Trust in the Lord

We have all read, heard, and memorized Proverbs 3:5-6, but have we really let it sink in deep inside our heart. Have we personalized it? It is easy to tell others to trust in the Lord, but when it comes to our own lives, have we truly decided to trust in the Lord with ALL our heart? God has taught me a powerful lesson in trust over the past few weeks. Just when I think I have it figured out, a test comes, and guess what? I fail. Praise the Lord that He does not throw me away when I fail to trust Him. No, he gently shows me where I am leaning on my own understanding. Then, he mercifully leads me to the path of trust once again. Many of you know what I am talking about. God gives us a promise, and we trust Him to fulfill it. But when it doesn't come in our timing or in our way, we start to lean to our own understanding and we try to make the promise come true on our own. Reminds me of a lady named Sarah who was promised a child and when it didn't happen in her timeframe, she figured out a "better" way. We know now that her "better" way was a disaster - a disaster that is stil bearing fruit in our world today. I pray that we will learn from Sarah's choices that trusting in God is always the best way. Personalize Proverbs 3:5-6, write it out, and post it in a place where you can see it everyday. TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL MY HEART. LEAN NOT TO MY OWN UNDERSTANDING. IN ALL MY WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AND HE WILL DIRECT MY PATHS. Keep trusting in Him and I promise He will direct your path, and His direction is always best.


The Power of our Words

I am in the middle of a new Bible study by Priscilla Shirer entitled,
Can We Talk? The first week was on the power of tongue. Oh, no, I thought, why do we have to start there? We all know that great fires are started from small sparks and yet when it comes to our words, we forget the powerful impact they have in our lives. Proverbs 18:21 tells us, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Nineteen words that pack a powerful punch. We can choose to speak death or we can choose to speak life - it's within the power of our tongue. Think about all the words you speak in the course of one day. How many bring life and how many bring death? I know from experience that I can tell immediately when my words have encouraged someone. On the other hand (and to my regret), I can also tell immediately when my words have brought discouragement to someone. How many times I have longed to take back words spoken in haste, but once the spark is lit, the fire is hard to contain. One thing that we can always count on to encourage and bring life is the word of God. Speaking God's word aloud is a powerful tool that is always at our disposal. Try it sometime. Open the Bible to your favorite verse or passage of Scripture and begin reading it aloud. There is tremendous power in the spoken Word. The Word of God brings life and speaking it out loud over your children, your spouse, your family and yourself has more value than you may realize. According to Proverbs 18 we will eat the fruit of our words. I don't know about you, but I would prefer that fruit be pleasant and sweet not bitter and sour. Keeping our tongue tame is not easy (see James 3), but with God's help we can begin to be more constructive with our words and less destructive. Fill your mouth with words of life, words of praise, and words of encouragement, and you will have less room for words of death, defeat, and discouragement. Like Priscilla says, "The praises of God cannot fit in a mouth that is already filled with other things." May our words be few but life-giving.


God of the Details

What a wonderful Easter celebration we had. I pray that each of you celebrated Easter with a heart full of gratitude to our Wonderful Savior. As I pored over the gospels in preparation for Easter, I was reminded that our God is a God of the details. Each and every prophecy that had been proclaimed about the death and resurrection of Jesus was fulfilled - to the smallest detail. Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial, the beating, the mocking, the gambling, the crown of thorns, the crucifixion, the death, the resurrection, everything happened just as God had said -down to the tiniest detail. Let's just look at one detail - the sign posted on the cross. Seems kind of insignificant, doesn't it? John's gospel tells us that Pilate had a sign made that read "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." He asked that it be written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek and hung on the cross with Jesus. When the religious leaders asked Pilate to change the wording of the sign, he dismissed them. This was the same Pilate who gave in to their plan to crucify Jesus, but on this issue, he stood firm. So, the sign was posted for all to see and all to read. Why? Because our God is into the details. In His perfect plan, God knew that this sign was one more way He would confirm to the world the authenticity of His Son. It was no accident that it was written in three different languages. Aramaic was the language of the Jews. Latin was the official language of Rome. Greek was the common language of the people in the Roman empire. Thus, everyone who gathered in Jerusalem that day would be able to understand what was written on that sign. What an awesomely deliberate God we serve! What He has said, He will do and He will do it completely. You don't have to worry that God has forgotten you or that He is leaving you hanging. No, be encouraged to know that what He has started in your life, He will finish (Phillippians 1:6) because that's the kind of God He is. He leaves nothing to chance. When He makes a plan, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will work that plan to fruition. He even makes sure that the smallest details are accomplished according to His will. Praise God that He is a God of the details!


The Passion Week

This week is commemorated around the world as the week of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His last supper with his disciples, His prayer of surrender in the garden, and His beating, crucifixion, and death. May we never lose sight of all that Christ endured so that we could be free. Many times, we come to these special seasons without taking the time to properly remember them. The beauty and significance of Christ's final week becomes lost in the shuffle of Easter egg hunts, shopping for new outfits, preparing lunch for family, and the list goes on. This year may we purpose to take time out of our busy schedules and just be still in His presence. Take some time to read each of the four gospel accounts of Jesus' final week on earth. Ask God to show you something new about our Savior as you read. The Easter story is so rich and significant and it should never become just another day or event that we celebrate. It is the fulfillment of God's great redemption plan. Jesus Christ was the lamb who was slain to take away the sins of the world. When Christ began His journey to Jerusalem that final week, he sent Peter and John ahead to prepare the place for the Passover Meal. Preparing for the Passover was a huge undertaking and I often wonder if Peter and John understood that this was not just another annual celebration, no, this was THE Passover Lamb sitting down at the table with them. The Jewish celebration of Passover has such rich meaning and I challenge you to research it yourself if you haven't already. Imagine Christ in the father role re-telling the story of the exodus from Egypt, dipping his finger into the cup of deliverance and recounting the 10 plagues that befell Egypt. Can you imagine his emotions as he recounted that tenth plague when the death angel passed over every house covered by the blood of the lamb? When the meal was over and it was time to drink from the third cup - the cup of redemption, Christ instituted a new practice. It is the cup of redemption that is the new covenant in His blood. In Exodus 6, God told Moses that He would redeem Israel with an outstretched arm. In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we see Christ fulfill that promise to the uttermost. With an outstretched arm against a wooden cross, he offers full redemption to anyone who will believe. Celebrate Christ this Easter - our great Redeemer.


The Christ of God

This week, let's take a close look at Luke 9:28-36 - the transfiguration of Christ. How can we apply this phenomenal event to our own relationship of Christ? While we may not understand nor can we fully grasp all that took place on that mountain that day, I believe that one of the main things God is saying through this event is that He wants to readjust our vision of Him. To see Christ transfigured before us requires that we be willing to receive all that God wants to reveal. The more we are willing to receive the more He will reveal to us. Colossians 2:2-3 says,"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." You can know that your spiritual vision is being properly adjusted when you come to see Christ alone. Once Peter, James, and John were fully awake, Elijah and Moses disappeared and they saw Jesus alone. In our busy world full of responsibilities, schedules, and distractions, it is easy to let our vision of Christ become obscured, so we must make a conscious effort each and every day to keep our focus on Christ first and foremost. To me, one of the most important parts of the transfiguration was the voice of God. Luke 9:35 says, "A voice came from the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I have chosen, LISTEN TO HIM.'" I added the capital letters because I believe that God spoke those words with extra volume. When our spiritual vision is being readjusted our hearing is as vital as our sight. As we keep our ears and eyes open to the voice and vision of Christ, we will see Him transfigured in our own lives. May God shatter your present perspective and reveal Himself to you as bigger, greater, and more powerful than anything you could imagine.