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 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!