Wednesday, March 30, 2016

“We’re Her Family Now.”

Many years ago, when we were missionaries in the Philippines, we decided to buy a family pet.  Kelly the Dalmatian joined our family, and our children were thrilled to pour their love on this newest family member.   

The first night we had Kelly, she was whimpering.  Our 8 year old son cradled her like a baby and spoke words of comfort to the puppy.    

He said, “We’ll take you home tomorrow to see your mommy.  Don’t be sad.”  Then he buried his face into the puppy’s neck and cuddled with her.  

I heard him say this and simply stated the facts.  “She won’t ever see her mother again.  We’re her family now.”  

The next thing I heard was heart breaking, shoulder shaking sobbing.   I immediately regretted my blunt communication.   To a child who had just been uprooted from all he knew and plopped down in a foreign country—he couldn’t handle anymore simple truth.  

My words were true, but my delivery was abrupt causing another pain.  I went over and sat next to my son and wrapped him up in my arms.  I took a bit more time to communicate the message to his tender heart.  We’re her family now.  We get to love her, play with her and care for her.”

It wasn’t long and that little puppy grew into a great big dog that loved us and was a protector.  

Ephesians 4:29 (ERV) When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you.  

This week, take a moment to think before you speak.  When you do speak the simple truth remember this—we’re family, so take the time to speak in love.  Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Things Aren’t Always As They Appear.

I’m a pretty tough gal—at least that’s what I what to project.  I’m a bit crusty on the outside but have a tender heart.  One thing that always hurts me deeply is when my good intentions are misinterpreted.  My heart is right.  I’m trying to be helpful and bam—I’m judged wrongly.  Ouch!  That's painful! 

I know I’m not alone.  I doubt there is a person alive today that hasn’t at one time or another had their actions misinterpret.  Or possibly YOU have judged another wrongly.  (Not me of course—just trying to help YOU be a better person! )

Here are a few things from the Bible that were not what they seemed:

  • Isaac thought Jacob was Esau and gave him the blessing…but he wasn’t.
  • The Children of Israel thought the Red Sea was impassable…but it wasn’t.
  • Ananias and Sapphira thought they could lie to the Holy Spirit…but they couldn’t
  • David’s brother’s thought he was too weak and small to fight Goliath…but he fought and won!
  •  Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and thought they were rid of him forever…but they weren’t.
  • When Jesus was crucified everyone thought it was over…but it wasn’t.
  • When Mary went to the tomb of Jesus she expected to find him there…but he was risen…just as he said.

Sometimes you may feel your actions are judged or misinterpreted…but God can take what was meant for evil and turn it to good.   

Have you bought into that age old lie that your sin is too great—even unforgiveable?  

Don't believe it!  Cause we know—things are not always as they appear! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Forgiving Me

Easter is only a few weeks away.  This is the time when Christians celebrate our Risen Savior and the empty tomb. 

The truth that stands out to me the most on this holiday is—forgiveness.  From the cross, Jesus says, “Father, forgive them.”   

His innocent life was the supreme sacrifice for the sins of the world from generations past straight through to eternity.  Christ is and forever will be our example of forgiveness.  His death and resurrection cleared the roadblocks between the creator and the created.  

Now, we can freely receive the grace of His forgiveness.  Yet, we the created still struggle to apply forgiveness in our encounters with others.   

Here are the three areas we wrestle with when dealing with forgiveness:
  • You forgiving me
  • Me forgiving you…AND the biggie...
  • Me forgiving me

We all want to be forgiven by someone when we mess up, yet the hardest person to forgive—is ourselves.  I can extend mercy to you, but not to me. 
I look in the mirror and point at 'guilty me' and say, “You should have known better!”  Shoulders slumped I walk away splashing in the pool of self-pity.  Not trusting that the death and resurrection of Jesus covered my imperfections! 

In 1 John 1:9 it says this.  “But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done.” ERV

The next time you are in need of a dose of self-forgiveness, remember this...the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is for YOU.  You don’t have to carry the blame or point a finger of accusation at yourself. you have been forgiven and that includes—forgiving YOU!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I'm Not Letting Go.

Remember that first time you took your little one swimming.  They wrapped their tiny legs and arms tightly around you and held on with all their might.  You entered the pool, lake or ocean walking slowly letting the water creep higher and higher.  At this point, your little one may have cried out in fear tightening their grip.  

 If you’re anything like me, this is when you began to speak reassuring words.  

"It's okay."

“You’re safe."

"I’ve got you."

"I’m not going to let go.    

The last thing we would ever do to a scared child is “let them go.” 

Then all too soon that same child will be doing cannonballs into the pool, drenching you with a wave of water followed by roaring laughter. (boys) 

Somewhere between the scared but trusting child holding on to you ‘part’ and the roaring with laughter ‘part’ is where most of us are in our walk with the Lord.  

We need to be reassured that when we let go and move out into the deep, God will hold us.    

Here are a few scriptures that remind us of that very thing:  
  •   Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? You are  there.  (Psalm 139)
  • for the Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you! (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  • no one can snatch us from the protection of God’s hand. (John 10:28)

Isaiah 41:13 in the Message Bible says this:

When you go out looking for your old adversaries  
you won’t find them—
Not a trace of your old enemies, 
 not even a memory.
That’s right. Because I, your God 
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, 
‘Don’t panic.  I’m right here to help you.’

This week you may have things that are holding you back, things you need to let go of.  It’s time.  Let go and cling to this truth…God’s not letting go of YOU!

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