Sunday, January 12, 2020

How Mighty Are His Wonders

Do you ever really sit back and look around you?  Do you really notice the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that the Lord prepares for us each day?  Look at the colors - some so vibrant while some are so soft and subtle.  And what about the flowers and their beautiful, soft petals?  The colorful feathers of the birds so cheerful and alive!

God's creation is so beautiful!  He is so imaginative, so creative, so amazing, and He's my favorite artist!  And even today, you can still see the wonders of the Lord!  Look at the picture above; it's so sweet and beautiful!  This sweet little lizard was found in the beautiful, brilliant and velvety petals of this flower.  If this is not one of God's wonders, one of His treasures for us to behold, I don't know what is.

I believe God wants us to "pay attention", "to notice" the little treasures that He leaves for us every day.  I think He wants them to bring us joy.  So when you're out and about today, "stop and smell the roses".  Take some time to thank God for His beauty that can be found all around us.

"How great are His signs!  And how mighty are His wonders!'
                                        Daniel 4:3

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Brush

"The Brush"

Life started out like a canvas,
And God started painting on me.
But I took the paintbrush from Jesus
And painted what I wished to see.

The colors I painted kept running,
And the objects were all out of size.
I had made a mess of my painting;
My way now seemed so unwise.

So I brought my painting to Jesus.
All the colors, all the pieces so wrong.
In the markets of earth, it was worthless,
But His blood made my painting belong.

He worked with no condemnation.
Never mentioned the mess I had made.
Then he dipped His brush in the rainbow,
And He signed it, "The price has been paid".
When I gave the brush back to Jesus,
When I gave the brush back to Him,
He started all over life's canvas to fill,
When I gave to Jesus the brush of my will.

(Chuck Millhuff and Ben Speer)

When I was a teenager, three beautiful ladies in our church often sang this song.  It touched my heart so much back then, and it still does to this day.  How many times have we "taken the paintbrush from Jesus and painted what we wish to see"? I know I have.

So often, I've told myself that I was praying for God's will in my life, when I was actually praying for what I wanted.  We may pray "according to your will", or "thy will be done", when what we really mean is I want this now, and I want it like this.  That's not how it works.  God will answer our prayers, but it will be in His time.  It will be His plans, and those plans might not be what we really wanted.

But when we don't get the answer we want, we keep praying over and over for the same thing.  And sometimes, God will give us what we want only for us to realize that it's not what we needed.  And sometimes what we want comes with a price.  This is where faith comes in.  We have to trust that He knows what He's doing, and He's doing what's best for us; we just may not see it at the time.

The good news is that if you'll just "give that paintbrush back to Jesus", He'll fix the mess you've made.  And everything will turn out just fine.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that
                    love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
                                        Romans 8:28

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Making All Things New
God is amazing!  I really had no idea what I was going to write this morning.  I knew I wanted it to have something to do with the coming new year, but I wasn't sure where to start.  And then...out of nowhere, I ran across John 14:1-3.  Jesus tells us "Let not your heart be troubled...I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also".

In regards to the new year, I think Jesus is telling us, "Don't worry...I'm preparing a place for you in 2020...a new year for you.  I'm already there, and where I am, well...if you believe in Me; if you follow'll be there, as well."

I know God doesn't want us to dwell on the past, and I know He doesn't want us to worry about the future.  He wants us to rest in Him, and enjoy the present.  He wants us to know that He's taking care of everything.  He has plans to "...prosper us and not to harm us". (Jeremiah 29:11).

"Our hope is not in the new year; our hope is in the One who makes all things new".

"And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
                                    Revelation 21:5

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Sometimes The Inn Is Crowded

"Are you part of the Inn crowd, or are you one of the Stable few?"

I found this quote this morning, and it really made me think.  I think we all love a good vacation; I know I do!  I love being able to get away.  Sometimes we get to stay in a nice hotel room and just sit back and relax.  We may have a great view, and we get to sleep in a nice, cozy bed.  Who wouldn't enjoy this!

I'm sure Mary would've loved such luxuries after her long, hard journey.  Instead she found herself in labor, and all she longed for was a quiet place to rest.  However, all she found was a crowded Inn with no room for her or her Baby.  And although it wasn't the most comfortable place and definitely not the most appealing, I'm sure Mary was grateful for the manger where her Son was born.

Often times, I believe the Lord takes us out of our comfort zones because He has plans to give us something better, but we have to be willing to follow Him.   Mary and Joseph were willing to go where the Lord wanted them, even if it meant they had to leave their home and travel far.  
Sometimes the "Inn" is crowded, and we have to go to the peace and quiet of the "Stable".

"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in
                    swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there
                    was no room for them in the inn."
                                    Luke 2:7

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Think On These Things

Lyn Meredith
Do you know that the definition of the word "think" means to reflect on or ponder?  And "ponder" means to think with thoroughness and care.  In Phillipians 4:8, the Apostle Paul tells us "to think about things that are true, noble (good), right, pure, lovely, admirable, anything that is praiseworthy".  In other words, I think Paul is telling us to think positive thoughts.  For me, this has always been hard. I fight daily with this, and I'm trying to overcome it.  I'm trying to train my mind to see the good in everything.  I'm learning that t's not necessarily about what happens in your life, it's about how you handle it.  And for me, the best way to handle it is to simply focus on and talk to God.

Although this world is filled with things that can cloud our thinking, we should try to "think" on thoughts that honor the Lord.  Replace those negative and foolish thoughts with loving and realistic thoughts.  Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

"Beautiful things happens when you distance yourself from negativity."

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
            whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent
            or praiseworthy—think about such things."
                                    Phillipians 4:8

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Never Alone

I don't know about you, but there are days that I feel so alone.  I feel so overwhelmed by life and all of its problems.  But Jesus tells us that we are never alone; He is always with us. “God is with you – wherever you may go and no matter what life brings.” (Joshua 1:9).  God is closer than your very breath.

You may be going through some trials or suffering right now.  You may feel lost and all alone, but God knows exactly where you are right now, and He has a plan for your life.  God knows you...He knows your very name.  He has known you since before you were ever born.  He loves you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)  He is in love with you.  Don't you think that means that He's looking out for you?  You are the apple of His eye.  You are so precious to Him, and He will never leave your side.

He wants you to pray with your eyes on Him and not on your difficulties or your situation.  Truly get to know Him.  Devote your time to Him and develop a real relationship with Him.  You need the certainty of God's loving presence in your life to weather the storms.  Knowing God is the ultimate protection from sinking during these storms.

You are never alone.  God will never leave you.

...God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you..."
                                    Deuteronomy 31:6

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Always Giving Thanks...

History declares that the first Thanksgiving was held by the pilgrims in the 17th century.  At that time, it wasn't considered or even called Thanksgiving, it was just a harvest celebration shared with the Wampanoag Indian tribe.  In 1623, the Pilgrims did hold what they called "Thanksgiving" - a religious day of prayer and fasting.  Over the years, the two events became linked, and it was celebrated as a Thanksgiving feast.  George Washington originally declared that Thanksgiving be observed on the last Thursday of November in 1789.  However, it wasn't until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln actually declared it a national holiday.

This is how I've always thought of Thanksgiving; a day to be thankful for all that we have.  But then I saw this sign, "Thanksgiving is not a holiday; it's a lifestyle."  I've never really thought of it this way.  I mean...yes, I know we are to be thankful, and I do thank God each day.  But maybe we do need to remember to make sure that we're thanking Him in every little thing - no matter how we feel - we are to thank God.  God tells us "In every thing give thanks..." (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Sarah Young, author of "Jesus Calling", writes "You give God thanks regardless of your feelings, and He gives you joy regardless of your circumstances".  In other words, whether we feel like thanking God or not, we need to do it.  Then when hard times hit, we'll have God's joy.  "Thankfulness opens your heart to God's presence and your mind to His thoughts".

So, during this Thanksgiving season and all through the year, I challenge you, as well as myself, to thank God even when we're not "feeling" it.

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything..."
                        Ephesians 5:20