Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This is a Boo-Free Zone!


Early in my marriage, my husband and I came to an understanding about scaring each other. We agreed that we would not do that! 

However, on a few rare occasions while rounding a corner, I may have done the unthinkable and startled the 'big guy' with a "Boo!" 

He didn't like it--not one little bit!

He really hates...and I mean HATES to be scared and especially with a "Boo!"  

When this happens, either by mistake or...possibly premeditated. (I admit nothing!)  His arms will flail about in the air as he's yell out, "Jesus!"  It is kinda funny.

Fear!  We all battle this foe in some form. Fear will rob us of our peace and joy. It will cause us to settle for less than God's best and it will keep us from following the plans God has for our lives.

The phrase “fear not” is used more than 80 times in the Bible. God is driving home an important fact that the enemy will use fear to pull our focus away from the peace that comes through Christ--if we are not on guard.  Fear will always distract us from the plans and purposes the Lord has for our lives.  
Picture the enemy (fear) waiting around every corner of our lives with a "Boo!" 

There is an amazing and powerful way to combat fear.  I learned it from the example of Jesus when he resisted Satan's attacks in the desert. (Matthew 4)  The Sword of the Spirit is the only defensive weapon God gives the Believer.  When fear tries to invade my life, I meditate on and speak out the Word of God.

 Isaiah 43:1-5 instructions us to 'Fear Not,' as well as, giving us the knowledge that we are God’s prized possessions. Naturally, when I shift my focus from fear to the Lord's amazing love for me--I have to ask the same question the Psalmist asked...Whom then shall I fear?  

…“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you…
Fear not, for I am with you…

Today is Halloween.  It's the day people like to scare each other with a, "Boo!" And it's also the perfect day to be reminded that whatever fear you may be battling—be it—a health crisis, family problem, financial struggle, feeling alone, worried about the future--STOP!  

Don't be distracted by the "Boo!" but focus on the power of a God who has calls you by name, and commands the "Boo!" to flee, go, be gone from you.

Through the power of the Lord, who we love and serve, may each of our hearts and minds be Boo-free zones!




Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Arise

Not too long ago, I had a bad night's sleep.  Actually, that happens two or three times a week, then when morning rolls around, I'm less than excited to get up.  

On one of these mornings, I woke up to the sound of my bedroom door opening slightly and then closing.  Each time the door opened, the daylight from the other room would creep into my dark room and illuminate it.  There would be a slight pause and then the door would close again.   

I quickly realized my granddaughter was anxiously anticipating my getting up.  It was Saturday morning, and she was excited to spend some time with me.  As I drug myself out of the bed, it was one of those moments where you know the Lord is speaking to you.  

The word "Arise" came into my mind and a song I sang as a young adult came flooding into my heart.

Arise, shine for your light is come
Arise, shine for your light is come
And the glory of the Lord is risen
The glory of the Lord is risen
Upon me!

Do you remember?  

It comes from the verse in Isaiah 60:1 that says, Arise, my people!  Let your light shine for all the nations to see!  For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you. (TLB)

My granddaughter was excited and anxious for me to arise and become a part of her day and in Isaiah the Lord is telling us to Arise, shine.  Let the world see your light.  The light that you shine may be the only hope those around you will see.  We must be an example to the nations.  The glorious light of the Lord is streaming from you.  

Arise!




Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I Go

My 2 year old grandson who lives with us, says these two words no less than 20 times a day.  


"I go?"  

When he sees me first thing in the morning, he says, "I go?"  When I get home from work, he's there to meet me with these words, "I go?"  When I open the bathroom door, he's waiting with expectation in his voice as he says, "I go?"  

These two words are his greeting of choice whenever he sees me.  

It's a bit sad to listen to his voice become more desperate as he sees everyone hurrying about each morning to rush out the door for work or school.  He will stand his ground with so much hope in his voice, as he calls out to those around him, "I go?" 

My grandson's relentless pleas to 'go' got me thinking about my own desire to 'go.' The comforts of this life can be alluring to the Believer, but God clearly told us that this world is not our home.  We are simply passing through.  This is just a pit stop before eternity.  However, what we do in this life, will have eternal consequences.

Which brings me to another 'Go.' 

This is a God instructed 'go.'   He said, 

"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."  
Mark 16:15 (NKJV)

And there it is...God's 'go.'    

When I hear my grandson say, "I go?"  I'm usually in a hurry to leave or just arriving home from a long day.  I want to hide when I see his hopeful face and hear his sweet little voice.  But God is not like me,  God isn't hiding from us nor running away.  He's waiting, longing, hoping, trusting that He will finally hear the answer to these questions from Romans 10:14-15.
  • But how can people call on him if they have not believed in him?
  • How can they believe in him if they have not heard his message?
  • How can they hear if no one tells the Good News
  • How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them?
It doesn't have to be an "I Go" to a far away place.  It could simply be sharing with the person in line at the grocery store or the person next to you on the plane or maybe someone at work.

Who will say, "I GO?"






Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wash Your Hands--People!

It's cold and flu season--AGAIN.  I'm always on the fence about those pesty flu shots.  Should I or shouldn't I?  My doctor tells me it's a no brainier, and I should absolutely do it.  Then I read an article on a reputable medical website that tells me, I'm sure to contract some horrible life altering disease if I do. 

What's a person to do to stay healthy?  I guess I could beef-up my hand washing. 

Because I really hate being sick!   

I've noticed in my life that when I'm healthy and get sick, I can kick that sickness much faster than when I'm already sick, rundown and physically depleted.  When I'm already sick, it seems I attract more sickness.  It could take 6-weeks to shake a bad cough when this happens.  

Ugh!  I really hate being sick.  And the crazy thing about sick people is, they can easily make other people sick too.  Wash your hands--people!

When we are spiritually sick, rundown and depleted, it can be a lot like the sickness each of us face physically.  Think about a church that is spiritually healthy.  When a little germ (sin) tries to infect that Body, those Believers will fight it off in short order by hitting their knees and getting things cleaned up and taken care of.  But, take a church that is spiritually on life-support and they face the same issue--YIKES!  Things will get bad fast.  

I really hate it when I'm spiritually sick.  Yeah, I've been there.  Once I even wrote in my journal that spiritually I was flat lining.   (For you none-medical people that means, I felt spiritually dead--no pulse.)  I'm happy to say, I don't make a habit of lingering in those places. Still, I'd be lying to say that I've never been there.  I have.  When I'm in a place like this, I have choices to make.  I can pull other people into my sickness, or I can wash my hands and stop spreading the germs.

In the 1990's, there was a song we sang in the Philippines that resonated in my spirit.  It was a direct quote from the book of Psalm.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart...
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation...  
Psalm 24:3-5

Physically speaking, clean hands are a must to remain healthy.  And the same is true spiritually.  A good place to begin to get those hands clean and your spiritual body healthy is in Proverbs 6:16-19.  God gives us a list of things He hates.     

These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

I really hate being sick, so, I'm gonna go wash my hands now!













Wednesday, October 3, 2018

On Guard



Not too long ago, I took two of my grand-kids to the store.  It was four stores to be exact, and they were troopers.  It only cost me two bags of sour gummy worms.  

When I shop alone I only have one thing in mind--getting the items I need and getting out of the store as quickly as possible.  However, when I take any of my grandchildren--anywhere, my mind is always occupied with protecting those babies from harm.  I am on guard at all times with that one purpose in mind.  Nothing is gonna happen to them on my watch.  NOTHING!

Moving from the car to the parking area to the store, I'm constantly taking mental note where they are at all times.  I have been given a job to keep them safe, and there is no way I'm going to leave my post or shirk my duty.  

I've got this.   

There is a story in the Old Testament that my husband has preached on many times.  It's about a little known Bible character who understood protecting what was entrusted to you.  This Bible character made a stand and defended a bean field against the Philistines.  This little know person from the Bible is Shammah.

In 2 Samuel 23:11-12 (NET) the story goes like this...
Next in command was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines assembled at Lehi, where there happened to be an area of a field that was full of lentils, the army retreated before the Philistines. But he made a stand in the middle of that area.  He defended it and defeated the Philistines; the Lord gave them a great victory.

Sometimes it is difficult to go against the masses.  It’s difficult to position yourself in the center of the bean field—alone.  It’s difficult to protect what the Lord has entrusted to your care, but when we are obedient and under His direction and under the guidance of His hand--God will give the victory.

 So your mind may be racing right now trying to see how this might apply to your life today…maybe this verse will help you bring it into perspective. 

In John 10:10 in the (NLT) version of the Bible it says, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

Our enemy, Satan, is actually unable to steal what we give to the Lord to protect.  He is not able to kill what we partner with God to defend.  He is powerless to destroy that ‘bean field’ if we are on guard.  

The only power Satan has is what we give him.  He will only take what we no longer protect.

Could you imagine releasing someone you love to harm's way?   

If you are anything like me, your response would be… "Nope.  That's not gonna happen on my watch.  Not while I'm on guard." 

Now think about the things in your life that the enemy is trying to steal, kill or destroy and place your feet firmly in the 'bean field,' take your stand and watch God bring the victory.  

On guard. 




It Takes Time

Years ago, I was counseling kids camp and about midway through the week, I received a phone call from my husband.  He informed me that o...