Friday, August 19, 2011

In Him Above All Else, Hope

God delights in His children and He knows that no good thing for us is found in anything but Him.  He has a way of turning our wandering eyes back to Him as He allows us to see and experience the emptiness of hoping in anything but Him. 

Dreams are not bad, but God must be the God of our dreams, not the dream itself.  Plans are not bad, but God must be the God of our plans, not the plan itself.  And so on and so on.

There is much loss in this life, but God--the great I AM, the Mighty One, our Redeemer and our Victor--He is our portion.  He is the measure we receive in this life and in Him we lack for no good thing. 

"'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!' 
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should
hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." 
Lamentations 3:24-26 

Can I pray about anything for you? 

Hope and Peace to you, 

Monday, August 15, 2011

The #1 Best Last Line

I read an article yesterday that listed the 100 best last lines from novels (according to somebody).  I'd say the last line in a book is almost as important as the first.  The last sentence should tie the story together, leaving the reader with a lasting impression, a lingering thought that touches the heart and both completes the story and continues it in the mind of the reader.   

After reading the list I thought, I wonder what the last line of the Bible is? 

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen."  Revelation 22:21


The lingering thought is grace--unmerited favor, a gift given when the beneficiary is undeserving, but when it is needed the most. 

And this grace comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, no less.  A gift given from the Highest of the all to the least of all.  That is what the Bible is all about.  Every word, every book, yes, even the Old Testament, is about God's grace. 

The Old Testament is a collection of stories that shows God's love and grace.  They show Him calling out one man to be the father of a nation who would be called His own, to whom He could show His grace and mercy and through whom He could reveal Himself to the world.  He miraculously rescued His people out of the hands of their enemies over and over even though He knew they would continue to turn away from Him.  Yet He continued to love them, to let them go to face the consequences of their own will and actions until they repented and came back to Him, and He would forgive again.

It's the story of a man who is hiding from his enemies being called a mighty warrior by the Angel of the Lord.  It's the story of a prostitute being grafted into the geneology of the Savior.  It's the story of a boy who would be king who would commit awful sins, yet was called a man after God's own heart. It's the story of a cupbearer being called by God to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.  It is story after story that shows man's unquestionable need for a Savior. 

The New Testament begins with grace in the form of a baby who would be the Savior of the world, borne of a poor couple--an unassuming girl and a frightened, young man.  The baby grows into a Man and heals the sick, feeds the poor, raises the dead and transforms the lives of eleven, argumentative, presumptuous, young men, and even calling His betrayer, friend.  And then He dies for all sins, even the most heinous, sins which he did not commit, and offers forgiveness to anyone who would believe on Him. And it is the story of the Lord calling a twelfth man--one who had persecuted Him and His people greatly--to be filled with the Holy Spirit and become one of the greatest champions of Christ and the gospel who ever lived.

It is all the story of God's love for each of us wrapped in grace. 

And we are left with the words, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen," words which touch the heart, and both sums up the story and begs the reader to continue the story in his or her own life.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

We are saved by grace and we are kept by grace.  We serve Him by grace and we commune with Him by grace. God's grace should never be distorted in order to carry on in our own selfish whims leading us back into sin.  But when we live with a humble gratefulness for what He's done for us and continues to do, we will find ourselves doing all, speaking all and being all for the glory of His Name.

Grace and Peace to you!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Prayer Request

I got news yesterday that my cousin is in the ICU with a brain aneurysm.  She had two when she was first taken to the hospital two weeks ago, one of them actually bleeding into her brain.  The surgeon was able to fix that one, but there's still another one that is apparently hard to fix and it seems that to try to fix this one could be more dangerous than leaving it and waiting.  The surgeon says that just the fact that it's been two weeks and she's still alive is a good sign.  So I'd really appreciate your prayers for her and her family.  Please also pray that the Lord will soften her heart and speak through me as I go visit her and present to her the gospel of Jesus.

I'd love to pray for any of your prayer requests, too. 

God bless,

Monday, August 1, 2011

God Treasure

Years ago I lost the diamond from my wedding ring. I looked down at the ring one day and there was only a gaping hole where a diamond once sat. I had no idea how long it had been since it dropped out and I had no idea where to start looking. The diamond was relatively small and I knew it would take a miracle to find it, if I could at all.

I could have given up and bought a new one. Heck, I could have even bought a bigger one, but it wouldn’t have been the same. It wouldn’t have been the diamond I was married with. So I started praying and I asked my friends to pray. 

I adopted a new posture of walking through the house, the yards and the garage with my head down, eyes scouring the ground. At night, when it was dark, I’d shine a flashlight through the house hoping to see a glint of a sparkle from my little diamond. I crawled on the ground, running my fingers through the carpet fibers trying to feel for a marquise-shaped pebble. I looked through the bed sheets, through the closet, under the couch cushions, everywhere I could think. And I kept praying.

Each day that went by it looked less and less like I’d find my diamond. A week went by, then two. Then one Wednesday night, I got in the car to drive to church. I glanced down near the pedals and saw a glint of something reflected by the overhead light. I thought maybe it was a wadded-up foil gum wrapper or something. I bent down and picked it up. It was my diamond.

How it ended up down there I’ll never know. And how, after driving the car for two weeks, it didn’t get kicked hopelessly under the seat, I’ll never know, either, except that the Lord heard our fervent prayers and rewarded my perseverance.

Most of us would search as earnestly for earthly treasure—treasure that is worth relatively very little. I wonder what would happen if we searched as fervently for God treasure? Colossians 2:3 tells us that in Christ is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” There is wisdom and knowledge that cannot be found with a Ph.D., an MD, or a DVD. Only God holds these priceless treasures and He gives them to those who seek Him.

God says that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6b

Seeking God is not a Sunday morning project. I may never have found my diamond had I looked once or twice and then given up. And we won’t find much of God if we only look once or twice a week, either.

The hunting grounds God has given us for His treasure are His written word and the ground at His feet as we commune with Him in all kinds of prayer. And the peace and joy we experience as we walk with the Lord through this life’s hardships, receiving His wisdom and knowledge for all aspects of our lives, is a treasure that far outweighs any temporary earthly bobble, no matter how shiny.

Don’t forfeit your treasure! Seek Him and be truely rich.

Q: With what piece of wisdom has God blessed you recently? 

All for Him,