Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Before the Throne

As we are nearing the end of our study in the book of Revelation, we are learning about the New Jerusalem.

I’m not sure I can fully imagine what it will be like to stand before the throne of God with a multitude of believers and the heavenly hosts worshiping the Lamb of God and God the Father.  To finally see my Savior face to face…the One who bore my sins so that I would be forgiven and clothed in His righteousness.  What will it be like?

Then my thoughts turned to forgiveness.  How many people have I held a grudge towards?  What about my friend who hasn’t forgiven me?  If they are believers…we will one day stand before the throne of God together.  At that time the things of this earth will have long since have been forgotten and forgiven.  In heaven I won’t even remember the hurts and offenses that I choose to hold on to this side of heaven. 

In light of heaven, in light of the forgiveness of Christ for my sin…how can I not run to the throne of grace and freely abundantly forgive?

Monday, April 18, 2011

“Max on Life” by Max Lucado – A book worth pondering


When Max Lucado’s new book “Max on Life - Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions” was made available to read and review, I quickly jumped at the opportunity and I was not disappointed. 

In his latest book Max has compiled his responses to 172 questions that he has received over the years.  The questions are grouped together by topic such as hope, hurt, help, him/her, home, have/have-nots and the hereafter. 

What I appreciate about Max’s style of writing is his ability to simplify and put into practice his faith based on the solid foundation of God’s word.  He doesn’t make apologies about some Bible passages that people may take offense to when they are suffering or going through a difficult time in their life.  While taking God at His word is simple, it’s not easy.  There are many things we won’t have an answer to this of heaven.  Yet, that doesn’t stop the author from speaking the truth from the word of God into people’s lives with love and compassion. 

Some of topics I found powerful were on forgiveness, growing closer to God, faith in the face of cancer, prayer, the Holy Spirit, marriage, family, sex, male/female differences, and heaven and hell. 

While the book was very good, I found myself wanting Max to be stronger in his responses about sin and repentance, salvation, and abortion.  An area I wish Max had covered was about the holiness of God and how a holy God views our sin. 

I do recommend Max Lucado’s newest book “Max on Life”.  It’s the kind of book that would be good to have on your nightstand so you can read some of the questions and answers before turning in or when waking up.  There were many of Max’s answers and scripture references that I found myself pondering and meditating on.  It’s well organized and there is a topic and scripture index for quick reference.
 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Hope and a Prayer

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

I have a dear friend who has committed to praying for my husband and me and our marriage.  I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful that is.  She and her husband love the Lord and seek His face and desire to do His will.  She continually points me back to God’s word and what scripture says and the absolute truth contained therein.  Prayer is a powerful and wonderful gift.

Recently she sent me an email that she was going to be praying Romans 15:13 for both of us.  When I read the verse, I found that it was in line with what I’ve been going through in the last couple of weeks and what God has been impressing upon me through my circumstances. 

Do you ever find that the Lord continues to bring you back to a topic over and over again?  During the last couple of weeks the focus has been on hope in sermons, Bible study, scripture and radio programs.

I love the Lord Jesus Christ and my Father in heaven.  I am so grateful to have the Holy Spirit in me and growing and sanctifying me.  I love God’s word…and I have a hope that cannot be squelched or quenched.

Yet, the last couple of weeks I’ve felt overwhelmed.  The demands and busyness have been intense.  Dealing with people and things that are out of my control left me feeling frustrated, angry, and very low.  I had my eyes on my circumstances and was focused on my feelings instead of God.

In the mornings I pray before starting my day and that includes prayer for the people with whom I interact with each day.  I pray for salvation for those who are unsaved.  If they are going through difficult times, I pray for whatever they are going through.

Even though I had started my day in prayer, instead of walking in the victory I have in Christ Jesus I felt swamped and like my boat was going under.  The very people for whom I prayed were now the focus of my frustration and anger.  I just wanted to quit and escape those circumstances.  Yet God calls me to endure through His power, wisdom and might.

Alright…so I may be a little slow on the uptake.  After a week of messages on hope you would think I would get it.  But it wasn’t until my friend emailed me about the verse she was praying for us this week, that I realized that I felt rather hopeless.  Hopeless because I was trying to suck it up, gut it out and get through these challenging circumstances on my strength.  God never gives us burdens to bear alone.  Instead He desires that we run to the throne of grace and seek His help in order to run the race with endurance.

God helped me to see that I can’t even do the everyday things on my own.  I need to come to Him in the morning seeking His strength and wisdom to handle the people and things that I will encounter.  Throughout the day, come to Him in prayer for each problem and challenge I’m facing.  I need to pray for God to help me love those who frustrate me.  That’s not something I can do on my own…I need to stay focused on God continually.

I believe there was a spiritual battle taking place during the last couple of weeks.  One that left me feeling defeated when I attempted to face it alone.  It was only after I reached out to some friends and asked for their prayer that I was able to keep my eyes on the Lord and come to Him in prayer throughout the day.  The challenges kept coming…but now I was facing them though the power and strength of the Lord. 

The enemy, the hater of our souls, seeks to have us walk alone.  He knows the power of prayer and wants to keep us from praying for those who are unsaved.  What better way to keep me from praying than to keep me frustrated, angry and focused on my circumstances rather than being dependent upon God. 

I’ve been meditating on Romans 15:13 this week and thinking about hope.  What is hope?  For a Christian it’s a confident expectation based on the truth and knowledge of who God is and a remembrance of what He’s done in the past.  Based on that knowledge I can know with certainty that He will act in the present and that my future is secure in Christ Jesus.  Nothing can overwhelm Omnipotence who reigns on high. 

When I view my circumstances in the light of God…I have a hope that cannot be shaken or moved. 

Picture a Day - Roses in Springtime

Shortly before we moved from California in 2014, my husband Chris took me to the Huntington Library.  I had never been there, but he had...