Saturday, January 16, 2010

God is able!

We just got done with our home missions conference at Heartland. Lots of good preaching! My favorite was preached Wednesday night. I feel bad because I can't even remember what the man's name was but he preached on the verse (I forget the reference but it's in Ephesians I believe) that says that God is "able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think." I have come to love that verse!
He talked about how the Israelites came out of Egypt after God did such amazing things and yet when they came to the edge of the red sea, with the Egyptian army closing in behind, and no where to go, suddenly they didn't think God was able to deliver them. He said that so often God comes through for us in such an amazing way and our faith in Him grows and we think, "WOW, God can do anything!" And then the very next time we get to a spot where we aren't too sure how God is going to come through, just because WE don't understand how, we start thinking God is not big enough to take care of this. He challenged us to remember that verse about how "GOD IS ABLE!" And just march ourselves down to the edge of the red sea in our lives and trust God to do whatever he knows is best even though we can't see how.
I can't see how God is going to use my life. I can't see how God is going to bring a husband into my's not looking too promising at the moment. ;) I can't see how he is going to provide a teaching job after graduation. But I decided, I am just going to trust and obey. I'm going to do my best to keep heading toward the edge of the red sea of uncertainty and trust that God will provide a job and husband and all that I NEED and that is part of HIS will, even if I can't see how. Because even when it looks impossible to me... God IS able! He is able to do even more than I can ever imagine.
What's the red sea in your life. Some situation that looks uncertain? Some instance where you don't know how God is going to provide or come through? Just stand still at the edge and have faith that God is going to part the waters in His time and remember that He is ABLE!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The "WOW" factor

I heard a preacher say recently that while history is a great subject to study and can teach us a lot, it often takes away the "wow" factor. See when we know how a story ends because it happened in the past, we don't take time to consider how those people might have felt not already knowing how things were going to turn out. Take, for instance, the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That was a very dangerous move for the early Americans to make. They were technically committing treason. (I got that from National Treasure...:)) They would have suffered great consequences had they lost the Revolutionary war. Obviously, things turned out in our favor but they didn't know that it would back then. How brave they must have been! They knew what needed to be done and they did it. (Our country could use some more people like that instead of a bunch of pansies who are too comfortable and apathetic to do anything!....anyways...)
Knowing how a Bible "story" turns out, too often robs us of the "wow" as well. We know how the story of Noah turns out... they get on the boat, it rained, everyone died, Noah was saved. But can you imagine being Noah... God tells you to build this huge boat. It has never rained before but water is going to fall from the sky... so much water that the entire earth is going to be covered and everyone else on earth will die! WOW! That's just all there is to say. Can you imagine seeing the first rainbow?!
Put yourself in the shoes of Adam and Eve, being thrown out of the garden. Life changed forever that day. Imagine that you are Daniel, sitting in a pit filled with lions. I don't even like to go near a growling dog, I can't imagine being surrounded by hungry lions. He didn't know, like we do that God would shut up their mouths. Think of Mary as she heard the angel tell her that she was with child when she was a virgin, and that this child was God's son... the savior of the world! She was a real person. She had to tell her friends and family she was pregnant. She had to deal with what people may have thought of her. She had to wonder what Joseph would think. And yet, she said some amazing words..."Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to THY will". She didn't know all the details of what God's will would be for her and for her son, but she still surrendered. WOW!
Paul and Silas really existed too. They were beaten and bloody and sat in a cold dark dungeon and what would you hear coming from the prison cell? Was it complaining? No. Singing and praising God. Could I do that? I'm not sure I could, knowing myself. I grumble rather than glorify over less than being beaten and thrown in jail. But those men really did that! I think we forget sometimes that these things really happened.
Moses must have been awe struck at a voice coming out of a burning bush.
One story that is really amazing is of Elijah calling down the fire on Mt.Carmel. If you really think about what it would be like to be one of those standing around when that fire fell...WOW! It helped me to understand how amazing this was and how big of a God we have when I taught this lesson to kids. It is amazing to them and it should be to us too.
This concept has changed the way I read the Bible. It really brings things into perspective and helps me realize just how amazing God is. It also makes the examples in the Bible even greater because they didn't know all the details that I do but they still obeyed God. I know how God came through in all those amazing ways and I still have trouble trusting Him.
So keep the "wow" factor when you read about history or the Bible.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thankful for more in 2010

So much happened in 2009. It was sort of a hard year. I learned a lot about myself. There are many things I want to work on. One of them is being thankful. A preacher challenged us on Wednesday to be more thankful instead of always asking for more. He said that instead of his first prayer in the morning being "Lord, be with my wife." he changed it to "Lord, thank you for my wife." Then he proceeds to pray for her. One thing that he said that stuck out to me was when he said "If God took from you everything that you are not thankful for what would you have left." This has stuck in my head for the past few days. I've found myself making sure I thank God for more. Here are some of the things I have been thankful for:
My salvation
My family
My school
God is in control
God has a purpose for my life
God saved me from so many mistakes
The sunshine
The rain
Grace and Mercy
My car
My computer
My job
So much more!
So before we ask for too much this new year, first, we should try to be thankful for all the things (even the little things) that God has done for us.