Jeremiah 29:11 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.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a promise of the Lords that I have hung on too for quiet a few years now. For so many years, there have been people in my life who have disappointed, have hurt, have harmed, have vowed and have not followed through with the promises that they gave to me. This can make one a bit lerry of trust. But who can live without trust. If you don’t trust, you have no hope and without hope Satan will find his way into your soul.
Satan is the liar above all liars and he knows exactly where to attack. He will use whoever and whatever means necessary to trap you into hopelessness.
It’s hard, I know, when the promises of others have been stripped away and the ripping has torn the skin and created scars but there is a way and that is through the promises of the only ONE whose promises are always true.
This ripping, tearing away and scarring can either make you bitter or make you better. Choose better and remember that the promises you make will make a difference in those around you.
Deuteronomy 23:23 You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.
I’m going to take a little time to confess here, when I married @ 19 years of age, I thought that I knew it all. I was an adult now, taking on adult responsibilities and paving my own way. Fast forward almost 40 years, I have had many more times of this type of thinking.
What I have learned is that @ 19 years of age I didn’t really know much at all and now almost 40 years later, I’m just a step more close to being a bit more wise. All these years have simply been practice moments to becoming who God created me to be. And I’m grateful that He is a forgiving and gracious God to allow me to practice over and over again.
Philippians 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
I have decided that in this life God allows me to have opportunities to practice so that He can grow me and watch me flourish as I lean more into Him and less into myself. As it’s said, “Practice makes Perfect” and I know I won’t be perfect until the day I’m sitting next to my maker.
Thanks to God for His patience, Jesus for His example and the Holy Spirit for His guidance. Amen!
Opportunities come in a variety of ways. Are we wise in our thinking? Do we seek advise carefully when we choose which direction we’ll turn? Do we grasp them when they arise?
I’ve had opportunities that I’ve jumped at, simply later to realized that I shouldn’t have jumped so quickly. And found myself in a storm that was hard to weather. Acts 27:13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.
I’ve chosen opportunities that I knew from the start were not wise. That if I’d sought out advise from friends or leading from the Holy Spirit, it would have led me in the opposite direction than my sinful desires led me.Romans 7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.
I’ve been placed in opportunities to include, love and show compassion to those on the outside and have not seized the opportunity to give it. Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
I haven’t always taken full advantage of each opportunity that has been placed in front of me. But when I did, sometimes it was regretted, painful, sinful and unloving. That is because not every opportunity is good. But I have found that I can, with the Holy Spirit’s leading, make good in every opportunity.
A couple months ago I found myself in a position that I hadn’t ever been in. I found myself having the opportunity of free time but I was using it to waller in self pity and frustration until a wise man, my hubby, said “take this opportunity and go spend some time with your dad”. And I’m glad I took my hubby’s advise and spent almost a week with him.
I didn’t realize that this would be the last opportunity that I would have. He past away just 1.5 months later. Unexpected! He was sick but I thought I had more time.
So I say this to encourage you to be wise, seek advise and watch for opportunities that are Spirit lead and stop waller-ing.
There are many times in the bible that it speaks of the power of touch. Here are a few.
Genesis 32:25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
In Genesis, God had told Jacob to go back to the land where his relatives lived. Jacob was fear full about going back and facing his brother Esau. So as we all do, he decided to do things to manipulate the situation and smooth things over with his brother. During his wrestle with God over this issue, he physically had a wrestle with man and overpowered him so the man touched (hit) his hip. And it was shown to Jacob that night that he could stand strong with God as it says in verse 28 “It isn’t anymore!” the Man told him. “It is Israel—one who has power with God. Because you have been strong with God, you shall prevail with men.” So Jacobs name now is Israel.
Mark 8:25Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
During a time when Jesus and his disciples were traveling they came to the town of Bethsaida and saw a man who was blind. Jesus took him by his hands and led him out of town. Jesus spat on his eyes and put his hands over the man’s eyes. The man’s sight was partially renewed and then Jesus touched the man’s eyes again and his sight was restored completely. And it says in verse 25, and he saw everything clearly, drinking in the sights around him. In this story Jesus physically touched this man and restored him but in our lives he will touch our souls through the Holy Spirit and will restore us.
Luke 8:46-48 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” 7 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
In another story where a women who had a bleeding disorder for 12 years come to Jesus quietly and seeing that there were so many people surrounding Jesus but knew that if she could just touch him that she would be healed. Even in the crowds Jesus knew that someone had touched him, as it says in verse 46 But Jesus told him, “No, it was someone who deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” So because of her faith and a simple touch of Jesus’s garment, she was healed.
How many times do we wrestle with God about what he is clearly wanting us to do? How many times have we seen his healing power in our lives, when it’s evident that it could only be in the power of Jesus? How many times do we resist but should simply reach out to touch the garment of Jesus for our healing, whether physically or emotional?
With the season of change upon us, I think “Next” is appropriate for such a time. Literally the season is changing and we are anxiously awaiting the new and more beautiful growth of Spring. And it is also Easter, as we celebrate the Rising of our Lord Jesus from the tomb and what that selfless act of His brings next.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
They were discussing on the radio the other day about the in between time. The days between when Jesus was hung on that cross and the day He rose. And how those days were about mourning the loss and fear of not knowing what was coming next.
Even though I was not there on that fateful day of my Savior’s death or on the day He rose. I have been in those in between days. Days when I was wondering where He was and what was going to happen next. The days in between a loss or hurt so great that I mourned aloud to Him and asked Him to rise up and save me. I’ve been in many of those days. And what I found is I must be still and know that he is God. Know that He will rise again in my life and it will be made beautiful.
We use a form or another of measure each day. We start it off by deciding what time to rise in the mornings so we get where we need to go that day. And we end it by deciding what time to go to bed so we get enough sleep to rise when that alarm goes off! Measure is part of our day whether we want it or not.
We frequently use measuring as a way to measure our worth. Here are a few.
The measurement of others approval
How I feel I look measures how I feel
How does what I’m good at measure up to what someone else is good at
Does my family love me to the full measurement of what I want
Am I at the same level as others around me – do I measure up
The impact that my post had is measured by how many likes and emojis it got
The problem with these forms of measuring ourselves is that it can be deeply skewed. It can be skewed by our past experiences whether good or bad. Over many years of how others talked to us and how they treated us. Our measurement of ourselves is determined ultimately due to how others measured us.
I am not to measure myself by my measurement of others or by their measurement of me. God is the only ONE that has the only true measurement.
“I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love — not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 8:38-39
” But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
It would not matter who approved, how we looked, others love, whether I can keep up or who likes me, God’s love for me will never go away. We can not be separated from him. We can leave him but he will not leave us. We will never be perfect but Christ died for us anyway. So stop looking to your outward appearance and search your heart because that is God’s measure of us.
When I was growing up, my first real memory of getting a reward involved making money. Tooth fairy, cleaning my room or making A’s on my report card. That is generally where we start teaching our children about reward. What can “I” do to get rewarded? Reward is financial.
Then as I aged, the reward seemed to move from just doing simple things that didn’t really take much effort to having to be the BEST at something. My reward was based on performance.
Sometime after that it moved to, who I married, how my children behaved, what I drove or where I lived. Appearance gave me the reward I was seeking.
But are the earthly rewards what my Lord is about? It seemed that the rewards became harder and harder to achieve. That the struggles became greater and the rewards disappeared. At least that was until I met Jesus on a more personal level. I had called myself “Christian” for many years at this point but I hadn’t allowed the gift, the reward, of the Holy Spirit to fill my soul. I had unknowingly shrugged my shoulders at His guidance in pursuit of the earthly rewards I found so valuable. Missing out on the true reward of God.
Philippians 1:19-24 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ,which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
So even though my time here on earth my come with pain and hardship, as long as I have the Holy Spirit living in me and guiding my steps, my reward will be eternal and not limited to things of this earth. And prayerfully my reward on earth will be showing others the rewards of Christ.
I have lived at least half my life on earth already. And I plan to spend what time I have finishing well for the glory of God.
2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.
As a friend shared this verse below with me, I am reminded that through the struggles Jesus is there. He has given us a great reward of eternity as long as we ……..
And when it comes to the end of this earthly life, I know that I will be rejoicing and my reward will be for eternity. As CS Lewis says…. “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
When my husband and I moved to Kentucky 6.5 years ago, I was moving from my home of 28 years and from our kids. I was heavily tied into a church family and had many people there that I loved. I was actively involved in church and our community. Then we moved to Winchester. New place, new job, new church and new people. For an introvert at 51 years old that is a hard place to be.
We had found a place to call home and after about 3 months, I had decided on a church and found a job. But the people, I hadn’t found my place with the people yet.
I dove in head first. I was looking for that place where I fit. That place where I was invited. That place that was comfortable.
Was I trying to hard to find my place? Probably! Was I trying to make this place the place that I came from? Maybe! Was I trying to create the “circle of people” that I so longed for? Yep!
I needed that place. I longed for that place. The place of belonging!
And then I found it! It didn’t look like what I was expecting. It wasn’t the place of a home, job, church or people. It was the place where God was. Right there with me. Inside me. Guiding me. Holding me. Comforting me.
The Lord settled my need for place by showing me my place was with Him. And if I am content in Him then I am content anywhere.
Psalm 37:23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
As a child we see the world as a big play ground. There is more and more to see and learn. We’re eager to do more. And as good parents should, we are encouraged. Our parents hold our hand, take each step with us and they spring with excitement when we do more.
As an adult, our eagerness for more grows intensely and our desires to do and have more is encouraged by the world. The world tells us more is expected. Pressures of providing more are strong. No one walks with us, we now have to step alone, dependent of self. We do more.
When is more enough? When will we allow our Lord to be our more? When will we let Him hold our hand, take each step with us and stop depending on self and start depending on Him?
Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
When will be stop striving and start resting in HIS more?
To search is to obtain satisfaction that’s self serving
But that is not the search that I desire
1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
To search is to strive to give
To search is to provide hope to other’s life
To search is to obtain satisfaction in serving
And to search to to open one’s self up to HIM
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools.
To search is to be honest
To search is to be aware of one’s weaknesses
To search is to find gain only through the Lord
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.