Say It Out Loud in 2015

Say it louWe often quote or see quoted: “Behold, I am doing a new thing and it springs forth.”   Many pastors will preach/teach from this very verse as we enter 2015.

What is rare is to see more of the context quoted, and we need to see it.   Isaiah 43:16,18-19: “Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

God is stating that He is a God who parts the waters to make a path when there seems to be no path. He promises that He will do a new thing, even if it requires blazing a path through the wilderness, or bringing a river to a desert.

Perhaps you don’t even feel like hearing “Behold I am doing a new thing.”  Perhaps you are thinking, “But look at this wilderness I find myself in.  I am drowning in the river of life.   It will never end!”

There is good news!!! God’s promise came in the midst of acknowledging that life takes us into the wilderness, and into waters over our heads.  God did not pretend it was all roses and chocolates.

As you enter 2015, talk to God about His promise and His declaration. “God, I find myself overwhelmed in life, but I stand in faith that You have declared that You are doing new things – things that might require a path through the sea or water in the desert.”

Now is the time to claim a new beginning and believe God can/will do a new thing in your life and your circumstances.

This is what I shall declare every day over my life in 2015:  “I declare that God is still the way-maker, the miracle worker, the provider of that which I need, the God who loves me, the God who cares about that which concerns me, the God who moves mountains, the God who heals, the God who restores, the God who works all things together for good,  the God of the open door, and the God who is going to do a new thing.”

Have you lost hope that anything will ever change? Take God at His word and declare it aloud, and continue declaring it.  Allow God to show Himself mighty in your life.

He is your God, and you are His child.  Now it’s time to say it out loud!

Am I Just Being a Wise Guy?

youth-leave-it-to-beaver-wise-guyThe “three” wise men in scripture are often not given credit for anything but the gifts of worship they brought to Jesus. There is only one account of the Magi and that is in the gospel of Matthew. We are not told there were only three men, but we assume that because they offered three gifts.

How wise were these Magi?

First, they were wise to find their way to the Christ child and worship Him. They did not come to observe Jesus, stare at Jesus or make judgments of what they thought of Jesus. These men set out on a journey to find the living Lord and bow before Him in worship. They, by faith, accepted that He was Jesus the Christ, the Son of the God. With all the “wisdom” around us, the wisest thing one can ever do is to worship the Lord Jesus, and offer our gifts to Him.

Second, these men were wise to listen to God and take action based on what God communicated. God had provided a star so these fellows could find Jesus, and they took the time to follow the star. Later, God gave them a dream telling them to return home a different way.   Herod intended to interrogate them, so he could find Jesus and kill him.  The important thing is not how many sermons we hear or Bible studies we attend, but how much of that becomes action in our lives.   We might know a lot, but that in itself is not wisdom.  It’s a wise man or woman who listens to God for direction and quickly puts it into action.

As I reflect on these wise men, I have purposed in my heart that I want to be a wise woman. The Bible tells of many wise people:

  • There was Enoch and Noah who were wise enough to walk with God in their day while the world around them refused to live for God. Thus, they were both saved while others perished.
  • There was Ruth who was wise enough to say to her Jewish mother-in-law, “…for where you go, I will go; and where you live, I will live; Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” – Ruth 1:16, while her sister-in-law turned around and went back to a sinful society. Thus, Ruth became an ancestor of Jesus.
  • There was Andrew who was wise because he brought people to Jesus. He that wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30.
  • There was David, who was wise enough to say and understand, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
  • There was Martha, who was wise enough to invite Jesus into her home.
  • There was Mary, who was wise enough to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word.
  • There was Peter who was wise enough to step out in faith towards Jesus, even though the storm around him was raging.
  • Then, there were the wise men, who came to worship the Lord Jesus and offer their gifts.

Am I some sort of wise guy? I hope so. I want heaven to record that Barbara Benton was wise. Why? She followed God and worshiped at His feet.

Do You Ever Feel Overwhelmed?

when-youre-feeling-overwhelmedAre you feeling overwhelmed?  Some think it’s just wrong for a Christian to feel that way!  Then I guess I am just wrong sometimes, but that puts me in some good “wrong” company.  The Apostle Paul described a period in his life this way: We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.” 2 Corinthians 2:8-9

Life can be overwhelming even for God’s children. There are unexpected events, trials, family issues, financial issues, etc. Sometimes it’s all or several of them at once. Yes, we can feel overwhelmed, but what do we do when we are in that place?

Pray the Word of God.

One scripture that is excellent to pray. “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matt. 11:29–30 NLT)

Pray this short prayer often and quickly. Believe that God will make a way.

“Lord, Your Word says that if I ask, You will take my burdens upon You, but also You will teach me how to find rest for my soul. My soul craves and longs for that right now. It seems that when I am overwhelmed, I turn around, and there stands something else ready to overwhelm me again and steal my peace.  Lord, I turn to You. I acknowledge You as my strength and song. Show me Your ways. Work in my situations. Fill my soul with Your peace today.  In the Name of Your strong Son Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Orange Dinosaur of Fear

09068aYesterday I had the pleasure of hanging out with my sixteen-month old grandson Andrew. Andrew is such a joy and loves life.

An assortment of toys are kept at our house just for the grandchildren. It gives them something different from the toys they have on a daily basis. I try to add to the stash occasionally, so a few days ago I bought an orange dinosaur that can walk, flap its wings and make a little noise.

After Andrew arrived I turned on the dinosaur, and it slowly began to move and flap its wings. Andrew was not impressed!  Fear gripped his face. He immediately ran over to Grammy, got right up next to me, wrapped his arm around my leg and clung to me for dear life. I quickly scooped him up in my arms and held him close. I then turned off the toy and put it away. I was in control of that which brought fear to him.

At times there is an ongoing debate among Christians about the subject of fear. Some believe that you have no faith if you have fear. I am not in that camp! Sometimes life can throw uncertainties at us, and fear can jump on us in a New York minute. That does not always translate to a lack of faith … BUT, faith recognizes that God is greater than the orange dinosaurs of life.   Like Andrew, we must quickly run to the Father and cling to Him. We will find that God is ready to scoop us up and give us the revelation that He is greater than the things that bring fear to our hearts.

The next time the orange dinosaur comes walking into your life, quickly run to God. Don’t spend time debating with fear. Run to God – RUN! It’s amazing how God can turn the dinosaur off!

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10