Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Peace During Turmoil: Is It Possible?

Perfect health, no financial issues, obedient children, and extended families that get along… I know, I know, I can hear it now, “wishful thinking.” Think about it though. What keeps you awake at night? What makes your stomach hurt with worry? Who drives you crazy? In other words, what are the sources of stress in your life?
When I think of turmoil, my mind turns to Job.
Job 3:26 “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."
I believe Job is an example of perseverance. Studying this amazing man of God, I wonder, how would I find peace in the midst of such utter devastation? Is it even possible?
Think about Job for a second. His family, his health, his wealth, everything was taken from him by Satan. Instead of supporting him through his trials, his friends added to them but Job remained faithful to God. Through faith and obedience, Job met the challenge of the evil one with perseverance.
Did Job have peace? Yes, in a way. He never questioned His God. He may have doubted himself but not the Father or His will.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”
The path to peace during the storms of life! Thank you, Lord.
Oh, if only I had known this sooner. I could have used it when I was wringing my hands in the waiting room during my husband’s 35th surgery or grinding my teeth through one more bill collector. It would have especially come in handy when I wanted to throw my son to the sharks last night. Ah, oh, well, better late than never.
My God is an awesome god! He never leaves or forsakes His children and always protects them, even in times of trouble. 
Psalm 37:39-40 “But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.”
Do you have peace during the bad times? Have you talked to God today? If not, try it. You may be surprised with the result you get.

In Christ,

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Quiet Time: A Conversation with God

What is a quiet time? How often do you have one? What does it accomplish? Is it really needed?

Questions, questions, questions… The mind searches for answers.

Let’s look at the first question: What is a quiet time?

For the Christian, a quiet time is very special. It is a period that he spends with the Lord in prayer and studying His Word. She may even spend the time in peaceful reflection, basking in the presence of the Lord. Nothing can compare to the fellowship of the Holy Spirit during this wonderful little spell.

How often should you have a quiet time?

Isaiah 58:2 “Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God.”

The Lord loves His children and wants their fellowship. He pours out His blessings and instruction to help them walk in His ways each day. He does not walk in uninvited but instead He remains outside until they call.

What about question #3? What does this daily quiet time accomplish?

Starting the day with the Lord, a Christian’s day begins a little different than without Him. Whether it was spent in prayer or reading scripture, the knowledge and power of the Lord permeates the soul during those precious few moments. He floods His child’s life and strengthens him for the day, sometimes unbeknownst to the very one before Him.

I leave you with Question #4? Is it really needed?

That question is a very personal question and must be answered by you. If you cannot then I challenge you start having a quiet time with Your Lord. First thing in the morning, open your Bible or bow your head and spend some time with the Father. It can be at the kitchen table, on the couch, in the bathtub, or in the bed. He really does not care. In three months, you should have your answer. Let me know what you think or what you decide.

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

In Christ,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What You Do When You Are Mad......At God

Physical calamity, financial distress, emotional turmoil… You turn to the Father and are met with…nothing. A small fire ignites in the recesses of your soul. You continue to pray and silence is still your answer. The flames grow. As the many petitions fall on deaf ears, your wounded spirit begins to flounder under the battering of the inferno. You cry out in bitter rage, “God! Why have you forsaken me?”
Have you ever experienced the devastation of unanswered prayer?
Luke 11:9 (NKJV) "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”  
Does God hear my prayers? Does He care? Why do the answers not come? Why do the doors not open?
These questions are in my mind on a daily basis. Jesus promised that I may ask and the answers will be given and that I should seek and I will find the way and I can knock and all will be open but for some reason, it just does not seem to work so well for me. 
I am still waiting for answers, still waiting for healing, still waiting…
Matthew 21:21-22 (NKJV) “So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
All right, now I am really mad.  I pray with complete faith, knowing the Lord has the ability to diagnose and heal.  Silence is my answer.  All I want is to know what is going on, Lord!  Worry and Frustration are sore bedfellows.
Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV) “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—“
Okay, that one hurt. Are you saying I have to persevere in my prayer life too? Sheesh! Just move the mountain, already! I know you can do it. I do not have the patience to do this anymore! Oops, is that Your point, God?
Matthew 6:34 (NKJV) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
I understand now. Worry and Frustration can find someone else to harass. Thank you, dear Jesus, You always know what to say. Please forgive me for my temper tantrum, Father. Whether the answers come today, next year or years from now, I will continue to pray, knowing You are in control.
In Christ,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Praise: Experience the Power of God

     The echo of the pipes reverberates through the sanctuary and my body quivers with excitement. I sit in the pew and listen to the ebb and flow of the notes then catch my breath as they swell in a building crescendo. Nothing quite prepares my soul for worship like the sound of a Sunday morning pipe organ.
     You may be asking, “What in the world is so exciting about a worship service?”
     Don’t worry, I used to ask myself the same thing then I discovered something. I discovered the power of praise.
     Think for a minute about a worship service.
     After the opening prayer, what happens? Generally, a meet and greet praise song is sung! Okay, maybe that it is not what it is called in the bulletin but that is what I call it. I call it a “welcome to the service and thank you for coming” song. Either way, people welcome one another and have a chance to meet new faces in the crowd. Usually, someone has to remind people to sit down or the music starts back up to return people to their seats, especially at night.
     After the meet and greet, worship begins. Depending on the church, old time hymns or modern praise songs (one and the same), with or without the assistance of a choir, lift to the heavens and His people experience the power of God.
Psalm 68:35 (NIV) “You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. Praise be to God!”
     Power? Strength? From singing a song? Yes!
     I am sure you have heard the phrase, “God inhabits the praises of His people.”  If any person spends time in a Christian church, eventually they will hear these words.  It is scriptural and is found in Psalm 22:3 (KJV).
"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."
     Open your heart and pour out your praise to the Lord. Feel the power flood your soul and strengthen your spirit. Raise your hands and lift your voice to sing, “I love you, Lord! Hallelujah, Jesus is Lord, He is King!” 
     Can you feel Him? Is He with you?
Psalm 86:12 (NKJV) “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.”
In Christ,