Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rushing Through Life

It seems our society is always in a rush.  When we are out shopping we want to check out quickly and we want to be served promptly. We don’t want to wait on the phone for customer service. People are also in a rush to get rich, to win big, and to have the biggest house, the nicest car, and the best job. Think about this....Is what you are in pursuit of the same as what God wants in your life? 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." Often, we want everything to happen…RIGHT NOW and even though what we want may not be what God wants for us, we still want it right away without considering the journey God wants to take us on. We often want to skip the steps in life that God has in mind for us and do it NOW! We want to go from being caterpillar eggs to butterflies in an instant!
Caterpillars must go through four stages before their metamorphosis is complete. Starting as eggs, they then hatch as caterpillars. Then they eat...a lot. After some time passes, they become a cocoon before transformation is complete and emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
You can’t rush through life, just like a caterpillar can’t skip stages. You may feel that God is calling you in a certain area, but even caterpillars don’t go from an egg to a butterfly overnight. For some people, waiting for immediate change causes them to grow anxious and weary and then that waiting causes life to seem routine and mundane. Boredom sets in and for some it may seem like God has forgotten them. Some may even become dissatisfied because they feel they haven't accomplished much or it may be a result of trying to pursue something that is a personal goal and not God's.
In order for anything to be birthed, it must go on a journey. If you aren't certain what your purpose (or journey) is, then the best way to prepare is to eat and eat from the Word of God. We need to spend daily time in prayer and worship. We should be preparing and strengthening our spirit so that we can accomplish the things which God has planned for us.
Like the caterpillar, God wants to mold and shape us to prepare us for the plans he has in our lives. Job said in Job 23:10 "For He knows the way that I take, and when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Unfortunately, sometimes there is pain in the process. The journey may be difficult, but God knows and sees exactly where you are. The cocoon may appear to be ugly from the outside, but God can see the inside  and that you are transforming into something beautiful. God may just be waiting for your character to catch up with His plans for you.
It is in the long and difficult process of breaking out of the cocoon that the butterfly becomes strong. If the caterpillar breaks its way out of the cocoon too soon, it won't survive.  The butterfly's wings will not be developed enough to allow him to fly. Just like if we step away from our purpose of loving God and others, our life becomes chaotic. God does not want us to simply arrive to life's destination, He desires our character to be shaped before we are to be successful in it.
You may also be wondering... "When is it going to happen?" Think about this.....Is it possible that you haven't yet completed your stages of metamorphosis? If you're having trouble waiting for the moment that you reach God's calling, your vision, or your dreams, just remember.... "He has made everything beautiful in HIS time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Rest of the Story

Even as a kid, I was so fascinated by the stories told by the radio broadcaster Paul Harvey. He took stories about people and ideas and told them in a way that captured the attention of many Americans. People tuned in every day because they knew they would end up either being inspired or entertained. And at the end of his broadcast, Mr. Harvey would reveal the ah-ha moment...the moral....or "The Rest of the Story".

As you read through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you notice that when Jesus teachings were recorded He spoke in stories, or parables, about the truth in God. Many who followed Him during those days were very inspired by His teachings, but there were some people that didn't understand what He was saying and why he used parables. They didn't understand why he would be direct sometimes, but other times, he would teach using stories. Why didn't He just say what He meant? At one point, his disciples asked him, "Why do you speak in parables?" (Matthew 13:10)

Jesus answered, "The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. This is why I speak to them in parables, Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand"(vs 11-13)

Jesus is not withholding the truth to anyone, but he knows that some people can understand spiritual truth and some do not. Through the use of parables, Jesus is making a comment on the spiritual condition of people. Parables contain graphic analogies, often contain strong symbolism and interesting characters, and are easier to remember. But there are some people that simply do not understand the teachings of Jesus because their hearts aren't open to the spiritual truth. Some have eyes to see and ears to hear; others do not.

Do you ever read through the bible and think to yourself, I just don't understand what this means?! The same goes today as it did back then.  The Holy Spirit opens eyes to the light of the truth and the ears to the words of eternal life. But there are some people that lack the connection to the Holy Spirit and so cannot discern the meaning of scripture. Is your heart open to hear and understand God's word? Do you pray that God will reveal His truth through His word before you start reading? God promises that if we seek Him, He will reveal Himself to us.

Pray that God will open the hearts of people who seek the truth and to understand the message God has through His word.

After three months of being off the air in 2001 due to losing his voice, Mr. Harvey stated that God healed his voice one last time so that he was able to address the country and help put 9/11 in perspective and revive the resiliency of people through faith. And still today, many people remember his stories and the footprint he left on America.  And now you know THE REST OF THE STORY!

Amanda Wallace...........Good Day!

Listen to "The Man and The Birds" short story by Paul Harvey -

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Love Letter from Jesus

My beloved sons and daughters,

Oh, how I love you! You who long to know me, to see me, to encounter my love, I am here! Do you not see?

When you experience the adoration and joy holding a newborn baby, that is me! When you smell the clean air after a cool rain and feel the warm breeze touching your face, it is me! That day you were driving down the road and a thought of something peaceful washed over you, that was me! When you walked outside and you felt the sun on your face. That was me! When you were in the woods on that cool crisp morning, listening to nothing but the sounds of the natural earth, I was whispering to you.
There have been days I tried to get your attention, but you were busy. You had work to do, places to go, and kids to take to ball games. At night, when you are so tired from the demands of your day, I wish you would talk to me and let me be part of it.

 I am always there for you. When you are tired, I will give you rest. When you are sad, I am there holding your hand. When you are lonely, I am sitting with you. When you are scared and need advice, I will be your counselor. Talk to me. Those days when you feel rejected, betrayed, and broken hearted, talk to me. My love for you will never fail! I don't just love you when you are at your best. My love is constant.

Believe in me, trust in me and know that I love you! I love you so much that I hung on the cross at Calvary. I died for you, and if you believe in Me you will have everlasting life (John 3:16). When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you. Your troubles will not overwhelm you. The hard trials that will come will not hurt you. (Isaiah 43:2).

I think about you all of the time and I long to sit and pour out my very soul to you. I want to build a relationship with you. I want to be the one who meets all of your needs. I will be waiting to hear from you.

All my heart and unconditional love,

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Committed or Desperate?

I was watching a bible study video on YouTube yesterday and a question was posed, "Are you a committed christian or a desperate christian?"

I thought about that and I wondered what the difference might be and then today, after our message at church this morning on James 5, I think God revealed an answer.

In James 5:7-12, James tells us to be patient until the Lord's coming. He says that we need to be patient in our sufferings, trials, tribulations, and endure. We learned this morning about patience and were provided examples, such as the patience of Job. If you look back on the story of Job you will remember how much Job went through, and although he suffered much, he never waivered in his faith. He never denounced God although he lost everything, his wealth, his family, and his health.

How was it that Job was able to endure all of this suffering? Job had a strong faith and trust in God. His faith was strong enough to withstand anything he came up against. I thought about this today and wondered, if we have a committed relationship with God, is it enough? We may commit to reading the bible, to going to church, or to pray daily, but can just being committed to doing these things strengthen our faith? I wondered... Is being committed enough? Does just being committed to doing these things mean that we will put all our trust in God and relenquish control to Him when we face times of trouble?

David expressed a desperation for seeking God in Psalms 63. He thirsts for God and he expresses how his whole being belongs to God. Paul also expressed his desperation to experience the same suffering Jesus endured just so he can experience what Jesus experienced. These two men were so strong in their faith that they were able to endure anything.

Do we yearn for God? Are you desperate to know Him and have a relationship with Him? Does that yearning allow you to grow in your faith enough that you will be able to withstand suffering of this world? Our desperation to seek God and His grace will provide the motivation we need to commit ourselves to seeking His will and know His word so that when the time comes for suffering, trials or tribulations, we will have the strength in our faith enough to endure and live in the hope of Christ's return.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

This Just In - Excercise Works!

Just like your physical muscles require excercise to achieve maximum strength, your spirit requires exercise to be as strong as it can be. In order to achieve that maximum level of joy and peace in our life we need to excercise our spiritual health.

Think about what you have to do to be fit. You make lifestyle changes. You change your eating habits. You would typically increase your physical activity, and you might stop doing the things that are unhealthy like smoking, or doing something else that isn't healthy for your body.

Increasing our spiritual health can be achieved in the same way! We need to stop doing the things that are bad for our spiritual health. It could be guarding what we watch on TV, what we say, how we react to people or things that we worry about or don't agree.

Isaiah 40:31 says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

The next step would be to feed ourself what is important and healthy. We need to fill up on God's Word! His word is the nutrition our spirit needs to strengthen our spirit and for us to produce the fruits that come with a healthy spirit! Next we need to exercise in worship of God. Just like if we don't lift enough weights or we only workout once per week (like some worship only once per week) we don't see the full benefit. We need to worship and praise God on a daily basis! Spending time daily in prayer, the word, and in constant worship will strengthen your spirit to maximum capacity!!

Psalm 29:11 - "The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace."
2 Samuel 22:33 - "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

Blessed in Christ,