Monthly Archives: October 2017

God Is With You

I had a very good friend, Lori, who was a godly and caring woman. She became a Christ follower when she was in her thirties. I’ll never forget her zeal as she took hold of Jesus and never let go. Everyone who knew her, knew Jesus was a priority in her life.
She truly had a sweet spirit and was soft-spoken, kind and always thought of others. Her practice of forgiveness and selflessness was a testimony. She dealt with many difficult circumstances and people and made it her mission to do the right thing or always be the better person.

Even as she fought her two-year battle with melanoma, her faith remained strong. She often said that she believed the Lord was going to heal her and did not waiver in that belief, even when the news was bad. The Lord did indeed finally heal her by taking her home to be with Him on Thanksgiving Day in 2014. She was remembered at her funeral as a strong Christian woman who touched others and made a difference in people’s lives.
Just as people noticed Lori’s love for the Lord, people also noticed that Abraham was a godly man. As a matter of fact, Abimelech (the king) said to Abraham, “God is obviously with you in everything you do…” Abimelech and Abraham had previous dealings with one another and had known one another a long time.

Abraham openly and without any qualms worshipped the One and Only God. Because Abraham walked closely with God, God looked out for Abraham. Abimelech was aware of Abraham’s close relationship to God and wanted to have a covenant with him. Abimelech’s desire was to live in peace with Abraham and his people and to deal honestly with one another.

What a compliment it would be for someone to say to you, “God is obviously with you in everything you do.” It means that you are living your faith for all to see, and God means more to you than what people think of you. How can we live a life that shows God is in everything we do?

As you look at your life, you can ask yourself some questions. What is my relationship with the Lord like? Do I pray every day and consult Him about every decision? Am I reading the Bible daily so that I can know Him better? Do I give God the glory for the victories in my life and hold onto faith that He will lead me through the valleys? Do I worship the Lord more than anything else in my life? Am I reflecting the character of Christ in my daily living and dealings with others?

Living a godly life is not easy, and it is a daily challenge. There is always a spiritual battle going on in our minds over our souls. Satan will do whatever he can to put a wedge between us and the Lord. The key is to be aware of it and persevere and never take our eyes from the Lord. When we diligently seek Him and His will, we will find Him.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

He Will Rescue Us

When we lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, I went on a job interview in a huge mazelike office complex with multiple parking garages. It took me forever to find a vacant parking spot, but I finally did. I had to hurry to get to my interview on time.
Afterwards, I went back to the parking garage. I thought I had retraced my steps, but I could not find my car. After about half an hour, I was near to tears and wondered if my car had been stolen. I wore a pair of stiletto heels, and my feet were screaming for help. They hurt so bad I was limping.
I prayed to God to help me. Not too long after my prayer, a security guard came by on a golf cart. He could tell I was lost and stopped. I told him my dilemma. He said not to be upset that it happened all the time. Then he offered to drive me around on his golf cart until we found it. I happily accepted his help.
We finally found my car. There was a wire fence between the garage I was in and my car. The security guard said that he could not drive me over there because it was not part of their building. I’d have to walk. He told me how to get to the other side. Fifteen minutes later, I was in my car and on the way home.
I do not think I have ever felt so helpless or lost. I remembered thinking I was never going to get out of that parking garage alive. It was the one time I could identify with Hagar.
After Sarah demanded that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away, they wandered in the wilderness. She was out of water, tired and lost. Her son was literally dying of thirst. After she put her son in the shade, she walked away and left him to die. Her son was crying. Then she got about a hundred feet from Ishmael, sat down and cried, too. She did not want her son to die and didn’t know what to do.
God heard the boy’s cry and sent an angel to Hagar. He told her that she should go to her son and comfort him. God was not going to let him die, but would make a great nation from him. He also provided water for them. This was the second time that God heard Hagar’s distress and rescued her.
There are times in our lives when we feel like we are wandering aimlessly and/or feel cutoff by humanity due to a circumstance or emotions going on inside ourselves. We want rescued. Just as Hagar cried out for help, we can do the same. We can rest assured that God will hear our cries of distress. He heard my cry of distress and made the security guard with a golf cart available. What a blessing that was.
Sometimes His rescues are not always as miraculous as mine or Hagar’s, but He will let us know in some way that He hears us. Help will come in His time and His way and for our good. All it takes is walking by faith with God through the difficult circumstance.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalms 23:4

Promises

When my husband proposed to me, he could not afford an engagement ring. He felt bad that he could not give me one. However, he promised me that on our tenth wedding anniversary, he would get me my diamond.

Ten years and three kids later, my husband took our two-and-a-half-year-old son and went out to grab a few things he needed. It was a pre-cell phone era. He was late getting home, and I was a little concerned. When he finally arrived home, I went out to the garage to make sure everything was okay. He said he’d been waylaid. He walked over to me and dropped a box in my pocket and then got our son out of his car seat.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out a jeweler’s box. I opened it, and there sparkled a 1/3 karat diamond engagement ring. My mouth dropped open, and I was too stunned to say anything. As he set our son on the ground, he said, “It’s our ten-year anniversary, and I needed to get you your diamond. I wanted to keep my promise to you.”

Just as my husband kept his promise to me, God kept His promise of a son to Abraham. When Abraham was one hundred years old, Sarah gave birth to a son, Isaac. Not only did God honor His promise, He did it in such an unbelievable way. After all, how many humans over eighty years old have babies? Only God could perform such a miracle. I believe He waited until Abraham and Sarah were advanced in age, so there would be no doubt that Isaac’s birth was a “God thing”.

The Bible is full of God’s promises. Even though, those promises are thousands of years old, they are still valid today. Abraham went to God in prayer many times reminding God of His promise for land, prosperity and a son. Sometimes, when we pray His promises, it may seem like it takes forever for God to answer, but He will. God is the same as He was back then. He never changes, and His words are true.

Sometimes, our prayer life gets stagnant. To make it more meaningful and to be more proactive look up some of the promises God makes us in the Bible. Make sure to research both the Old and New Testament. Begin to pray His promises in your life with faith. God is pleased when we pray His Word. By studying His promises, we learn more about who He is, how He feels about us, what we can expect from Him and what is pleasing to Him.

Where can you find some of His Promises? They are peppered throughout the Bible. Some of the more prominent ones are recorded in Deuteronomy, 2 Kings, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, 1 Corinthians, Hebrews and Revelation. Highlight them as you find them, no matter where they are in the Bible, so you can easily find them. His promises bring us encouragement and show His love for us. Like He kept His promises to Abraham, God will keep His promises to us, too.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Confess

My husband grew up among a lot of neighborhood boys. Almost all of them were Catholic. One evening a week, the neighborhood ball game was disrupted because the boys had to go to confession. My husband, who was about ten years old at the time and not Catholic, was curious about confession, so he went to observe. He watched as one at a time, each boy entered the confessional and was in there for a while and then came out again.
He asked if he would be allowed to go in there. The boys did not see any reason why he shouldn’t, so into the confessional he went. He was a little nervous, not knowing what to expect. The small space was dark. The quiet only made his nervousness worse.
Suddenly a deep voice spoke into the darkness, “How can I help you, My child?” My husband got so flustered that he blurted out, “I’m sorry, God.” He ran out of the confessional. His brief encounter with “God” scared him to death.
I can imagine King Abimelech felt much the same way when God spoke to him in a dream about his mistake in taking Sarah into his harem. She was already married to Abraham. Of course, Abimelech did not know this. Both Abraham and Sarah had told him they were brother and sister which they were since they both had the same father, but different mothers. Abimelech proclaimed his innocence to God in this matter. God acknowledged it, and told him that He knew he had not sinned against Him. But God told him to return Sarah to her husband, or God would kill him and all his people.
Of course, Abimelech woke early the next morning and sent for Abraham. He returned Sarah to Abraham and gave him gifts of livestock, slaves and silver to compensate for any trouble Sarah may have dealt with over the misunderstanding. Abimelech asked him why in the world he would do such a thing? Abraham confessed his guilt of deception and explained he feared he would be killed so the King could take Sarah for his wife. Abraham showed his lack of faith in God in this situation. God used Abimelech to show Abraham his sin and to force Abraham to confess.
In our society, confession of sin seems like an archaic religious notion. But, it is not and is expected of us, especially those of us who profess to have faith in God. If sin was not important to God, then Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. Confessing our sin helps us to keep check on our behaviors and thoughts. It also opens our line of communication to God. We should be praying daily and confession of sin should be a part of that.
What is sin? Anything that is not pleasing to God. How do we know? Reading the Bible will show us what God expects of us. Galatians 5:13-26 is a good place to start. The hardest part of confessing sin is our ego. After all, who wants to admit they did, felt or thought something wrong? It’s much easier to sweep it under the carpet and not deal with it. If you cannot find a sin to confess, just ask God. He will bring your sin to light.
God knows we are human. No matter how hard we try, it is impossible to be perfect. Yet, He loves us anyway. He is pleased when we monitor our own spiritual well-being by the awareness of sin in our lives and will help us in our efforts to change.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9