Tuesday, January 10, 2017

God Will Perfect You

(from Bend in the Road by David Jeremiah) It’s one thing to be in trouble. You can have trouble on a nice day. You can have trouble with your children or your coworkers, but these are usually little troubles you know you can rise above. It’s another thing to be in the midst of trouble. The appropriate word would be stuck. You find yourself in a crisis with no immediate resolution. You know this thing isn’t going away. You know that when you wake up tomorrow morning, and the morning after that, this matter will leap to the forefront of your mind as soon as you wipe the sleep from your eyes.
In the midst of trouble, David in the Psalms 138:8 assures us that the Lord will not only protect you, but He will perfect you. That means He is bringing to completion everything in the world that surrounds and defines us. What happens when we go through troubles and lose our perspective? We begin to think that God has forgotten us. He must have discarded that plan He had for this life. And of course, it’s never true. 
When we navigate troubled waters, God is the Master of not only the waves, but also the ship. He never abandons His plans or His people. He will see the voyage through to its final destination. But we’re stubborn creatures who struggle to learn. And we learn the least when the sun is shining and the winds are crisp and life feels good. Peace and prosperity have never provided effective classrooms. Crisis and catastrophe, on the other hand, offer master’s degrees. The truth etches itself into your mind and heart when you find yourself forced into a one-on-one relationship of dependency upon God. It’s essential that we cling to His promise of continuous perfection. He is our only hope, our only asset, our only possibility, and as we look into His eyes, we realize that from the very beginning life has always been like that. We just wouldn’t learn it, for we’re stubborn creatures. 
During the difficult days, what is He doing? I call Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.the “Philippians 1:6 of the Old Testament.”“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
No matter what, you must never forget that when you’re deep in the midst of trouble, God is still busy at work in you, though He may be doing so out of your sight. He is eager to show us how well He can protect us, so that He might demonstrate in the process how wonderfully He can perfect us. Then, when the noise and the dust of it all are gone, the dross will have been burned off. What is left will be all the gold of a lifetime of God’s ongoing project of perfection in us.
What a wonderful God! When we begin to look at our difficulties from the perspective of the psalms, our depression fades. Our hope increases. Our love for God is intensified. David’s Final Appeal: David asks the Lord to keep up the good work. “Do not forsake the works of Your hands,” he says (v. 8). This is a man who has become aware of the work of the Sculptor who has been chipping away the raw stone of his life for years. He is saying, “Lord, You started this work on me. Your art project began a lifetime ago with a small shepherd boy. And You’ve continued to bring the king from the stone. 
Have you ever imagined yourself literally in the hands of the Lord? It’s a wonderful thought. Those hands that created the universe, that hurled the stars out into space and crafted the mountains and seashores, and then molded Adam from the dust of the earth; those hands that took the nails and reached out in pain across the wooden beams to embrace all of humanity—those hands now hold and caress you with gentle love. You and I stand beside David to say, “Lord, lift me up in those powerful hands. And let them continue their work, even when it causes the pain of authentic discipline.”

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Doubters

From Max Lucado's book-Fearless--What did Jesus do with the doubters in the Upper Room. Luke 24:27 "And beginning with ones and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." A face to face, put your hand on my wound visit. A meal is served, the Bible is taught and the disciples found courage.
What would Christ have us to do with our doubts? His answer, touch my body and ponder my story. We still can, you know. We can still touch the body of Christ. When we brush up against the church, we do just that. "The church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself." (Eph. 1:23) May others brush up against us and see Jesus!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Storms We Face

From Max Lucado’s book “ Fearless.”
“But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves… Matt.14:24-32
Peter and his storm riders knew they were in trouble. “in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves.” Apt description, perhaps for your stage in life?” The disciples fought for nine hours. Then about 4 AM the unspeakable happened. “They spotted someone coming on the water.” They didn’t expect Jesus to come this way. Neither do we. We expect to see Him in peaceful hymns or Easter Sunday or morning devotionals. 

But it is in a storm that He does His finest work. For it is in storms that He has our keenest attention. Jesus replied to the disciples’ fear with an invitation worthy of inscription on every church cornerstone, “Don’t be afraid, Take courage, I am here.” 

Power inhabits those words. “I am here,” changes everything. Perhaps that’s why God repeats the “I am here” pledge so often.The Lord is near Phi. 4:5; You are in Me and I am in you, John 14:20; I am with you always,, to the very end of the age. Matt. 28:20.

We cannot go where God is not. Look over your shoulder, that is God following you. Look into the storm; that’s Christ coming toward you. Much to Peter’s credit, he took Jesus at his word. “Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. So He said, Come. And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” 

Peter never would have made this request on a calm sea. Storms prompt us to take unprecedented journeys. For a few historic steps and heart stilling moments, Peter did the impossible. He defied every law of gravity and nature, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

When Peter saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, Lord, save me! Peter shifted his attention away from Jesus and toward the squall, and when he did, he sank like a brick in pond. Give the storm waters more attention than the Storm Walker, and get ready to do the same. Whether or not the storms come, we cannot choose. But we can choose where we focus during a storm. “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” Heb. 2:1. 

Do what it takes to keep your gaze on Jesus. Feed your fears, and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your fears will. Lam. 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, the Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him.”

The storm didn’t cease. “Lord, save me!” Peter cried. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” Jesus could have stilled the storm hours earlier. But He didn’t. He wanted to teach the followers a lesson. Jesus could have calmed your storm long ago too. But he hasn’t.  Does he also want to teach you a lesson. Could that lesson read something like this, “Storms are not an option, but fear is?” 

His lesson is clear. He’s the commander of every storm. Are you scared in yours? Then stare at Him. Remember the words, “I am here."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Making a Memory in Memphis

I enjoy spending a day in Memphis and acting like tourist. We went with another couple downtown to take pictures and walk around. Beautiful day with temps in the seventies. 
Started off walking across the Mississippi River and back on the new walking bridge. I think a mile and half each way.

Then lunch at Flying Fish and walk about the Peabody. We saw a camera crew filming a reality show for Bravo. 

Next to a castle I have read about named Ashler Hall.

 It was once owned by a man Memphis knew well. Prince Mongo. He claims to be the ambassador of the planet of Zambodia and claims to be 333 years old.  He fits in fine in Memphis. Even ran for mayor and received votes. The castle is now empty and run down. The owner's brother was there and saw me taking pictures outside of the iron fence. He said you can come in for five minutes and opened the iron gates. I guess he was afraid I would get in those gates and take forever. I hurried and got some shots then he said, come in for 1 minute. Got a few shots inside. Very kind man.  

Next, we rode through Rhodes College Campus. Beautiful buildings for the very liberal elite. I dared my friend to jump out and say, "How about that Trump winning the election?" And then give a thumbs up. She wisely didn't take the bet.

This reminded me of myself.

Next we rode through National Cemetery. Realizing the next day was Veteran's Day, it was a sobering sight to see the lines of graves of those who bravely fought.
We ended the day at the famous Jerry's for a sno-cone that has ice cream mixed up. It was wonderful.
It was the end of a memory making day!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Today is Veteran's Day

National Cemetery in Memphis TN

Today is Veteran's Day
Yesterday we went to this cemetery looking for a friend's parents' graves. As we walked around, we remembered today is Veteran's Day. What a sobering moment it was to stand in this place and think of the sacrifices that were made for me and my family to be free today. 

This week we had the right to vote for leadership and today we have the right to voice our opinion. These graves mark the men and women who fought for that right and I am thankful. 

We are free today because of my Lord and veterans who fought for me. 
I love my country. 
God Bless America.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13
Song wrote by Keith Urban called "For You"
All I saw was smoke and fire I didn’t feel a thing
But suddenly I was rising higher
And I felt like I just made The biggest mistake
When I thought about my unborn child
When I thought about my wife
And the answer rang out clear
From somewhere up above
No greater gift has man Than to lay down his life for love
Maybe you don’t understand I don’t understand it all myself
But there’s a brother on my left and another on my right
And in his pocket just like mine
He’s got a photograph And they’re waiting for him back home
It’s weighing on my mind I’m not trying to be a hero
I don’t wanna die But right now in this moment, you don’t think twice
I wonder, would I give my life
Could I make that sacrifice?