“The waters compassed me about, even to the soul; The deep was round about me; The weeds were wrapped around my head.” Jonah 2:5 ASV
I remember how I loved to be outside. We had a beautiful patio garden where I spent many hours. I prayed, listened to praise music, enjoyed the peace and quiet, or just sat and watched the sparrows eat, play, talk to each other and fight over the one lone bird feeder. It was a beautiful place with rose bushes of every color, perfectly shaped shrubs and manicured lawns. One morning while I was out there God gave me a vision of a huge field of flowers. They were all different and exquisite. He explained to me that this is how he sees his children. Made in the image of a perfect God we are all perfect. Each and everyone of us. Whether we are perfectly whole or handicapped and flawed. We are all unique and made for a special purpose and he looks down on us and smiles. I learned a lot about God’s love watching those sparrows. They are happy and so free because they know God loves them and will always provide for them. They enjoy themselves every minute of the day in that freedom. They don’t need need anything that God hasn’t given them. Well today I went out there for the first time in a long time, because with the COVID virus I’ve been locked in my room. I almost started crying. Since April or May there has been no landscapers and the neglect and overgrowth was just unbelievable. Weeds as tall as me, dead greenery everywhere, but abundant weeds growing from every crack in the concrete. As I sat there I began to see it as a sign of what God sees in his people. We have not tended to our souls and like that patio we have become polluted with the weeds of the world. It is so thick amongst us that you can barely see green life. It’s there but boy do you have to look hard. We have overgrown from our selfish Me attitude and are lopsided and no longer trimmed. So many of the beautiful plants are burned up and barely alive. No longer what they once were. This is how he sees this once Godly country. We used to be filled with God fearing people who took pride in serving God, our country, and our fellow man. But now look at us now. My heart almost broke. I thought about how God must feel. We may not be the Israelites but I believe America became a very special people to him and that is why we were so blessed for so long. Our complacency has let the enemy destroy us. When people were fighting for their rights it got out of hand. I mean to have the right to murder an innocent, living and precious infant for purely selfish reasons is unthinkable. To absolutely refuse to allow young people to learn respect and love for their country and be able to pray for it. What were we thinking?
Do you know a really good landscaper?
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer, I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days, be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelation 2:10 NIV
We are in the end times and things will get worse. Wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and strange weather, wickedness increasing on the earth. It has been that way for some time. But for children of the Lord there is nothing to fear. One day the trump will sound and we will see the Lord coming in the clouds. It will be a day like no other. For we shall see him in all his glory. The dead in Christ shall rise and his followers shall be caught up with him in the air. And then we will all be in heaven together. But what will happen to the many who remain? There will be many who thought they would go too, but will be left with those that made no plans. There will be hard times ahead. The world will be in turmoil as millions of people just disappear. But they will be crowned with righteousness. Rewarded beyond comprehension. Those who remain will struggle just to survive but if you cry out to God it’s still not too late. If you are alive. Right now minutes will matter so much. Marshall law can not be guaranteed because of all that will be going on. We’ve lived through hijackings, shootings, martyrdom because of the evil around us. But with the good, godly people gone it will be much worse. If you cry out to God you can still be saved from hell but persecution to anyone who finds Christ in this time is promised. But God is trying to give you hope. This won’t be a long period of time, but it will be a hard one. But if you are persecuted stand strong, for God is your strength. If you stand strong you will be rewarded for all that you go through. I have watched documentaries about mass shootings and people who survive targeted attacks like bombings or 9/11. So many people draw strength from these times and their courage brings out good in them. People learn so much from these trials and it does make them better people and more resilient. What is of the utmost importance is whose side you are on when this time is over.
Do you want to meet in the air so you miss this time?
“I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you.” Jeremiah 17:16. NIV
God is always leading and guiding us, he never is too busy for us. Other things don’t consume his time. These are attributes of average people, but never of God. He thinks of us and what we need continually. We are a very high priority. He made us in his image to do great things. And he is always working on our behalf. Even if we are not following him he cares. We have been told so in his word. All his ways are laid out for us. It is not a secret or only available to some on a need to know basis. He wants us to know his ways. What he does, what he says. Good and bad. He does have reasons that really do make good sense if we just get to know him. He is a very righteous God and can not stand sin and evil. Because sin and evil harm good people. Because you are causing trouble or the one hurt by sins caused by another he hates to see it. I will give some examples. My grandson was born a healthy, happy baby , as perfect as normal. But after his first birthday we found out that he had a very rare but incurable disease. Both parents were carriers even though they are perfectly healthy. He was only given three to four years to live. He was such a loving baby. Why did this happen? I prayed every day for him to be healed but just before his fourth birthday God took him home to be with him in heaven. We were all devastated and my daughter got very involved with finding a cure and supporting other parents with children sick with this disease. We lost a great part of our family but God has his reasons. When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel or a murder goes on a rampage, good people get hurt. Sometimes killed. It angers God because it shouldn’t happen. Someone should pay. It can go on a long time before someone is punished. He has warned over and over in his word what happens for sin, but we don’t always listen or care. He does punish eventually and people say he’s not fair. They are only getting what he said would happen. You reap what you sow.
Will you spend some time getting to know his ways?
“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whosoever loses their life for me and for the gospel saves it.” Mark 8:35 NIV
We will do so much to have a good life. We join gyms to work out so we can have that perfect body. Spend large sums of money on plastic surgery and the latest treatments to enhance beauty and health. We seldom think about anything after our lives are over. Oh, maybe a beautiful burial plot. To save the family money and grief upon our death. Do you realize that we are only on this earth for a short time, but we will spend forever in eternity. Not just 100 years but millions of years. Most people don’t want to think about it. They choose to think that we just go to sleep permanently. No pain, no troubles ever again. The Bible tells us that a wiseman plans for the future. How do you plan for a future you don’t understand? We need wisdom. God has told all those who want wisdom to ask for it. He has promised to give it to anyone who asks. He has also sent his son to save from all we have done wrong. Even if you have lived a good life, nobody is perfect. We are all sinners and our soul needs somewhere to go when this body gives out. people like to think they will all go to heaven when this life is over. God certainly wouldn’t send a good person to hell. But he has told us that the wages of sin is death. No eternal life. Doing nothing and hoping for the best will only bring eternal death and separation from God. People who do bad things just don’t want to think about it. But there is a way to get eternal life with God and it is not difficult. Just admitting that you are not perfect. No one is. And that you know you need the help of a savior, Jesus Christ. Tell him you do really want to be better and ask him to help you follow his ways. Read his word so you will know his will. Do you know that he loves you and wants you to have the best life. He also wants to spend eternity with you. He can give you wisdom and help you to do what he asks but we need to care more about pleasing God than ourselves. But in pleasing God he will help you to have an abundant life. When you seek to help others and honor God he takes care of the rest.
Have you made plans for your future?
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV
In this life there is only one absolute. And that is that 100% of us will die. Nobody gets out alive. Well maybe a few did, but that was thousands of years ago, but we all die. Since sin came into the world our bodies are slowly decaying away. And though many will die of an accident or an act of violence we all need to be ready. Some people assume that because they are young that they have plenty of time. Well I thought that but an unexpected severe stroke stopped my busy life at forty-five. It almost took my life. Frankly I was far from ready to die but our days are numbered. God is the only one who knows the exact number of days we have. From the day we are conceived it is planned. Even how we will die. It should be comforting to know that nobody dies by mistake. If you are meant to die, you will die. Now someone may do something mistakenly that causes your death but God knew that and allowed that. Just as a poor baby can be murdered in the womb, God knew that it would die at that time. We all have a purpose even if someone is only some forty some months old like my grandson. When you die we will all, everyone, face judgement for the life we lived. Many do not want to think about that and others say we just go to sleep and never wake up, and that’s not true , and I’m glad I know in advance. I know because Christ has come into my heart and I have the peace and assurance to all who trust in him that he is coming again with salvation for all those who follow him. But that is a small group of people who are truly ready. Once you are dead it’s too late. You have made a decision whether you know it or not. And you might not like where you end up forever. Christ came to this earth already two thousand years ago. He came as a poor little baby into a struggling young family. He would only live thirty some years and he was rejected by many, he would be arrested for something he did not do, and would be sacrificed on a cross for you and me. He did not try to defend himself, but humbly died so we wouldn’t have to. He is returning again for his followers one day soon. What a triumphant day that will be.
Are you one of those followers?
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” Psalms 103:17&18 NIV
What a wonderful promise. Let’s break this down so we can understand better just what he is saying. He has always shown love to his children. But he says those who fear him. Does that make sense? We don’t actually fear him. We need to greatly respect and revere him and all that he is. He is to be looked up to for his might and awesome power. When we humbly fear him he will look out for us and our children. As a parent he understands how we want the very best for our children. We want them to be healthy, wise, and happy with the life God has given them. But read on and you will see an if. We have to do our part. This does not come by doing nothing. If we do something he will in turn do something. He has asked us to keep his covenant and obey his precepts. This is not much to expect from us for all he does for us. There are so many things he does for us just because he loves us. We need to love him in the same way. It is not hard and he offers to help us so no excuses. Let’s say if you write me a story I will pay you $20. Well that sounds great but what will you write about? You get no help it’s all up to you. That might not be so easy after all. But God always offers us help. He has said come to me and ask for wisdom. He will give it to everyone. If you just ask it’s yours. Then you need to take him up on his offer and ask. It’s so easy if you just seek him first. Along with his love he offers so much. Good will come to you. Bad health problems will stay away from you. You will be the head and not the tail. You will be strong. You will be wise. You will find favor among men. Your prayers will be answered. No negative things will come against you. Not emotionally, not mentally, not physically or spiritually. No negative thoughts will come against you. Past hurts and problems will cease. You are surrounded by miracles. You will have power you never knew before. I don’t know about you but this sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Talk to him, worship him, hang out with like-minded people, and read his words. That gives you wisdom.
Don’t you want to be loved so lavishly?
“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?….” John 21:15 NIV
“If you love me keep my commandments.”John 14:15 NIV
God is making a very important statement right know. Ever since time began God has been there. He is the one true constant. Another true constant is that man is an imperfect, continually learning and growing creation. Simply said, “we are constantly screwing up.” Still God loves us. Of all God has created, and it is all awesome, we are his most special creation. Created in his image, to be like him. We have so much amazing potential. God has designed everyone ever born on this earth and they were designed because he wanted someone to love and for them to love him. Someone he could be a father to. Someone who would have a relationship with him. Just like normal fathers he would love us unconditionally and want the very best for us. Even though we do things wrong, he will always love us. He wants to give us an abundant life. He tries to teach us what to do and not to do like good parents. Things to help us have a good life. It takes discipline to keep us from doing things that harm us. His question right now is for everyone who says they know him and are “Christians.” “Do you love me?” “Do you really love me?” If you do, then why don’t you keep my commandments? The majority of people live day to day seldom thinking about God. He has become like a spare tire that is seldom needed or used. I know because that was me 15 years ago. Then I had a severe stroke and almost died. Then it became real. Was I ready to die? What would I say standing before Jesus? Boy, do we owe God an apology. I know that most of our lives are less than they could be. We are missing out on so much blessings. I owe him so much. After coming to that conclusion I have been doing all I can for him. My life has improved exponentially and I am so blessed and happy. Best decision I’ve ever made. Now I have an abundant life and won’t go back.
Do you want an abundant life?
“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?
“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?