Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 152

When Falsely Accused

And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” Genesis 45:7.

I love the story of Joseph as he was thrown in prison, falsely accused---first by his brothers and then by Pharaoh's wife. It all seemed so unfair, but God had a purpose and a plan in his future.

We often don't understand our difficult journey, especially if it never seems to get better, only worse. Often we look at easier circumstances someone else has and we begin to second guess God's love for us----is He really hearing our prayers like it does their's?

Don't you imagine Joseph felt that way at times? Here he was thrown in a pit by his brothers who hated him, then into prison, seemingly forgotten for something he didn't even do. I can't imagine his struggle to make sense of it all. It must have seemed like he was destined for a life in prison, a life of sorrow and separation from his family.

Earlier the scriptures tell us God was with Joseph and things went well with him. It doesn't appear God is with him at this juncture of his life. He remained in prison with no idea when or if he would be released.

Because of his ability to interpret dreams he was eventually brought before Pharaoh and was placed in charge of the entire country of Egypt. He had to go through in order to be used during the famine to not only save the country, but his own family.

The amazing part is his forgiveness of his brother's betrayal when he said, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”. Joseph could see God's purpose in his whole ordeal. God had prepared him and placed him in a position from which he could literally save many from starvation. Yes, God was with him. Do you believe God's promise to be with you in your situation?

Can you look at your life with its difficulties and seeming unfairness and come to understand God's purpose in it all? I know I had to go through with our prodigal in order to understand the struggles of our families and know their pain so I could then walk with them through their's with a sense of understanding. How do you think God is preparing you in the midst of a trial so that He can use you to bless other's in the future? Will you be found complaining about it or learning from it? Can you accept all things as in His perfect plan for you whether you are in the good times or the bad? Surrender to His will today and let Him use your circumstances to bring Him glory.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 150

Happy Father's Day

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.....” Psalm 103:13.

As a father you may face a different set of circumstances than you ever thought possible this Father's Day. You may find yourself traveling to visit your son or daughter behind bars or you may have no idea where they are, or they may be estranged from you. Our family found ourselves on many special occasions in this dilemma.

After my husband's months of recuperation from a paralyzing illness we decided to visit our son in prison on the following Father's Day. I remember lots of tears being shed by us all as we sat across that cold metal table and tried to make sense of the horrible situation. Never did we dream this special day would be spent behind bars with a room full of other inmates and their families.

Many psychologist's believe that losing a child to the world is just as painful as losing them to death. You may have lost your child to drugs, alcohol, or some other unimaginable tragedy. Hopefully you can rest in the fact that they are at peace with the Lord. Neither the one walking with a prodigal for years nor the parent who has lost their child to addiction in death can wrap their minds around either journey nor oftentimes why they have to walk it. There is no denying that it is a pain that no one can understand unless they experience it.

The empty seat beside you at church, at a movie, at the dinner table, on vacation is a void in your heart. They will always remain on your mind even if others don't talk about it or acknowledge their absence.

I pray you will be able to have contact in one way or another on this special day. May the Lord enable you to love your prodigal unconditionally whether at home or away in the pig pen. May He give you strength and hope for each new day. May He bring your prodigal home and when He does, may you be able to accept him/her as they are on their return. The Prodigal Father asked no questions he just ran to greet the lost one, falling on him with spontaneous forgiveness and love.

I know so many times I have fallen away from my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I praise Him that I have learned that it never changes His love for me. He is always waiting to embrace me when I finally come to my senses. Lord help us to love like You do and give this reader peace that You are in control of their situation.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

day 149

God's Promise of Rest
“Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of You be found to have fallen short of it” Hebrews 4:1 (NIV).

While at the beach recently for a rest time I wrote in the sand in big letters, “REST”. Little did I know that was an omen for the days to come. We spent that day on the beach doing nothing but sitting back enjoying the sights and sounds, reading, napping, and resting. We had no schedule, no definite plans, no place we had to be, it was heavenly. Those times are few and far between aren't they?

I began getting sick on the trip and by the time I returned home it was a full blown sinus infection. I tried to self medicate and I kept pushing until I finally went to the Dr. On Monday feeling miserable.

Years ago my spiritual mentor taught me when a sickness was coming on to say: “If this is of the enemy I refuse it, but if it is of you Lord I accept it. Teach me which it is and if I must go through it teach me to learn from it.

This was a season of going through it so I need to look at the lessons God has for me. It was the sickest I have been in a while. Everything had to cease. I was forced to rest both my body and my mind. I actually slept a lot, between the coughing spells. God knows just what we need. I had been pushing hard and needed to take time to rest. If I didn't choose to rest for my body's sake it would chose for me.

Maybe you are like me, you find it hard to rest, but it is a necessity, not only for the body, but for the soul. It could be a day of rest, but we often find we need to rest in Him for a season. He gives us the promise of His rest and we must be careful not to fall short of entering it. As someone who is driven I often don't heed that still same voice to come aside and rest. Some times God has to make the decision for us and we end up flat on our backs. Hopefully my response will be immediate next time, without a fight that always leaves me exhausted in the end. Lessons learned each and every day, right?

His rest for believers is having a sense of peace and assurance that no matter what may come our way we will one day have a heavenly rest. No matter what we face He is with us both in the actions of our life and in our rest. What a blessed hope He gives us in His Word that we can come into His rest. There is no rest better than that. Are you listening to His voice to come aside and rest in Him or are you barreling through life on your own agend

Day 148

Finding Your Way

...because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” Matthew 7:14.
Recently I had to go out of town to a place I knew nothing about and I was traveling alone. I was a little nervous about finding it, so I got out our GPS, put it in my phone navigator, and made a print out as well. I was armed and ready, so I thought.
Halfway there one device suggested I go off the planned path to avoid heavy traffic ahead which would save me thirty minutes. The other kept a steady pace straight ahead. So what should I do? Mind you it had to be a quick decision and I had no one helping me make the decision.

At the last minute I decided to save time by taking the advice of the device that there was traffic ahead which would make me run late to my appointment. This took me through a more rural area which happened to be backed up with an accident. I found myself inching down the road at a 20 MPH pace. No time saved, which made me wonder if I would have been better off going straight on the main highway like the other device was directing me.

As Christians aren't we glad we only have one source to guide us on the best path of life? It may not always take us the shortest way or keep us from running into obstacles along the way, but we know if we follow it's instructions fully it will be the safest path. We can totally trust the Bible as our guidebook because it is filled with truth and will never lead us astray like man made devices. We can trust it to get us to our desired destination safely.

I have known times when the earthly devices either took me way out of the way or took me to places no where near my destination. We often put our faith in these instruments, but are you placing your faith in the direction in God's holy Word for your life or in where the world will take you. My eternal destination is clear, focused on eternity with my Lord and Savior. I must chose not to listen to other voices that tempt me to save time by going in another direction. God's Word is our compass. Straight and narrow is the way which leads to life-, will you be one of the few who finds it?
Sandra Kearns

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 147

Have No Idols Before God

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4-5).
I have developed a bad habit......I check my phone for messages, emails, and facebook posts as soon as I get up in the mornings. Then I go make the coffee and come back to check again. If I hear a ping I pick it up again and then get engaged in everyone else's post.

I am feeling convicted because I am putting social media before my time with God and even during my time with God. So I have determined to move my charger and I will try with all my might not to check my devices when I get up in the mornings until I have had my alone time with my Lord. He wants nothing to come before Him. He waits patiently for me, but I am sure is disappointed when I chose to pick up the device and become so entangled with it's contents that I delay my time with Him or allow it to interrupt our time by picking it up each time it makes a sound.

If I was attempting to have a conversation with a friend or business acquaintance I am pretty sure I would not like it if that person just stopped and answered the phone or read and responded to a text right in the middle of our exchange. As I write that thought I remember plenty of times I have had that occur. I also remember how it made me feel.

So........I will make a concerted effort to make some changes. Right now my phone is plugged in at my bedside. The devices must go to another room to avoid any temptation to check it first. I do not want anything to come before my alone time with God each morning. As I recall He calls that an idol. Ugh. An idol is anything or person who comes before God. Checking my phone had become a priority over my hearing from God.

What has become your idol? It could be your job, your family, your ministry, your relationships, or anything you find yourself putting before God. All these things can be good but if it comes before Him it is wrong. Maybe you, like me, need to do a self analysis and take steps to make a change in your routine. After all our passage for today tells us our God is a jealous God. He is jealous for our time and attention.

Day 146

It's Time to Fly

“ Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again” Isaiah 51:22.

I was delighted to teach at the Dove's Nest Rehab Facility recently. My subject was, The Importance of Quiet Time With God and How to Hear His Voice. We probably had about 10 to 12 ladies who attended. They seemed to be engaged in our time together and asked many questions. It was a great time of sharing and I look forward to returning.

After our time together two of the ladies held back to talk to us. One was questioning her salvation experience and the other wanted to share a scripture she believed God had given her. It was from Isaiah 51:22. She read from the King James Version, which is our key passage, but I would like to share the Amplified Version on this passage because it so fits her situation. It reads: “Thus says your Lord, and your God Who pleads the cause of His people: Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of intoxication and staggering, the cup of My wrath you shall drink no more”.

This verse applied directly to her situation. She had struggled with addiction most of her life and she believed God was saying that that cup would not be her plight anymore, that God was promising release from the chains that had held her captive for so long. She was filled with excitement and hope as she shared what God had shown her in His Word.

It was such a demonstration of what we had just shared in our session together, how to hear God's voice speaking to us. I was so excited for her because I felt like God had just given her a direct promise that she would stagger no more from the substances that had controlled her life for so many years. It is encouraging to see someone else hear from God and believe the promise was totally her's to claim.

Right after our time of sharing one of the other ladies brought over a magazine opened up to an article entitled, “It's Time To Fly”. I said, “Wow, I think God is showing you His will for your life from all directions”! None of those things were coincidental. God had orchestrated it all from our being there to encourage her, to reading the Word, and receiving it for herself. It was an awesome blessing to experience Him speaking to her and agreeing with her in that.

I remember the first time I really experienced God speaking to me out of His Word. It spurred me on to be watching and listening with more intention and with understanding that His Word is alive and active. Have you heard God speak to you from His Word? I know that passage was written to other people in a time long before, but it so applied to this young ladies circumstances and His Spirit spoke to her spirit through it to give her a promise and a hope she had not found elsewhere.

Why don't you read your Bible today with intention, expecting to hear God's voice in your situation. It just might be your time to fly!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 145

Turn to Me

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn yeeven to me with all your heart, and with fasting,
and with weeping, and with mourning” Joel 2:12.

What a blessing it is when we are able to get away for a fasting time from ministry, housework, errands, and responsibilities of everyday life. On our last get away we didn't move our truck for two days. Now that is my kind of fast!

We walked leisurely enjoying the beauty of the scenery and God's creation with the mountains in the backdrop of the lake. We heard the birds singing, fish jumping, the doves cooing, boat motors humming, the wind whistling, the rumble of the thunder, and the sound of rain on the roof. These are things we often don't take the time to observe or take in on a daily basis so to pull apart is a sort of fast from the pace of the world. It is a time we can hear from God which is what a fast is all about anyway.

Most of us don't take the time to stop and take in the simple pleasures of a leisure life. We always have an agenda, a meeting to attend, an event to get to, a task to do, a TV program to watch, or an email that needs to be responded to.

I remember going to Africa in the same fast mode of speed I normally do at home. As we traveled from village to village I was on full speed and the nationals we were with kept saying, “Slowly, Slowly”. You think we might be better off to learn the lesson of taking the time to go slowly, to take the time to really see and hear the voice of God through His creation, a whispered word, or by taking the time to read His Word.

Maybe you need to fast from some of your activities and take the time for a special retreat to meet with the Lord. You can do that on your back porch, but if you are like me it helps to get away. If we stay at home we are often distracted with all around us that needs to be done. First thing you know we are caught up in a chore or a hobby and before you know it the day is gone. Take a look at your calendar and make plans to spend a day with God alone. Remarkable things happen when you do.