Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lost


“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’” Luke 15:8-9

 
A few weeks ago I lost a pendant.  My husband made it for me so it has some sentimental value and it is a fairly pricey piece but neither of those facts are the main point here.

I lost the pendant after taking it out to show my husband’s relatives. I set it on the table next to the display of all of his other pieces. Then a few days ago I noticed that it was missing. My husband and then a good friend teased that perhaps one of the relatives had taken it. We knew they hadn’t, wouldn’t but that’s a side fact as well.
Not wanting to be without it or to disappoint my honey because I lost it, I prayed that I would find it. I looked in the places I was fairly sure it should be but it wasn’t in any of those places. I then asked a couple of friends to pray with me that I would find it. Yesterday I did.

While the family was looking at the real jewelry two of my granddaughters were looking at some old pieces I keep around for them to use for dress up.  Yesterday when I was cleaning off my dresser I opened the tin that I have for those old pieces and there, right on top, was my pendant. YAY!
Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus! I was so happy. I thought of the women with the lost coin and felt a kinship with her. I went straight in to tell my husband. He was happy but not nearly as happy and relieved as I was.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized the greater significance of the whole experience. I felt awful that the pendant was missing. Certainly there was the chance that with the cleanup of a big family dinner it could have been thrown away. Still I held onto the thought that it was somewhere in the house.

Whenever I felt panic, disappointment or guilt trying to overtake me, I would simply speak to my Father. My prayer/conversation went something like this. “Abba, I know you know where the pendant is, please show me.” I never got panicky nor did guilt or fear take over.

That was my revelation this morning. There was a very good chance that the pendant was gone forever. It isn’t like I can order a new one. My husband’s jewelry is unique. He makes one of a kind pieces with natural gemstones. Could he come close to the first one? Yes. Would it be exactly the same? No. Still, even knowing that, my hope and faith were in my Lord. Each time the negative thoughts came up I just gave it to my Father. Each time I remained calm secure in his perfect plan.
I found the pendant and of course I’m thrilled. I know, however that finding the pendant wasn’t the point. It was finding my peace in my Father’s love that is the truly important aspect.

This morning I realized how many times I pray for His will and then go right on ahead with my own. If I leave all of my concerns in His perfectly capable hands, all will go well. No matter what the outcome I will have peace that passes understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Brother Says


 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Years ago I knew two brothers who had very different approaches to life. They were a great compliment to each other, best friends. One however, was not as kind as the other.  Whether intentional or not,  brother A made it clear to  brother B that he, A  was brighter, smarter and more capable. When brother B was in school his teacher read a story about two sisters. One was beautiful and the other was plain. The plain one, jealous of the beautiful one constantly told her sister how ugly she was, how no one found her attractive. The beautiful sister began to see herself that way. She began to behave as if she were homely and she hid from people. The teacher asked the class if they thought such mind control was truly possible. Brother B answered that yes, he did think it could happen. When the teacher asked why he replied, “If my brother says I’m dumb, I’m dumb.” Ouch!
That seems ridiculous. The sisters had mirrors, right? The brothers had life experiences and evidence that while they were different, they were both capable, intelligent boys. To me it’s further proof that sticks and stones have nothing on words. Words can build up and words can destroy.

So let’s take a look at what my(our) brother Jesus says. He says that he came to bring us life. (John 10:10)  He says that we are forgiven. (John1:29) He says that by claiming him as our Lord we are saved. (Romans 10:13) Do you believe it?

I do and when I listen to his voice, to the voice of my brother who loves me more than I can comprehend, I walk in confidence and truth. It’s when I listen to other voices that I lose confidence.
Look at the brothers and sisters again. Those relationships were primary. That plain sister was most important to the pretty sister. Brother A was extremely influential to brother B. 

If we make our relationship with Jesus the top priority in our lives, if we give him full authority and place our whole trust in him then we will know who we are. We will know that we are found, forgiven and free. We will know that we are more than conquerors and that nothing can take those gifts away. And should anyone question us we need only say, “My brother says…..”

Listen to the voice of our brother when the world is attacking you. He is perfect and every word that comes from his mouth is perfect. Amen!   

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trending


Love never fails.

And now these three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13: 8a, 13

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28

 Turn on your radio or television, listen to conversations around you at work, school or any public venue. What buzz words do you hear? Economy. Gas prices. Gun control. Tolerance. Intolerance. Whatever the topic, when the current state of the world is being discussed it’s usually negative. The world is going to hell in a hand basket as my Gram used to say.
Now take a look at worship music. It seems there are two themes that are quite popular these days. God’s love never fails and He is working all things for good for His people. Amen!

A few weeks ago our daughter Laura and our son Jeffrey were talking about the songs he was planning to play at church. When he named one, a song loosely based on 1 Corinthians, she mentioned a different one. He told her no, not that one. That led them into a discussion of at least three different songs that use the words from Corinthians in some way. God’s love never fails. It remains and sustains.

Listening to my own selection of worship songs the other day I noticed the second theme.  Several of the songs on my little device reference God working for the good of those who love Him. That made me smile and reminded me that about a year ago I noticed that a few of my favorite songs relied on Psalm 23.

Do you suppose these musicians and song writers get together and pick themes? I do not. Yet, here they are. One year it’s Psalm 23, the next it’s Corinthians and Romans. A few years ago I remember hearing the idea behind the Hebrews boys in the book of Daniel in more than one or two songs. The fiery furnace and the non-bowing stance were pretty popular musically. If the musicians don’t get together and choose a theme how does it happen?
I don’t know for sure but my guess is that God has something to say and He uses those people, the people who received His gift of musical talent, to spread that particular portion of His Word. I do not think it’s a coincidence.

God knows that we will hear the negative buzz words. He knows that even the least political mind can be drawn into a conversation on the rising price of gas, milk or produce. On the surface that doesn’t seem bad. It’s true right? It may be but it denies the ability of God to provide for His people regardless of the status of the world at large.
From the day I truly accepted the love of Jesus, I was taught that if God takes the time to say something more than once I better pay attention. Here are the current themes I’m hearing over and over in music, in messages from preachers and in conversation with other believers. God has our best interest at heart. He will work things for our good. His love never fails and that one thing, the love of God remains, forever.  Those are buzz words I don’t mind hearing over and over again.

 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Right On Time


 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you call upon  me and come and pray to me and  I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12

 We are taught even in worldly circles to count our blessings. That is something I take very seriously. As diligent and vigilant as I am about it I know I miss some. My hope is that I never miss one that bears great significance. Just this morning I read a story about Corrie Ten Boom. It isn’t new to me, as I have read it a few times before but there was a revelation in it today that brought me great joy and greater hope.
It is the story that Ms. Ten Boom tells about her father and train tickets. Her father took her on train rides fairly often. Though he purchased the tickets early he held on to little Corrie’s until just as they were about to board. He didn’t want her to lose it or leave it behind. She likens that care, given her by her earthly father, to the careful way in which our heavenly Father blesses us. She said that just like her father with the train tickets, God doesn’t give us the grace we need for a particular circumstance until we are about to step on board. She was referencing her act of forgiving the people who murdered her family and her ability to forgive them. Reading it I had a picture in my mind of a person I have forgiven but with whom things do not seem fully resolved. I began to experience a flash of guilt, thinking that maybe I haven’t fully forgiven him.

God in his infinite mercy derailed my guilt train and took me to a different area, one in which I have fully forgiven. He reminded me of an incident when I forgave someone who many people have said I should never forgive. I showed mercy, kindness and love to a person who in the world’s terms didn’t “deserve” it. How? Why? Simple, because as I was about to board the train, choosing forgiveness or judgment, God blessed me with the ability to choose well. I did not realize the magnitude of that blessing until I saw it in light of Ms. Ten Boom’s words and in light of my desire to, but not quite achievement of, forgiveness of my current nemesis. Not to worry,  my realization of full reconciliation is coming. I just haven’t made it to that station yet.
God is never late. He is also never early. God’s timing is perfect. I stand assured that my ticket is in his hand and further content in the knowledge that he will hand it to me right when I need it.

 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blessed Assurance



Then he said to the people, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering on the wood.”
“Do it again,” he said and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered and they did it a third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 1 Kings 18:33b-35, 38

 
Yesterday I was praying about something very dear to my heart. As it often does the world had sent me a message that it is too late. Circumstances in my life make a positive answer to my prayer impossible. By worldly views that is probably true. Thank God, I don’t have to live by worldly views.
With the power and love of God in my mind, I began to pray, citing to my Father the words that had momentarily stolen my hope. I could almost see him smiling. He reminded me of his promise to me, of his perfect providence and care. Immediately I felt renewed.  Yes, the world had gotten in its punch but there is no real damage done. Feeling much more confident I prepared to go to the next thing with God. Turns out, he wasn’t finished talking. He gently reminded me of a song I really love, a song containing lyrics that always remind me of his great plan. I smiled thinking about that and then moved on.

A short while later I was in my car. I listened to a song I haven’t heard in a quite awhile and then a little testimony from one of the DJs began. I’ve heard it before so I switched stations and there was “my” song, or part of it. I heard about three-fourths of the song and smiled thinking that there was Abba, confirming his word.

God is amazing. We sing it. We read it. Some of us even speak it. God is amazing. Just when we think maybe this time he did forget, he comes through. Just when we think we can’t go one more step, he picks us up and just when we think he’s really put the finishing touch on a blessing, he heaps on more.

You’re probably ahead of me here but I tell you anyway.  I made my next radio shift during the kudos to our supporters, also known as the non-commercial commercial. Back to my original station choice I was just in time to catch the very last notes of one song and you guessed it, I’m sure, “my” song in its entirety.
There is a t-shirt that says, “When God made me he was just showing off.” I won’t get into my mixed feelings on that saying but I will say this, although I know God does not show off in any worldly sense, he does tend to go above and beyond.

The world view says my situation won’t change. It’s too late. There are too many variables and none of them are in my favor. You know what I say? Pour the water! My God is greater. He reigns over all circumstances and for him nothing  is impossible.