Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Hope and a Future

I love God's promise in Jeremiah 29:11- "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Awesome! Countless times over the years I have quoted this verse- encouraging others and myself...but I only quoted verse 11, not really taking a look at the verses before or after in this Old Testament chapter.
Recently, when I was struggling to understand God's plan in everything, I was brought again to this verse. I was reminded that God has a future and a hope for me. But, at the time, it sure didn't feel or look like a glorious future or a happy hope. I KNOW God's Word is true, and I KNOW God is faithful to keep His promises...so I am confident in this declaration from the Lord...but, how do I make sense of it all when it doesn't make sense?
Well, let's take a look at this passage. Jeremiah 29 is a letter written to the Jewish exiles...those that were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon (vs. 4). Obviously, not a happy time. And, it wasn't a short stay- it was 70 years! (vs. 10). At the time, if you asked those individuals in exile if they were living with great hope in a promising future, they probably would have laughed at you. But then, in the midst of their trouble, the Lord rescues them...He gives them the beautiful promise that we claim over and over again. And He continues on after verse 11, "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you..." (vs. 12-14a). These Jewish exiles had a future and hope- in the midst of the unthinkable! We, too, have a future and a hope in the midst of our most difficult circumstances. The Lord didn't promise a smooth road without any bumps...(even HE didn't get a smooth road!) But, He did promise us His sufficient grace and a hope and future in HIM. Hold onto Him.

"His ways are not our ways. Our ways would always be comfortable. Convenient... If you've walked with God very long, I have little doubt that He has used what you perceived as very negative means to achieve a positive result." -Beth Moore

Saturday, February 19, 2011

5 little & life changing words

So, maybe you have a hard time memorizing...like me. It takes me a long time to memorize words of songs, verses, and even recipes. When singing a solo, that is what I'm most nervous about...getting all of the words right. There have been many times where my mind blanks out in the middle of a song, and I begin to start writing my own lyrics on the spot...eek...not ideal and a little on the stressful side. Anyhoo, all that to say, I struggle with memorizing. But, today, I memorized a powerful verse in less than a minute...and I think you can, too.
This morning, as I was reading in Mark 5, I came across 5 words that Jesus spoke to Jairus, the synagogue ruler. After immediately hearing that his 12 year old daughter had just died, Jesus said something to him that probably stirred a million different thoughts and emotions into his mind and heart. In the midst of chaos, mourning, and heart wrenching pain, Jesus spoke these 5 little words: "Don't be afraid; just believe." And, within 5 verses, this little girl rose from the dead because of Jesus.
"Don't be afraid; just believe." Seriously, that could be my life verse. That is the essence of trusting... let go of the fear- and believe in God. He is God of miracles (Ps. 77:14)!
5 little & life changing words...yep- got it memorized, do you? Now, here's the next question for us...are we living it?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Psalm 30

Only in God
David wrote this song for the dedication of the temple. In this song, he expressed his thankfulness to God in hearing his prayer, healing him, helping him, and sparing his life…even if he didn’t deserve such mercy. He confessed the pride he had in his own success in verse 6. The King James Version states his attitude well, “And in my prosperity, I shall never be moved.” David put his confidence in his own accomplishments. Quickly, he discovered that he could not put his security in himself. Only in God do we find our ultimate security and true joy. Only in God do we find amazing grace and unthinkable mercy. Only in God can we dance and rejoice after disappointment or discipline. “O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever” (vs. 12b).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Psalm 8 Reflection

Psalm 8
Majestic Love of God
Majesty points to the sovereignty, greatness, and power of God. In verses 1-3, David praises the Lord for His majesty! What great power belongs to our God! He IS power! When considering His greatness, human beings seem rather insignificant. But, according to Almighty God, that is far from the truth. The Maker of heaven and earth found favor in us…enough to make us “a little lower than the heavenly beings,” to crown us with glory and honor, and to give us rule over things on earth (vs. 5-8). Because of His majestic and unconditional love and grace, David cannot help but praise Him! He opens and closes with the same declaration of praise: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1,9)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"I lie down and sleep"

“But You are a shield around me, O LORD; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.” (Psalm 3:3-6)
When fear invades our hearts and minds, many times it is hard to get restful sleep- or even sleep at all. Our minds spin out of control thinking about what happened, what could happen, what the worst case scenario would be, how we would fix the worst case scenario if in case it did happen, and so forth. Yikes! Out of control! When our minds go down that pathway, sleep is hard to come by. Rest is absent from our physical bodies, as well as our spiritual bodies. God calls us to rest…to rest in HIM…to trust Him…to have God-size faith. David had this kind of trust in the Lord. In Psalm 3, when he was fleeing for his very life from Absalom (his son), he rested. “I lie down and sleep…” (vs. 5a). How could he do this with his own life on the line? Because he had faith that God was a shield around him, that God bestowed glory on him and lifted up his head, and that the Lord heard and answered his cry. David knew that the Lord sustained him…he knew that in the Lord was deliverance and blessing. When we have real faith like that, we can rest peacefully…knowing that God is a shield around us.
Lord, may we rest in You.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Steadfast Faith

Bible Trivia:
His name is found in the book of Genesis.
His name is also found in Hebrews & Jude.
He was commended by God.
He lived 365 years of life on this earth.
He never experienced death because God took him away.
His name starts with the letter "E".

Nope, not Elijah. Not Elisha. And not Elimelech.


In Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter, Enoch was mentioned in verse 5. Only one verse, but what important facts were said in that one passage. In verse 5, it said that Enoch...
-was taken from this life by God
-did not experience death
-was commended as one who pleased God
Wow! What a testimony! When I am gone, I want to be found as one who pleased God. That seems like a broad statement...what does that look like everyday? Check out Genesis 5:22 & 24. They both state that "Enoch walked with God." I believe that's how he pleased his Heavenly Father. It was an everyday thing- walking daily with his Leader...following Him...loving Him...worshipping Him...revering Him, through all that life brought him in his MANY years of living...through all the different seasons of life, through the valleys and the mountain top experiences....Enoch walked steadfast with God.
No "parting-of-the-Red-Sea" type of miracles were reported in Enoch's testimony. No book of the Bible was solely written about him. Not everyone even knows how to pronounce his name correctly. No more than 8 verses in the entire Bible were written about him. But, he didn't need all of that. He had a relationship with Almighty God that was real. Not many verses had to be written about Enoch for us to get a true picture of who he was and how he lived. Actually, those four words sum up his faithful testimony and life: "...Enoch walked with God...".

And, he walked right into eternity with his Father, Leader, and Friend.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Simple, yet Saturated

This morning, in our family devotions, we memorized 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, which was in Pastor's sermon on Sunday. "Test everything. Hold on to what is good. Avoid every kind of evil." Those imperative commands seem rather simple when stated...straight forward- to the point. But, even though it is a simple passage to memorize- it is saturated with truth! We ran out of time discussing the implications behind each of these commands (and my husband even started pulling out the Greek!) One of the parts in our discussion that intrigued me the most was when my husband mentioned what the Greek New Testament said about verse 22. In the Greek it reads, "From the appearance of every kind of evil avoid/abstain." Did you catch that?! Avoid even the APPEARANCE of evil...Paul is warning us to not even play with fire- don't even go near it! It reminded me of the verse, Ephesians 5:3, "But among you there must not be even a HINT of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." Not even a HINT! Through Paul, God is warning us to steer clear of anything that is not good...anything that doesn't fall under the Philippians 4:8 list- true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Good passage to chew and digest, huh?! Lord, we pray- help us to test everything. Hold on to what is good. And, to avoid every kind and every appearance of evil. In the powerful Name of Jesus, Amen.