Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Lord keeps us safe

"Lord you will keep us safe and protect us from such [manipulative] people forever." Psalm 12:7

Having just come from a difficult work situation where I had been struggling with a manipulative person, this verse was a welcome sight.  I had actually been feeling like I needed to somehow mend things, but in the past week, I have been receiving a message from God that I am not in control of the outcome of this situation.  He is.

It is a great feeling to know that the God who created all things, the infinite being who loves us so much He sent His son to die on a cross, He is also there to protect us from those that do not obey His laws. 

Even as I struggled this past week with the feeling that I failed, not just my bosses but God too, He keeps opening my eyes to messages in Scripture that are leading me to believe that maybe this was God's way of protecting me and keeping me safe. 

It is so easy to forget that He is in control and we are not.  I pray that I can focus my eyes on Him during this Thanksgiving week and remember that He is in control.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In His Grace...

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Lord Protects

"He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.  The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head." Psalm 7:15-16

Have you ever dealt with someone and you find yourself hoping this will happen?  Hoping that the trouble they constantly cause for you will come back around and bite them?  Hoping that they will "fall into the pit"?  Sometimes the people we deal with in this world can be very difficult.  They are not all following the Lord - some of them may even unknowingly (or knowingly) be following the devil. 

Sometimes when we encounter a very manipulative person, especially when we have to work with them or live with them, the only thing that can help is a message like this one.  In it we are told that the trouble will come back to bite them.  The violence they serve up to others will land on them. 

But it will be in God's timing. It is not for us to determine the judgment a manipulative person will reap one day.  That is God's job.  And we have to remember when we deal with difficult people, that they too are loved by God. 

I think this is something worth praying about.  I will be praying that God will help me remember that He loves all His children, not just those that are obedient or are following Him.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Lord Sustains Me

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me." Psalm 3:5

This Psalm was written by David when his own son was trying to kill him and take his throne.  I cannot imagine the disappointment David must have felt at this point as well as the worry of what the next day would hold for him. 

But instead of lying awake at night worrying about the outcome, David says he slept.  He did what I find quite challenging whenever I have a stressful situation in my life.  He completely trusted God.  He knew the outcome would be whatever was in God's will and that worrying about it (and not sleeping) would get him nowhere. 

He waited on the Lord to take care of it.  I have a tendency to go over it again and again in my head.  Different things I could have said or should have said.  Different things I can still say.  I ruminate on it to the detriment of my sleep. 

I pray I will remember this verse the next time I am having trouble going to sleep because of worry.  And I pray that I will put all my trust in God and His perfect will.

In His Grace...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Way of the Righteous

"For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." Psalm 1:6

I finally finished Revelation and I definitely got more out of it than ever before.  Sometimes when I finish a particular part of the Bible, I wonder how to decide what section to read next.  Should I go chronologically or just pick and choose.  This time, I just felt the Psalms calling to me so I am making my way through them.

When I read the above verse, I found myself thinking, "why doesn't it seem like this is true so much of the time?"  I have known, and worked for, quite a few people that I would call wicked.  People that use other people and that seem to have no morals.  People that will take advantage of anyone and anything and use anything they can to their advantage.  How many people have you known that are obviously not following God, but still appear to be prospering - money, house, material things, jobs, getting ahead? 

Then it occurred to me, perhaps this is written from an eternal perspective.  Could it be that the righteous are being rewarded in heaven?  That while we don't see the reward here on earth, they will be richly rewarded in their eternal home.  And that while the wicked may seem to be getting ahead on earth, their way will perish when we arrive in our eternal home? 

I think this is so and I pray that we will keep our eyes set on eternity, not on the temporary world we currently live in.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We like to complain

While I am still reading Revelation, this post comes from something I read in a devotional called Jesus Calling.  It was from October 9th and it has been resonating with me since then as I have been battling first one cold followed without reprieve by another. 

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe..." Philippians 2:14-15

We like to complain.  It is part of our humanness.  It is part of our fallen world.  But in this verse God is telling us not to complain to each other.  As Sarah Young says, "Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me {God} and talk it out."  This is something I struggle with.  I want someone to commiserate with me, someone that knows how it feels to have a sore throat, a stuffy head and a nasty cough.  For some reason, although in my brain I know that Jesus was human in every way, I have trouble completely understanding His humanness.  He was tempted to complain just as we are.  He was tempted to sin just as we are.  But instead of giving in, he took it to His heavenly Father. 

I pray that I can increasingly do this also.  And that in taking it to my Heavenly Father, I will feel His compassion, His commiseration and His healing hand. 

In His Grace...

God's Forgiveness

How can we refuse to repent?  Why do we feel that we know better than the creator of the earth?  Why do we think we can control our time here on earth when time and time again, we find that we are not in control? 

Revelation 16 describes the "Seven Bowls of God's Wrath" that will be poured out on "the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image" otherwise known as the devil.  And yet, even then, even as the earth is coming to a close, God would be willing to forgive.  Even after someone has chosen to follow Satan, God is willing to forgive.  This is what it says in verses 8-11:

"The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire.  They were seared by the intense heat...but they refused to repent and glorify him.  The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness...but they refused to repent of what they had done."

The imagery in these verses is frightening.  I don't know if it is literal or figurative of something else but what stood out to me this morning is that God is willing to forgive.  If people "refused to repent" that means that repentance was possible.  Which means that repentance is always possible.  God is always willing to forgive, as long as we come to him with a repentant heart. 

I pray I can share this message of hope and forgiveness with my friends and loved ones so that they will not experience separation from God's glorious love.

In His Grace....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Leads the World Astray

I am still working my way through Revelation and find that it is a difficult book of the Bible to me. Chapter 12 seems to be summarizing all of Biblical history with imagery and verse 9 says:

"The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."

And thus Satan is here even today, leading the whole world astray.

It is a difficult concept for many people to grasp.  That Satan is real.  That he exists and there is a spiritual battle raging every day on earth.  The way I like to think about it is from one of Frank Peretti's novels in which Satan and his demons meddle with the characters' daily lives.  While the characters cannot see them, there are times when they are aware of a dark presence.

I know a novel is fiction, and so the book is Mr. Peretti's idea of how the spiritual battle works.  But for me it is a good image to keep in mind when I am going through my daily plans.  Satan's goal is to keep me from focusing my thoughts, actions and behaviors on God.  He wants to keep me from my goal of trying to be more like Jesus.  So when my little man is having a crying fit while brushing his teeth and there are only a couple minutes left before we need to leave for school, I have to focus hard on being like Jesus instead of just yelling at my little man.  I have to confess, I often do not succeed but with God's grace, I can keep trying.

Satan is scheming, every day, every hour, every minute to "lead the whole world astray" and from the looks of it, he is succeeding with so many people.  When I look around just at American society, it is amazing how far we have fallen from Scripture and from the precepts that our founding fathers founded our country on.

I pray that God will use me to spread His good news, His love, His kindness, His grace to our hurting country.

In His Grace...