Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Updates



Two weeks ago I shared a piece of my heart through this blog. Last Tuesday my family and I came home. Since we arrived home it seems we've been on the go 24/7.
My family is blessed, however. Our house is undamaged. We had a tree go down into our neighbors' yard, inches away from their house, and portions of our fence fell down, but compared to what others have been through our damage was minimum. We were blessed.
Others haven't been so fortunate though. Many in my city - and in my own neighborhood - have had their houses flooded, or trees go into their houses.

In my city trees have fallen, debris is pretty much everywhere, fences down, tornadoes have been through in some places, and etc.. But despite what has happened it’s evident that God has been at work. Hurricane Florence changed to a Cat. 1 before hitting land and considering the damage it cause from that, thankfully it didn’t stay a Cat. 4. There have been many instances where the damage could have been worse, praise God that He has intervened many times. My heart aches for those who have had loved ones die or those who have had their houses destroyed or badly damaged, but I know that God can use this for good.

I've already seen God move in many ways, and I've seen people come together through this. This past Saturday our church had a church work day (we sent out teams to different houses to help) and more than fifty people showed up. While I'm not going to share everything that God has been doing recently in my city I will say that He's been moving.

However, times of discouragement do arise. We get worn out and tired, the road ahead seems long. But God can give us strength and He can encourage our hearts.

These verses from Isaiah 61 have been encouraging to me...

(verse 1) "The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners;"

(verse 2) "...to comfort those who mourn..."

(verse 4) "They will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore the former devastations; they will renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations."

(verse 10) "I greatly rejoice in the Lord, I exult in my God..."


I’m looking forward to see how we continue come together in these circumstances and how God will continue to work. These situations aren’t ideal, but life rarely is and I’m sure God has a reason for what has happened.
That said, I'm going to take a blogging break... at least for now. Knowing me, it could just be a week or two, however it could be longer. I'm not sure yet.


A video my church shared - showing damage from the hurricane and people helping - had the song Beautiful Things by Gungor playing. It's a lovely song talking about how God can make beautiful
things from anything. You can click on the video below to listen to it or click here.




~

What about you? What's been going in your life? Were you effected by Hurricane Florence? What's something that God has done in your life recently? What's a Bible verse that has encouraged you lately?


Psalm 9:10, “Those who know Your Name trust in You because You have not not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

God is Still in Control


I have been reminded today, yet again, that God is in control.

All of us have something in our lives that we can't control. Today is the anniversary of 9/11... a horrible evil. Maybe you were impacted by 9/11 and today you're reminded of the pain. For some of you, you're dealing with a loss of a close friend or family member. Maybe you're really struggling inside. Maybe you feel burdened for a friend. Maybe you or one of your parents lost their job and you're struggling to make ends meet. For me, Hurricane Florence is heading towards where I live. My family is among those who have chosen to evacuate.
We can't control any of those situations.

I had another post ready for today, but instead I want to share with you something from my heart.

I wouldn't exactly say I'm a control freak, but I do like to know what's going to happen. However, in the world we live today uncertainty is often a constant companion. I'm not sure what's going to happen next. In my case, the hurricane could cause devastation in a city that I love. God may choose to intervene, but even if He doesn't I know that He can use this situation for good.

God can use anything for good. No matter what happens He can use it for good.

On January 8, 1956, five missionaries in Ecuador - Jim Elliot,  Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian - were killed. They just wanted to reach people for Jesus. Yes, that was tragic, but God used it for good. Many of the people they tried to reach out to later became believers - including some who killed them.

That is just one example of how God can use something for His good.

To be honest, if everything was in our control our world would be in chaos (more chaos than it's in now) so thank God that He's the One in control.

I just mentioned that God can use anything for His good... but that doesn't mean it will necessarily be the way we want it. We can picture the perfect way God can use a situation for His glory but when we do that we're putting Him in a box. Our God has no boundaries, no limitations and His way is better than ours. Maybe things don't go the way we want them to go... but God can still use it for His glory.

When we try to take control of what we can't control, the only thing we'll succeed in is worrying. And worrying gets no one anywhere. As I type that I have to confess that I am concerned for those who will be impacted by Hurricane Florence, but at the same time I'm trying to give it to God.

We shouldn't undermine the circumstances, but we need to trust Him with the results.

While I was riding in our car today I read my Bible. I've been reading through the book of Jeremiah recently and a couple of passages stuck out to me.

Jeremiah 9:23-24, "The wise man must not boast in his wisdom; the strong man must not boast in his strength; the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth. But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me— that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord’s declaration."

Our strength is weak, our wisdom is foolish, our wealth can be meaningless... But God is strong, He is wise, and He has everything we need.

Jeremiah 10:12-13, "He made the earth by His power, established the world by His wisdom, and spread out the heavens by His understanding. When He thunders, the waters in the heavens are in turmoil, and He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from His storehouses."

God has created everything, therefore He has control over everything.

But sometimes we think about everything that's wrong in the world and we get frustrated at God, wondering why He doesn't intervene. But God doesn't think like us, He doesn't do things according to what we think is right.

As Isaiah 55:8-9 puts it, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.'
This is the Lord’s declaration. 'For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'"

God knows what's best, He knows what's going to happen. I hate worrying, I hate the feeling of it and I know it gets me nowhere. I'm struggling right now not to worry about the hurricane, however worrying won't help anything.

Prayer is great. I think I've prayed more in the past 24 hours than I have in one day in a while. I think we often take prayer for granted - I know that I do. But we are talking to God, King of the World, Creator of the Universe and He hears every word we utter. That's mind blowing. I've been praying about random things, like I always do, I've been praying for safety and protection for those who need it, I've been praying for God to use this for His glory, and I've been praying for Him to help me accept His will no matter what.

I'm not sure what's going to happen. This hurricane could dissolve out at sea, it could become a lower category by time it hits land ... but no matter what happens God is still in control. And He can use anything for His glory.

I've shared some of what's been on my heart today, about what's been going on in my life and I don't know what's been going on in your life.  No matter what's going on in your life, I want to encourage you to turn to Jesus. I'm not saying He will make everything go great in your life, I'm not saying He will totally change your circumstances. What I'm saying is that He knows best and He can use whatever you're going through for His honor and glory.

Just remember, God is in control.



What have you been going through recently? What's God been showing you? Is there a chance you'll be impacted by Hurricane Florence? Did you have a loss in 9/11? What is a scripture that is of comfort to you in times of trouble?


Psalm 46:1-3, "God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil."

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

God Remains True


God, I feel worn and weary

Discouraged I may be,

But God I pray that You’d encourage me

Chaos may be all around me

But I pray that You’d surround me

I may feel like the darkness is closing in,

Like we’re all to lost to sin

But if I feel like the battle is lost,

I just need to look at the cross

You won the ultimate victory

And You can give rest to the weary

In the storm You’re the refuge I cling to

In a world of lies and deceit You remain true

I may want to give up sometimes,

But You pick me up time after time

Thank You, Lord

~~~~~

God remains true. Our world may lie and its full of deceit, but He is truth and He will always remain true. 
No matter what you're going through today, I want to encourage you to look to Him.


John 14:6, "Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

More Highlights from Isaiah...



Last week I wrote a post of a "few" highlights from the book of Isaiah. I only made it half way through the book!
Here are a few more highlights - or a few things that God taught me through the book of Isaiah or things that stuck out to me.

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I love Isaiah 40. It's such a beautiful passage packed full of lessons to learn and it shares about how great God is! If you have time to read the whole chapter I highly recommend looking it up.

Verse 18 says, "With whom will you compare God? What likeness will you set up for comparison with Him?"
Verse 25-26 says, "To whom will you compare Me, or who is My equal?" asks the Holy One. Look up and see! He brings out the stars by number; He calls all of them by name. Because of His great power and strength, not one of them is missing."

Our God is so great. He knows every star by name! Stars are countless let He knows each by name! Who can we compare God with? No one. God is beyond measure and comprehension.

Verse 28-31 says, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint."

Wow! Doesn't that passage just make you want to jump up and shout?  God is everlasting, He is Creator of everything, He never sleeps and He doesn't get tired, there is NO limit to His understanding.
Trust in Him. Let Him renew your strength, let Him be your strength.

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Isaiah 43:1-2, "Now this is what the Lord says— the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel— "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.""

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you are a child of God. He has called you by name and you are His. Our identity is in Him! We've been redeemed.

Verse 4, "Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and I love you."

God loves you. He loves me. God loves everyone. You are precious in the sight of the King of kings. Your worth is not in anything you do... its in the love He has for you. But isn't that comforting to know?

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Isaiah 52:2-3, "Stand up, shake the dust off yourself! Take your seat, Jerusalem. Remove the bonds from your neck, captive Daughter Zion." For this is what the Lord says: "You were sold for nothing, and you will be redeemed without silver.""

If you are a follower of Jesus then you've been redeemed by Jesus' blood. But sometimes we don't realize it. If our chains have been broken why do we wear them? If our transgressions have been forgiven why do we sit in the filth of our sins? We need to stand up and shake the dust off ourselves! We've been redeemed by His blood!

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Isaiah 54:10, ""Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you and My covenant of peace will not be shaken," says your compassionate Lord."

No matter what God's love never changes. His covenant will not be shaken. Cling to that hope. Cling to Jesus.

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Isaiah 64:3, "When You did awesome works that we did not expect, You who came down, and the mountains quaked at your presence."

God is so powerful!




Whew... there are so many things to learn from the book of Isaiah! I had trouble "narrowing" it down.

So what's God been doing in your life recently? What's He been teaching you?