Posts Tagged Lord
“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 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.
“Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Job 28:20 (KJV)
I never liked school when I was growing up. I was very shy and introverted. But strangely, I realize (three academic degrees later), that I have always loved learning. I soaked up every word my teachers and professors spoke and I thoroughly enjoyed my writing assignments. Acquiring new skills and learning new ideas fascinated me. I can’t explain it–learning was my “thing.”
As the years progressed, I thought age, education, and maturity were somehow connected and intertwined. Not! I thought the older you “got” the smarter you “got.” I believed what you learned in books would automatically cause you to “know better” and to “do better.” After all, I was “bright,” as my professors used to tag me. More importantly, I had lots of experience, and as the kids would say, “I had been there and done that.” “Experience is the best teacher.” Right? No one could tell me anything. (Not even my beloved grandmother). I thought I knew it all! But someone wisely said, “it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” What is it that makes children think they know more than their parents? What is it that makes us think wrinkles and grey hair equal common sense? What is it that makes us think because we meet a certain age that we suddenly become wise? Ever heard of “an old fool”? What is it that makes the creäture think he is greater than his creator? What is it that makes us think more highly of ourselves than we ought, and that growing old is growing up?
It was not until I was better than half of a century old that I truly understood the essence of wisdom. It has nothing to do with age, in fact, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” 2 Peter 3:8. It has nothing to do with making our own way or ways, when plainly the scripture says,”He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6:8. But wisdom has everything to do with knowing the one who is omniscient and knows everything. None of the lessons I have learned was written in books. My mistakes and failures were my life lessons. My painful experiences were the teaching moments that made me stronger, wiser, and that drew me closer to the Lord.
I always thought I would be retired by this season of my life until I finally understood that with God there is no such thing. What I now know best is what was written years ago,”Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7 Gratefully, I no longer think of retiring, I am too busy sowing seeds for the plentiful, spiritual harvest that awaits far too few laborers. Clearly, Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach was right, “In youth we learn — in age we understand.”
“Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68 (RSV)
I love Peter. Peter was the bold Disciple who always had the courage to speak his heart and to take action. He loved and trusted the Lord with all of his might. But he saw that the closer Jesus got to the cross, the fewer were His faithful followers. Many of Jesus’ followers had already left Him and others simply did not want to be associated with Him. So Jesus asks His handpicked “Chosen,” “Do you also wish to go away?” And in the midst of his own fear and doubt, classic Peter answers Jesus’ question with a question, “Lord to whom shall we go? . . . .”
Before marriage, husband, children, and ministry, I always went to my beloved grandmother who with only a 6th grade education was the wisest person I knew. And in her wisdom she would refer me directly to her personal consultant/counselor — the Word of God. Because there is truly “nothing new under the sun.” The world yesterday was just as troubled as it is today. The news and weather forecasts and reports were just as troubling, and I always remember grandmother saying, “Child these are not “playing” times these are “praying” times.” And pray we did, followed by reading God’s Word. But I discovered even then, as much as I loved and respected my grand mom, that safety and security in this life, is only found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I learned that hope, peace, and “the fullness of joy” is only found in the depths of God’s Word. In these “praying” times, we must be anchored in the Word of God and have faith in Jesus Christ, the “Solid Rock.”
Where can we go when the storms of life are raging? Where can we go when the winds of sorrow blow? Where can we go when our hearts are overwhelmed and our troubles seem more than we can bear? We can go to the only one, as Peter affirmed, has the words of eternal life. We can go to the “Stone that the Builders Rejected.” We can go to the “Rock that is Higher” than we are,” who will always be our shelter from every storm. In this ever-changing, unpredictable world, remember that trouble will not last always, but Je’sus Christ remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. Build your hopes on things eternal and keep holding to God’s unchanging hand.
“He replied, Whether He is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” John 9:25 (NIV)
Have you ever experienced things that are just too wonderful to explain? Things that God has done in your life that the usual descriptive words were inadequate to express the magnitude of God’s magnificence? I’m not even talking about trying to depict the greatness of His creation — I’m talking about personal experiences. I even tried plugging different words into online Merriam Webster and unbelievably the message appeared, “the word you are searching is not in the dictionary.”
I have had extraordinary years. Things have happened in my life that I never could have imagined and cannot now explain. As the kids would say, “OMG!” So, this will be one of my shortest posts because there are just no words to reason, interpret, or depict what the Lord has done since I have truly come into His will for my life. I feel like Job when he said, . . . “I have uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” (Job 42:3 KJV). And I feel like the Psalmist when he said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” (Psalm 139:6 (KJV).
I thank God for all His awesome, wondrous, miraculous, staggering, astounding, sublime, stupendous, supernatural, mysterious works and ways towards me. And, I say with indescribable gratitude what ten thousand tongues could never say on my behalf, and what John Newton wrote and I humbly agree, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I see.”
“LORD, THROUGH all the generations you have been our home!” Psalm 90:1 (Living Bible)
Lately, I have thought about the concept of “home” — the “ideal” and the “reality.” I think about the home of my youth (the quaint house I grew up in). The house where, from the bedroom, I could hear my grandmom singing her favorite hymn, every morning just before her prayers. Downstairs in the kitchen, I see my father (the Chef) percolating coffee as he prepares one of his amazing breakfasts, and hear him whistling his own favorite hymn. There was nothing particularly notable about the house — it was the love that emanated from the building that housed the wondrous music of the joyous hearts of those I loved, and it was especially the words of the hymns, that honored the One that I loved with all of my heart. No matter where I traveled or for how long, I could hardly wait to return. There was something magical about that modest space. I have lived in many houses since then — most more beautiful, but none as special. Nothing equals what I felt within those walls. Nothing compares to the peace, security, and calm reassurance I experienced there.
What is “home” really? Is it a building? Is it a feeling? Is it a person, a place, a thing? I am not sure, but clearly, it is special. Why else are there “home” keys on computers; “home” bases on baseball fields, and even “homing” pigeons, etc.? For me, “home” is shelter from the harsh realities of life. It is where I find comfort, contentment, and rest. It is where I unwind and forget the tedious toils of the day. It is where I can take my tired body and aching spirit directly to the welcoming mat of my Father’s heart.
The Psalmist is saying, “God is the home for the human heart and the human heart becomes a home for God.” With God, there is no threat of loss through disasters, foreclosures, or evictions. Never a concern of homelessness — only periodic bouts of homesickness. The building is sound. The foundation is stable and the walls cannot crumble. No thieves can ever break through or steal. What joy to know that GOD IS OUR HOME! Saint Augustine, said it best, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee . . . .”
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“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much . . . .” Luke 7:47 (Revised Standard Translation)
The depth of this woman’s love for the Lord and His for her, amazes me. It’s a love that loves each of us as though there was only one of us. It’s a love that loves sinners, lepers, and prostitutes the same, and offers forgiveness not by the measure of our sin, but the measure of our love. What a great love this woman had for our Lord — what a devoted and faithful follower. According to Biblical accounts, she became well-known during Jesus’ last days. She accompanied Him during his travels and followed Him to the end. And throughout the Gospels, not only are we permitted to see her many sins, but also Jesus’ love for her, in spite of them.
Curiously in this particular Scripture, Jesus is sharing a meal at the home of Simon the Leper, but He does not speak of lepers or prostitutes, or even sin, but rather, He declares the significance of forgiveness and love. To the best of my knowledge, Simon the Leper is never mentioned again outside of this story, but accounts record this woman as being Blessed to witness Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and empty tomb. And most notably, as the first to witness His’ first post-resurrection appearance (John 20:16 and Mark 16).
I am well aware of the many interpretations and scholarly discussions about Mary Magdalene‘s life, lifestyle, and relationship with Jesus. But one thing is undeniably true — she truly loved the Lord and seized every opportunity to worship Him in spite of the opinions of others. The perfume of the Alabaster Box (worth a year’s wages) was her deepest expression of love for the One who had done so much for her. After all, what is the price of forgiveness? What is the value of love? It seemed when in His presence, she could not help but worship Him because she understood — (He) alone knew the true worth of the perfumed oil — (He) alone knew the depth of her “gift of love.” And (they) alone knew:
A bell is no bell ’til you ring it,
A song is no song ’til you sing it,
And love in your heart
Wasn’t put there to stay
Love isn’t love
Til you give it away.
~Oscar Hammerstein, Sound of Music, “You are Sixteen (Reprise)” (Anonymous writer)
In the words of Alexander Pope, “To err is human, but to forgive is Divine.” Love well–God has shown us how!!