“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Ephesians 1:18 NIV
I heard a pastor tell a story recently that has stayed with me. He was flying to a conference where he was supposed to speak. As he got on the plane he said a little prayer. Lord, help me to have a quiet trip so I can rest before this conference. He got comfortable and tried to get some rest, closing his eyes. At the very last minute a guy sat down next to him. He thought, maybe if I pretend to be asleep he won’t bother me. The man squirmed and squirmed next to him but he finally dozed off. Then all of a sudden the man elbows him in the ribs, “hey, you awake?” “Well ya, I am now.” “So what kind of work do you do?” He asked. This minister thought for a minute. Well, maybe I should just lie and make up something dull, but no I can’t. “I’m a minister.” He said. Well the man just broke down sobbing. Everyone on the flight heard him blubbering. It seems he was coming from the funeral of his very best friend who had died suddenly from a massive heart attack. He had come home from work one day and met his little girl and picked her up. He collapsed dropping the girl. He went on about how shocked everyone had been, how he would never see him again, and he would never get to share life with him. How could he go on from here. This all poured out of him in loud hysterical sobbing. It seemed like everyone on board was staring. “Well I’m sorry for your loss,” he said. This man was really grieving and he didn’t really know what to say. He had absolutely no hope. He was miserable. “You know what you need?”, I said. You really need some hope in your heart. The man gazed questioningly at me, how? So I told him all about the gospel message and how Jesus loved him and wanted to be his friend. The man stopped me and said, “but I’m Jewish.” I said, “that’s ok Jesus was Jewish and he love’s Jews.” The man thought about it and then said ok. They talked through the entire flight. As they deboarded I told him to have a great day and went to get my bags. The man ran after me and fell to his knees hanging onto me. “But wait, I want this hope, don’t leave now.” Everyone was looking at them strangely. I just wanted to get my bag and go. I walked the man to a nearby bench and explained to him that I had told him everything he needed to know. But the man begged. So I asked if he would like to pray? They went through the sinners prayer and I helped him ask Jesus into his heart. He was so excited and exploding with joy. He couldn’t say thanks enough. You see this minister just wanted a nap but God had a divine encounter planned that would change both of their lives. God may not always give us what we ask but they became good friends . We who know Jesus know hope. Without Jesus there is no hope.
Do you know this hope?
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them.” Psalms 139:17 NIV
We are never alone and we never have to do life alone. People who don’t know God don’t understand that. God just makes us do stuff. Be the boss. People assume. We may get very busy trying to do it all and get it just right. I just started to think of all the things I need to get done, and it can get overwhelming. Last night I laid awake thinking of things that I needed to do. At the time they all seemed important and pressing. I tossed and turned for about an hour. I finally dozed off. Today everything got done smoothly with no trouble and I still got to visit with friends. God had it all planned out and his plans prevail anyway so why should we worry. It is so good to just think about that. You know I don’t have to fret when trying to get things done and do my best. Because my best friend, Jesus, has it all planned out ahead of time for my best. In Psalms 139 David is talking about how God is always there and always has been. Before we were ever formed in the womb. God knew us. He designed us just as we would be. He saw just who we would be and just how we would fit into the masterpiece he is creating. How our lives would intertwine with others to have the greatest effect on those around us. Nobody is perfect and we all struggle. But even Moses, David, Noah, and Elijah were just average men. They all were imperfect men who had doubts and fears like us. They felt inadequate at times and unworthy to do what God had called them to do. They knew someone else could do it better. But they did do what God asked most of the time. They had bad days. There were times when they just couldn’t do it. They made mistakes. But do we remember them that way? No! We look at them and see great servants of God. He doesn’t want us doing things just because we have to. Keeping rules grudgingly. He tells us what to do because it works. It is easier his way and you do enjoy more his way. The more I depend on him and try to do things his way, the happier I am and the easier it is. Not one minute do I feel alone. Because I know he is just a word away. This morning I was thinking about the internet. I have a message program and anytime I need someone like my daughters , for example. I just send a little note. No matter how far away they are. (Miles) They respond right away. You can also find out anything you want to know right away on google. Well as children of God we also have 24 hr access. We don’t need a priest to come to him for us. We don’t even need to say it out loud. Just talk to God. He is right next to your heart. He hears the simplest cry of our hearts and he is always listening. He also has all the right answers.
Can you give Gods ways a try?
“Do you not know that in a race that all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” Revelations 22:12 NIV
Have you ever done something you were not proud of? I wish I could go back and change things. We all make mistakes. Maybe we said something that hurt someone. Done something that hurt others. When it’s done we feel bad. But God loves us even when we don’t love ourselves. If we come to him and ask forgiveness, he will forgive. That bad feeling will go and be replaced by peace. We don’t need to carry it anymore. His love can bring so much healing. What if you were gone tomorrow? You know tomorrow is not promised to any of us. We could have a massive heart attack, or a car accident. With the world spiraling out of our control, I see us as a big cage of rats going nuts. Is what we are doing really helping? What if Jesus came tonight to take his children home? We are in the end times and it could be any day. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Today may be our last day. If you knew it was your last day on earth, what would you do differently? When we stand before Jesus and he shows us everything we have ever done. Good and bad you should be ready. What will we say? That is when I don’t want regrets. At that point it’s to late to change our fate. I want to stand before him with a clean slate. He makes that possible. We can make sure he sees us in the light of his perfect son, in all his righteousness. Either we can be perfect, or we can live every day the best we can. Seeking God’s will in our lives first. Ask Gods help to good things of encouragement. Lord show me ways to help others. He has made me a good listener. I am very aware of the needs of others around me, and he lets me know what to do and say. If I can’t help I can find someone who can. He has given me the gift of writing. He gives me words to help others. He will show me just what they need to hear. It’s not me, it’s him helping me. The more I try to serve, the more he shows me to do. He will do the same for you. Every time we do something that we know is wrong, we need to come to him and ask for forgiveness. At the end of the day we need to look back over the day. What good did i do? What bad did I do? Keep the lines of communication open. Thank you Lord for this day. I am sorry for ….. You will sleep so much better with a clear heart. I have also seen a cage full of rats that were all snuggled up close to each other sound asleep. We all need to take care of each other. To love each other.
Will you be rewarded for your actions?
“Open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your laws.“ Psalms 119:18
Over the last several years God has opened my eyes greatly to several truths and things in his laws. In 2013 I set out to seek the Lord with all of my heart. I made a deliberate effort to pray every day and to read my Bible daily. Those were my two main goals. I still keep those goals every day but it is habit now. If I forget the day just doesn’t go as good. I know God doesn’t expect perfection from us. But even if I realize it at 10:00pm I can’t sleep till it’s done. I used to get up early in the morning and go outside to pray. That was nice but three years ago I had surgery and it took a lot to recover from it. So I began sleeping in. So I would pray before getting up. Now I relish that time I have to just talk to God for an hour or two and hear him speak to me. He has shown me how important praying is. Lately I’m wanting to be bolder and ask more from God. I see it as a privilege to get to pray for others and to see God working in their lives. I see miracles happening all around me. It feels so indulgent at times laying in bed but God has shown me so much lately. I have also read through the Bible several times over the last 15 years and those words are getting seared into my brain. His laws are important. He gave them to us for our good. Each law has a purpose. By following them we will live a better life. Without them we would be lost. I know that people see that laws as restricting us from freedom. But I do not wish to be free to screw up my life. I have had my eyes opened to his ways. Another way he has opened my eyes is in worship. I love to sing and love music. I listen to praise music often because it lifts me up. One day I went from singing along not really thinking about the words. Then ‘Pow’. One day I heard every word and what it meant to the writer, and now I sing with passion and understanding in my heart. Praise and worship will never be the same. He has shown me a great love for his ways. I can lay around in the mornings and get so inspired by how great and awesome our God is.
Do you understand and try to keep his laws?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I learned this scripture when I was in my 20’s. I was a very young mom struggling to make my way. Learning who I was and who God wanted me to be. It was always a scripture that I loved and I quoted it a lot. It held so much promise and hope. But it wasn’t till a month ago I heard it preached in its entirety. I never knew the context of what was going on at the time it was written. Now it means so much more to me. God’s chosen people had been rejecting him and his prophets for some time now. God tells us in his word that sin will be dealt with eventually. God is very, very patient. We sometimes see him as if what is going on before him goes over his head and will never be dealt with. But that is not true. He loves man even if we don’t deserve his love. He wants the best for us a keeps waiting for us to change. He doesn’t want us to perish. He allows other countries to sweep on in and carry his people off to bondage. He has it all worked out. They will suffer for a while and then they will remember how good I was to them and then they will be sorry. In the meantime the nation’s who put them into bondage will be punished for their evil and new country’s will prevail. God has it all planned out. All the time he is in control. He is supporting his people. What he tells them when they are in a tough spot is just what he tells us when we are struggling. Just keep on keeping on! Don’t give up. I am God and I am in control. He is supporting his people. It is going down just as I planned it. It may be tough right now but keep going. Marry and have families. Keep doing just what you have done for generations. Family and friends are important and they are what will see you through. But don’t forget me! Remember I am always working everything out for your good. It may not feel like it just now but I don’t lie. You can trust me to do what I say. Right now I have been quarantined to my room because several people got the flu and I was one. It was breaking out throughout the facility and they panicked. It had to be stopped. So I had to remain in my room all the time for two weeks. It seemed a little extreme at first but I have a private room with plenty to read, plenty of good food, my very own shower, and a big picture window so I can enjoy the weather outside. It seems like it has been a long month. But it is for my safety and it will be over eventually. God told me to just keep reading and enjoying my time with him. Just relax! What good does it do to complain and pout? None. I’m sure God is working through this time and is teaching us so much. He always is.
Can you trust God when times are hard?