Category Archives: Faith

Can Do

In 2012, my husband was laid off from his job. It was a shock. We knew we had to put the house on the market immediately. The real estate market changed in 2009 for the worst and had not yet recovered. Our home was above the price point of people buying at the time. I have never felt so helpless or afraid in all my life. My husband soon got a job out-of-state that paid a lot less than he had been making. I had nightmares of foreclosure and poor credit.
During the time the house was on the market, we struggled financially. We had to lower our price more than we wanted. It took nine months to finally be rid of it. The selling price just covered the mortgage. The good thing was that we walked away from it with our credit still intact and a big raise in pay because we did not have to pay for the house any more.
During that time, my husband insisted that everything would work out and called me out about my lack of faith. I prayed daily for that house to sell and struggled with my faith as time went on without a buyer. When things are out of my control, I have a hard time trusting God. But God did answer and provided a buyer – just not at the time I wanted Him to, nor in the way I had hoped, but He did come through.
The same could be said for Abraham and Sarah. They had waited for a promised son and now they were beyond child bearing age. Three strangers who were angels and one may have been a pre-incarnation of Jesus came to visit them. Abraham provided food, rest and drink for them. At that time, Sarah was 90 and Abraham 100. One of the strangers told Abraham that Sarah would bear a son, and they were to call him Isaac. Sarah overheard the conversation and laughed. She knew she was not able to physically have a child in her advanced age.
Sarah had longed for a baby during her child bearing years. I’m sure she looked forward to being a grandmother and even having great-grandchildren. But it was not to be. She was the age of a great-grandmother when she was told she was going to have a baby. It seemed preposterous to her.
The stranger who was the Lord heard her laugh and confronted her. When she was confronted, she denied it because she was afraid to admit it. But the stranger repeated back to her what she had said. He also said the most compelling thing that still resonates with me today. He said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
It is a given that we will have bad seasons and horrible situations that we don’t know how we’re going to get through. We may even have something we want badly like a spouse, children, or a better job. Sometimes, we aren’t sure God will do anything to help us, or we may think He does not care.
But He does care. Often, He doesn’t do what we expect, how we expect it, or the timing may not be ideal in our eyes. Only God can see with His eternal eyes what is best for us and our future. We are required to have faith and to believe that there’s nothing that’s too hard for Him to accomplish in our lives. There is comfort in knowing that He can do ANYTHING. Next time you are praying and feel like there is no hope, ask yourself, “Is there anything that’s too hard for the Lord?”

Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Genesis 18:13-14

Names

When I was a young girl, I really hated my name. Back then, I went by Debby, and there were at least 2 of us in every classroom. My heart rate always accelerated whenever the teacher would call out the name “Debby” – especially if being called on for a question I didn’t know the answer to. Not only that, I found out my name meant “bee”. I really hated bees!
I got so mad about my name that I asked my mother if she could change it. She said, ‘no’ and asked me why. I told her I was tired of having the same name as other people in my class, and I was not a bee. I also asked her what other names she had considered. I swore I was going to change my name when I got old enough to do it myself.
My mother said when she was pregnant with me, my father and she talked about names. They had no trouble deciding on a boy’s name. I would have been named after my dad, but they could not decide on a girl’s name. My dad wanted to name me Mary Ann after his mother, and my mother wanted to name me Hazel after her mother. The only name they could agree on was Deborah which they put on my birth certificate and shortened it to Debby as a nickname.
No offense to my grandmothers, but I was glad I didn’t get either of their names. There were a lot of girls named Mary in my class, so that would have been no better than Debby. And Hazel would have been an even worse choice. I would have been mercilessly teased. Back then, Hazel was the name of a maid on a television show. I was already teased enough as it was.
Today I have learned to like my name. I have done away with the Debby and now go by Deborah because I admire Deborah in the Bible. She was a strong, wise woman. In my generation, it’s not the most unique name, but it is the name my parents wanted me to have.
Just as my parents named me, God named Abram and Sari. When Abram was 100 and Sari was 90, God changed their name to Abraham which means “father of many nations” and “Sarah” which meant “princess”. He did this to reconfirm his covenant with them about giving them a son. Abram was doubtful that they could have any children at their age. But God tells them they will have a son, and they were to name him Isaac which mean “he laughs”.
For someone to know our name means we have a relationship with them in some area of our lives. It can be a significant one or a minor one. We choose how close of a relationship we want with that person.
The same can be said for God. No matter what name we have been given, God knows it. Just like Abraham and Sarah, He may also have a unique name for those of us who are close to Him. He has a relationship with every person on Earth because we are part of His Creation. We are loved by Him unconditionally no matter what we do.
We are the ones who decide how close our relationship with Him will be. We have a choice to call Him, Father, and to take His hand as we walk through life and learn more about Him so we can live more joyful lives despite our circumstances, or to keep Him at arm’s length and never have the blessing of His presence and strength in our lives. It’s our choice.

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. Psalms 139:1

Pot of Gold

My mother told us kids that leprechauns put a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.   Of course, we kids were young and gullible and believed what she said.  We really wanted to get that pot of gold and thought of ways to spend it. Every time we saw a rainbow, the end was always too far away!

Then one day while the sun was out, there was a light rain.  A rainbow began to form close to our house.  I looked outside and could see that it ended near our woods.  I called my siblings to the window.  We were so excited and went and told my mother!  She told us to go out and see if we could get that pot of gold, and off we went.

The closer we got to the rainbow’s end, the more hope we had.  We tried to reach the end but it kept moving!  However, we got close enough to observe there was nothing at its end.  When we came back empty-handed, Mom said that someone had beat us to it.  Of course, now I know that my mother sent us outside, hoping for some peace and quiet.

Just because there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow doesn’t make it any less extraordinary.  Today when I see a rainbow, I’m reminded of God and His promise to Noah.  After the Great Flood, God promised Noah that He would never destroy the whole Earth by water again.  He set the rainbow in the sky as a reminder of this covenant.

Rainbows are a delight to our eyes.  When it appears, we can’t help but admire the beauty and majesty it radiates.  We point out a rainbow to others, photograph it, and watch it for as long as it is within our view.  I know I am thrilled when I see one, and I get a feeling of well-being and hope.

God knew what He was doing when He created rainbows.   A rainbow is caused by white light (sunlight) hitting a raindrop and refracting into different colors.  He takes something simple and turns it into something extraordinary.  It is no accident that a rainbow is caused by the meeting of both the sun and the rain.  A rainbow cannot form during a deluge from a cloud filled sky.  Only God could create something like that.

A rainbow reminds me that God always honors His promises.  It is probably why I feel so much hope when I see one.  The Bible is filled with His promises and when I need reassurance, I can look them up and read them with confidence, knowing that He honors His word.  When we pray His promises, there is power in our prayers.

I think of how Noah’s faith saved his family from destruction.  Faith has extreme power.  We may see it as a white light, but God sees a bow of various colors.  Our faith is a beautiful sight to Him.  He will honor it for He knows it’s harder to believe in what is not seen than what is seen.  It is our way to show our love for Him.   Our faith, like Noah’s, will help us navigate the raging storms of life and allow us to see the rainbow at the end of it all.

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Genesis 9:12-15

 

 

 

 

He Has Not Forgotten

             When I was a young girl, I was never very athletic nor was I very coordinated.  My siblings loved to climb trees.  I watched them climb and thought it looked easy enough, but I was too afraid to try.  I figured if anyone of the three of us was going to break his/her neck, it would be me.

My brother and sister begged me over and over to try to climb a tree, and I finally caved in.  They found a tree that was easy for me to climb.  However, the trick was getting up to the first branch.  My brother had to give me a leg up, and then I could get up onto that high first branch and easily climbed to the top of my tree.  My sister and brother each got into their own tree.  All three trees were right beside one another and we enjoyed talking to one another, singing and looking at the great view.

Then Dad whistled.  That meant come now or pay the consequences.  We all scurried down the tree.  The other two could jump down, but I was too afraid to jump down from that first high branch.  I was petrified and couldn’t move.  My siblings encouraged me to jump, but I wouldn’t.  When the second whistle sounded, they left me there saying they would send Dad back for me.  They did not want to get into trouble because of me.

As I sat alone in that tree I worried that they would not tell my dad and leave me there to get scared enough to jump down on my own.  It grew dark, and I was afraid.  Time moved like a snail and my fear was nearly strangling me.  I felt like the only human being on Earth.  After what seemed like an eternity, I saw my dad coming with a ladder to rescue me.  I was so relieved that I had not been forgotten that I was giddy.

Noah must have felt that same way on that ark with his family and all those animals.  God unleashed water on this Earth like He never had before and wiped out everything.  The ark bobbed up and down and was tossed about.  It was dark and gloomy for a long time.  Noah and his family could have seen the dead carcasses of animals and humans floating around them.  It rained for so long that Noah and his family may have thought God had forgotten them.  But Noah kept the faith.

Genesis Chapter 8:1 says that God remembered Noah and all that was on the ark with him.  God turned off the water and sent a wind across the earth so the waters would recede.  Almost a year after he and his family got on the ark, God told Noah that he could come out of the boat and release the animals.

When we are going through the storms of life and are being tossed around, sometimes we feel alone and isolated.  We think that God has either forgotten us or just doesn’t care what happens to us.  At times, we wonder what horrific thing we’ve done to deserve what we’re going through.  God may want us to go through something to learn from it or to glorify Him.  He may not rescue us as we hoped or He may cause what we are going through to last longer than we think we can bear.  But regardless, if we hold onto our faith in the LORD, He will remember us just as He did Noah.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.   Hebrews 11:7 NIV

Strong Materials

The Golden Gate Bridge is a famous, orange-red-colored bridge that spans across the strait of water at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay.  It connects San Francisco with other areas of California.  The Golden Gate Bridge is no ordinary bridge; it is a suspension bridge.

Suspension bridges are not only cost-effective because they use less material, but they also have a deck supported by cables.  This means the road across is more flexible, able to handle high winds, and earthquakes with minimal damage.  These types of bridges are considered more effective than fixed bridges.

Since its completion, The Golden Gate Bridge has been standing majestically in the strait for over 77 years.  Thinking about that bridge makes me wonder how I will be standing in the straits of life when I am 77.  Am I going to be fixed and ridged cracking under the stresses of life, or am I going to be flexible and adapting to all that life sends my way?  Am I going to stand proud and strong because I have overcome, or am I going to be crumbling and grumbling about how miserable life is?

Now is the time for renewal and for figuring out how you will construct yourself over the waters of life.  The choice of how to build and what to use to build your bridge is all up to you.  You can use materials that last, and a design that is flexible, adaptable and able to withstand life’s storms.  Or you can use materials that look good and at the time seems like a good idea, but are not substantial and crumble at the first sign of rain.  At the end of the storm, you may whine and moan that you have to start all over again, because your bridge did not withstand its first test.

Once you build your bridge, you also need to keep it up to code and adapt to changes.  As time goes on, you may have to modify and strengthen your bridge to have it function more effectively.  If you used proper materials and a good design, it will be easier to maintain.  Also, if you start out with the right materials when you are young, changes that need to be made later will likely be less costly when adjustments and reinforcements are necessary to withstand the constant pressures of life.  It is most important to be prepared for the unexpected.  Remember, if you begin with the right materials and modify when needed, your bridge will be able to stand strong against the elements for a lifetime.

 

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on a rock.  When a flood came the torrent struck the house, but could not shake it, because it was well built.  Luke 6:46-48