No Greater Love

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo ever consider your smallness?  I know that may seem like a rather funny question.  But I am often impressed with that feeling when I am looking at the vast expanse of the ocean or admiring the a beautiful formation of clouds, or oohing and aahing over a magnificent sunrise or sunset.

I am reminded of David’s words in Psalm 8 and I can deeply relate to his feelings of awe at God’s Majesty yet what might have been his feeling of littleness in God’s overall big picture.  In verse 4 it reads. . . What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? And the passage continues in verse 5 to read . . . You made them only a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.  What a profound statement, meaning we are made in His image and imputed his righteousness.  What an unfathomable love God has for his creation!

When I sit and dwell on the fact that the creator of the universe is mindful of me, like David, quoting, “Who am I,” it really is quite mind-boggling.  First of all that he made me, he loves me, he pursues me, he disciplines me like an unruly child, he draws me unto himself , cares for my deepest needs and desires and willingly chose to die for me and bring me into a right relationship with himself. Wow, not a much better love story than that, Romeo and Juliet pale in comparison.

Awhile back I had the privilege of teaching a great lesson in Kid’s Church.  It was kinda a last-minute thing and I didn’t have a lesson planned but God brought to my mind the scripture I was reading earlier in the day and I decided to use it as the context of my lesson.  That passage of scripture was from Psalm 139 and it reads:

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind an before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there you hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, surely the darkness will hide me and light become night around me: even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was oven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand–

Wow, how precious is his great love for us! It was fun to go through this passage one by one with the kids and to make them see how uniquely special they are to God, how much they are thought of by him and that he is always with them.  I even joked about God being with them when they were in going to the bathroom and as you can imagine, that caused quite a little stir.  But to see their little minds contemplating the reality of God always being with them and being intensely loved by their creator, it was an awesome thing.

How aware are you of God’s presence in your life and of his immense love for you his creation? The biggest thing I see that keeps us from living in a place of true intimacy with God is all the distraction of the world around us. I see everything clamoring for our time and attention leaving little time for God.  All God asks is that we spend time with him and get to know him and that he will take care of the rest. (Matthew 6:33)  His greatest desire is for a relationship with us.

God doesn’t need us, but he chose us.  You were chosen to take part in His bigger story. We may be a small in comparison to the universe, but in God’s eyes we are great.  So great  that he gave his son’s life for our worth to bring us into a right relationship with himself! Our smallness is overshadowed by his greatness, because when we are his child, we become one with him (1 Corinthians 6:17). What an amazing truth to dwell on! Thank you Jesus for your immense love and your goodness to us! You are an awesome God! To you be the glory both now and forever!

Are You Playing it Safe?

sliding into baseI don’t know about you but I’ve always liked to play it safe. Most of my life I’ve always erred on the side of caution. To me, safety equals comfort.

As a kid I could remember I did not like to play team sports.  I was always afraid that I would not be good enough or have the necessary skills it took to help the team. So when I had the choice, I would choose not to play.

I think playing it safe leaves you with a temporary feeling of comfort, but I also think it leaves you with regret.  You are left wondering . . . What if?

When I think of safety I am reminded of the story of where the disciples were in the boat and Jesus was walking towards them on the water.  Peter called out to Jesus, “If that is you Lord, call me to walk out to you on the water.”  I admire Peter’s bravery to call out to Jesus and his willingness to step out of the boat.  If that was me on the scene, I know most likely I would be one of those other on looking apostles still in the boat.

I think when we become serious about following God it becomes necessary for us to get out of the boat.  It becomes a matter of trusting God and keeping our focus on him and letting him deal with the results.

God does not call us to live a life in the safety of our little boat.  The real action happens when we step out in faith and we get to see God work the miracle of walking on water.  We have to deliberately choose to step out in faith and not let comfort or fear control us but let the power of Christ sustain us.

Jesus himself did not lead a life of comfort and he reminds us that ours should not be either.  Jesus was despised and rejected, he was described as a man of sorrows and why if we call ourselves his followers should we expect to live in the safety of a rose garden?

Jesus challenged the systems of the world to prove that there was a better way, his father’s way and that God’s ways are not of this world.  The way to the father is following the path that Jesus took and that is the road less traveled. Proverbs 14:12 says that . . . There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.

Following Jesus and being bold for him and the truth will sometimes mean doing the uncomfortable.  It’s stepping out of the boat and not always playing it safe.  It means trusting God and getting in the game.  He is the one calling us out of our place of safety to come follow him and he is the only one who can really and truly keep us safe anyway. It’s a matter of trust and it’s a matter of obedience.  I know I don’t want to live a life of regret, do you? Let’s get in the game. We can trust HIM, the victory will be sweet!

Be Still and Know

sunriseI woke up this morning feeling slightly uneasy, mildly fearful.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on a reason why but maybe some of you can relate.

Immediately I opened the word and God and it began to minister to my heart.  I further read my e-mail and also some blogs that I regularly follow and through it all God began speaking peace over me drawing my wandering heart back to his. Then I spent a few minutes talking with him and then basking in his presence.

I’m so thankful that God meets us right where we are.  When we look to him and seek him as his word says, he is always to be found.  Psalm 46: 10 says . . . “Be still and know” that I AM God and that I AM is continually WITH us.  When we seek him, he is always right there!

When the enemy of our soul tries to come at us with anything that is not of him, God wants us to instantly bring that before him and draw on the truths of his word.  He stands ready to calm our anxious heart, nullify our fears and in turn girds us with his strength and reminds us of his continual presence.

So after I dropped off my kiddo’s at school I decided to go down to the ocean and watched the sun coming up over the hills.  As it rose higher and higher, I rolled down my window and felt the warmth of the rays on my skin. Not only did it warm my skin, it warmed my heart.

I began thinking that the same God that created the beautiful flaming sun, also created me and cares about my every need. And just as the sun rises, morning after morning, God is continually with me and is there to shed light on my fears and to turn my attention from anything that gets me sidetracked from him.

He is such an amazing God and I am so thankful to be his.  Father God this morning I lift up anyone who also might struggle from the same feelings of uneasiness and fear.  I pray that they might know that you are God and that you are with them.  Shine the light of your presence in their life so that they may feel your love.  Thank you that you are an awesome God.  Thank you for all you do and how you draw us unto yourself.  To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:1

Weathering the Rain

rain on winshieldAs I was driving home after dropping my kids off at school, the wipers on my car were going fifty mph to keep up with the downpour of rain.

Sometimes the amount of rain we get here in the winters tends to have a detrimental affect on my mood. Now I know some people don’t mind all the rain we get, but as for me, more than a day or two and my mood can get extremely frumpy.

We all know that this can partially be due to the lack of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) which in winter months, we have a shortage of here on the coast.  But I also think it also has to do with my lack of proper perspective. You know the old saying, “It’s all how you look at it?” Well, it’s SO true!

As I continue to grow in my walk with the Lord, the more I am coming to terms with the natural order of life and how God designed things to work  (I know, I’m a little slow, teehee).  Now, it’s not that I wished it never rained, but it’s the amount we get that sometimes drives me crazy. As the rain is a necessary part of that order in which God designed things and without it, nothing would grow, and it is the same in my spiritual walk with the Lord.

Sometimes God has to walk us through the rain and storms so that we can appreciate the sunshine.  Storms in life come in various forms for each of us.  And sometimes in order for us to get to where God needs us to go, these storms are a necessary part of the journey so that we can learn and grow.

God uses the times of storms in our lives to draw us closer to himself.  And if we cling to him when things get rough, we come out on the other side even stronger and with clearer direction of what God wants for us. As believers, we are going to have adversity in this life and it’s how we learn to weather the storms and keeping proper perspective which determine how brightly we see the sun shining afterwards.

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

James 1:3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

Secure Investments

stock marketLet’s face it, truth being told, we all know this economy stinks. We all feel it’s tug on our hearts, trying to steal our joy as we obsess over the future and what that might look like for ourselves and for our children.  We also feel it’s continual tug at our pocketbooks as we watch everything begin to shrink with an increasing cost to us.

I do not regularly watch the news, thank goodness.  My husband keeps me informed on a need to know basis which I am thankful for. The news truly has the power to rob my joy if it’s what I’m focusing on. If you are one of those people who can watch that stuff without letting it affect you too much, more power to you. I choose to intentionally set my mind and focus on more positive things that bring joy instead or continual discouragement.

So this leads me to the question, “What should we be investing our time, money and other resources towards?  I’m sorry but putting stock on the government or economy right now is not a wise investment of our time or resources. A key piece of scripture is found here in Matthew 6:19-21 which reads . . .   Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

A few years back when the stock market crashed, my husband along with billions of others, lost half of the money he had in an Roth IRA.  It wasn’t a considerably large sum of money, but none the less, it was money lost. This was the second time he had lost it and it was just being built back up to a place where it was prior to an earlier market crash.  Things like that can tend to discourage us if we let them.  But then I am reminded that my future is really in God’s hands.  And when I’m trusting him fully as I should, these things really shouldn’t matter.

In God’s economy he wants us investing in the things which will have true and lasting value for eternity.  Working on growing in our relationship with him and investing in the lives of our family and friends.  As well as reaching out to others who don’t know him and to share the knowledge we have of our Savior and the richness we have in a relationship with him.

These are things we can take to the bank and know won’t be going anywhere.  They are secure and lasting investments that have eternal rewards.  They are investments that we don’t have to worry about if time will change.  In Christ Jesus, we have the Rock Eternal.  We just don’t get a piece of the rock, as Prudential claims, but we get invested into the very one who set up these world systems and holds the whole universe in the palm of his hands.

Lord Jesus help us to wrap our minds around the fact the one who created the universe is the same one who holds us. Help us with childlike faith to trust in that fact and not to be moved by the circumstances of the times.  Help us trust that you, who feeds the birds of the air will also with deep and tender care provide what is needed for us as you see fit because we are your beloved children.  Help us to use all of our resources that you give us wisely. Thank you that you are an amazing God. Thank you for your continual love and provision in our lives. To you be the Glory both now and forever.