Saturday, August 30, 2008

Standing Firm

"Thank God because He's good, because His love never quits....Pushed to the wall, I called to God; from the wide open spaces He answered....Far better to take refuge in God than in people;...Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs in the camp of the saved? "The hand of God has turned the tide! The hand of God is raised in victory! the hand of God has turned the tide!" From Psalm 118 - The Message

Do you ever pray and pray and pray for an answer and then one morning the heaviness lifts and without knowing the specifics, you know God has answered your prayer? Ephesians 6 :11-13 tells us, "Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm." Until the veil is pulled back from the heavenlies, we will not know all the spiritual battle done in prayer. But in faith we know that much is taking place. Don't be discouraged by the trials in your life. Be honest, work through them. Cling to God. Immerse yourself in God's Word. Know by faith that God is more real than your own breath. There may be hard issues in life, but also know God is sovereign and as we pray He fights the battles. "Thank God because He is good, because His love never quits."


Psalm 138:8 "The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the work of Thy hands."

A popular song on the radio from back in my teenage years said "precious and few are the moments we two can share." How true...the moments fly by. This summer I've purposed to savor the moments in this season of life. When I return home from the church office I scoop up this precious one and we have our afternoon walk. We hold hands, or rather she holds my fingers. We look at flowers, we talk, and when she gets sleepy we sing. As some of our wise saints say, "we are never promised tomorrow." For the sweetness of these moments I thank my Father in Heaven. Life often isn't easy, which makes tender moments even more significant. May God especially bless you during this season in your life.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Big Fish and Forgiveness

Jonah 2:1-2;7-10
"Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish; and he said, "I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; Thou didst hear my voice."..."While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer came to thee, into Thy holy temple. Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness, but I will sacrifice to Thee with a voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the Lord."

Jonah, through his own disobedient choices, was put into a desperate situation and found himself in the belly of a huge fish. In that fearful place he cried out to God, and God heard the prayer of his repentant heart.

We can find ourselves in desperation over crisis attributed simply to the fact that we live in a fallen world. Sin in the world hurts innocent lives. It's the nature of evil to be calloused to the fact that we are not to blame. In these circumstances God weeps with us and cares deeply for us being sovereign over even the unthinkable. We can know that our God who is totally loving and totally just ultimately will prevail.

However much of what we suffer has to do with the choices we make. Jonah chose to blow off God's clear instructions. We often do the same. Even so, the God of compassion who weeps with us when we are innocent is also moved with incredible mercy even when we are totally guilty. His constant love for us longs to give us second chances. It is that perfect divine love that allows Him to orchestrate a desperate situation in which we are firmly but tenderly placed. God, because He loves us, will go to great lengths to put us in a state that challenges our perception and outlook. When we cry out to God, He is faithful to hear and respond. He is the God of of second chances and His heart is always filled with compassion and mercy toward us. There is nothing like the embrace of God after we have offered Him our broken hearts and asked for His forgiveness. Oh, the unfathomable love of our God expressed through our Lord Jesus Christ.