Posted by: glorifyhim1 | April 27, 2016

Where Is Our Savior?

Where is Our Savior?

It is growing more and more difficult for me to read the paper or watch the nightly news reports. Yet, the sad thing is, even if I refuse to do either, I cannot help but be aware of the rapid moral and spiritual decay in our nation. I honestly cannot fathom how much our nation has fallen even since I was a child. Add the current political climate to this decay and I find myself thinking: Who can save us?

I know the answer to that question. I know the only one who can ultimately save us. Unfortunately, few are looking to this one for wisdom, direction, or help. Instead, we seem to have done everything to turn away from this one, thinking we know what is best. We have sought solutions in individuals, hung our hopes on various ideologies, and rejected the only one who can help us.

In his letter to a vibrant church in Rome, Paul’s description of the sinfulness of man eerily describes what we see in our nation today. Romans 1:21-25 states: “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

In America today, we are not honoring God as God. Instead of recognizing Him as Creator and Sustainer of our universe and offering Him our thanks, worship, and praise, we have become futile in our thoughts. Futile can be defined as “pointless, fruitless, useless – producing no result.” We think we are wise, but we have become fools who have turned from the one true God.

And then comes some of the saddest words in God’s Word…. “God gave them up!” He gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves (see Romans 1:24). He gave them up to vile passions (see Romans 1:26). He gave them up to a debased mind, “to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness….” (see Romans 1:28-32).

How those words make me shudder – “God gave them up!” He gave them up to uncleanness, vile passions, and to a debased mind. In other words, He gave them up to do whatever they wanted to do in the futility of their mind as they turned away from Him.

But, to me, even sadder than the words “God gave them up” is the realization that we gave up on God first. We gave up on God even though His Word assures of His indescribable love for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

Where is our Savior? Our Savior is the One that God sent to die for you and me. Right now He is seated beside His Father in Heaven, waiting. He is waiting for you and me to turn to Him, repent of our sins, and to accept Him as our Savior and Lord. In 2 Peter 3:9, we read: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

I admit that I am a little homesick for the way life in America used to be. For sure, we’ve had our problems, but even I can remember a day when right was right and wrong was wrong; when we prayed in the school room, in our living rooms, and on the capitol steps; when “God” was not uttered in disgust, but in a plea for mercy and help; and when the Bible was what we opened for guidance and direction. How far we have fallen! Our Savior is waiting. If only we will turn to Him, before He gives up on us. May every believer please help me pray for America. May we seek our Savior’s mercy, grace, and help for this nation.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | April 15, 2016

Our First Love

Our First Love

 Recently, I ran across some incomprehensible statistics. Did you know….

One in nine people in our world go to bed hungry each night (The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015)?

Over 3,000 babies are aborted each day in the United States and approximately 125,000 daily, worldwide (World Health Organization)?

There have been 142 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred in December 2012 (The Washington Times)?

There were an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes reported by law enforcement in the United States during 2014 (FBI 2014 Crime Stats)?

In addition to violent crimes, daily we hear of countless disputes, contentions, and controversies. The biggest issue in my home state of North Carolina this past week has been over who can use which bathroom. House Bill 2 (HB2), also referred to as the Bathroom Bill, the Anti-LGBT Bill, and the Anti-Transgender and Pro-Discrimination Law, has sparked outrage on both sides. What is considered as a means to protect all our citizens by some is seen by others as blatant discrimination.

Then added to all this foray is our current political climate that leaves a majority of citizens feeling there is no help for our beleaguered country. Have we spiraled out of control? Is there any hope for our nation?

I’m reminded of the city of Ephesus in the New Testament. Ephesus was a prosperous city in Asia Minor. There was a large temple in the center of Ephesus that was dedicated to the goddess Diana. Many people thronged to the busy city and to the temple and there was much immorality and wickedness.

However, the city of Ephesus was also the center of much of Paul’s missionary work. He visited Ephesus at the end of his second missionary journey and when he departed, he left Priscilla and Aquila to continue ministry work in the city. Later, Paul spent around three years in Ephesus. He taught Scripture to both Jews and Greeks and the city became a center for evangelistic outreach. In fact, when John penned the letter given to him by Jesus to the church in Ephesus (Revelations 2:1-7), the Ephesian Christians were commended for listening to Paul and not tolerating false teachers. However, they were also reprimanded for leaving their first love, their love for God.

Have I lost my first love? Have you? How do we live in a world that is becoming increasingly wicked? When confronted with false teachers, sometimes even believers who have turned away from the Word of God, what do we do? Perhaps we could take some of Paul’s advice to the Ephesian Christians.

  • We belong to God.

Paul reminded the Ephesians: “you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). Christ dwells within us, strengthens us, and bestows His love and grace upon us (see Ephesians 3:16-19).

  • We should not walk in the ways of the world.

Paul instructed the Ephesians: “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened; being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).

  • We should walk in the righteousness of Christ.

Instead of living corruptly, Paul tells the Ephesians “to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24). He further told them to “let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

  • We should know our enemy and be prepared.

Paul reminded the Ephesians that the only way they could remain strong was in the Lord. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13).

 

Perhaps we could summarize Paul’s advice this way. Know whose we are, live like we are His, and stand strong in Him. When we truly love the Lord and put Him first in our lives, our homes, our work, our worship, in everything we do, it will surely make a difference – not only in our own lives, but also in our world. The battle is the Lord’s, but the choice to join Him in the battle by putting Him first and living like He calls us to live is up to each of us. May we all love the Lord again as we did in the very beginning!

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 27, 2016

Sometimes It’s Friday

Sometimes It’s Friday

As I’ve thought about the events leading up to that first Easter morning and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I couldn’t help but think about Jesus’ closest disciples and friends. I wonder what was going through their thoughts and minds. This is the One in whom they had placed all their hope and now they watched as He was nailed to a cross, drew His last breath, and was laid in a tomb. They had heard the prophecies. Jesus, Himself, had even told them what was going to happen. But it was still Friday.

On Friday they were scared, confused, and broken. They didn’t fully understand. They had questions. They had fears. And in the midst of their confusion, they couldn’t quite see Sunday.

I’ve had my share of Friday’s and I dare say, you have, too. You may be in the middle of one of those Friday’s now when life just doesn’t seem to make sense. You may even make it to the next day and see and hear the same thing that Jesus’ disciples saw and heard – nothing. There was silence on Saturday.

So what do we do? We turn to the only One to whom we can go. I’m reminded of the question Jesus asked His disciples when many began to turn away from Him. “Do you also want to go away?” and Peter replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:67-69).

What we believe about Jesus will ultimately determine what we do when we face turmoil or silence in our lives. Jesus taught: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25). Jesus is our hope and our life. When our lives don’t make sense, we go to Jesus. When we don’t have answers, we go to Jesus. It is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God, the One who died for us, who was laid in the tomb, and who rose again who will meet us where we are on Friday and lead us to Sunday!

“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.”

1 Peter 1:3

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 21, 2016

A Time to Stop

A Time to Stop

 Recently, my husband and I had the privilege of spending a couple of days with our 2-1/2 year old grandson. We were alone with him for most of the day and my oh my, how much I had forgotten what it was like to keep up with such unbridled, non-stop energy. From the time his tiny little feet hit the floor until he was corralled into bed for naptime or bedtime, he was busy – from playing with trains and tracks to building with blocks, from playing “bakketball” to flying airplanes or pushing cars, from drawing and coloring to singing and dancing, from leading GaGa on a chase around the living room to catch him and change his diaper to finally, snuggling up close to look at pictures and read books!

But as busy as our grandson stayed, he taught me something during these couple of days about stopping. You see, in my own way, I’m a lot like my grandson. While I may not run helter skelter or have the energy to keep at it non-stop, I pretty much stay busy. I clean, I cook, I plan, I shop. I pay bills, I write, I read, I tackle special projects. And even when I sit down in the evening, it’s hard for me to just “sit” without doing something – even if it is just playing Everyword or working a Sudoku. But my grandson showed me that there is a time to really, completely, totally stop from all the busyness and capture a blessing in the present moment.

Even in the midst of all his busyness, my grandson was fully engaged with all of his senses. He stopped me on our morning walk to see a bird that just flew out of a nearby tree. He stopped in the middle of his coloring and drawing to watch the ducks swimming across the pond. He looked in your eyes when you talked to him and he eagerly sought for you to repeat every word he said to make sure you understood what he was saying. In other words, he was fully present in everything he did. He innately seemed to know when to stop and take time to see, hear, and become fully engaged in the present moment.

Unfortunately, I don’t always do that. I say “Uh…uh” while cooking dinner, then later think, now what did he say? I do one thing while thinking about the next thing I need to do. I become so engrossed in my own thoughts that I fail to see the beautiful bluebird in the window or hear the soft cooing of the dove. I can even sit on my front porch and miss the restful sound of the little creek beside our house because I’m too caught up in my own thoughts or the word or numbers game that keeps both my mind and fingers busy. So, while my body may stop throughout the day, my mind stays in overdrive and rarely stops.

My grandson reminded me that today is a precious gift to be spent wisely. Or as the Psalmist put it: “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). In the midst of our hustle-bustle activity and the anxieties and worries we may face each day, the value of today can be easily overlooked. We miss the present and become disengaged with those around us because our minds have camped out on work, worry, or some other activity to escape the anxiety we may feel.

How do we stop and grab hold of the present moment, today? Scripture reminds us of a few things we can do.

  1. Seek God first.

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).

  1. Surrender each day to Him.

“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You”
(Psalm 143:8).

  1. Rejoice and be thankful.

“Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name (Psalm 97:12).

As we keep our eyes on our Father and trust Him in every detail of our day, we let go of all those things that hinder us from fully engaging in whatever today holds. As we rejoice in Him, thank Him for His goodness, and enjoy His presence, we may just discover that we, too, can stop in the midst of our daily routines and enjoy the blessings that flow freely from our Father’s hands. We may even be able to lift our eyes long enough to look straight into someone else’s eyes and really listen to what they have to say.

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 4, 2016

A Great Faith

A Great Faith

“Little faith will take your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” – Charles Spurgeon

(Today, March 4, is the anniversary of our first daughter’s birth, but also her death, as she died shortly before birth. This was also the beginning of a pilgrimage for me as I turned to my Heavenly Father, searching for answers and trying to understand our great loss. Ultimately, I discovered that sometimes there just are no answers – at least on this side of eternity – but there is a Father who understands. He took my mustard seed of faith, loved me, comforted me, and began to grow me. Today, I can rejoice, knowing that one day I will see my daughter again  And I can also rejoice in my Heavenly Father who daily brings a little bit of heaven to my ever-thirsting soul.)

When I read the above quotation, I couldn’t help but think about my own walk of faith through the years. It has been quite a journey from that very first step of faith when I placed my trust in Jesus, to where I am today. Like most believers, I have had my share of doubts and questions. I’ve wrestled and struggled with things I didn’t understand. But in and through those times, I’ve also learned a few things. Perhaps the old hymn, “Through It All” says it best. “Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God; through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”

My struggles have taught me that I need to seek my Heavenly Father first of all. I may not know why – I may never know why – I’m going through whatever difficulty I may be facing, but I do know who is in control. I know that my God loves me and that nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:35-39). I know that He is good (Psalm 86:5) and that He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I know that He is all-powerful and able to do far more than I can even ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). And I also know that no matter how bleak the future may look, the best is yet to come (Revelation 21:4). Scripture confirms that whatever my need, I can safely trust it to my Heavenly Father.

Sometimes through the years, my faith has been small. Yet Jesus taught His disciples: “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20b).  During these times, I’ve learned that Jesus welcomes me, even when my faith is small, and that He stretches me and grows me as He reveals more of Himself and His ways to me. And the more I experience His Presence and His work in my life, the more I can trust Him – and the more my faith grows.

My faith has grown a lot since my first steps of faith so many years ago, but God has shown Himself merciful, gracious, and ever faithful. Like Charles Spurgeon’s quote above, those early steps of floundering faith may have secured me a place in heaven, but it is daily walking by faith, not sight (see 2 Corinthians 5:7), that ultimately brings heaven to my soul. Psalm 23 expresses it best.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell
[a] in the house of the Lord
Forever.

A great faith brings heaven to a believer’s soul as he or she finds rest, direction, restoration, courage, comfort, goodness, and mercy in the Presence of the Father. Oh, how I want to have a great faith! Don’t you?

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | February 14, 2016

A Love That Says I Matter

A Love That Says I Matter

benji valentines

This week our daughter-in-law shared pictures of our grandson preparing valentines for all of his friends at daycare. She mentioned how excited he was as he made each one. My, oh, my, how this reminded me of so many valentine memories. I can still remember my own kids carefully choosing just the right card for each classmate, not to mention their joy in receiving their bags of valentines to enjoy over and over, and over again.

Even after all these years, I, too, can remember the joy of giving and receiving those childhood valentines. I am sure that these memories are sparked by the emotions we all experience to feel accepted, cared for, and loved. Each of us want to matter to someone in some way.

I recently stumbled across the following quote by Elie Wiesel, a Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Wiesel stated: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

Is this not so true? The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. We don’t hate others. We just don’t care very much. Yet, our Heavenly Father, on the same night that He was betrayed, told His disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). And then He added: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35).

Jesus didn’t say to just love others when we felt like it, when we weren’t busy, when they loved us first or loved us back, or even when they deserved our love or when we agreed with them. He said to love others “as I have loved you.” Jesus loved us and gave His life to save us while we were still sinners (see Romans 5:8). I didn’t deserve what Christ did – and does – for me, yet He loves me and wants me to show His love to others – because everyone matters to God.

One of my favorite Scriptures is Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” This verse reminds me of the joyful love of my Heavenly Father. He is the One who truly meets the longing of every soul.  My God….

  • is with me
  • is mighty and will save
  • rejoices over me with gladness
  • quiets me with His love
  • rejoices over me with singing

This is a God who says that you and I really matter. We’re not just a number or one of a group. He knows us, walks with us, rescues us, delights in us, gives us rest and peace, and rejoices over us even as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride (see Isaiah 62:5b).

In a lot of ways, those childhood valentines are good reminders for us as well. They are given freely, willingly, and joyfully, to everyone without reservation – simply to say I love you. I’d say that’s a good first step in learning to show Christ’s love to others – and to let others know that they matter, too!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | February 2, 2016

What If?

What If?

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My husband just returned from a disaster relief work trip with a group from our church. They went to a small area that had been devastated from the extreme flooding in South Carolina that occurred near the end of last year. As he filled me in on all the work they did, one thing, in particular, perked my ears – and my heart.

One of the jobs they completed was putting a porch on the home of an elderly lady. The lady was absolutely overjoyed at what they did, even taking a snapshot of the group and saying she would never forget them. But my husband also overheard another simple remark she made: “I’m so glad I have a porch to sweep!”

I was instantly convicted. How many times have I complained to myself, even if not to others, that I had to sweep my porch for the umpteenth time? But instead of complaining, this dear lady was rejoicing that she had a porch to take care of.

It made me think. What if, instead of focusing on the ever-draining demands that weary me, I kept my eyes on the blessing. What if, instead of focusing on what’s wrong, I rejoiced over what’s right? What if, even in my most mundane days, I exulted in a God who loves me and has His eyes upon me?

The Psalmist declares: “O, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1). The ESV translates the last half of that verse, “for His steadfast love endures forever!” A steadfast love is resolute and unwavering, faithful and reliable.

This verse reminds me that my God’s love for me never wavers. He loves me when I’m at my best and when I’m at my worst. He loves me when I’m showered with blessings and when I’m burdened with troubles or difficulties. And even when I am struggling and things really aren’t good, I know that God is! So, what if I chose to keep my eyes on Him, trust Him in all things, and rest in His steadfast love? Then surely, I, too, could joyfully say: “I’m so glad I have a porch to sweep!”

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 15, 2016

Becoming New

Becoming New!

Cleaning house is one my “have-to-do” chores, not necessarily one of my favorites. Yet, like it or not, it has to be done. Through the years, I’ve developed a pretty good routine for trying to make sure the bathrooms are cleaned, the furniture dusted, and the floors vacuumed and mopped. But, as we all know, there are those times when there just isn’t time! And that’s for sure when company comes!

Recently, I was in one of my mad dashes to make the house a little more presentable. I had already vacuumed and put the vacuum away and my Bona mop and I were “swiffering” through the house at lightning speed when we came upon a little pile of dirt that I had somehow missed with the vacuum – or someone (who will remain nameless), or this someone’s four-legged best friends,  had been through since I had vacuumed. Either way, I was in a hurry. So, I just mopped through that little bit of dirt, cleaned it up, and spread it around a bit. No one would ever know!

Well, for sure, no one ever knew. But, I knew! And while that little bit of dirt in my house didn’t make too much difference – especially to the one who will remain nameless and his trusty best friends – it made me think about sin in my life. Yes, sin!

How often do I face sin in my life a lot that little pile of dirt? I may try to ignore it and pretend it’s not there. Or I may grow comfortable with it and keep walking around in it. Perhaps I may try to clean it up a bit, hoping to make it a little shinier and prettier. And then again, I may try to hide it so that no one will ever know!

Sin, however, is not something for us to ignore or excuse. It is not something to try to dress up or cover up. Our sin is serious – not something to be laughed about, excused, or covered up. Your sin and my sin cost Jesus His life. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds. For you were like sheep going astray, but you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25).

When we confess and repent of our sins and place our faith in Christ, He makes us new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He takes our sin and God grants His righteousness to us (see Romans 3:22-23). We’re not “like new” or “almost new.” We are new!

And then He equips us with the Holy Spirit to live within us and to help us become more like Jesus. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).  The Spirit guides us (John 16:13), empowers us (Micah 3:8), helps us (John 14:16-26), gives us joy (Romans 14:17), gives discernment (1 Corinthians 2:10-16), bears fruit (Gal. 5:22-23), gives comfort (Acts 9:31), and reveals the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10,13). He continues to make us new!

When I think of all that Christ has done for me, I truly want to please Him. I can no longer be content with my sins. Unlike that little pile of dirt in my floor, I don’t want to ignore it, try to make it a little prettier, or cover it up. I want to talk to God about it, to confess it, and turn away from it so I can keep on becoming more like the One who died for me. The Bible assures us that our God is faithful. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I’m so thankful that for a God who forgives, cleanses, and keeps on making me new!

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 1, 2016

An Abiding Hope

An Abiding Hope

As many of you know, my little two-year-old grandson was recently hospitalized for a couple of days with complications from RSV. Although he was sick, coughing, having difficulty breathing, and overall pretty miserable, my son and daughter-in-law told me that he would repeatedly say “all done” and “down” as he begged to get out of the bed. However, as he lay hooked up to monitors and IV, there was little possibility of his getting down. He may have been “all done” with what was going on, but unfortunately, he wasn’t quite through.

Have you ever felt like my grandson? I know I have. Sometimes, I’ve just been through with whatever battles or decisions I was struggling with and I have felt like screaming “I’m all done!” Yet, just as my grandson had to stay in bed and follow the doctor’s instructions, sometimes we, too, discover that no matter how much we feel “all done,” we’re just not through. Some battles we just have to fight; some struggles we just have to endure; some decisions we just have to face. And we’re not all done until we’ve fought, endured, and faced them.

So what do we do when we are in the midst of our struggles? Paul tells us in Romans 12:12 that we should “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Even in our difficulties we can rejoice – not because of what we’re going through – but because of the One who in whom we trust. As David cried: “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Psalm 39:7). God is our Hope. He made us; He knows everything about us; He loves us with an unfathomable love; and He is with us in all things. As He spoke through the prophet Isaiah: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Our lives are in His hand and our battles ultimately belong to Him. We can rejoice because of the hope we have in the Lord our God. We can be patient in tribulation as we trust our battles to Him. And as we constantly pray and seek Him, we find peace and joy in His Presence.

Yes, sometimes, when we’re in the middle of our struggles, we may feel like we’re “all done.” But in Christ we can have hope – an abiding hope – that blesses us with joy, patience, and peace in His Presence. Wishing you this abiding hope in 2016!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

(Romans 15:13)

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 16, 2015

Oh, How I Need Christmas!

Oh, How I Need Christmas!

I have always loved Christmas! I love decorating the tree, singing Christmas carols, wrapping presents, and doing all the extra cooking and baking. I love seeing the beautiful Christmas lights and the wonder and excitement on a small child’s face. And I never tire of hearing the story of that very first Christmas when Jesus was born.

But this Christmas, there is much turmoil in our nation and world. Protests and demonstrations over a wide range of issues have marked much of 2015 and acts of terrorism have practically the whole world on alert. Even in our own country, terrorist activities have killed, maimed, threatened our freedom, and created much worry and fear.  A recent Meet the Press poll discovered that the number one concern for Americans now is national security and terrorism. Somehow, stringing lights and wrapping presents while listening to reports of 14 people being tragically killed in a workplace gathering, seem strangely out of place. But, even in my own life I’ve discovered that it is in the darkest of times that I really need Christmas.

The troubles and worries we face today may seem far removed from that quiet hillside where the angels appeared to the shepherds with the good news of Jesus’ birth. Yet, historians remind us that the world into which Jesus was born was also an unsettled, fearful place.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, the people of God were under the oppressive rule of Rome. In addition, factions within Israel – the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots – were competing and struggling with one another. Furthermore, it had been over four centuries since the nation of Israel had heard the word of God with Malachi being the last inspired prophet to speak. It was into that world of oppression, struggle, fear, and uncertainty that Jesus was born on that very first Christmas. And on a quiet night in Bethlehem, Mary “brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). Jesus came.

On that first Christmas, Jesus came into a world that was filled with fear and uncertainty and He gave people a reason for hope. Jesus offers us the same hope in the midst of our troubled world today. Christmas reminds us that Jesus came …..

  • To be our Savior

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

  • To be our Light

“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).

  • To give us life

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).

  • To grant us peace with God

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

More than ever, we need Jesus!

Jesus still extends His invitation to all who will receive Him. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

So, as I listen to the news reports of our troubled nation and world, I’ll still put up my tree, string the lights, and celebrate the One who came on that first Christmas, the only One who holds the answer to the troubles in our world. I’ll celebrate Christmas and rejoice as I remember the words that Jesus Himself spoke: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

Oh, how I need Christmas! Maybe, you need Christmas, too!

 

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

(John 1:12-13)

 

 

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