Hidden

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When I was a kid we always had “chores” that had to be done before we could play. We would work together to complete them. My sister and I were in charge of the dishes. My parents would work in the garden in our backyard. We were always in a hurry to complete the dishes so we could go and help our parents in the garden.

Sometimes when we were finished with all that had to be done my dad would pop us all in the car and we would go to the Dairy Queen and have a treat or other times we would head out to a drive in chicken place. I remember those times with very fond memories.

I remember one time that was so out of character for my mom. She never did things backwards or tried to cheat. One time my dad was almost finished with the garden and we hadn’t even started the dishes which meant we weren’t going any where.

My mom had a plan of her own. As my sister and I watched in amazement she stacked the dishes and then proceeded to put them in the oven. Yep, you read right, the OVEN. (we never had a dishwasher.)

We must  have had eyes the size of soft balls as my mom held her hands to her lips for us to be quiet as she shut the door to the oven and told us we would do them later. And off we went to get my dad and head to Dairy Queen.

I will never forget that day as long as I live. It was such a secret and so out of character of the mother I thought I knew. I am not sure if she told  my dad. I do know we never let her forget it and it seemed our little secret. We would all laugh and giggle about the day the dishes were stuck in the oven to clean.

Some times I think we think we can hide things from God like my mom hid the dishes. We seem to think that our deepest longings and even our tattered lives are hidden from him. Perhaps we think he doesn’t care about such small things or things that are personal. Dreams we have had for a lifetime.

But the Bible tells us in Psalm 38:9 that the Lord KNOWS what we long for. He hears our sighs as we ponder things. He knows the number of the hairs on our heads.(Who would ever want to know that?)

God is not impersonal. He knows us each so intimately. There is nothing about us hidden from him. Before you start to panic, even knowing everything about you he calls you BELOVED. I know right? How could he know all about me and still call me his beloved?

Well, he does. His love letters to you tell you that.

You say you didn’t get any love letters.

He sent them to you in the Bible. They are his words just for you.

Read the Psalms as a place to start and listen to him tell you of his powerful love.

Read his love letters to you and find the “hidden” love God wants to share with you each day.

Even If

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Have you ever had a time that a theme in life just keeps popping up at the oddest moments? Well for the last few weeks that has been  happening to me.

Our pastor has started  a new series entitled “Shattered”. It is based on the book of Job. How his life was fantastic one minute and the next everything was gone.

Then as I read a blog of a friend this morning it was about “Broken” and how we are ALL broken at one time or another.

Got an email from a friend that is suffering in all areas of her life.

In my life there are things that weigh heavy like a mountain on my chest.

Broken.

Shattered.

In the blog my friend shared this song by Mercy Me. Perhaps you have already heard it but take a few minutes and listen to the words once again.

Everyone has troubles, is broken, shattered at sometime in their life. Probably more than one time. But did you notice that the words said, “I know your able, I know you can.” We seem to know that God is all powerful, he is more than able. We know there is nothing he can’t do. But is that enough? Is that helping your struggles right now? Do you trust him to be enough?

Listen to the very next words. “But even if you don’t, my HOPE is you alone!” Did you catch that?

Even if you don’t. Even if God doesn’t take away the pain. Even if God doesn’t “fix” the problem. Can we get to the place where we can say, “My Hope is YOU alone”?

When Job lost all his possessions, family, and wealth. He was broken, shattered, but he was able to state the fact that all he had was from God. Then he worshiped God. God WAS his hope.

We need to get to the place where God is our hope alone.

Not what we can achieve.

Not our finances.

He is able. Even if is seems He doesn’t answer the way we want.

Trust him.

Seek him.

Then you can say just like the song,

“IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.”

Rat Race

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I love watching the crazy commercials that are on T.V. these days. There is one where all these men are in suits and ties but they all have their heads stuck in the dirt. ( I guess they are all supposed to be ostriches or something.) Then all of a sudden one of them pops his head out of the dirt and starts a mad dash toward ( I am not sure just what or where he thinks he is going) the mountain.

Then just as quickly the rest of the men pop their heads out of the dirt and the race is on to get to the end. They are all trying to beat each other. You don’t see where they are racing to but they are doing their best to be the winner. (They don’t even see the end they only want to be the first one to get “there”.)

Then the camera pans to a man that is on top of the mountain with binoculars watching the mad dash. You finally see where all the others are running at breakneck speed to. It is to a giant drop off like the Grand Canyon. At the speed they are running they will all go over the edge to their demise.

The guy with the binoculars just shakes his head and heads back to his home on the top of the mountain. He doesn’t make a move to help or call out to stop this terrible race. ( I think, but I am not sure the commercial is about investing. I don’t watch them for the product but to watch them to see how silly they can be.)

This commercial got me to thinking about so many people today. They don’t seem to want to know the truth but are willing to follow the crowd, any crowd, to where ever they are headed. Not just follow but race to the edge of the cliff.

I don’t want to be like the  man with the binoculars and watch so many people race to the end of their lives and never share the saving grace of God with them. I don’t want to be on top of the mountain safe and sound but never share how to get there. I want to share with them what a wonderful, loving Father we have.

I need to come down from the safety of the mountain top and share with all that will listen, that God loves them no matter what they have done. We all fall short. We all have sinned. He died so that we might have life and live free from racing with the crowd. We don’t have to be the same as anyone. We don’t have to run in the rat race to destruction. We don’t have to be perfect. We just need to ask for forgiveness and receive salvation.

Just as Joshua told the Israelite’s, “As for me and  my house we will serve the LORD.”

Are you racing toward the drop off?

There is a much better race to run.

Skip the rat race and run the race with God.

Let him direct your path.

Anticipation!

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Easter!

I am sure this one word brings something to mind. Perhaps hiding eggs, or Easter baskets filled with candy. Maybe it’s getting a new outfit.

I’d like to give you something else to add to the above.

Anticipation!

If you are married you know what it was like to anticipate that day. The excitement, the wonder, the joy that would flood your heart just thinking about the coming event. Anticipation!

If you are a parent you know the wonder of waiting for that new little life to arrive. Anticipation!

When I know that Easter is on the way my anticipation goes into high gear. Why you ask? It’s the time when I am reminded of all that Jesus did so that I can be forgiven. I am reminded of all the prophesy that has been fulfilled with the resurrection. I read and reread the story of how the Marys went to the tomb and the stone was rolled away. Anticipation!

I listen to the story told again in church about how the men were walking toward Emmaus and Jesus, whom they didn’t recognize, came to walk with them. How their hearts were stirred. Anticipation.

There is nothing stronger than our God. The grave couldn’t hold him, death was beaten.

He is RISEN.

We are forgiven.

Anticipation! Can you feel it?

 

 

 

What’s in Your Future?

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Have you ever wished you knew the future?  Perhaps, what will my spouse look like? Will I have the corner office soon? Will this child have my eyes?

I think sometimes we are afraid to think of the future. Will I beat this illness? Will the world go to war? Will my marriage make it through this?

Easter is fast approaching and there are so many things to learn and think about. I have been reading the book of Mark lately since the Pastor has a five week study of the things leading up to Easter.

It has me thinking about how Jesus knew the future. He demonstrated it so many times. I have either taken it for granted or missed it altogether.

In Mark the fourteenth chapter there is a section that may have slipped by you as it did me so many times. It is the Passover and the disciples want to know where they are going to celebrate it. Jesus tells the two, Peter and John, the exact location. Not the street or the person’s home, no he tells them exactly what they will encounter.

13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” Mark 14:13-15

Did you notice there would be a man carrying a jar of water, that wasn’t normal, it was usually a woman. Then they were to follow this guy back to where he was going. Do you think the guy kept looking over his shoulder wondering why those two were following? They arrive at the house of someone they don’t know and tell them what Jesus told them to say. Just like that the homeowner shows them the room.

I don’t know if this amazed them but it certainly got my attention. Jesus not only saw the room where they would celebrate the Passover, he saw the man with the jar of water! Amazing, right?

Seeing what lies ahead seems like it would be so great until you get to the part where he sees the cross. Jesus is in the garden at Gethsemane and he tells the three, Peter, James, and John, to sit with him while he prays because “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:34)

Jesus knew the future, the horrible things that lay ahead, yet he continued!

He saw you in the future and knew you were worth it! Imagine that!

Such love. Such overwhelming love and forgiveness to go through the beating, the humiliation, the ridicule for you and me.

Will you see your future and turn to Christ for salvation?

He has his arms open wide to welcome you.

What’s in your future?

Which Part is Yours?

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There is a story in the Bible about 3 men. One is the father and the other two are his sons. The father is wealthy and raised his two sons the best he knew how. One day the younger son comes to his father and says, “I want what is in your will for me BEFORE you die.” He wanted to get away from his family as quickly as possible and not look back. The father, though hurt by this request, gave the young son what he had asked for.

The young son wasted no time losing everything he had been given. Home started to look better and better, but how to go back when he had “burned his bridges”? He practices what he will say to his father when he sees him again.

Meanwhile the older brother had stayed home, worked hard alongside his father. (Probably reminding his father how wonderful he was that he wasn’t like his younger brother, that had left them high and dry.) He would catch his father looking off in the distance at different times.

As the younger brother heads back home practicing his speech to his father, he looks up and sees his father racing toward him. He braces for the words, “I told you so” or “you are not welcome to come home.” They never came.

His father throws his arms around him and welcomes him home! Throws a party in his honor, puts fine clothes and jewelry on him. The younger son is humbled and feeling so undeserving of such love.

The older brother who is working hard, hears all the commotion and races back to the house. Only to find out his younger brother has returned home. His father is putting the best clothes in the house on his brother and giving him some expensive jewelry. He is even having a huge feast prepared.

Outraged and with his arms crossed tightly across his chest he refuses to celebrate with his father. He once more reminds his father of his loyalty and hard work while this other son has taken all his inheritance and lost it. Why the celebration? Where is MY celebration party?

The father patiently explains that all he loves him and has noticed what wonderful work he has always done. He tells him that all he has belongs to the older son.

Then he tells him the reason for the celebration is that “your brother was dead but is now alive, he was lost but is now found.”

I feel like in my life I have played all three parts.

I was like the younger son and couldn’t wait to be on my own. Out from under all the rules and regulations. Do my life like I want!

I also have been like the older brother and acted like I deserved someone to throw me a party for doing all the work and staying the course. No forgiveness for the wrongs done to me by others.

I also feel like the father as I watch and wait to celebrate ones that were “lost and now found”.

The best thing is that God is that Father.

He was there with open arms when I finally came to my senses and returned to him. I was “lost but now I am found”.

Don’t be like the older brother refusing to forgive, staying lost, outside the celebration.

Which part are you playing in this story?

Commercial Break

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I don’t think I am a normal TV viewer. I like the commercials  more than most programs! It seems I find deeper meanings about life than the commercial intends.

Just one example I would like to share today. I have been doing a Bible Study on line with some friends about decluttering your life. Not only is it about decluttering your home, but yourself.

There was a lesson about God wanting us to declutter every area of our lives not just drawers and closets. Well, I am really an organized person so clutter makes me crazy. That being said, I don’t have drawers with clutter or closets with things I don’t wear. So the lesson didn’t seem to apply to me. The question of the day was, “What are you going to declutter from your life?”

As I was pondering the question, the commercial that came on the TV was perfect. There was a huge avalanche headed toward two fellows. One was in the truck ready to leave. The other one is at the back of the truck trying to get this huge video game machine into the bed of the truck.

The guy driving says, “You gotta let it go!” The other guy just wants to keep hanging on to this heavy load as the avalanche bears down on them. Then the driver takes out his phone and says, “Let’s sell it on Letgo.” They do and escape the avalanche JUST in time.

Got me to thinking of some of the baggage I have been carrying around lately. Things like guilt, sorrow, self condemnation. Then, the words “Let Go!”

Perhaps I do have some decluttering to do. We are to live lives of freedom not waiting for the avalanche to over take us with things like sorrow or guilt.

I need to “Let Go” and turn these things over to the only One that can take them from me, God.

1 Peter 5:7 tells us that we are to give ALL our worries and cares to God because he cares about us. Now that is a great reason to LET GO!

Guess I need to do some decluttering after all!

What about you?