remind me that He has it all under control, not me.

Trust. When those days come along, it is the only thing that you can do to stay sane. You try to understand what is going on. But you realize that there is no way to understand the insanity of it all. That is why Solomon reminds us that our attempt to understand is futile. Don’t put any stock in it. And whenever you come out on the other side, give credit to your Director – Jesus Christ. He is the One you had to trust to get you out. There was no way you could do it yourself because you couldn’t even understand what was going on.

There are things and times in this life that don’t make sense. You don’t understand why you are facing them. You just want out. You just want to crawl up in His lap and be comforted. There will be time for that, later – after you make it through. For now, just hold on and trust. Don’t try for plan A or B. Just go first and foremost with plan C – plan Christ.

Time to get real!

Matthew 7:21-24 – “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Time to get real here. There is coming a day when we will stand before Jesus. If we choose to accept Him as our Savior here on earth, then we will have an eternity with Him.

BUT – if we have played church, if we have acted the part of a Christian, if we have done good deeds in His name – all without truly accepting Jesus as our Savior, He will say to us “depart from me, I never knew you.”

Wow. Think about that for a minute. Eternity demands that you consider this truth. Are you being honest? Can you truly identify that specific time in your life when you choose Jesus as your Savior? Truly? Or are you just acting the part because that is what every one expects? You talk the talk and you walk the walk but have you truly chosen Jesus as your One and only Savior? Is He your tether to life? Do you believe that He is God?

I only ask this today because it is what our pastor challenged us with yesterday. There is no shame in admitting that you have been playing church. What would be even more shameful is standing before Jesus and admitting it when it is too late. Jesus is ready to accept you just as you are. Don’t worry about what other people will think. You don’t have to answer to them. This is between you and Jesus.

Please, sister, get this straightened out today. Tomorrow could be too late. We are not guaranteed another minute.

Don’t go into panic mode!

Matthew 14:25-27 – “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”

Backstory – Jesus had just fed 5000 people. He needed some alone time to pray. So, He sent His disciples off in a boat to go across the sea. That night, the sea became tumultuous. And here He comes walking on the water toward the boat. The disciples, who are up because of the tossing of the boat, see Him and think He is a ghost. They freak out. And then Jesus identifies Himself.

The disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. But in their fear and disbelief they didn’t recognize Him. How many times a day does Jesus make Himself known to you and you blow it off? You choose not to see Jesus. Isn’t that essentially what these disciples, these followers of Christ, these men who walked and talked with the Savior, did? They didn’t even consider the possibility that the figure they were seeing could be Jesus. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I were out on a boat and it started acting like it was going to toss me in the waves and then I see someone coming at me walking on water, I would probably freak out too!

Yet, Jesus uses this opportunity to teach everyone who chooses to read this account a lesson. Look for Him. Always look for Him in everything and in all situations. If He is Lord of you life, I guarantee He is there. And don’t be surprised when you see His hand at work. Don’t freak out when the unexpected happens. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to praise His name.

You want to know the main times I recognize Jesus’ hand at work in my life, when I miss an accident by inches. It is so sad that it takes the sheer panic of danger to get me to see my Lord. But there are other times too when I see Him: the sunrise, a storm, the quietness of the morning spent in His word, when I see pictures of a baby still in the womb. His handprints are everywhere. Sometimes we just have to look to see them.

This weekend, princess, search for Jesus’ handprints in your life. Choose to see Him in your day. Don’t freak out when you do. Praise Him instead. And remember, one day we will see Him face to face and be able to hug Him and say thank you.

My little tongue or my big mouth

James 3:5 – “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”
Yesterday, we were driving home when my daughter abruptly interrupted the conversation my son and I were having about soccer with this statement: “Sometimes I think my tongue has a mind of it’s own.” Now, she had been sitting there looking in the mirror at herself and singing and talking (it didn’t matter that no one was listening). That’s just how she rolls. When she said this, I looked at her confused. Where had this come from? She has a knack for saying random things but this was more out of left field than usual. My son just busted out laughing. Sometimes that is the best reaction for these things. Me, I had to probe deeper. But, to no avail. It was just a random moment popping out of her mouth.

But there is great truth in her random statement. I know sometimes I feel like my tongue has a mind of it’s own. Things will pour out of my mouth before my brain has a chance to rein it in. I hate it when that happens. I feel like a fool. Just a few little well placed words have the ability to start a huge, uncontrollable fire.

There are so many verses in the Bible about your tongue and your words. They have such an effect on people. Have you ever tried just being quiet in a situation? Not saying a word? It makes people uncomfortable sometimes. They think you are plotting or something. My momma always told me “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Aw, momma-isms. Don’t we all have a bucket full of those! But it is true. It can save you from a plethora of heartache.

So today, princess, let me encourage you to be quiet. Don’t let that little tongue of yours run off with itself. Don’t start a fire today unless it is a fire for The Lord.

The Little Armadillo

1Corinthians 1:27 – “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

When we got home last night, there was a little armadillo in our yard right by the garage. My son loves to chase armadillos. It is his hope that one day they will roll into a ball and roll away instead of running away. Never happens, but he hopes. Well, last night, he delayed in his chase. He was stopped by how cute this little armadillo was. Have you ever seen an armadillo, alive? Not what one would really describe as cute. But as I sat in the car with the house lights shining upon this little guy, I have to admit, it was cute. It was so little and when it ran, it wobbled more than it sprinted.

Sometimes we take God’s creation for granted. Like little armadillos. Or turtles. Or snakes. At my house, well…..I don’t do snakes. I have a very hard time appreciating them.

But in these three mention creatures, just look at them. Hard shells. Weak bodies. No legs. And yet they thrive and move and do whatever they do. Turtles literally seem to have the weight of their world on their back. And they move it, all over the place.

Armadillos, turtles, snakes – they seem like foolish little creatures. But God has been using them to confuse mankind for ages. “How did that snake get into this house?” “How does that turtle cross this busy highway and live?” “How can anyone see an armadillo as cute?”

And then we have ants. God has been using those little things to confuse mighty men for ages as well. How can something so small carry things that are so much bigger than them?

My point in all this rambling is this: we get so consumed with our day, that we forget that Jesus loves to work in the little things. He loves to show His mighty hand in the little details. Details that we often overlook are exactly what He is looking for. He wants every aspect of you life. He wants to turn your world upside down by using things that will blow your mind. Ever been on a budget? “How in the world are we going to make it through the week on that little cash?” And then boom! It’s Friday and you have not only made it, but you still have cash left over. How did that happen? Little things to confound those of us who think we know best. We don’t. Face it sister.

So today, princess, let me encourage you to look for Jesus in the little things. A safe journey. Money to buy gas. The smile of your child when they spill their milk and little armadillos.

Miss Fix-it

John 2:1-5 – “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”

There are a couple of things I want to look at in these verses. First, when Mary saw an issue, she went to Jesus with it. She didn’t try to solve it herself. She didn’t give Jesus a long explanation of what was wrong, nor did she try to tell Him how to fix it. She just saw an issue and told Jesus about it before it became a problem. Next, Mary trusted Jesus to fix the situation. She made sure that the servants were ready to jump when He said jump. No questions asked, just do it.

Ok, real life time. When you see an issue, whether it be in your own life or someone else’s, what do you do? Do you present the issue to Jesus and expect Him to resolve it? Or are you like me, you either try to fix it yourself or you may present it to Jesus but you do so with a million suggestions on what He should do? Yep, I’m right there with ya sista! Why is just presenting the issue so hard? Why do we feel the need to intervene? Why can’t we just let Him fix it? Oh, if I could answer those questions and write a book!

Mary was attuned to the things going on around her. She saw the issue before it became a problem. If you are like me, issue become problems usually way before I am astute enough to recognize it. I need to be better aware of things. I need to seek out the opportunities to bring things to Jesus before they become problems.

The next things is this: you don’t have to fix everything. “Whoa. Excuse me? Yes, I do. Who else is going to do it?” Trust me, I know exactly how you feel. Right now, you are sitting here reading this with the weight of the world on your back like a ginormous hiking backpack. You are ready to carry it all. Fix it all. No one else could possibly do what you do.

I know you have heard it a million times, but repetition is a great teacher: give it to The Lord. Mary trusted that Jesus would resolve the situation. But notice this, she did what she could to help Him. She prepared others. She knew that someone had to be the hands and feet. Is there any way that you can prepare the way? I’m not saying prepare a solution. He’s God, for land’s sake, He doesn’t need your help solving things! He created all things! But you can get things prepared and ready to jump. That might mean preparing others or it might mean preparing yourself. But get ready. When you trust God to solve it, He will not let you down.

This all sounds rosy and simple, right? In reality it is hard and sometimes a big waiting game. And we hate to wait. And sometimes we give up. “Well, God’s not listening to me, so I better step in and step up.” Choosing to allow God to solve the problem means that you trust in His timing. Hurry up and wait.

I want to encourage you, princess, to do this:
1. Identify the issue before it becomes a problem.
2. Give it to Jesus without any suggestions. (That is soooo hard!)
3. Be prepared to jump. Or prepare someone else to jump.

Life is full of problems, both big and small. But we weren’t made to live life alone. We were made to live it with Him. Let Him walk alongside of you and help you.