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Thursday, August 16, 2012

And There it Sets

Today, I accompanied my husband's parents to the doctor's office for a follow-up appointment from my father-in-law's surgery.  Quite miraculously, he beat the odds of death after receiving a diagnosis of colon cancer and experiencing a post surgical appendix rupture.  Two major surgeries in less than a week and here we sat in a room, eagerly awaiting the removal of the last sutures from a cancer free body. 

There in front of me on a beautiful dark wooden table displaying vibrant plants and other decorations sat the Holy Bible.  No other magazines or books were present on this table, but God's Holy Word.  I puzzled it's condition, although not very surprised to see it's appearance as if it had just left the book store.  If the dark blue cover and gold print had been dusted for fingerprints, one may not have found any.  I picked up the bible and opened it's cover to hear the snap of new binding being broken in.  I randomly turned to Psalm 124 verse 8 "Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

The irony of this situation made me laugh and cry at the same time.  Everyday in the waiting room of the doctor's office people come because they are sick.  They need surgery, medicine, routine care and support.  Emotionally people are broken, distraught, discouraged and sad about the condition of their health.  They come to the doctor with great hope of a quick fix, a surgical procedure, a band aid, or medication that will bring relief from an on-going, nagging and persistent pain.  All this time people have come and gone and not once noticed or even recognized the potential hope that comes from the book that sets on the table.  It was hard for me to even believe the medical clinic allowed the bible in their office for fear of a lawsuit from offending someone. 

Why do we put our faith, hope and trust in modern science before considering the God of all creation and his capabilities to restore us to good health?  When God performs miraculous healing, the procedure is painless and effortless.  When man performs surgery, the work is tedious, time consuming and painful.  Within the text of this book that set on the table were words capable of bringing about actions to restore health, hope, strength and encouragement to face life's ailments with little to no worry.  The simplest of actions of picking up a book and reading, seemed to be the last thing on the minds of those who sat in the waiting room.  Things that were instead read were modern day magazines with fancy covers and up to date coverage on world events.  Things that were read were articles filled with the problems of the world and people's views on how to fix them.  Yet on a table, all by itself was a book that contained all of life's answers.  Isn't it interesting that we have a hunger for knowledge that comes from man, but not from God; as if man is not fallible, corrupt or even one-sided?

For many people entering this waiting room, freedom and victory was only a foot away, but the very glance at such a Holy Book instead brought about emotions of shame, regret and anger.  Where ever there is evidence of God, Satan is not very far behind, waiting to bombard the mind with negative messages of condemnation and discouragement.  Too many times people are tormented with ideas that their lives are not what they think they should be and we blame God for the circumstances.  We refuse to acknowledge the sin in our lives and coil at the idea of having to face it.  Looking at the Bible can pierce one's conscious for a fleeting moment in which the hand reaches for God as he tries to throw a life line.  Suddenly, the idea of embarrassment enters our mind as we begin to ponder what others might think of our public display of bible reading. The hand thus recoils with the idea of fear that our sins our too great to be forgiven anyway.  Satan has won the battle once again in keeping the sick, sick and the discouraged depressed. 

Have God's people done a good job at spreading the good news of the contents of the Holy Bible?  Why would such a book for a non-believer bring about such skepticism, pain and guilt?  Have we not preached loud enough the beauty of God's unending love, forgiveness, compassion, and sympathy?  Have people heard they don't need to be sinless to accept a personal Savior?  Have we spoken of the miracle of redemption and restoration?  Have we displayed abounding joy and happiness as witness to others that we are free,free indeed from the worries of this world?  What are we offering to the non believers as evidence that a relationship with Jesus Christ is the answer to all of their problems?  What can we say or do differently that will lead the non-believer to push forward in turning the pages of the greatest, truest book ever written instead of turning away from what may be the best beginning to a new life?  Think about it!

When my father-in-law returned to the waiting room, I began to share with him my thoughts.  He took one look at the Holy Bible I presented to him and said, "The greatest book I ever read."  My father-in -law is a walking testimony of God's faithfulness, healing, redemption, hope and courage.  All he had to do was open the book and say, "I believe," and a new beginning was on the horizon.

The next time this Holy Book crosses your path, be bold, be courageous and take hold of the inspired word of God.  Better yet, don't wait for God to find you, find Him!

Psalm 124:8 "Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

"Every Day is a Good Day When We Live it God's Way!"


Monday, August 13, 2012

Has God Been Silent?

Have you been waiting to hear from the Lord, but been puzzled or even frustrated by the silence of his voice?

I was thinking the other day about those biblical figures whom God identified as faithful and righteous.  Let's focus specifically on Abraham.  When God issued orders to Abraham (previously named Abram), he packed his bags, loaded up his family and got on his way (Gen 12).  He did this at the age of 75 without a thought of doubt to persuade him otherwise. 

We learn from scripture that God knows the condition of our hearts better than we do.  In fact, if we look at several of the following scriptures we see God is in the business of hardening and softening hearts in order to accomplish his will and purpose.

     Exodus: 4:21, 7:3, 9:12,10:1, 10:27, 11:10, 14:4, 14:17,
     Deuteronomy: 2:30
     Romans: 9:18, 11:25
     Joshua 11:20
     John 12:40

These are just a few of the many verses that refer to God's intentionality in specifically hardening the hearts of those in which he later intends to show his glory, mercy and might in defeating those who attempt to incorporate sinful idolatrous practices to his people.

Let's logically assume from the verses above that God absolutely knew the condition of the heart of his servant, Abraham.  God knew if he asked Abraham to move that he would do it without question and without hesitation.  What about you?  Have you thought about the condition of your heart?  Have you accepted the word of God, the teachings of his Son, Jesus and the mercy offered to you because of the work completed on the cross?  Have you examined the sin in your life and asked for forgiveness so that the condition of your heart is primed for God to be able to use you in a mighty way? 

Sometimes, I think God is silent because he is unable to make a request because the condition of our heart is not yet ripe for obedience.  God wants his people to respond "Yes" not "maybe," "no," or "not yet."  How can he pose a question if he's already aware of receiving an unfavorable response?

If God has been silent, maybe you are simply in a time of preparation in which God is working on the condition of your heart, slowly increasing your faith and trust so that he can receive a definitive "yes" when he issues an order.  It does take faith to move when God asks you to.  Perhaps this is why it was so easy for Abraham to respond.  His faith was already strong and his belief in the Lord was unwavering.

Don't be discouraged if God has been silent in your life.  Believe that he will speak at just the right time.  Know that everything he does is out of love for you.  He is preparing you and building those qualities most important for completing his purpose, not only in your life, but in the lives of those around you.  Increasing faith and trust sometimes takes time and patience.  God is the founder of both and excitedly works to build these characteristics within you.  Do not lose heart because this is the very thing he is changing. 

Ask God to show you the condition of your heart and any changes that need to be made in order for him to use you.  He will honor your request so be ready to see and accept the truth in a spirit of humility.  Sometimes the condition of our heart is not so pretty, but God is in the business of REDEMPTION and it is certainly beautiful when we surrender.

"Every Day is Good Day When You Live it God's Way!"


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Are You Looking for a Mentor?

So often we are told in life how beneficial it would be to have a mentor.  However, we fail to recognize and even overlook the greatest mentor of all time, Jesus Christ.  Let's look at some of the characteristics and accomplishments that makes Jesus an excellent choice for a mentor.

-Most recognized name in the world
-Hundreds, thousands and millions have come to know him personally and found fulfillment, freedom and life changing circumstances leading to victory, prosperity and peace.
-Dependable "Always there when you need him."
-A good listener
-An invaluable friend
-A confidant
-Always on time, never late
-Eager, yet patient
-Humble, yet all knowing
-An excellent resource for guidance
-Tour Guide
-Handy Man - Always able to fix things
-Excellent Communicator
-Financial Connoisseur
-Guest Speaker
-Master, yet servant

This list could be endless.  Hearts and lives around the world have been changed by his message of hope and salvation.  One man, Jesus Christ, is responsible for the endless testimony of multitudes who have come to know him.  We have seen no end to the power of his mentoring ministry.  Won't you please consider Jesus as your personal mentor before considering anyone else?  This is one decision in which you won't be disappointed.

"Every Day is a Good Day When You Live it God's Way!"  


Friday, August 3, 2012

The Devil's Keeping Score: What Does Your Score Card Look Like?

Lately I have begun to wonder if people know the difference between good and evil.  Some are simply naive in believing the existence of Satan is merely a myth.  However, to refute this, we have evidence in Mathew 4:10 that even Jesus called him out by name, "Away from me, Satan!  For it is written:  Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."

Can I ask you today, "What are the areas in your life in which the tally marks on your score card are lined up under the name of Satan rather than the name of Jesus?"  There are too many people in the world that do not even realize they are living contrary to the word of God.  The facade of political correctness has lead many to alter their behavior, believing their silence should be exercised in order to not offend anyone around them. 

Can you really go through life pleasing everyone?  This would require agreeing with every person's point of view in order to prevent offense and hurt feelings.  Should we agree with pedophiles, liars, cheats, thieves, and murders so we don't hurt their feelings by stating our disagreement with their thoughts and behaviors?  Politically correct behavior is what cost 13 people their lives, while injuring 32 others at Fort Hood; political correctness has cost 50 million babies their lives; political correctness has led to a watered down message in our churches; political correctness has allowed corrupt politicians to remain in office plaguing our legislative process; and the list could go on and on. 

The enemy (let's call him by his true name, Satan) has now been successful once again, in getting people to believe his ways far surpass those of the Lord.  This is evidence by the fear people feel in refusing to defend the righteous teachings of a Savior simply because of the possibility of losing a job, losing a friend, or being ostracized from a peer group whose company they enjoy.  Do you not trust that God takes care of those who uphold his principles?  Do you not believe that if you lost your job today for defending the truth, the Lord your God would not bring you something better and more rewarding?

When Peter began to walk on water to meet Jesus (Mathew 14:29-31), the lies of the enemy were waiting to attack his mind with doubt.  Jesus recognized Peter's fear and rebuked him saying, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"  Isn't this the same way we act in remaining silent about those political issues that greatly distress and offend our God.  The devil has gained ground on your score card if this is the attitude you have in treating scripture as if it is something to only be upheld in the privacy of your own living room.  Because of the silence of Christians, we now have the regular and ongoing practice of abortion, the attack of enemy terrorists to invoke their culture above and beyond our Christian culture, the teaching of evolution as dominant theology, the removal of prayer from schools, the idea of homosexuality as normal, and the representation of a Hollywood lifestyle as the best value system in which to live by. 

Jesus tells us in Mathew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." 

Isn't this a good enough reason to evaluate your score card.  Are you currently part of the few or part of the many?  Jesus warns us about how easily many will be fooled into believing the lies of the world.  Ask yourself, "Who am I living for?"  Are you serving the enemy by doing only what's good for you or are you serving God?  Do you know the difference?  God will reveal himself and his teachings through his holy word.  As long as you allow the gospel truth to sit on the shelf instead of soaking into your heart, you can expect your score card to be skewed in favor of the enemy.

"Every Day is a Good Day When You Live it God's Way!