Posted by: glorifyhim1 | September 27, 2016

For Whom Will You Vote?

For Whom Will You Vote?

This is pretty much the question on most of our minds with election day drawing closer. The more I listen to all the political rhetoric however, the more difficult it becomes to try to make up my mind. I agree and disagree with both candidates on different issues. So, what do I do?

As I was reading my Bible earlier this week, however, the following Scripture got my attention. “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today” (Deuteronomy 8:11). Moses was speaking to the Israelites as they were standing at the entrance of Canaan, their promised land. Since Moses would not be entering the land with them, he took this opportunity to remind them of God’s laws and their responsibility to stay faithful.

As I thought about Moses’ warning to the Israelites, I thought about our country. Have we forgotten the Lord? Moses continued his warning:

“Lest –

  • when you have eaten and are full,
  • and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them,
  • and when your herds and your flocks multiply,
  • and your silver and gold are multiplied,
  • and all that you have is multiplied;
  • when your heart is lifted up,

and you forget the Lord your God” (verses 12-14a).

Moses realized the grave danger of the people forgetting God. “Then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth’” (verse 17).

Has our plenty in this nation resulted in hearts lifted up? Have we become a proud people, boastful of all our accomplishments? When we study the platforms of the two major political parties, do we see evidence of a respect and honor for God’s commandments, His judgments, and His statutes? Or do we see, in some instances, an outright defiance to the Word of God?

 

Moses encouraged the people to remember ….

  • “who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage,
  • who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water;
  • who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;
  • who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know,

that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end” (verses 14b-16).

Moses told the Israelites to remember God who brought them out of bondage, who led and protected them, and who did the impossible time and again as he performed miracles on the behalf of His people. When we forget God and what He has done, we place our trust in ourselves instead of in the Almighty God.

As I think about the coming election, I remind myself that there is a God I can trust. I am not going to place my trust in any political party or in any candidate. I am going to believe in the God who saved me, who has walked with me in good times and hard times, and who has never left me nor forsaken me. Things in our country may look dreadfully worrisome now, but in whom are we trusting? Let us place our trust in Almighty God, commit ourselves to seeking His guidance as we decide how to cast our votes, and let us…..

  • Pray fervently for our nation, pleading for His mercy upon a nation who has forgotten Him.
  • Study the platforms for both political parties and look for evidence of stances that honor God’s commandments and statutes.
  • Ask God for wisdom and discernment in making our decisions.

The Psalmist tells us: “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:10). Let us not forget the Lord, but seek Him, trust Him, and stay faithful to Him in all that we do. The rest is up to God!

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | September 21, 2016

A Place to Dwell

A Place to Dwell

Anyone who truly knows me surely knows one thing about me – I am definitely a “homebody!” I would rather be at home than anywhere else in the world. Oh, I enjoy going places and seeing new things. There are even those places that hold a special place in my heart that I can return to over and over like the sandy beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks or the beautiful, mist-shrouded Smoky Mountains with its virgin forests and clear, mountain streams. But as much as I love those places, I’m always ready to get back home.

Home is that special place where I can just be me. It is a place of acceptance, of love, even when I may not necessarily deserve it. Home is where my “stuff” is and where a little box of treasured memories is packed away. Home is the comforting smell of dinner cooking, a soft breeze blowing through an open window, and an old sweet dog sleeping on the couch. It is a precious place where neatly framed pictures of family grace walls and shelves and where often is heard: “Remember when!” Home is where little feet race to catch big dreams and where older, weary feet find a place of rest. Home is all of this and so much more!

As special as home is to me, however, I know that even in our homes, we can have problems and struggles. We may face serious illnesses, loss of loved ones, relationship issues, and many other problems that can make life tough. Instead of being a place of refuge and encouragement, our homes, too, can become difficult and trying places. So, what do we do? Where do we go when it seems there is nowhere to go? Where do we go when we’re burdened, tired, weak, and discouraged? I assure you. There is a place for us to dwell!

The psalmist tells us of this place. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). The secret place most likely refers to the Holy of Holies, the inner chamber of the sanctuary in the temple. It was separated from the outer chamber by a veil and was reserved for the presence of God. Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Under the new covenant, however, all believers have access to the Father through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. We are told that when Jesus died, the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the outer chamber was torn in half from the top to the bottom. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial death, we can boldly come into that secret place of God’s gracious presence. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22).

It is in that secret place where we can dwell. How do we dwell in God’s presence? We settle down with Him. We place our faith and trust in Him. I especially like one of the definitions for dwell shown in the KJV Dictionary: “to continue; to be fixed in attention; to hang upon with fondness.” In other words, we seek Him, talk with Him, and enjoy His presence. When all about us may be falling apart, He is our refuge, the One with whom our hearts can safely dwell. We are at home with Him.

Note that the Psalmist also stated that the one who dwells in that secret place “shall abide under the very shadow of the Almighty God!” I cannot even comprehend the wonder of God Himself covering me with His shadow. He shelters me, protects me, and keeps His eyes on me. And there is no way I can be separated from Him. Shadows go with you wherever you go. So, even when I’m going through difficulties or hard things, He has me covered!

I’m so thankful that I can know the joy and wonder of dwelling in God’s presence. How I yearn to know Him better and better. Perhaps, you do, too. Jesus has already made the way for us. Accept what Jesus has done and let us boldly come into that secret place – a place for us to dwell!

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | September 1, 2016

Sustained by God

Sustained by God

Summer time seems to take me back to the sweet memories of childhood more than any other season of the year. Recollections of going barefoot and  wading in a cool creek, enjoying watermelon and hand-churned ice cream, stringing beans and silking corn, going on picnics and taking car rides with the windows rolled down, are just a few of the happy memories that I cherish.

But I also remember Mama standing over a hot stove with sweat dripping from her brow as she canned those beans and other vegetables and fruits; Daddy as he worked tirelessly hoeing and weeding that garden after a full day of work; and also my grandparents, whose aging bodies slowed their steps and diminished their strength.

Then, I’m reminded that life, even with all its joy, can also be hard. All of us have our share of difficulty and trouble in this life. Yet, I’m learning that in and through it all, there is One who holds it altogether. In Colossians 1:17, Paul writes: “He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” This One is God Himself, the Creator of all things.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when I felt like it was my job to hold everything together – even in those times when it seemed like everything was falling apart. But the above Scripture assures me that holding things together is not my job. That’s God’s job.

But just as a child tightly holds a loved, but broken toy, instead of relinquishing it to the one who can fix it, don’t we often do the same? We think we know what is right. We want to do things our way. We forget that the One who made us, who planned our days, who orchestrates the entire universe, tells us to trust Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths”
(Proverbs 3:5-6).

When we place our trust in God, we commit to doing things His way – even when we may not understand. Scriptures remind us that we can never fully understand God’s thoughts and ways. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways. This is the Lord’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Yet, this same God not only takes over all our “stuff” and holds everything together, He also holds us together, as well. He promises to sustain us (i.e., strengthen, comfort, help, encourage, and even, carry us when needed) as we commit our way to Him.

  • He strengthens, helps, and holds onto us when we are afraid.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

  • He steadies and supports us when we are worried or troubled.

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken”
(Psalm 55:22).

  • He comforts us in all our afflictions (i.e., suffering, pain, sorrow, distress, adversity).

“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

  • He keeps (holds onto, retains possession) our mind and gives us peace.

“You (the Lord) will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You”
(Isaiah 26:3).

  • He holds onto us.

“The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you and commands, Destroy!” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

  • He will never leave or forsake us.

“And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).

I am so thankful that I don’t have to be the one that holds everything in my life together. I am thankful for a God who loves me, watches over me, and is always there for me. I am especially grateful that He sustains me in the middle of my sometimes crazy life – that He strengthens and steadies me, comforts me and gives me peace, and holds onto me when sometimes I just can’t hold on anymore. Just as I felt loved, protected, and safe all those summers ago, my God reminds me that He will sustain me today, and tomorrow, just as He sustained my parents and grandparents in both the joys and difficulties they faced. What more do I need to know?

 

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

(Hebrews 1:3)

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | August 24, 2016

GaGa’s Beach House

GaGa’s Beach HouseIMG_20160710_082527

A few weeks ago, our family spent a week together at the beach. For some reason, our little grandson was determined that the place we rented for the week was GaGa’s house. Each time he said something about being at GaGa’s house, we would explain that this was not GaGa’s house. As he continued, however, I finally tried to help him understand. “Benji, this is not GaGa’s house. Remember when you visit GaGa and PaPa in the mountains. You run under the big trees in the yard and throw rocks in the little creek. That’s GaGa and PaPa’s house. This is just a beach house where we all come for vacation.” He bounded off, seeming to understand. Soon, however, I heard him remark how much he liked GaGa’s beach house! We gave up!

Later as I thought about Benji and the beach house, I think I realized why he kept thinking he was at GaGa’s house. We live about two and a half hours away from Benji. Anytime he is in the car for a lengthy time, he thinks he’s going to GaGa and PaPa’s. When they arrived at the beach, there was GaGa and PaPa. So, naturally, to a 2-1/2 year old, he must be at GaGa’s house!

In other words, GaGa’s house, whether at the beach or in the mountains, is where GaGa is! And as God so often does, He used Benji’s simple remark to remind me of an important spiritual truth: Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God dwells within all true believers through His Spirit! I have to ask myself: “When others come into my presence, do they know God is in the house?” Can others see God in me? Can they glimpse even a small measure of His awesome glory in my words or in my actions?

  • Do I talk about Him? Sing about Him? Praise His name?
  • Do I honor Him in all that I do? In the way I work? In the things I say? In my attitude?
  • Do I do what’s right? Obey His Word? Follow His teachings?
  • Do I give Him credit for every blessing? For every success? For every way He rescues me, lifts me up, comforts me, and walks with me?
  • Do I use every opportunity to tell someone about Him?

 

Jesus told His disciples: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Paul taught the Corinthians: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). When we put God first in our lives and seek to live for Him, others are going to see some measure of His glory. They will know that the Spirit of God is at home in you and me.

A few weeks after returning home, our son sent a picture of Benji pointing to some plastic toy golf carts on a store shelf. “We ride these at GaGa’s beach house,” he had proudly announced. As I smile about this, I realize that, in time, Benji will learn that GaGa doesn’t really have a beach house – and I’m pretty sure, I never will. But much more than that, I pray that wherever he may be with GaGa, He sees evidence of God dwelling in me. And I pray that one day he will know the One who is at home in GaGa’s heart and that He will love Him and walk with Him all of his days. That will be a sweet taste of God’s glory to this GaGa!

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | August 19, 2016

Preserved in Christ

Preserved in Christ

One of my favorite pastimes is playing word games. When I purchased my Kindle reader I discovered several new word games that I thoroughly enjoy playing when I have a few extra minutes. Unfortunately, I have been guilty of frantically trying to beat the timer on Every Word while also doing other things such as talking on the telephone. Although I have been discovered and appropriately called out for this indiscretion, I still have trouble resisting the pull of a good word game.

Recently, I discovered an interesting word in a verse of Scripture that got my attention, much like the draw of a good word game. This word was found in the book of Jude. Jude wrote this letter to those who are “called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ” (verse 1). He warned believers of the dangers of false teachers and apostates who had turned away from the teachings of Christ. He urged believers to stay true and “to contend earnestly for the faith.” (verse 3). Lastly, he encouraged them: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (verses 20-21).

The word that got my attention was the word preserved. I know what the word “preserve” means. I grew up helping my Mama who worked tirelessly “putting up” (as she would say) beans, corn, tomatoes, and other vegetables. She would can, freeze, and preserve fresh garden vegetables for our enjoyment in the winter. But what does it mean to be preserved in Jesus Christ?

I looked up the verse in other translations to see if any different words were used. Several translations (ESV, NIV, NASB, HCSB, i.e.) translated the phrase “kept for (by) Jesus.” I then looked up the definition of preserve and discovered words like “protect,” “maintain,” “uphold,” “sustain,” “cared for,” “kept safe,” “look after,” and “perpetuate.” As I substituted these words in the phrase “preserved in Jesus Christ,” the meaning of this phrase began to overwhelm me.

  • I am kept for/by Jesus Christ.
  • I am protected for/by Jesus Christ.
  • I am maintained for/by Jesus Christ.
  • I am sustained for/by Jesus Christ.
  • I am cared for for/by Jesus Christ.
  • I am kept safe for/by Jesus Christ.
  • I am looked after for/by Jesus Christ.
  • I am perpetuated for/by Jesus Christ.

My friends, in our world today, there are many who have turned away from the truth of Jesus Christ just as in the time Jude wrote his letter. However, Jude’s letter is not written to those who have fallen away, but to those who are “called, sanctified, and preserved.” One of the greatest encouragements we can have as we live in the midst of a fallen world is the reminder of what Christ has done and is doing for us, of who we are in Christ. Because of Christ, no matter what troubles or persecutions we face, He has already secured the victory for all who place their faith and trust in Him. Peter echoed this promise: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). We are kept; we are preserved in Christ!

Jude also reminds us of another facet of the way God preserves believers. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (verse 24). God not only keeps us secure as we wait for Christ’s return, He also is able to keep us from falling. He works to teach us, grow us, make us more and more like Jesus. And as Paul told the Philippians: “…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Just think of how confidently, we who are called, sanctified, and preserved in Christ can live, knowing that we are being kept by Him, both today and for eternity. This doesn’t mean I won’t have difficulties and trials in this world, but I have something that cannot be taken away. Jesus Christ has secured my inheritance and He keeps me by His power. I am preserved in Jesus Christ – forever! How I love that word!

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | August 3, 2016

“Follow Me!”

“Follow Me!”

One of my favorite games as a child was Follow the Leader. It was especially fun when there was a large group of kids. As the line grew longer, it became nearly impossible to see what the leader was doing. Then, the game essentially became follow the guy in front of you with quite a variety of interpretations as to what the leader was doing. It was fun to play, fun to watch, but it wasn’t always easy to follow the real leader.

Interestingly, Jesus had a good bit to say about following and He repeatedly instructed His disciples and early followers to follow Him. Consider the following verses.

 “’Follow Me,” Jesus told them (Simon and Andrew), ‘and I will make you fish for people!’” (Matthew 4:19).

“They (James and John) were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him” (Matthew 4:21b-22).

“Jesus found Philip and told him, ‘Follow Me!’” (John 1:43b).

“Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi (Matthew) sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’” (Luke 5:27).

“He (Jesus) told him (the rich young ruler), ‘You still lack one thing: Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me’” (Luke 18:22).

“He (Jesus) said this to (Peter) to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, ‘Follow Me!’” (John 21:19).

“Then Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).

“My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

“If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).

Unlike my childhood game of Follow the Leader, following Jesus is not just a game we play. The above Scriptures point out that following Jesus is serious business. It demands both unwavering commitment and daily sacrifice as we deny ourselves and follow Him. This means we look to Him and His Word to guide us and give us direction in every area of life – not just when we’re in trouble, afraid, or worried, but also when it would be easier to give in, give up, and just follow the ways of the world. Following Jesus will not make us fit in, but stand out. Yet Jesus demands our total, complete commitment to Him.

Also unlike my childhood game, we cannot be satisfied following the guy in front of us. Surely, there are other believers who can come along side of us and help us, but just like us, they make mistakes, too. We all mess up, make mistakes, and sin. There is only One we can truly follow and Jesus says: “Follow Me!”

I also remember those game leaders who would make it difficult for others to follow them. They might do a hand stand or some other nearly impossible feat for the rest of us to copy. Jesus, however, sincerely wants us to follow Him. Surely, we live in a broken and fallen world and we are going to face difficulties in this world, but Jesus is our light. Through His Word and His Spirit within us, He will lead us, guide us, help us, comfort, and strengthen us and walk with us through whatever situations we face. As we follow Him, we will “hear” Him more clearly as He leads us as a shepherd leads his sheep.

Another interesting thing about that childhood game is that there really wasn’t any purpose other than following the leader. But notice that when Jesus invited His first disciples, he told them: “I will make you fish for people.” Jesus doesn’t tell us to listen to Him and follow Him just because He wants to be our leader. Jesus came to save us, to give us life. As He said Himself: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke19:10), and, also, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10b). As Jesus saves us and we follow Him, His purpose becomes our purpose. Just as He told the early disciples, He would make them fish for people, He wants us, too, to bring others to Him. He calls us to do that in different ways as each of us follow Jesus.

As a child, I would sometimes get tired of playing Follow the Leader and I would just drop out and quit. The sad thing is I can do that with following Jesus, too. Following Jesus is not a one-time decision. It is a commitment that we must make every day as we do life. Do I seek Him and follow Him, or do I give in to the pressures around me? I want to follow Jesus more and more! I hope you do, too!

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | July 27, 2016

Now I Am Old

Now I Am Old

Near the end of last week I celebrated my birthday for the 64th time. I’m sixty-four years old! Sometimes it seems impossible to me that I’m actually in my 60’s. At other times, however, it merely confirms what I pretty much already know – now I am old!

It takes me longer to do things now. I tend to forget things more easily. I have the normal aches and pains of aging along with the constant struggle to learn new things as technology constantly changes the way we do everything from talking on the phone to paying bills. Life is so different now from when I was a child. In fact, it is so different from when I was a young parent. I look at all that is going on around me and sometimes, I admit, I long for the way things used to be.

And then I remember the words of the Psalmist:

“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

 (Psalm 73:25-26)

You see, God never changes. While I may change and the world around me may change, God remains the same. From the day I first placed my tiny mustard seed of faith in Him and trusted Him to save me, until today when I am old, God is the same. The same God who has brought me through difficulties and blessed me with joy is still with me and will never forsake me. He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. In fact, the older I get, the more precious my walk with God becomes. We’ve been through so much together. I’ve witnessed His faithfulness in loss, in need, and in struggles of various kinds. He has been my comforter, encourager, forgiver, and restorer and also my joy. As Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes 5:20: For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.” God delights those who seek Him with Himself and with daily gifts that bring us joy.

As I rejoice in God’s love and faithfulness to me, I’m reminded of the following verses found in Psalm 92:12-15.

“The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, to declare: ‘The Lord is just; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalm 92:12-15)

Age may change a lot of things about me and the things I do, but this verse reminds me that even in old age I can still bear fruit, healthy and green fruit. The fruit that the Spirit of God produces in us is identified in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” As these fruits grow more and more visible in my life, they can point others to Jesus and help them learn about Him, too.

Jesus told a parable about a sower who went to sow his seed (see Luke 8:4-15). Some fell along the path and was trampled. Other seed fell on rock and withered. Still other seed fell among thorns and was choked out. Yet some seed fell on good ground and sprang up and produced a crop – 100 times what was sown! When Jesus later explained this parable to His disciples, He explained: “But the seed in the good ground – these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit” (Luke 8:15).

We continue to bear fruit as we hold on to the Word of God and endure. In spite of the changes around us, we cling to the truth of God’s Word. In spite of the difficulties we may face, we don’t give up, but endure. I’m old now, but I want to keep on holding to God’s Word and to endure. Don’t you want that, too?

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | July 20, 2016

“I ‘Git’ It!”

“I ‘Git’ It!”

Last week was family vacation time. This year our crew had increased by two little boys – a six-week old infant and a 2-1/2-year-old. Both are new foster children in my son and daughter-in-law’s home. Getting to love on the baby and getting to know the 2-1/2-year-old were added bonuses to our week. Throughout the week, there was one phrase the 2-1/2-year-old voiced repeatedly. Whether it was in response to something dropped on the floor, a ball being carried down the beach by the wind, or a bird that swooped over us, he would run to retrieve or catch whatever and scream: “I ‘git’ it!” I can’t even type those words now without smiling as I remember that little fellow running with all his might and screaming: “I ‘git’ it!”

Recently, I read the story of a paralytic in Mark 2:1-12. Jesus was in Capernaum, inside a house, preaching the Word. Many people gathered to hear Him teach, so many that even the door was blocked. No one else could enter the house. Then came four men carrying a paralytic hoping to get him inside for Jesus to heal him. I love what happened next. The four men didn’t apologize to their friend and carry him back home. They didn’t beg for people to move so they could carry their friend inside. No, they went straight to work. They climbed to the top of the house, uncovered the roof above where Jesus was, and carefully lowered the bed on which the paralytic lay – right in front of the only one who could help him – Jesus. I can almost hear each of the excited men calling as they went to work: “I ‘git’ it!”

When Jesus saw the four man peeking through the hole they had just made, He saw more than four men working together to help their friend. He saw faith! Their eagerness, willingness, determination to get their friend to Jesus demonstrated an unwavering faith in who Jesus was and in what He could do!

I wonder: Does Jesus see my faith? Does He see my faith when things are hard? When I’m mixed-up or confused? When I’m worried or afraid? Does He see my faith when there doesn’t seem to be an answer? When the way is not clear? Does He see my faith when I bring the needs of others before Him? Do I approach Him, believing, and trusting in who He is and what He can do in each and every situation?  Does Jesus see my faith?

I pray that Jesus can see my faith just as He saw the faith of those four men as they eagerly, willingly, and with much determination brought their friend to Jesus. May He see me ready and willing to do whatever I can to help others see Jesus, too. And like my new little friend, I might even eagerly exclaim: “I ‘git’ it! I ‘git’ it!”

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | June 28, 2016

Rest for My Soul

Rest for My Soul

As I grow older, I am discovering that proper rest is not just a luxury. It is an absolute necessity. When I try to keep going when I need to take a break, I rarely do my best and I often create more work because of my weariness or lack of concentration. I am learning that moments of rest throughout my day can actually help me accomplish more and do things better.

Yet in addition to physical rest, there is also another rest that I crave. This rest is not satisfied by merely stopping for a few minutes to prop my feet up or to drink a glass of water. I like to think of this other rest as soul rest. You see, sometimes it is our very souls that become tired and weary, more so than our physical bodies. Most of us grapple daily with various matters from relationship issues or financial struggles, to job worries or health problems. Likewise, there are myriad concerns that surround us in our fallen world. There is no shortage of reasons for men and women to fear and worry. Just consider the current political climate, persecution of Christians around the world, mass shootings and gun violence, and the threats of ISIS and others, to name just a few. There is also much to mourn as we see our own nation making decisions that do not value human life, that celebrate rights of individuals over moral responsibility, and that pass laws that stand in opposition to the very Word of God. Oh how I regularly need rest for my soul! Perhaps you do, too.

The good news is that Jesus knows that about us. He knew it about His disciples and early followers when He was on earth. Life was surely not easy for believers then either. In fact, Matthew recounts how Jesus issued a rebuke to the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because although they saw His mighty works, they did not repent (see Matthew 11:20-24). Jesus issued a promise, however, to all who would come to Him:  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

I have always loved this Bible verse. Nothing can bring peace to my heart like coming to Jesus and just pouring out all that is on my heart and mind. And when I take His yoke upon me and learn from Him, He assures me that I will find rest for my soul. Unlike worldly yokes that enslave us, when we place our faith and trust in Jesus and become yoked to Him, we discover the truth of Jesus’ words: “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew11:30). The yoke of Jesus frees us from the bondage of sin, oppression, shame, worry, fear, failure…..whatever we have become yoked to in this fallen world; then in Him we find help, hope, courage, strength…… and rest! Soul rest!

Nothing or no one can satisfy our need for soul rest but Jesus. Only He can take all our struggles and issues, all our fears and worries, all our losses and brokenness, and even in the midst of them fill us with Himself and give us rest for our souls! If you need soul rest, I invite you to answer Jesus’ invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

 

 

“My soul shall make its boast in the Lord. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

(Psalm 34:2a,8)

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | June 15, 2016

Waiting for Hope

Waiting for Hope

I recently ran across a quote from George Matheson, a 19th century Scottish minister and hymn writer. He stated: “Waiting with hope is very difficult, but true patience is expressed when we must even wait for hope. I will have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope.” Oh, how true! Sometimes, often in our hardest or darkest hours, it’s not a matter of waiting with hope, we find ourselves waiting for hope itself.

As I watched the news coverage of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, my heart ached for the loss of so many young lives. Without doubt, loved ones who mourn their loss wait for hope. Walk the corridors of any hospital and you’ll surely encounter countless others dealing with life-threatening or debilitating illnesses who also wait for hope. It is probably safe to say that all of us, at one time or another, have experienced what it means to wait for hope.

Men and women whom we read about in the Bible are no exception. I think of Moses and the struggles he faced as he led the Israelites to the promised land, Abraham as he dared to believe God’s promise when Sarah was way past the age to bear a child, Joseph as his brothers sold him into slavery, Joshua and Caleb when the people rejected their report about the land God wanted them to go in and possess. And who has not heard of Job who in one day fell victim to four separate disasters that claimed his property and the lives of his children? Surely, all of these and many others we read about in Scripture found themselves waiting for hope.

But what does it mean to wait for hope? When hope seems elusive, how do we wait for it? How do we discover it? I think we can gain insights from Psalm 62 which was written by King David when he was truly in a desperate situation.

“Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.

How long will you attack a man?
You shall be slain, all of you,
Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.
They only consult to cast him down from his high position;
They delight in lies;
They bless with their mouth,
But they curse inwardly. Selah

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

Surely men of low degree are a vapor,
Men of high degree are a lie;
If they are weighed on the scales,
They are altogether lighter than vapor.
10 Do not trust in oppression,
Nor vainly hope in robbery;
If riches increase,
Do not set your heart on them.

11 God has spoken once,
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God.
12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work.”

 

It is believed that this psalm was written when David’s own son, Absalom, rebelled against him and plotted to usurp his father’s throne. As if this were not bad enough, David also learns that Absalom has conspired with many of David’s trusted friends and advisors in his scheme. Can you imagine the sense of loss and betrayal that David must have felt? The book of 2 Samuel, Chapter 15 recounts this story. Verse 30 probably best captures David’s emotions as he and those with him fled Jerusalem: So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up.”

But although sorrowing, David had learned that while events he faced could dim and seemingly extinguish his hope, he could still have hope as he trusted in God and waited on Him.

  • David found peace as he silently waited for God (v.1 – “my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation.”).
  • David found rest as he clung to God, His rock and defense (v.2 – “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense.”).
  • David found strength as he relied on God (v.7 – “In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”).

And then in verse 8, David urges all believers: “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”

Like David, I’m learning that true hope is found in God alone. I cannot control what others do. I cannot even control what I always do. I cannot always control events that claim my hope. But when I take my need to Him, pour out my heart before Him, and surrender it all to Him, I find peace, rest, and strength – my greatest strength – as I trust in God and silently wait for the hope that only He can give.

 

Older Posts »

Categories