Verse of the Day – 2 Chronicles 7:14

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NRSV)

Prodigal Thoughts: Some folks feel loved the most when you spend quality time with them. Others, presents/gifts. Others, acts of service, etc. There seems to be a running theme throughout God’s word. A humble heart that seeks to live according to God’s word and is prayerfully focused on Him. Perhaps this is the type of lifestyle that gets God’s attention. I’m not saying we should do these things to manipulate God as He knows our hearts. I highly doubt we would be able to pull the proverbial wool over His eyes anyway. In 1 Samuel 8, the people of Israel learn this lesson the hard way. They march into battle against the Philistines and Israel is defeated, losing 3,000 soldiers. Then they get this bright idea of getting the Ark of the Covenant and taking that into battle because they thought God would be with them and defeat the Philistines. Nope. They were living opposed to God’s commandments and were a prideful bunch. They marched the Ark into battle, and they were pummeled even worse than before, losing 40,000 soldiers as well as the Ark of the Covenant. It wasn’t until Samuel led them in a renewal of the covenant by prayer, humbling of their hearts, and confession of their sins that God heard them and led them in victory. 

Prayer for today: Today, I pray that we would make a habit of surrendering our whole lives to the purpose and will of the Father. That we would allow God to cleanse away our agendas and fill us with what He has in store. Lastly, I pray that when God calls us to action, we would move out on His orders without hesitation. 

If you need prayer, please reply and I will pray for you. If you would like to talk about this verse or have questions, I’m always open for your feedback.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Christmas is Upon Us

It is that time of year again.  With the lighted trees in our living rooms and the presents under the tree.  Partaking of egg nog and passing around the 400 year old fruit cake.  Yep.  It is Christmas time.

This time of year always causes me to reflect on the events and happenings from the first of the year until this point.  Also, I think about the past and thank God for His goodness and grace.  So as I reflect on the previous year and years past.  Here are some thoughts that have passed through this ponderous mind.

#1.  God really did love us to send His Son as a baby.

Sure, Jesus is a warrior whose sword is bloody and his white robe is dipped in blood.  Who has a tattoo down his thigh that says, “King of King and Lord of Lords” (or so I have been told).  Yes, that same Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple.  The same One who was beaten and bruised and ultimately killed for our sins and then beat the hell out of death.  All of the strong warrior, mighty in battle references are still implied here. But where did God start Jesus off?  Yep, a baby.  Innocent.  Helpless.  Weak.  

#2.  God gives and He takes away…and He knows what He is doing.

 Now, this may come off as offensive, but that is truly not my concern.  God has given Lovely and I five children.  We are grateful for the three that we still have with us.  The two that God “took away” or kept for His own (Tobias Mikal & Jonah-Miriam) are still very much missed.  As I was hanging our stockings the other night, I could not help but to let the tears fall.  I still miss our kids.  As of right now, Tobias would be nearly 4 years old and Jonah-Miriam would be nearly three years old.  I do not care how much time passes, I will still love them and miss them.  And no, it is not because they were sick.  It was not to keep us from pain because we are still grieving.  Their deaths did not happen because something would have been wrong with them that we could not handle.  God, for His glory, ushered them into His presence.  After our miscarriages, we were able to help minister to about 7 other couples that went through the same thing…within about six months.  Bigger picture?  It seems that God allowed us to face this situation, hurt, pain, grief, and all to build character and to help the other couples.

#3.  Finding the Peace in the Storm.

Lovely & I have been through more junk this year (or just over) that we really care to deal with.  While the bible promises that we will not be given more than we can handle, this year is REALLY pushing that limit.  We moved.  I got laid off (in 2009).  We found out about a bunch of deception.  God provided a new job.  I received a promotion at the new job.  God added a new blessing to the MTP crew.  We moved again.  Another promotion.  Plus much much more.  

I cannot honestly say that I have had the most optimistic outlook on all of these situations.  I have not have the most God-honoring attitude.  But now that the year is drawing to a close, I am now looking back and seeing God in every circumstance.  Just little ribbons of God’s grace or protection, goodness and mercy.  

#4.  Thank God for newness

God has a funny way about guiding you through life and giving you little glimpses of what is next….sometimes.  Often it feels like a carrot being held in front of a donkey to keep it going.  Other times it feels like being strapped to an engine that is hitting mach three with no signs of slowing.  No matter what way is being experienced at the time, God’s sovereignty is the hope.  If it is a new season of life, then God is the author and finisher of our faith.  All in all, God is to be praised.  

So as we approach this holiday season, take a moment.  Think about God’s goodness.  Think about God’s approach to what your life has been like this past year.  Find the grace, truth, and protection in those times.  Maybe you just need to find Jesus.  And that is okay.  We all need Jesus.  Just Jesus…and the reason that he came in weakness.  The way Jesus came into this world was just the opposite of the way He went out.  He that came to life in weakness defeated death.  The One who came in innocence bore our sins and made a way for us to speak directly to God by shattering the sacrificial system of the Jewish culture.  And as Jesus was helpless as a baby, as our Savior, he willingly walked to His scourging and death…in order to give us life.

As Christmas is upon us, lets stop.  Reflect.  And thank Jesus for what he did for us.  If you need help remembering what he did.  Watch the movie from Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’.