“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?
“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?
“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have turned him over to you.” John 18:30 NIV
Jesus a criminal. Only God could have orchestrated that scenario. Jesus was a perfect human being. He lived a life without sinning. He was one of the many loving, caring, and wonderful persons ever. He never argued about being right. But he was always right. He didn’t need to get his point across. Prove himself, or defend himself. All things we do quite regularly. Somehow we see it as necessary to have people like us, agree with us, and cooperate with us. Nobody wants to be looked down on, be picked on, or bullied. We try to prove that what we do or say is right, at least to our reasoning. Jesus stated a fact. Take it or leave it. He did not need people to agree with him or to do what he said. The things he tells us to do really are the best for us and he knows that. If we don’t do them we are just hurting ourselves. He doesn’t want to see us hurting others by our choices but he has given us free will. It gives him so much more joy when we do things because we want to, our choice. He has told us what to do to be blessed. He has also shown us what will bring troubles and curses. Do you know that everything he did should have brought him so much peace and acceptance, but he came here for one reason and only one. To do his father’s will. A sacrifice had to be made, a perfect sacrifice. We are all imperfect. Not one person has ever led a perfect life, but Jesus. The only way, was for Jesus to live a perfect life and be sacrificed. He did it willingly for you and for me. He was right, never wrong, and he should have been accepted and agreed with. Instead he put up with terrible abuse. He was whipped, spit on and humiliated. Over and over he had the opportunity to defend himself but he didn’t. He could have, maybe should have. But that was not the plan. He hung there on that cross and died for you and for me. He looked to the day when each of us would say yes to the gift he offered us. It didn’t have to make sense to us, it made sense to God. He even made a point of forgiving the criminal that hung next to him when he asked. No one has ever done anything they can’t be forgiven for. He loves us. He even prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Do you want to accept this extravagant gift?