Wednesday, June 28, 2017

When Hope Seems Gone


Have you ever met someone who's hope seems gone?  

When people are in despair often your words go unheard.  

This year marks 40-years of ministry for my husband and I.  Over the course of these years we have ministered to a number of people who have lost hope.  For some it lasted only for a short time, but for others it was days, weeks or years.

I am a person of faith who has devoted my life to ministry, yet I too have tiptoed around the field of hopelessness.  Even the homes of those in ministry will be touched with sickness, discouragement, death, bad choices, personal struggles, family issues and times when it seems nothing goes right.  

When Hope Seems Gone, we have an abundance of questions, but what we want are answers.    

In times like these, we may feel ready to buckle under the weight of the unanswered questions, but Jesus didn't.  In fact, Biblegatyeway.com states that Jesus asked 307 questions in the Gospels, but HE only answered 183 of those questions.  

Here's a sample of some of His questions:
  • If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? 
  • Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 
  • Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 
  • What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? 
Each of these questions make a powerful statement...no answer necessary.  

Recently, I came across another question in the Bible.  It was in Romans 8:31 this verse says,  "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Next time you feel like hope has vanished from your life try adding one more question to the pile and be encouraged not by an answer but by a question.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" 






Wednesday, June 21, 2017

You Promised!

The child said in a demanding voice.  
"You Promised!" 

What parent hasn't heard those words and that tone.  

Have you ever noticed how kids remember certain promises and fail to realize there is a condition attached to the promise?  

A parent says something like this, "We'll stop and have ice cream, if you behave in the store."

Parents know that promise means bad behavior equals no ice cream.  While children lock in on the ice cream and forget the IF that is attached to the promise.

For example in John 8:31(TLB) It says, ...Jesus said to them, “You are truly my disciples if you live as I tell you to..."

We hear...Awesome...we're disciples of Christ, but forget the part about living as He tells us to.  

Maybe kids aren't the only ones who want to ignore the "IF" requirement.  

Promises that contain an “If” require some form of obedience before we can expect the benefits of the promise.  The "if" makes the promise conditional on us. 

Before you yell at God, "You Promised!"  Ask yourself, Have I followed through with the "If?"  

In Genesis 4:7 we see God the Father warning a son about to make a very bad choice.  He throws out some pretty strong "IFs."  

"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

We all know how the story of Cain ends.  He doesn’t do what is right and he throws open the door to sin.  Just as the verse says, it desires to have you...BUT YOU MUST RULE OVER IT.

Are we so different than a demanding child?  But... "You Promised!" 

I think not.  

We tend to celebrate God’s promises of blessing and sideline his promises of chastisement, though both point to a faithful God.

His promises are true and so are His...IF's.




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I'm not Satisfied!

Confession:  I'm a dieter.  I think I've tried them all.  Here's just a sampling of my past fails!  Maybe you will identify with some of these...
  • Low carbs with high protein.    Hello, kidney stones!  
  • Measuring all foods to the exact amount. Boring and starving! 
  • The Cabbage Soup Diet...Don't do it.  Things get ugly fast.
  • The balanced food group diet.  Okay, this is healthy but where's the cake?  There must be cake!
  • And once I did that diet where you only eat when you're hungry and stop when you’re full.  Insert photo of me doubled over in laughter!   I gained weight on this one.  It just seems obvious to me that someone struggling with their weight doesn't pay attention to "full"..just say'n.   
All these diets have one thing in common...they didn't seem to truly satisfy.  They left me wanting more.  For the rest of my life I'll probably have a front row seat on the diet roller coaster.   It's the ride where you're never satisfied.  

Dieting isn't the only thing in life that doesn't satisfy.  Here are a few other things that give a false sense of satisfaction; appearance, education, friendships, drugs, sexual sin, emotional highs and careers.  When you look for fulfillment in these things you will find yourself disappointed.  

"I'm not Satisfied!" Is an all to familiar phrase these days, and it reminds me of a song from my youth.    

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul,
And only He can change your heart and make you whole.
He'll give you peace you never knew,
(Sweet), love and joy and heaven too,
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul!

Psalm 107:9 (NKJV) just happens to agrees with the song above…

"For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness."

 I'm not Satisfied, is...out of business when we apply this verse to our hungry souls.    

I'm giving up my seat on the “never truly satisfied” roller coaster and taking a seat with Jesus.  In HIM, I am truly satisfied!    

"All Aboard!"


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Selective Hearing

When our second son was little, my husband and I swore he had hearing loss...

...He didn't.

He had selective hearing and our shouts and occasional screams seemed to go unheard.

I still have vivid memories of my six year old zooming by on his bike heading for the road.   I can recall with ease the image of  my boy pedaling his bike with determination.  He was leaning forward gripping the handle bars, head down like the mean-neighbor-lady from the Wizard of Oz.  (Can you hear the music?  You're humming it aren't you!)

This little bike episode was not the only dangerous situations one of my children faced.  Throughout their young lives, I shouted my warning, "STOP!"  Sometimes they heard me and sometimes they didn't.

I know of another parent who shouts His warnings.  Let's call him God the Father.  His words sound something like this... "I tried to warn her.  I gave her every opportunity.  Still, she acted like she didn't hear a word I said, and she did just as she pleased."  Maybe I took some liberty with what God might say...or did I?

In Acts 7:51 (NKJV)  through the writer of Acts, God the Father tells us this.  You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you."

God certainly sounds like a parent dealing with children who have selective hearing, and He knows how to call out those children for bad behavior too.

Spiritually speaking, I can identify with my selective hearing son.  I have all the tools at my disposal to be a good listener.    I have a loving parent who has laid out the rules with clarity and placed them in my hands--The Bible.

Yet, I jump on my bike with determination.  With my head down, I pedal like crazy towards emanate danger.  God's Word is yelling to me like a caring parent, "Stop!"  Still I petal on ignoring my Father's warnings because my spiritual ears have "Selective Hearing."

We may have "Selective Hearing" but I'm thankful God doesn't.  

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy. 
 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
Psalm 61:1-4 (NKJV)

 

 

The Winning Team

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