Showing posts from May, 2011

The Good Gifts

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” –Matthew 7:7, 8, NIV.

These were good verses for this morning. I had a question that had been niggling away at the edges of my mind for some time. So I took the verses with me into my prayer time this morning and asked God for an answer to my concern. When I got to my office that answer was lying on my desk. It hadn’t been there yesterday when I dropped in, but sometime between yesterday afternoon and this morning, it had been delivered.

There are plenty of times when we ask and the answer isn’t quite that immediate. There are times we go looking and what we seek is elusive. There are times when we pound on doors that refuse to open. But moments like this morning remind me that God responds when the response is needed, not a moment too early or a moment too late.

He is a Father who doesn…

Count the Eternal Gains

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” —Matthew 6:21, NIV

I’ve lost a lot of things and people in my life. Moving around from country to country has cost me over the years—a little glimpse of what the phrase means: “you can’t take it with you.” Sacrifices, some of which come back to haunt me have had to have been made along the way. Some of them aren’t all that big or significant. Others poke and prod in the back of my mind, big enough to cause regret. I have consoled myself by remembering Peter’s statement and the Lord’s answer in Mark 10:28-30: “Peter said to him, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’ ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecution) and in the age to come, eternal life.”

I was kind of hoping for…

Just Do It!

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done is secret, will reward you” –Matthew 6:6, NIV.

A friend of mine used to lock herself in the bathroom to do her devotions–it was the only way she could get away from the rest of family for long enough to spend significant time with the Lord!

I think it was Susanna Wesley who used to sit in the corner of her kitchen with her apron pulled up to cover her face when she was having her “quiet time.” Her numerous children knew not to disturb her during those moments.

If there is one thing in my walk with the Lord (and there is more than one!) that causes me difficulty, that thing is prayer. I pray all the time, but carving out a time, a place, and then focusing exclusively on prayer as a routine matter, has been an elusive goal in my life.

The verse for today doesn’t deal with all the “issues” I can think of that are associated with maintaining a regular praye…

Follow the Father

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” –Matthew 5:43-45, NIV

A friend was venting yesterday about some abusive comments she received because of a post that offended a reader. Like many of us, she was frustrated by the double-standard so often practiced by those who hate God. They can say what they want and expect to be tolerated, but believers can’t stand up for Truth without being accused of being intolerant. It IS aggravating!

As I read this morning’s verses, I thought about how God must feel to be so maligned. It must be aggravating for Him too! We should be grateful that He holds back the worst of the consequences of man's rebellion against Him. He doesn’t respond in kind to the abuses of those who dismiss Him or openly o…

Letting the Light Through

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
”  —Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV.

All the God does for His children—and that’s plenty—has a purpose much bigger than meeting the needs of those children. He delights to meet us at every crossroad to give us direction, to comfort us when we suffer loss, to fill  our hearts when they are empty, to replace sadness with joy, mourning with singing.

But what we receive must be pa…

Getting Out of Bed

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” —Zechariah 4:6.

Some days it just isn’t worth getting out of bed. The overwhelming desire to cover up our heads with that sheet and shut out everything related to our world pushes us back into the security of that warm and comfortable spot that our bodies have carved out during the night. Unhappily, once the mind gets woken up sufficiently to prod memory, there’s nothing else to do but get out of bed and face the world.

Jesus said that we’d have trouble in this world (John 16:33) but he followed that statement up with the wonderful promise that He had overcome the world. The tense is important. He didn’t say that he WOULD overcome the world, He said that He HAD overcome the world. Victory was not only assured but should already be considered a “done deal.”

So when I get to the words of Zechariah, I remember Whose victory it is. It helps me get out of bed in the morning. If I face the world in my puny strength and …

My House, Or Yours?

Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it” —Haggai 1:6, NIV.

Two short chapters, that’s the Book of Haggai. It only goes to prove that you don’t need a lot of words to say a lot, as contradictory as that may sound!

The issue in Haggai’s day was the devotion of the people to building and beautifying their own homes while the temple lays in ruins (1:4).

Transported to New Testament, post-Pentecost times, we know that the physical building called “church” is not the issue (though we shouldn’t leave that in ruins either!). Believers are, says Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16: “...the temple of the living God,” as he warns his listeners not to allow anything or anyone to distract them from a life of righteousness.

Haggai’s message is a call to look at life realistically. Why is it that, …

Wrap Yourself In It

I Will Rejoice Even When Joy Makes No Sense

When Chocolate Won't Fix It