Saturday, April 2, 2016

In the Shepherd's Arms

Psalm 100:3 says, "Now that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (ESV)
  
I started off my morning time in prayer by reading Psalm 100. I wanted to make sure I started the day with praise and thanksgiving to God and all that He is doing in my life. I'm guilty of starting prayer with a "Lord please" or a "Lord why?" instead of placing Him first. Psalm 100 was an excellent reminder of all that God has done, is doing and will do in the life of His followers.

Verse 3 stood out to me this morning because during prayer time I often hold my elderly dog, Buster. He's a Pomeranian and he's around 14 years old. He's all black with "old man" grey pushing through. He's missing one eye, and the eye he does have is losing its vision. 

Each morning when I pull up a chair to pray, Buster panics because he can't find me. He needs to know I'm with him. He needs to feel my presence. So, more often than not, I pick him up and cradle him in my arms while I pray. 

As I read "we are his (God's) people, and the sheep of his pasture," I looked down at Buster and realized that my Shepherd cradles me in His arms in a similar way. Many times I need to know my Lord is with me and I need to feel His presence. That's when He reaches down through His Word or through a friend and gives me a hug and tell me "He's in charge and He will see me through." 

He will do the same for you, if you ask Him to.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Six Years Later

Here we go. It's been almost 6 years since I've been on this page and yet Facebook just keeps reminding me through those "memory" posts that this little blog is still here. Funny thing is, the posts I wrote years ago are like new to me now. Meaning, I'm reading them and learning from them and cannot remember a time I even wrote them, but I did. And to think, God knew back then that I would need those words now.

So I thought I'd take a look around and see if there was any life left in this old blog. Turns out there is. And a beautiful thing happened in the process. Google offered me a domain for $12. Not just any domain, but the one I was paying an unnamed host site to run for almost $200 a year. And now for $12 and of no effort of my own, I have it back. You're probably reading this blog right now from www.foreverinhim.com. Oh the times I thought that was gone. I didn't understand why. I thought it was a dream achieved and a platform for ministry, but it was gone. And now it's back. God is good.

And now I'm back. Six years later. Six years stronger. Six years older. Dare I say six years wiser? Well, sometimes. What words will come? What lessons will unravel as I type? I don't know, but Lord I'm open and waiting.

Forgiving Others

Have you ever been hurt by people so much that you promise yourself you will never forgive them? What about when someone gossips behind your back, apologizes, and then turns around and does it again? Forgiveness the first time around is one thing, but a second time or even a third time is pushing it!

Enough is enough, isn’t it? That’s what Peter thought when he spoke to Jesus in Matthew 18:21-22. “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (NKJV)

In Matthew 6:15 Jesus tells us that if we do not forgive others their sins then our Heavenly Father will not forgive us our sins. How can we refuse to offer forgiveness when we ourselves require the mercy and grace of our Father continuously? Jesus endured tremendous pain and suffering to ensure us eternal forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is tough, but through Him we are given the strength no matter the number of times required.

A New Name

This month we’ve been exploring the amazing gift of forgiveness from our Heavenly Father. It is a remarkably breathtaking phenomena when we stop and realize (or attempt to realize) the depth of our Father’s grace and mercy towards us. We are a sin filled people, filthy rags as scripture calls us, yet we’ve been washed down and forgiven. Not only that, but we’ve been given a new life in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

While feeding my horse this evening, I thought about the significance of a name. At birth, horses are given names that recognize their lineage. It’s a name of honor given as a way to keep the horse linked to the family tree. As new creations in Christ, we too are given a name to link us to our Heavenly Father proclaiming to the world Who we belong to. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” (I John 3:1).

God claims us as His children and we in return are given the privilege to cry out to Him “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). A new life and a new name! What an amazing honor to be forgiven, washed clean, and then given a new name linking us directly to the loving grace and mercy of our God and King. Sure, we’re still known to most people as our regular, every day names, but remember, to our Heavenly Father we are His sons and daughters!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Gateway of Release

In his book “A Prayer Journey with the Apostle Paul,” author Michael Green refers to prayer and communion with our Heavenly Father as a “gateway of release.” What a refreshing thought. Our Father God invites us to come to Him in prayer on a routine basis “casting all of our cares” upon Him (I Peter 5:7). He wants us to literally release everything to Him whether it is our fears, anxieties or simply our over abundant joys and adventures.

With the promise of release, restoration, and communion with the Father, why is it that we often refuse to go to God in prayer? Sin. We allow the enemy to use our sin to fill our hearts and thoughts with guilt and shame. We convince ourselves that God wants nothing to do with us and our filth, but this is a lie from Satan. Yes, we are sinners, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and washed clean. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

Romans 8:1-2 tells us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Christ’s bloodshed on the cross gives us the freedom to run to the Father in prayer seeking His forgiveness and grace. There is nothing to stop us from sitting before His throne in prayer. Open up, speak up, and allow time of communion with the Father to be a time of release and restoration in Him.
Originally appeared at JesusBoatMuseum.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Waiting on the Counsel of the Lord

Summer is coming to an end and before long fall will arrive. I can already feel the hint of a cool breeze teasing the summer humidity. The seasons are changing and so are the desires of my heart. It happens this time every year. God designed the earth to change with time and He did the same with each of us. None of us are ever meant to stay in one place (whether physically or spiritually) for too long. We are always on the move, reaching out and growing more towards Him.

Sometimes the Lord fulfills the changes my heart desires with a simple break from the everyday routine. Other times I find myself wanting to make a bigger change. I seek counsel from the Lord, but the desire to discover an immediate plan is overwhelming. It’s funny how lessons in waiting and patience coincide with our longing to make a move of some kind. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” or as the KJV versions says, “…the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”

My heart and mind is filled with new ideas, possibilities, and all kinds of adventures. If I were to act on my own impulses I would end up running in a hundred different directions without ever arriving at a destination. When we wait on the Lord and seek His counsel, which is both sure and direct, then we will find our feet on His appointed path arriving at His chosen destination. Not only that, but His chosen destination will be so much more than our hearts could ever have imagined! (Ephesians 3:20)

Originally posted at JesusBoatMuseum.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wisdom from Proverbs 2

A new school year has begun here in the U.S. Over the weekend, local retail stores were packed with parents and children buying school supplies. Shopping bags were filled with new back packs, books, pencils, pens, and notebook paper. Young children carried crayons and markers while older teenagers picked up computer disks and calculators. A new year of learning has begun and parents are making sure their children have everything they need to make the school year one filled with learning and growth.

Seeing all of the school supplies made me stop and realize that a child can possess all of the school supplies in the world and still not possess wisdom. Unless the child knows how to use those tools he won’t be able to move forward and gain understanding and knowledge.

We do the same in our walk with the Lord. We go to church and spend time reading the Bible and fill ourselves with as many spiritual supplies as possible. Yet, if we don’t know how to use those tools then how can we expect to grow in our relationship with God? All the time in church and in the Word of God won’t move us towards His path unless we know what to do with what He has given us.

Proverbs 2:1-5 says, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5).

Originally appearing at JesusBoatMuseum.com