are plenty of times that I have used that word in reference to
situations in my life. I’m sure you have too. There are so many
things that overcome us and we seem to be loaded down from time to
time with the burdens of life. Lately, I have been learning a new
usage of this word. I’ve been experiencing the overwhelming love and
blessings of God. Things in this world are not exactly positive in
this time we live in. We hear so much negative and sad news, it’s
easy to be overwhelmingly depressed. Yet if we stop and look at how
good God is, we can be equally as overwhelmed at how blessed we are.
Last weekend, our family and friends gave us a shower for our new
little one on the way. As I stood back and looked at the multitude
of gifts we had received, I was overwhelmed by the blessings. We
started out with nothing for this child and ended up with every need
met. My family has had a lot of changes in our lives this past year
but with each change, there has been such a blessing attached. God
has protected us from conflict and spared us from things we had no
idea would be coming our way. He removed us from situations that
could have been very bad and he placed us in a safe, loving, and
supportive environment. “He
maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the
still waters.” (Psalm23:2) We didn’t even know we
needed this change, but He did. We have been so blessed by the
support of our families in these times. My husband and I have been
so blessed to have wonderful parents who love and support us in all
we do. We know that they will always be there praying for us and
willing to help in all we do. I have a wonderful group of women that
I meet with weekly that I know I could call on in a moments notice
and I would have any help and prayers that I need without question.
I have a roof over my head, food on my table and clothes on my back.
My family is blessed beyond what I could imagine. We by no means
have an easy life or a perfect life, but we have an amazing God that
walks with us and before us. “Yea,
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort
me.” (Psalm 23:4) We have not only one miracle child in our lives,
but we are expecting another. We deserve none of these things. Why
does He love us so much? I don’t think we will ever be able to
fathom the love He has for us. It is too overwhelming for us to
understand. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I
cannot attain unto it.”(Psalm 139:6) Just count your
blessings, and you too will find yourself overwhelmed by His mercy,
grace and love. We truly are too blessed to be stressed.
Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he
leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name’s sake.Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with
me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the
days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
As an expectant mother, one of the greatest comforts in knowing your baby is ok, is feeling their little kicks and punches. I get comfort in feeling that movement and I know that movement means life. I thought about this and how it is so similar to the way we can feel the Holy Spirit and know that our God is alive and with us. Where there is movement there is life. What a comfort in knowing each time you feel Him move in your heart and life, He is allowing you to know He’s still there. There are times, we wonder if He’s sleeping, but rest assured, He is always there. He is protecting us from things we never see. He’s leading us through so that we can grow. He’s carrying us through hard times to give us rest. He is challenging us to be more like Him. He is blessing us even though we don’t deserve it. He does it all because He loves us. Sometimes when I want to feel my baby move and make sure he is ok, I relax and stay still and wait for him to move. Maybe you need to stand still and let God move. If we don’t stop and be still, sometimes we miss out on seeing and feeling Him move.
“He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” (Exodus 14:13)
“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17)
Each time God is at work wanting to reveal himself to those who are lost, Satan is also at work trying to distract them by whatever means possible. Think about that today as you go from place to place and each time you are in God’s house. Don’t allow Satan to use you as a distraction. There are souls at stake.
I have heard so many things that should not be said about the church from those who say they are christians. For some reason people want to point fingers at others mistakes just the same way as in the story of the woman who was caught in adultery. “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7b) It must be easier to look on others sins than it is to confront our own. We seem to want a perfect church than is full of perfect people. We are all sinners saved by grace. None of us are perfect. Christians need each other. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) We live in a world that is becoming more and more anti-christian everyday. It’s a world where anything goes and whatever you want to believe or worship is accepted. That’s not what God’s Word says. We need each other in this mixed up world. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) How often do we gossip about others burdens instead of bearing them? “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Just think about how God loves you. Does He write you off when you make a mistake? Does He give you what you deserve? Does He go and spread gossip about how you have failed? Do we really follow that scripture? What would it look like if we all loved others as Christ loves us? Wow, I think it would be a different world. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) If he can love us while we are still sinners, can’t we do the same?
The church is a place of worship. It is a place of refuge for believers in Christ to assemble together and worship in spirit and in truth. It should be a safe place of comfort and support. A place where we can seek prayer from other believers. A place where we are not only fed by the word but where we share in praise of what God has done in our lives. We should be able to cry together, laugh together, rejoice together, and grow together. I don’t know where I would be without the church and it’s people. Christ’s people have been there for me through every stage in life. I have been so blessed to grow up in a Godly church with bible teaching and spirit filled preaching and singing. I feel so blessed now to be in yet another church that has taken us all in as family and loved and supported us. If you will let God lead and work in your life, you will never regret it. He knows what we need even when we can’t yet see the need. Let’s all try to get the right view of God’s house and stop trying to make it what we think is should be. Stop trying to be the Holy Spirit and Judge in others life. Take a look at our own relationship with our Lord. Let God be the head of the church and be obedient to his word and Holy Spirit.
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
The old saying, “It’s gonna hurt me more than it’s gonna hurt you”, is very true when it comes to our children. When I have to discipline my child or watch my husband discipline my child, it hurts. I physically feel pain and sorrow for my child even though the discipline is necessary, I wish there was another way. Just think about how that must feel to our Heavenly Father. It must hurt when He has to discipine us. Just imagine how He felt when He knew the only way to save us was to give His only son. Wow! We need to be thankful! Thankful for His loving discipline and thankful for His overwhelming Grace. He loves us so much even when we fail.
Jesus prayed, “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26.39
I was reading in Malachi chapter 1 recently, about the unacceptable sacrifices that the priests where offering. They were giving such gifts as spoiled bread, lame, sick, and blind sacrifices.(Malachi 1:7-8) God said that they had profaned His name and polluted His table. (Malachi 1:11-12) Do we do the same? Do you give God your best or your leftovers? Are we guilty of giving the things we don’t really care about? I thought about the times I have donated food by looking to give the things I didn’t really need anyway. I thought about how sometimes we tithe the minimum out of obligation not the heart of giving. Some only give what they think they can spare. Is that a sacrifice? Jesus was our sacrifice. He gave His life. What are we willing to give to help others? Do you give your all to Jesus or just what your choose to spare? In Malachi 2:17, it states that “ye have wearied the Lord…” I don’t know about you but I don’t want to weary the Lord. I want to serve Him and give Him my all. I know I fall short everyday but I am so thankful for God’s grace and mercy. The best offering we can give is all of ourselves.
“And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33)
While walking with Matthias today. He wanted to sit down on the driveway and play with his toys while I walked back and forth. As I kept getting a little further away he kept yelling to me and asking about noises and whether there might be a car coming. Every time I would answer him and start to walk further he would call out to me again and I finally said I’m right here I’m listening and watching, you are ok. Then God reminded me that he is right there too and I don’t need to keep checking to see if he’s there. He’s always listening and watching. Sometimes we start to feel alone at times when things are hard but He doesn’t leave us. We don’t need to trust in feelings, we need to trust in His promises. He is faithful.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8
“: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
While playing with my son today. He wanted to show me some of his rocks. He shows me one rock that is a blue color with some tan spots. He says it is special because it is the world, but it is broken. I immediately thought of how true that is. God made our world special. He made each part of it perfect. He gave us everything we would need or want, yet it wasn’t enough. With the choice to succumb to temptation of wanting more, we allowed sin to creep in and break that perfect relationship that God had created. The world became broken. Broken by sin. It is amazing that the world is still standing, considering how it has treated its creator. Each generation that has turned against Him has continued the cycle of brokenness. But Praise God, He made a way to mend the brokenness. His name is Jesus Christ. He came and died our death and rose again so the brokenness could be mended. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17) We don’t deserve it, but He offers it freely. The broken rock I was holding could be glued back together, but the damage would always be visible. Unlike my sons rock, when Jesus mends the broken, He makes them a new creation. His glue covers all of our brokenness. Bring your brokenness to Him and stand on His solid rock.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17)
While reading over the scriptures in Luke chapter 1 telling the Christmas story, I began to think about Zacharias and his silence. The Bible says that both Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous before God and well stricken in years. There is no doubt that they had seen Him perform miracles in their lives many times before. I’m sure they had prayed for a child faithfully for years. They may have come to the stage in their lives where they have accepted that it must not be God’s will. Zacharias reacted with fear when the angel showed up in the temple. Sometimes I think we all reach a point where we either accept that the answer we hoped for must not be what God planned and sometimes when God does send the answer we hoped for, we react in fear and doubt as if we’ve forgotten His faithfulness. There are times when we receive the hoped for answer in God’s time and we begin to question God about the blessing and wonder how things will possibly work out. It seems at those times we forget all those miracles He has already performed. We forget that He has never failed us and His promises are always true. Zacharias was promised joy and gladness. He was told of what a Godly man his son would be, yet there was still that little bit of doubt that made him question how it could be possible. How many times do we do the same? We have promises written down for us in God’s word and we too have seen Him work miracles in our own lives as well as others, yet there is still those moments of doubt. Zacharias’ voice was taken from him until his son was born. He was silent for nine months. Sometimes we need to be silent. God still keeps his promises in spite of the moments of doubt that we may have. I’m so glad He keeps his promises in spite of me and my weaknesses. He knows me yet he still loves and blesses me. God kept His promise to Elisabeth and Zacharias. They had a son named John and he became a wonderful man of God that lead many to follow God. His plans are always better than ours. He has proven it time and time again in our lives, yet sometimes we still have trouble letting go and letting Him move. He will keep His promises to you just as he did for them. Keep trusting in His word. Remember sometimes we need to just be silent and let God do His work. He is faithful.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
One weekend a couple months ago some friends of ours took us for a boat ride. It was so beautiful and all I could think about was how awesome God is. He is such an awesome creator. As we looked on the banks of the river, we began to see beautiful houses and docks along the way. I noticed several docks were grown over with vines and grass and clearly unused. All the houses were very large and beautiful. The type of houses I grew up thinking I would love to live in one day. They all had the most beautiful view of Gods creation and yet so many did not enjoy what they have been blessed with. Perhaps its because they are too busy. To busy working to pay for the oversized houses, expensive hobbies, and the constant need to buy bigger and better. If all the distractions were taken away, would they then see what they are missing out on? Would they see how much time they spend working to maintain houses and land they do not have time to enjoy?
When I first started feeling led to start the downsizing journey, the scripture that kept running through my mind was when Jesus was talking with the rich man and telling him to sell all he had and follow him. “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” (Luke 18:22-23) I kept hearing that over and over in my mind. The scripture says that he went away sad because he was rich. I pray that the things this world never come between my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I pray to never allow the things that will eventually rust and become moth eaten to control me. I pray to be free from the controls and bondage of having too much stuff.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)