Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Days Are Numbered

I love verse 12 in Psalm 90.   Moses is praying to God that we would learn to realize that life is not forever.  "12 
Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom."


That we only have a limited number of days here on earth. Yes, you only have a limited number of days to accept God's gift of salvation. You have a limited number of days to make amends with those we hurt. We have a limited number of days to stop the insanity of an addiction and to start enjoying the life that God has in store for us.  So why do we drag our feet? Why do we make life harder than it has to be?

We all have those dreams in life that something is going to happen to someone and it's a loved one. I have had them about my kids and spouse and parents and friends.  Those dreams happen for different reasons.  But I always take from them to make sure to reach out to those I love. My days are numbered and I don't know when the last day is.  But until then, I want to live as GOd wants me to - and that is to Love others. 17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
    they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.
We are consumed by your anger
    and terrified by your indignation.
You have set our iniquities before you,
    our secret sins in the light of your presence.
All our days pass away under your wrath;
    we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
    Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

God Is Always With Us

For men are note cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion. Lamentations 3:31-32

Ever just feel cut off from the world? You have decided you want to be sober and now the friends that you have don't fit into that lifestyle of sobriety. You know you need to leave them behind but it's so hard because your entire life is in shambles.

You might think you are alone and that you have no one to turn to. And yes it might be true that you don't have the comfort of a family life or right now life filled with intimate friends. But, it does not mean you are alone.  God is with you always!  Matthew 28:20 states "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

So when you feel like you are alone and don't have that support, know that Jesus is with you this every moment and that He will not leave you.

Practically, you might want to consider this a time to attend a 12 Step Program meeting or a Celebrate Recovery Meeting.  There are others who have been in this position and can help be of a support during this very dark time.  But as you grown in your recovery and spiritual life, you will begin to discover others who do care about you and want to be in your life as well.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Musical Devotions - Jesus Freak

Musical Devotion's choice is from my son..he's a preteen and this week was in his bedroom, door shut, with this screaming at full volume.  As a mom, I couldn't have been prouder!

The reason I mention that is because it's not a ballad like song.  It's more on the rock side.




"Jesus Freak" - DC Talk
Separated, I cut myself clean from a past that comes back in my darkest of dreams
Been apprehended by a spiritual force and a grace that replaced all the me I divorced
I saw a man with a tat on his big fat belly
It wiggled around like marmalade jelly
It took me a while to catch what it said, 'cause I had to match the rhythm of his belly with my head
"Jesus Saves" is what it raved in a typical tattoo green
He stood on a box in the middle of the city and he claimed he had a dream...

What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus freak?
What will people do when they find that it's true?
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus freak - there ain't no disguising the truth
There ain't no disguising the truth
No I ain't into hiding the Truth

Kamikaze, my death is gain - I've been marked by my Maker, a peculiar display
The high and lofty, they see me as weak - but I won't live and die for the power they seek
There was a man from the desert with naps in his head
The sand that he walked was also his bed
The words that he spoke make the people assume there wasn't too much left in the upper room
With skins on his back and hair on his face, they thought he was strange from the locusts he ate
All the Pharisees tripped when they heard him speak until the king took the head of this Jesus freak

What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus freak?
What will people do when they find that it's true?
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus freak - there ain't no disguising the truth
No I ain't into hiding the Truth

People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger?
My best friend was born in a manger?

What will people think when they find out I'm a Jesus freak?
What will people do when they find out it's true?
I don't care if they label me a Jesus freak - there ain't no disguising the truth.

What will people think (what will people think)?
What will people do (what will people do)?
I don't really care (what else can I say?)
There ain't no disguising the Truth (Jesus is the Way)



Monday, April 21, 2014

One By One


One By One - from Our Daily Bread


Edward Payson was a famous preacher in a bygone era. One stormy Sunday, he had only one person in his audience. Some months later, his lone attendee called on him: “I was led to the Savior through that service,” he said. “For whenever you talked about sin and salvation, I glanced around to see to whom you referred, but since there was no one there but me, I had no alternative but to lay every word to my own heart and conscience!”
God saves us one by one. If you have access to one, that is your mission field. “Every soul with Christ is a missionary; every soul without Christ is a mission field,” the slogan goes. One person cannot reach the entire world, but we can love our neighbor. “Who is my neighbor?” we ask. The next person we meet along the way.
The Spirit brought Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading the Scriptures and needed someone to explain them to him (Acts 8:26-35). The Spirit gave Philip the right words to say, and the eunuch confessed his faith in Christ (v.37).
Ask God to bring you to the one He has prepared. He’ll get you to the right place at the right time to speak to that individual. He will speak through your lips, work through your hands, and fulfill in you the great purpose of His will.
Father, we’ve been called to witness—
Called to speak of Your dear Son;
Holy Spirit, grant discernment;
Lead us to some seeking one. —D. DeHaan
You are a success in God’s kingdom if you are faithful where He has placed you.



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Life is Not Fair But Why?

In our culture we often hear "You Reap what you Sow" but how can that be? Yes, our actions most certainly do have consequences no doubt about that!  But how can I personally be responsible for the bombings of 911, the shootings in Newtown CT, the events at this weeks Boston Marathon. How can I be responsible for the happenings of earthquakes and tsunamis and volcano eruptions?

For most of us, it's just a matter of being at the wrong place at the wrong time - period.

Different religions answer this in different ways.

Karma says no bad deed goes unpunished and no good deed goes unrewarded. Well, I've seen a lot of people live their lives in horrible ways that have consequences on others so I'm not a believer in this. I do think this is true but not in the sense that it's intended. God will punish those and reward those but it's not in this life.

The Buddhist give up the notion on self. Pain results from our desires and our wants. I personally have a hard time grappling with this.  So if I have no desire then I will feel no pain. So if I create an example out of this.  I just desire my special needs child to have friends - and his autism makes it hard to do so.  And when I see him upset because of social situation my sadness is because of my desire to have friends.  This makes no sense either.  We were created to be with people and my desire is to have him experience this in a good way.

And then there is Christianity that clearly states there will be troubles in this world. Yup, there are. For me, I have to look to the Bible and have faith. I see over and over again where God is faithful. And so by studying this I am able to answer - Yes, Life is NOT fair. But God always makes it right. For me it's just faith.  I don't have to have all the answers - life is to big to have all the answers. And so I will continue to place my faith in Jesus Christ and the salvation and eternal life that he has promised.

Back to why Life is unfair.  For me, I think it's simple. We live in a fallen world where there are evil forces acting upon us that we can't see. I look to the Bible to prove this. Jesus was tempted by Satan. Yes, Satan has an army helping here on earth because this is his dominion.  But not for long - God has his army and it is way bigger than Satan's and someday, Satan will be banished from this earth and it will be God's dominion (the books of Daniel and Isaiah are loaded with goodies in case you are interested in reading more).

But rejoice. Don't be down and upset that life is indeed unfair and that you can't make it right.  You don't have to. Jesus came so that you don't have to!



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Life Is Just Not Fair

Yes life is not fair and to that I say a HUGE "AMEN"!!  Honestly, if life was fair we would not have the salvation of Jesus who died for our sins..my sins..and your sins.  Why should the Son of God die for what I did wrong?  That makes no sense.  He did not sin when faced with the same trials that I face.  He made all the right choices.

I'm reading the book of the Life of Pi and I recently got to the chapters when the young boy is introduced to different religions and he remarks about why would a God do this for us?  A strong God give himself up for what we do wrong.  And the answer is simple - because He loves us.  It truly is that simple.

The Bible is full of stories of life's unfair situations and God's resolutions to situations.  He is so clever!  Honestly, we could never weave together such a story and have it all go back to love. But please remember when we think about how unfair life can be, we must remember that salvation, eternal life is not fair.  But rather, it's a gift from God.  And so when I think about how unfair life is I truly can say "Thank you Lord Jesus because I don't deserve it."

Think about all those who have been in the wave of destruction caused by an addict.  Was that fair?  And as the addict works through the steps and makes amends with those we hurt, is that fair that we can be offered forgiveness.  Yes, life is unfair!

I found the following about how life is not fair..it's long and so goes above the 5 minute devotion goal that I have set about for those blog, but I recommend reading it.

http://bible.org/seriespage/“life-not-fair-praise-god”-matthew-201-16



Friday, April 18, 2014

Yes, This Is an Unfair World

Genesis 39: (1-23 for the entire story)
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

In this story, Joseph (who was first sold into slavery by his own brothers because he was his father's favorite) was later thrown into jail because of a lie by a vindictive women. 

The fact of the matter is - we do NOT live in a fair world, there is no fairy tale ending here on earth, and nothing you do is going to make life fair. Something else may come along to mar it. It's a lesson I review with my kids - a lot!

What I find fascinating in this story is how Joseph reacts to what has happened. In order for God to be with Joseph and show him favor and success in whatever he did - I'm thinking Joseph must have been obedient and trusting and faithful to God even through the unfair times.

It takes character and courage to remain faithful when life is giving us lemons. We can't change the facts that this world is unfair, but we are in control of our reaction to it. I want to remain faithful to God in the hard and unfair times of life - not just the good times. What about you? What are you doing to remain in God's favor?