God Is

Genesis 1_1So there I was, driving along a canyon road fretting about all sorts of issues, none of which were within my control. As I round a corner, I hear a voice tell me to look out at the canyon. “Surely not Lord, there are no guardrails and I could go over the side!” I reply. Again, I hear the command to look. After struggling a little, I obey. As I look out, I once again hear this thought: “I created all of this. Do you not think I can take care of what concerns you?”

How many times each day do we forget that we have a relationship with a personal God who loves us and created everything? How many times each day do we limit ourselves because we are limiting God? Do we really think that we can understand God fully, knowing what He is thinking and what He is doing?

Isaiah 55_8-9
God cannot be contained. God is bigger then I can imagine. God is more powerful then anything I have seen. God is more powerful then an earthquake, or a tornado, or the deadliest plague. God is more loving then any person I have ever met or ever will meet. God is wiser then the wisest of people. God’s creation reveals the character of its Creator. Look around and marvel at the beauty, the galaxies, the deserts, the lush forests, a delicate hummingbird, a graceful lynx, and so on and on it goes.

1 Corinthians 2_9Whenever I stop trying to do God’s job and simply allow God to be God, and remember that He created me and that He loves me, a great weight is lifted off of me. I no longer need to figure everything out. I no longer need to be perfect in my thoughts, behavior, or attitude. I can trust that the God that created not only me, but the entire universe is fully capable of taking care of His creation and fulfilling His purposes.

Then, I remember that this Creator God came and, taking the form of a human being, lived among us, teaching us and showing us the way, knowing that we would torture and kill him. And yet, Jesus loves us still.

John 1_1

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Learning to Trust

Ollie will you trust meI came home to my noisy parakeet, Ollie.  He saw a cardinal on the patio and was chirping away.  I proceeded to clean out his cage as I do everyday and thought about how he is not skittish anymore when I’m dismantling his home.

After all, he should be used to me by now since I adopted him four months ago.  I don’t know much about his past but he was a young bird of 3 or 4 months old when he came into my home and he was scared of everything.  I called him a “scaredy bird”.  Get it….instead of scaredy cat.  Then I realized I was getting no where with him and I began calling him a “good boy”! I talked to him everyday and finally got him to come up on my hand without biting me.  He would bob his head from side to side looking at me and get restless and fly wildly away.  Never knowing where he would land, I would have to rescue him by cupping him in my hands while he struggled and continued to bite me.  I said,  “Listen here, I’m bigger than you!”

Matthew 6:26I don’t know why, but one day I began humming an old hymn and he stopped struggling and listened.  I had to listen to what I was humming and realized the hymn was called “The Love of God”.  After repeating the hymn three times, he had heard enough and wanted to fly back to his cage.  I repeated this process for two weeks and now I don’t have to sing because he doesn’t struggle and bite me, when I have to pick him up.

After these past months, I realized Ollie still did not trust me.  One day, we had a heart to heart talk.  I talked.  He listened.  I told him I feed him, and clean his cage everyday, give him fresh water, take time to talk to him and it is time for him to realize I care about him and I’m not going to hurt him.

It takes a time honored relationship to develop trust of any kind.  What about trusting God?  You cant truly trust someone you don’t know.  We get to know God by spending time with Him.  Knowing who He is through reading His Word; talking to Him and listening to Him.

Luke 13:18Building Trust.  Its takes time and because trust can be a verb, it takes action.  Just like in a marriage.  It takes a life long commitment built on a foundation of trust.

Oh by the way, something wonderful happened on this day of thinking about trust.  After cleaning Ollie’s cage, I sat on the floor and began talking to him and to my utter amazement, for the first time on his own, he flew onto my shoulder and nuzzled close to my neck as I kept talking to him.  He stayed quite a while, too.  God, did you do that for me as I pondered this subject of trust? You are so good.  Now can you please get Ollie to talk?

Learning to trust

This was excerpted from a story by Theresa Harper entitled “Trust”. Theresa and Ollie live in Fort Mill, South Carolina where Theresa shares her joy in and love of the Lord with many, encouraging them in their journey of faith.

 

Flying Free

2 Corinthians 3:17Picture for a moment your favorite bird or butterfly, or other flying creature. Now imagine a shackle with a huge chain attached. What happened to their flying? Suddenly, they either spend all of their energy struggling against the chain, or they fly in circles, or they just flutter in place. gone are the soaring arcs and dips of graceful flying in the air.

Like the birds and the butterflies, we were created to fly free, to soar with the eagles. And yet, many of us have heavy chains that weigh us down, chains of unforgiveness, chains of unrepentance, chains forged in lies we have believed. I assume that you, like me, desire to fly free. In order to do this we must rid ourselves of the weight of these chains. How do we do this? We learn to walk in humility, forgiveness, submission, and truth.

It starts with forgiveness. Galatians 5:1
When we forgive others, the weight of their sin, the control that we have given them over our life, is broken, and that chain falls away. The more we understand our need for forgiveness and learn to receive it from God, the easier it becomes to forgive ourselves and other.

As we grow in forgiveness and those chains fall away, the light of truth begins to be able to shine. This is the beginning of walking in truth, and the place where we start learning to control our thoughts, rejecting lies, anger, and bitterness and replacing them with thoughts of gratitude and joy.

As our thoughts become aligned with truth, we will automatically start to submit to the Creator, the one who made us and is the ruler of all. We will also grow in humility as we see God and ourselves more Chainsclearly.

The result? We are able to fly free, soaring with great joy regardless of our situation. And which of us does not want that?

How’s Your Temperature?

Revelation3:1Do you ever have a passage that sticks with you, that you delve into, and keep finding deeper meaning each time? The letter that Jesus sent to the church in Laodicea via John is such a passage for me. It is too easy to impose our modern western view of the world and understanding of language into this passage and miss the dire warning Jesus is giving.

The word “lukewarm” had a totally different meaning for the Laodiceans then it does for us today. After telling the Laodiceans they were lukewarm and that therefore He was going to spit them out of his mouth, Jesus goes on to explain his use of the word in the next verse (Rev 3:17 ESV, emphasis mine). “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Jesus is telling them that they are relying on themselves instead of God.

Laodicea was placed between hot springs which heated their homes and substantially supported their lifestyle and cold water that they used for the production of their famous cloth. Water that was lukewarm was worthless, not useful for anything.

To make sure the Laodiceans understood that Jesus was mocking their pride, warning them against their self-reliance, he proceeds to give them three examples specific to them.

1Peter6b7a

The Laodiceans were very proud of their wealth. They were so wealthy that they did not have to appeal to Rome for assistance to recover from earthquakes, or other natural disasters. Therefore the first example that Jesus gives deal with gold. Instead of material wealth, Jesus tells them to buy gold refined in the fire. In prior biblical verses this refers to people who have been tested by trials and found to be fully devoted to God, trusting and relying on God instead of themselves.

Next Jesus tells them to buy white clothes to wear to cover their nakedness. White clothes are frequently used to represent the purity of those who have turned their lives and their will over to the care of God, to follow Him and remain in a “right” relationship with Him (righteouseness). If they were already in a right relationship with God, wearing the righteousness that comes from reliance on Christ, they would not have a need to buy these clothes. Once again, Jesus is pointing out the inadequacy of the white cloth they were so proud of producing.

Revelation3:18

Thirdly, Jesus tells them to buy salve for their eyes. The Laodiceans had a renowned medical center and produced an eye salve for which they were famous. Jesus tells them that they do not understand spiritual truth, but are, in fact, blind to what is before them.

After emphasizing their desperate need, Jesus encourages them to persevere, relinquishing their reliance on themselves, so that they will be able to withstand the coming trials and enjoy the victory with Him, sharing eternity with Jesus on His throne.Revelation 3:21a

The Laodiceans were relying on their own wealth, their own vision, and their own righteousness. In other words, they weren’t apathetic, indifferent, or laid back, they were extremely confident of their own means, their own understanding and their deeds as a way of gaining eternal life. There is a strong temptation to rely on our own talents, abilities, and wealth instead of on God.

Every time I think of the Laodiceans I am reminded to look at my own life, to seek out the areas in which I am relying on myself and my own abilities above God, His provision, His wisdom, and His strength.