Friday, April 11, 2014

Seventh Inning Stretch

The other day, one of the elders at our church referred to those of us fifty and over, as being in the fourth quarter of life. This is not a new or shocking revelation for me. I've told my man not a few times that I've lived more years than I likely have years ahead. He doesn't like it when I say that, but truth is truth. I just turned fifty-seven.

I've been struggling lately with a whole lot of regret. "If only I had" has been a recurring thought. This thought doesn't involve anything major, like marrying my husband. I'd do it again in a hot second. My kids? Absolutely never a regret! I wouldn't have missed them for the world! 

Some of it is rather personal; not sharable here. But can I just say that I have left a trail of quite a few years behind me, and there are indisputably things that I would've done differently?

I wish I was in my thirties again. My whole life ahead of me. Wisdom like I have today. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, right?

The truth is, I'm no longer thirty. I'm fifty-seven, and maybe these regrets aren't just something I've dreamed up. Not to give any credit to the enemy at all, but I think some of it is just a mental battle he wages to make me depressed, discouraged, and ineffective.

I've done too many things wrong.
I've wasted too many years.
I'm too old now.
It's too late.

I could have...
I should have...
If I would have...

He only lets me host my unattended pity party for so long. Gently, on a spring morning, He knocks on the door of my heart and enters to sit awhile and reason with me.

He says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43: 18-19)

Um mm...no.

He shakes His head and says, "Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which I called you heavenward in my Son." (Philippians 3:13-14)

O. Kay. But...

With a smile on His face, His words perfectly echoing my thoughts, as if He can read my mind, "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (Isaiah 46:4)

"I will sustain you, like I did Paul, and Peter, and David. Look what they became in spite of the things that lay in their pasts. They made mistakes. Big ones! Paul murdered my followers! Peter denied me! David!! He slept with Bathsheba and murdered her husband! For goodness sake, child! Go back and read about what I did with their lives and see what I can do with yours! It's not over until I say it's over!"

You know what? I'm not a big football fan, so I'm not relating so much to that fourth quarter thing. I do love me some baseball though. 

I would prefer to look at this period of my life as a seventh inning stretch.

I'm going to stand up. 
I'm going to shake it all off.
I'm going to str.....et....ch. 
I'm going to get back in the game! 

And if I'm really blessed maybe I'll get to play some extra innings!


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Is God A Good Father?

I think that the Word of Faith people get a bad rap. Don't get me wrong. Many have gone way out of line over the years. Just hear me out on this one issue, and see if you don't agree. Believe me, I've been round and round about this thing in my head many times and I always come back to the same answer for the question, "Is God a good Father, or not?"

For some reason, it's easier for us to believe that God wants us to be poor, like it's some badge of honor or something. For some reason, it's easier to believe that God has made us sick to teach us a lesson. We cringe when we hear preachers talk about how God wants us to prosper and be in good health; that He wants to heal us and see us have good success.

Is God a good Father, or not?

A good earthly parent would NEVER wish sickness and disease on the child that they love, would they?

A good earthly parent takes great delight in their children being successful, fulfilling their dreams and prospering in all that they do, right?

We who are imperfect, fumbling, mistake-making parents, only want the absolute best for our children. How much more do you think God, the perfect Father, wants the absolute best for us? He even says so in His Word.

"Yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant." 
(Psalm 35:27 KJV)

That's pretty clear, isn't it?

Just as I am so over the moon when my children are succeeding, healthy and happy in their lives, when God sees us prospering and being in good health, He is over the universe over it!

Now, be sure that there IS one who DOES want you to be sick and poor and suffering. He is the enemy that Jesus told us about. The one who has made it his mission to come into our lives and steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus said that He came so that we could have life, in abundance, to the full, until it overflows!  

The next time you're tempted to say, "Weelll, God must just be trying to teach me a lesson. This sickness must be God's will for this season in my life." The next time you're tempted to think that lack is a noble thing in the eyes of God, ask yourself this question: "Is God a good Father, or not?"

The answer is a resounding YES! 

 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?  Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. 
(Matthew 7: 9-11 NLT)


 
 

Friday, March 07, 2014

Just Wait A Minute

"As many times as you've prayed before, today may be the day when God sends the answer so swiftly--so divinely--that you're windburned." ~ Beth Moore

Do you believe that, beloved? 

I may just be the only one, but if we're honest I think most of us have prayed about some things for so long that we figure "what's the use?" God's answer must simply be no. But what if we started to look at it in a different way? 

Let's allow Joseph to teach us a little lesson on expectancy, lest we're tempted to just give up.

Remember Joseph? 
Thrown in a pit and left to die by his brothers? 
Falsely accused by his master's wife and thrown in prison?
Forgotten by his fellow inmates and left alone?
(Read his story in Genesis 37-50)


One minute he was in a stinky water well, listening to his brothers laughing over dinner above his head, and the next moment, they were pulling him out and putting him on a caravan to Egypt.  

One minute Joseph was going on over two years of being in prison, and the very next moment an official was telling him to get dressed and shaved for an audience with Pharaoh. 

One minute he was interpreting a king's dream, and the very next minute he was in charge of the entire land that had held him prisoner for so long. 

He went from the pit to the prison to the palace, in a series of one minutes. 

You see, you just never know when your "the next minute" is going to be.  

If Joseph had given up hope at any time from the pit to the prison, he may have missed the exact moments of his multiple deliverance's. 

You see, God had a plan and His plan was bigger than anything Joseph could ever imagine.  

He has a plan for my life. He has a plan for your life. 

The very next minute in time, could be the very moment of your deliverance from whatever pit or prison you find yourself in today. 

Hold on to your hat, dear one!

Just Wait A Minute!

"LORD, in the morning you will hear me; 
in the morning I will present my case to you
 and then wait expectantly for an answer."
Psalm 5: 3 NET 



   





 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Does God Really Love Me?

Do you know that God loves you?

No, no, no. Do you REALLY know that God loves you?

Yes, it's something we say, almost a platitude of Christian-speak, and something we know in our intellect. But in our hearts?

Do you really know that God loves you?

If we're totally honest, maybe not. The world's gone mad. Our lives are in chaos at times. Prayers seem to hit the ceiling and go unanswered, right? Satan uses those very things to plant in our minds that God doesn't hear, see, or most importantly CARE about us and our concerns.

Just because that may seem to be the case, it doesn't change the TRUTH!

God loves you. God loves me.

Here's a little exercise that may help you in your questioning today. Let's look at these three little words by emphasizing each one, one at a time, letting the truth of what they say soak in like balm to our aching hearts. Say them out loud. 


GOD loves me.
God. The Creator of the universe. The One Who placed the sun, and the moon, and the stars in the heavens and knows each star by name. The One Who created the earth and the sea and everything in them with just a word. The all-knowing, all-powerful, all-everything God, loves me!

God loves me.
He esteems me. He delights in me. He dances over me. He tenderly cares for me. He loved me before I ever thought about loving Him. He loved me when I was still steeped in my sin. He loved me SO MUCH that He gave His one and only Son for me, to suffer and die on a cross, so He could be with me forever! (John 3:16) That is love that my human mind cannot even comprehend!   

God loves me!
Me. The one who messed up so badly. The one who is ashamed. The one who they abused. The one who is hopeless and helpless to ever do anything right. Me. The one who they call ugly, stupid, never going to amount to anything. Me. With all my blemishes, faults, mistakes, foolishness, pride, selfishness, sin and rebellion! God loves me!

Confess those three little words.

Say, "God loves me. God loves me. God loves me!"

"I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8: 38-39 NLT