Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memory of the Fallen

Today I'm pausing to thank those who serve and pray for the families who have loved ones who gave all for our freedom in America. May God bless you and comfort you.

". . .mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15 NIV).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Actively Waiting

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. ~~ Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

What do you do when you're waiting? Waiting for a doctor's appointment? Waiting in line at the car wash? Waiting for someone to answer the phone? Waiting for your spouse to come home?

We all wait at times in our life as it's a part of life. Most of us are active waiters--while waiting to see the dentist, we make sure our teeth are freshly brushed and flossed. How embarrassing it would be for the hygienist to dig out food from between our teeth. At the car wash, we ensure all the windows are all the way up. When we're expecting our spouse to come home, we'll clean up and have dinner prepared.

Another words, we're actively waiting. Believers in Christ are waiting for His return. Yes, the Bible is clear Jesus will come again. But we must wait for God's timing and no one can predict when that will be. However, in the meantime, we're to wait on Him--actively.

Why does the Lord tarry on the second coming of Christ? Because it is HIS will that no one perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Why can't believers be gathered up as soon as we confess Christ as Lord? We must share Christ within our sphere of influence so others will believe. And strengthen and encourage people of the faith to press on in our Lord.

That's how we actively wait on the Lord. As we do, the Lord will renew our strength and courage to share His love with those around us. We will not grow weary or grow faint in spreading His love.

The Bible is clear that there will be many false prophets in the end times for no one knows the judgment day except the Father and it's not for us to predict. In spite of false prophesies, let's press on actively waiting and sharing God's love.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Never Quit on Hope

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. ~~Romans 5:3-5, NLT

Expecting my second son, I yearned to be a stay-at-home mother. I worked since I was sixteen years old, but something about becoming a mother changed my desire to work outside the home. The nurturing, cuddling, and long to be with my new baby consumed all my thoughts. I already missed out on staying home with my first child who already attended school. When the first child came along, I was serving my country in the active duty Air Force. Therefore, my attention was divided.

After the Air Force, my husband and I stacked up a pile of credit card debt as high as the desktop. We lived for the moment not understanding that eventually it would all crumble around us. Also, I searched for a home-based business to work so I could make money and stay home. From attempting several businesses and failing, the debt rose even higher.

At that point, we owed so much money that I could not quit my job. When I faced the reality of the money owed, my heart felt crushed. Every time I dropped my youngest off at daycare, he cried. And on the way to the car, I cried. The certainty of my consequences set in and I felt deep despair.

My sin had consequences. Living in debt had repercussions. In order to stop the cycle, we repented for frivolous spending and sought credit counseling. We agreed to stop charging and started paying on the debt. We chipped away at our obligation little by little. We chose to live on a lot less. Throughout this time, my youngest started school and I also missed being a stay-at-home mom during his baby years.

Through those years, I prayed to the Lord. I persevered in hope that I would someday be able to stay home with my boys. I read Scriptures that filled me with hope, such as the widow who kept knocking on the judge's door seeking justice. (Luke 18:1-8) She never quit on hope. The parable starts with, "One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up" (NLT). So I kept on asking and seeking the Lord, not giving up hope.

Finally after five years of perseverance and character development, the day came when our debts were paid in full. I resigned from my full-time job and became a stay-at-home mom. Finally overcoming my failure of money management, I learned to be more financially responsible. And I received my God-given desire to stay home with my boys.

Though I failed by racking up a mountain of debt, hope in our Lord never failed me. Though the times I couldn't stay home felt painful, I endured. Through the endurance, the Lord developed character and character developed hope, which did not disappoint me. I never quit on hope.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Against the Odds

There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. Once, armed only with a club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard. ~~2 Samuel 23:20-23 NLT

God's word amazes me. Especially those not-so-well-known messages tucked away in the middle of big stories. You know those one or two verses that some authors such as Bruce Wilerson wrote about in The Prayer of Jabez. Or the time in 2008 I read about Sheerah in First Chronicles 7 and posted about her here.

Yesterday, Pastor Monty Houston of Life Church El Paso, taught on the amazing feats of Benaiah. Ben-a-who you ask? I did too. I sat intently taking notes on this message from the key scripture above.

The story of Benaiah is tucked into Second Samuel 23 where Scriptures list the mighty warriors of King David. Most of us have read about or heard about King David. But how many of us take time to read about the details of the men who surrounded him. He strategically placed warriors around him called "mighty men." Among the list of those men is Benaiah, "a valiant warrior" who "did many heroic deeds."

Though Benaiah had many heroic deeds, only three are listed in Scriptures for us to know about. He took on two champions of Moab and killed them. He chased a lion into a pit and killed it. And with a club killed a warrior who had a spear. Those victories came against the odds.

Think about other times God showed us in His word that He brought the victories that defy the odds.

  • David versus Goliath
  • Gideon versus the armies of Midian
  • Queen Esther
  • Ruth and Naomi

Which ones can you think of to share?

Therefore, when we face trials and circumstances that seem to be against the odds, why should we fear. "If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" (Romans 8:31 NLT)

I confess this past week I allowed fear and doubt to creep into my life. I continued to pray, play praise music and even sang (when no one but God could hear), and worked at chasing that doubt and fear out of my life. Then when I least expected it, God showed me HIS will for me after I chased my doubts and fears away like Benaiah chased away the lion.

Sometimes I feel like the least likely to write and speak on the behalf of our Lord. However, HE called me so I MUST trust HE will equip me and lead me.

When the odds seems to be against us, we can kill off our doubts and fears with the word of God. Then God receives the glory.