Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Have Questions . . . GOD has the ANSWER!

I have questions for God, do you?  Here are some of mine . . .
God, did you see . . . ?
. . .when a broken hearted couple lost their three year old son to cancer and just 10 short years later were sitting in that same funeral home grieving the loss of another son.

When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. . .  Then Jesus wept.  John 11:33,35 (NLV)

Lord, were you listening . . . ?
               . . . when a young girl lost her innocence and cried herself to sleep night after night.

And God replied . . .   “I keep track of all your sorrows.  I have collected all your tears in you’re bottle and I have recorded each on in my book.”  Psalm 56:8 (NLV) 
God, do you see . . . ?
. . . the mother who has run out of options and doesn’t know where to turn.  She’s exhausted, tapped out, and emotionally spent – her disabled child has completely drained her.

And Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”   Matthew 11:28-29 (NLV)
Lord, where were you . . . ?
When a family watched everything they owned burn to the ground.

And Jesus said:  “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.  If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”  John 14:1-3 (NLV)

Where were you, Jesus . . . ?
When a loving wife and mother lost her life to an insatiable disease, and a young dad was left to pick up the pieces and care for his two little daughters.
And God said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLV)
God sees our sorrow, He knows every tear we’ve cried and every prayer we’ve prayed. 

Isaiah, the prophet says this about God who became flesh and dwelt among us (Jesus). 

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.

He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!

But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
                                         Isaiah 53:2-5 (NLV)                                    

God understands our pain, He hears our questions in times of great need and He answers!
          His greatest answer to our questions came in the person of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:23 (NLV) says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God offers you a free gift – you cannot earn it, you are not born into the right family to receive it.  Each individual must accept God’s free gift for themselves. 

Each one of us has sinned and gone our own way and our just payment is eternal death.  But God sent His Son Jesus to take our punishment and die in our place!  And when we acknowledge that we are a sinner and invite Christ to come into our lives and save us from our sins, we now become one of His children and carry the promise of spending eternity with Him in our hearts.

If you have never accepted this free gift, I urge you not to wait.  He stands ready and waiting to come into your life and make you NEW! 

(If you made this decision, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to email me at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Great Expectations!

I don’t understand God sometimes!   To be honest, it’s really most of the time.  

Why doesn’t He clearly reveal Himself to me?  Why does He often leave me guessing at who He is and what He is doing?   You see, I have these great expectations about God and what He could and should do.  And I get frustrated and disillusioned when I don’t see Him behaving like I think my God should. . .
My husband had a cousin who finally found love at the age of 40 and married a man who had lost his wife to cancer.  He had three children, who longed to have a mother again. They had prayed for three long years and she was their answer! 
Her wedding was such an amazing celebration - so full of life and joy.   But only 3 months later we were in that very same church holding her funeral.  Her husband and her children were devastated!  And I found myself questioning God . . .  It seemed so senseless and even cruel! How could there be any good in this?  
When my son was in High School he experienced an incredible amount of loss and disappointment in a 6 month period.  And as a result, he became disillusioned with God.  I begged God to show Himself to my son, “He needs to see You and know that You love him.  Will You just prove to him that you are God?”  But it didn’t happen that way and my son struggled in his faith.
Why does God do that?  Why doesn’t He feel compelled to meet our expectations?  After all He is God!   You would think that because He wants everyone to come to Him, He would be out and about proving who He was and what He could do.  So why doesn’t he do that?
As I was reading my Bible one day, I came upon a passage that echoed this struggle I was having with God.
Jesus was speaking to His followers and He was explaining to them that He was the Bread of Life. Look at his controversial words, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.  But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.”  John 6:53-54 (NLV) 
Really!! Who wouldn’t be confused by those words?
It goes on to say that many of his disciples said, “This is hard to understand, how could anyone accept it?”  (No kidding!)  

Many of his followers turned their backs on Jesus that day and so He turned to his twelve disciples and asked them if they were going to leave Him too? 

Look at Peter’s reply, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69 NLV)

Do you see it?

Peter says, “WE BELIEVE and we KNOW you are the Holy One of God.” 

I believe what Peter is saying here is that even though we don’t understand You . . . even though You aren’t meeting our expectations of what we think a Messiah should be . . . even though we can’t see the Way we will TRUST you.

And I love what he says right before that statement.  “Lord, to whom would we go?” 

Times without number I have heard Peter’s words echoed by other followers of Jesus in times of disillusionment, “Where would we go?  How could we ever walk this road without Him?”

I’ve come to the conclusion that we cannot compel God to prove who He is.  He will do it in His time and in His way.  

And His WAY is the way of faith.

So when I am disillusioned because my God is not meeting my expectations, I CHOOSE to believe, to trust that His way is good. 

And I turn my eyes back to the cross. . .

For how can I question His goodness, when He willing laid down His life for me?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You, the Day the World Changed?

I had sent 3 of my kids off to school and was putsing around the house with my preschooler in tow when my phone rang. . . it was my carpool buddy and she was asking me if I wanted her to pick up my kids from school.

I replied, “Why would I need you to get my children?”

She said, “Don’t you know? The United States is under attack! And our children are so close to the airport that I’m going to pick mine up and I’ll pick yours up if you want me too.”

My mind was reeling, “What’s happening?  This is America! Should I have my children come home?”

I opted to leave my children at school and rushed to turn on the television.

It was as if my mind could not take in what was happening. I stared in horror at the pictures of the towers burning and of people plummeting to their deaths. Then watched as the towers disintegrated, leaving a vast amount of rubble and people running for their lives. I wondered what it must have been like to be trapped in that burning building so far off the ground. What were loved ones thinking as they watched those towers fall?

The day was so surreal. I dragged myself away from the T.V. to take my youngest to preschool and then went grocery shopping (we needed food!). It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop – there were so few people in the store and the ones that were there were not talking, we were all in a state of shock. When I picked up my children later that day, they knew something bad had happened but they had no idea what it was. That evening I sat out in my front yard with a neighbor and we cried together. She was worried about a friend who worked in the World Trade Centers.

That night as I tucked my kids in bed, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What kind of world will my children be growing up in?” Everything was so tenuous; there was no way to predict the future, and no way to comprehend how it was going to impact all our lives.

Just months before our nation had been in upheaval about who would be our next president, there was talk of "hanging chads" and voter corruption. We had never had an election like this in the history of our country. The media was in a frenzy over the whole fiasco and “mud” was being flung everywhere. It was during that time of turmoil that God gave me a verse that quieted my soul and gave me peace.

Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (NLV)

There was no way to even imagine what was just around the corner for our nation.

That day on 9/11 God reminded me of this verse. When I reflected back on the time that God had given me that verse, I thought how insignificant my worries were then, compared to what we were  facing now and what this meant for all of us in the future. Would we go to war? Would my children eventually be called up to serve and defend their country? Would we lose friends and relatives? What would our country be like? Would we ever feel secure? Once again, God used this verse to remind me. . . He is in CONTROL.

When our country is in upheaval, as it was on the day of September 11, 2001 . . . God is in CONTROL. When we are faced with wars and rumors of wars . . . God is in CONTROL. When earthquakes and hurricanes devastate our land . . . God is in CONTROL. When stock markets crash and European markets fail . . . God is in CONTROL. When we lose our jobs, when loved ones become ill, when teenagers rebel, when our world is turned upside down, KNOW THIS . . . God is in CONTROL!

Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours . . .

Let us never forget the sorrow we all shared on that day, 10 years ago. And may we remember and honor all those who have fought and given their lives for our freedom and liberty.

We will NEVER forget . . .

Friday, September 2, 2011

Knowing Your Ending

What kind of reader are you?  Are you one who likes to read the ending before you start the book?  Or are you a reader that never reads the ending of a story first?
I confess, I’m the kind of reader who never reads the end of the book -  maybe it's the rule follower in me.  But I also love to be kept in suspense and to have my mind racing all over the place trying to figure out the ending.
However, I also love to read books over and over, especially the ones that are my true treasures.  I still enjoy them even though I know the end of the story.  Reading them is like sitting down with a dear friend that I haven’t seen for a while and getting reacquainted.
What about you, what kind of reader are you?

Monica Edinger in her blog “Educating Alice” confesses that she is a reader of endings first.  She shares that when reading a series of books where she has gotten to know and care about the characters that she needs to read the ending.  Look at her reasoning, “I knew as I began reading that I needed that worry set at rest so I could get into the book to enjoy the adventure, to find out how they made it safely to the end.” 
She also gives another reason why she might read the ending first, “I might find it slow going and rather than immediately quitting, I might check further along to see if something there made it worth continuing”
Just like a reader who reads the ending of a book first, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, know our ending – we will one day see Jesus face to face! 
But why don’t many of us live like we know our ending?
Monica says that once she knows the ending she’s able to set her worry at rest and enjoy the adventure. 
Shouldn’t that be the case for us as believers?  Shouldn’t we give our worries and fears to God and enjoy the journey God has set us on?  Shouldn’t the hope we have be a light to the world?  Shouldn’t our lives radiate our faith?
Look at what Paul says about the Christians in Colossea, For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which comes from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.”
They KNEW their ending and it allowed them to live freely, enjoying the adventure.  Was it easy for them?  No!  But their HOPE was in the future and it kept them from quitting or getting discouraged.
Let us live like the Colossians with CONFIDENT HOPE because we too, know our ending!