Saturday, May 26, 2012

Open Wide

Have you ever spent a day watching the activity of a mother bird following the arrival of her latest brood? 

She has one purpose only – to bring good things to the open mouths of her hungry children.  Unable to fend for themselves, her babies wait in expectation for her presence and her provisions.  

And all day long, she feeds them, knowing they will survive and grow only as she supplies their needs.

The Lord made a promise in Psalm 81:10:  “I am the LORD thy God. . . Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”    

When we are convinced He is the Lord our God, we will open our lives wide to Him.   Like a baby bird in dependence on another, we will wait in expectation for what He chooses to bring our way.  When we are trusting Him, we will accept the abundance He brings and let Him fill us to the full.  

A wide mouth in expectation of blessing requires this deep and open trust.

Imagine if a baby bird decided he would rather fend for himself.  
How far would he make it from the nest?   
How soon would he require the sustaining influence of his mother’s care again? 

And I wonder.  .  .

Is this how God views our doing, our working, our going, and our efforts?   
In their place, these are right and good.  But does He see personal attempt alone with no expectation on Him?   

Our efforts are useless apart from His blessing – the kind of blessing He promises to open, trusting mouths.

How wide is your mouth and mine?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What If. . . ?

Of all the questions we ask in life, the “what if” questions seem to be the most frequent.

What if . . . this happens? 
What if . . . that doesn’t happen? 
What if . . . so-and-so doesn’t come through on his promise? 
What if . . . she were to do such-and-such?

What if . . . .? 

“What if” questions don’t usually have answers.  But we tend to ask them anyway.

The disciples did the same thing.  They turned worrying into frantic questioning:
“What shall we eat?” 
“What shall we drink?"
“What shall we wear?”

Jesus taught His followers that to be free from anxiety involves asking a completely different set of questions—questions with simple answers:

·         Which is more important—food and clothing or your body and life itself? 

·         The birds of the air are fed by your heavenly Father.  Are you not much more valuable to Him than they are?

·         Which of you by worrying can add to your height or your life span?

·         If God clothes the momentary grass of the field with beauty, won’t He provide your needs in greater abundance?

The disciples knew the answers to these questions.  

And so do we. 

We are all prone to ask complicated “what if” questions when we should be dwelling on what we already know.   

The simple, unchangeable truth will turn our focus away from our cares to the God who cares. 

Let's not unnecessarily carry them on our own.

Monday, May 14, 2012

10 Times More

Someone once said,
“If you believe one-tenth of what you say you believe you should be 
ten times more excited than you are.”

And I ask myself the question:  When and why do we fall short?

Maybe it’s this .  . .
-          We fail to remember that being called “believers” means we “believe.”
-          We fail to remember what it is we believe.
-          And we fail to give thanks.

We believe that God gave.

And we received.

And when we receive a gift, what should be our natural response?

God has given us numerous gifts for which we can be eternally grateful. 

Here are TEN to start out with. 

Maybe you’d like to write them out in a “Thank You” note and keep them handy
 . . . as a reminder to “give thanks.”

#1 – God’s Son
“Our Savior Jesus Christ. . . gave himself for us.” (Titus 2:14)

God’s Son wasn’t forced into being our Savior.
Jesus Christ gave Himself freely for us.


#2 – Forgiveness of Sins

“. . . that [we] might receive forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 26:18)

Each of us deserves the worst punishment imaginable for the filth of our sins.
Christ took it on Himself. 
That we might receive forgiveness in its place.

#3 – Family Status
“As many as received him, to them gave he the power 
to become the sons of God.” (John 1:12)

We have received the right to be called the children of God.
We have the same family status as God’s own Son.

#4 – Grace
“. . . grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus 
before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

God’s favor when we didn’t deserve it – when we deserved His DIS-favor – was so certain to be ours that He gave it to us long before He brought anything into existence.

#5 – the Holy Spirit
“. . . ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

The Spirit of truth indwells us, fills us, rebukes us, seals us, and produces His fruit through us.

#6 – Peace
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (John 14:27)

Christ left us His peace.
It is ours – available and apart from any peace we could achieve from any other source.

#7 – Wisdom
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God
. . . and it shall be given.” (James 1:5)

When we need wisdom, we can ask for it. 
And He will give it willingly.
Again and again.

#8 – Victory over death
“Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Because Christ rose from the dead, death will not have victory over us.

#9 – An Inheritance
“. . . that they may . . . receive an inheritance.” (Acts 26:18)

This inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, does not fade away, and is reserved in heaven for us.   
We’re “joint heirs” with God’s own Son.

#10 – Everlasting Life
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Since we believe what we say we believe, let’s be more excited, more joyful
 . . . more grateful.

10 times more.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

He's Still Here

Have you ever wondered what happened to the women in the Gospels after they met Christ? 

What happened to the Woman at the Well, after Jesus offered her living water?

What about the Woman caught in adultery?  Jesus forgave her, changed her, and told her to “go and sin no more.”  What did her life look like then?

When the crippled woman stood straight, did she teach others to look up?

What kind of woman did Jairus’ daughter grow up to be?

Did the Syrophoenician woman continue growing in her “great faith”?

We don’t have the answers to these questions.  But we do have one tiny clue.  The book of Acts tells us that when the disciples were gathered in the upper room after Christ ascended, “the women” were there.

Which women?

I think it’s safe to assume that many of the women we read about in the Gospels were there.

They saw Christ, talked with Him, and were touched by Him in a way that completely changed their lives. That’s why we find them in the upper room.

They were still devoted to Him.

The interaction they each enjoyed with Christ was not just a one-time “mountain-top experience” for these women.  Their lives were changed from that moment on.

That’s what makes Christianity different from every other belief system.  When Christ saves us, He transforms us.  He makes us new.  He gives us new life.  

And even more amazing . . . He lives IN us and THROUGH us.

He’s no longer physically present performing miracles, teaching multitudes, and looking at men and women with eyes of compassion.

But He told His disciples before He left that He would still be with them. 
“. . . always, even to the end of the age.”

He’s still here . . . Living in us and through us.

He still looks into the eyes of hurting men and women today.
He still speaks to them, meets their needs, and changes lives.

But He uses us.

Are we devoted to Christ, as these early church women were? 

Is it clear from our lives that we have been transformed?   
Made new?   
Given new life?

Does the hurting world around us see Christ?  

“We have THIS treasure in earthen vessels.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7

(The life of Dorcas was a beautiful example of a woman who touched others with the love and goodness of Christ.  Click Here to listen.)