At Least

My 23 year son was very excited about his new job. Although he has very little experience in the field, he was hired with an HVAC company where he will be trained and have support for going returning to school to receive certification. What a great opportunity!! Things are looking up.  He hops in the 28 year old Honda Accord to make the hour and 15 minute commute (one way) to begin his two week training. On the way home one night, this faithful and trusty old vehicle blew its clutch a day or two into the new job training. Training that is required in order for him to keep this promising new job. This might be a great excuse for your boss when you’ve been on the job 2 years but NOT 2 days!

The quoted repair price exceeded the value of the car. So that’s out! My husband and I didn’t have an extra vehicle for him to borrow. So that’s out. I mean a solution had to be found in ONE weekend!!! No pressure! In an effort to make the best of a bad situation, I say, “well ‘at least’ he made it home, and we didn’t have to pay for a tow truck.”

“At least.” It’s a term used by many to accept an unpleasant reality…..a search to pick out the microscopic slice of positive in a large soup pot of negativity. Most of the time, we top off statements like this with a tone of finality, and a side of regretful expression. It’s a quick dish that is best not served at all, for it implies the larger portion of meal is hard to swallow. We chase it all down with a glass of “Now what?”

Don’t misunderstand me, picking out the positive is a good thing, but NOT having an “at least” mentality when it comes to spiritual matters….not when it comes to believing God for a miracle.

We don’t serve an “at least” kind of God….yet we often approach His throne expecting the minimum, if anything at all.

God told us to approach His throne with boldness! (Hebrews 4:16 & Ephesians 3:12)
God told us to make our requests known to Him! (Philippians 4:6)
And He tells us something else we need to know through this story in Mark chapter 9.

A father desperately wanted his son to be healed. Since his birth, the boy had been afflicted physically. His father describes it like this, “he has a dumb spirit. And wherever it lays hold of him so as to make him its own, it dashes him down and convulses him, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth, and he falls into a motionless stupor and is wasting away. And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him.”

If you were this boys daddy, what would you ask Jesus to do?

This desperate dad asks Jesus for the bare minimum…he asks if Jesus can even do anything at all. In other words, ‘whatever you can do will be better than nothing at all.’

How did Jesus respond to dad’s plea for the minimum? Jesus did not ridicule this anxious dad. Instead he gave Him the one ingredient he needed to receive his miracle by 100%

The ingredient: simply BELIEVE!!

Jesus tells him that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO HIM WHO BELIEVES!!! (Mark 9:23)! All of it!! Not just the minimum. Not a part, but the WHOLE! This dad, recognizing that he might be a tablespoon shy of belief, he asked Jesus to help him to believe. Jesus did not make this difficult, nor did he condemn this man. His sick son was delivered and healed and made whole! 100%

Let’s kick “at least” to the curb when we talk to God!  Don’t settle for less! He is a God of MORE than enough! ALL things are possible to him who believes. And if you struggle with believing, no worries: He will help your unbelief just like he did that father, and He won’t be angry with you about it either. Our God is a good God, and He’s waiting to show you the maximum, not the minimum.

 

It’s Okay To Make a Sandwich

Eat God's Word Bible highlighted

Who ever said the only acceptable way to consume God’s Word is actually opening the hard copy of the printed Bible? No one did, that’s who. But God does want us to get a daily dose of His Word. Reading scripture is food to our soul! Our physical bodies need to consume food daily or we grow weak, and we could even starve to death. As important as food is to our physical existence, it’s equally important to our spiritual existence. I don’t always have time to sit at a gourmet restaurant; sometimes I make a sandwich. What’s important is that I get food regularly!!

Don’t misunderstand me. I love to sit down with the printed Bible and really take my time to read and study it. It’s my personal preference: always has been.  I feel so alive afterwards and uplifted. But guess what, I don’t always have time for that.  I am hesitant to admit that I went through a period of time when I actually felt guilty if I didn’t have the time….I actually felt like I was failing in my duty to read God’s Word…like I was a big  ‘let down’, a failure, a hypocrite.  But guess what? God never did feel that way about me.

No sir, God relieved me of that burden one day with this simple statement, “it doesn’t matter where you read The Word, as long as you read The Word.” In other words, it doesn’t have to be the published and printed hard copy. I can soak in God’s Word by listening to scripture readings on CD or the radio. I can read my daily scripture sent to my iPhone. I can read a few scriptures in an email devotion. I can even read my own handwritten scriptures on a chalk board in my home.

Printed, digital, audio or handwritten…..it doesn’t matter as long as we are consuming God’s Word!!!

In this age of advanced technology, we are without excuse. God’s Word is so easily and readily available to us at the touch of our fingertips or at the command of our voice.  So when you don’t have time to sit in a restaurant, it’s okay to make a sandwich.

P.S. Reading God’s Word is a great way to Worship Him

Hearts Like Flowers

I love plants! I’ve learned that each plant must have specific needs met in order to flourish. One of those needs is the proper sunlight. This means I can’t just place it any old place inside my home. I’ve also noted that no matter what, the plants will always bend toward the sun…leaning in toward its vibrant light.

Isn’t this a good picture of how WE should be with The Son? Leaning in toward His vibrant light…soaking in those life giving rays!! Lately, I feel God’s prompting to simply BE in His Presence…..to sit at His feet and SOAK Him in. Isn’t this what the flowers do? And what happens as a result of flowers staying in the presence of the sun is the unveiling of great beauty….the sprouting of new growth…..and later the prompting of a new seed for a new season.

Recently we sang a remake of an old song written in 1907 by Henry Van Dyke, “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee.” I’ve heard this song and played it on my piano many times, but on this particular Sunday my Spirit translated the lyrics like this:

Hearts unfold like flowers before You Oh God….Opening to The Son

During that worship service I could imagine how beautiful it must be to God…. to see every member of the congregation as a flower, opening before the Glory of the Son of God in complete worship…..completely reliant upon Him in every way. Sitting at the feet of Jesus!  In doing so….we have life! We live, blossom and flourish!

During the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, let’s don’t get so busy that we forget to be like the flowers before Him. Be Still in His Presence, and soak in The Son!!!

 

How the Grudge Stole Christmas

I certainly needed this reminder. Letting go of grudges and hurts can prove to be challenging. But the reward is so much greater! I’m so thankful that God doesn’t hold a grudge against me.

Godspeaks2us

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” This Charles Dickens quote just about sums up ANY holiday season.  And does this response sound familiar to anyone, “Yeah, everything was great EXCEPT…..”I’ve said it before, and will probably say it again.

I think there will always be exceptions to the perfect holiday. Everything was great except: my kid was sick, my car broke down, my flight was cancelled, my ordered  gift didn’t arrive in time, my bonus wasn’t given this year, my funds were running low, my family  member said some very hurtful things…… my……oh my…… oh my! Surely the worst of times.

There are exceptions or special conditions to nearly everything: contracts, grammar rules, laws, warranties, etc. I’m about to shock some of you with what I’m going to say next, but keep reading all the way through. There are even exceptions or conditions to…

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When The Time Is Right

Isaiah 60

The Holy Spirit knows just WHAT we need; WHEN we need it; and HOW to supply it. On top of that, He knows just how to comfort us. Lately, I’ve been comforted by this scripture.

I trust that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine…..therefore, I know that some things in my life will be beyond my understanding, yet I will trust Him.  I know that He has good plans for me and my family…..therefore I can expect God’s favor to make that happen.  I know that the Creator of all I see, can create solutions in my life where I see none. I know that I can’t always trust in my limited reasonings and rationale, so I put my trust in an All  Knowing and All Powerful God.

But sometimes, waiting for my circumstance to change is hard.  I want it now!! Waiting for that break-through can be hard. I want it now!! Waiting for God’s timing can be hard. I want it now!!

I recently was reading thumbing through a notebook where I’d shoved various scraps of paper. At date was written on an old bank envelope: 2012.  The date took me back in time, to a place where I’d seen God grant me “desires” I had longed for….for over 10 years. Yet in 2012 I found myself struggling  because I had “needs” that were not being met.  But God didn’t get mad at me, He spoke a gentle yet firm reminder of His power and love to me. So I grabbed what was handy and wrote down what the Holy Spirit was telling me:

“If I can grant the desires of your heart, I will certainly meet your needs.”

Oh is it so wonderful to know that our God will not only meet your needs, but will grant the desires of your heart. BUT, we must wait on the timing of the Lord.

So encourage yourself in the Lord. Fill in the blank with the thing you have been waiting for…..the need…..the change…..the dream……the breakthrough…… the miracle…. and quote Isaiah 60:22.

When the time is right for _________________________, I, The Lord,  will make it happen.

DON’T GIVE UP!!! God has not forgotten you!!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! God is working on your behalf!!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! The Creator is still creating for you!!
DON’T GIVE UP ON GOD’S TIMING!!! Wait on the Lord and be of good courage!

The Root of the Matter

What’s happening in society today?? One thing I think we can all agree on, is that it’s a mess!! Without question, injustices and unfair cruelties are evidenced at every turn. I don’t deny racially motivated acts that kill, destroy and divide. I don’t deny the imperfections of the institutions that surround me: flawed, faulty and failing.

I don’t deny the hatred and anger devouring this land like an out of control wildfire leaving ruin in its wake. Protests, riots and angry exchanges are the norm, not the anomaly.  People shaming the skin that covers God’s most treasured creation is not a solution-it’s an abomination.

So what is the solution? Well …effective solutions are only found when the root of the problem has been identified. The problem is not police; white supremacy groups; statues; terrorists; Obama or Trump! The root of the problem is the heart of man. But God knew this already. He warned us many times.

The heart is the most deceitful thing there is!- Jeremiah 17:9

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good;
and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil:
for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.-Luke 6:45

Every crime, every unfair act, every hate filled word, every wicked and depraved thing that mankind does and says is a direct result of what is in his or her heart.

It is the reason God sent us a Savior, One to save us from our sinful heart. We need a Savior folks! We need Him IN our hearts! Jesus Christ is the solution! If HE is in our hearts, He will be in our homes! He will be in our schools! He will be in our churches!

It’s time to take inventory. What’s in your heart?

Here’s the good treasure we should store in our hearts: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalms 119:11.

If we believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord – then saying it out loud is the confirmation. This is what Romans 10:8-10 tells us: it’s salvation in a nut shell. But it also mirrors the fact that what a man speaks confirms what is indeed IN HIS HEART!  No wonder God told us to guard our hearts. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

It’s time to take inventory. What’s in your heart?

 

When You Don’t See Progress

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us,
even though we cannot see it up ahead.” Hebrews 11:1

This table….old, used, abused, painted and re-painted…currently adorned with the three different colors.  A table discarded by my daughter because it no longer had purpose.

Yet I had hope for this piece of abandoned furniture, and wasn’t giving up. Not yet anyway. But after sanding and sanding and not seeing the results I’d imagined, my frustration grew and my determination wavered as a new purpose emerged:  chunk this unchanged junk!!!

That’s the moment the Holy Spirit whispered an important life lesson to me:
“When you don’t see progress, trust the process.”

We all have a “table” in our lives that needs a change. And we’ve all experienced that moment when we’ve decided to give up all hope when we don’t see progress…..when things don’t change. But I’m here to encourage myself and to encourage you: DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t abandoned the process.

The process of faith, of prayer, of hope, of releasing your situation to our All Powerful, All Knowing God! This process works because God never fails!!

Don’t stop Praying!!
Don’t stop Believing!!
Don’t abandon Hope!!
Don’t throw out your unchanged junk!!

Something IS happening even though you may not see it just yet. God does have a purpose and a plan when you don’t see one. So I continued the sanding ‘process’ and sure enough, I began to see the result I was looking for.

When you don’t see progress, trust the process. God IS moving on our behalf. He IS responding to our prayers.