The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. ” – Zephaniah 3:17 Continue reading
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:38-39. Continue reading
Sometimes it is hard to connect with people, even with all the means of communication we have today. We play phone tag with one another; our email inboxes are overflowing; voicemail is full; Continue reading
Acts 16:25, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Continue reading
Job 36:16, “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.” Continue reading
John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not understood it.”
Have you ever been rejected? Probably at some point or another, we all have. For some, rejection has occurred quite frequently. To be excluded, to be shunned, to be cast aside, to be made to feel of no value for whatever reason. Those are the experiences and feelings no one wants to have. Imagine however if the very people who refused you were the ones you came to save? Imagine the people who treated you in such a manner were the people you were trying to rescue, the people you were willing to die for, the people you gave your all to love.
This verse in John tugs at my heart because it explains the intent of Christ and the manner in which humanity received him. He came as the light of the world, the answer to our imminent death, the Savior of mankind; yet, we had become so familiar with ‘darkness’ that we did not recognize what God was trying to do.
I often wonder what I would’ve done if I lived in Jesus’ time. Would I have readily accepted Him? Would I have known He was the King the prophets talked about? I’m not sure. And what about now, 2000 years since His birth? Do we accept Him fully or are there parts of us that still reject Him?
Not too long ago, I came across a wounded bird in the field. He appeared dazed and stunned either by hitting a tree or a car window. I didn’t know. As I carried him in my hand back to my house, I noticed his beautiful feathers and coloring. His breast was spotted with brush strokes and his wings were several shades of brown. The details alone on this bird blew my mind. I couldn’t fathom the time God had taken just on this particular bird. How much He must love His creations! As I viewed that bird, I couldn’t help but realize God’s grace in us. As the Psalmist has said, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Like the bird, the intricacies of the human body mesmerize the careful observer. I am amazed at the magnitude of God’s love for us.
Yet, by our lifestyles we reject Him. Today I challenge you to listen to His voice. Choose to embrace Him as Lord of your life. Instead of choosing to reject Him and walk in darkness, allow the light of His voice and life to fill your daily experience. He deserves to be accepted by us.
1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”
I remember as a boy in my dad’s church, there was a lady who unexpectedly became very sick. I’m not sure what Miss Ruby had, but the congregation prayed for her continuously. Miss Ruby had never married and loved children. She taught first grade for many years until retirement. Miss Ruby had a very soft voice and a calm spirit. Her class was so well-behaved because if her students weren’t quiet, they wouldn’t be able to hear her. I learned later in life that accidentally, Miss Ruby had backed over a little girl with her automobile. The pain of the girl’s death had caused her to have a nervous breakdown, and she never spoke louder than a whisper after that time. Everyone loved Miss Ruby dearly. There wasn’t a mean bone in her body.
My dad would remind me as we prepared for bed, “Don’t forget to include Miss Ruby in your prayers.”
Several Saturdays later, Miss Ruby died.
For a young boy, her death was hard to understand. I had asked God for something important – for Miss Ruby to be healed. It happened in the Bible. People even came back from the dead; blind men were given sight; the lame walked; demons were cast out. Nothing is impossible with God. So why did Miss Ruby die?
At my young age, the answers I heard around the church didn’t satisfy me. It wasn’t that I was particularly close to Miss Ruby. Truth be known, I hardly knew her; but, I believed in the miracle. I saw the persistence of her friends praying for her. I saw my dad anoint her with oil. I wanted to witness the miracle of God’s healing power with my own eyes! A real live Biblical truth from the front pew.
Since Miss Ruby died, I’ve comforted many people with the same questions I asked. Why didn’t God heal her? Did we not pray enough? Were we lacking in faith? Can He still do miracles in the modern-day?
The principle problem is a misunderstanding of prayer. Prayer is a means of communication between us and God. The power behind prayer is even more potent than any of us can imagine. When God does not answer us in the manner we feel He should, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us. It means His plan is different from ours. Still, in the “rough” times, an unanswered prayer can be heart wrenching.
After Miss Ruby’s death, dad was out in the yard planting flowers for mom; I went to help him.
“Dad,” I started, “Why didn’t God heal Miss Ruby? Did our church lack faith? Or did God not hear us?”
Now that I am a father, I know my dad probably wanted to tell me to go play with the neighbors so he could have peace; but, instead, he sat on the ground, took off his gloves, and looked up at the sky. The look I saw meant he was choosing his words.
“Sometimes, God says yes to our prayers. Sometimes, God says no. Sometimes, God says wait,” my dad began to explain. “No is hard to hear, especially when it has to do with someone we love and care about.”
“Did you believe God would heal her, Dad?” I asked.
“I did. But that’s our part. The rest is up to God. He chose to heal Miss Ruby in Heaven. Remember, He put her here, and He knows the right time to take her back. Our job is to ask, believe, wait, and accept.”
A few weeks after Miss Ruby’s death, her family home was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. As I heard the news, one of the ladies at the church commented, “Praise God Miss Ruby didn’t live to see that happen. That house was her grandfather’s. It had been in her family a long time. Oh, it would’ve broken her heart.”
I’ve learned much since that time: God wants to hear our plans, our desires, our wishes. When He says, “No,” it isn’t that He doesn’t like our ideas or doesn’t want to help. He just has a different plan; and, His plans are always better than ours and for our good.