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Worship with us Sundays at 9:00am and 11:00am.
Harvest Bible Chapel
52277 Hickory Road
Granger, Indiana 46530
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Andrea Griffith Blog
Andrea Griffith Blog
Flavor of the month
Thursday, December 13 2012 @ 05:24 AM
There are four different flavors of coffee creamers in my refrigerator right now. I have been on the hunt for Christmas flavored coffee creamers like Egg- Nog, Christmas Sugar Cookie, or some flavor to help bring the spirit and taste of Christmas to the first hour of my morning. Each time I visit the area of coffee creamers in the grocery store, I don't see exactly what I'm looking for but I reach for an alternative thinking maybe this will hit the spot. After paying for it, bringing it home, and trying it out, I ended up disappointed and my search for the elusive Christmas flavored coffee creamer begins again. Staring at the four creamers this morning left me wondering how many more times was I going to reach for, buy and ingest something that was not going to satisfy. Why wouldn't I wait or step up my search for the one thing I was looking for?
This week I have talked to several people who are experiencing the same problem I seem to have. One person thinks that pursuing relationship that is off limits will bring happiness. Another thinks that ending a marriage relationship is the answer. I have a dear friend who has purchased and ingested so much alcohol that they are now dealing with some serious health concerns, all in the hopes of finding peace. In this season we tend to overspend and stress ourselves out while trying to find that elusive gift to make ourselves or someone else happy. We keep reaching, searching and paying a high price all for that elusive thing that will bring satisfaction to our lives.
Ps 16:11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever more
In this broken, fallen world, so many things cry out for our attention, They promise satisfaction, but leave us more empty than before. Jesus Christ is the one reality who delivers what He promises. Everything we need is found in Him. As we focus on the wonders of Who He is, What He has done for us, and the Depth of His Love for us, we begin to see more clearly. We have a choice to follow a man made path or the Path of Life that Jesus both is and points to. It is the reason that Jesus came and the reason for the season we are celebrating.
Father forgive me for my endless search for things that I think will satisfy. Only you fill the God shaped space in my soul. Help me to be still and know that you are God. Thank you for the path of life that you offer me in Christ and through your Word. Help me today to walk in it.
Christmas at the Green's
Friday, December 07 2012 @ 09:23 AM
Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light shined... For unto us a Child is born; to us a Son is given and the government will be on His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace
Christmas at the Gam Green house was amazing! It was all because of one woman who I knew as Gam-mama. She was the most wonderful grandmother in all the world, or so it has seemed to me for the 42 years that I have known her. Every Christmas, she would greet us at the door with arms and heart open wide, inviting you to come on in. The smell as you walked through the door revealed that something was cooking and you knew it would be the best tasting Southern food you had eaten since the last time you visited Gam-mama's house. The presents under the tree had been carefully and thoughtfully chosen and wrapped for each family member who would open them on Christmas morning. Year after year of Gam-mama made Christmas special for so many.
One Christmas after all the food had been eaten, all the presents unwrapped, the family members greeted and thanked, I found myself wanting to be alone. Humanly speaking, it had been an amazing Christmas, but I felt so empty inside. I remember wondering what in the world did this little baby Jesus have to do with my life here today? How was He supposed to change the world, more specifically, my world? Why all this fuss, every year?
I had been in church Sunday after Sunday, Christmas after Christmas but I obviously didn't get it. I didn't see Jesus as this Wonderful Counselor. He just seemed far away and detached from the world I lived in. He wasn't the Mighty God in my life that Scripture told me He was. I didn't see Jesus as awesome, or King or the greatest treasure the world had ever known. In spite of all the wonder of the holiday season, my soul was empty because the wonder of Christ was lost on me.
Years later, the light of Christ shone into the darkness of my life and absolutely nothing has been the same! The art of living well, as my Gam-mama knew well and modeled so beautifully, was in bowing my knee to my Creator and initiator of my life, Jesus Christ.
This year, I get it! Jesus is Wonderful! He is both God and man. His love for us is the wonder of angels and should be the wonder of us! He is the Counselor. He knows the counsels of God from eternity. He gives counsel to us now as we read His Word, and His counsel is for our good. He is the Mighty God, our mediator, only Jesus could do the work to remove our sin. He is our Prince of Peace. He reconciles us to God and He is the giver of peace in our hearts and minds today. Do you know Him like that? Don't let the wonder of Jesus Christ be lost in the busyness of the season. Take the time to respond to his offer of life, light and peace. The art of our living well is found in responding to His absolute goodness, wisdom and love.
Jars of Clay
Thursday, November 01 2012 @ 09:21 AM
Last month was ministry appreciation month. On one of the last days of the month, a young lady who is new to our church handed me an envelope with $25 gift card to a local restaurant inside of it. I was blown away by the gift because I knew this lady's story. She and her husband are a young married couple. She is still in school, he is applying for jobs, they have a baby on the way, and here they are giving to us! I was so humbled by the gift, feeling that we should be giving to them! As I read the card, I discovered their motivation to give. "Coming from a pastor's family, we know what hard work you have. Just want you to know we appreciate all you do." Having grown up as a pastor's daughter she already knew what I am living right now, ministry is hard.
Having this ministry, by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1
The apostle Paul, one of the greatest ministers of all time, daily lived out the privilege and the pressure of ministry. Knowing what he experienced as a person bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world, and to believers, he urges the rest of us not to lose heart. In the New Testament, the Greek Word for "lose heart" is used 6 times. It translates most easily into our English word, discouragement, or the loss of physical or emotional energy. Paul felt the pull to give up, retreat or just leave the work to someone else but because of God's mercy, he continued in the work that God had given him.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
Jars of clay are not usually your most prized possession! They are fragile. They break and crack easily. They are supposed to be air tight and yet they have both hair line and obvious fractures. In the time that these words were written, clay pots were used to store a variety of things from treasures to human waste; yet that is what God calls his ministers, just clay pots. God likes to use messed up people like us to show forth His glory. Here I am, in the middle of my own sanctification process, I break easily, I have obvious fears and failings and yet God is asking me to serve Him for His glory. In His wisdom, God places His power into broken people to show that
that is seen has to be
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Affliction, perplexity, persecution and feeling beaten down are normal for the person who is being made to look like Jesus. God has approved and allowed the pressure on the jar of clay. Our lives are not our own. The pressure causes us to crack and break. In God's mercy, Jesus shines through the broken places. We may be hurting, but because of Jesus, there is always hope. We may be confused about a situation but we are not confused about the goodness of God.
Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:10
One of the most painful losses for me is the loss of relationship. For me, it feels like carrying around death because the loss stings continually. In the life of a minister, God will break up relationships. He will break our wills and hearts. He will cause limitations. Difficulties will always happen in our lives, but even in difficulties we are to promote Jesus. The death of our dreams, visions, plans and hopes give birth to much greater ones as we begin to see God's plans come to life.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Staying Connected to God
Tuesday, October 23 2012 @ 10:08 AM
In the middle of a crazy, busy life, how do you keep God central? With everything else pulling for your time and attention, how do you stay connected to God? I was asked to answer those questions for a group of women. With some help from a talk from Robert Lewis I heard several years ago, mixed in with my own thoughts, here is my attempt to answer.
1. We must meet with God alone.
I so easily fall into the trap of wearing the problems, needs, feelings, of those around me to the point that the needs and the people become my focus instead of the Great God I’m trying to meet with and worship. In Exodus 34:2-3 God speaks to Moses and says, “Be ready in the morning and come up in the morning and prepare yourself there to meet with me on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you and let no one be seen though out all the mountain.” Life and ministry can be very heavy. The only way I’m going to stay balanced is to learn to come and meet with God alone. Just me, an open Bible and an open heart leaning in to hear what God would say to me and my heart. The more I am in the Word, the clearer my mind becomes. His Word is Truth and He is who He says He is.
2. We must have a raw honesty about our lives.
Ps 139:23-24 “Search me O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” This was the prayer of David who was called a man after God’s own heart. I need to be willing to pray this prayer and agree with what God shows me. He alone can see the depth of sin that lives there. Instead of honesty, we choose to blame, to justify, to defend or to hide, hoping it will just go away. In Comforts from the Cross, Elyse Fitzpatrick puts it this way. “Hiding is what we do. We hide from everyone-from strangers, from those we love. We hide from ourselves; we hide from God. We fabricate a façade of goodness or beauty, humor or intelligence. We spend countless dollars and incalculable hours sprucing up these false fig-leaf identities. We want to look good and fool our neighbors. We cower behind bushes of prosperity; we clothe ourselves with our good deeds, one-upmanship, and name dropping. We are none of us consistently authentic.” We must be honest and draw near to God just as we are. No hiding, no covering, just a raw honesty before Him.
3. We must think Jesus a lot!
There must be a super singularity of life- we just follow Jesus! In Luke 10:41-42 Jesus is taking to a friend and tells her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. Only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion which will not be taken away from her.” All throughout my day, my life could be accurately described as worried and troubled about many things. It is a choice for me to rivet my attention to Jesus who holds it all together and just enjoy His presence. I can worry or worship, the choice is mine. The supreme need of every hour of every day is to see Christ. Seeing Him, everything else takes on proper perspective.- G. Campbell Morgan.
4. We must do the things that connect us to God.
God is so big and so good. He gives us the gift of Himself in many ways. Finding out how you experience His presence and going there often is key to staying connected to Him. In the movie Chariots of Fire, the Olympian Eric Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Where do you feel God’s pleasure on your life? There are so many ways we can experience Him; through worship, in nature, in serving Him using your gifting or talent, through music or prayer, being at the beach or at the base of a mountain and realizing just how finite and small you are, where is it for you? Go there often.
John 15:4 Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 08:33 AM
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The house sat empty for five days. No people, no dog, no food preparation, no clothes washed. So when we all converged back into it on Monday night, there were mountains of work that needed to be climbed and conquered. On Tuesday, the climb had begun when I realized we would all need to eat that night. Quickly scanning the freezer and pantry, I came up with the ingredients for the main dish and began scouting for the side. There was just enough Romaine lettuce for 6 salads but no other veggies to speak of in the house. Disappointed but not deterred, I was keeping my eyes open for the solution.
Just then, Murray, the dog, indicated he needed to go outside. I opened the back door for him and stepped out onto the porch. My eyes grew wide as I saw our tomato plants bursting with red, ripe tomatoes! I had planted the seeds at the end of May but we had enjoyed very few tomatoes from the plants. You see, our dog enjoys eating green tomatoes. Every time Murray would go outside, he would take a walk past the tomato plants and eat whatever green ones he could find! The tomatoes never had a chance to ripen so we could finally enjoy what we had planted. On that day, just when they were needed, God had provided many red, ripe tomatoes for dinner.
My mind went back to the verse God had been impressing on my heart.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the dead. 1Pt 1:3
One of the main points I see in this verse is the fact that if you are in Christ, there is no hopeless situation for you ever again! It's right there in the verse. We have been born again to a living hope! The hope that we have in Christ is active, it is alive, it is right in the middle of our crisis. No matter what our situation (and there are many much more serious than just what to have for dinner tonight) if we know Christ, if we are in Him, there is
hope. We put our hope in many things, money, the people we know, self sufficiency, health, the list goes on and on. When everything in our world that can be shaken shakes, there will be only one source of Hope left, Jesus Christ. He is the anchor for our souls and stands ready to intervene at all times. Are we looking to Him to provide the hope we need to weather the storm He has allowed? Not demanding that He fix it, but that He provides the hope and the strength we need to endure with grace. Isaiah 49:23b tells us, that
who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed.
So what are you hoping in today? Is it good weather, a good doctor's report, a raise or just getting a job? Look higher! Set your gaze on Jesus Christ who causes us to be born into a living hope through His resurrection from the dead. I'm still climbing that mountain of getting life back in order. In fact, there is a suit case at my feet that still needs to be unpacked! In the tumultuous storms of life or in the daily ins and outs of living, there is a God who is always near as we cry out, "Jesus, you are my hope."
He Waves as I Pass By
Friday, September 07 2012 @ 07:44 AM
I have a new friend whose husband describes her as the "affectionate rock." When life is throwing curve balls at her, she is steady and unwavering. I love my friend and and have longed to be more steady on the inside when everything on the outside is shaking. It's been a prayer request of mine and on my "I desperately need this" list for a long time! In our house, my husband is the one who is steady and stays in one place while I swing wildly from one thought and emotion to another. We jokingly say, he stays on the middle ground of his emotions and waves at me as I pass by swinging from one extreme to another! Sometimes I feel sorry for him wondering how boring his life must be not being able to experience the roller coaster ride that is my life!
As I was praying this through and asking the Lord Jesus to open the eyes of my heart to see Him more as He truly is, God began to show me His steadiness but also His patience in dwelling in a human heart that is still in process.
The Lord is my strength and my shield. In Him my heart trusts and I am helped...The Lord is the strength of His people. He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
God is not waiting on my strength and steadiness to get me though each up and down of life. He is
providing His strength
for me to walk on when my strength and steadiness are gone. At the end of the day, when I am exhausted and yet my "to do list" is still has many things on it, I can acknowledge that I have nothing left, but God's strength is infinite. In His strength, I can keep going. When the phone conversation I'm having is very heavy and I don't have all the knowledge I need, I can cry out to the Lord who is my strength and He can provide the strength needed in this situation. God is our strength and shield. He carries us as we acknowledge our absolute powerlessness over the situation. He becomes our strength and steadiness when we refuse to try to muscle it up on our own. It's not about me being steady and strong, it's about the fact that
strength and we get to lean into it.
"In the grand scheme of redemption, one of the principal things God is doing is transforming sinners into worshipers." John MacArthur in
Worship, the Ultimate Priority
. While my heart's cry is to become more steady like my Lord Jesus Christ, the reality for me right now is that my weakness, my unsteadiness, is causing me to look up and worship the One who is always steady and strong.
Friday, August 10 2012 @ 05:55 AM
Exodus 34:2-3 Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds gaze opposite that mountain.
At first it seemed like a strange couple of verses that the Lord was continually bringing me back to. But He knew. No matter what's going on, he always knows and shows me just where I've gotten off track. The sweet ladies in my small group knew. I was off. I had gotten my eyes so focused on all the needs around me and making sure that I brought the needs to Him, that I was over looking the Great Need Meeter. So in His mercy, God spoke one command to my heart over and over again this summer. "Come to Me alone."
As I presented myself, not people who were sick or hurting, not my to do list for the day, just me and Jesus and a Bible open to what ever passage He directed me to, everything began to change. First He showed me the sin and idolatry of my heart that had taken His rightful place in my thoughts. It was painful but so freeing. Everyday we have been together and I have had to continually remind myself to come alone. Just me, seeking Him; not answers, solutions or changes only Jesus. Just the clay waiting on the Potter, the created spending time with her Creator.
On the mountain, just focusing on Jesus, my tendency to want to fix everything is changed into trusting His Sovereignty, Goodness and Timing. It is His prerogative to bring change as He chooses. I can be part of the process, but I am only a player in the drama, not the the director. He understands the brokenness in and around me,which makes the pursuit of Him and Him alone all more critical. Everything else in my life rises and falls on me hearing from and responding to Him.
My wandering thoughts distract me so easily from my One Pursuit. Keeping a piece of paper to write down what I need to do later or what I want to make sure and pray about before I go on with my day has proven so helpful. Just writing it down and having it for later helps me set it aside and come back to focusing on what Jesus wants to say to me. As I let Him lead, He speaks into the very things that I am carrying on my heart! Instead of me bringing it to Him with a heart full of angst, He brings it to me as He directs, instructs and reassures me that He has it all. There is such comfort in knowing my Father is infinitely good, perfectly strong and intimately involved in my life and in the lives of those on my heart.
So if you see me around and I seem a little off track to you, you can ask me how I'm doing. Am I coming to Jesus alone? In my pursuit of Him alone, He guarantees success.
"You will find me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord.
Saturday, June 16 2012 @ 08:04 AM
Psalm 89:15 Blessed are those who hear Your joyful call to worship, who walk O Lord, in the light of your face.
Father, I hear it. It's in the quiet of the morning when the rest of my world is still asleep. It 's in the birds singing and the smell of coffee brewing. It's in sweet little girls who ask to sleep in my bed while Dad is away so they can keep me safe. It's in the little boy dancing to the music in his head as he walks past me. It's in the sunrise in the morning, the warmth during the day and the amazing sunsets at night. It's in friends coming over for lunch and in the beginning of trust where there has only been walls of fear before. It's in the van with over 180,000 miles starting up the first time, every time.
It's in remembering that I brought nothing into this world and the abundance around me is all a gift from You. It's in realizing that Your steadfast love will never be taken from me no how I blow it or what I look or feel like on any given day. It's in leaving the chaos of my world long enough to look up in astonishment at Who You Are; Creator of it all, the giver of every breath I take and the Writer of every song I sing. As I look up, You pour wonder and amazement into my heart. Every moment becomes a place of worship. The gift of seeing Your people come out of places of brokenness and places of need to seek hard after You. Holy Father, make me hear and respond to Your continual call of worship through out my days.
Return on Investment
Thursday, June 14 2012 @ 07:19 AM
I recently entered into a contract with a local business. I paid the money and for a while, the services were rendered. After a few weeks though, the items and the services I had paid for, started coming very sporadically and then, not at all. I sent emails to the company, made phone calls and left messages but nothing was done. Finally, I decided to cancel my contract and just take the loss. Canceling the contract got the business's attention. All of a sudden, I was getting calls from them trying to reinstate the relationship. For months I had been frustrated, as I made repeated attempts to contact them so they could fix the problem. By the time they finally called me, my mind was made up, and I was unwilling to have any more to do with that company.
While this may work in business relationships, it does not work in human ones. In business, you enter a contract. If one party doesn't fulfill their side of the contract, the other doesn't fulfill theirs. Unfortunately, I have been trying to not only do business relationships this way, but also human ones. With people, there is never a 50/50 relationship. At times, it feels as if you are giving 100% while getting a zero return on your investment. I would give, extend friendship, and try to meet needs. When nothing was returned, I would give up, become frustrated and hurt and eventually withdraw from the relationship. The more I focused on my "rights" and what wasn't being given in return, the more my hurt, anger and insecurity grew.
So grateful to have a God who knows me intimately. Just when I am ready to crawl into a dark hole, never to be seen by humanity again, He very graciously shows me where I've gotten off His path.
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to someone from who you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, do good and lend, expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful even as your Father is merciful.
This why He has left us here. Not to be loved but to love. Not to receive, but to give. To be a light shining in a very dark world where people are so messed up and off track that they really have nothing they can give to us. This is why my relationship to Jesus is so important. He is Love. He is Light. Without my vital and intentional connection to Him, I am empty and will look to every other relationship that I have to fill me. Only as I am filled with Him can I give with an open hand, expecting nothing in return.
Wednesday, May 23 2012 @ 08:43 AM
Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for today is it's own trouble.
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Do not be anxious about your life. Life is more than food and the body more than clothing.
Do not be anxious about your life.
The words in Matthew 6 have been my starting place each day for the past 3 weeks. It's simple really. Normally I wake to overwhelming feeling of being in last place in the race to get it all done. There are people to remember, library books to return, carpools to drive, toilets to clean, clothes to fold, food to be cooked and doctor's appointments to keep. There are people in deep need in the intertwining circles in my world. Hurting and estranged spouses, friends with terminal illnesses, relationships that now have distance where there once was a comfortable friendship, angry and abusive teenagers, babies in need of emergency surgery. As I carry all of this, I become tired, anxious, weary and afraid.
In steps Jesus. His gentle words in Matthew 6 remind me that
is changed by my worry and anxiety. If He cares about the birds and grass outside my window how much more does He care about the concerns of my heart? His words tell me that my challenge every day is to trust in His love and care regardless of the circumstances around me. As I open His Word, I quietly and gently lay each need down at His feet.
Not one sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge. Even the hairs on our head are numbered. So fear not, you are much more valuable than sparrows. (Mt 10:29-32 paraphrased)
Many of the situations aren't changing, but hopefully I am. In the middle of the dog chewed retainers, gut wrenching phone calls and forgotten dentist appointments, I am leaning into a perfect Savior who never fails and never leaves. He tells over and over again, not to fear and not to worry. He has it all under control.
Friday, April 20 2012 @ 09:33 AM
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what He has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing in this life is certain.
Being from the south made church a big deal in our family. I must have attended 9 months before I was born and at least twice week after my arrival onto this earth. Even though I grew up in church and around ministry, I did not come to know Jesus as my Lord until I was 22. By that time, I had committed some serious sin and had some pretty heavy consequences to deal with. There was nothing whole about me, sin had shattered my soul. But God, in His mercy, began to put me back together piece by piece. Every morning as I would open my Bible and spend time with Him, His Word would leap off the page at me. He addressed every issue in my heart and the healing began. My time with Him became not an option, but a necessity. I couldn't trust myself, I had a front row seat to where that had ended. As I listened to Jesus speak to me through His Word, there was a guidance and wisdom that I had never known before.
Now being in ministry, I need Jesus like never before. Sometimes people mistake being busy for God as the same thing as pursuing a relationship with God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ministry duties do not replace the need for personal spiritual disciplines, ministries duties
the need for spiritual disciplines. I have got to be so attached to God, that I can freely give out of HIS overflow. My time with Jesus is not option, it is my very life. The demands of loving people deeply, yet holding them loosely prove to be too much for me. Only as the Lover of my soul loves me, do I know how to love. Only as I hold tightly to Jesus, can I hold loosely to the people and things in life. Only Jesus is big enough to handle my hurts, disappointments and dysfunction.
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD IS GOOD! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Friday, January 13 2012 @ 09:44 AM
Isaiah 45:3 I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness-secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.
God knows right where I am. He knows the stresses of life and ministry. The challenges of loving, leading, and serving His people when I am just one finite frail person. He knows and sees the trips to visit hurting people. He sees the secret but heavy burden carried in my heart as I leave. He sees the longing for freedom, redemption and belief in the lives of His people. He knows the darkness of living in a fallen world where sickness, accidents, disease and misplaced belief slowly erode hope, faith and life.
Yet as we walk in the darkness, He promises that we will find treasure, secret riches, that will only be found by those willing to endure the darkness. Those who by God's great grace, will continue to love, to give and to believe even when they don't understand.
The treasure God gives is Himself, there is no greater gift. He quietly but obviously answers a prayer spoken only to Him. He gives us the wisdom to know that the adversity we face is not outside His plan and purpose, but part of it. He gives us the grace to look up and realize where our help comes from. His Word is the truth we need to light our path and reveal what is in our hearts. (Darkness has a way of showing us who we really are.) He quietly calls our name, drawing us back to Himself and letting us know that we are not alone.
Father, as long as you choose to lead through the darkness, I will follow. As I walk, help me to find the
treasure YOU have PLACED for me there. Jesus, You are Lord. Thank you for gently calling my name.
Le me always hear and answer, "Yes Lord."
Tuesday, December 20 2011 @ 08:09 AM
It really is the most wonderful time of the year. For the most part, you see people smiling as they push their carts loaded with stuff through aisles overcrowded with people and merchandise. We stop and let others by with a knowing smile as we drive through Christmas traffic on our way to hunt for that perfect gift. We put away our whining and complaining as we get our eyes off of ourselves and onto the needs others who are hurting around us. We slow down long enough to look up to the star of Bethlehem, and we wonder.
We wonder at Matthew 1:23, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means, GOD WITH US." We wonder at the God of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, an uncommon God, choosing to come in such a common way. We wonder why this Great One want to come and be with us anyway? Why would He leave all of the glory of heaven to wrap himself in human flesh, walk our dusty roads and breath our air? Jesus came humbly, as a tiny infant born in a stable fit for animals and laid in a borrowed manger.
At Christmas we wonder as we think about His coming; His arrival to save and change a world that has never been the same since His birth. And as we wonder, there is one thing we need to realize, He still comes. God's name of Immanuel, God with us, is not limited to a day, a time in manger long ago. He chose the name so we would know He is still with us every moment of every day. He comes when he hears the desperate cry of one man, woman or child, "God, I need You." He is with us in the ups and downs of living in a fallen world; from the joys of bringing a child into the world to the pain of watching that same child suffer. He is with us in the sunrises of life and when the sunsets on a life. He is with us through the stressful, lonely times as a leader and the times when we are the unnoticed, obscure follower. He is God with us. He came to give us the the best present of all, the gift of HIMSELF.
1 Chronicles 16:11-12 "Seek the Lord and his strength; seek His presence continually. Remember the WONDERS He has done." What are you seeking this Christmas? What are you wondering about? Take some time to stop and enjoy the wonder of it, Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.
Light in the Darkness
Wednesday, December 14 2011 @ 07:08 AM
Normally, in the middle of December, you would find me delighting in the wonders of Christmas; taking in all the sights and sounds of a world that has been changed forever by the arrival of one small baby. My eyes are wide open looking for Christmas lights and decorations. Days are spent planning menus, looking for just the right gift for each person, wrapping gifts, and corralling the family to get us to all the holiday events. My heart would be set on a joyous season intent on blessing my family and those around me. But this year, joy has been harder to come by.
In some ways, the darkness and the hardship seem more obvious than the light. Just this week, friends of ours lost their 23 year old son in a car wreck, our precious friends are watching their 2 month old in the hospital battling a serious blood infection, and tonight I am taking dinner to a 19 year old who broke her back in a car accident last week. There are people all around us dealing with job losses, injuries, huge medical bills and their first Christmas without their loved one. The uncertainties and hardships of life are always difficult, but seem to be magnified in a time when we are looking for peace, joy and wonder.
But that is exactly why Jesus came. After 400 years of silence (darkness), God sent His son Jesus to be the light of the world. He came to bring hope to the hopeless. His light can shine the brightest when the darkness around us is the most consuming. Jesus told us plainly that in this world we WILL have trouble, not that we might have trouble or experience a little pain, but that trouble would be a part of life. But the promise continues, “but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Goodness and light are rooted in God. Jesus continually told us who He is and why He came. John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” While the hardships and darkness are all around me, I don’t have to walk in them. I have a choice. While suffering is inevitable, it is not the norm for our lives; maybe that is why we are so shocked when it comes. Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in the land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” The light does shine in the darkness of our lives and circumstances. Jesus brought the light of God’s presence, protection and guidance into our dark world. Our beautiful Savior has come, and His presence changes absolutely everything.
Tuesday, December 06 2011 @ 08:38 AM
Growing up in our home, my sister and brother and I were all very close.
As siblings who know each well do, we gave each other nicknames.
In order to not reflect negatively on my brother and sister, I won’t tell you their nicknames, but mine was Frantic.
I just couldn’t wait for things to land.
I had to get things done NOW, never later.
When I finally surrendered my life to Christ, I opened my Bible and started to find out what a Christian woman was supposed to look like.
I read passages like Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 and do you know, the word frantic just wasn’t in there!
Instead, I learned that I needed to have a gentle spirit which is precious in God’s sight.
So I began my journey from Frantic to loving God with all my heart and trusting Him and His plan.
This week I’ve realized just how in process I am.
It’s been almost 20 years since that initial surrender to Jesus as Lord, and I am somewhere in the middle of who I was and who God is sculpting me to be.
My frantic thoughts and emotions have revealed a huge gap between faith and total surrender.
Just as my frantic nature was about to dominate again, God had me in Hebrews 6:18-20.
God has given us BOTH
His PROMISES and his OATH.
These two things are UNCHAGEABLE because it is
impossible for God to lie
Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have GREAT CONFIDENCE as we HOLD to the HOPE that lies before us.
This hope is a STRONG and
TRUSTWORTHY ANCHOR for our souls.
It leads us
through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
Jesus has already gone there for us.
He has become our
ETERNAL high priest
I don’t have to place my trust in the people and always changing circumstances around me, I can put my trust securely in Christ, the One who is sovereign over all.
His Promises will never fail and will be, if I let them, the anchor for my soul.
My confidence should rest in who Jesus is, not in what He is doing.
It’s not that I will never feel anxious or frantic, but when I do, I can run to the Word of God and choose to believe what it says over what my emotions are telling me.
John Piper says it this way, “(Women who are stayed in Christ) wage war on fear, and they defeat it with hope in the promises of God.”
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