Archive | September 2013

Praise and Adoration – Ephesians 1:1-5

Your will is always good and pleasing and perfect.  You know best.  You never make a mistake.  You know exactly what You’re doing and why and how it all fits together.  You are trustworthy.  I can count on You.  You will never let me down.  It’s so good to finally have Someone I can trust completely!

No one is as faithful as You are!  It doesn’t matter what I do, You are faithful to forgive and not hold it against me.  I’m finally out of the doghouse and know it for sure!  It doesn’t matter how often I hurt You or disappoint You, You are faithful to wait for my return.  You never give up on me.  No person on earth is as faithful as You are!

You grant me grace and peace.  You are so generous!  You want the very best for me.  Your intention wasn’t for me to be miserable here on earth, but to have grace and peace.  Actually Your intention was for me to have perfection, and even though I  ruin Your perfection, You still want me to have grace and peace even in the midst of the messes I  create.  You want me to know the rejoicing that grace is based on and the joy that accompanies it.  You want me to have the peace and well-being that complete trust in You brings.  You are so good to me!

I bless You as the God of my Lord Jesus Christ.  I bless You as the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ.  My human mind has difficulty fathoming the depths of the relationship between and amongst You and Jesus and Your Spirit, but I can trust that one day it will be made clear.  Still, I expect I will need eternity to fathom Your depths!  At last I have something in my mind, heart, spirit and soul that isn’t shallow but has depth and meaning – You!

You bless me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.  You are so generous!  I have no idea how abundant You are, for I am lucky if I scratch the surface or get a fleeting glimpse of a blessing or two.  How different my life would be if I accessed more of Your spiritual blessings!  You spoil me rotten!

You chose me in Jesus before the foundation of the world, before You created a single cell.  You knew I would respond to You and accept Your gift of salvation and so You made sure I would not be overlooked or left out.  It’s so good to not be left out any more!  Especially for the most important event of all – eternity in heaven with You! 

You are holy.  You are set apart in Your holiness.  You are full of awe, pure, perfect.  No person on earth has ever or will ever even come close to You.  You are blameless.  I am the exact opposite of You, and yet, because of the blood of Jesus that cleanses me, You allow me to be considered holy and blameless and stand before You as one of You.

In love, You planned for me to be adopted into Your family through Jesus Christ.  You have so much love!  No one loves me like You do!  Your love made sure to do whatever it took to get me adopted.  You spared no expense – You gave Your Son’s life as my adoption fee!  No one on earth has ever wanted me that much!

You have nothing but kind intentions for me.  You mean me no harm, but bring good out of every event and circumstance that I consider harmful.  My vision is so limited, I see only the immediate, but You see how everything in my life fits together for eternity.  You make sure that nothing goes to waste, but that everything that I’ve gone through will be used many times over to help others and bring glory to Your name.

You freely bestow grace on me.  Your grace costs me nothing, but cost Jesus His life and You great pain.  Yet, just as there is great joy at the end of childbirth, You know great joy at my acceptance of Your gifts.  You didn’t have to open heaven up to everyone, but You did.  You could have kept it just for Yourself and Your angels, but You wanted to share heaven with everyone and so You made it easy for me – all I had to do was confess, repent and accept the death of Your Son as payment for my sins.  No one on earth would ever be so free with what cost so much! 

Jesus is Your Beloved, and You want me to be Your Beloved as well.  You want more than just my entrance into heaven; You want an intimate relationship with me now.  I can never thank You enough for what You’ve done for me, want to do for me and will do for me!

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Gideon is Chosen to be a Judge

In Judges 6:11-23, God told Gideon that he (Gideon) would rescue Israel from Midian with the strength he had.  Gideon did need to do anything to get stronger – he already had all the strength he needed for what he had to do.  God was sending Gideon.  When Gideon asked God how he would defeat Midian, God replied that He would be with him.

 God has allowed and arranged every circumstance and situation in our lives.  He has tailored them for us and He has shaped us for them.  God has endowed us with the strength we need for whatever we’re facing, whatever we have to deal with. We can handle it.  We can get through it.  We can accomplish whatever it is He has sent us to do.

The secret is that God is with us.  Our strength comes from God’s strength.  God’s strength becomes our strength.  God has told us that He will never, no never abandon or leave us (Hebrews 13:5).  Jesus promised that He would be with us always, even until the end of time (Matthew 28:20).  They sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us – a Helper who will be with us forever (John 14:16).  God is at our right hand and we shall not be shaken or moved (Psalm 16:8).  We just have to do all we can do and stand firm! (Ephesians 6:13).

Buster Brown & the Baby Bunny

It was a warm and pleasant Sunday afternoon and I was mowing.  As usual, Buster Brown was close by.  I was going around the evergreen closest to the house when I heard the terrified squeaks of a baby bunny (he’s picked up baby bunnies before).  I knew exactly where to look – in Buster Brown’s mouth and I could see a part of the poor little thing.  I could hear all of it – crying out for all it was worth, with every fiber of its little being.  I had Buster Brown by the collar and since this wasn’t the first time I tried to teach him about catch and release, I knew exactly what to do.  One well-placed thump on the top of his head and a wet, skinny, baby bunny was trembling in the dirt.  As I started off to the back door with Buster Brown firmly in tow, I saw the mama rabbit dash by on the other side of the fence.  When I got back, the baby bunny was gone, but the lessons about how God works in my life were just beginning.

 There are times when we’re safe and secure in our little nest, but curious about the outside world and we stick our nose out a little too far to see what’s out there.  There are times when we’re safe and secure in our little nest, minding our own business and the enemy reaches in and grabs us.  How frightening it is to be picked up and carried off by another creature.  How frightening it is to be so high off the ground.

 We have to make sure we’re not paralyzed by fear.  We have to cry out with every fiber of our being.  It’s our only chance of getting help.  Our Abba is close by and ready to help.  God’s first thought is to rush to the aid of His little one.  God responds to the cries of His little ones even more than a mother does.  His heart stops at our first cry and breaks with our discomfort, fear and pain.  He rushes to our aid, sending the Holy Spirit or a fellow saint to thump the enemy on the head with the Word of God and make him drop us.  Unhindered by fear, unimpeded by lack of power, God is there doing whatever needs to be done as soon as it needs to be done.  He knows the best way to counter attack and rescue us.  He scoops us up and takes us back to the nest, comforting, healing, and scolding if necessary.  Then He stays with us until we finally fall back to sleep, once again safe and secure in His arms.  

Believing the Evidence?

“The men believed the evidence they were shown, but they did not ask Yahweh about it.” (Joshua 9:14; God’s Word/Names of God Bible)

The Gibeonites came up with a plan to spare their lives and property. They appeared with old bread, splitting wineskins and worn out clothes and sandals. The evidence they presented matched their story – that they had come from a far-off country to make a treaty. The leaders of Israel believed the evidence they were shown, never doubting it’s authenticity. The key is that they did not ask God about it.

So often if life we are presented evidence – a report card, a test result, a diagnosis, a person’s assessment. We believe the evidence and we accept the evidence, but we do not ask God about it.

Some of the most amazing and astounding answers to prayer come about when we present all the evidence to God (usually along with our conclusions) and God steps in. Remember, God is always greater, no matter the “evidence”. He may not change the circumstance, but He will draw close and change us.

Defeat or Opportunity?

(From Joshua 7:1-13) 

The Israelites are defeated in only their second battle.  Joshua and the leaders tear their clothes in grief, put dust on their heads and bow down to the ground before the Ark.  Joshua questions God, accuses God of not taking care of them, tells God how embarrassed they’ll be now, and proclaims future defeat.

God lets Joshua vent and doesn’t reply until Joshua changes the focus from themselves to the glory of God’s name.  The glory of His name is the most important thing.  God’s reply is “Get up!”  He asks what they’re doing on the ground crying and moaning.  Their defeat is their own fault.  They sinned.  They disobeyed God’s instructions and requirements.  They took what He claimed for Himself and treated it as their own.  They stole and lied. 

Defeat and disappointment come to all of us and like the Israelites, we cry (and rightly so).  Then, like the Israelites, we begin to question God.  We ask why He arranged the circumstances of our life the way He did.  We ask why He’s letting us down (especially if we’re doing something we know He wants us to do).  We remind Him how embarrassed we are.  It feels as if our cries are falling on deaf ears. 

 We forget that it’s not all about us.  God’s plan is bigger than our little circle of influence.  We fail to realize that we can’t see or know the whole picture the way God does.  As long as we focus on ourselves, we will not be able to sense God’s presence, see Him work, or hear His voice.  As soon as we ask God for His perspective, we will begin to move past our pain and problems.  

The first place God will address is our sin – whether it was something we did, said, thought or felt in our hearts.  Whatever He brings up, we must deal with it, and the sooner, the better.  We must confess, agree with God we’re wrong, accept His forgiveness and ask for His Help to change.  We have to “Get up!” and get going.  

What if it’s not us?  Then we stand firm, waiting for God to move while we keep doing our best and expectantly watching for God’s blessing.  No matter what, we must be faithful to give honor and praise to God.  (Joshua 7:19)