Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We're Asking the Wrong Question

I believe our entire American society is looking for answers to the following type of questions: What am do going to do now? What's going to happen to my job? Where will I find a job? What about my family? How am I going to pay for this? What if....? What's going to happen to me?
First of all, I still suggest that everyone ought to have a life verse of Scripture and a mission statement....and keep them in front of us to stay focused. There are too many distractions in our world today -- we must stay focused.
Where is our focus now, right this minute? If it's on ourselves then we're in trouble. Why? We can't 'fix' situations, we can't heal anyone, we can't move mountains, restore relationships, or redeem what's been lost. But I know who does! That's where we begin...with Jesus Christ and the wisdom found in the Word of God. His Way is the only Way that works. He provides rock solid answers and they're all found in the Bible.
Based on Matthew 6:33 -- "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." -- I think we need to ask this question:

How can I make a difference today and every day?
There is a two-part answer:
Part 1
Prayer.
Need help? Need wisdom? Need answers? Need strength? What do you need? Go to God immediately and often in prayer.
"You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." James 4:2-3
However, if we're asking with the right motives look what will happen:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8
I know a successful surgeon who humbles himself daily to serve his patients. He asked "The Right Question" a long time ago!
My husband, Don, endured an extensive and successful sinus surgery several years ago. We learned during one of his preliminary check-ups that this surgeon, Dr. David Edwards, was not only a Christian but a humble prayer warrior who quietly and powerfully made a difference every day in his work. We learned through one of their staff members that Dr. Edwards and his wife began their days on their knees praying for each patient they would be seeing that day. In the privacy of their own home, they laid out each patient's name on their bed and prayed for each one. They went so far to pray for those who were facing surgery that day- that the Lord would begin healing each patient before Dr. Edwards performed the surgery!
A few years after Don's surgery, our daughter Grace needed the same procedure. Guess where we took her????
The radiance of the presence of God cannot be contained in Dr. Edwards' office and I believe God is glorifed. His impact is as far-reaching as the high-powered beams of a lighthouse. The man just simply and fervently prays!
Several years ago during a Bible study I was sharing how important it is to me that I look to God for everything and to pray continually to Him. One of the ladies said she thought I was looking to God as a 'Spiritual Santa Claus". I told her (and the group): "I see God as Huge and Powerful and Loving and Kind and Merciful. He takes care of me and blesses me and He's the only One I know who can heal people, deliver us from bondage and destruction, provide needs and most of all, the only One who can save souls from the burning fires of hell. No one else can do what He can do because He is Almighty God. I ask Him for strength and help and forgiveness. But I also daily thank Him for His love and goodness to me and to the whole world."
The Lord says it best: "Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
So by living a life of prayer we can make a difference, a life-changing difference as we faithfully and unselfishly pray for others who cross our paths. We can start praying for those who pass us in the grocery store aisles, the roadside workmen who wave their bright orange flags at us to slow down when we're going too fast, we can pray for our family members, our friends and our neighbors every time they come into our thoughts. We have no idea what God is accomplishing in the heavenlies through our little prayers here on earth!
Part 2
Foot Washing.
No, I am not suggesting we physically carry a bowl and a clean towel around with us but I believe Scripture encourages us that today and every day we can spiritually carry around that bowl and clean towel with us every where we go!
What did Jesus do? Look at John 13:3-17:"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet. Drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.
Peter said: "Are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus said, "You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand."
Peter said, "No, you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus said, "Unless I wash you, you have no part of me."
Peter said, "Then not just my feet, but my hands and head as well."
When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place.
"Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you should also wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth no servant is greater than his master nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed."
You may be thinking....what does footwashing have to do with my life, my business, my ministry???? Lots!
Years ago my family used to have other families over for lunch after we attended church together. I'd cook a huge meal on Saturday night and then our friends would follow us home after church services and we'd spend the whole afternoon together, eating, laughing, and sharing. After the meal we'd have coffee and various desserts. Then the children would run outside and play and we'd often all take a long stroll in the neighborhood. My point in sharing this is that the Lord put it on my heart to strive that our friends would feel like they had their feet washed when they left our home. The desire was that they would feel love and refreshment....that our family served their family. It was just something He put in my mind and heart....and I'm still striving to do that whereever I go. It's definitely His love working, not mine!
And footwashing.....we can make a life-changing difference by making people feel loved and refreshed just by being in our presence because we are intentionally serving them in love -- in God's love, and in excellence, integrity, and joy!
That's shining the light, Sisters!
With love & blessings.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's Time To Get IN The Boat!

Anyone who is familiar with the Scriptures knows that God is a patient God. He puts up with a lot of rebellion and disobedience from His children. A well-known example is found in the Old Testament of the journey of the Israelites coming out of Egypt and their wilderness lessons.

Even though they wandered for 40 years God fed them and cared for them as no one else ever could because God is Almighty and full of grace and mercy.

The Lord God sends warnings when His children are on the wrong path. He creates circumstances that reveal His will by "opening and closing doors" of opportunity. He answers prayers for direction and wisdom in our decision making. He speaks to us through nature, Bible verses, other people, and His Holy Spirit. He brings people and situations into our lives to show us the way.

But when we ignore His subtle warnings of convictions sent by His Holy Spirit -- you know, thoughts like "I know I really shouldn't be doing this" and "I shouldn't say this but I'm going to" and "No one will know, it's just one time" and "everyone else is doing it" -- He will begin to speak louder. And His whispers will turn into His "raised voice" and then if we still won't listen, His words to us sometimes become calamities of brokenness if that is what it takes to get us to surrender to His will ("...I bring prosperity and create disaster..." Isaiah 45:7a).

At the same time, please remember the sweet promise of Romans 8:28 that says, "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes." We can expect good to come out of our bad situations. Again, He is the God of mercy and grace!

I think we Americans can be compared to the Israelites. I believe we have been rebellious against God in countless ways but I'll just mention a few -- legalizing abortion, prime time TV shows condoning the ungodly behavior of children toward their parents, the shows imitating pornography, and taking prayer (God) out of schools and public buildings.

The tragedy of September 11, 2001, (commonly referred to as 9/11) was truly a catastrophic nightmare for all of us and a wake up call to get back to loving and serving God as a nation. We all went back to church for a while and then America returned to the lifestyle of what's written in the book of Judges where "everyone does what is right in their own eyes."

I believe we are in the midst of a Spiritual 9/11. I believe God has sent the following to wake us up again and get us right with Him: Joblessness. Stock market plunging. Real estate market drying up. Debt as high as Mt. Everest. So now fear, anxiety, and desperation have become the norm presently in our society and more chaos is coming unless we get in the boat! People are looking for a savior. Someone to FIX THIS NOW.

Friends, there is only one Savior and His Name is Jesus Christ. Just like in the days of Noah, God saw how wicked the world was that He created and He had had enough. (Genesis 6:5).

He found a righteous man, Noah, (Genesis 6:9) who had a righteous family and He told him to build a gigantic boat that would save Noah and his family and enough animals to fill the earth again when His "discipline" was completed.

Here's something important: as Noah was OBEYING God and building this massive boat/ark on dry land, he was mocked and ridiculed by the rest of the world. But he kept his eyes and his heart on God. Noah was "righteous in this generation." (Genesis 7:1)

Meanwhile everyone else was full of corruption and living for themselves (Genesis 6:12). The flood came. The people who were not in the boat drowned. Period. God had enough and those people wouldn't turn to God as Lord.

Look at today. It's as if we have seen the tsunami on the horizon -- it's been coming --and we have been ignoring His voice of warning. We need to get into the boat. The lifeboat of Jesus Christ. Jesus saves. ("God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Get into the family of God by turning away from your past, your old self, and ask God to forgive your sins. He will. He promises "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

And then, after we are in the lifeboat we need to immediately turn around, reach out a hand and help others get into the boat! We need to tell them, "There is help. There is hope. Jesus Saves. Jesus is the Lifeboat. He is THE Life Saver and He will come to your rescue, too!"

With love and hope!