Faith, Trials, Uncategorized

Count Your Blessings

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Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

 

We all have Christmas traditions. One of ours is to play the movie White Christmas while the tree is being decorated. I love all the music from that classic movie. Of course the iconic “White Christmas” song by Irving Berlin is one of the most beloved Christmas songs of all time. And I do love that song. But there’s another song from the movie that I love. “Count Your Blessings” was also written by Irving Berlin. He wrote it during a time he was suffering from insomnia brought on by stress. A doctor suggested to count his blessings instead. Good advice.

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessings
when my bankroll is getting small I think of when I had none at all
and I fall asleep counting my blessings.

 

I think about a nursery,
and I picture curly heads,
and one by one I count them
as they slumber in their beds.

If you’re worried and you cant sleep,
just count your blessings instead of sheep
and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

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Worry and stress are exasperated during this “Most Wonderful Time of The Year”. While it should be one of the happiest times, for many it can be one of the hardest. I think of this song often throughout the year when I feel stressed. When I stop and count all of my many blessings it gives me perspective. The problems will always come, but the gifts from our Heavenly Father will come too. So let’s thank Him for all He has given us, for all He has done and continues to do.
The Word of God is clear about what we are to do with our worry. Give it all over to Jesus. Here are just a few verses:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6-7 (NIV) 
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 (NIV)
No matter what you are facing today, stop and take a few moments to thank God for everything He has blessed you with. Write these blessings down and look at them daily to remember how faithful God is. Let’s count our blessings! Our lists should be so long that we run out of paper. If you are in a painful place, at least write a few blessings down. There is always something to be thankful for. Your list will grow as you begin to think about all the good God has done.
Here is big blessing to start you off. Jesus came into this world as a tiny baby to save us. Thank you Jesus for the blessing and miracle of Christmas.
When we thank God for His many blessings something happens. We stop focusing on the problems and stress and start focusing on God. That changes our mood and our attitude. Our faith grows, and our praise gets stronger. That’s powerful!
May your load be a little lighter today. May God give you fresh joy and perspective when you think on all He has done.
Love you all,
Meghan
P.S. If you need prayer leave your request in the comments or on my contact page.
Images by monicore from Pixabay
God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

Get Back Up

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Though a righteous man falls seven times,
he will get up,
but the wicked will stumble into ruin.

Proverbs 24:16

When our oldest son, Dylan, was thirteen he asked to play football. We were brand new to Texas and thought that may not be the best idea. After all, kids in Texas are born holding footballs. He would have to catch up. Dylan was so sure of what he wanted that we agreed, and in no time he was at workouts and then spring football camp. I’ll never forget how excited he was when tackling started. It was a huge adrenaline rush for him.

Time and time again Dylan would get tackled and taken to the ground. We would ask him, “Did you get back up?” And he always answered, “Yes”. That’s what we wanted to hear as parents. We didn’t tell him you will never get tackled or don’t get taken down. We knew he would take some hard hits as he was learning, and that more than likely, he would end up on the ground. The key was to get back up. Keep going.

We all take some hard hits in life. Sometimes we get hit so hard we can’t get back up. We get tired of taking the hit. We may even lay there for a while. Some of us took a hit and we decided that was it, we aren’t getting back up again. The hit was devastating. Job loss, divorce, death of a loved one, bankruptcy, disease, homelessness, abuse, addiction and so many other painful things.

If you’ve been laying there for a while too afraid and too weak to move, would you consider getting back up today? Because you aren’t laying there alone. You see, Jesus has been with you the whole time. He will never ever leave you. If you’re ready to get up, He’s reaching His hand out to you. He will help you get back up. Yes, it is scary to know that we will get hit again. It’s inevitable in life.

But, God is in control.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:29-30, ESV) 

It can be difficult to understand how and why God allows painful circumstances. His ways are not our ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

I can’t pretend to have it all figured out. I have plenty of questions, but I choose to trust God. He’s God, and I am not. If you have questions, it’s O.K. It’s normal. Bring those hard questions to the Father.

He is working things out for you and me.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NASB)

This verse in Romans gets quoted a lot, but it’s true. I love that it says and we know. That’s a sure thing. We can count on the God of the universe to work things out for our good. Every time we get tackled by life and get back up, we get a little stronger. Our faith gets a little bigger. When we grab Jesus’ hand as He pulls us back up, we are reminded that we aren’t doing it alone. Those of us who follow Jesus have an advantage. He equips, calls us, carries us, cleans us up, makes a way, does the impossible.

With Jesus, we have all we need to get back up.

“I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
    but the Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.” (psalm 118:13-14, ESV)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Heavenly Father,

I lift up all the hurting to you. Those who can’t get back up. They are stuck, afraid. Give them courage and faith to take your hand and get back up. Comfort them and bring healing. And remind them that you are working out something beautiful through their pain. Let them feel Jesus’ loving arms.

Amen

 

 

Photo credit: Elle Dee from Pixabay

God, Trials, Uncategorized

How Soon We Forget

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“Remember the goodness of God in the frost of adversity.”   Charles Spurgeon 

Oh no! Panic! Panic! Panic! What’s gonna happen to me? Will God help me? Where is God? How quickly I forget when things go wrong. My first reaction used to be fear. Not anymore. The Lord, in His grace and mercy, has taught me to trust Him. That did not happen overnight. That took years. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have short term memory problems when it comes to God’s faithfulness. Sometimes I forget, we all do.

What triggers those feelings of fear and abandonment? Trouble. Life stops going our way and we may assume God has left us. Where did we get the crazy idea that life is supposed to be problem free, and if we do have problems, that God must have left us. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Trials will come. I know, not exactly what you want to hear. But, it’s the reality of living in this world.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)

Jesus tells us that the trouble will come, but he’s already overcome the world. He will take care of us and get us through any trouble we face.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

God will never leave us. Ever. Trials will come, but He will be with us. Guaranteed.

Sometimes we forget what God has done when things are going great. It doesn’t mean it’s intentional, but it happens. It happened over and over again to the Israelites in the Old Testament. God warns them in Deuteronomy 8 not to forget Him.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 8:2, NIV)

“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:11, NIV)

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:18, NIV)

When we forget God a nasty thing slips in. Pride. At first we aren’t even aware of our pridefulness. But it can take over before we know it. Everything is going well. Do I really need God? I’ll just call on Him when I’m in trouble. And there it is. I’ve done it many times. I don’t recommend it.

Remember what God has done for you. That same God will do it again. He loves you so much. You are His precious child. God takes care of His own.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11, NIV)

Years ago, I started writing down all the times God showed up in my life and did the impossible. If you’ve never done it, you may want to try it. Take a few minutes and think back on all the times in your life you were up against a wall and God made a way. This is important to remind us of His faithfulness.

God is not a person. God is reliable, dependable, and will always come through. Maybe not the way we expect or exactly when we would like, but He will make a way. We are the creation and He is the magnificent Creator so He knows best. Trust Him.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Father God,

Thank you for your faithfulness, even when we are not faithful. Thank you for your perfect love and care for us. I lift up all those who are afraid because of their circumstances. Remind them of your faithfulness in the past. Give them peace as they wait on you. Nothing is too hard for you. We praise and thank you and remember your goodness.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Photo credit: Strikers

 

Spiritual Warfare, Trials, Uncategorized

The Shofar

Blowing  the shofar for the Feast of Trumpets

A beautiful sound like a trumpet or a chime interrupted our after dinner conversation. Wanting to investigate, all four of us left the Italian restaurant and walked across the courtyard near city hall. There was absolutely no one around. I thought to myself maybe it was a church bell or a clock chime.  Out of nowhere a man appeared and he was holding a long instrument. “This is a ram’s horn” the man said. “Do you know what it is?” he asked me. “Yes,” I answered. I had read about the shofar or ram’s horn in the Bible but I’d never seen or heard one before that. “We don’t want darkness here. So me and a few other men in the area blow the ram’s horn on the steps of the city hall regularly,” he said.

I knew right away what he was doing. He was taking spiritual authority over Sugar Land, our new home. I was blown away, no pun intended. At that point we were living in a hotel with not a lot of answers. My recent post Scraps of Paper tells more about our move. I felt something very different in Sugar Land, in a good way, and I couldn’t figure out exactly what that good thing was. After hearing the shofar and speaking with that man, I got my answer. Jesus was there and at work.

God had been working the whole time, I just wasn’t seeing a lot of evidence of His work. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right place. Hearing the shofar was God telling me I’m here. I brought you here and I am working. It’s all going to be OK. That may seem strange to some of you. But for me, hearing a ram’s horn brought encouragement, comfort, and hope. Now, the keeping the darkness part out sounds a bit scary. I knew what that man meant. Spiritual darkness. Evil forces at work. Sounds spooky, but it’s the reality.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

Our battles ultimately are spiritual in nature. We are not fighting people, though we may be in a disagreement with someone. The real battle is not in the flesh. What does this have to do with the shofar?

In ancient Israel the blowing of the shofar had many purposes. Some of it’s uses were to call people together, for battle, and to praise God. The ram’s horn is first mentioned in Exodus.

So it happened on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and flashes of lightning, and a thick cloud was on the mountain, and a very loud blast was sounded on a ram’s horn, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.” (Exodus 19:16, AMP)

One of the most famous stories using the shofar is Joshua and Jericho.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6:2-5, NIV)

I’m not going to put the entire story on here. I highly recommend reading it either for the first time, or again for those of you who have read it many times. It is such an incredible story of God’s power. Joshua 6:1-20. Here’s the final verse from that passage:

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20, NIV)

The ram’s horn didn’t bring the wall down. The shouting didn’t bring the wall down. The marching didn’t bring the wall down. God brought the wall down. The shofar doesn’t have magic powers. It’s what it represents that brings the power and presence of God.

The shofar was used often for warfare.

“When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.” (Numbers 10:9, NKJV)

Here are some of the military uses of the shofar:¹

  • Signaling and alerting: Ehud and Nehemiah use it to summon their men (Judges 3:27; Nehemiah 4:12-14).
  • Weapon for frightening the enemy (Judges 7:22)
  • Announcing victory (Samuel A 13:3)
  • Announcing rebellion (Samuel B 20:1)
  • Cease fighting (Samuel B 20:22)
  • Warning sign about approaching enemy (Jeremiah 4:21; Hosea 5:8; and other)

The mysterious man I met that night was drawing a line in the sand for the city. It was a battle cry. And even though I didn’t know the bigger significance of a ram’s horn then, I knew enough in my spirit to know it was a God thing. You know when you just know because of the Holy Spirit? I just knew.

The ram’s horn is still used by Jews today for many things like Rosh Hashanah, where 100 times it blasts. There are four main notes or sounds used when blowing the shofar. I could fill volumes on the shofar and it’s significance for God’s people.

My little interaction at the city hall was about spiritual warfare. There are other Christians today, using the shofar. I am not suggesting you need to blow a ram’s horn. But if God wants you to, then by all means go for it.

What I love about the shofar is it brings things into perspective. It points to God and we need more of that in our world. In the middle of my battle, God showed up and He will for you too. He’s working right now in your life. You may not see Him at work. Maybe you’re like I was, and you think He has forgotten you. He hasn’t. God sees you. God knows you. Trust Him.

 

Heavenly Father,

I lift up all those who are in a battle. Show up for them Father. Bring answers, provision, and the best thing of all, your presence. Encourage the battle weary that you will fight for them. We love you and praise your Holy name!

Amen

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit: John Theodor

Footnote:

  1. http://www.shofarot-israel.com/index.php/the-shofar/biblicaltime/

Resources:

https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Fall_Holidays/Elul/Shofar/shofar.html

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-shofar

https://torah.org/learning/yomtov-roshhashanah-vol3no16/

http://www.racematters.org/shofarhasfoursounds.htm

https://www.shofar.co/?item=88&section=170

Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

Scraps of Paper

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December 24th, 2012 I crawled into Houston after a red eye with my then seven-year-old son. I was completely disoriented after closing on our house in Oregon weeks before. Exhausted, I stared out the window of my husband’s car in a daze. The sun felt wonderful after leaving the cool Pacific Northwest. Pick up trucks were a plenty and the Christmas decorations were over the top, which I loved. These were my first impressions on our drive to the hotel. I was tired but hopeful that this move was a good decision.

Week six of being stuck in a hotel, in a city where we knew absolutely no one, I was being brought to my knees. Everything took longer than it should’ve. My car was being shipped and took an extra week. I was trapped with two kids and our cat, and no car, since Tom had to work. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We should’ve stayed in the hotel for about a month, and then moved into our house. Hahahaha!  It’s funny for me to think about now, but quite painful then. We were stepping out to the unknown, trusting that this was God’s plan.

When our loan fell apart for the home we made an offer on in November, I fell apart. That was the final straw. Tom and I were so sad. The home that we fell in love with was what kept us going as we waited. We thought we at least had a place to live taken care of in all of the unknowns. When that was taken away we were at a loss. Do we start all over looking for a new home? That would mean weeks more in a hotel. Possibly months. This sounded awful.

“Lord, where are you?”

“Why did you move us here?”

“Is anybody looking out for us?”

God was looking out for us. We knew it, we just didn’t feel it.

My Bible was packed away in storage so I would look up scriptures online. The scraps of paper are how I survived those weeks. I didn’t have real paper to write on, just whatever scraps were sitting around the hotel room. I scrawled out verses that encouraged me and reminded me of who God is. My youngest son even drew an adorable picture on one of the papers.

Sometimes we only have scraps to hold onto. It’s not pretty, but it gets us through. The amazing thing during those weeks of unknowns was that I had some of the most incredible moments with the Lord. That’s how trials work. When you’ve got nothing left but Jesus, He does remarkable things. I remember one night I couldn’t sleep and I told the Lord I’m just going to pack up my car and my kids tomorrow and drive back to Oregon. Back to what was familiar. The next day He brought some relief in my desperation.

Thankfully, God showed up in a huge way for us and fixed the loan on the house within a couple of days of it falling apart. We ended up staying in the hotel eight or nine weeks. There are worse things to deal with. Way worse. For me, it was a test of my faith as we were in the dark. I reached out and found Jesus standing there, ready to comfort and encourage me. My prayer times were in the tiny, gross bathroom during those weeks. Again, not pretty, but effective.

I keep those little scraps of paper on a memo board in my closet, which also doubles as my prayer closet. They remind me of God’s faithfulness. He has carried us through every trial and will continue to carry us. My memory can be short of God’s goodness to me. So, the trials come and flush out my doubts and weaknesses. And He shows up. And He does wonderful things. Things planned long ago. The trials will come until we go home to be with Jesus forever. Until that time, He promises to be with us always.

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b, HCSB)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your faithfulness, even when we are not faithful. You are good and perfect. I lift up all of those who are in the dark right now. The trial is painful as they wait for you to show up. Comfort them, carry them, encourage them. Remind them that you are still in control and you have a beautiful plan for them.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen

God, Jesus, Prayer, Trials, Uncategorized

Praising God in Prison

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“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,”

Luke 4:18, NIV

 

Have you ever been in a prison? Maybe you, or a loved one has served time in prison. I was in a prison once as a little girl, watching my mom’s tap dance group perform for the inmates. I don’t recall giving it much thought at the time, or being fearful. They were trying to do some good for the incarcerated.

Prisons are terrible places. They are supposed to be. They are designed to punish. Prisoners spend countless hours inside tiny cells. Freedom is gone. Our modern American prisons look like a hotel stay compared to the old Roman ones. Ancient Roman prisons were horrific.

The most famous Roman prison can still be visited today. It is located just outside the Forum Romanum buried at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. It was Ancus Marcius, the fourth king of Rome, who, sometime during his reign (640-616 BC) constructed this dark, damp and foreboding subterranean structure.¹

Roman historian Sallust described it as about twelve feet deep into the ground. “Its appearance is disgusting and vile by reason of the filth, the darkness and the stench.” It was into this room, 6 1/2 ft. high, thirty feet long and twenty-two feet wide, that prisoners who had been condemned to die either by strangulation or starvation were thrown. One attributes the phrase “to be cast into prison” had its origins here.²

Roman prisons were not used to punish criminals, but instead served only to hold people awaiting trial or execution.

 

Paul and Silas in Prison

While in Philippi, a slave girl who had a spirit that could predict the future was following Paul, Silas, and their entire group.

17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:17-18, NIV)

The slave girl’s owners were angry since she made them a lot of money. They grabbed Paul and Silas, and brought them to the authorities. (Acts 16:19)

20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” (Acts 16:20-21, NIV)

The crowd goes crazy and joins the attack against Paul and Silas. They are flogged, and thrown into the inner cell of the prison. Their feet were placed in stocks. (Acts v.22-24)

Paul and Silas were wrongfully accused, stripped, beaten, and severely flogged. Their backs would have been bloody, raw and ripped to shreds. The pain would have been unimaginable. After being beaten, almost to death, they are thrown into a horrible Roman prison. Things were looking bleak. If that were me, I would have given up. I would have asked, “Where are you God?” “You have abandoned us.” “You don’t care.”

Paul and Silas never curse God.

Paul and Silas never question God’s will or His plan.

Paul and Silas never give up.

Paul and Silas trust God.

Paul and Silas pray and sing hymns to God!

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:25-28, NIV)

And the best, most exciting part is God did a miracle! All the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. Not just Paul’s and Silas’ chains. Every prisoner who was in the prison that night experienced a miracle. Their chains came loose. Prison doors flew open. What were all these prisoners thinking? What were Paul and Silas thinking? I can only imagine the unexpected joy they all must have felt. God showed up mightily.

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. (Acts 16:29-33,NIV)

In the morning Paul and Silas get released and everybody lives happily ever after. At least for that moment.  If you want to read the entire story it’s Acts 16:16-40.

Because of being wrongfully accused, beaten to near death, and thrown in prison, a bunch of people accepted Jesus Christ as savior. Paul and Silas remained faithful. God answered their prayers and did a miracle. The jailer, and his entire family, and all other occupants in his house got saved. Who knows how many of those prisoners and guards came to know Jesus as their savior. They all witnessed a miracle. How could you not be forever changed. They experienced the mighty hand of God.

Do you have chains of affliction? Are you in your own kind of prison? You’ve prayed, and prayed, yet feel trapped. Hopeless. You stopped praying. Stopped believing.

Your prison has a purpose. God wastes absolutely nothing. Whether you put yourself there by your choices, or circumstances out of your control put you in that prison, God is still able to make a way. He opens prison doors.

God is a chain breaker.  

If you are bound up in chains then pray, and sing hymns to God. Look to Him. Declare the truth of His word over your life and circumstance. Surrender everything to God and wait to see what He does with your mess. No one can do for you what God can. Keep trusting Him.

Jesus came to set prisoners free. 

 

Father God,

I love you and praise you. Thank you for being in the miracle business. There is none like you. I lift up every person who is in chains right now. They are trapped in their own prison. Comfort them. Reveal yourself to them. Open those prison doors and loose those chains. Set all those captive, free. And for those in actual prison, set them free too. Even if they have years left of incarceration, they can still experience your freedom. Come Lord Jesus to the prisons, and to homes, and hearts. You came to set all of us free.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen!

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit Pixabay Desertrose7

  1. &  2. https://www.unrv.com/government/roman-prisons.php

 

Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

God Makes Dead Things Alive

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Have you ever had a dream die? You were sure that “thing” was going to happen and change everything. But it never did, and you gave up. Too much time passed. Too much heartache. It’s dead and buried. You even marked the tombstone with the title of your dream. Gone forever. Or is it?

God is in the miracle business. He can bring dead things to life. It may be that the dream was supposed to die, so that God can turn around and raise it up again. Some things are just supposed to die. Dreams that are not from God should be left alone. Sure, we can pursue all sorts of endeavors in the name of God, that really have nothing to do with Him. I’m talking about the deep desires that He places in our hearts. The ones we barely tell anyone about. The seeds that He has planted.

We get impatient. We think, “It will never happen”. And so we walk away. We give up. We bury the dream. God does things different than we do. He’s God, and we are not.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).

It’s easy to think we’ve got God all figured out. Like there’s some formula, and if we follow it, we get everything we want, whenever we want it. Following Christ means surrender to Him and His plan. And He does have plans for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). And He does have dreams He gives us. God’s plans cannot be stopped.

“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted,” (Job 42:2, NASB).

 

Lazarus

The story of Lazarus in the book of John is well known, and is the only place in the Gospel’s it’s told (John 11:1-44). Jesus gets word that his friend Lazarus is sick.“When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it,” (John 11:4, NIV). I can only imagine that Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, were sure that Jesus would show up and save the day. God had a different plan.“Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,” (John 11:5-6, NIV). 

Jesus tells the disciples it’s time to go back to Judea. They think this is a bad idea since the Jews there tried to stone him. This doesn’t stop Jesus. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up,” (John 11:11b, NIV). The disciples tell Jesus that Lazarus will get better if he sleeps. They thought he meant natural sleep. Jesus was talking about Lazarus death (John 11:12-13). He finally tells them Lazarus is dead and they must go to him (John 11:14).

By the time Jesus and the disciples arrive, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17). The damage was done. Death won and there would be no victory for Lazarus, or so it appeared. Martha went to meet Jesus, but Mary stayed home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask,” (John 11:21, NIV). 

“Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again,” (John 11:23, NIV). Martha and Mary still didn’t understand that Jesus was about to do something miraculous. Jesus asks to see Lazarus tomb. “Take away the stone,” he said (John 11:39a, NIV). Martha thinks this is a very bad idea since Lazarus body had been in the tomb for four days. She tells Jesus it’s going to smell pretty bad (John 11:39b). “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have always heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me,” (John 11:41-42, NIV). 

“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go,” (John 11:43-44, NIV). 

Wow!! Jesus could have immediately healed Lazarus when he was sick. Instead, he waited, even when the sisters asked for Jesus help. He had a bigger plan; To raise Lazarus from the dead. Your God-given dream can be resurrected too!

God makes dead things alive. He is the same God as during Lazarus time. God does not change (Malachi 3:6). What has died in you? Faith. Peace. Hope. Trust. Maybe the dream that God gave you died. For your marriage to be restored, a loved one who’s not following the Lord, physical healing, emotional healing, fill in the blank. What is it that you need God to breathe life into once again?

 

 

Dear Lord,

I lift up every hurting soul right now. You see them. You know them. You love them. Bring new life to their God-given dreams. The ones that died. You are in the miracle business. We love you, thank you, and praise you for who you are. Perfect, Holy, God.

Amen

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

P.S. The picture is from Elvis’ grave site at Graceland.