Wednesday, December 23, 2015

forgot where to look?

I hate to admit it, but I was feeling rather sorry for myself today when God took the opportunity to remind me, or smack me, about how truly blessed I am. I had spent the morning grumpy and even took some time to whine about stuff to God. I was going to my appointment, when I saw someone who definitely was going through one of the toughest struggles of his life. He had survived a terrible accident and was now in the long fight of recovery. His family was with him, waiting patiently and helping him.  I almost immediately heard God, "Do you really have all that much to feel bad about?"
I had forgotten to keep my eyes on the One who blesses me beyond measure.  I had forgotten to keep my thoughts and my mind on Him.  I had forgotten to keep my faith and trust in the Savior and Giver of Life.
I began to think about Peter standing in that boat on a stormy sea.  He saw the same figure as the others walking out on the boisterous water.  Yet, even in fear, he was the only one who said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” When Jesus said, "Come," he stepped out in faith and began walking on that water.  When he began to see, feel and hear all those waves raging about him, he began to be afraid.  You see, he got his eyes on the circumstances around him.  He was looking around rather than right at the One who told him to come out there.
Do we often forget to keep our eyes on Jesus?  Yes, I think we do. Peter was just a human like me and you.  He knew that walking on water was impossible.  He knew that he was in a dangerous situation.  He was doing something miraculous, yet his mind got distracted by the situation around him.
I definitely allowed myself to get distracted by the situations and circumstances.  All I really needed to do was keep my eyes on the Source of my faith.  So, just as Peter cried out, "Lord, save me!"  I began to pray.  I prayed for forgiveness for being selfish and doubtful.  I prayed for this dear man and his family.  I prayed praise to God and thanked Him for reminding me of how blessed I really am.
I also remembered that Jesus took hold of Peter and took him to the boat.  Jesus then said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”   (Matthew 14:22-33)
Why do I doubt?  Doubt can very much cripple me in my faith.  Doubt is the opposite of faith.  I am disappointed in myself for doubting.  I know God can do anything.  It says, "With God all things are possible."(Matthew 19:26) I had just quoted this verse on Sunday.
I know I need to cry out just like the father in Mark 9:24, Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Doubt disappoints God. He wants us to have faith.  For without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
James 1:6 says But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
I do not want to be tossed about. I want to stand steadfast and firm.  I want my faith to be unwavering, even when it appears I should lose hope.  I want to keep my eyes fixed on the One who is greater than all things. So I pray that even when circumstances or situations try to distract me, my eyes will be straight ahead, looking only at Jesus. May I cry out, Lord, help my unbelief, when I feel weak.  May I trust only in Him. My circumstances are never too big for God.  He calmed a storm. He can calm my storms. He can even calm me. I am so grateful that God took time to remind me today, to get my eyes back on Him.  May we all find ourselves "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

then he smiled at me

So the Christmas carols are playing and many are beautiful, some are fun, some are full of meaning.  I do love many of the Christmas carols.  There is one that always makes me cry, Little Drummer Boy.
I know it is not necessarily biblical, but I get swept up in the idea presented.  If you don't know this sweet song, it is of a little boy who comes along with the wise men and wants to present a gift to the baby Jesus.  He has nothing but talent to play his drum and asks if he may play his drum for Jesus.  He then plays his best for Jesus.
The line that always hits me is the last one, "Then he smiled at me, me and my drum."

I begin to think about Jesus smiling at me.  Can you imagine that Jesus is smiling at you because you have presented your best to him?  How truly amazing it would be to see His face smiling at us. Do you think perhaps he smiles often because of you?  Have you presented Him your best talents, your best of yourself?

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,

Whatever we do, should be done with our best attitude and best effort for God.  I have often reminded myself that even the most mundane and difficult should be done as if I am doing them for God.  I remind my children that we should do our best in all things because it is for God.  I often forget that.  Do I take shortcuts, ignore things I know I need to do, or even refuse to have a good attitude when I have to do that one chore I hate?   The answer is a resounding yes. Does that cause God to love me less?  The answer is no.  He still loves me and He still blesses me.

Just like parents love their children even when they leave a mess in their room, or shove the mess under the bed.  We still love them, but there is nothing like knowing a child has tried hard to please you or have done their best at a task.  It does make a parent smile.  That child, in turn, is full of pride and pleasure knowing their parent is pleased and smiling at them.  That is why I want to see Jesus smile.
I want to see Jesus smile because he recognizes that I love him so much in return for what He did for me.  I want him to recognize that my heart is finding joy in pleasing Him.  I want Him to know that I choose to do my best for him because I love him.

Matthew 25:23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

There will also be a time when we will stand before God and he will make a judgement.  I want to hear him say "Well done."  I want to hear the joy and pride in His voice as he invites me to enter into the joy of my Lord.  Can you even imagine????  I think that will be the most joyous event ever!!  I want to be with him for eternity.  I want to be with my Savior forever.

Doing my best here doesn't earn that place in heaven, because His gift of salvation comes through a repentant heart and I cannot earn salvation.  Doing my best is an act of demonstrating how my I love Him and appreciate the ultimate sacrifice He gave in order for me to have that gift of salvation.
I want to show Him how much I love him.  I will try to remember to always do my best for him .  I will remember every time I hear Little Drummer Boy.  I will remember when tears well up in my eyes and I once again think about that smile.