Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Gentle Thunder

The following excerpts from the book, A Gentle Thunder, by Max Lucado really touched me:

“[This is what Jesus said about death:] “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am.” (John 14:1-4)

What kind of statement is that? Trust me with your death. When you face the tomb, don’t be troubled—trust me! You get the impression that to God the grave is a no-brainer. He speaks as casually as the mechanic who says to a worried client, “Sure, the engine needs an overhaul, but don’t worry. I can do it.” For us it’s an ordeal. For him it’s no big deal. . . For God, death is no tragedy. In God’s economy, the termination of the body is the beginning of life . . . By calling us home, God is doing what any father would do. He is providing a better place to rest. A place he has “prepared for us.”

Heaven is not mass-produced; it is tailor made. . . The problem with this world is that it doesn’t fit. Oh, it will do for now, but it isn’t tailor made. We were made to live with God, but on earth we live by faith. We were made to live forever, but on this earth we live but for a moment. We were made to live holy lives, but this world is stained by sin. This world wears like a borrowed shirt. Heaven, however, will fit like one tailor-made.

By the way, I’ve often thought it curious how few people Jesus raised from the dead. He healed hundreds and fed thousands, but as far as we know he only raised three: the daughter of Jairus, the boy near Nain, and Lazarus. Why so few? Could it be because he knew he’d be doing them no favors? Could it be because he couldn’t get any volunteers? Could it be that once someone is there, the last place they want to return to is here?

We must trust God. We must trust not only that he does what is best but that he knows what is ahead. Ponder these words of Isaiah 57:1-2: “The good men perish; the godly die before their time and no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to realize that God is taking them away from the evil days ahead. For the godly who die shall rest in peace.”

My, what a thought. God is taking them away from the evil days ahead. Could death be God’s grace? Could the funeral wreath be God’s safety ring? Why does an eight-year-old die of cancer? Why is a young mother taken from her children? As horrible as the grave may be, could it be God’s protection from the future? Trust in God, Jesus urges, and trust in me.” 

One more thought. "God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to be confused. If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust His heart." C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for Grace

11 Years  ago on 9-11-01 the United States was changed forever because of a terrorist attack.
11 years ago today on Thanksgiving Day 11-22-01 our son Micah fell out of a tree and our family’s lives were changed forever. God poured out His love and grace upon our family as we found out not only did Micah have a broken leg, torn spleen, a small hole in his lung and a crushed vertebrae, but he had leukemia. Micah fought leukemia for four long years but was not able to overcome this sickness in this life. I praise God for the greater victory that was won! Micah trusted Christ as His Lord and Savior and he persevered in the faith, living and dying for the glory of God!  He fought the fight of faith to the end through all the pain and all the suffering. Now he is rejoicing and pain free, suffering no more, safe in the arms of Jesus. The longer I live the more grateful I am for God’s precious gift of Jesus. God knows how it feels to have your son die. I am so thankful He sent His son to die for my sins and for those who put their trust in Him and to nail our sins to the cross to die with Him. I am so thankful that He takes our stony hearts and changes us, giving us new hearts and that Christ lives in us, the hope of glory! God was so merciful to us during those four years and He continues to pour out His grace and love upon us. God is so gracious and good. His love is amazing and never ever fails us. I am missing Micah a lot this Thanksgiving but I am so thankful that the Lord gave us 16 years with him. I am so thankful that not only can I trust in God’s perfect plan to take Micah home at a young age, but I can trust Him fully for all of my children. I am so thankful for all my children and love them so much. My greatest desire is that they walk in the truth and treasure Christ.  I know God is drawing them to Himself. He is merciful, kind, righteous and always good and He will work all things together for good for those who love Him. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 5, 2012

El Shaddai ("God Almighty")

One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is 2 Chronicles 20. It tells what happened when the people of Moab, the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. It reminds me to look to the Lord for help and to trust Him because He is bigger than any problem I have. It puts people in perspective by reminding me that God is big and people are small. Our God is mighty in battle and awesome in power! The Lord fights our battles for us as we look to Him, ask him for help and praise Him!

2 Chron 20:3-5
3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said: "O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?
2 Chron 20:15-16
Thus says the Lord to you:'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.
2 Chron 20:21-23
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:

"Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever."  

22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.

The most important reason this is one of my favorite accounts, is because it is true! God’s Word is true. God’s Word is powerful and alive and works in us to heal, instruct, comfort and encourage us. I love the Word of God. If it were just a dusty good ol’ book on the shelf that had no life, I would not love it. But it is alive because of the breath of the Holy Spirit upon it. The Bible is the inspired word of God. The Holy Spirit is in me, and opens my eyes to God’s truth. He teaches and counsels me. Otherwise the Bible would not be alive to me.

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

            Hannah Whitall Smith says in her book, The God of All Comfort,
“It is of vital importance for us to understand that the Bible is a statement, not of theories, but of actual facts; and that things are not true because they are in the Bible, but they are only in the Bible because they are true…. And although this may seem very dry and bare to start with, it will, if steadfastly persevered in, result in very blessed inward revelations, and will sooner or later lead us out into such a knowledge of God as will transform our lives. This kind of knowing brings us convictions; and to my mind convictions are far superior to any inward revelations, delight as these are. An inward revelation may be upset by the state of ones health, or by many upsetting things, but a conviction is permanent… I am so absolutely certain that coming to know Him as He really is will bring unfailing comfort and peace to every troubled heart…”
I know this to be true in my life. God speaks to me in His Word. He comforts, helps, and encourages me the way only He can. No one can speak to me the way the Lord does. No one can understand my feeling or what I am troubled by. He knows me completely. He made me and loves me. He is all wise, true and good, He is able to help me like no one else can! Don’t go to friends, books, movies, magazines the internet and all kinds of things to get your help and advice. Go to the Word of God and let God Himself speak to you. He will lead, guide and counsel you in a way that will not steer you wrong. People make mistakes. God never makes mistakes. People disappoint us. God will never disappoint us. Trust in His Word.

 I trust in Your Word. ( Ps. 119:42)

            So that gets back to 2 Chronicles 20. I love this story because it is true and it encourages me, helps me and increases my faith and trust in the True, Mighty, Awesome God and Savior Jesus Christ!