Worms Anyone

3
“Nobody likes me! Everybody hates me! I’m going to eat some worms.” Kids sang this little chorus years ago, especially when they were at odds with their friends. Of course, the sentiment didn’t last long but the words reveal the thoughts of many people including adults at different times of their lives.

Often, when we have been through a long struggle or a harsh event in our life, we become physically and emotionally separated from friends and loved ones. We struggle to fit in but many know the intense feeling of loneliness even as we stand in a large crowd. We might not sing the words “Nobody likes me!” but the reality is the feeling gnaws away deep inside.

It’s at those times, we need to put a guard up in our hearts. Not because someone is out to get us, but the truth is the enemy of our soul wants to use it to bring about more separation. Little half-truths begin ringing on our ears. Brother Sycamore didn’t speak to me or Sister Sue looked right through me. We forget that others have personal struggles and sometimes they are pre-occupied too.

Other times, our actions and attitudes push everyone away. We could be angry over matters we can’t control, or maybe a loved one deeply hurt us. Fear is another factor that contributes to these situations and has paralyzed many from allowing people to get close to us. Concern over what others think brings terror to some hearts. In others, there is a deep-seated panic that if someone sees the real you that they will no longer be a friend.

But the truth is, the Lord is always waiting for us to turn to Him. He desires to be in a one on one relationship with Him. He loves you just as much as He loves the brother in front of us or the sister working in the nursery. We can rest in the fact that He knows the real us. He sees our real heart and still loves us and His love will never fail or fade.

As we struggle through those times of intense loneliness, we can rest in the knowledge our Heavenly Father waits and even longs to communicate with us. He might minister words of comfort through a sermon, song or even a phone call. It might come through a hug, a card, or the Scriptures. While we might feel alone, we need to remember we are NEVER truly alone. That is His promise and He always keeps His promises.  Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Advertisements

What’s Your Answer?

1a

Who is Jesus in your life? How does He fit into your lifestyle? Does He have a place of prominence or just in a standby mood, waiting for your beckoning? Of course, we know that He is God and is never in a stand-by mood, but do we live with that mindset? Maybe we treat Him as fire insurance, our ticket to Heaven and escape from eternity in Hell. As absurd as some of these illustrations seem to many of us, truth is many people live in those mindsets.

However, as we read His word, we see the many facets of the Lord and His actions toward His children. To Adam and Eve, He was their Creator walking with them daily. Abraham found the Liberator, leaving all behind to serve the One True God. Later, Abraham found Jehovah as the Promise Keeper. Moses saw Him as the Protector against a vast army, while the children of Israel found their Emancipator.

The Defender watched over Joseph in the depths of the dungeon and then the Promoter for Joseph’s faithfulness. Jochebed found the Faithful One as the basket carrying Moses floated in a crocodile infestation river. Moses learned that even after forty years of hiding, Yahweh raised him up in a position of ministry.

The New Testament reveals more characteristics of our Lord. Matthew discovered acceptance in spite of his profession. The woman with the issue of blood discovered the Healer. A demoniac found a Deliverer, while the adulteress found His forgiveness. The multitudes received from the Provider, while the sick received a touch from the Great Physician. The woman at the well found the Master Counselor.

No matter what the situation is, or the desperation in a situation, He is Lord over that. He can meet every need. His arm is not too short, nor His heart too small. He longs to be involved in every aspect of your life. Draw closer to Him today.

Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.

Just a Miracle

Do you realize that you are a miracle? Yes, you! Well, think about it for a moment. How else would you explain your life? Most of us, if it were not for the mercy of the Lord would probably be dead or in horrible circumstances. However, the Lord has touched our hearts and our life.

We were sinking in the miry clay of sin, every single one of us. In fact, we were so deep in the vat of muck that only the tops of our heads, eyes, and noses were above the sludge. We could not touch the bottom. Our arms were pinned to our sides and movement was useless. Then to top it off, there is absolutely no one around that can help us out. There are no overhanging limbs from nearby trees, vines, or ropes to help us out of this predicament. Hopeless despair fills every fiber of our being.

We have come to the end of our rope. Here we are stuck in this bottomless pit of despair; wondering exactly what to do next.
Then, a gentle voice begins calling your name. You quit struggling and begin straining to hear the voice better.

“Come unto Me. Lay your burdens down and just surrender!”

Where is that voice coming from? Finally, you manage to wiggle around enough to realize that Jesus is behind you. Why is He back there? Because throughout your life, you have turned toward the world; leaving all thought of Jesus behind you.

“Come to Me, I have made a way.”

But how? I am filthy; no one could care for me now. I have made too many mistakes, big mistakes, major ones. How could anyone ever want me like this?

“But I do! You just need to …”

I need to do…what? I don’t understand how this works.

“You just need to repent! Open your eyes and heart and see how living life your way has brought you to this place. See your shortcomings for what they are –sin! You have failed to follow My instructions and broken My commandments. The wages of sin is death! But I have made a way out of this miry clay.”
But how?

“I gave My life up for you. I took your punishment and carried your burdens to the cross. When you repent, I will cleanse you whiter than snow.”

Seeing the reality of where my choices have brought me, the truth is right there before my eyes. I need a Savior. In spite of my failures, my shortcomings and sins, Jesus is reaching out to me. How could He possible want me? Yet, He has told me that He loves me. He loved ME enough to die for me. No one else has ever done that before. But…but why?

“I have loved you since the beginning of time. Even before your birth, I loved you. I called you by name and My heart’s desire is to have a relationship with you.”

With tears running down my face, I cried out in repentance. Sorrow filled my heart as never before; sorrow for my sins, my shortcomings. While the tears run suddenly, I begin to feel lighter, and realize the miry clay is gone. I am… white, whiter than snow. All the weight has been lifted from my heart. For the first times in years, I am free.

“This is the miracle of your new birth. You are whole. You are a new creature in Me. Old things have passed away and I am making all things new. “

Yes, I am a miracle. I am a child of the Most High. Chosen by the Lord, now I am set apart for His good pleasure. All the weight of the past is gone and I am free. I am a miracle.

Rejoice in who you are, and the truth that the Lord has taken a messed up heart and made a miracle out of you.

It’s Time for Mercy

1

We live in a time where few people have patience, or grace for other people. We see road rage, verbal abuse, individuals attacked without a reason. People are afraid to go out for an evening stroll because of the gangs who attack anyone in their territory. Others deliberately stir up trouble to sit back and watch the fireworks. We live in a world that has gone crazy and it is getting worse each day. People hold grudges, wants revenge, and don’t care who else gets hurt in the process. One verse sums it up perfectly: Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. In fact, these exact same words repeated in Judges 21:25.

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. No one else mattered. Lawlessness was the law of the day. Sounds like society today. When I was growing up everyone went to church every Sunday. Then you had the Sunday night service, prayer service, choir practice, etc. etc. If you didn’t attend church on a regular basis you were considered abnormal. People hid their sins out of shame. But, today, the opposite is true. However, today, sin is flaunted like a bright red flag waving in the sun. We are quick to judge, and even quicker to spread the ‘news’ of someone’s failures. We love to carry our grudges like a banner or badge. We feel we are entitled to bear our wounds and scars proudly.

I am so thankful that the Lord does not carry our mistakes listed on a large banner for all to see. He sees them all and still loves us. When we cry out in repentance, He does the unbelievable; He forgives them and throws them a far as the east is from the west. Think about this for a moment. Even as the Lord was hanging on the cross bearing our sins, shortcomings and faults, He showed such mercy. We have read how He revealed His love and compassion to the thief dying beside him. But He took it one step further.

Here is Jesus; beaten, tortured, smacked around, His beard plucked out, wearing a crown of thorns. His physical pain is unimaginable. As He hangs on a cross, His heart is revealed in a single sentence. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34. Jesus cried out for mercy! Even after every act of violence, Jesus still cried out for mercy. He cried for mercy for the very men who had made His life a living hell. He cried out for mercy for the torturer. He cried out for mercy for the ones who only saw Him as a simple man and not the Son of God.
Jesus has shown us His heart, His compassion, and His great love. Mercy extended just moments before His death.

Forgiveness was given freely to men who did not recognize who He was. If this is the example, He has placed before us, who are we to hold grudges. No one has ever treated me in the same manner as the Lord. If He could forgive such torture, surely we can follow His example and cry out for mercy toward others.

Easy! Yea, right! No, it will not be easy! In fact, it will be downright hard. Yes, He was the Son of God, but He was still a man with natural feelings. How could He do it? Because of His deep, intimate relationship with His Father. He knew that this was the most important relationship in His life. We need that same dedication in our own relationship with the Lord. The world is getting crazier every day and in all honesty, we need to draw closer to the Lord. Psalm 73:28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. As we draw near, His Name will be lifted up

3, 2, 1 GO!

1That’s it! Get on up and take that step of faith. Get out of your boat, your comfort zone and move forward. It’s not too late, and you are not too old, too young, too bad, too weak or fearful. Because you see, it’s not about you, it’s all about Jesus. It’s in His power that you can take that step. It’s His strength that you need, because in yourself, you are too weak. Age doesn’t matter – because if He called you to it, He will guide you through it. Jeremiah was called when he was in his mother’s womb. John the Baptist leapt while in his mother’s womb for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice. Yet Abraham was in his 70’s when the Lord called him out to a new land. Moses was in his 80’s when he became the leader of a bunch of slaves. Noah was over 500 when he began building the Ark.

What does matter is your obedience. As Christians, we need to lay aside the things of this world and get busy about the Father’s business. We have children, neighbors, and entire families that need to hear the Word of the Lord. Those in prisons need to hear the Good News. The sick need prayer. Our widows and orphans need to know that they are not forgotten. The shut-ins need to know that someone cares. Teenagers want to know that He is real and need to see it in our lives and not just our words. There are hearts to plow, and seeds to plant in the hearts of many. Maybe your call is watering previous planted seeds – then get busy. Perhaps you need to shine your light on that struggling seedling. Others are called to feed with the food of the Word.

Think about this for a moment. Abraham had no idea where he was going when Jehovah called him out. Moses knew the direction to go, but the struggles up ahead were unforeseen. Joshua would face a vast number of enemies when his tribe finally crossed over to the Promised Land. David already had a king when Samuel anointed him. Elijah faced the 400 prophets of Baal without fear. Abigail ran out to feed David’s men to prevent innocent bloodshed. Ruth followed Naomi to a land and people she never knew. Rahab hid two strangers to make a way to a new life for her and her family.

The list could go on and on, not only of events in the Scriptures, but about the men and women of faith who were willing to follow the leading of the Lord and spread the Word to a lost and dying world. The Lord’s mandate has not changed in over 2,000 years. Our instructions are still the same – “Go into ALL the world and make disciples.” That was His command then and it is still true today.

Will we make mistakes? Yes, of course, we are all humans. Peter failed when he was walking on the water and took his eyes off the Lord. Elijah fled at Jezebel’s threat to kill him, allowing fear to rule his heart. Moses allowed anger to get the best of him. David fell into the sin of adultery. Naomi allowed bitterness into her life at the loss of his husband and sons. Yet, as we get our bearings back and once more press in to the Lord, we will overcome those shortcomings and walk the path He has laid before us.

So rise up! Step out of your boat and get busy. You were born for such a time as this and the Lord wants to use you right where you are. You are a vital link in the Kingdom of the Lord. Yes YOU! There are hearts that only you can touch. Your submission to all the Lord has spoken in your life will make the difference in the lives of those around you. Lay aside everything else and be obedient to the calling He has laid on your life. It’s not too early, nor it is too late. It is just the right time in the Lord. Step on out!!!!

The Walk of Faith

Did you know that when Peter climbed out of the boat to walk on the water that the storm was still raging all around him? I never realized that until this week as I was listening to a song by Casting Crowns. In fact, I came home and looked up the event in the Scriptures. To me that puts a completely different spin on Peter’s actions.

The disciples have obeyed Jesus, climbed into a boat to travel on to their next location. Jesus needed some time alone. He wanted to spend time with His Father in prayer. He knew this was His source of strength and power. Following His orders, His men rowed out into the middle of the sea and into the midst of a storm. They were obeying Jesus but they still became victims to circumstances outside their control.

Has this ever happened to you? You were following the Lord and the instructions He gave you and suddenly you find yourself in a storm of epic proportions. The wind is raging and the waves threaten to sink your boat at any second. You find yourself wondering what you need to do next. It really makes you wonder why. Why? What happened? What did you miss? It might have been nothing at all. The disciples were totally following the leading of the Lord and yet here they are in the midst of a storm.

Then here comes Jesus – oh He is not rowing out to meet then. He is not riding with someone else. He is walking, yes walking on the water. No one else in history had ever done that. These few men were in fear of their life. Not only were they in the midst of the storm, but now they see this ‘spirit’ walking toward them. They hear the voice of the Lord. “Don’t be afraid – it is Me!” Relief flooded their hearts and spirits. Jesus had come to rescue them.
Peter immediately asks, “Lord, if it is You, then bide me come to You!” Peter wanted to do the same thing that he sees Jesus doing. Peter wants to walk on water. Then he steps out. Peter steps out of this small vessel surrounded by the wind and the waves in faith. But then….the wind increased. Peter’s storm got worse and he lost sight of his goal to reach Jesus. Jesus reaches out taking Peter’s hand and says, “Where’s your faith?” Guiding Peter back to the boat, they climb into the boat.

Then the wind stopped. Jesus could have stopped the storm from the shore. He could have stopped the wind as He walked toward the boat. He could have stopped the wind even as Peter stepped out of the wooden vessel. He could have stopped it when He reached for Peter’s hand leading him back into the boat. However, He waited until they were all together again.

Yes, Peter’s faith failed. He took his eyes off Jesus and allowed the winds to distract him. However, think about this also. There were eleven other disciples in that boat. No one else even had the nerve to try to walk on the water. Was it out of fear, or the lack of faith? No one really knows. Peter failed, that is true, but at least he had the willingness to step out.

We need to learn to step out of our comfort zone too. Even in the midst of our storms, the Lord is more than able to hold our hand and empower us to move forward in faith. When the winds are blowing hard, we need to trust the Lord. In His time, in His perfect time the winds will cease. Even now, allow the Lord to call your name out and step out in faith. Don’t look at your surroundings, don’t listen to the winds blowing just keep your eyes on Him and let Him guide your steps. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone. Take a step of faith and walk on your stormy sea toward the Lord.

Overcoming the Floodwater

It is easy to be caught up in the busyness of each day. We rush here and there, seldom taking time to see the beauty around us. However, when we slow down and see the wonders, it helps put our life into proper perspective.

The splendor of the sun rising through the trees early in the morning may stir your heart. Or, watching a breeze gently moving the leaves on a tree. Slow down, look around, and watch all the creatures made by the Master Creator. Are the squirrels running and playing on the surrounding trees? Have you listened to the different birds singing their praises to their Maker?

Others find great comfort when a loved one says, “I love you!” Or when a child embraces you with arms full of love. Does the smile of an infant flood your spirit with affection? The sound of a phone ringing and hearing the voice of a loved one brings joy to many a lonely heart. Even a card or letter brings great encouragement to the receiver.

Have you really taken time to think about your many blessings? Even in the midst of all our struggles and hardships, He has blessed us tremendously. We need to reflect about not only our physical blessings but also our spiritual blessings.

Our salvation came at a great cost to Jesus, but He freely gives it to us. His blood covers a multitude of sins. What was once black and ugly becomes white as snow when we cry out in repentance. Through His perfect sacrifice, we are adopted into an eternal family. The gift of eternal life promises a future free from pain and suffering. There is no greater gift in the entire world that could ever affect our life as the gift of His salvation.

We have His grace – His unmerited favor. We don’t deserve it and can never earn it. Noah found His grace, and protection from the floodwaters. As the children of Israel stood on the edge of the Red Sea, He brought them through on dry land. We endure various storms in our life but He declares the same grace to us. Floodwaters come into our life but His promises hold true for us today. He will be with us and carry us safely through.

It is impossible to name all of His gifts poured out upon us. But, take time today and thank Him for His salvation and grace. He is worthy of all your praise. Even in the midst of your storm, He is worthy.

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

A Simply Thanks

Today is the day that the Lord has made.
I will rejoice and be glad in it:

I thank You for leaving Your home in heaven to come into a sinful and dying world.
I thank You for never giving up and finishing the work of the cross
I thank You for shedding Your blood for our salvation
I thank You for Your Salvation
I thank You that You rose again to eternal life
I thank You for moving on my heart and spirit
I thank You for rescuing me from the miry clay
I thank You for Your cleansing power
I thank You for never giving up on me
I thank You for adopting me into Your family
I thank You for Your unending love
I thank You for Your holiness
I thank You for Your grace
I thank You for Your mercy
I thank You for Your peace
I thank You for Your goodness
I thank You for Your healing power
I thank You for watching over me
I thank You for Your truth
I thank You for Your Word.
I thank You for delivering us from the clutches of our enemy
I thank You for Your provision. It is exactly what I need!
I thank You for Your guidance, for You will never steer me wrong
I thank You for Your protection
I thank You for Your Holy Spirit
I thank You for all Your blessings
I thank You that I can lift my voice in worship and praise
I thank You for that You are the Lord of Lords
I thank You that You are the King of all kings.
I thank You that You are the Prince of Peace
I thank You that You are the everlasting Father
I thank You that You are Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end
I thank You that You are the Good Shepherd
I will give thanks in the morning and in the evening.
I will praise You when I am alone and in a crowd.
I will give thanks today and tomorrow.
I give thanks with a grateful heart for Who You are and what You have accomplished in my life.
I simply GIVE THANKS

Shining Through

Stain glasses windows are beautiful, especially as the sunlight shines through them. The various colors flash across the room in brilliant reds, vibrant blues, and majestic purples. Have you ever thought about your life as something as beautiful as a stain-glass window? “Absolutely not,” would be the response of many of us. However, in all honesty that is exactly what the Lord has ministered to me today. The response of many is “Really? You have to be crazy! How in the world can anyone think my life is looks like a stain-glass window? My life is anything but beautiful.

You have to remember that at one point all the various fragments were just a bunch of shattered pieces of glass. Their edges were jagged and sharp without any form or design. Too often, that’s exactly like we are before we come to the Lord. We seem to be just a bunch of shards of glass that constantly inflicts pain on our heart and spirit. Yet our life contains all the same colors, our bruises produce brilliant shades of blue and sometimes black. We have various shades of green for the envy we allow to seep in, when we ‘want’ what someone else has. Our yellows come from the fear allowed in our life, too scared to move forward and too afraid to stay where we are. Reds reveal the anger and rage that gets the best of us. Then we have the browns, where we fall flat on our face in the dirt and mire. Many of our life battles produce wounds worthy of the purple hearts.

But, how can all of these shards become something beautiful. We only see the various pieces piled high with no rhythm and reason. However, the great thing is the Creator of the universe sees beyond the pile. He knows where each piece belongs, as well as what it will take to form each section into the correct shape. Certain pieces are shaped by moving them back and forward on a grinder. Isn’t that exactly how it seems in the natural. Events happen in our life wearing us down. Yet, the Lord uses these irritations to bring us to the reality of our need for Him.

A diamond edge cutter is required to cut straight edges or reducing the size of larger pieces of glass. This cutter makes indentations on the glass and with a light tapping that split the sections apart. How many times has your life been impacted by events that have deeply cut you? It might be the loss of a loved one, or a failed marriage. Perhaps you have a child who walks away from all you hold dear or even a betrayal. These major events seem like it will tear us totally apart. Yet with the gentle hand of the Lord, each piece is shaped to fit just right into the larger picture. Once all the pieces are shaped, the edges are covered and placed in the correct position of the pattern. With some heat and soldering all the pieces together, the design quickly takes shape and all those little worthless shards become a thing of beauty.

You know that is how the Lord sees our life. He views all the little ‘useless’ pieces of our life and understands exactly how they fit into the bigger picture. He knows what it will take to form each piece of the puzzle and how they all fit together. Too often, we only see the mess, but not so with the Lord. Then when we see the need for His touch, and His salvation; He begins making us whole once more. His love joins our broken pieces into a thing of beauty. As He shines His light through us, others can see His love, grace, and mercy.

With a touch from the Lord, your life has become a thing of beauty. Your life’s picture reflects the love of the Lord to a dark and dying world. No one can deny what the Lord has done in your life. He has taken the very thing that the world has called worthless, useless and just a pile of trash and turned it into a masterpiece. You are beautiful in the eyes of the Lord. Let His love shine on you and through you.

Reaching out

What breaks your heart? Does your heart cry out for a little one and their parents who have received a devastating diagnose? Or maybe it’s a parent who passes away leaving their children way too early. Does your heart grieve when you listen to the news of an abused child? Perhaps it is the sudden death of a friend or acquaintance. Does the news of a member of our military who un-selfishly loses their life in a land far away bring sorrow to your heart? Maybe its a failed marriage, or the betrayal of a spouse. What about the life lost in the sea of drugs or booze? Or the lost, lonely, and hurting.

Then there are the individuals standing on our corners. Yes, we see street-people all the time and many times, we become numb to the sight. And I know some of them are simply there for a handout. But not all! There are those who have fallen between the cracks of society and they sit hopeless and for the most part helpless. We sit at our red lights or stop signs looking in every direction but at the person standing with their hand out. We have to ask our self, what would the Lord do? How would He react to the sight? Would he reach out to them? I have no doubt that the Lord I know; the Messiah of the Bible would be the first in line to touch that sin weary life.

An older gentleman has been on the corner of one of the off-ramps of the interstate for weeks. He holds his sign up asking for help as the cars spill off onto one of the smaller roads. My heart aches as I see individuals like this. For whatever reason, they are on the fringes of society. However, for this one man – today his reality was even worse. He sat in his wheelchair with one leg amputated in the chilly rain. I prayed for the Lord to send someone to him, to be a light in his darkness.

We cannot reach the need of everyone out there. Nevertheless, we can be a light to some. We can cry out for their souls, and their needs. We can pray for comfort for the hurting ones, peace for the confused, and strength for the weak. Intercede for those who need deliverance. Pray for exposure for the ones who need to be rescued from their environment. Can you cry out for comfort for the grieving? Are you willing to stand in the gap? Will you stand before the Lord and intercede for those who need a touch from the Lord you serve.
I recently read of one man who dared reach out to someone digging through the trash for food. Arrangements were made to meet next door. During the meal, he discovered the gentleman was dying with cancer. Up until recently, his sister was his caregiver, but she unexpected die and he was reduced to living on the streets. With tears in his eyes as he feasted on the first real meal in weeks, he shared “You are an answer to my prayer!” “Oh no, not me, I just wanted to help you out.” “But you don’t understand, I prayed. I prayed for someone to help me out and the Lord sent you! I was so hungry and I prayed! You are the answer to my prayer.”

You might be the answer to someone’s prayer tonight, or tomorrow. Or you might be the one who intercedes and the Lord softens the heart of another to answer the need. Your prayer can make a difference even when you can’t see it. I challenge you to pray, to cry out, to stand in the gap, and to intercede for those around you. We are His instruments, His chosen ones to reach out to a lost and dying world. Will you be used by the Lord today?