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Sunday, April 23, 2017

When You Are Tired

One day my daughter sent her then five-year-old daughter to bring her something, don't recall what it was now, from the bedroom. Jen set off obediently then suddenly stopped and turned around.

"I'm tired," she declared, and came and sat down.

This unexpected response had me and her mother laughing.

We knew Jen wasn't tired. A five-year-old's energy supply doesn't get depleted that quickly despite hours of running, climbing and bouncing about. But adults are different. Even athletes who appear to have superhuman form get tired and must rest. If they don't rest, they risk reducing their performance levels and may even suffer injury.

Adults, athletes, and five-year-olds are all human. We get tired. But how about God? Psalm 121 tells us, "He neither slumbers nor sleeps" (v 4). But Jesus, when He walked this earth, became tired and often called His disciples away from the crowds so they could rest.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”(Mark 6 : 31).

He also taught,  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11: 28 -29).

God knows there are times when we need more than physical rest. We need rest for our mind, our soul and our spirit. When we come to Jesus, He gives us exactly the kind of rest we need. It's restorative, refreshing and redeeming. Do you need rest today? Take some time to talk to Jesus about it. Believe me, He hears. 

I can't think of a better song of restoration than the 23rd Psalm. Here it is being sung by the church choir at Whitney Houston's funeral. Enjoy!





Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sun Understood




courtesy morguefile

As I read and reflected on the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, something struck me. Jesus was in darkness for three whole hours! According to Our Daily Bread, many theologians believe that during this period of darkness the fellowship between the Father, Son and Holy spirit was broken as God,  unable to look at the ugly cloak of sin that Jesus wore, turned His face away from His only begotten Son. .

 Darkness is a time when sinister things happen.  Darkness symbolizes evil, loneliness, depression. Wicked people perform their deeds under the cover of darkness, and Satan, we are told, is the Prince of darkness.

Darkness is fine when you are asleep. But to be in darkness when you are awake is not normal. However, darkness can be a comforting thing. Have you ever gone through one of those times when you felt the need to be in darkness?  To just draw the blinds, turn off the lights and make the world go away. It can be one of the worst times.

Maybe that’s the way Jesus felt as he hung on the cross, weighted down by your sin and mine, and most of all, forsaken by His Father. Hear His cry of anguish: And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) Mark 15 : 34. 

And the sun understood.

The sun drew the curtains of heaven together so both Father and Son could suffer in silence. And in darkness. 

But every period of suffering – yours, mine - comes to an end. After three hours, the darkness lifted and Jesus breathed His last. 

Yes, suffering does end. One day there will be no need for darkness.
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22: 5).

We will live in the eternal light of God’s presence because one day, over two thousand years ago., Jesus wrapped Himself in the darkness of our sin.

Want to know more about what happened that day? Grab a copy of my ebook For God So Loved today while it’s still on free. Have a blessed Easter.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Story Behind Easter

Have you ever wondered what the atmosphere was like in heaven when God disclosed that He was sending Jesus His only-begotten Son into the world to die for us? How did the heavenly host react to such news? And how did Satan react when He came face-to-face with the "Bright And Morning Star?" And later, after Jesus hung on the cross, and Satan and his imps returned to hell, expecting to celebrate their victory, they met Jesus, alive, holding the keys of death, hell and the grave. Would you have wished to be present?

As believers, I think Lenten Season is the perfect time to reflect on all these spectacular happenings. Why did God send His Son to die such a cruel death for us? And why did Jesus submit so willingly?

I have tried to capture, in a short story, what I think the scene must have looked like in heaven and on earth on that Good Friday morning. How it must have pierced God's heart having to turn His back on His Son as He hung on the cross. And the pain of this terrible, unprecedented desertion by His Father must have been more horrible than the wounds inflicted on him.

 I believe you will feel as if you were a silent witness to all of this as you read For God So Loved which won an  honorable mention in a Writer's Digest competition. One reviewer stated, "This story is the perfect gift for Easter." So, as my Easter gift for you, from now until Good Friday, April 14th, you can download a free copy. Just click on the image below.



And if you enjoyed the story, kindly leave a review so others can be encouraged to read the book. I would also invite you to sign up for my mailing list below so you can get updates on other great offers.

 
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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

I Surrender All

The words of this song came to my mind just before I fell asleep last night. It's a song I've know almost all my life, and maybe many of you do too.

I surrender all,
I surrender all,
All to thee my blessed Savior, 
I surrender all.
 
But even though I've sung it many times in church and I've heard sermons preached on the topic, I still sometimes wonder, what does it really mean to surrender all to Jesus? Does it mean being passive, not taking the initiative to do anything and just waiting on God? Or does it simply mean giving your life to Christ?

Someone said to surrender is to let God take full control. He used the example of the sheep to illustrate his point. Sheep are supposed to be dumb animals, because they simply allow themselves to be led by the shepherd. If the shepherd doesn't keep a watchful eye on them, they may fall off a cliff. That's how dumb they are. Really? No, they are not dumb; they have simply learned to depend on their shepherd. 

Oswald Chambers speaks of surrender this way: "Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits that may result" (My Utmost For His Highest). Even if those benefits include being delivered from sin. In other words, we should surrender to God because we want to be with Him. Like the sheep, we follow Him blindly, not knowing or caring where He takes us because we trust Him.

Rick Warren says, "You know you're surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation." In other words, let go and let God.

We can rid ourselves of a lot of stress if we would only learn to surrender completely to God, to trust Him the way the sheep trust their shepherd. This Lenten season, as we focus on Christ and His death on the cross, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us surrender all to Him just as Jesus surrendered completely to His Father's will, even though it agonized Him.



Monday, March 27, 2017

Gone Fishing

One of the most poignant stories in the Bible, to my mind, is the one where Peter and the disciples decided to go fishing after Jesus's death. I say poignant because Peter's words, "I go a fishing," (John 21: 3), and the disciples' readiness to accompany him, show a sense of boredom, futility and even a sense of loss.

I can just picture these men, sitting idly in their boat, casting pebbles into the river, watching the sun set, and occasionally emitting a sigh. They needed to be doing something, but what? Their Lord and Master with whom they had traveled the country for the past three years, had gone and left them. Oh, He was alive. They'd seen Him, ate with Him, but where was He now? Did He even care about them any more?

And so these men who had been fishermen before they began their ministry with Jesus, returned to what they once knew. Makes sense, doesn't it? When the wife, husband, friend or whomever  you counted on leaves you high and dry, you return to the old life. Back to the club, the bottle, the dope, the old lifestyle. Anything that would keep you occupied, whether it's wholesome or not.

But something strange happened. These seasoned fishermen failed to get so much as a nibble. They returned with empty nets. This is what happens when you try to go back to the old life. You are in for a rude awakening. There is nothing there for you anymore. The friends are gone. What used to satisfy, no longer does. The pond has dried up.

My heart breaks for Peter and his friends. But wait. Jesus comes to their rescue. They don't recognize Him at first because they have been away from Him for a while. And He says to them, "Children, have ye any meat?" (v 5). 

Notice how tenderly He addresses them. He feels their pain, their disappointment, their hopelessness. He also knows their needs. These men had been with Him for three years. During that time, they'd given up their means of earning a living, and now with Jesus gone, they are left to fend for themselves, and they are most likely broke. Or near broke. But Jesus, our Jehovah-jireh provides for them. He tells them, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find" (v 6).

Friends, hear me. When Jesus seems far away, when those we count on run out on us, that is not the time to go fishing. You will only come up empty handed and depressed. Those disciples could have gone looking for Jesus. They could have inquired of Him, "Lord, what should we do?" But instead they gave in to disillusionment and went fishing.

But Jesus, in His love and mercy, found them, supplied their needs and gave Peter a new assignment, "Feed my sheep," (v 16; 17).

Are you going fishing? Has life dealt you a disappointing blow and you are ready to give up? Don't turn back now. Look to Jesus. 

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 29: 13


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring, Lovely Spring

Garden with some tulips and narcissusImage via WikipediaThis is a post I wrote some years ago when I first started blogging. Having been away from my computer for a while, too long a while, I decided to search some old posts to find something that would get my creative juices flowing. And sure enough, I came across this post, perfect for the beginning of spring. I have repurposed it a little to make it more relevant.
                                                                                 
Spring is here! Isn't it wonderful the way God redecorates the landscape so there is always something new to grab our senses and delight our minds? I love the changing of the seasons. Maybe it's because I was born and raised in a tropical climate where there are only two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. It was only when I migrated to the United States that I experienced the four seasons. I remember the first time I saw snow, I was like a kid again, a grown woman making snowballs and throwing at my friends. Then fall came and filled me with awe, and still does.

There is beauty and purpose in every season. I don't mind the short, gray days and the naked boughs of winter because I know they don't last. The sun will shine again, tender green leaves will appear on those boughs and flowers will spring out of the ground. Perpetual summer or winter could not sustain life. We need heat and cold, moisture and drought in order to sustain life on this planet.

The changing of the seasons reminds me that:

1. God is faithful. He is always with us, whether we think of Him or not. Like a good parent, He is preparing our food, our comfort and doing all the extra little things to give us pleasure. Acts 14: 17 says, "... and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."


2. God is a God of order. Even though environmentalists speak of climate change, weather systems throughout the world remain well-defined. Spring comes faithfully after winter, summer follows spring and so on. We experience heat in summer and cold in winter. Hot climates remain hot and cold climes remain cold. Spring is always the season of birth and new beginnings, winter the season of death and decay.


3. God speaks to us through the seasons. Oswald Chambers says, "When you have thoughts and ideas that are worthy of credit to God, learn to compare and associate them with ... the changing of the seasons." (My Utmost For His Highest). I couldn't agree more. The seasons of the earth reflect the seasons of our lives. Just as God rearranges the environment to suit His purpose, in the same way He arranges our lives into seasons so we can grow and develop into the spiritually healthy and happy beings He created us to be. Just trust Him, regardless of the season. 

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Speaking of the seasons of our lives, I would like to introduce you to my book Women For All Seasons, which uses stories of women of the Bible to show how God works in and through us in every season of our life. Check it out here.







     
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