Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Death, Destruction and Peace

Devastating storms have hit Texas over the weekend leaving behind death and destruction.  This morning's news said there were 4 people dead and 12 people missing just north of San Antonio.  One family lost their teenage daughter in the flooding.  One man's wife and two children are missing.  Heartbreaking, gut-wrenching news.  How can this happen?  Why would God allow this?

We live in a broken world. God created a perfect world, but gave us free will when He created us. Although that free will allows us to choose to love God and have a relationship with Him, it is also what brought sin and death and destruction into God's perfect creation. So how do we navigate this broken world when all seems a mess?  For me I have to remember that the Bible says 365 times "Do not fear."  And, I remember that Jesus left us with peace.

John 14:33 says, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 

  • How do we focus on the peace that God's have given us as an inheritance in this broken world? (this is a great discussion question for this week with your Christian friends)

Lord, I'm so thankful that my family is safe today, but I'm mindful of the families that are heartbroken from the devastation these storms have left behind.  Please wrap them in Your peace today.  Please use these circumstances to cause many people to turn to you and not away from you.  In Your precious name ~ Amen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Be Still

I am in a busy season of life.   I have a precious husband and precious kids.  Those precious people want food several times each day and clean laundry from time to time. (Weirdos!) And, because those precious kids don't drive cars yet, (Lord, help me make it to the years when they can drive themselves to their schools, practices, sleepovers, etc.!!) I spend many hours each week playing chauffeur.  Oh the places we go....and go..and go...and go.  I think my middle name should be Go most days.  And, did I mention that I'm a full time Pastor?  OK, just saying that makes me want to take a nap.  My life is BUSY!

One thing I've learned in this busy season is that momma needs her gas tank filled up, or her busy life will cause her to run out of gas very quickly.  And, running out of gas is not pretty.  It can result in being easily angered, depression, and lots of negative feelings.  So how does one fill up their gas tank?  It starts by being still and remembering that there is a God that loves us and wants a relationship with us.  Being still before God is not an option for a Christian, it is a must.  Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God."  It does not say, "If you want to be still, you can."  

  • When are you still before God?
  • Do you need to put an appointment on your calendar to remind you to be still before God?

Lord, help us to never be so busy that we forget to look up.  There are so many beautiful reminders of your love for us in this world. Thank you for my husband, my children, and my opportunity to be a Pastor.  I love the blessings in my life, but I never want them to come before you.  Thank you so much for your precious Son.  It's in His Name I pray ~ Amen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

That's my God!

As I was growing up I had a warped view of God.  I thought God was sitting upon His throne with His hand on the lightening bolt button ready to sap anyone that messed up.  No one ever taught this to me.  It was just something Satan whispered to me and I believed because of my lack of biblical knowledge.  That coupled with the fact that I knew I was a sinner really kept me feeling rejected and unworthy.  I would try to be a good person, but then I would get out of bed for the day and life would happen.  I was certain that I would be struck by lightening at any given time.

In 1997 my view of God started to change because I started reading God's Word.  I was amazed to read how many times Jesus went to the broken people and didn't zap them with lightening in the process. Jesus, God with Us, offered love and compassion to those that had lived sinful lives.  He extended forgiveness to those that had never even thought they could ever be forgiven. He was different than the God I thought I knew.

Today I read 2 Chronicles 16:9 and giggled to myself.  God is actually sitting on His throne looking over the earth to find those committed to Him so He can help them.  Now, that's a God worth knowing and serving.  That's my God.

Are you committed to following Jesus?

What is your view of Jesus today?

Jesus, thank you for being a loving, grace-giving God.  Thank you for giving strength to those committed to You. - In Your Name ~ Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All Our Middle Names Should Be GRACE!

I believe the reason we are given middle names is so that we will know when we are in trouble. You know what I'm talking about.  I bet your momma used to yell your middle name along with your first name when you messed up. I remember hearing, "STEPHANIE ANNE!!!!" from my mom's voice on many occasions.  It was usually followed by a lecture or some sort of discipline.  And when my daughter hears, "LEANNA GRACE!!" she knows to pay close attention.

We've all sinned.  We've all been in a position of needing our middle names yelled by our parents. And, we are all in need of grace.  I'm thankful these days that my daughter's middle name is Grace. You see, we're in the middle of those precious teenage years.  The years when the parent becomes dumber, and the child is amazingly knowledgeable of everything about everything.  The years when eyes are rolled when requests to do chores are made.  The years when hormones are reeking havoc on her body and mind.  Those precious teenage years where my Leanna Grace needs...she needs....well....she needs a little grace.

As I've studied the life of Peter in the Bible, I've realized the importance of grace.  In the book of Acts and in 2 Peter we read some of Peter's final words reminding us to live and grow in God's grace. Grace is important in our Christian walks.  As a matter of fact, it's all we need. It's by God's amazing grace that we have salvation in Jesus Christ.  It's by God's unending grace that we are able to live and move and breathe.  His grace gives us second chances and helps us practice humility, forgiveness and trust.

Check out these verses on grace:

2 Corinthians 12:9

Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."

Titus 2:11 - 12

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

Ephesians 4:7

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

When I yell "LEANNA GRACE", I am reminded that I need to give grace to my Grace, and of God's AMAZING GRACE - which reminds me that I too am in need of grace.  I'm so glad my daughter's middle name is Grace these days!

Is there someone in your live that needs to receive grace from you?  When have you received undeserved grace from someone?

Lord, thank you for your amazing grace.  Your grace is sufficient. - In Jesus' name, Amen.

Look up these verses on grace and make note of what God teaches you:  Acts 6:8, Acts 15:11, Acts 20:32, Romans 5:15, Romans 5:21, Romans 12:6, 2 Corinthians 4:15, 2 Corinthians 9:14, Galatians 1:15, Ephesians 2:5 - 8, Ephesians 3: 1-7, 1 Peter 5:12, 2 Peter 3:18, Revelation 22:21.