Friday, October 13, 2017

Obedience and Blessings . . . They Go Hand in Hand



Simon Peter and his men were tired. They had been fishing all night with other men in their own boat and had caught nothing. I'm sure they had mouths to feed, obligations to meet and probably were hungry themselves. All they wanted to do was wash their nets and go home.

But this man shows up and between the two boats he chooses Simon Peter and asked if he would take him out away from the shore a little so he could speak to the great crowd that wanted to hear him teach.

Once in the water, I wonder if Simon Peter found a place in the boat out of the way and leaned against the sideboard to try and take a nap. But how could he sleep. I'm sure the words he heard from the stranger must have pierced his heart, for after the man spoke to the crowd he then turned to Simon Peter and said "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch,"(Luke 5:4).

"But Simon answered and said to Him, 'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net,'" (Luke 5:5).


Then it happened . . . "they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking," (Luke 5:6).

They caught so much fish that they had to ask the men from the other boat to come and help them. And not only that, they filled up BOTH boats to the point that they were sinking.

I have dreams. Don't you? Dreams for me, my family, my ministry, my job. But I get tired of trying to make things work out like I think they should. I toil on into the night sometimes doing the same thing over and over without any results.

But every once in awhile I hear "Do it again . . . even though you just did it and let me help this time."

Oh if I could always be like Peter Simon and say " . . . at your word I will . . ." when I hear His voice.

Sometimes Jesus chooses us, among others, to use in miraculous ways -- we must put aside our tiredness, our negative attitudes, and our will and do what He ask.

Are you sleeping in the boat instead of listening to God's word either by reading and studying on your own or hearing the word preached? Open you ears and your hearts to His teachings. He may be preparing you for something He is getting ready to ask you to do.

Is He asking you to do something today? Don't fall asleep in the boat and ignore His voice. Today may be the day He blesses you beyond your wildest dreams! It may not be a boat load of fish, but I can promise you this . . . it will be more than you can handle, even by yourself! And when He does it, you will KNOW that He did it, not you.






Photos courtesy of pixabay.com
Scripture taken from the NKJV of the Bible

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pause & Ponder . . . God's Timing

"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Words spoken from an uncle to his niece years ago in a land far, far away. But can I take these same words and direct them to you? And me?


What's on your schedule to do today?

What's your "To Do List" look like?

Where will you be going today and who will you see?

What plans did you make, or were made for you, that you have to accomplish?

These all may seem trivial and of no importance in the great scheme of life, but are they?

Queen Esther knew that her people, the Jews, were in danger of being killed . . . but she also knew that if she went before the King unannounced that she too could be killed. She had no guarantee that he would receive her.

But God had a plan and her uncle Mordecai had a glimmer of hope and faith. Maybe, just maybe, his niece had been chosen as Queen "for such a time as this" to save her people. And she was. As she stood in the court before the King, she found favor in his sight and through a series of events, she was able to save her people for being annihilated.

Maybe, just maybe you have been placed in your family, neighborhood, job, or even your generation "for such a time as this." We have no idea how God wants to use us to further His Kingdom.

Jeremiah wrote "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; . . ." (Jer. 1:5). You may not want to believe it but before you were even concieved and in your mother's womb God knew you.

Yes, before GOD formed you in your mother's womb, He knew you. 
Can you get ahold of that truth? God is the One who formed us and 
He KNEW us even before He formed us. At that time He also sanctified us, 
which means He set us apart. 


We don't exist to wake up every day to go through the same mundane motions, get a pay check, eat a meal, sleep and do it all over again the next day. No, God has always known us, formed us, and placed us in this century "for such a time as this." He has something only we can do.

Take time to pause and ponder not only the idea that He has a plan for you, but what that might be. I can tell you it won't be found on your smart phone, on the TV, or listening to the news or those around you. It will be found by spending time with the Lord in reading His word and in praying.

It's the little nudges from the Holy Spirit, saying "go this way," "say this," or "do this" that will allow you to fulfill the plans God has for you. Don't let the enemy keep you distracted to the point you miss the many ways God wants to use you. For He created you . . . "for such a time as this."





Scripture from the New Kings James Version of the Bible
photos courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Rescued . . . A New Beginning

Her name is Gracie.

She was rescued.

Rescued from what?

Being hit by a car on a busy street in a North Carolina town. We don't know the entire story of why she was running after a car, but a friend stopped and opened her car door and this frighten dog jumped into the car and into her arms.

A week later my husband and I made the five hour trip to rescue her once again. We rescued her from being passed around from home to home and possibly sent to a shelter and made her apart of our family.

She is already loved  . . . a lot!

We are getting to know each other, my husband and me and this animal who seems to be healthy, well-behaved, and smart. She sits on command, understands the definition of no, and loves to cuddle. It doesn't matter where we are in the house, she has to be with at least one of us at all times.

We have only had her for two days, but already she feels like she has always been apart of our family. I can't explain it, but it's like she was meant to be ours. What a joy it is to open our home and our hearts and envelop this sweet little one with love, peace, and stability.

As I watch her play, sleep, and adjust to her new home I can't help but think about another rescue.

My name is Beth.

I was rescued.

Rescued from what?

Being hit by life and believing the lie that I could manage life without the Lord. I don't know the entire story of why I was trying to do things my way and on my own, but a friend stopped, opened His arms and I jumped right into them.

Are you trying to manage on your own? Are you trying to make decisions, find your way, or work through problems on your own? We all have a friend who is waiting with open arms to rescue us from this hectic life. He wants us to accept His invitation of help and allow Him to envelop us with His love, peace, and stability.

I believe Gracie gave us her heart yesterday.

I know I gave my heart to Jesus Christ years ago.

And I know I'm loved a lot. 

Grace, God's grace . . . Gracie story is this truth lived out right before me.

Won't you allow God's love to rescue you? His Son, Jesus, is waiting for you to accept His gift of eternal life today. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life," John 3:16.

Go ahead, let yourself be rescued.

You are already loved . . . a lot!






Tuesday, August 1, 2017

When Enemies Get Cozy . . . We Must Be Ready


So . . . you’re going about your life, no problems or issues, and then all of the sudden BAM! You find yourself in a battle.


   Where did it come from?
   What did I do wrong?
   How did I get in the middle of THIS?

The questions continue to weave in and out of your thoughts causing you to freeze in your tracts.

   Which way do I turn?
   Where can I get help?
   Who can I trust to walk through this with me?



King Hezekiah found himself in a difficult situation. He was going about his kingly business, watching over his people, when the King of Assyria came and cozied up against his city and planned an attack. (2 Chron. 32:1-8)

What did King Hezekiah do?
  • He consulted with his leaders
  • He got others to help him
  • He built walls and repaired towers
  • He made weapons and shields
  • He encouraged his people.


And we can do the same, for we can . . .
  • Consult with others we trust
  • Get others to pray for us
  • Build our defense through prayer and reading God’s Word
  • Put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6) and wear it
  • Keep those around us that will encourage us




May the words King Hezekiah encourage you as they did his people many years ago. 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles. And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”


Next time you find the enemy camped next to you waiting to attack, (or if he’s there right now) take confidence in the words of Jesus THE king of Judah . . . 

“I will never leave you nor forsake you," Heb. 13:5.



All scriptures from English Standard Version ESV
pictures courtesy of pixabay.com




  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Originial Repurposer

 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." (2 Cor. 5:17 ESV)

Repurpose.

Google it.

You will find websites, blogs, photographs, magazines, books, facebook groups, articles, pinterest boards all dedicated to the idea of taking something old (or no longer usable as it is) and creating ways to recycle and reuse. From barn doors to Aunt Lucy's mismatched silverware, if it's old and has no current purpose, it can be reused and given a new purpose.

I've collected items for years to do this very thing. I have brick from my parent's backyard, tools from my grandparents farm which include a tire frame from a piece of equipment as well as old glass bottles my grandmother buried in her garden. (Yes, she said one day glass would be replaced by plastic and glass bottles would be a thing of the past. Who knew?  Well she did!) One day I hope to find a new use for each of these items, whether in my garden, kitchen, or garage. But for now they sit waiting.

Sometimes I feel like I am doing the same thing . . .

sitting,

waiting . . .

to be reused--

repurposed.


As life continues, I find myself being tossed about in the ebb and flow of it and lose sight of my purpose. Maybe I'm not the only one. But as I read God's Word I'm reminded of three important truths that help me know that God is not finished with me and has plans for me, either doing what I'm doing now, or doing something completely different in the future. Either way, He's got a plan to use me and He has plans for you too.



  •  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation," (2 Cor. 5:17 ESV).
  • "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope," (Jer. 29:11).  
  • "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ," (Phil. 1:6).

Yes, God did make me a new creature when He cleansed me from all of my sin when I accepted His Son Jesus. Yes, He does have plans to give me a future and a hope. And, yes, He did begin a good work in me and will bring it to completion.

All I have to do is trust.

So, I will keep my eyes focused on Him.

And as my grandmother's bottles still have the same garden soil on them from the day they were buried on her farm, I will sit with the markings of past experiences, good and bad, knowing the original repurposer has a plan for me.








All scripture from the English Standard Version (ESV).
All pictures courtesy of pixabay.com. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Where Do You Live?



Where do you live?

Not your street address, apartment number, city or state.

Not physically.

But . . .

Mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Where do you live?


Some people live in the past,

                some people live in the future.


I'm not one to camp out in the past, but I do find myself riding on wings as I fly towards the future, waiting to land. There's only one problem, it's never time to land.

When I live in the mindset of:

  • what if . . .
  • when this or that happens . . .
  • I can't wait until . . .
  • I just wish . . .
  • When, when, when . . .
                                 I'm not living in the moment.

And guess what? That's exactly what the enemy wants me to do.

Why?

Because when I don't live in the moment, I live a life of discontent.

Paul wrote in Phil. 4:11 that " . . . I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:" 

I, like so many, have hung my dreams on the scripture found in Jer. 29:11 that says, "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." 


Yes, God has plans for us . . . a future and a hope, but He has also given us everything we need to be content each day. Our hope is found in His Son, Jesus Christ. For He tells us, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," (Heb. 13:5). He is with us in the moment helping us live out our purpose as we navigate what is before us, as mundane as it may seem.

We should be content while living each day to the fullest instead of dragging our feet in the dust of days gone by or trying to find rainbows to slide down into the future. The future will come and with it all the plans God has for us, but it will be in His timing not ours.


So now I do my best to live in the moment. 
          It doesn't have a physical address, 
                               but it is a place my heart will call home.







Scripture from NASB
Pictures courtesty of www.pixaby.com


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Be Still . . . The Lord Will Fight For You.


"I don't know what to do."

"I can't seem to find my way through this maze I've created."

"I am so worried I can't eat or sleep."

"What's going to happen next?"

"I don't know which way to turn."

"Lord, can you hear me?"



I'm sure at one time or another we have all screamed these words while in the middle of a desperate situation. This is life, we are in the middle of it, and things happen. Some things we create and some things are out of our control, but either way we find ourselves stuck in the middle.


As they followed Moses out of Egypt, the Israelites also found themselves in a desperate situation. With the waters of the Red Sea before them and Pharaoh's armies fast approaching behind them, they were stuck with no options in sight.


Have you been there? Stuck with no options in sight? I have. Maybe the choice before me wasn't to drown in a sea or be killed by an army who was pursuing me in fast chariots, but nevertheless I have felt stuck with nowhere to turn.


God saw what was happening to His children and He had a plan.


First Moses told the people "Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord . . . the Lord will fight for you" (Ex. 14:13, 14 NASB).


And He did!


God told the people to stop crying out to him and move towards the waters. At that point God performed a miracle. As Moses lifted up his rod, God caused the sea to go back with a strong east wind dividing the sea. Throughout the night the people were able to walk to the other side on dry land.


And what about the army that was chasing them? That morning God looked down on the army and caused their wheels to fall off their chariots and when they tried to turn back He caused the sea to return to its full depth drowning all the men.


Yes, the Lord fought for them.
                And He will do the same for us. 
                            He sees what is happening to us, His children, and He has a plan.


But we need to learn to, "Be still and know that (He is) God," (Psa. 46:10). He wants to fight for us but we need to let Him. 


What are you in the middle of today? What situation seems impossible? What's closing in on you from both sides?


God sees. 
God knows. 
God hears our cries. 
But we need to be still, 
know that God is God, 
and let Him fight for us! 
He wants to do a miracle in our lives,
 but we need to be still and let Him do it.