Heavenly Throne and Earthly Footstool

In this modern era, we depreciate God in every way. We see Him as the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. We tell Him what to do, berate Him as a child, and show our disdain and anger toward Him.

We forget that He created the entire cosmos. Mankind discovers more and more galaxies with each new powerful telescope and probe, which we send out into space.

We continually discover plant and animal species which we never knew existed. We see the magnitude of His glory in nature; and yet, this does not change our respect and honor for our Creator (Romans 1:20).

Today, God deigns to dwell on earth in the hearts of Believers (2 Chronicles 6:18). We cannot possibly hide from God. He sees our thoughts, words and deeds. He desires our pure and holy worship (Jeremiah 23:24).

People refer to a building where the church meets as the “House of God”, but this is far from the way God sees it (Acts 7:38). Heaven is His throne and He uses the earth as His footstool (Isaiah 66:1). The most elegant cathedral cannot contain Him.

He is our King and the ultimate Ruler of the Universe (1 Timothy 1:17). He stretches out between the vast expanse of time and space and interacts with His creation throughout the ages.

His Lordship and holy Presence should cause us to fall on our face before Him in humility, gratitude and praise; rather than to shout false accusations at Him, demean His character and blame Him for that misfortune which Satan causes on the earth.

God is totally engaged in each individual life and works by His Spirit to bring His truth and revelation to people in each generation since Adam and Eve. There is no reason for us not to love and honor Him with every breath we take.

Prayer:
Father God, what house could we possibly build for You (Jeremiah 7:4)? There is no way to contain Your essence in a building made with human hands (Acts 7:49). The heavens cannot even contain You, because You defy space and matter (1 Kings 8:27). You hold the universe in one hand.

Yet, Your eyes are on each one of us, judging our works and considering our needs, providing for Your children through Your magnanimous love and care (Psalm 11:4; 1 Peter 5:7). We give thanks to You that there is no good thing, which we need that You are not willing to provide for us (Philippians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
God fills both the heavens and the earth and is not limited by time, space or matter; yet, He also revives the heart of the humble and penitent, and energizes our spirit with His Spirit as a down payment for all He has prepared for us both now and in eternity. – Jeremiah 23:24; Isaiah 57:15

Advertisements

The Lost Art of Grieving

Loss is a part of living; but grieving is a lost art. We do not want to face the pain, so we stuff it inside, wallow in self-pity and depression, and ignore the one safety valve God gave us to overcome the deep abiding sadness we carry around with us every hour of every day.

If we would allow Him to, our God of all comfort would fill us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him. He enables us to overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit within us (Romans 15:13).

People usually ignore us when we are grieving, because they do not know what to say. They may want to speak to us but cannot decide how to word their feelings. This is common and we do not need to feel insecure.

We can simply say, “I am not sure what to say, but I want you to know that I care about you and that I am here for you in any way that I can be of help.”

We tend to use phrases like: passed on, passed away, graduated to heaven, went to be with the Lord, etc. Using the word “died” will allow the grieving person to realize that it is okay to refer to their loved one in that same way.

We can express our concern by sharing our sorrow that they are experiencing this loss. “I am so sorry for your loss. I really care about you. How may I help you?”

A simple, “What do you need from me right now?” or “What can I do for you?” are appropriate ways to offer help, because they show you support them during this time of grief.

Do not tell the grieving person that their loved one is in a better place, or that they will get over their grief in time, or that this loss was part of God’s plan, or that you know how they feel. Instead, ask them, “How are you feeling right now?”

You do not need to remind them of all they still have to be thankful for or that they can find comfort in the fact that their loved one really cared about them.

Do not tell them what they should feel or do. Let God direct their steps in His timing and way. If they ask you, then start your comment with, “Have you ever considered …”getting a part-time job”, “volunteering at a shelter”, “helping us with our children’s ministry” (in the office, on workdays around the building).

The worst thing you can say is, “It is time to get on with your life.” You could say, “God still has plans for your life and He will show them to you as you are ready.”

Everyone has a different way to grieve and different time frames in which to do this. Some take longer than others. Some never get over the intense feelings of grief and it shapes their future life.

Many friends forget about the grieving person once the funeral is over. That is when the person needs us the most. Take them shopping, to get their hair done, or for a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant sunny day.

Take them a hot meal, but do not stay to watch them eat it. Offer to buy them some groceries or to do their dishes or wash a load of laundry. These basic needs often get neglected when we are grieving.

Send cheerful cards, invite them to a movie or over to your house to join mutual friends for dinner. Do not force them to be outgoing or cheerful. Just allow them to silently enjoy your company.

Honor their requests, don’t push your ideas on them, but ask them, “What would you like to do this week?” Do this regularly for the first year after their loss. Be patient and don’t push them. Love them with the love of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, knowing what to say to a grieving person is so nerve wracking and our ineptitude is paralyzing. Teach us how to comfort. Give us Your Holy Spirit’s wisdom for how to minister to each new grieving person. Put Your ideas in our mind, inspire our creativity with Your ideas on how to be a special blessing to this grieving friend, relative or church member.

We also ask that You comfort us in our grief. Help us not to wallow in self-pity but to rise and shine with each new day and to seek Your will in each new moment. Help us to realize that You have plans for us that do not include our loved one; and that we still have purpose and meaning for our life in You.

Thought for the Day:
Give a bereaving person the gift of your time and attention.

Created for God

Did you ever wonder why the earth’s axis holds its exact degree of slant and stays in its exact obit? If it did not do this, we would all be frozen or burned up.

It is only due to God’s great love and compassion that we are not consumed. His care for us never fails. It is new every single morning because God is faithful. This fact gives us unending hope.

The Lord is our provider as we wait upon Him. He is good to those who quietly hope in Him and concentrate the largest portion of our energy on seeking Him and the fullness of His salvation (Lamentations 3:21-26).

At times, we feel like the Lord does not really care about us. That is only because we have unrealistic expectations of Him that are not part of His will for our life.

We treat Him like a genie in a bottle created to grant our wishes, rather than as our Lord and King who created us to do His will with our life.

If we align our will with His, we are never disappointed in the answers to our prayers, because we pray in the Spirit rather than in our flesh.

We are taught by false prophets to claim Biblical promises, as if this puts God under obligation to us to do our will. He provides His promises to encourage us, not to give us some weapon to use against Him; which by the way, does not work and just leaves us frustrated.

God never changes. His mercy never fails us. His goodness is everlasting. His love is eternal. He is under no obligation to grant our wishes or to do our bidding. Instead, He requires that we lay down our life every day, take up His cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24; Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17).

Prayer:
Father God we often weave a tangled web with the circumstances of our life and then expect You to get us out of the mess we made. When we live in the center of Your will, Christ strengthens us to accomplish everything which You call us to do. You make us more than conquerors over the issues of life which You allow us to encounter, not over the jumble we create by our self-centered pursuit of this world.

In You we find peace, joy and boldness to walk in Your ways, which are so superior to our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Remind us that at the moment of salvation You move into our life, abiding there and desiring for us to get out of the way and to allow You to use us to accomplish all that You created us to do.

Thought for the Day:
As we live fully in each present moment, with no expectations or goals of our own, we can more easily follow the leading of God’s Spirit and walk in the center of His will; we hope in God alone, instead of hoping that He meets what we think are our needs.

God’s Goodness and Grace

God’s name is used in our society more in cursing than as a prayer. The last several generations have less of a concept of sin. They consider wrong as right, and right is often viewed as wrong (Romans 1:32).

Sin is the norm for many, and church is foreign (Ephesians 4:21, 6:1; Colossians 3:9). They view Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross as a waste of a life, rather than as the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.

Until we understand that God’s Word is our ultimate authority, we will not comprehend our disobedience to it, and our need to ask Jesus for forgiveness (John 14:15, 23).

Even the law of our land teaches us that there are consequences for our behavior. The police and courts hold us responsible to uphold the law, or we are sentenced to make amends.

When we transgress God’s law, we deserve to suffer the penalty of death (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Yet, Jesus suffered our eternal punishment for us (John 3:16-18). He gives us His life in our spirit, which was formerly dead in sin (Galatians 2:20).

When we decide to live for God, rather than for our self, we are no longer separated from Him. Jesus makes it possible for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven (Romans 10:13).

When we die physically, we will not die spiritually. The last breath we breathe on earth is followed by our first breath in Heaven (Matthew 25:46). We can trust our life on earth to God’s perfect plan for us (Ephesians 2:10).

We find fulfillment, peace and joy through His love and forgiveness (Romans 14:17). We collapse into God’s waiting arms with the confidence that He will catch us and never, ever let us go (Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer:
Father God, there are not enough days in our lifetime to show our appreciation to You for all that You do for us each day. Remind us not to take Your goodness and grace for granted. Teach us to praise You for all of the blessings You shower on us each and every day. Thank You for abiding in our spirit and making such a huge difference in our life.

Help us to learn to discern the leading of Your Spirit as we commit each moment of our day to You. We do not want to depend on our human reasoning, because this reaps mediocre results at best. We want to walk in Your Will by the direction of Your Word under the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
God improves our spiritual, mental, emotional, financial and physical health as we  trust Him, follow the direction of His Spirit, and live, move and exist only in His will. – Acts 17:28

Let Me Tell You, Ladies

A man loves to be useful and to feel needed, admired, accepted as he is and appreciated. As his wife, we are his biggest fan and most vocal cheering section.

We encourage our husband, show him appreciation, leave love notes in his briefcase or lunchbox, get excited at his accomplishments and care about his day. We can ask him what he needs, and do all in our power to help.

Our husband is not our mule and a paycheck. His role in life is not to function as our servant. Even if we both work all day, and we share the chores and child care, he should choose the chores he feels comfortable doing.

When our husband has a day off, he needs some of that time for himself. Family time is important, but he needs some of that time to chill, to hang with his buds, to create in his shop, to surf the waves or the internet, or to play his gaming device.

He decompresses his stress this way and can pay more attention to the family during our time together. A date night is also important for us as a couple…a time to play, laugh, make memories, form a closer bond and do something fun.

If we make his favorite meals and have everything he needs for the next day in plain view and ready for him before we go to bed, his love for us will grow; and he will make more of an effort to care for our needs as well.

If he is withdrawn, irritable, angry, or exhibiting any negative emotions, we can give him some space and some time to work out his issues. We can ask if there is anything we can do to help, and then follow through with his requests.

When a disagreement occurs, we brainstorm and pray together rather than just caving in to our partner or fighting to get our own way. Once God shows us a scenario, which we both feel good about, we proceed with unity and joy in our heart.

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word warns us that all of the forces of hell, along with the temptations and disagreements of the world, unite to destroy our marriage. We often join them and make life more difficult for our partner.

Remind us that love never fails; so we can decide together that divorce is never an option, since divorce shreds our family and removes the support that our children need regardless of how old they are. Divorce makes Your Church vulnerable, unstable and defeated.

Revive us, O Lord, so that we can rejoice in You (Psalm 85:6). Satisfy us anew each new morning with your unfailing love, so we can sing for joy and rejoice all the days of our life (Psalm 90:14).

Thought for the Day:
There is nothing, which happens in a marriage that cannot be resolved, if both mates will prefer the other person, exhibit patience during a disagreement, join forces during a trial and spend time enjoying one another’s company.

Our Almighty God

David was anointed King as a young man, and King Saul hated him. He tried every method of trick, sleuth and military tactic to kill David; yet did not succeed. David knew that God had plans for his life and he was not afraid of Saul. David wrote that He had assurance that God was laughing at King Saul’s plans (Psalm 2:1-4).

By expressing these words in his psalm, David also spoke a prophetic word concerning the end times, when Satan gathers the armies of the world against the Lord. People in these last days have no respect for authority, and they believe it is their right and duty to reject the concept of God as our Higher Power. They refuse to believe in Jesus, because His Biblical Word is contrary to their humanistic philosophy.

They want to rip off the fetters and cords they believe that God has on them, and they devise vain attempts to distance themselves in every way from God and religion. They join groups of other atheists and agnostics and take a position against God’s people who dare to stand for God. They also make vain plans to thwart God’s purpose in the earth. In many countries they persecute and kill Believers.

Yet, the Lord, who sits in heaven on His jasper throne, chuckles and ridicules these vain attempts to discredit Him as Almighty God (Psalm 2:4). He brings all of His Saints home to be with Him (Psalm 116:15). He never despises or shows partiality to anyone (Job 36:5; Deuteronomy 10:17), but gave His Son to everyone in order to bridge the gap, which our sin brought between Him and each one of us (Isaiah 9:6).

Prayer:
Father God, You are the Mighty One, and we humble our self before Your powerful hand (Joshua 22:22; 1 Peter 5:6). We know that You will lift us up in Your own time and save us in the same way that You cared for Your chosen people who sojourned in Egypt (Zephaniah 3:17; Deuteronomy 5:15; Daniel 9:15). You control the earth from the rising to the setting of the sun (Psalm 50:1). You are awesome and awe-inspiring, and we thank You for keeping Your covenant of love with us (Nehemiah 9:32). Thank You also for preserving us and giving us Your assurance for our future with You (Job 24:22). We praise and worship You in all of Your splendor and might.

Thought for the Day:
God gives love to thousands of generations who love Him, but His righteous judgment is on those who choose to live in sin instead.
– Jeremiah 32:18

God Loves YOU

As humans, we search our whole life for love and acceptance. We seek it from our parents, spouse, children and even extramarital affairs. Some people will lie, cheat and wear masks to get love; and then lose it when they show their true colors. We use other people to gratify our own needs; and those attempting to gratify their needs, may abuse us.

We end up brokenhearted, callous, angry and bitter. The desire to love and to be loved is the most basic human need. What we fail to realize is just how deeply God loves each and every one of us. We are all special to Him, the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8; Zechariah 2:8). He is big enough to care about every need that each of us will ever have. If we let Him, He spoils us as His precious children.

God crafted each of us as an original creation, and we are very special to God. Some are smart, others beautiful, or talented, creative, analytical, handy, artistic, etc. The main ingredient we all have is that we are loved by God (John 3:16-18). He does not love us for what we do, or who we are. He will never leave us for doing something stupid or bad (Romans 5:8). His love is unconditional.

God is our Father and He is interested in every detail of our life. He lives within authentic Believers by His Spirit and knows us better than we know our own self (John 14:23; Psalm 139:13-16; Matthew 10:30; 1 Corinthians 3:16). An intimate relationship is all that He desires from us, nothing more (Matthew 7:21-21). We love Him and give Him our devotion and obedience (John 14:15-31). His commands are never burdensome, but for our protection (John 5:3).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to accept Your love for us and to give Your love to those You bring into our life. Help us to maintain peaceful and contented relationships with our family, friends neighbors and associates. Help us to love You more with each passing day and to devote everything we say, think and do for Your glory. Remind us to walk in Your love and to obey You with each moment of our life.

Thought for the Day:
God loves us and desires our love; and He gives us people in our life to love and to serve. – 1 John 4:7-21