Our God is awesome. This blog is dedicated to that awesomeness. I look forward to the stories you have to share, also.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shelter for Life's Storms

The second named tropical storm this season came to Florida before the season started this year.  Beryl left damage in northern Florida and up the coast to the Carolinas.  In the west, wild fires rage with no end in sight.  Parts of other states experienced floods and giant hailstorms left shattered windows, injured people, and damage anything left outside.  Snow fell in a few places. Record heat baked the Deep South.

This marks the beginning of a long, hot summer.  Wind, rain, floods, hail, snow, and other weather phenomena promise to frighten many and disrupt the lives of people everywhere.

Economic woes exist worldwide.  The value of money falls while prices for necessities soar. Forces threaten to bring in a worldwide government.  We hear of frightening scenarios of detention camps, a worldwide crackdown on religion, and loss of personal freedoms in the USA.

This is the time to depend on God.  In Matthew chapter 8 of the Bible, Jesus gets on a boat and falls asleep.  A great storm with driving rain and howling wind descends on the little craft.  The fishermen tremble in fear but Jesus sleeps on.  The men awaken him and he berates them for their lack of faith.

“And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another,

What manner of man is this! For he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:25 KJV

In Jesus, the men found refuge from the storm. Isaiah 25:4 says  “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”KJV

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" ~Psalm 27:1 KJV

Put your faith in God and find the strength to battle the storm, whether personal, weather related, or government inflicted.  Those that depend on Him will triumph in the end. 


Friday, May 25, 2012

Have you been Hurt in Church?

I live in a place where many people come and go.  I invite some to church and they say they don’t go anymore.  When I ask them why, they tell stories of hurt or betrayal that they experienced in a church somewhere.  The details differ but they turned away from the fellowship with others of their faith because of hypocrites.

Why does it happen?

  • Not everyone who goes to church truly believes.  They may not enjoy a relationship with God or any higher power.  Their church attendance and profession of Christianity is living a lie to please others or to look good to society.
 Others sincerely believe, but they are human and fall into the traps of backbiting, lies, or gossip.

Perhaps similar situations also exist in the houses of worship for other faiths.  They are filled with fallible human beings just as we are. It is not supposed to happen that way. 
Love is our greatest commandment.  In John 13:34-35(KJV) we read:
§         “I give a new commandment unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
§         By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

What can we do?

If you already attend a church, think about the way you treat others.  Everyone is looking for love and those who come to church hope they find it there.    Also think about how you treat each other. Love is kind and gentle, not harsh and threatening.

What about you?

Have you been hurt in church and stopped going because of it?  Perhaps you visit a church of your choice and see how people there treat strangers and each other. Keep trying until you find a place where love lives and God will be there also.    Give Him, and your fellow man, one more chance. The Bible says that God is love. 1John 4:8

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Are you a Cactus or a Tree?

When I read Jeremiah 17:5-8 in the Bible, it all came back to me.

Once, as an infant, I was lost in the desert in the southwest part of the United States.  My mother took a short walk from our campground while she was holding me, somehow became disoriented, and lost her way.  She wandered aimlessly and we slept beneath a mesquite tree that night.

We went the wrong way far into that parched land.  My dad, a mining engineer got together a team of his friends and searched for us.  I believe this went on for a couple of days.  That was before the era of cell phones and Bing maps.  We were both dehydrated and she started seeing things that were not there.

Eventually, they found us. Everything turned out okay.  I do not remember any of it but heard about after I grew to adulthood.  It surprised me quite a lot.

I lived in desert climes from time to time and remember the dryness, the stunted plants, the brave, strange lizards, birds, and other animals.  The lonesome wail of the coyote, the maddening heat of the day, and the sudden cold at night still haunt my memory.

Good images also remain with me. We often fished and swam in the Rio Grand, the Mimbres River, and Elephant Butte Dam, all lush green places. I loved the willow trees and the cottonwoods that clung to the water’s banks.

Jeremiah tells us that he who trusts in man and whose heart strays away from the Lord is cursed.

“He shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good comes; but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land.” 

A heath is a thorny plant, something on the order of a cactus, which grows in parched desert areas and salt lands where little else will thrive. 

We find a much better future for those who trust in God.  The verses in Jeremiah KJV continue:

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord whose hope the Lord is.  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

Will you trust God and be like the tree standing by the water? Or, will you trust in man and the things of earth and dry up spiritually, like a mesquite tree, or a cactus?  It is your choice.

1Peter 5,7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jochebed, a Great Mother

God inspired her to carry out this plan, so why was she crying?  With a heavy heart, Jochebed pushed the basket farther out on the river where the current could carry it to an unknown fate. 

She let her son drift away from her in order to save him.   She probably reflected on her own name, which means,  “The Lord is glorious.”   Nothing glorious about today she thought. A mother's life is intermingled with joy and grief. 

She knew that if the soldiers found her baby, they would kill him.  The pharaoh ordered the deaths of all Hebrew baby boys under a year old. 

She hid her infant son for three months, but he grew bigger and started making a lot of noise. She remembered the soldiers ruthlessly killing other babies of her friends and family.   Danger lurked ahead and she needed to act quickly.

Jochebed, a woman of faith and the mother of prophets, put God’s plan into action. She gathered some reeds and made a basket just big enough to hold her precious son. She caulked it to make it watertight. She put the hapless child in the basket and set it afloat in the Nile.

You can only imagine her feelings that day.  She was giving up her son in order to hopefully save him even though he was going to an unknown fate.  

She told, Miriam, the baby’s sister to follow the basket and tell her what happened to it.

The girl followed her brother to where the queen of Egypt bathed in the river while attended by her daughters and female servants.  One heard the child’s cries and alerted the queen.   She bade one of the women to pull the basket over to her. 

She beheld the infant Moses and decided that she would keep him as her own child.  She named him Moses because she took him from the water.

The women asked her who would nurse the baby. Miriam rushed from her hiding place among the bulrushes and said that she knew of a midwife who lost her child.  The queen told her to fetch the woman and she did.  She paid Jochebed wages to care for Moses   No soldier could harm the child because the pharaoh’s wife, Queen of Egypt decreed that he was her own son.

As he grew, Moses became aware of his own identity and led the Israelites out of slavery, one of the greatest leaders of all time.

Jochebed is like most moms everywhere.  She bravely let her infant go so he might be saved. She sacrificed her desires to the greater good of her child.  That is what mothers do.

Wishing a happy mother’s day to all the mothers, grandmothers, and any woman who acts as a mother to a boy or girl.  God bless every one of you. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Find Your Secret Place

I walked down to the lake from the cottage where I vacationed with friends.  The dew still shone in the early morning sunlight.  A little mist steamed up from the slightly rippling water.  The delicious air helped make it one of those mornings that stay with you. I am glad it did.

A mother duck quacking and the answering squeaks of her babies captured my attention.  She fussed and scolded her brood.  The ducklings straggled around the pier crying and fluttering.  She flapped her wings and squawked angry sounds.  Suddenly the eleven babies paid attention and lined up single file behind her and paddled into my heart forever.

She clucked contentedly and swam out further with her family following.  God’s glory came down from Heaven and made everything right with my world for that moment.

Whenever stress and problems start to vex me, I slip into that far away morning, even though I live a lifetime away now.  I had found my secret place where I can go instantly to find peace and serenity in the face of overwhelming problems or the nagging stresses of every day life.  God knew I needed this little Eden and provided it for me.

 Did you find your secret retreat for times of stress, your own delicious God inspired moment you escape into from wherever you are? It could be in a baby’s smile, a romping puppy, a mountain, or a sunset.  Perhaps you discovered it long ago and don’t realize it. Maybe you will discover it today.

Please share the “hidden riches” in your secret place with others and me. 
The book of Isaiah in the Bible states And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” Isaiah 45:3 KJV