Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Breath of Heaven

      I was reminded once again today when I saw the sunrise this morning, that I can rest assured that God's promises are still in place. Nothing has changed because He has not changed. This realization first came to me in 2005. I would wake up almost every morning during that time with excruciating lower back pain.
     My bedroom faces the east, so the sun rises through our bedroom windows. During that time I had made it a habit of opening my blinds and curtains really early in the morning, and then getting back in bed for a while. As I lay there in pain, it seemed to help to watch the sun come up.
     It was one of those mornings that as I saw the sun start to rise, I believe God reminded me..."See this sun? I made it rise again and since I did I am still in the process of fulfilling all of my promises...even the ones you may think I have forgotten. How could I not love a God like that?
     This experience helped me to get my perspective back and realize that what I was going through was just temporary. That God had a plan, that He was aware of my pain and not only aware of it, but willing to do something about it. 
     It was at this point that the doctor that I was seeing at the time brought up the subject of narcotic pain medication. I was adamantly opposed because my condition (arthritis) was chronic. I desperately wanted to find another solution. As we sat there in his office, butting heads, I told him I was seeking quality of life at this point and living on pain medication would not allow that. His response was that living in constant agonizing pain did not provide the best quality of life either. We were at an impasse...but as we sat there he came up with the idea that maybe a natural remedy called glucosamine chondroitin might help. I was willing to try it, especially since it was non-prescription.
     It took almost a month for it to take effect, but when it did it offered enough relief that I was able to live with the pain level once again. I was so grateful that I had a doctor that offered me an alternative because the last thing I wanted to do was live indefinitely on narcotic pain medication. But, more than that, I was grateful to a God that keeps His promises and this time he used my doctor to achieve it. My quality of life improved too.
     What I experienced is not unique. The enemy would like to make us think that it is, but God is faithful all the time and keeps His promises every time. It is part of His nature and He does not change, as we have discussed in earlier posts.
     This picture was taken by NASA's Mars rover named Curiosity. It is the sun rising over Mars horizon. God not only holds our world in His hands, He holds the whole universe in His hands. Amazing.

     There you have it! Sunrise on Mars! Psalm 33: 6 NKJ says this:  "By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." Wow. Do you know what that means? We can trust that He can handle anything we might be experiencing. He breathed the worlds into existence!
      At times like this I think it is good to look back and see what God has done in the lives of those who walked before us. Picture a teenage girl who discovers she is carrying a baby, yet is not yet married and is still a virgin. She has been told that she is carrying the Son of God by an angel no less! Wow. We can only imagine what that must have been like for her, yet she remained faithful and trusted God to fulfill His promises to her. In doing so, God fulfilled His promises to us all.
     "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 38-39 NKJ. 
     This is my prayer and my song for us all today, that we realize God's love for us is His motivation for breathing His hope and promises on us and that we glorify and praise Him as He so faithfully fulfills those promises in our lives. Amen. 



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Web of Grace

     This past Sunday morning during worship a thought crossed my mind about God's grace. We were singing the song  From the Inside Out by Phillips, Craig and Dean . When we sang the lyrics ..."and should I stumble again, still I'm caught in Your grace" I immediately got the visual in my mind of a spider web. It got me to thinking that wow!, God's grace IS like a spider web! This picture captures what I envisioned in my mind's eye...a kind of  spider web hammock that we can fall into...


     I have read that spider web material is about one-tenth the diameter of a human hair, but has incredible strength. It is ten times stronger than a steel strand of the same weight. That's amazing strength! In previous posts we've talked about the strength of God and how He holds everything together. At the risk of being too redundant I still feel led to explore God's strength in regard to grace. 
     There are lyrics in a  Rich Mullins song that may help explain this better than I can. The lyrics are from the song  Hold Me Jesus  and they say, "Surrender don't come natural to me I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want Than to take what You give that I need And I've beat my head against so many walls Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees." 
      These lyrics capture the struggle we seem to find ourselves in, time and time again. We are like little flies caught in a sticky web that we cannot escape from. Yet this web is woven by a loving and gracious God and it brings grace and life instead of death and destruction.
     In my post "Hand of God" I described my experience where God reached His hand down to me when I couldn't reach mine up to Him. I was frightened, I was sure that God had turned His back on me because I felt I had sinned to the point that God surely would have nothing to do with me. But God proved me wrong!
     There is also another experience I would like to share with you in regard to grace. This time it involves my husband and one of our young grandsons. He was visiting our home when he was still in the process of being potty trained. He was in our kitchen and my husband was sitting in our family room where he could see him. My husband was well aware that our grandson had just soiled his pants and was just standing there. 
     When my husband got up to approach him though, our grandson got a very frightened look on his face. He knew what he had done and he knew that my husband knew what he had done. When my husband saw that look, God reminded him that He is well aware when we "poop" our pants too, and that He is still there for us and is willing to help us clean ourselves up with Him by our side. 
     My husband did an awesome thing in response to our little grandson. He took his hand and led him into the bathroom and told him he would help him clean himself up. Our grandson was relieved and hopefully learned a great lesson on unconditional love and grace. At the same time, my husband experienced a precious reminder that our God is gracious and loving and will always be by our side even if we "poop" our pants!
     My song and my prayer is found in Scripture; "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 NKJ. Let us all fall freely into God's web of grace and resist the temptation to fight it...knowing that He is always by our side, just as the song by the same title by Tenth Avenue North illustrates so beautifully. BTW, look for their new album to be released August 21st! 

     Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. "Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  John 6:67-69 NKJ   Amen.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

So Much More!

     God spoke and our world came into existence. He breathed and life was created. I shared in my last post how He literally holds every fiber of our being together. His power is beyond our comprehension. Psalm 33:6 NKJ says "By the Word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
     His omnipotence is one of  God's attributes, yet He is SO MUCH MORE than that! One of the most impactful Bible studies I have ever gone through was a study titled "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby One of the truths I remember learning from that study was that when we are faced with a crisis in our lives it becomes a "crisis of belief " and our response in times of crisis is a reflection of what we believe about God.
     Job is an example for us all when dealing with a crisis in our lives. In his "crisis of belief" Job declared  "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.  In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong." Job 1: 21 & 22 NKJ.
     Job was faced with a choice, just as we all are when faced with adversity. Job chose to continue to trust in the whole character of God, not just the fact that God indeed had the power to prevent the tragedies in his life from taking place.
     I believe God ALWAYS uses His power in our lives when facing just may not materialize the way we envision it. When that happens we may tend to think that God isn't working at all in our situation.We forget that He is SO MUCH MORE and His plan for our lives is SO MUCH GREATER than His ability to get us out of the pain and suffering we may be being asked to endure. As we come to grips with these truths we have a better understanding of the fact that we were put on this planet to glorify Him and to pursue His purposes and not our own.
     Job praised God in the midst of his "storm." and I believe his love relationship with God was what allowed Job to continue to trust and follow God to the point that he declares "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." Job 13:15 NKJ. Job loved God and he knew that God loved him and I believe this love relationship is what God desires most from us. The song "Praise You In The Storm" by Casting Crowns illustrates this beautifully.
     Job also revered God and His sovereignty in his life. Job got it. He saw that God, indeed is Omnipotent (all powerful) Revelation 19:6 NKJ and He is also Omnibenevolent (all good) Naham 1:7 NKJ, Omnipresent (present everywhere) Psalm 139:8-10 NKJ, Omniscient (all knowing) Romans 11:33 NKJ, Immutable (cannot change) James 1:17 NKJ ...yet He is SO MUCH MORE!
     One last thought, Moses stated when speaking with God about leading His people to the promised land; "Now therefore, I pray, If I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people." And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Then he said to Him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here." Exodus 33:13-15 NKJ. Then in verse 18 Moses states, "Please show me your glory."
     This is my song and my prayer for us today, that just like Job and Moses that we desire God's presence and His glory more than a way out of our present storm because we love Him and know that He is SO MUCH MORE!