Thursday, May 28, 2015

no fear in the flood

There are a lot of stories this week of flooding. Floods wiping away homes, cars, buildings, etc. Many valuables and lives are being lost to the massive flooding. It is tragic to see the photos as water washes through neighbors and towns. I remember in the Spring of 2010, here, we had some flooding. It was devastating to some homes, farmland, and businesses.  I am saddened to see the damage and loss many are suffering.

The enemy of our soul is described as a flood.  He wants to come in and destroy. He wants to cause devastation to our lives.  Why?  He wants to see us fail, fall and turn away from the loving God who offers hope.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

In Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

God holds a standard and lifts it up against the enemy.  A standard is a model or pattern for guidance or comparison for excellence or correctness. He presents a model or pattern in his word. He has set forth examples of what we can do.  We can call on the name of Jesus. He brings victory.

Luke 6:48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

We can have a foundation that is solid.  Jesus is the foundation of our faith.  We can call on him and find that he is a friend that sticks closer than a brother Proverbs 18:24,  and an ever present help in the time of need.  Hebrews 4:16.  In Hebrews 13:5 For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”   God wants to be the rock we stand on, the hand we hold and the shoulder we cry on.  He is able to sustain us and bear us up when life crashes in and floods pour over us.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is there in the worst of moments. From my own experiences, when I lost my mother tragically, and nearly lost my dad, God was more present that I can even describe. I felt like I was wrapped in His loving arms and he carried me through those rough days. When my son was born with a birth defect, God was present. He spoke words of compassion and gave us direction. He used many others to minister to us and speak words of wisdom.  I know God is always ready to carry us, lead us and get us through any situation. And as I face more situations that feel uncertain and overwhelming, I know I can call on Jesus for strength, hope and peace. He counts every tear and holds me close.

What the enemy may mean for our destruction, God can turn it around and make it a testimony. When life is hard and we may not understand, God is offering hope and peace to bring us into a place of victory.

Have no fear for we are God's children. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
We have the Creator of the universe on our side. We have the Almighty God. Do not fear the flood. Do not fear the crashing waves. God has you in the palm of His mighty hand.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

we can still fly with a broken wing

I have been greatly impressed to work on improving my joy.  Not just to have some, but to be ever able to have joy in the midst of any circumstance. I am not talking about happiness, but true joy that only comes from the Father. John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."  This verse says that joy should remain and be full or complete.  Joy from God should not leave us the instant something goes wrong.  Joy is also listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.  As a child of God, the fruit we bare should have an attribute of joy.   I can say and feel a bit ashamed that there are times that circumstances affect my joy and may actually cause me to lose it all together.  I have to go back to the Father and ask and receive joy once again just as Jesus spoke commanded in John 16:24. Joy from the Father should remain constant, not ebb and wane as the tide when circumstances come.

In John 16:22 Jesus spoke to his disciples Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. Then in Acts we read that the Holy Spirit filled the disciples and joy came Acts 13:52. Nothing should take our joy. Not loss, not pain, not disappointment, not trouble, not terrible reports. Nothing!

I recently went to an aquarium which had a butterfly habitat.  There was a beautiful orange butterfly sitting on pink flowers.  As I got close, I realized his wing was damaged and ripped. I thought how sad that was and did not think he could fly. Suddenly, the butterfly took flight and began to float around the habitat in search of another place to land.  This injury that caused much damage did not inhibit his flight or ability to soar as he was purposed to do.

butterfly with a damaged wing can still fly
How many times do we allow a negative circumstance to steal our joy and damage the work already accomplished by God in our lives?  How many times have we had our "wings clipped" and felt we had lost our ability to soar?  Have we allowed things to cause us to lose our purpose that God intended?

I am sure I forget Psalms 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  And Psalms 27:6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.   When we have God's presence in us, we can have joy that cannot be broken or destroyed.  We have joy that will bubble forth even when trouble comes our way. We can have joy that is complete and full in face of attack and negative events. We can still bring forth praise of God, our Savior. 

I know circumstances can damage and break us.  I have read of a missionary family that was attacked and all were gunned down with the exception of the wife and mother.  Yet, thriugh the tears of loss and pain she still sees God's purpose for her life. She has a peace that passes understanding. She still praises God even in the midst of the most hurtful of moments. 
I have gone through moments of loss and pain.  I have had moments of uncertainty and fear. I have had moments of hurt and disappointment. Yet through it all, God has a joy and a peace that is available through each moment. We only have to choose it, let it flow in us, let God pour His spirit over us so we can have that joy only He can give. 

Joy is not about what we have or don't have, it is not from the physical things in this world. Joy, true joy, comes from the Holy Spirit that should be dwelling in us. Romans 14:17 We need to find our joy and maintain our joy through our daily access to the Holy Ghost. We are to daily communicate with our Savior and build that relationship that can only bring us joy and a peace that passes all understanding. Philippians 4:7
Even as our world grows more dangerous and uncertain, or as troubles come our way, we must choose to maintain joy.  We must choose to be joyful. It is our fruit to bare and what God wants and offers to His children. we can still soar full of joy on our broken wings with the help of the Father.  Find your joy from the Father and hold on to it!

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

every praise

Growing up, the choir at church sang a beautiful song, "The Lord inhabits the praises of His people, oh let's just praise Him, oh let's just praise Him! I remember this song and was reminded of it today as we sang in church today, Every praise is to our God, Every word of worship in one accord, Every praise, Every praise is to our God.

I heard a story on the news about a little boy who sang this song continuously when he was kidnapped.  The kidnapper actually released him because he was singing praise to God. That is an amazing story.
Praise brings about changes in our circumstances.

God is eager to hear our praise.  We were created to praise Him.  He longs to hear our voices bringing praise.

Psalm 22:3   in the King James Version (KJV)
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

This verse actually tells us that God lives IN our praise. He will be there when we praise.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

I get the message that God's presence is there when we praise Him.  If we want to attract God, to feel His presence, there must be praise coming forth from our soul.

The word of God speaks of praise in many circumstances. There is even a story of a battle being won by praises from Judah in 2 Chronicles chapter 20.  They praised God and he fought the battle. They did not have to raise a sword. It was already done.
There are verses reminding us to praise God for His greatness, for His power, for His creation, for His gifts to us, for salvation, for His actions, and for what He will do.
There are even verses telling us to praise in the face of adversity and trouble.  Praise for every situation that occurs.
Our praise should not change, decrease or stop just because of the circumstances that occur around us.  Psalms 18:3 says, I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Even in the midst of terrible circumstances, God is still worthy of our praise. I forget to praise when trouble comes my way.  I sometimes get my eyes focused on the trouble, busyness of life, things going on and forget to continually sing praises to my Savior and God.
Just like Peter walking on the water.  As long as his eyes were fixed on Jesus, he was doing the impossible: walking on water!!!!  When his eyes were on the crashing waves, doubt set in and he began to sink.  This is a great spiritual lesson. When our eyes are fixed on Jesus, we can do the impossible. Jesus promised that with him all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26) When we get caught up in circumstances, take our eyes of Jesus, or get distracted, we forget to praise and begin to sink spiritually.

I want to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus,  I want to stay on top of the water with Him.  I want to praise him in every circumstance so that His presence is with me at all times.  I want to see Him and feel Him. I want to know He is fighting for me and through praise, He will do all things through me.

I remember a dear lady I grew up knowing that always praised God and always answered "I am blessed" when you asked how she was.  It did not matter what was happening. She gave God the glory and praise.  
He deserves all our praise. He deserved more praise than I give. He deserves every word of worship and more.  May I begin to bring Him the praise He is due on a daily basis, not just a couple of times a day.  Not just when I feel like it, but in every circumstance. I want my first response to be praise to God.  If I put his praise first, he will be there to accomplish the impossible.  Rather than pouring forth bitterness, complaints and sorry, I want to pour forth praise. In Luke 19:40 it says that if his worshippers keep silent, the very rocks will cry out in their place.  Let's not be silent. Sing forth praise!!!!!

Link to Every Praise Video

Every praise is to our God.