He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, March 28, 2016

A God Of Miracles

       As I read the scriptures and consider all the miracles Jesus did while he walked on this earth, I am overwhelmed by His power.  I get excited when I read how he made the lame to walk again, gave sight to the blind man, turned water to wine, rebuked evil spirits, walked on water, healed the woman of a blood disorder when she touched the hem of His garments, raised the dead, and on and on!  For me the greatest miracle of all was when He “re-created me” through His awesome love and power. 
         When colonists first immigrated from Europe to the United States to escape religious and political persecution, they brought their own traditions and cultures to this foreign land.  The cultures and customs from other countries, along with the customs and traditions of Native Americans living in the area, crossed.  This encouraged an exchange of ideas creating a unique belief system, including a distinctive type of folk magic.  Isolation, due to geography, enabled people to foster a deep belief in the magic and rituals created over the centuries.
         What God does, however, isn’t magic, although it may seem so. It’s about having faith, faith in a God greater than anything on Earth or in Heaven.  He is the Creator!  It’s interesting to watch Science prove the Bible right time and time again.  There are facts about time and space, air having weight, the Earth being a sphere, laws of thermodynamics, air currents, mountains under the seas, dinosaurs, life being in the blood, sanitary practices and so much more in the Bible, that over time has been proven accurate by Science!  It’s not magic; it’s God!
         The story of Moses and the magicians has always intrigued me as the Bible tells how Moses threw down his cane, when confronting Pharaoh, and it became a snake.  The magicians of the time could do the same thing in several of the situations, but they couldn’t do it in all. Moses was in tune with God and followed His direction when attempting to deal with Pharaoh. God is supreme.  The magicians of the time were sorely disappointed, as was Pharaoh, when they couldn’t duplicate or match the power of Moses, or more accurately, God.
         In our lives, we, like Moses, need to inquire of the Supreme Creator.  When we talk with God and ask direction for our lives, He will accommodate, if we are willing to listen.  We must have a relationship with Him in order to hear what He’s telling us.  When we communicate with Him with our whole heart and right motive, He will not only hear, but respond.  He loves us as his children with a matchless, unconditional love.  
         So I challenge you to reflect on how you view life.  Is it “magical” ….good or bad depending on circumstances?  Or do you, on faith, recognize God in control and requiring your trust in Him to make your life the best it can be?  Does your life reflect the relationship you have with Him?  Do others see Him through you? These can be tough questions.  But it's not about magic, it's about a God who is greater than anything we can imagine! Draw close to Him, listen to His voice, and trust in His ability to meet your needs.

Monday, March 21, 2016

He Is King

        The sight of a hawk or a bald eagle soaring above me is exhilarating.  These beautiful creatures are fascinating as they scour the landscape for field mice, moles and other small rodents, grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, caterpillars and other insects; not to mention, snakes!  As someone who really has no affection for rodents (except maybe squirrels and prairie dogs), I am delighted the hawk uses his amazing eyesight to spot a mouse 100 feet in the air, or even more, the snake!

            There was a time, however in the 1800’s when many birds of prey were killed on sight in some areas of the country!  They were demonized as chicken thieves and as worthless flying creatures.  Because of this characterization and fifty-cent bounty on all hawks and owls, over 180,000 birds were eliminated from the landscape!  The ramifications of such action created a new problem for the residents as they became overrun with the rodents and snakes the birds of prey naturally controlled. 1  

            Laws again were put in place out of desperation, once the mistake was recognized, to preserve the birds. In the process many were “renamed.”  The Marsh Hawk was renamed the Northern Harrier, while duck, pigeon and sparrow hawks were reclassified as falcons and others were also renamed to aid in their protection and to help to more readily identify the different kinds of hawks.

            As I search God’s Word, I am fascinated by the different names of God. Like the different hawk specifics for identification, God’s different names allow us a glimpse of His different characteristics, and I wonder if like the hawk, we need to know what each name means so we can understand Him better. 

El Elyon, one such name of God, means “The Most High God” and expresses the “extreme sovereignty and majesty of God.” 2  To be sovereign is to have total jurisdiction, rule, supreme power, dominion, prerogative, control, authority and influence. 3   Along with sovereignty, God also has majesty, defined as supreme greatness, royalty, grandeur and worthy of tribute. 4   Consider kings and queens of other countries who are addressed as “Your Majesty.”  Isn’t God greater than any of these?

            We have no idea what God looks like.  There are pictures of what artists believe Jesus looked like, yet I wonder if they are accurate.  When visiting an art store recently there were paintings of Jesus in modern clothes; jeans and a tee-shirt, interacting with children and adults.  It was a delightful image, yet again, is it an honest depiction? 

            Even if the pictures aren’t exactly what Jesus looks like, I found it comforting to imagine Christ in this very modern way, much like I envision Him holding me close when I cry or laughing with me when I do something totally ridiculous!  Yet when I think of the sovereignty of God it doesn’t really matter what I think He looks like. What does matter is I remember He is “The Most High God” …..  and “King”…. and in control of my life.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Power Struggle

        Struggles come in all shapes and sizes, caring nothing of gender, race, age, nationality, financial status, creed or religion.  It’s just a fact of life. Everyone has some kind of issue to work with regularly. It happens in families, work environments, communities, and churches.  It seems especially apparent in political arenas.  

        Consider the state of our government elections, even as this is being written.  The politicians campaigning for President disagree on almost everything and are vocal and even vicious in their attacks on the opposition!

         These struggles between people, often boils down to wielding power.  People become so consumed with their view, they can see no other and believe their way is the only right way.  Since disagreements ensue, paranoia is planted and cultivated, which then causes accusations and then more issues.  These issues and accusations creates divisions which then creates even more disagreements.  It becomes a vicious circle unless it gets stopped somewhere along the way.  But it’s a decision to be made.  It doesn’t just happen!

         In our daily lives we deal with financial and job issues, marriage, children and teenager situations, aging parents, homelessness, education inadequacies, diet, health problems of all kinds, even issues related to our pets who have become such an important part of our family.

         Jesus was no stranger to struggles.  He dealt with sadness, anger, temptation; even despair before going to the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He knows how we feel.  He also knows the freedom that comes from resting in the Father.  It’s this model we should follow.  When we can come to the Father with an open and pure heart, placing all that besets us at His feet, then we can rest in God’s embrace just as Jesus did.  It is He who restores us and vindicates us from all the ills of this world.  It is He who offers the only real peace that means anything!

         Rest and peace coming in any other form, like substance or alcohol abuse, gaming, pornography, or any other kind of addiction you can imagine, is only temporary and false.  It is a deception that has become part of our society, and sadly more the norm rather than abnormal.  But the truth is, it’s a lie fed by the great deceiver: satan.

         We are all people with a variety of backgrounds, upbringing, ideas, goals and perspectives.  There are going to be different opinions on just about everything.  But we need to take a step back and see the differences without allowing a power struggle to get the upper hand.  Not everyone is right all the time.  There are often more than one or even two options for agreement. During those times, as well as, when there seems to be no other option, we would do better taking the problem to The Lord, asking for His wisdom so we can make good choices or decisions.   

         So I challenge you to consider other people’s opinions this week, when different from your as, “just different” rather than wrong.  Pray about the problem and for a positive outcome.  It is here others will see Christ in your life.