On Wings Of Eagles

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bible Prophecy

Amos 3:7 (NIV)
Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
    without revealing his plan
    to his servants the prophets.

On his way to world domination, Alexander the Great was moving from the Helispond down toward Egypt. If you follow that pathway, you see that it leads directly through Jerusalem. No one was more aware of this than the citizens of Jerusalem, who could hear the hoof beats and the roar of the Greek chariots as they were on their way. Surely the Greeks would plunder and ruin Zion!

The people gathered themselves around Genua, the high priest. Genua fell on his knees before God and asked what he should do to defend a defenseless people. God told him that each person who would go forward to greet the Greek army should dress in white and wear a turban, the headdress based on Judaist liturgy. The turban had a gold plaque across the front of it, in which was engraved the name of God. This was all.

The people did as they were instructed, and their representatives, dressed in white, walked North of Zion’s walls to stand and wait for Alexander and the Greeks.

Josephus, the Jewish historian tells us of that epical moment, when Jews and Greeks stood nose to nose. Though terribly afraid, the high priest stood his ground as he watched the dust churn up in the distance from the chariot wheels and the horses’ hoofs. But when the vast army was within visible distance, something unusual happened. For the first time in his life, Alexander got off his mount and stopped the army. He walked over a few yards to stand before the high priest, then he fell on his knees.

“What are you doing respecting that Jew?” cried out his generals.

“It isn’t the man that I am respecting,” he returned. “It’s that sign. You see, I have seen it in a vision.”

Historians tell us that Alexander had a dream a few days before, and in the dream he saw white clad people wearing the name of God. At the time, God’s name meant nothing to him, but because of the intriguing association between the two, he had a moment of tenderness.

Realizing this, Genua withdrew from his sheaf an ancient roll of Daniel. He opened it to what we have in our Bible as chapters 7 and 8, and he pointed out to Alexander the incredible fact that 200 years before that moment, Daniel had actually written that Alexander would overthrow the Persians and a great ruler. Alexander interpreted this to mean that he would become the ruler of the world.

Josephus tells us that Alexander was suddenly overcome with joy, and although he was a man of deep depression, he shook that off and rejoiced, promising that he would virtually put a perimeter of protection around Zion, and he would never disturb nor destroy the inhabitants of the city, nor any of the Jewish people. And if you know your history, you know that the Greek army never did!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the Bible. We thank You for those faithful prophets that told us what to expect. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Where can one find rest?

Matthew 11:28  (NIV)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

They had come in droves. Their purpose: to worship God. A Christian band was leading the way. With three fabulous records and with most songs written as a prayer to God, Starfield has touched the heart of millions of youth. The youngsters were excited. They were jumping up and down, hands stretched out in adoration towards the One that had sacrificed His life for them. They had no idea what would happen next.

Suddenly, the floor in front of the stage of that church in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, started to ripple, and before anyone realized it, the floor caved in. The gap left in the floor measure 25' x 25'! Pews, along with the worshipers who had occupied them, fell into the void, to find themselves interwoven in a mess of broken water pipes and spraying water.

More than forty people ended up in that unfinished basement that night, all of them uninvited. Some were dazed, some were hurt, and all were filled with panic. The rest of the building quickly emptied. Only a few stayed behind to help those who were hurt. Tim and Jon Neufeld, members of Starfield, didn't hesitate to jump into the hole in front of them to assist those in need. Youth pastors also joined the ranks to assist wherever help was needed. Miraculously, though several received serious injuries, no one was killed.

Security is but an illusion of this world. If church floors can cave in, if planes can crush you into oblivion, if school shootings can occur, if drunk drivers may mistake you for a road and drive onto you, if hospitals think you don't need all of your organs, if your gas begins to leak at home, then anything can occur!

Families are not what they used to be! Divorce is rampant. Kids are either being ignored, abused, or neglected, and disrespect reigns in our homes. Some, if not most, of our churches have turned into lukewarm social clubs, where money is stressed, but people's needs are being ignored. Where can one find true love?

A sign of the times?

Absolutely: "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold… then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again." (Matt 24:12, 21 NIV)

Where can one find security?

Only in God's promises: "Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them." (Ps 119:140 NIV)

And this is what He promises you: "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20 NIV)

"I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:2-3 NIV)

Not only did Jesus promise to be with us throughout our turbulent times, He also guarantees us that He will be preparing a safe place for us, and that He will come back for us! And this place is a place where sorrow and insecurities are unknown! "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Rev 21:4 NIV)

The best part is, God keeps all of His promises! These promises are assured! No wonder we are encouraged to stand firm! We know the outcome no matter what happens: "He who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matt 24:13 NIV)

In the meantime we can find peace and rest in Jesus: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28 NIV)

Insecurities are here to stay, temporarily anyway. But it will all change when Jesus comes back for us! What great news to share with those who have difficulties falling asleep!

Dear Lord, we thank You that we can rest in You. As we look around us and see all that is going on help us put our complete trust in You and rest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

....to be continued

Acts 1:11 (NIV)
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. “It leaves you watching and waiting in anticipation.

How many times has this happened to you?

You're watching a program on television and -- for a change -- it's interesting. You get wrapped up in the show and find yourself wondering how the end will turn out.

And, all of a sudden, three words appear on your television screen...

...to be continued.

And, then, a preview of what is to come is revealed to you -- either for tomorrow night's show or next week's show. You get a glimpse of what's up ahead and it excites you even more.

Are you going to stay tuned? Of course you are!

Until that next show appears you wait in anticipation. You can hardly wait until the time arrives when you can flip on the 'ol television and watch the "to be continued" play out before your eyes.

My, my, my -- did Jesus ever give us a "to be continued"! No, it wasn't a second part of a television mini-series or a weekly drama...

...it was the promise that He'd be back to get us and take us home to heaven!

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for that "to be continued" to play out before my eyes!

You see, Jesus left the disciples gazing up into the sky. But, He left them with a promise...

..."I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also." (John 14:2a, 3)

And He even gave us a preview of what is to come. He left us His Holy Word -- the Bible -- to share with us a glimpse of what's up ahead.

And it excites me even more! How about you?

Are you going to stay tuned? YES!

As we pay attention to all that is going on around this world, we see hardships and difficulties, even some successes and victories. We see our career, family and our possessions.  We need to remember this: it's all going to pass away some day. But, praise God -- this world isn't the end. It's only the beginning. Jesus is coming back to get us because there is so much more awaiting in heaven for those that know Him.

There is so much more...

...to be continued.

Stay the course...and stay tuned!

Dear Lord, thank You for what we have to look forward to. We thank You for the Bible si that we can read and learn about all that You have promised for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Revival in the morning.

Psalm 30:5 (NIV)
 For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

It was late in the afternoon when they walked out over the marshland in Point Pelee, the most southern point in Canada. It had been a hot, sunny day, and to their surprise, the aquatic plants all seemed to have taken the brunt of it. There they were, completely wilted!

Too often we feel like these poor marsh plants. Too often we too take the brunt of the adversities of any given day, and we are left wanting, exhausted and demoralized. Where did this all come from? We tend to remain reminiscent for days and weeks over such events, and they leave us, quite literally, "out of steam".

Something miraculous happened to those plants through the night, however. The next morning they had all been miraculously reinvigorated, spreading their leaves wide to proudly display their blooms.

Why doesn't this happen to us? Is it possible that we tend to focus more on our circumstances than in the promises of out loving Heavenly Father?

Are we tired of going through one adversity after another? The solution is simple: spend time with our Maker. It will revive us, guaranteed! "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28)

Are we feeling out of touch with the Almighty due to trials that seem to darken our outlook on life? Let's go to Him and learn from Him. Renewed strength will refresh our inner core, giving us a unique perspective of our situation. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matt 11:29)

King David faced numerous trials, more so than most of us. Still he declared: "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me…" (Ps 138:7). He had come to know God intimately. He had experienced the Truth that God ALWAYS keeps His promises.

With this in mind, we can't help but thank and praise Him, even amidst our dire circumstances, for we live in expectation of His provision! "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph 5:20)

We may feel welted in the evening, but let's expect revival in the morning!

Dear Lord, thank You that even when we feel welted through You we can be rejuvenated.  Thanks that we can rest in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

A promise your can trust

Psalm 85:7-8 (NIV)
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the Lord says;
    he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
    but let them not turn to folly.

How many times have you found yourself pushing a grocery cart down supermarket aisles and thought "there must be a better way!"? For most people, the weekly shop is a chore they'd like to avoid. When e-commerce started to boom years ago, the Internet looked like a way to dodge this boring task. Like a lot of other promises of the dot-com era, online grocery shopping hasn't set the world on fire. The struggles of two high-profile US online grocers deflated a lot of the hype. They all had a promising idea: help people avoid the supermarkets and the business would roll in, it was thought. The only problem was that to service these customers, grocers needed to build warehouses and courier systems to get the groceries out to customers which made it hard for companies to pay for all their development programs and still make a profit.

So, another promise of the technology age had fallen on stony ground. Computer technology also promised a paperless office, you certyainly can’t tell by my desk.  These promises, and others like them, lacked the necessary end vision to ensure their success. Not so with the promises of God – designed to support, comfort and assist, and with an end vision. There is that wonderful offer: "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Pet 1:3,4).

So what can we learn from God’s promises? We can have confidence about the future in these times of global economic uncertainty. We can know that God is faithful. We can know that God has a plan. From the rescue of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt; God’s promise of the arrival of the messenger, John the Baptist; the birth of His son; through to the witness of countless men and women of this present age who have called upon His name, God’s promises are real.

So many promises today fail because they are paper promises – easily given and quickly blown away. Not so the promises of God: "I will bless Thee", Gen. 12:2; "I will not fail Thee", Josh. 1:5; "I will heal Thee", 2 Kings 20:5; "I will satisfy Thee", Ps. 132:15. Within those four promises alone, God promised the birth of a great nation; God promised safety and security and that He would be with them always; God promised healing for Hezekiah; God promised abundant provisions and to satisfy the hungry.

The promises of God are real. They have an end vision. They are not based on what seems on the surface to be a good idea. God does not need warehouses and courier services to deliver those promises. They are not promises based on hype and the prospect of profit. Relying on the promises of God is a better way. Trust Him.

Dear Lord, thank You that we can rely on Your promises. Help us put our trust completely in You and not put our trust in the promises of this world. In Jesus’ Amen, Amen.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Will the walls come tumbling down?

Joshua 6:4-5 (NIV)
4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.

People often see New York state police vehicles driving in the streets of Southern Ontario, Canada. One of the main reasons for this is that the Niagara region of southern Ontario hosts one of the finest dog training facilities in Canada, and the New York police dogs are brought over the international border to be trained.

One day, not too far from one of the training grounds, a burglary took place. A call was put out for the local police, but there were no Canadian police units close enough to the scene of the crime to make it on time. I am pretty certain one of these officers was praying for a solution!

On the training fields were two of the finest police officers from New York State. They heard the call, and they were in close enough proximity to be able to apprehend the thief. Promising success to Canadian police authorities, they obtained the proper authorization, and they proceeded to make the arrest: "Hands up! Don't move!"

Imagine how confused the criminal must have been. I can just see how he might have done a double take, maybe even done a mental check to try and remember how and when he could have crossed over into the United States without knowing it. You can almost hear him: "What? No! I'm not in New York! Or am I?" And I'm sure he couldn't help but wonder: "Will I be prosecuted according to Canadian or U.S. law?"

But the important thing is this: Those New York Police officers kept their promise to their Canadian counterparts. They apprehended the Canadian criminal!

Unfortunately not everyone in our day and age keeps his promises. But just like those New York police officers, God always does!

Take for example God's promise to Joshua: "I have delivered Jericho into your hands." (Josh 6:2 NIV)

Only one little problem: Jericho was a fortified city, a bit like Fort Knox. It was tightly closed off, and no one, not even an ant, could come in or go out! Its walls were built to last, and from a human stand-point, they were completely impenetrable. It was definitely an impossible task!

What methods did God propose for such a victory?

"March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark." (Josh 6:3-4a NIV)

And march they did, every day for six days, with seven trumpets of rams' horns. I can only imagine how puzzled those Jericho inhabitants were at first. What were those Israelites up to? Day three must have seen the people of Jericho employing mocking tactics: "Are you going to walk us to death? Or is your plan to simply render us deaf with your trumpets?"

The Israelites were undeterred. They refused to listen to such words of discouragement.

On the seventh day it was ghostly still in Jericho. Israel was acting differently! What were they up to?

That day they would "march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse (Josh 6:4b-5 NIV)

And fall it did. To the complete horror of the inhabitants of Jericho! The impenetrable Jericho was conquered by walking, trumpets and shouts! Quite a unique strategy! One that no other army has ever tried! I wonder why?

But it worked on Jericho.


Because God was with Israel!

Sadly, most of us walk around nowadays much more quietly, silenced and defeated by the problems we bear. We leave our shouts and our trumpets at home, somewhere in our dusty attic, and we can only wonder why our "walls" never collapse.

There is a God out there who will lead you to victory! He promised it in 1 Cor 15:57 : "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Our victory is guaranteed! God always keep His promises!

The problem is we would rather not be scorned or ridiculed by those around us. We would rather be silent witnesses. But that's not how God provides victory!

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord. . ." (2 Tim 1:7-8 NIV)

Do you know what happens when we are bold in our faith in God?

Walls start crumbling down!

Do you know what happens when we rely on God's power instead of our own?

Walls start crumbling down!

Do you realize what happens when we don't allow ourselves to become discouraged?

Walls start crumbling down!

So take up your trumpets! Start walking in faith! Proclaim who our God truly is!

Dear Lord, help us to walk, sound our trumpet and shout for You. Thank You that with You all thing are possible.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How wide is your mouth?

Psalm 81:10 (NIV)
I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

Have you ever spent a day watching the activity of a mother bird following the arrival of her latest brood? She has one purpose only - to bring good things to the open mouths of her hungry children. Unable to care for themselves, her babies wait in expectation for her presence and her provisions. And all day long, she feeds them, knowing they will grow and survive only as she supplies their needs.

The Lord made a promise in Psalm 81:10: "I am the LORD your God. . . Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." When we are convinced He is the Lord our God, we will open our lives wide to Him. Like a baby bird in dependence on another, we will wait in expectation for what He chooses to bring our way. When we trust Him, we will accept the abundance He brings and let Him fill us to the full. A wide mouth in expectation of blessing requires this deep and open trust.

Imagine if a baby bird decided he would rather fend for himself. How far would he make it from the nest? How soon would he require the sustaining influence of his mother's care again? And I wonder - Is this how God views our doing, our working, our going, and our efforts? In their place, these are right and good. But does He see personal attempt alone with no expectation on Him? Our efforts are useless apart from His blessing - the kind of blessing He promises to open, trusting mouths.

How wide is your mouth?

Dear Lord, Thank You for promising to abundantly meet our needs as we trust in You. Give us the faith that opens our mouths wider to Your blessing today than they were yesterday. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The truth will set you free.

John 8:32 (NIV)
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

September 5, 1755 3 P.M. would remain etched in the minds of hundreds of thousands for centuries. The Acadians, a peaceful group of people of French origin living in the New World, refused to take sides as the British and the French fought for dominionship over what we now call Nova Scotia, Canada.

Once the British claimed victory, the fact that the Acadians had remained neutral was a thorn in their sides, and on September 5, 1755 Great Britain's resolutions towards the Acadians came to fruition. 418 men and boys aged ten years or older were ordered to meet at the parish church, Saint-Charles-des-Mines. There it was declared that all Acadians would be deported.

Forced to leave their homes behind, Acadian families were split up, placed on different ships, and taken to different destinations. Husbands were separated from their wives and children from their parents, and in order to completely discourage the people from ever returning to their homeland, their homes, barns, mills and anything else of value were burned to the ground.

The Acadian deportation of Atlantic Canada took the British 9 years. These unfortunately people, whose only crime was that of remaining neutral throughout a war, were sent to away places like American colonies, Europe, West Indies and even the Falkland islands, and there, they were also received with hostility.

Having no idea where the rest of their families had been deported to, it was impossible for most Acadians to ever locate their spouses and children. They lost absolutely lost everything, even their dignity.

Acadians never expected such a tragedy. Especially since British Governor, Philipps, gave a verbal promise to them in 1729 that they could remain neutral in future conflicts between France and Great Britain. In fact, it was this verbal promise that led many Acadians to pledge an oath of allegiance to Great Britain. Unfortunately however, the written pledge sent to England did not include Philipps' promise, and as a result, it was never honored.

This reminds us of how the evil one works on our planet. He promises us the moon, but instead delivers us an existence of slavery to addictions and drudgery. All he wants from us is our worship and by following his insinuations ("Try it once, it won't hurt you!"), we find ourselves in hopeless situations, with seemingly no way of return.

"'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.'" (Matt 4:9 NIV)

The bowing down happens more often than not, but the promises from the evil one are never delivered. Too late we realize that the evil one is also the "father of lies" (See John 8:44 NIV) and according to him, promises are meant to be broken.

Don't expect a check for a million dollars from him, nor a life of utter joy and fulfillment. All he wants is our worship and when we fall prey to his insinuations, we give it to him. Sadly, most of us still tend to believe him, even over the trustworthy words of Jesus. Unlike the Acadians, deliverance IS within our grasp. We just don't realize it. If we only would trust the One who willingly died on a cross on our behalf, we could be freed.

Unlike the evil one, our Maker and Savior is faithful. He always keeps His promises "The Lord is faithful to all his promises." (Ps 145:13 NIV), and He also only promotes truth. "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24 NIV). He can set you free!

The Acadians had no choice but to experience a land of no return, but we have the choice. We can avoid the land of deportation altogether, and even if we make bad choices we can return to our "homeland" in Jesus. It all depends on who we choose to trust!

Dear Lord, thank You that we can be free with You. We pray that You will bring someone into our path today that we can share that freedom with. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, June 22, 2015

How far would you go?

2 Timothy 4:5 (NIV)
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

How far would you go? What would you be willing to do to save somebody's life?

In 1989 over 30,000 people died in an earthquake, which hit Armenia. One father raced to his boy's school and found it had been leveled. Uncertain of what he should do, he stood there. He stood until he remembered a promise he had made: “Son, no matter what, I'll always be there for you.”

The father started digging at the place where his son's classroom had been. Soon other parents arrived. They were also shocked by what they saw, and they sympathized with the man. Still, they needed to be practical. They said common sense things like, “Don't do this to yourself. There's no hope. Try to help where you can make a difference.”

Without stopping, the father asked: “Are you going to help me now?”

What would you have replied? The other parents left and the man kept digging alone.

A policeman came by and warned, “What will happen if you keep digging and the rubble caves in? You'll be caught and then somebody will have to rescue you. Go on home. We can take care of this.”

The head of the fire department arrived. He said, “Trapped gas is causing explosions and fires all over. You're risking your life and those of others. Let the professionals do what they've been trained to do. Go home.”

The father asked them both, “Are you going to help me now?” He ended up digging alone.

What would you have done? If you had stayed to help, how long would you have stayed? The father dug for eight hours. Would you have still been there, by his side? Twelve hours of steady scraping by hand went by. Would you have been there then? Twenty-four hours and the entire day had gone by. The father dug alone.

In the 38th hour, the father moved a large stone and heard his son's voice. “Dad, it's me! I told the other kids not to worry. I told 'em if you were alive, you'd save me and when you saved me, you'd save them. You promised, 'No matter what, I'll always be there for you!' You did it, Dad!”

The father shouted down, “How are you? How is it?”

The son told him, “There are 14 of us left out of 33, Dad. We're scared, hungry, thirsty and glad you're here.”

“Come on out, boy!” the father called down.

“No, Dad! Let the other kids out first, I know you'll get me! No matter what, I know you'll be there for me!” All 14 of the children came out. With bleeding hands, the father hugged each of them.

How far would you go to save someone's life?

housands of years ago the Lord made a promise to save His sinful children. It took a long time for that to take place, but God kept His promise in the Person of His Son. For 33 years Jesus did all which needed to be done so we can be saved. He lived, He died, He rose, and sent His Holy Spirit. Now that same Spirit of God searches for the lost. He doesn't give up ... but He asks, “Are you going to help?”

Only you can say how the story will end.

Dear Lord, we give thanks that You have rescued us. Give us the desire to help in the rescue of others in our world that don’t know You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

No empty promises

1 Kings 8:56 (NIV)
“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

During the autumn of 2000, a U.S. company began selling an action figure called "Invisible Jim" in Great Britain for about $2.80 apiece. Why was it called ''Invisible Jim?'' Because all you got was the packaging. There was no Jim action figure doll.

The advertising boasted that "Jim" had a ''lack of darting eyes'', possessed "non-gripping hands" and ''realistic fake hair.'' Some of the boasts on the box were that ''as not seen on TV'' and the ''camouflage suit sold separately.''

Hurst Marler, the company, who distributed the non-doll, says they have received no complaints about the empty boxes. "Invisible Jim" was pitched as an alternative greeting card. The packaging -- printed cardboard wrapped in a clear plastic cover -- costs about 10 cents to make.

When it was first introduced, the company fielded calls from customers complaining the doll was missing from their box. But once they got the joke, the interest took off and the media picked up on the spoof and helped improve Invisible Jim's marketability.

With God, there are no empty promises. He keeps His word in all of His promises.  

Dear Lord, we praise You for being faithful in all things. Help us to keep our complete trust in You always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The perfect balm

Psalm 145:13 (NIV)
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made.

When the weather becomes severe some people find their hands plagued with extremely painful cracks. No matter how much they moisturize or what type of lotion they use their hands suffer every winter. Some of the liquid skin medications help alleviate the pain as the cracks heal, but nothing prevents the cracking from happening in the first place. Sometimes you wonder whether the money, time, and effort to purchase good moisturizer and apply it faithfully is worth it. I have learned through experience, however, that if you just keep applying the balm and trusting it to do what it is supposed to do, in time, it does bring about the healing you need and desire.

Likewise within our Christian lives severe "weather" plagues every life. Times of pain and suffering are a given. No amount of godliness prevents cracks from coming into the lives of God's children from time to time. Knowing, and regularly applying, the promises of God to our daily living, however, is a wonderful prescription. God's promises, when read, believed, and applied, are a faithful balm to help minimize the effects of suffering, while encouraging and promoting healing amidst the severe seasons of life.

There is no charge for this prescription. It is free for the reading or hearing. It is available to everyone with or without medical coverage. There is no age limit for this remedy and refills are available as needed. It is also no secret, so be sure to pass it along to all your friends. After all, severe weather conditions are a reality in everyone's life.

Dear Lord, it is good to know that You are totally trustworthy. Your promises are true and able to bring about healing and hope in our lives, no matter how great our pain may be. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Friday, June 19, 2015

God can be taken at His word.

Hebrews 6:18 (NIV)
God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.

He spread the cell phone bill before her on the table. Earlier, he had perused the calls. He had his suspicions, and as he looked over the calls his misgivings were confirmed. Now came the unpleasant duty of confronting her. On one particular day, an out-of-town location appeared. He remembered the day. She had left early, telling him and the kids she was going to work. They believed her, even though they had reason to doubt her. Sure enough, she had lied once again. It had become her pattern. When questioned, she said, "I was at work." He produced the bill. She held her course. Only after an hour of lawyerly interrogation did she finally admit what he and the children already knew.

God made a promise to Abraham and sealed it with an oath. He would bless and prosper him and give him many descendants. Since God can't lie, the promise was as sure as the son rising the next morning. Abraham lived to see a portion of the promise fulfilled, and I'm witnessing another portion of it presently.

God's promises can be trusted because they are unchanging and trustworthy. They have to be because they reflect his nature. He doesn't change-although it may appear he does, and he never goes back on his word. What he says he will do.

God promises forgiveness and salvation to all who ask. Since he's allowed his Son to pay for humanity's sins, all that remains is for me to reach out for it. When I ask, my sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. They're cast into the bottom of the sea…into God's forgetfulness. He promises abundant life in the present-a quality of life I could never experience otherwise. And even better is the promise of eternal life in heaven. A place that is indescribably beautiful and fulfilling. A place where ultimate healing in all areas of life will be experienced. Have you taken God at his word?

Dear Lord, thank You that we can depend on Your promises. Thank You for being an honest God. We pray today that we would be honest in all that we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bumps aren't wasted

John 9:7 (NIV)
“Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

I remember growing up and putting on blind folds over my eyes and trying to walk around.  I remember how my toes were real good at bumping into things and my shines would bang up against something.  When the game was over the blind fold came off and the obstacles I was banging into weren’t a problem anymore.  

There was a man in the Bible that probably encountered a few obstacles himself. Jesus told him "Go, "wash in the Pool of Siloam…." So the man went and washed, and came home seeing 

Jesus' project was born blind. He had never seen the Pool of Siloam or anything else. Nor was he healed before he washed in it. With mud caked eyes, he stumbled and crashed until he finally plunged into healing. When he finished removing the mud, his obstacles weren't obstacles anymore.

Jesus doesn't promise our faith journey will be void of crashes, bumps, scrapes and stumbles. There may even be times when we can't see at all. But taking steps of faith anyway is essential. God promises to work all things together for our good and his purposes; he doesn't even waste the bumps. He'll never allow us to slip and fall permanently but will pick us up, secure our feet on a solid rock and mold us into something we weren't before. More importantly, what we thought were obstacles when we couldn't see now transform themselves into opportunities now that we can.

Trust God to lead you around obstacles you can't see and to heal the scrapes from those you've bumped into.

Dear Lord, thank You that You are a merciful Lord. Thanks You for healing our hurts and giving us the strength to take the next step of faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fear not.

Isaiah 35:4  (NIV) 
Say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    He will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    He will come to save you."

Many preachers promise the world to their audiences, but are these promises always reliable? One would think that at the very least, the promises given in seminary classes across the world are honored, but are they?

One day a professor gave his students a harsh assignment: They each had to preach one sermon in the upcoming month, without any notes!

The professor promised his anxious students, that if they ever lost their train of thought (which they all did!), they only had to repeat their last uttered sentence over and over again with more and more dynamism. The promise? They would remember the sermon they had written. Guaranteed!

To poor Johnny, that promise was never realized. Although he was preaching in an ideal situation-a small, older church-as soon as the words "I am coming" were out of his mouth, all of the rest of his sermon fled.

He started to panic. All eyes in the audience were on him and he couldn't remember a word of what he was supposed to say! He stared at them for a minute, sweat dripping from his face. He wanted to scream "Help!", but that wouldn't look too good on his résumé.

With relief he remembered his professor's promise, and with a bit more energy, he again uttered: "I am coming!" When his mind was still blank, he did it again. And again. In desperation he took a firm hold of the old pulpit and screamed out with all of his might: "I am coming!"

He was shaking so much by this time that the ancient wood of the pulpit gave way under his weight, and he fell off the platform, with the top of the pulpit still tightly gripped in his fists, in front of an older lady on the front row.

Embarrassed, he apologized. The old lady reassuringly replied: "That's all right, young man! You warned me!"

I wonder if Johnny ever became a preacher!

His promises about fear are clear and simple, and unlike the rest of us, He always keeps His promises.

"Do do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God." (Isa 41:10 NIV)

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." (Isa 43:1 NIV)

Why not try getting to know Him?

What do we really have to lose?

Dear Lord, calm our fears and help us to completely trust in You. Thank You for redeeming us. Give us the courage to share that with others today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Change is never comfortable.

Matthew 8:34 (NIV)
Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

Sometimes it's the little things that make us uncomfortable with God's presence.

Have you ever really thought about pigs? Hog are unusual animals. They can be funny, mean, and dangerous all in a matter of moments. Some people make a living raising hogs. For some, it was simply a hobby. As with most pets we can enjoyed their antics and sometimes get exercise repairing what they destroy.
Jesus encountered a group of people to whom pigs were more important. "Entering the country of the Gadarenes, he met two demon possessed men. As he healed the men, the demons pleaded to be sent into nearby swine. Jesus obliged, and the pigs ran wildly over a steep bank and drowned in the sea. Instead of rejoicing over the healing, the townspeople invited him to leave. Pigs were more important. Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone." Matthew 8:34

When pigs are more important, it reveals our priorities need attention and more than likely rearranging. Priorities in the right order don't just happen. Time and energy are involved.

Change is never comfortable. God's plan for us often interferes and clashes with the sketch we have for us.  However, His is always superior. We can ask him to leave my area just as the townspeople did, but I'll never know the peace of freedom if I do.

Have you asked Jesus to leave an area of your life because you like the pigs better?

Dear Lord, we ask You to cleanse us from all things that hinder us from realizing Your perfect plan for us. Help us not put the pigs as the most important thing of our life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, June 15, 2015

What REALLY matters in life?

Matthew 6:25 (NIV)
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

It's interesting how we zoom through life, our heads filled with one "emergency" after another:

"I better not forget to deposit that check in the bank."

"I must remember to call Mr. Jones. He's a potential client."

"Oh dear! I'm forgetting to order sympathy flowers for my colleague who lost his wife …"

We face so many of these "emergencies" on any given day. We attempt to become professional jugglers as we try to "manage" all of these "priorities". At the end of the day, do we even remember most of these things that were so "critical"? Is it any wonder stress is on the rise?

How come it isn't until a REAL emergency strikes that we begin to realize what REALLY matters in life!

March 11, 2011 changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in Japan. Being hit by the most catastrophic earthquake in Japan's history, measuring 8.9 on the Richter Scale, followed by a massive 10 meter tsunami and then radiation leakage from damaged nuclear reactors, many of these poor Japanese people have been forced to come to terms with what really matters in this world.

One of the stories that touched my heart involved an eight-month pregnant woman. She was stuck in Tokyo, a little over 15.5 miles from home. She was desperate to get back home for two reasons:

1. She wanted to make sure her husband was still alive

2. She didn't want her husband to worry about her.

She had forgotten her cell phone at home that day. Not that it would have helped much, for the phone lines were perpetually busy. Payphones were out of the question as well, as long lines of people were waiting to make their desperate calls. Likewise busses and taxis were not an option, as there were also long lines waiting for these, and even if she could have boarded a bus, traffic was at a standstill.

So she did the impossible, she walked the 15.5 miles to her home. She made sure to hydrate herself regularly. At least there were no lines in front of vending machines! Restrooms were also available by stopping in one of the numerous office buildings in Tokyo.

It took her seven hours to reach her goal, and when she arrived, her husband wasn't even home. He, too, had been far from home when disaster struck, almost 20 miles to be exact. Not knowing what had become of his wife, he borrowed a bicycle and cycled home, arriving thirty minutes after she did. What a happy reunion that was!

Funny that they weren't worried about their possessions or the money in their bank accounts. Their to-do lists were completely forgotten, for the only thing that mattered was finding each other.

What will be our priority when we reach heaven? Will we think about the to-do lists we left behind? Or will we wonder why our loved ones aren't there?

I ask myself this question, what am I going to do about this?
What are you going to do about this?

It's really a question of priority.

Dear Lord, help us get our priorities right. Help us to think about the things that are really important in life. Bring someone into our life today that we can share Your love with. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Breakdowns in communication will always lead to disaster

Song of Songs 2:3 (NIV)
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
    is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
    and his fruit is sweet to my taste.

When we fall in love, we can't help but spend time with the one we love. It becomes way more important than our daily tasks or even our work. In fact, our every thought is geared constantly towards that special one as we hunger to spend time with each other again. It is pure heavenly bliss.

Ultimately, this leads to our highlight of life: marriage. Now we are joined together. Now we have the privilege of enjoying each other day in and day out. Sadly, over time, that one we love so tenderly often ends up in second place, or worse. Sometimes they don't even place at all. When finances become scarce or abundant, for example, somehow we start to spend more time away from our spouse.

Then there's children. What a blessing! But at the same time, responsibilities increase exponentially, and adversity doesn't help the mix. We end up focusing on our responsibilities, which is good, except that the one we used to dream constantly about is now playing second fiddle. We find ourselves completely out of time. Sacrifices have to be made, and it's usually your spouse who feels the consequences. Little by little we become estranged from one another as our priorities take all of our time. Before we know it, we have become strangers in the same home. Love is on its way out, and it becomes easy in these times to fall into temptation, a trap that will lead us to despair.

The only way to keep love alive is to spend time daily with your beloved spouse, who should be your real priority. Walk together, eat together and share your joys as well as your disappointments. Be one, as we are supposed to be!

The same is true with experiencing our Heavenly Father. If we don't spend time with Him, we will become estranged as well. A poor relationship always leads to disaster. After all, we were created to genuinely love. When sin appeared, selfishness became the norm, but it doesn't have to be the case. A strong marriage, where we long for one another day in and day out, is the only way where real happiness will occur!

What happens when communication breaks down? Take a look at something that happened on June 2, 1763. Local Objiway, with the help of the Matchekewis, planned an attack at Fort Michilimackinac in what is now Northern Michigan. The attack was to take place in the pretense of playing a game of baggatiway, something similar to the modern sport of Lacrosse. What the British soldiers didn't realize is that the native women had concealed weapons.

The attack happened when the ball flew over the stockade into the fort. The players rushed through the gate as if chasing their ball, but instead, they seized tomahawks and knives from their women and attacked the unsuspecting soldiers. Within minutes, they were in control of the fort and 21 soldiers in total were dead.

Why did this massacre occur?

The communication between the British soldiers who occupied Fort Michilimackinac and the local native people had broken down. The British had begun to refuse to distribute gifts, a long-standing tradition that the Objiway considered quite important in order to establish relationships. Also, instead of going to the Objiway camps, the British made the natives travel to all the way to Fort Michilimackinac to trade their furs, and the native people were far from happy.

All of this could have been avoided by open communication, for the success of the Objiway attack made the British rethink their policies. They began to distribute gifts to the native peoples, and they began sending fur traders to the native winter camps. Over time, the Objiway became close friends and allies to the British at Fort Michilimackinac. In fact, during the American Revolution, they actually fought with the Redcoats.

Breakdowns in communication always lead to disaster. May we never forget this!

Dear Lord, wherever we are in live help us to keep the communication going. Help us to constantly listen to what You have for us to do and to do it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.