Sunday, March 30, 2008

Psalms 62

Psalms 62: 5 - 8

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Be careful what you ask for ...

I am scheduled for surgery on my left hand on Monday. I have been having some second thoughts about it this week. I’ve been wondering if it is really the right thing to do. Is it really bad enough to need surgery? I’ve been warned that this is a particularly painful surgery – not something I am looking forward to. I’ve been praying the last couple of days for wisdom in this situation. I just wanted to be sure I made the right decision. So, today my hand hurt pretty badly all day. I sat in my office and thought about it and I was reminded what I had asked God for. I had asked for Him to make me sure that I was making the right decision. I do not believe that God caused my hand to hurt. I do believe He allowed it to hurt more today, in order to answer my prayer and give me the “push” I needed to go through with the surgery. I know God loves me and does not want me to suffer but I also believe that he uses painful times in our lives to point us to Himself and His grace. I am thankful for the reassurance that I am doing the right thing. I am confident that He is able to get me through. Sometimes God uses suffering to teach His children patience. Sometimes it is to make us stronger. And yet other times, it is so we can help someone else in a similar situation later in life. It's always a blessing to know someone who has gone through the same troubles that you are going through, for they usually have some helpful words of comfort and wisdom.

God always knows what is best, and He never makes a mistake. David said, "It was good for me to be afflicted; so that I might learn your decrees." (Psalms 119:71) The Apostle Paul, said, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians. 4:13)

So, be careful what you ask for… you just might get it.

I'm thankful ...

I have so much to be thankful for but sometimes I forget to thank God for all of it. I have everything I need. No, not everything I want, but things don’t make you happy anyway. I am thankful that God is a promise keeper. I can trust Him to do everything He has promised. I am thankful that God takes care of all my needs. (Matthew 6:26) I am thankful that God is so good to me. I am thankful for the gift of Jesus. (Luke 2:10-11) I am thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26). I am thankful for the gift of salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9) I am thankful for victory over death. (I Cor 15:55-57) I am thankful for Christian friends. (Col 1:3)

I am thankful and content because God is in charge and He is taking care of me. This same God who cares for me will give me the strength I need to get through any circumstance. He will give me peace in my spirit. He will stand by me and never leave me or forsake me.

Psalm 100:4-5 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

I Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

When the going gets tough

Faith is easy when things are going your way. It is when things get tough that you find out what your faith is built on. That reminds me of the song, My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”

I’m not a pastor, a theologian, or a Bible scholar but I know in whom I have placed my faith. I have a personal relationship with the living God. I trust Him completely to know what is best for me. I can survive any storm in my life if I keep my eyes on Jesus. I stand on Jesus – my solid rock.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Meaning of Easter

The meaning of Easter has nothing to do with chocolate or rabbits. To understand the meaning of Easter, start with a look at the Old Testament. The priests would sacrifice a bull, goat, or spotless lamb (without any blemishes) as a sin offering for the people. The blood would make atonement for (forgive) their sins. When Jesus came, he represented the sacrificial lamb. When he died on the cross, it was to take away the sins of the world. He was the final sacrifice; no more were necessary. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin - once and for all; for all the sins of the world. It’s his blood that cleanses us. The sin of the world was on Him when he died, but he was without sin – he was blameless. Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God and that comes from this idea. He was bodily resurrected on the third day. He appeared to many people for a period of forty days, then He ascended to Heaven.

The true meaning of Easter is the backbone of the Christian faith. If there was no resurrection, then our hope of eternal life in heaven is in vain.

Be sure to take the time to read the Easter story this year. You can find it in Matthew 27 and 28. If you don’t have a Bible, you can read it online at

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hard Day

I'm having a hard day today. One of those you don't want to repeat again very soon. The only thing that keeps going through my head is:

Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.

That's all I need to know.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Be Still and Know

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

Take time to think about what God can do and what you cannot do.

Allow yourself to be still. Recognize that God is in control. No matter what is going on in your life God knows about it and He is in control. So, “chill out”. Allow God’s peace to comfort your heart and calm your spirit.

This isn’t a choice; it is a command from God. Look at how God has taken care of his people in the past and know that he will take care of you. Romans 15:4 says that everything that was written in the past was written to teach us; it is to give us endurance, encouragement, and hope when times are tough. So read the Word and take heart. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

As things go wrong all around you, know that God is in control. Don’t “flinch” in your faith, stand firm and still – not because you are confident in yourself but because your confidence comes from what you know about God.

It is “God’s past” that provides calm for “our future.” Know that he is God! Know it, not merely intellectually, but practically, spiritually, and emotionally. He is your God. He is the ruler of kingdoms of this earth and the all-powerful Creator of the universe.

When the world is crumbling around you, be still. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear,” (Psalm 46:1-2a).

Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

I Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grace - is it that easy?

Grace is a term that is easier to talk about than to understand and experience. Grace is usually defined as unmerited favor; something you get that you don't deserve. Do I really understand and apply that to my life?

It's not hard to tell if you understand the grace of God. Do you live in a state of fear and discouragement? Do you wonder if you are living up to God's standards? Do you think God's forgiveness is enough for all your sins? Do you think grace is good news for the non-Christian but rarely think about it since you were saved? Are you tempted to be proud of your successes but discouraged by your failures? Both of these are signs that you are not depending on the grace of God to see you through.

God's grace is amazing. He has given it fully and freely. He has forgiven all our sins - past, present, and future through Jesus' death on the cross. His grace was extended to us before we even chose to accept him. God's grace gives us the strength to turn from sin and walk in righteousness (Titus 2:11 - 14) God's grace enables us to persevere through this life. (1 Cor 1:4-9).

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Titus 2:11 – 12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I am a sheep

Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want"

Because the Lord is my shepherd, I do not lack anything. He satisfies me and all my needs. That is the place God wants to bring me to. He wants me to be completely dependent on Him, to need Him alone. There really are only two options. The Lord is my shepherd, then I shall not want; if I am in want, then the Lord is not my shepherd.

The hard part for me is to determine what my real needs are. He never promised to meet all my wants. I also need to learn contentment. That is not something that comes naturally or easily. Paul says in Philippians that he has learned to be content which seems to indicate that it was a process. It’s not always easy to be satisfied.

I need to be satisfied that God is in charge and that He will lead me and protect me. Going back to Psalm 23:1 - I am the sheep in this analogy. Sheep are dumb, timid, defenseless, helpless, etc....... I don't like being compared with such a miserable creature. But if I am really honest, I know it is true. I lack wisdom and strength. I have the tendency to want to go my own way and do my own thing. I need my shepherd.

Are you a sheep? The shepherd is waiting to lead and protect you, too.

Philippians 4:11 – “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Curve Ball

Life sometimes throws you a curve ball. You are expecting a fast ball down the middle, you think you know what is going to happen next and then all of a sudden a big sweeping curve comes and it knocks you totally off your feet. That's about how I feel today.

I fell down a set of steps (at work) in July 2006 and injured my wrist. It took months of doctor appointments and referrals and insurance stuff to finally end up at a hand specialist. I had multiple X-rays and then finally an MRI which revealed a torn ligament and torn cartilage in my left wrist. I had surgery in December of 2006. I recovered and faithfully went to rehab through May of 2007. Then I started rehab on my own and just had some final check-ups at the doctor's office. Fall of 2007 it was still bothering me. December 2007 I got a cortisone shot for the pain. Now, March 4, 2008, I got my second cortisone shot and the news that I need a second surgery. That was my curve ball. I was not expecting to do this again. However, an arthritic spur had formed since the first surgery and it was now interfering with some of the tendons. All I know is it hurts if I use it too long at one time. Surgery is scheduled for March 31.

How we handle the curve balls in life tells a lot about who we are. I am frustrated but not to the point of despair. I am upset, no one wants surgery, but I know God knows what is best. I am grateful for God's grace and mercy. I see these things in my life every day and I often wonder, "Why me?" So, today I am asking that question as I am frustrated. One of the things I have learned is that it is OK to let God know exactly how you feel. He really already knows it anyway. I'm just being honest with Him. I know that He wants me to cry out to Him. He wants to know what I am feeling. He wants me to trust Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I know that He has promised to never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5) God doesn't promise an easy life for the believer but he has promised to go through it with us. I am in the palm of His hand and he will take care of me and all my “curve balls.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”