Saturday, March 4, 2017

" There's a lot of water over there ." …"There's a lot of water over there" …

My dad repeated this phrase several times in his final days as he laid in his hospital bed dying . Everyone would comment that he was having hallucinations . But I think he saw something real.  Paul, in speaking to the men of Athens in Acts17:27  said that God was " not far from anyone of us ". Could that perhaps be literal – could that veil that hides us from seeing the eternal rhelm be just across the room? I don't know , none of us will know until the day we shed our earthly shell and enter into the presence of the living God.

But, there is water  "over there" - we can read about it in Revelation 22 . According to the very Word of God there is a "river, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb."  On each side of that river is the "Tree of Life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations"– symbols of grace and healing forgiveness . Could it be that that is what we will see when we approach the Throne of grace? The actual living water that cleanses us from sin, making us righteous to stand before God through our faith in Jesus Christ?    I don't know all that, but I do know this for sure:  THERE'S A LOT OF WATER OVER THERE!... And one day I'm going to see it with my dad!

Monday, February 13, 2017

God has been speaking to us as a congregation. In this last year, among other things, we have been exhorted:

1.  This is a season of change and that "unless you change and become like a child, you cannot see the kingdom of God"
2.  God desires to give us "new wine”. But new wine cannot be poured into old wine skins. We must change.

On a recent Sunday morning, Kourtney had a vision of the glory of God in all His splendor, seated on the throne with majesty.  We all desire to see God's glory – the manifest presence of God. Scriptures tell us that the heavens are filled with the glory of God. We see his glory through things he has created.  But here is something interesting from John, chapter 2:

Jesus, his disciples, and His mother were at the wedding of Cana. They ran out of wine. Jesus' mother was concerned and got Him involved. Even though He had not revealed himself yet as God's Son, she told the servants to "do whatever He says ". He told them to take six stone water jars, each holding 20 to 30 gallons, and fill them up with water. They did what He said, and you know the story – that water was turned to wine. Verse 11 says, "What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory..."

Jesus revealed his glory through something that was changed. He reveals his glory through changed things …through changed people. What had to be done before that change occurred? All six of those huge jars had to be filled with water: 20-30 gallons each - that is 120-160 gallons!  That took serious effort, especially in those days. They didn't just turn on the spigot and fill them with a hose. They had to either go to a well or to the waterside.

God is calling us to, as Mary said, do what He tells us.  What has He told you to do? What is He pinpointing in your life that needs changed?  It may take some serious effort on your part to respond. This is a season of change and calls for listening ears and obedient hearts.  When that happens, we will see God's glory –His manifest presence in our personal lives and corporately in this church as well. 

Remember this – the water would never have been turned into wine if the jars were not filled and Christ's glory would not have been revealed. May He reveal His glory through our obedient and changed lives!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Someone asked me lately to do a blog on marriage and family . They observed the success of my children and thought I might have wisdom . As much as I'd love to take credit for my children's good choices and their paths of success , I know that I cannot .  In the same way, I learned early on in my marriage and child rearing days that I cannot take all the blame for my children's failures as well .  

But as I pondered this, I realized that there were things that I DID do right . There are things that every parent should do that will ensure success in any children who walk in obedience to their parents and ultimately to the word of God.  So, here are the things that I believe I did right...

I YIELDED MY LIFE TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND WAS BORN AGAIN. I believe that this is the only way that we can do anything with any kind of success . Unless our lives are yielded to our Maker who is the creator of life and  family , then we cannot know true wisdom . Jesus Christ has been made for us all wisdom.

I MARRIED A MAN WITH THE SAME YIELDED HEART FOR CHRIST.  The Word of God says that we are not to be unequally yoked . Because following Christ and being obedient to His word was considered to be of the utmost importance by both of us , our convictions were the same .

I DEVELOPED A PRAYER LIFE.  The Bible tells us that the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much". The greatest thing that I can ever do for my husband and my children is to pray for them . The Almighty God who holds all things in his hands promised that when I called on Him He would answer and show me great and mighty things that I didn't know . And there is so much to parenting and marriage that we just don't know how to do.

I FILLED MYSELF WITH THE WORD OF TRUTH.  Gods word is alive – it is the very thing and the ONLY thing that will change me and make me into the image of Christ . The Bible tells us that we are to be " transformed by the renewing of our minds" and the only thing that will renew our minds is reading, studying, meditating on, and memorizing God's word , the Bible... Coupled with obedience to follow it .

I WATCHED CLOSELY AND FOLLOWED THE EXAMPLES OF SEASONED MOTHERS.  I had many beautiful examples of godly mothers and wives that were an inspiration to me , teaching me by their beautiful example .  The greatest bonus in my life was having a mom who showing me a tremendous example of how to truly love my husband and children . 

I LEARNED AFTER MANY YEARS THAT I MUST RELINQUISH CONTROL OF MY HUSBAND AND CHILDREN TO THE ONE WHO IS SOVEREIGN, JESUS CHRIST.  He has plans and purposes for my husband , myself, my children, and my grandchildren . Those plans are for good to give us a hope and a future .

FINALLY, I LEARNED THAT I MUST NOT BEAT MYSELF UP FOR FAILURES.  Because when I do , it brings about discouragement, and I grow unproductive. Because of our human nature , marriage and childbearing are full times of trying and failing ... Or even NOT trying and failing . The word tells us that if we put our hands to the plow and look back, we are not fit for the kingdom.  In other words, we lose ground and our paths become crooked.  As Paul has encouraged us, "I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind, I press on toward the goal" (Philippians 3:13, 14).  I too, always need to remind myself never to focus on the things that I have done wrong but to keep my heart straining toward what is ahead . 

There will always be challenges in every season of family life, and I am convinced that the key to success is in living a life dependent on the Almighty God, His Son Jesus Christ  - being filled with His Spirit , and trusting the divine direction and guidance from His Word, the Bible.