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Revisit – Good Monday MorningĀ 

This was posted July 27, 2015. It made me chuckle because it is as true today as it was then. Enjoy. 

Psalm 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Good Monday morning. 
I just returned home from visiting family this last week. We had a long drive yesterday and I really didn’t get much sleep while traveling. So, this morning I was stumbling around my kitchen trying to remember how to make coffee and put away a few things, when I dropped a can of root beer. It goes to spewing all over their floor. I tried to put my finger over the hole enough to get it to the sink. This worked somewhat but not enough to save me from having to spot mop the floor. 
Good Monday morning. 
What does this have to do with walking through the shadow of death you might ask? Perspective and attitude. Surprisingly, I handled the situation quite well. No harsh words uttered. No bad thoughts passing through my brain. Just “well, I have to clean this up.” Maybe it’s because I’m so tired that I can’t muster up the energy to get mad. Maybe though, God used this moment to remind me that it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is how I choose to respond to it. And I feel like I chose well. “Very good, young patawon!” (I told you I’m not quite all here this morning!)
Good Monday morning. 
Let me encourage you today to let it roll. Let perspective and attitude be what keeps you afloat today. Don’t let Satan drag you down with mishaps and upsets. Show him that God is on your side by choosing to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with no fear. 

Church family

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 – “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”

When my family and I started going to our church, we were a bit puzzled. Everyone was identified as aunt or uncle so-and-so. How could all these people possibly be related? True, it has been around for 120+ years and dating someone in our church requires a careful analysis of both people’s family tree, but still..all of them related?

We quickly learned that these were terms of endearment. 

My church is far from perfect. We have problems. We have challenges. But above it all, we have love. 

And there is no better place to see love than at a funeral. Now, I know, that seems weird. But hear me out. 

One of our ladies passed away this week. She had fought long and hard against an illness that rarely gives up – cancer. It was sad. And it was a blessing. She had been ill for so long and endured so much. She was ready to see Jesus. 

And as we sat and listened to the pastor give his words of encouragement, the common theme was “amen”. He talked about her faith; her dedication when she was ill; her love for her family and her Jesus. Amen. She isn’t hurting. Amen. She wants her family to share in her joy. Amen. Her family was not only flesh and blood but also the blood of Jesus Christ. 

I have a plaque in my home that was given to us by one of our church family. It says “Friends are the family you choose.” 

And no truer words can be spoken when I think about my church family. 

I love my family dearly, blood of my relatives and blood of my Jesus. They are all precious to me. And yesterday, as we laid to rest one of our own, my heart was sad for the ones left behind but happy for her. It was bittersweet. 

So I would encourage you to go home to your church family this weekend. They would love to see you. They would love to hug you. They would love to tell you how much they have missed you, because they have. Don’t let the devil steal away the family that God has given you. Treasure it and thrive within it. 

Promises, promises

Genesis 9:22-16 – “And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

As I was driving and driving and driving last night, a usual sight in the land of perpetual evening showers made its appearance – a rainbow. I love rainbows. I think of leprechauns. I think of science (I know, I’m a weirdo). But mostly, when I see a rainbow, I see a promise. 

God used the rainbow to reassure Noah that He would never again destroy the entire earth with water. Now, He has destroyed parts of the earth but not the entire thing. And there’s something to be said in that. 

God keeps His promises. 

In a world and time when promises are as cheap as anything, God’s promises are….priceless. We need them. We desire them. We must have them to feel secure. Too many things in this world are uncertain and shifty. God’s promises are a bedrock that we can build our life upon. 

The Bible is full of promises. There are books written that will direct you to Scripture that reveal promise after promise. There are promises that He will never leave you. Promises that ensure wisdom. Promises that nothing is too big. So many promises. 

And each and every one is rock solid. You can take it to the bank. If God said it, He WILL do it. 

Bonus – we have promises yet to be fulfilled. How exciting is that?! Presents that you know are coming and you can hardly wait to open them! The best promise of all – He will come again to receive us unto Himself. Oh that gets me excited! Like preacher says – If that don’t light your fire, your wood is wet!

His return. That is a promise I’m excited to see fulfilled. And that amazing partial rainbow that I saw in the sky last night reminded me of that wonderful, blessed hope. I’m only here for a little while, so I better make it count. 

Keep on truckin’

2 Peter 2:5 – “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly”

Let’s talk about Noah for a bit. 

Noah was 500 years old when he began building the ark and preaching repentance. He was 600 years old when God told him to get on the ark with all the animals. For 100 years Noah preached and explained things to the people. I mean, it’s not like he could hide building a boat of that size nowhere near the water! One hundred years of preaching and pleading and instructing and only 8 people got on the boat. Eight. 

Can you imagine?! Can you wrap your brain around working that hard for that long only to have 8 people believe as you do? 

We get frustrated when the one person at work that we invite to church doesn’t show up when they say they will. We get upset that people are falling away from church services to do other things. We don’t understand how people can drive by our place of worship and see all those cars around the place and not want to stop in and be a part of what we are doing. 

We need to be faithful. We shouldn’t let the poor choices of others dictate our faith. Just because others are making bad choices doesn’t mean that God is any less powerful. It doesn’t mean that He cares for us or them any less. 

It means that we are not robots that He controls. We have a choice and the free will to make that choice. He wants us to serve and worship Him because we want to, not because we have to. 

That’s why just like the people of Noah’s time had a choice, we have a choice. We can let the world drag us down and rain on our parade or we can chose to dance in the rain. We must keep going. 

Noah could have given up. He could have thrown up his hands at year 50 and said, “That’s it! These people won’t listen and I look like a fool!” But he didn’t. He kept on following God and doing exactly what He said to do in spite of how crazy and weird he looked. 

What about you? Are you ready to give up? Are things going south in a hurry and you are holding on for dear life? Well, keep on holding. It may seem that your world is falling apart, but it’s actually falling together. (I heard that in a song the other day.)

I’m not saying anything you don’t already know – but life is tough. Things aren’t fair. People will let you down. 

But life is good when you are following Christ. When He is the reason you wake up in the morning and He is the reason that you keep going – well, life can’t get much better than that, can it? 

Let me encourage you today to keep on truckin’! Keep on keeping on. Dance in the rain and keep doing what He leads you to do. 

Know-so Hope

Romans 5:1-5 – “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Several Sundays ago, my pastor said something about a “know-so” hope versus a “hope-so” hope. That stuck with me and I was thinking about it this morning. 

Let me give you this Webster’s 1828 definition of hope: “A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.”

Hope is something we all want and desire. It is needed, at times, to keep going. We get bogged down in problems and situations that we oftentimes forget about hope until we hit rock bottom. It takes discipline to keep hope at the forefront of our thoughts. We can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. 

But when my pastor mentioned this concept several weeks ago – 2 kinds of hope – I was taken aback. I had never really thought of this. It is true though. There are two kinds of hope. 

A “hope-so” hope is like a bucket with a hole it. You don’t know if you will be able to transport the water to where you want to go before the bucket empties. You are flying by the seat of your pants, no real direction and no certainty that you will get there. 

A “know-so” hope is like the hope mentioned in the verses today – hope from experience. You have been down this road, in some form or another, and you know what will happen. And even if this is a totally new situation, you still know how it will end because you have tested and tried the Leader before and He has never failed you. 

A “hope-so” hope doesn’t give God room to do His thing. A “know-so” hope opens the door wide for God to get in and lead. 

What kind of hope are you practicing today? šŸŽ¶”Trust and obey. For there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”šŸŽ¶ Even though hope is not mentioned in this song, it’s undertones are there. Hope comes from trusting and obeying Jesus.  

He’s got it!

Numbers 4:49 – “According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses.”

Do you ever think to yourself that you have way too much to do? How in the world are you going to get everything accomplished that you need to for that day? Do you ever feel that God must have forgotten about you that day because things just are not going as you had planned?

Well, just ponder this for a moment – organizing 603,550 men. Now, remember this number does not include women and children, nor does it take into account the Levites. 603,550 men. That, my friend, is overwhelming.

But not for God. As I was reading through Numbers 1-4 this morning, I started thinking about what was really going on here in these chapters. God was numbering the people for several reasons – for dividing the land once the children of Israel got there, to know the number of soldiers available AND to see whose job it was to transport what. You see, God already knew these numbers but the leaders did not.

The ones leading this group needed some guidance in organization. They needed to know what they were dealing with and how to get things done. Can you imagine the bedlam that would have ensued if God hadn’t taken the lead to tell those 603,55o men who was to carry what and how they were to move the tabernacle? They would have probably stood there staring at one another waiting for the other one to move first.

And then when it came to setting up again, God had that covered too! He told them exactly where each tribe was to set up its tents.

Organization. I love it. It drives me crazy when things are scattered everywhere. But there are days and times in my life that are hectic. I am overwhelmed and crazy. I feel like God may have forgotten that I’m floundering like a fish out of water. When I begin to feel like that, I hear this little voice in my head reminding me that He has got this, if only I would let Him have it. I have trouble with that one. I get possessive of my troubles. It’s not really a good place to be. If God could organize and take care of all those people in the middle of the wilderness, surely He can take care of my piddly little problems.

So, let me challenge you today to remember this awe-inspiring truth – God saw probably over a million people through 40 years in the wilderness with no help from man. If He can take on this crazy-big task, trust me, He can handle your problems. No matter how overwhelming, no matter how big, no matter how complicated, God can handle it.

The Box – Revisit

I’m revisiting this post today. Hope you enjoy it!

Isaiah 9:6 – “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Christmas is just three short days away. Decorations are up. Presents are nearly all purchased. Food had been listed and purchased for all the festivities. Excitement is on the rise.

Have you let all the commercialism and worldly lusts take you away from the manger? Life has a tendency to do that sometimes. We get so caught up in the “stuff” of the world that we forget the most important thing.

But just as my pastor was speaking about yesterday, it doesn’t stop at the manger. Jesus was so much more than a baby. Although, I can hardly wrap my brain around Mary kissing the face of God when she kissed baby Jesus. That thought makes me want to cry.
Although we don’t read much about the in-between years of Jesus’s life, I know a lot went on during those years. The next time we see Him is when He starts His ministry. And then, that goes way too quickly.
When Easter comes around, we will all be focused on the cross. The cross is very important. Without it, we would never have the opportunity for forgiveness from God. But it doesn’t stop there.

You see, we like to have things neat and tied up with a ribbon on top. We like things to be predictable. We like things to go just as we expect them to. We put Jesus in a box. We want Him to be predictable. We want Him to do exactly what we think He should do.
When most people read this verse around Christmastime, they focus on the beginning – the focus on the baby. Yet, when I read this verse yesterday, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed at the end – “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Just pick one. There is no way that all that that the one Name is could possible be tied up in a nice, neat package with a bow on top. He is just way more!

Ephesians 3:20 – “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…”
When most people read this verse, they stop considering it at “ask”. But when you read on, you see “or think”. How many dreams and imaginations do you have inside you head? I have more than I know to express. Jesus is bigger than that! He is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine”. Just wrap your brain around that one for a minute.

Christmas is when we remember and appreciate the birth of our Savior – and rightly so. But don’t leave Him there. And then when Easter rolls around, don’t leave Him at the cross or in the tomb. Remember, He arose. But also remember that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

My challenge to you today, princess, is to let Jesus out of the box. Don’t hold Him back from creating within you a wondrous act. Jesus loves to make ordinary people extraordinary. You just have to let Him out of your box, get out of the way and get ready to be amazed.