Posts Tagged Jesus
“And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:18-19
FAITH is utterly important to God and, if the truth be told, we have all experienced, are experiencing, or will experience many faith crises in our lives. Crises of faith can be momentary, seasonal, or long-lasting, but for certain they will come.
Faith Crises are those despairing moments when we navigate life’s storm-tossed seas unmindful of the Master’s presence.
They are times when we earnestly need Jesus’ Prayer that our faith will not fail us.
They are those critical instants when we can only say, “Lord, I believe, but help thou my unbelief.”
They are the crucial moments after suffering great losses, when we must know that GOD IS ALL WE NEED!!
They are times when it is good to remember our “God Moments .”
Faith Crises are TESTS. They are TESTS to trust God’s plan and God’s timing for our lives and they must be taken until passed.
As we walk our paths of faith, we soon discover that we are placed in situations to need miracles and only God can perform them. And many times, as Alicia Britt Chole submits, sometimes we are “cornered into helplessness,” where NO ONE can help us but God! When we appear down for the count, it is important for others to witness the glory of God in our deliverance.
What do you do when you do not know what to do? What do you do when you are at the proverbial “Red Sea,”the enemy is on your heels and the impossible is stretched before you? How will you navigate these critical crossroads of faith? God says, “Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD–Either you trust me or you don’t!”
Beloveds, these are challenging times that test our spirits, our sanity and most of all our faith. Times will come when we are pressed on every side, with nowhere to run and nowhere to look but up. How will the Lord respond to us: “O ye of little faith . . . ,” or “I have not seen so great a faith. . . .”
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” We must Believe because God is faithful even when our faith waivers or wanes. And the Best News is, God has promised “NOTHING is impossible to those who believe.”
PRAYER: Father, thank you for the Grace to live past my moments of despair. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3
“. . . For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7 (NIV)
One dark fall morning, running late and with very little gas, I headed out on my way to a school assignment. It was not a new assignment, I had been there before, just not recently. I forgot my cell phone, GPS, and was relying on map directions. I could hardly see the directions because of the darkness. I was so lost. On these country roads, there are no shoulders or stopping places, you just have to keep driving until you get to a safe place which could be a matter of many miles.
The road is extremely dark. I do not even have the benefit of the headlights of other cars, and am trying to read directions while driving (something very dangerous, by the way). I finally give up on the directions and continue to drive through the blackness when I see a school sign, but it is on the other side of the highway. So I drive on searching for the nearest exit, or at least a place to make a left turn, when the opportunity finally comes 20 miles and 30 minutes later. I get to the sign and it is the wrong school! Frustrated, still running late and worried whether I have enough gas, I pull off to the side of the road, sit in the car, and pray this prayer: “Father, I’m so tired. Please help me.”
I start out again and must have driven 10 miles when I see the school at the top of the hill and there is a gas station a short distance before the school. I gas up at the station and head to the school. I arrive on time and to my surprise, my first period class is a 90-minute planning period. Look at God!! The day turned out to be bright and beautiful–the kids were great. Yes, God is a very present help in the time of trouble!!! I was on the right road, I simply needed to ask to find my way. Once I acknowledged I could not do it alone, I was led by THE TRUE WAY!!
“And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said to one another, Why sit we here until we die?” (2 Kings 7:3)(King James Version)
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke
When I moved south after 25 years of ministry, it was to rest, recuperate, and yes, even to retire. At least that’s what I thought, but none of that was an option. In a few short years, I nearly lost everything including my mind. And even though I consider myself a “serious woman of God,” who had comforted many others, I could not understand why certain things were happening to me, but there is always a “Word from the Lord” to make things clear. I believe that’s why Jesus reminded His Disciples, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20). I forgot, I am merely a steward and not an owner of all I have been allowed. In fact, I was never rich nor may I ever be, in terms of “worldly” capital. The truth is: I am Blessed and Highly favored with health, strength, a pure heart, and a sound mind. Anything beyond that is a gift.
I now see the benefit of taking the “road less traveled.” Even with all of its detours — it led me straight to the door of God’s will for my life. I understand what the Apostle Paul meant by “being content no matter the circumstances.” I know what it is to “lose in order to gain.” The true rewards of serving the kingdom of God are Love, Peace, and Joy. What better rest, respite, and relief in a chaotic, storm-tossed world? Since my arrival, I have slowed my pace, but I have never grown “weary in my well-doing.” Many times, I grew tired in the work, but I never tired of the work. God has promised, if I don’t give up, I will reap every seed I have sown. God cannot lie and all God’s promises are consistently “Yes” and “Amen.” So, I thank God for every mountain. I treasure every valley, and relish every step that draws me closer to hearing “Well done.” But most of all, I am eternally grateful to those “four brave men,” who (even in their pain), decided to live victoriously.
One day, Jesus told Peter, “If you love me feed my sheep.” I love the Lord, and have renewed my vow to share the “Bread and Water of Life” with all who hunger and thirst for righteousness. One day, the Lord will not ask me how well-rested, happy, or content I was, but will ask, “What did you do for the least of these?” “How many lost lambs did you help find THE WAY?” “How many hurting hearts did you soothe with my Word?” “How much time did you devote to the cause of My Kingdom?” Retire? I don’t think so. Retire? Are you kidding? Retire? No never — the Lord’s Harvest is too plentiful, the laborers too few, time too short, and there’s too much to be done. Retire? Nay. Rather, I say to my fellow laborers in the Vineyard: WAKE UP — GET UP — GET BUSY because in the economy of GRACE — there is absolutely no such thing as RETIREMENT!!
“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee . . . .” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV)
The Apostle Paul had a physical thorn that affected his entire being. We are never told what it was–only that the “enemy of his soul” sent it to buffet him and to frustrate his life. Scripture records, it was so troublesome that Paul sought the Lord three times to remove it, but each time the Lord said, “Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee . . . .” The Lord was saying, Paul, My Grace is adequate to meet the needs of any situation or proposed end. My unmerited favor occurs in such measure and scope that it fully meets the demands, needs, or expectations of any problem. My Grace is equal to whatever you now need or will ever need. My Grace is satisfactory, suitable, in the amount needed, and to the necessary degree, for whatever you are going through or will ever go through. Paul, My Grace is all you need–It is ENOUGH for you.
These past years have taught me that God allows thorns to humble us lest we boast in other than the Cross of Jesus Christ. And He allows crucial situations and circumstances lest we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think or somehow believe we are the source of our blessings!! Like Paul, I have a physical thorn. At first, I thought, it was a punishment for something I had done wrong, but now I know it was to teach me about the sufficiency of God’s Grace for my life. Now, when I get haughty or begin to feel sorry for myself–I gaze at my thorn and understand that it is not a curse, but a blessing that God allowed to display His Glory. It was given to remind me “I am not my own.” It was never about me and was always about Him. As Paul has said, “. . . our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (NIV)
Today, I am a witness that “the Will of God will not take me where the Grace of God cannot keep me.” God’s Grace has been sufficient to get me through storms, recessions, unemployment, loss of loved ones, friends, and even health. I have grown stronger through what I have been through and am trusting in the Lord to get me through whatever else comes my way. So, I now boast in my weakness, for I know when I am weak, through Christ, I am truly strong. As Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “I could complain because “rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”And so, I choose to rejoice in knowing that Yes, God’s Grace IS sufficient. IT IS ENOUGH — In fact, it is MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR ME!
I feel nostalgic on holidays, birthdays, rainy days, and yes, even Mondays. My mind retreats to bygone days and simpler times. I especially remember the “firsts” in my life. There is something remarkable about “firsts.” I believe they are precious and Divinely inspired. “Firsts” happen only once and are irreplaceable.
I particularly remember my first love. I was 10. My heart pounded when I thought of him. I couldn’t wait to see him—hear his voice. We’d talk for hours about nothing in particular. I loved this feeling and I wanted it to last forever.
There’s something remarkable about first love–it is not sexual or sensual—it is sacred and pristine. It is like what the old Ivory Soap slogan promises, “99/100 percent pure.” There is an innocence about it that makes it beautiful. In first love, we give our hearts totally, trust completely, and hope fully. There is no second-guessing—we simply love and are grateful for love in return.
But somehow, we get caught up in the external trappings of life and love is lost—leaving us with a huge void in our hearts that causes us to wonder what went wrong with what we thought was perfect and real, and we spend our days trying to rekindle the feeling of first love.
The Church at Ephesus was enthusiastic in the beginning. Their hallmark had been their love for Christ and for one another. They loved to worship, they loved to fellowship, they loved teaching and being taught. Then their love waned, the thrill of service diminished, and they abandoned their first love.
As Christians, we can never forget our first love and the way we loved at first. We must always remember when we first saw the light; recall when we first believed; and, that the heart of the God that loved us first — anxiously awaits to take us back!!
“I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1 (KJV)
I was on my way to do my usual errands and noticed that there was a serious automobile accident on the far side of the road. I could see someone was severely injured and needed to be placed in an ambulance. Concerned, I drove on to my destination to complete my tasks. Unbelievably, on my way home, there was another accident on the opposite side of the road (also requiring an ambulance).
As I drove on, up ahead there was an unrelated traffic jam. I could not see the cause. All I could do was wait until I got a little closer. Surprisingly, it was a family of geese who had decided to cross right in the middle of that busy road! The father goose bravely stepped out in front of a mile-long car pileup of honking, hurried, impatient drivers. Following closely behind the male goose were seven cute baby geese with their mother who was carefully shielding them from the rear. It was amazing to watch as they boldly, but slowly trekked across one of the neighborhood’s busiest intersections. I was watching this brave little clan in amazement, when an impatient motorcyclist decided he had better things to do sped by me and right through the center of the goose family, barely missing one of the babies. Once they had all safely crossed, I continued on my way pondering the past hour’s events, and who should I meet, stopped at the red light, but that impatient motorcyclist.
The Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me that morning. Reality met me coming, going, and in the middle of my plans. I understood that nothing I had to do was so important that it had to be done at the speed of light. Witnessing two back-to-back accidents and admiring the bold spirit of a family of geese crossing a busy highway, reminded me of what is most important in my life. At the end of the day — the gift of time, good health and family are all that truly matter. How mysterious and amazing are the ways of our God that teach us such simple life lessons.