Monday, December 31, 2012

A Greater Commitment

"Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." -James 1:21

Part of what I pay for my apartment rent includes a basic cable package.  I don’t have a choice; I have to pay for cable.  But I do have a choice whether I want to turn the TV on or not.  Over the past couple of months I have enjoyed having ESPN (Sports) and a few channels that play some movies.  However, watching TV also reminds me how much “moral filth” exists in our world today.  I have watched some things that I would normally not watch.  Now I am challenged to commit my life to greater purity in what I choose to set before me. 

The Scripture says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”  (James 1:19-20)  Anger is something I have struggled with in my life as well. 

I can get frustrated with things in my life that are not working as I would like them to.  Or, I get down on myself for not being as perfect as I expect myself to be.  Last week I got angry while ironing my clothes.  I got angry over a minor issue with the cord, I think.  It wasn’t worth getting upset about.  But it set me off, and I got upset and let out a swear word.  I know this minor issue wasn’t really what I was upset about.  I was upset about something much more significant, but I let something simple make me mad.  Nonetheless, I do not always handle my anger properly. 

We all have things in our lives where we can press on to a greater level of holiness and purity.  Yes, we are saved by grace, and we grow in grace, but we should still accept the challenge to commit ourselves to being holy as He is holy (see I Peter 1:13-16). 

As we approach Christ’s return I want to be more like Jesus every day.  I know I often fail in this regard.  Very often.  I know there are things in my life that are not pleasing to the Lord.  There are areas of my heart where I struggle.  Nevertheless, I don’t want to live my life half-hearted for the Lord.  When all is said and done, I want to have given my all to Him. 

Whatever I need to lay down, I want to lay down.  If there are things in my life I need to turn away from, I want to turn away from them.  If there are things I need to stop watching, or stop saying, or stop doing, I want to stop.  Yet, most importantly, I believe God is pleased with a heart that loves Him and longs to please Him, even if we often stumble outwardly. 

Perhaps this coming year we can all take up the challenge of walking closer with the Lord and committing ourselves to greater purity.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Friend for All Seasons

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

This past Saturday I was in Michigan with my best friend Joel.  I drove from my parent’s house to his, about a 2 hour drive.  A couple of months ago we had agreed to not drink any pop (or, soda) until we had a Mountain Dew together during our visit.  We stopped at a gas station, Joel put gas in the van, and then he purchased two 20-ounce bottles of Mountain Dew.  We enjoyed our Dew together as we drove to the Black River to do some winter hiking. 

The picture below is us together this past Saturday.  We had hiked to Rainbow Falls on the Black River.  As we walked we talked – about medical insurance, for one.  The Detroit Tigers were another topic of conversation. 

As we drove back down the road we tried to remember how long we’ve been friends.  We met in high school, in our church’s youth group.  I was probably 14 years old.  We think that by this time next year we will have been friends for 20 years.  Whether that number is precise or not, nevertheless, we’ve been friends for well more than half my life. 

Our friendship has stood the test of time.  Even though I’ve been in Texas for over 12 years now, and we’ve lived away from each other for longer than that, I still feel incredibly close to Joel and at ease when we are together.  I know he will always be there for me, no matter what happens.  I feel tremendously blessed to have a friend like him in my life.   

Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (NKJV)  I’ve always thought of the “friend” in this verse as being Jesus.  Jesus is a friend who sticks close than a brother.  He has been a friend in my life who has never given up on me.  He has always been faithful.  Even when I have fallen down, when I have failed, He overlooks my faults and weaknesses and gives me the strength to carry on. 

I am thankful for other friends too, friends like Joel, who have stuck with me during the seasons of my life.  I am thankful for the friends in my life… men like Dan, Carey, Josh, Mike, etc… who are faithful and true friends.  And I am thankful for Jesus, the friend who loves at all times.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Holy Night

"I know this thirst will not last long, that it will soon drown in the song not sung in vain"
-Rich Mullins

O holy night
wind is blowing through the crack in my car window
the temperature just right
to soothe my face, and soothe my soul
and disappear into the sights of the highway
and the music that fills up my car
with grace and peace
and reminders of how great is His faithfulness
O blessed evening
at my computer screen
to ponder love and reasons
and longing for intimate connection
with the Lord
how close He is, yet, how so very far away
and how I want to hear from Him
and how He wants me to walk it out by faith
and how I want to find rest and solace in His arms
and how He wants me to be bold, step out and have no fear
and but somewhere, somehow, all He asks
is that I love Him, right where I'm at
O night divine
the room is quiet
only sounds of the song that I’m listening to
the spinning of the fan overhead
the patter of my fingers on the keyboard
yet, my mind in motion
yet my spirit is at peace
knowing that no matter what is going on around me
I belong to Him
and when I die, I’ll be taken up to glory
O hopeful night
stillness surrounds me
peace like a pond
each verse is like a ripple on my surface
and I can believe that the song I sing
will not be sung in vain
with the night, I call out Your name
with the night, I long, I hope
that all will be well for every weary traveler
that all will be right for each searching soul
when we turn our eyes
to the child, who came into the world
born in a manger
on one holy night

Friday, October 19, 2012

God Has a Purpose

There is a mystery and wonder to the work of God in our lives that stretches far beyond our finite understanding.  The Lord says, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)  Yet within God’s eternal plan are wonderful promises for the here and now.

God’s plan involves eternity, but He has a specific purpose for our time here on earth.  If only we could always see our lives from God’s perspective!  In this world we walk by faith, we see “…but a poor reflection as in a mirror… (I Cor. 13:12).  Yet God has given us the steady and sure light of His Word to guide us through.  The Scriptures says, “However, as it is written:  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. (I Cor. 2:9-10)

Through the Spirit we are able to understand “…what God has freely given us.” (I Cor. 2:12)  In order to truly know God’s purposes they must be searched out.  Like a man mining for gold we search out the deep things of God.

Sometimes it is hard to understand what God is doing, to discern His will.  God weaves His plan into our lives through the tapestry of seasons.  We don’t always see it at first but He weaves into our lives the beauty of His purpose.  We look back at what He has done and marvel at the wonder of His work.  Truly He makes all things beautiful in His time. (see Ecclesiastes 3:10-14)

God doesn’t do things according to our timetable, but by His own set purpose.  The end result will be beautiful.  In fact, I believe it will be far more glorious than we may have originally realized.  We have to allow our faith to stand the test of time and see the beauty of what God will accomplish. 

The Apostle Peter said,

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (I Peter 1:3-7)

Who can put a value on the work of God in a person’s life?  You may be going through some trials now, but what God is doing inside of you is of immeasurable value.  What He is doing in you is precious and pure and holy. 

*the preceding was an excerpt from my book, Calling Out to Deep 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Let Your Light Shine

On September 1st I was at the convenience store a couple of blocks from my home.  I was trying to get money from the ATM to do laundry at my apartment complex.  The girl at the cash register told me the ATM was not working, but recommended a place or two down the street.  I started that way, but then turned around and started back to my apartment.  I decided I'd drive to a gas station or something.  As I walked back past the convenience store the girl was sitting outside smoking a cigarette.  Somewhere in this process I felt the desire in my heart to talk to her about the Lord.  

So I went back to my apartment, without talking to her about Jesus.  I drove to the bank and got the cash I needed.  And then I went back to the apartment office to load money on my laundry card.  The office is across the street from the convenience store, and now I was looking for an excuse to go back in the store.  But I was afraid.  Even though I've done my share of witnessing, approaching a stranger to talk to them about their salvation is still not an easy thing for me to do.

Inside the store I grabbed a bottle of Cherry Coke and purchased it from the girl at the register.  Some words passed between the two of us and a couple of other customers at the store.  But I walked out without witnessing to her.  

As I got outside I finally worked up the courage to talk to her.  I went back in the store and asked her about her relationship with the Lord.  As I spoke I felt the words flowed.  She was receptive to what I said and very friendly.  It wasn't as hard to do as my fears indicated!  It helped that she was so friendly.

Sometimes the things we fear to do, when we step out and do them, are not as frightening after all.  I know in my own self I often struggle with fear, but God gives empowers!  

It's so much easier for me to go on a missions trip and share Christ with people in Honduras.  It's much harder for me to love people right here where I'm at, in the United States of America.  Yes, in many ways, people in Honduras seem more receptive.  And people in the United States often seem harder to reach.  Yet, everyone needs love, and everyone needs Jesus.  

Reaching out to someone may be as simple as planting a seed.  We often have no idea what significance our simple words may have in the life of another.  We will not know the full impact the words we speak and the love we show for Christ have in another person's life until we get to heaven.      

Tonight in choir I was reminded of this simple song, sung by Chris Rice:  "Go Light Your World."  May we all let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More than Here

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
II Corinthians 3:18

I lean on You
in the hour of my trial
I know You are still with me
I do not say that because I think it is what You want to hear
or what I think faith would say
I say it because I know
You are here
in my darkest hour
and deepest trial
You are the friend closer than a brother
and my faithful brother, I long for You
my closest friend, I am calling out for You
most precious companion
be near to me
in the hour of my confusion
in the moment of my troubling regret
be the hand upon my shoulder
be the river that runs deep
may my carpet be Your banqueting table
this place where I shed tears
make my soul Your swimming pool
may my heart be the fountain You dance within
Your presence
I need You here
Your changing, transforming presence
do not just be here
I need You more than near
be in me and changing me
transforming me from glory to glory
make my life Your reflection pool
my unveiled face
a window into Your glory
a glimpse into heaven that someone may into peer
Your glory in the face of Jesus Christ
my face a reflection of a heart that has been filled
make this darkness a bastion of Your glory
my ashes a garden of Your beauty
from my shame shine Your bright-gleaming likeness
may my life tell Your story
my broken life possess this treasure
in my earthen vessel, may You be here
but be more than near
be more than here

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
II Corinthians 4:6

Monday, October 15, 2012

God Rules!

God is coming to rule.  Jesus returns to reign.  And when He comes He will reign in perfect righteousness. 

This past Sunday my pastor read from Revelation 19.  It says,

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war…. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:  king of kings and lord of lords.” (vs. 11, 14-16)

Often it does not seem like God is in charge.  But don’t be fooled.  Don’t be fooled by the news reports.  God rules and He reigns over all.  His kingdom rule and authority is the kingdom that really matters.  The real kingdom is His kingdom.  The true government is His government. 

Regardless of what happens in the upcoming election, in Israel, or any other place in the world, God can be in charge of your life.  Regardless of who wins the upcoming election, God is expanding His kingdom through you and me.  We are part of His end-time army reaping His end-time harvest.  And the kingdom we are expanding is one of “…righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit...” (Romans 14:17)

Where God rules there is peace.  He can bring about His justice, His good purpose, His wonderful plan in your life regardless of who is in power on this earth.  I am not saying we should not pray about the elections.  We all need to vote for righteous rulers, according to God’s word.  But ultimately we need to look to God and His rule.  We need to look up and set our eyes on Him because He reigns eternal.    

When we pray, we bring forth God’s kingdom on the earth.  He has given us authority in the realm of the spirit.  We need to exercise that authority with passion and persistence.  But, regardless of who is in power on earth, God’s plan is not thwarted.  All things will fall into place according to God’s eternal plan and purpose. 

The world is moving towards the culmination of the end of this age and to the return of Christ.  Satan rages for he knows that his time is short. (Revelation 12:12)  Pressure abounds all around us, but God is strong within us!  All things will be summed up in Christ.  Your life will be summed up in Him.  We will see Him come on clouds of glory.  He will bring forth perfect justice and perfect peace upon the earth.  And that includes all things which concern you and me.  All that is wrong will be made right.  His dominion will last forever.  He will rule the nations and reign over all!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

You

I have followed You for so long
and sometimes I wonder how it is I’ve taken my eyes off You
You have never changed
You have always been there
even in my darkest moments
I know I can turn to You
and praise
I have changed but You have not
I have strayed, but You have remained
You are still here and Your love is here with me
how I pray that You would show Yourself in a greater way than ever before
show Your love to me
for I am broken and I am in need
for I am hurting and I need Your love
for I am far away and I long to be brought near
to believe that time has not changed Your plan for me
to know that failure has not kept me from Your Plan
to know that You will take me back and bring me in
and lead me out
into the place You want me to be

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Agape

crushed under the weight of sound and fury
I sing a love song
I lift up my chorus to You
for You have poured out Agape upon me
into my heart
by the Holy Spirit, whom You have given
pressed down, but not destroyed
despairing of life, but refusing to give up
my heart is open, my hands
are wide to You
for there is no other name but Your beautiful name

buried in the agony of disappointment
I stand on a stage
and make a concert for You
for this anthem is one of hope
enduring, never-ending, ever persistent hope
the whole crowd swoons and sways to the sound
caught up in this moment, we are in another world
and we forget
we forget everything but Your sound
we forget our trials and tribulations
in the sound of Your voice
in the glory of this tribute
we disappear

we pay tribute to our tribulations
lest we forget the treasures gained in the darkest of darkness
here is a monument
an altar
here is a sacrifice of worship
where You cut me deep
and crushed me like grapes
where You pressed down hard
where You bound me and tied me up
from distress into a palace of glory
these troubles produce patience
patience, character
and character, hope
for Your love has been poured out
Agape is filling up my heart
and here in Your grace
I now stand


"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:3-5

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

No Matter

no matter how deep the trial
He is deeper still
no matter how dark the night
He is ever brighter
no matter how grey the shadows
He illuminates the most dusty corner
He is Christ of the Deep
there He lifts His hands
and the shafts of His light
reach even the deepest ocean floor
no matter how raging is the storm
His love calms it all the more
no matter how tormenting the night
His hands meet yours
no matter how dismal the prison
His light penetrates 
His angels hold back the darkest foe
and His joy fills up your depth of brokenness
no matter the blustery pier
no matter the stormy sea before you
He walks on water
and reaches down in Love
no matter the despair filled the day
angels of grace surround you
no matter how far off the cry
His ear is attentive
He does not withhold His love
no matter how separated you feel
nothing can take you from His unfailing love
no matter how bruised the reed
He will not break
no matter how smoldering the wick
He will not snuff out
no matter how faint the flicker
He will not extinguish it
no matter how cool the ashes
He will bring new fire
humbled beneath His mighty hand
He will lift you up in due time
beauty for ashes
a garment of praise for despair
the oil of gladness
lift up your head
your redemption draws near
no matter how deep the trial
He is deeper still
no matter how dark the night
His is ever brighter
no matter how dwindling is your faith
He is faithful still
He is Christ of the deep
there He lifts up his hands to heaven for you

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dream of My Dream

I hold my dream up to you, in the palm of my hand
I place it on a pedestal
light a candle
and my dream is a shadow cast on the wall by flickering light
I lift up my dream like an ice cream cone in my hand
I take a lick, a bite, and its taste is cold and sweet to my mouth
a delight
I put a sail to my dream
place it in a wooded creek and release it
I watch it bob and swirl with the currents
as it meanders to the sea
with faith I believe, it will come back to me
I believe… it will come back to me
the candle is snuffed out
the cone has fallen
it lies smashed on the ground
in the darkness I wonder if I will ever see
my dream again
I was going to love people
I was going to help them
my heart was going to beat with love and compassion
freedom was going to be my burning passion
now I dream of my dream
somewhere out there
floating on the sea
and I dream that my dream will someday come back to me

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Fellowship of Suffering

“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…”
Philippians 1:29

Suffering is not fun.  Yet, there is no doubt, in God’s word, that God often allows us to suffer.  He permits it.  In fact, He even uses suffering as part of His plan for our lives. 

How about this thought:  God has graced you, yes, even favored you, to suffer for His sake.  There is a special grace on your life to suffer.  According to my Bible note the word “granted”, used in Philippians 1:29, comes from a Greek word that means “To do a favor, show kindness unconditionally, give freely, grant forgiveness, forgive freely.  The word is from the same root for charis, ‘grace.’”

In other words, where God has allowed you to suffer, He is using it for a greater glory in your life than the glory He would receive from simply instantly fixing your problem. 

The word suffer, again from my Bible notes, comes from the Greek, pascho (“Compare ‘passion,’ ‘passive,’ ‘pathos.’”)  Suffer means to “Be acted upon in a certain way, to experience ill-treatment, roughness, violence, or outrage…to undergo evils from without.  Pascho asks the painful question, ‘What is happening to me?’” 

What is happening to me?  That simple phrase seems likely the cry of the bewildered and beleaguered soul, who, under the weight and confusion of suffering, lifts a beseeching face to the sky and cries to God, earnestly and desperately, “Why is this happening to me?”  “Why does this hurt so bad?”

Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned and the greatest hope of our suffering is found in the suffering of Christ.  We refer to Jesus’ suffering as his passion.  In His deep and dreadful suffering we know God had a good purpose.  With reasons unclear to those around him, Jesus suffered and died and purchased our redemption. 

We need to find something good in our suffering.  One of the greatest goods I have found is the unique ability of suffering to draw me nearer to the heart of God.  The Apostle Paul prayed, “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…” (Philippians 3:10)  

*Bible notes from the New Spirit Filled Life Bible

Friday, September 7, 2012

Beyond Measure

“…we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.  Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us…”
II Corinthians 1:8-10

There is a suffering according to God’s will (I Peter 4:19).  There may be a suffering God has called you to that is not pleasant, but works for a good purpose in your life.  Then there’s a suffering that’s not God’s will.  And there’s a suffering we all share simply as part of the world we live in.  “In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus said (John 16:33) 

Suffering can draw us close to the heart of God.  Pressed up against the cross we find something good and sweet. 

Yes, there is deep and agonizing pain.  There is anguish of soul.  There is pain that seems to go on and on with no hope of remedy.  We may lift our heads and long for the day of His return.  We may yearn for the day when this will all be over. 

The Apostle Paul writes, “we were burdened beyond measure…we despaired even of life.” (vs. 8) 

We’ve despaired so greatly that we prayed to die.  We’ve questioned our own ability to carry on.  We’ve doubted our strength to endure.  We felt like perhaps it’s better to just throw in the towel.  Build a small home on a lake and just sit there all day and fritter life away.

In such anguish we could do nothing but trust God.  We cast ourselves upon His mercies and uttered deep cries of the heart.  Our eyes were a fountain of tears.  Our cries were the cries of deep soul agony.  We arose from kneeling by the sofa, walked to the bathroom, and blew gobs of snot into tissue, produced from all the weeping.

Yet, in our valley of despair there is a God who raises the dead.  There is indeed a glorious resurrection.  He delivered us.  He has delivered us in the past.  He will deliver us now.  And, He will deliver us again. 

No matter how bad the trial you are going through, there is one who has been there before, and He will see you through. 


Some of the translations for II Corinthians 1:8 are interesting:

we were pressed beyond measure” (21st Century KJV)

we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life” (Amplified)

We were weighed down with a load of suffering that was so far beyond our strength that we were afraid we might not survive.” (Common English Bible)

Our sufferings were so horrible and so unbearable that death seemed certain” (Contemporary English Version)

we were excessively pressed beyond [our] power” (Darby Translation)

We had great burdens there, which were greater than our own strength. We even gave up hope for life.” (Easy-to-Read Version)

we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength” (ESV Anglicised)

It was so extreme that it was beyond our ability to endure. We even wondered if we could go on living.” (GOD’S WORD Translation)

The burdens laid upon us were so great and so heavy” (Good News Translation)

we were completely overwhelmed” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

in fact we told ourselves that this was the end” (J.B. Phillips)

we were burdened to an extraordinary degree” (Lexham English Bible)

we were burdened excessively beyond our power to cope” (Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament)

The load was so heavy we did not have the strength to keep going. At times we did not think we could live.” (New Life Version)

We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” (New Living Translation)

“we were weighed down exceedingly” (ASV)
 

And from The Message:


“It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.” 


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dealing with Loss

At some point in our lives we all have to deal with loss.  Someone we love will die.  The depth of our love for the person who died will be reflected in the depth of our sorrow at their loss. 

I remember, as a boy, the worship leader at our church passed away.  He was a young man, in his twenties, who died from complications from cancer.  I cried really hard at his funeral.  Though I didn’t know him well, I had admired him.  I recall his fiancĂ©, after the funeral, showing off her engagement ring.   

It doesn’t seem right for someone like him to die, so young. 

In November of 2007 my mother had a stroke.  She did not die, but she lost much of her ability to speak clearly.  She still can’t understand what we say when we speak.  I can’t have a conversation with her on the phone.  I can’t reach out to her for the wisdom and encouragement she’s given me all my life. 

On the surface, some of the losses we deal with may seem cruel and haphazard.  The universe can seem like an uncaring place.  God can seem so utterly silent.  The explanations and answers we pine for do not come.  Our earnest prayers seem to come up empty.  We may even question our faith in God.  How could God, who says He cares so much, seem to care so little?  How could He have allowed this to happen?    

We look at death and know something is not right about this.  This is not the way it was meant to be. 

Death creeps into so many aspects of our lives.  People we love pass away.  Dreams die.  Hopes are shattered.  Relationships are broken.  Expectations meet disappointment.  Sickness and disease affects, in some way, the entire human race.    

What we have to do, I believe, is view all things of this life in the light of eternity.  The Scripture says,

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:16-18)

As painful as life can be, I truly believe, when we get to heaven, the eternal glory we experience will make the deepest, darkest trial of life seem insignificant.  There God’s work of salvation will be complete. 

As real as this life is, there is a place more real than this.  I know that one day my mother, if never healed in this life, will be completely restored to a perfect state in heaven.  She will be as God created her to be.  The Scripture says, “…we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.” (II Cor. 4:14)

With no intent to minimize the pain you may be feeling today, I know the child you lost, you will see in heaven.  The young man lost tragically, smiles in the brightness of heaven’s radiant glory.  Every aborted baby runs freely in the fields of our Father.  The grandparent you cherished is now young and vibrant, healthy and whole in celestial splendor. 

I Corinthians 15:26 says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”  There is indeed a painful sting of death.  Until that last enemy is destroyed, we will all feel it.  But we have the promise from God that death will be “swallowed up in victory.” (I Cor. 15:54)  Yes, “…in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” (vs. 52-53)

“…thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I Corinthians 15:57

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hope

I trusted You
in Your word I hoped
and I believed
with joy I received
I heard the sound of Your voice
and my spirit rejoiced
my heart leapt within me
and then You led me out from that place
into a vast wilderness
of deep affliction
and utter darkness
where the sound of Your voice was music to my soul
but around me was a crushing weight
that I was broken under
though it seemed I could not hear You
I remembered
You and all Your wonderful promises to me
You led me into a place of dreadful darkness
through times of tears and turmoil
you tested me
I drank deeply the cup of bitterness
it was gall in my mouth
and I wanted to despise the day of Your word
disdain the dream
pour contempt on all I have hoped for
but I could not and cannot
a prisoner I am
to the sound of hope
to the sound that I heard
in the cool of the night
when Your voice carried me
and reminded me
Your voice has carried me
even when silent to me
Your voice has buoyed my soul
given me wings to soar
as I wait on you in hope
darkness has been like a shell surrounding me
and I’ve been like a chick breaking free
a butterfly formed in blackness
stepping out into the light
it hurts my eyes
but, I remember, and I believe
what I thought was trust has been formed deeper in me
Lord, let me see, Your light again
Your word a lamp to my feet
illuminate the path before me
I trust in You
in Your word I hope
and I believe
with joy I receive
I have heard the sound of Your voice
and my spirit rejoices
my heart leaps within me
and You lead me out from this place
into a spacious land
a land of peace

Prayer Equals Peace

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...