Sunday, November 30, 2008

What am I reflecting?

Gen. 1:26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

We are studying Genesis in 128, our youth ministry, and we are already through the 1st chapter. It is interesting to me that God created ONLY humans in His image. Then He also gave us a limited amount of instruction for our time here on earth.
We are to bear His image, be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. As I look at the list some of these things seem harder than others. "Be fruitful and multiply" and "subdue the earth" seem much easier than bearing the image of Creator God. How can I be a reflection of God? If the only way for people to see God is by looking at me, what should I do or be?
I am looking out my window at the snow crested mountains, the backdrop of the blue sky, a few wispy clouds, dark green trees on the foothills around the higher peaks and they look so much more majestic than I, BUT I am the one made in His image, not any of the rest of creation.
If I had to do this reflecting on my own, I would be in serious trouble. I would only reflect the sinfulness of fallen man, not the pure radiance of who God really is. But we are not in this on our own. God sent His Son to take away the sinfulness and then sent His Helper to live inside of us, that we might really reflect who He is to the world.
On my own I can't have any of the fruit of the Spirit, that makes me look more like the Image, but with His Spirit I can look like the One who is the Creator and Sustainer.
Gal. 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

I can't love on my own, have joy or peace on my own, be patient or kind, have any goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self control. The only way I can reflect those attributes of God is with His help. W/o His help I am only going to reflect the ugliness of a fallen, sinful man; me.
It seems strange that God would pick me/us to reflect Himself to the world. This is both humbling and exhilarating. To think that God picks us to represent Himself to the world. What a responsibility and privilege. What freedom (He chose us) and weight.
What I do with my time is reflective of the importance of who God is to me.
My community thankfulness towards God is reflective of what He has done for me.
My testimony to others about what God has done, and is doing, in my life is a direct reflection on how they may view God.
If I truly believe that God will keep His promises, then will I worry about tomorrow? If I am not worrying about tomorrow, when so many others are, how much different will that reflection be?
I don't want to be a cloudy reflection. I don't want to be opaque or etched. I want to be a pure reflection of How Good our God REALLY is. I've a long way to go, but He who began a good work, will be faithful to complete it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is your Heart Filled?

"My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow'r upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev'ry promise is enough
For ev'ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev'ry thought is love.
For ev'ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.

I wanted to highlight some phrases in this song, but found that I would have to highlight just about every word, so I would encourage you to read it again.

I posted recently about being "as a child", and this is a great place to be. On our tax returns we state whether we have dependents, or maybe we are dependents, in the IRS' eyes, but today I am realizing that we are all SOOO dependent on Him.
We are told to pray w/o ceasing, and I think this is impossible if we think we can do things on our own, w/o God's help.

I have realized, the last few days, that is it a joy to pray throughout the day because when I know that I need God's help for every decision, that I need His wisdom and direction to make the right choices, it takes the burden off of me to "get it right" and I can trust Him, who knows all things, to guide me to the right place.

We need to pray for those around us who have not had their eyes opened to the truth of who Jesus is. Many feel they can make it on their own and that Jesus would cramp their style, but Jesus doesn't cramp our style, He takes the burden from us so we can live unencumbered.

1 Chron. 16:8 O give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name; Make known his doings among the peoples.

9 Sing unto him, sing praises unto him; Talk ye of all his marvelous works.

10 Glory ye in his holy name; Let the heart of them rejoice that seek Jehovah.

11 Seek ye Jehovah and his strength; Seek his face evermore.

12 Remember his marvelous works that he hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of his mouth,

24 Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples.

25 For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: He also is to be feared above all gods.

26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols: But Jehovah made the heavens.

27 Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and gladness are in his place.

28 Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength;

29 Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come before him: Worship Jehovah in holy array.

30 Tremble before him, all the earth: The world also is established that it cannot be moved.

31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth.

32 Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; Let the field exult, and all that is therein;

33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy before Jehovah; For he cometh to judge the earth.

34 O give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his loving kindness endureth for ever.

35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us together and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks unto thy holy name, And to triumph in thy praise.

36 Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And all the people said, Amen, and praised Jehovah.

When we are dwelling in the "land of thanksgiving" it is difficult to complain. We have much to be thankful for, so let's be thankful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Be Still and Know that He is God

Ps. 46:1God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The title of this post has been said and sung so many times, but until you're right in the middle of the fray and you know that there is no possible way that you can get through it on your own, it doesn't have quite the meaning.
God is showing me, even right now, what He meant by "unless you become as a child". A child doesn't worry about too much of anything and the reason for that is because they know that their dad will take care of them. I am to not worry about what is going on all around me, but I am to look only to Jesus. If we take our eyes off of Jesus and start to look at the waves, then we start to sink. BUT when we have faith, as a child, and know that our Heavenly Father is carrying us, then we will walk right into His arms.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Please pray;
For me that I would have faith to trust the One who has been so faithful to me, every minute of the day.
That God would continue His blessing on the families of Priceless Granite.
That I would have wisdom to know what to do and know when to not do anything but wait.

My hope is You Oh God.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We DO live in very uncertain times

Psalm 121

1I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

3He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

There are times when we need help carrying some of the load that we are asked to carry, and yesterday morning was one of those times for me. Most of you, as a parent, teacher, leader or maybe just a friend, know the feeling; like you are carrying the whole world, but it may be just a little more than an extra brick in your back pack.

I normally am not reading through the Psalms, but through Matthew, so yesterday I decided to go to one of my favorites; Psalm 121. What an encouragement to know that we only have to look the the Father and He is our Help in time of need. It grieves my heart that I often wait until I'm seemingly desperately "overloaded" until I ask for help, because He wants to carry our burdens all the time.

He who is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe is MY Helper.
He who does not slumber nor sleep will keep MY foot from being moved.
He who is the keeper of the sun and the moon is also MY Keeper.
He who is eternal will keep me from evil and will keep MY life.

There are so many songs about His care for us and that must be because as humans we quickly forget that He is our Everything, and we don't need to be concerned about what we will eat of drink or what we will wear, because our Heavenly Father cares for the birds of the air and they aren't concerned where their meal will come from in a few hours.

This is a song by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir that I like and it says a lot to this issues. The title is "So you would Know".

How many times must I prove how much, I love you,
how many ways, must my love for you I show,
how many times, must I rescue you from trouble,
so you would know, just how much I love you

How many days, must I be a fence all around you
and how many nights, must I wipe your tears away,
and how many storms, must I bring you safely through,
so you would know, just how much I love you

Oh didn't I
Wake you up this morning, you were closed in your right mind
When you woke up on a problem didn't I step right in on time
When you were weak along life's journey my angels carried you
So you would know just how much I love you

Oh didn't I,
Put food on your table
Show up when your bills were due
When the pain was racking your body didn't I send healing down to you
When you were lost in sin and sorrow I died to set you free
So you would know just how much I love you

So you would know, so you would know how much
So you would know just how much I love you

Thankfully we are not asked to carry any of these burdens on our own and we certainly aren't asked to carry them all at once, because Jesus will carry them all for us, but only if we let Him.
He is not too busy or tired to carry them, He is eagerly waiting to have us/me give Him the load.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.
Speak to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.

When we focus on the waves we quickly start to fear,
When we focus on the Savior the waves will disappear.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Back to School

Matt. 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I know this probably seems like a strange title, for this time of year, but it seems as if God has enrolled me into His school of faith building again.

The elections are over, the economy is strange, the housing industry is weak at best and we have a business we're trying to operate right in the middle of all these conditions.

I am not normally too much of a "worrier", though if I look at what is going on around us, there is certainly room for concern. BUT the really good thing is that God is the creator and sustainer of everything. He can and will orchestrate His plan for His people, in bad and good times, and there is nothing that can stop Him.

I heard someone say a long time ago something like, "We are to work like everything depends on us, and pray like everything depends on God".

God truly is good.

The Strength of the Lord, Larnelle Harris.

Sometimes life seems like words and music
That can't quite become a song
So we cry and sigh then we try again
And wonder what could be wrong
But when we turn to the Lord at the end of ourselves
Like we've done a time or two before
We find His truth is the same as it's always been
We never will need more

It's not in trying but in trusting
It's not in running but in resting
Not in wondering but in praying
That we find the strength of the Lord

He's all we need for our every need
We never need be alone
Still He'll let us go if we choose to
To live life on our own
Then the only good that will ever be said
Of the pains we find ourselves in
They are places to gain the wisdom to say
I'll never leave Him again

It's not in trying but in trusting
It's not in running but in resting
Not in wondering but in praying
That we find the strength of the Lord

It's not in trying but in trusting
It's not in running but in resting
Not in wondering but in praying
That we find the strength of the Lord

It's not in wondering but in praying
That we find the strength of the Lord.

I am acutely aware that if God can stop and start Grant's heart "He is more than able to accomplish what concerns me today".
Pray that we all would trust God's plan for us; personally, spiritually and economically.
Pray for the leaders you know that they might have wisdom and discernment when making decisions that effect many families.
Pray that we would all learn what it is that our Heavenly Father wants us to learn in His time.
Please pray for me personally that I might truly trust what I have just posted.

Without God, as our Hope, our hope is in vain.
Without God we can have no faith to trust.
"I believe; help my unbelief!" Mark 9:24

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Whatever God Ordains is Right

As I sit and watch the electoral votes come in, and the number for Obama is 297, I am reminded that God is in control of everything, even electoral votes.
We have voted for the candidates we wanted to see in office, we have done our part to change history, and now we are to support the people God has allowed to be in authority over us.
We need to pray for their wisdom in decisions that have repercussions for the entire world, as well as here at home. Just as God can stop and start hearts, create the entire universe with His word, and change our hearts, He can direct rulers to work His plan.
Isn't it good to know that He is in ultimate control of everything, and He has never failed His loved ones.
Our hope is in The Great Hope, The Ultimate Instrument of change and The True Messiah.