Sunday, September 28, 2014
By: C. Irvin
Have you ever sat and really looked at God's handiwork? Isn't it amazing? You can see the starlit sky at night. The stars seem to shine like diamonds. Or have you ever watched the heavens at dawn when it looks like a blazing orange canvas? Even when stormy days come, filled with gray skies and torrents of rainfall, and winds sway the trees like they are dancing, it is a sight to see the wonders of God's artistic hand.
I couldn't help from daydreaming the other day as I gazed out my window. I watched the lightening and heard the thunder. The rain was so heavy you could hardly see the shapes of the trees. The Creator of the universe created all that artwork. Our minds are captivated at the wonders of God's creation. Flowers bounce back after torrents of rain. Birds and squirrels even sit in the trees as if to watch what is happening around them. Yet in all this beautiful scenery there is something greater.
His greatest masterpiece is you and me. Wow! When the Lord created the heavens and the earth, He rested and said all that He made was good. Yet, something was missing… us. So He made man in the image and likeness of Himself. Man and woman were created to have fellowship with God. We weren't the afterthought in creation. We were the special finishing touches. He longs for the day when he shall gather His children and we shall be with Him for all eternity.
The Lord dropped a thought in my heart. He loves us so much he chose not to live without us at the beginning of creation nor when He went to the cross! We are His greatest work of art, so valuable that He says we are the apples of His eye.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. He says we are His workmanship (Zechariah 2:8).
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
Next time you look in the mirror, see what God sees and cherish your time on this earth. Take time to tell Him how much you love Him and all He has done for you. Try not to take life for granted, but rather value it. I see the tiny newborn baby who looks for someone to hold it and take care of it. I am glad that their mother chose not to abort them. Then I think of the sick and elderly people, and how they look to the Lord to help them.
The point I am trying to make is that you are the most prized possession God has. You are His masterpiece. What matters most to Him is you. He loves you.
Friday, September 12, 2014
The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size (Numbers 13:32).
Perhaps you’ve wondered, as I have, why God required the Israelites to work so hard to inherit a land He had already promised to give them. When someone offers to do us a favor, we normally expect no strings to be attached.
God has a long and storied history of requiring human activity to carry out His will – not because He needs our help, but because He wants our hearts. I’m not so sure we would relinquish this most vital of organs any other way.
If God did everything, He’d become a genie. If God did nothing, He’d become an afterthought. If either was the case, the best you could say of us is that we acknowledged God’s existence. But that’s not the same as knowing or loving Him.
The only way for God to have a relationship with us is for God to have a partnership with us. That’s His desire, and that’s one reason why He won’t always give us the easy way out.
As you look out over the landscape of your own life, you may see some very real problems. There are giants in the land. They aren’t living, breathing Canaanites, but they’re a big deal to you – fear and guilt and worry – not to mention the really big sources of pain like losing a child or watching a parent grow old.
If He wanted to, God could remove these giants in His sleep. And we sometimes slide into bed at night hoping He’ll do it in ours. He rarely does, and for this, we should be thankful. Because if He magically removed all the problems in our lives without asking us to do anything hard, anything “impossible,” we would never be able to demonstrate faith. That means we would live our entire lives without ever pleasing God. We would gain the Promised Land in such a way that it would cost us the very thing we need most: a relationship with our Creator.
We serve a God who has the ability to do anything, but chooses not to. He doesn’t let us off so easily. But the real beauty of it all is that, even when He requires us to do the seemingly impossible, it’s never as difficult as it appears. And sometimes, it’s almost easy – at least after that first difficult step.
In the end, all we need is faith . . . midget-sized faith. That’s all it takes to embolden us to walk into the land of giants, trusting God to either make them smaller, or to make us bigger.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
By: C. Davis
“To obey is better than sacrifice …”1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
Life is full of meaningful moments, days and events. Often, when thinking of anniversary moments, we think of weddings, birthdays, deaths, and other special events which impact our lives.
A while back, an interesting discussion took place at church regarding the high price of gasoline ($4.19/gallon at the time) and how it would affect travel to out-of-town weddings and graduation parties. The majority felt it would be less expensive to not travel, and add extra to a money gift.
Suddenly, my husband Wade, popped up from his seat and said, “I have a story to share!” He told of a man who had faithfully attended an out of town archery shoot for ten years. It was one of the biggest in the Midwest and he looked forward to it every year.
One day he opened his mail and found an invitation to a graduation party for the same weekend. This man was immediately filled with conflict over which event to attend. The graduate was the daughter of a close friend he had known since he was 3-years-old. On the other hand, the archery shoot had been a top priority in his life for many years; one he anticipated with great excitement as it involved an extended weekend of camping, shooting and renewing friendships. What a dilemma!
When he sought advice from his friends at work, they suggested sending a card and some money. “After all, they only want the money,” was the consensus. The man agreed, and yet he couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling he should go to the party.
A few seconds passed; then Wade quietly shared . . . “That man was me. Had I just sent the check, I would have missed out on a big blessing!” he reflected, as he pointed toward me. Yes, we met at that graduation party, married two years later, and recently celebrated our ten year anniversary.
As he ended, the story brought to mind a favorite scripture, “… choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Wade made a choice that year to be obedient to the prodding of the Holy Spirit. Even though he was a new Christian, he knew in his heart an important choice must be made. He chose to sacrifice an exciting weekend and the desires of his own heart to make a decision that would have positive, lasting consequences far beyond both of our imaginations.
Choices made correctly result in blessings, both seen and unseen. However, incorrect choices can be, and most likely will be, “blessing-blockers”. What choices are before you today? What blessings could you missing?
Father God, so many choices come our way daily, even hourly. We pray for your heavenly guidance and wisdom in making these decisions. Holy Spirit, we thank you for your counsel and direction. And Lord Jesus, most of all, we give thanks for your sacrifice for us; so undeserving are we of your love, mercy and grace. Amen.