Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When God Shows Up


When God Shows Up

Acts 16:25-35
In this passage, Paul and Silas were in jail and were praying and singing hymns to God.  While they were praying and singing, God shows up!!!  He loosed their chains and set them free. 
What happened in this passage?  First Paul and Silas are singing and praying and others are listening to them.  When God shows up He caused a great earthquake that shook the very foundation, the prison  doors are opened and the chains are broken!! 
There are several things we can learn from this passage of scripture. 
1.  When God shows up, He knows how to get our attention
2.  When God shows up, we must evaluate our spiritual needs
3.  When God shows up, we must share with others what God speaks to us or has done for us
We see in this passage as we sing and pray to God, He shows up!!  We see that God got the attention of all in the jail that night.  He made his entrance into the jail in God's style.  The earthquake shook the very foundation.  Not only did God show up to deliver Paul and Silas, He also revealed himself to the others in the jail.
When God shows up, we must evaluate our spiritual needs.  When God showed up that night, the jailer was watching and saw God's great miracle.  The jailer was frightened and fearful and as he evaluated his spiritual needs, he asked what he must do to be saved.  That is a personal questions that we all must ask when we encounter God. 
When God showed up, He not only showed up to deliver and set free Paul and Silas, He also came to save others in the jail.  God had a specific agenda, to save others who needed His salvation.
He delivered the jailer, the unsaved.  He replaced the frightened and fearful jailer and gave the jailer joy and freedom for him and his household. 
What a miraculous story of being set free from the chains that bind us.  Many of us wear chains of fear, anxiety, worry, stress.  These chains bind us from experiencing the joy that God has for us.  When God shows up, He releases those chains, literally breaking them loose, so we can remove them from our lives and experience the joy and salvation of the Lord.
When we pray and sing praises to God, He shows up.  God loves to hear his people pray and sing praises to Him.  Others may be watching our lives as we sing and pray to the Lord.  When that happens, God uses our lives to be a witness to others just as God used Paul and Silas that night in the jail for all who were listening that night.
When God shows up, this opportunity gives us time to evaluate our spiritual needs and call out to God to save us and make us a new person just as the jailer cried for salvation.  Just as the jailer, who was fearful and frightened, when God showed up, we too, become fearful and frightened in the presence of the almighty God.  When we bring everything to the Lord and ask Him to save us, He shows up with the most beautiful and amazing joy.  Joy unspeakable fills our hearts. Our fear vanishes and our heart is full of love and joy to the One who is able to save us from our many sins. 
When God shows up, He does so to complete His plan and purpose.  His plan and purpose that night was to save the unsaved.  Not only the ones that saw His miracle but others experienced salvation as we see the jailers family and household also experienced the salvation from God. 
Are we willing to pray and sing praises to God - expecting Him to show up in our lives and our circumstances?  Are we willing to allow Him to break us free from the chains that hold us bound so we can experience freedom and joy from our Lord?  Are we willing to look into our own hearts and ask the most important questions of all... What must I do to be saved?  What must I do to allow God to have full control over my life?  Are we willing to accept His salvation and experience the joy of the Lord?  Are we willing to allow others to watch our lives and allow God to use our lives to bring salvation to those around us who are watching and needing the Lord? 
Lord, help us today to be willing and expecting you to show up! Allow us to see your miracles and be willing to discard the chains that have us bound.  Help us to remove those chains and experience your freedom, your joy, your salvation.  May our lives be a witness of your great mercy and grace who saves us and forgives us of our many sins.  Praise be to God, our Father, forever and ever. 

The Lord Watches Over You

The Lord Watches Over You

Psalms 121: 5-8
The Lord watches over you.  The Lord is your shade at your right hand.  The Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your ife.  The Lord will watch over your coming and going both NOW and forevermore. 
When I read these verses I had such a sense of peace knowing the Lord is watching over me.  Of course, being analytical, I always look up the definitions of words to try to glean more understanding of God's precious words.
In the dictionary, I looked up the following definitions:
WATCHES- is to look attentively; observe, to remain vigilant as for protection or safekeeping
OVER - above in place or position; above in authority and power
RIGHT HAND - a position of honor or special trust; one's most valuable supporter
Wow!! What beautiful words!!  The Lord looks attentively on me and remains vigilant for my protection and safekeeping.  The Lord watches OVER me: above me in authority and in power.
The Lord is my shade at my right hand!!  He holds a special position of honor and special trust when he is on our right hand. He is my most valuable supporter.
As I began to read the words Right Hand... I wondered what the significance was of the "right hand".  Searching the bible, there are 137 verses mentioning right hand. 
Many times in the Bible, the mention of the right hand was shown as God showing his majesty and His power.  See Exodus 15:6
Also see:  Psalm 16:8, Psalm 17:7, Psalm 18:35, Psalm 60:5, Psalm 89:13, Psalm 80:17, Psalm 109:31
The Lord not only watches over me, He watches over my entire life.  He watches over my coming and going.  He watches over me NOW and forevermore. 
If the Lord has determined it important to watch OVER me for my entire life and He cares me and loves me enough to watch over me with authority and Power.... what shall I fear?  Why should I worry?  The one that watches over me is watching me for my protection and safekeeping.
It reminds me of a story when Joshua was just born and I was home alone at night.  I heard a noise at the window in Joshua's room. I was afraid because it sounded like someone was trying to get inside the house through the window.  I remember being afraid but then my fear turned into determination that no one was going to come into my house and harm my baby!!  I went to the bedroom and got a gun for protection so I could protect my child from harm. At that moment, I was determined to protect my child at all costs.  Let it be known... that a mother will do anything to protect her children!! 
This protective desire to protect my child no matter what the cost was so strong that I would have fought as long as necessary to protect my child.  Isn't it great to know that our Lord watches over us to protect us and will do all in His power to protect and keep us safe.   
Not only does He watch over us to protect us, He is doing it NOW and will do it FOREVERMORE.  How exciting to know the Lord loves me enough to take care of me now and for eternity. 
May we feel His presence and know that He is on our right side watching over us.   He is our most valuable supporter as He watches over our comings and goings.  Let us examine our comings and goings to make sure they are in alignment with what the Lord desires for us. 
Thank you Lord for continually watching over us.  For continually protecting us and keeping us safe.  Thank you for your power and majesty over all things in our lives.  May we learn to trust you more and lean on you as the Great Protector in our lives.  May we recognize your presence in our lives and that you care for us deeply.  We are never out of your sight.  Thank you for this precious promise of truth. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Dresser Drawers... Dresser Analogy

The Dresser Analogy

As I began to think about the dresser that Andrew is building for little Rose, I heard God speak truths to my heart.  I was familiar with the story of the potter and the clay and how the potter molds the clay into something special.  As I began to correlate the similarities of this story with a dresser, I began to hear God speak to my heart.

The carpenter begins with just slabs of wood but he carefully begins to measure and cut the pieces of wood to construct the dresser.  The dresser that Andrew is making for Rose is being made for a purpose.  Just as God makes each of us for a purpose.  As I began to look at the dresser, my attention was drawn to the dresser drawers.  I could see many things inside the drawers and I heard God gently speaking truths to my heart. 

We are like the dresser drawers and we store things inside of us.  Many times, drawers will hold things we treasure and are sentimental to us.  We are the same way, we store many memories and special experiences in the drawers of our own lives and hearts. 

Drawers in a dresser hold intimate apparel that we wear close to us in special places no one sees.  The same with our lives, we have intimate parts of us that we hold close to us.  Jesus wants to be close to us and intimate with us in those special places that no one sees.

Dressers hold clothes we wear.  They may be sports clothes when we feel sporty and carefree.  The clothes may be formal or casual.  They cover us so we are not naked.  Just like the clothes we put on to wear, we are to let the Holy Spirit cover us so we are not empty and naked.

Sometimes our dresser drawers become full and hard to close because we have packed too many things in the drawer.  Jesus wants us to look at what we put in our dresser and inside the drawers of our hearts.  Sometimes we pack too many things in our lives the same as we pack too many clothes in our drawers.  Jesus wants us to look at what is inside the drawers of our heart and see if there are things we have placed there that has crowded Him out.  Do we need to clean out our hearts to make room for the things God wants us to keep? 

Sometimes when our dresser drawers are packed full, things get pushed to the back of the drawer and we forget the item is there.  It is the same with our own lives.  Sometimes we put so many things into our daily schedules such as relationships, duties, activities, meetings, church activities, school activities into our lives that we push God to the back of the drawer of our hearts.  We become so busy, we forget He is there.  Once we begin to clean out our heart and remove those things in our lives that do not need to be there, we can place God in the front of the drawer so we don't forget He is there.

Sometimes  we do decide to clean out the drawer of clothes and decide to give items away because we don't need them anymore or they don't fit.  It is the same in our lives,,, as we clean out  our heart drawers, we find we don't need things anymore or they just don't fit anymore because we want to make room for more of God in our lives. The things we once thought we needed are not important anymore.  We can gladly give them to Jesus and he replaces them with more of Himself.

The dresser that Andrew is building for Rose will also be a place where they will use the top of the dresser as a changing table.  She will have her clothes changed, her diapers changed, she may be washed and have oil and lotion rubbed into her skin.  As Rose is cleaned and has new clothes put on, her parents will pick her up, love her and hold her tight.  What a wonderful picture of Jesus being our caregiver that wants to "change us".  He wants to take off our dirty filthy clothes of sin and put on new clothes and make us feel clean again.  He wants to wash away our sins with his blood.  He wants to rub into us the oil of the Holy Spirit to make us a new creature.  A person that smells good and is full of the fragrance of the Heavenly Father's love.  He wants to pick us up, hold us and cuddle us so we can feel His love and pleasure. 

Just like the carpenter that carefully constructs and measures the wood to make a beautiful dresser that is crafted into a useful piece of furniture, we find that God formed us and constructed us in the womb.  He carefully measured us and crafted us with all the things we needed to be the beautiful person He created.  We become the person He envisioned when we allow Him to fill us and are used for His glory.  Every part of our body and mind has been crafted by the great Creator.  He created us intentionally and purposefully with His master plan so that we would be the person He desired for us. 

 When Andrew is finished making the dresser, he will place it where it can be used and others will be able to see its beauty and the dresser will fulfill its purpose.  When God finishes making us and crafting His beauty inside of us, then He places us  where He wants us so we can fulfill His purpose for our lives. 


So as I contemplate the dresser and the truths God reveals to me, I began to ask Jesus to show me the drawers of my heart.  Show me the places I need to clean to make more room for Jesus.  Let me clean out the busyness of my life, to make more room for Jesus.  Let me examine the things I store in my heart and throw away the things that are not pleasing to Him.  Let me become as a child being changed on the changing table.  Let me allow God to change the sins in my life and throw them away.  Let Him clothe me with His goodness and righteousness.  Let me allow him to rub in me the fragrance of His Holy Spirit.  Let me be as a child fully trusting Him and allowing Him to hold me close, cuddle me and love me.  Let me feel His secure arms wrap around me and feel the presence of His heartbeat as He holds me close.  Let me allow Him full control to place me where He wants me so I can be used for His purpose and glory.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Did I hear correctly? Did you say REST? Who has time?

God began convicting me of needing to rest recently.  I have this supermom, superperson mentality that drives me daily as I live in a very busy lifestyle.  Staying busy has always been what I do.  I don't really know how to rest.  I have always had to make every minute count.  I guess this started when I was working 3 jobs and going back to school to get my degree.  I had to learn to be very time conscious so I could get everything done.  So I wrestle with the concept of finding rest. 

God has such a great sense of humor.  Because I have developed such a fast paced lifestyle, my body (so used to running 120 mph every day)... has not learned how to slow down and rest.  Because of that I have many nights that I can't turn off my brain from thinking or I am restless and just can't sleep.  It was during one of these nights when I couldn't sleep that I decided to get out of bed and quit tossing and find a book to read.  Maybe that would help me get sleepy.  So I pick up a new book I had purchased but hadn't had time to start reading.  The book is "Walking with God" by John Elridge.  So I get comfortable on the couch and open the book to a chapter titled "Slowing down to Listen".  As I begin to read the chapter, I find it very amusing.  In this chapter, John is on summer vacation and he had made many plans for activities to do on vacation and it starts to rain that morning and he is on the porch watching it rain.  He is mentally tired and drained from always pushing. Always doing something.  He then realized that God sent the rain so he would "stop".  Stop to listen and stop to rest.   I just start to laugh. Ok, Lord, I get it now.. I am supposed to stop and listen and learn to stop and rest.   Doesn't God have such a sense of humor?  Here I couldn't sleep, pick up a random book to read and there God speaks His truth into my heart about rest. 

So I resolved to get up the next morning and do research on rest.  I wanted to know what God had to say about rest. Because as I began to ponder on the word rest, I realized that I really didn't know what God meant by rest and needed to find out how to rest.  The next morning I get up and looked up the definition of rest, looked up scriptures pertaining to rest and God began revealing many truths about rest and the importance of rest in our lives. 

Here are the truths that God revealed.  First, what is the definition of rest? 
Rest means refreshing quiet; sleep, inactivity, relief, freedoms especially from anything that wearies, troubles, disturbs,mental or spiritual calm. 

As I studied this definition I began to look at these words, and realized my life was full of the opposite of rest.  My life was opposite of inactivity but full of busyness and activities.  Calmness reflects a sense of peace and the opposite of peace is turmoil.  Turmoil is a state of great commotion, confusion, (disquiet).  Now that is definitely the opposite of refreshing quiet.  Turmoil is also feeling unsettled and stressed.  Stress is physical, mental or emotional tension or worry. That seems to be the opposite of finding freedom from anything that troubles or disturbs and finding relief.  Wow!  My life was totally the opposite of rest.  The constant busyness of my life, full of activities to fill my day, left me feeling totally drained, tired, and just worn out.  I realized I was missing the best opportunity to find even a moment of just quietness, just a moment to stop and truly give my body, mind and spirit time to be totally quiet. 

Because I had allowed the sin of busyness to enter my life, my whole body and mind was so tired I couldn't really enjoy life.  I was tired physically and emotionally and was totally drained.  Life did not hold any joy or enjoyment.  There was no pleasure because there were too many tasks to be done and I was just too tired to enjoy life.  How had I allowed that to happen?  I didn't even realize it was happening.  I just knew I was so dead tired that I dropped to bed from total exhaustion.  I had become so good at being busy that I realized I don't know how to rest or relax.  God had alot to teach me!!

God in all his goodness always wants to reveal His truth to us so I began to search scriptures about rest and even surfed the web to see if I could find out "how to rest and relax".  I found some great information.  I was surpised to find so many scriptures relating to rest.
First of all in Exodus 23:12 we find the divine command "Six days do your work but on the seventh day do not work.... so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed." (Isn't it interesting that God even wanted the animals to rest?)  Exodus 34:21 " Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest, you must rest"  God knew us so well... this was a command to rest.  He created our body and knew we needed a time to rest and be refreshed.  There in the scripture God used word "refreshed".  Remember the definition of rest was "refreshing quiet".  Isn't that so awsome?  We even see Jesus giving us examples of rest found in Mark 6: 31,32 " Come with me by yourselves for a quiet place and get some  rest".  We find in Matthew 8, Jesus was found "sleeping" in the boat during the storm. 

What I found on surfing the web regarding rest was interesting for I knew God needed to teach me how to rest.  What I learned:
  • Rest is not laziness. 
  • We must learn to build breaks into our lives before we collapse. 
  • We must take frequent breaks (for example, take 2 to 3 minute break every hour). 
  • Learn to take yourself offline
  • Learn to find a quiet place with no activity and give yourself a mental break every day.
 Since I was having a hard time sleeping, I decided I needed to learn how to wind down and prepare myself to go to sleep.  I fixed myself a cup of hot chocolate, went to the back bedroom, turned on some soothing calm music and just sat down and let my mind go completely quiet.  I was so amazed that I felt really calm and relaxed.  I also realized I had been missing something really wonderful all these years.  I think I could really like this relaxation!! When I told my daughter this new revelation I had discovered, she just laughed and said "That is what "normal" people do"  So I resolved to try to be like "normal people" because I truly enjoyed this relaxation time!! 

As God began to deal with me about rest, I was convicted about the sabbath day and God's command for us to rest.  Therefore I decided to actually rest on Sunday.  So this past Sunday, after church and after lunch, I didn't want to lay down for a nap and decided to try to sew on my  quilt.  My sewing machine just wouldn't work so out of frustration, I decided to try to embroider something for a friend and started my embroidery machine and it would not allow me to copy the design from the computer to the embroidery machine.  All of a sudden, I chuckle as I hear the still small voice, "It is the Sabbath, a day of rest"  Ok, Lord, I get it.... I need to rest. So I took a nap instead.

Here are a list of books that I found on the web concerning rest that I intend on purchasing and reading.  "Sabbath Keeping: find freedom in the rythmns of rest" by Lynne M Baab and "Permission to Nap" by Jill Murphy Long.

The last scripture I will leave you with concerning rest is found in Lev. 23:21 " On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work.  This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, whereever you live" 

May we truly learn how to rest physically, emotionally and spiritually.  May we recognize the sin of busyness and that Satan wants to keep us busy so we will not have the quiet times to stop and listen to God speaking to us.  He wants us so busy, so that we collapse from total exhaustion and fatigue. But God gives us the opportunity to find rest, peace, calmness, refreshing quiet in order to rejuvenate our physical, emotional and spiritual beings.  Thank you God for commanding us to rest so we may be fillled with your Spirit and find refreshment for our souls!!   

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chosen, Summoned and Witnesses

Isaiah 43:1:  "I have summoned you by name; you are mine."   Isaiah 43:10 " You are my witnesses, declared the Lord and my servant whom I have chosen."

Looking at these 3 words, I searched the dictionary for clarity of their meaning.

Summoned means to call upon to do something specified.
Chosen means "selected"
Witnesses means to see, know by personal presence, to testify, give evidence of

As I look at these scriptures, I am in awe that the God of the universe would summon me by name.  That He would choose me and call upon me to do something specified for Him.  That He would want me to testify and show evidence of what He has done for me personally.  As I reflected on these words, I am reminded that God doesn't want me to preach a sermon to others but just to share with others what God means to me and what He has done for me personally.

 To see the words, "whom I have chosen".  What do those words mean to you? That God would "select" me to do something specific for Him.  Whew!!  What an awesome responsibility but also what a wonderful feeling that God chose me for Him.  What a wonderful Savior we serve!!

 God is so faithful in giving to us.  I must share with you a story from my grandson (out of the mouths of babes, God teaches us)  We were driving back from the Discovery Center and he said, "Nani, God just spoke to me and said, You get and get and get, what are you going to give?"  God gives to us in more ways than we can count.  God has chosen and summoned us to "give" our lives to Him and be witnesses for Him. To give our testimonies of what God has done for us.   What will we "give" for Him?  Will we "give" our testimonies to others? 

Thank you God for choosing us and selecting us to give to others and to share our lives with others.   Thank you God for calling upon us to do the specific tasks you have given to us.  Help us to be open to you and open to share with others about You.  Help us to share the many blessings you give us daily with those who need to hear it today. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who has control or influence in my life?

I want to share my heart and my experience with you. When I was younger, I attended a church that did not allow women to wear pants, wear makeup, cut your hair, go to ballgames or movies. These were the rules of the church. To not do these things meant you were holy, set apart and not "of the world". Jesus began to deal with my heart about these things.  He began to speak to me about the "outward appearance".  These things were not what made me holy but the Holy Spirit living in me and my heart being totally surrendered to Him, would I live a holy life.  I am not holy only His Spirit that lives within me is holy.  It was the condition of our "inward" heart that is important to God. How we allow God to help us live holy lives pleasing to Him is what God wants from us .  The church was acting like the Pharises with all their rules and regulations and their hearts were far from God.  I saw many people that "looked holy"  but acted unholy.  Jesus came to the earth to show the people that the rules and regulations from the Pharisees were not what God wanted for them.  He wanted totally committed and surrendered hearts committed to serving Him.  He wanted our "hearts" not our rules and regulations.  God wanted me to learn to "listen to Him and get guidance from Him for my daily living and to set me free from the bondage of rules placed on me by the church.  He wanted to set me free.  To experience His joy and live my life according to what He wanted from me and not from man-made rules.  Only God should have the power to lead and only God should have the power of influence in my life.  If I give that power or influence to someone else or to the church, then I give them power to control and manipulate me and that is NOT from God. 

For example. Only God can give us direction on fasting.  On when and what to fast from. That should come from God only and no one else has the right to do that.  For example when we look at the life of Daniel.  God directed Daniel to fast from the king's rich food and Daniel did not allow the king or the kings servants to influence Him from his conviction placed on him by God alone.  God had control in Daniel's life.  When we allow rules and regulations set upon us by people or a church that are not from God, we are allowing them to become hinderances from what God truly wants for us.  We are living to "comply with man-made rules"  instead of living to comply with God's ways, God's Word and God's leadership in our lives.  He sets us free from man-made rules so we can experience Him. So we can experience Him and  His freedoms from things that hinder us from being totally committed to Him. 

Who and what are we influenced by?  Who are we committed to?  Who do we allow to control us?  Are we allowing God to guide us, to be influenced by Him and Him alone? 

Let us allow God to guide us... Let us allow God to teach us... Let us allow God to show us His truth and be only influenced by Him alone. 

Psalm 25:4 - "Show me your ways o Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are my God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. "

John 8:36 - "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Get Wisdom, Get Understanding

Proverbs 4:5 says "Get wisdom, get understanding"

What do these words mean and how do I get wisdom and understanding?

First of all, let's look at the definitions of these three words:

Get means to receive, possess, to go after and take hold
Wisdom means knowledge of what is true and right, coupled with judgment and discernment.

Understanding means mental process of a person who comprehends, enlightened intelligence, superior power of discernment. 

So to put all those words together, we must go after, take hold and receive this knowledge of what is true and right and comprehend with the power of discernment. 

So if now I understand the definitions of these words, how to I "get" this wisdom and understanding?

1.  Ask and Seek It
 The bible states in James 1:5 "If any man lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously for all".  So to get wisdom, we must seek  and ask God for it.  In verse Proverbs 4:7, it says we should get wisdom though it cost all we have, get understanding.  We must seek for wisdom though it cost us everything.  In Proverbs 8:10 we must "choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than gold".  We must ask and seek for the wisdom that comes from God. 

2.  Listen to God's Instructions
In Proverbs 1:1, the bible says for us to "Listen to my father's instructions, pay attention and gain understanding.  In verse 2, it states that He (God) will give sound learning.  In verse 20, we must "listen closely" to God's words.  In Proverbs 1:5, "Let the wise listen and add to their learning."  In Proverbs 8:6 "Listen for I have worthy things to say, I open my lips to speak what is right.  My mouth speaks what is true. 

So we see in these scriptures that "God will instruct us and teach us with His words".  We are to listen closely as God's talks to us for what He is teaching is right and true.  While He is speaking to us, the scripture says in Proverbs 2:10 "Wisdom will enter your heart.  Discretion with protect you and Understanding will guard you. " 

These scriptures assure us that God will teach us and He will speak to us. We will hear His voice because He will speak to us and speak what is true and right. 

3.   Take hold with all my heart
We must hold on to the instructions that God gives us and not forsake it.  We must allow the words to go deep into our hearts, guard it and not forget it.  We must "pay attention".  In Prov 1:2, the scripture says "do not forsake my teaching". verse 4 says "Lay hold of my words with all your heart".  verse 5 say "do not forget my words"   His word also tells us as we take hold of this wisdom that God will guide in the way of wisdom and lead" (v11).  In verse 13, we are to "Hold on to instruction, guard it well".  V21 "Keep them within my heart". 

These scriptures tell us that God will teach us and He will speak words of wisdom to our hearts and we must take hold of these words because they are "true and right".  His words are words of truth.  In a world where there are many that speak lies and try to deceive, we know that God's instructions of true and full of life.  We know that God will lead us and guide us. 

May we today ask God for wisdom, listen to His voice of instruction and keep those words in our hearts and guard them well.