Friday, July 29, 2016

Why Wait on God's Timing?

I want to tell you a love story.
My friend has been divorced twice.  As her second marriage crumbled, she reached out to God. She used that trial to draw closer to our Lord. She used that time to allow God to fill all the empty places in her heart. When she wanted to fight, her heavenly father gave her Exodus 14:14: "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still." and when she hit rock bottom, having all her hopes and dreams ripped from her grasp, He gave her Joel 2:25: " I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust have eaten."
She believed those promises as her marriage finally ended in divorce despite all her efforts to restore it. She believed those promises as she moved out of the home that once held so much promise. She believed those promises when she moved into a little farmhouse...alone. She believed those promises through lonely days and nights and trusted God to fill the void her failed marriages left. Through these years, she learned to talk to God and filled volumes of journals with the conversations she had with Him. She recorded the things he revealed to her through Scripture, sermons, and godly friends. She recorded the deepest desires of her heart and praised Him as her desires became more and more in line with His.
She trusted that God would sustain her, even fill her to overflowing, on His own. She trusted that HE would meet the needs in her heart for validation, security, and a sense of value. And He did. As the years passed, she embraced her identity as His daughter and found comfort and security in knowing that the Lord of all creation took time to talk to her each day.
She met a couple of nice guys along the way, but her heart, unwilling to settle for less than the love she'd found in the embrace of her Heavenly Father, would not allow those relationships to grow.
Then, one day, God opened the floodgate and poured all the blessings of heaven over her. He introduced her to the man He'd spent time preparing for her and the man He'd spent time preparing her for. Separately, they'd spent the past few years seeking God's face, God's will, and God's plan. Separately, they'd struggled against the world's way of doing things so that they could have a deep meaningful rich relationship with Jesus. Separately, they gave their entire lives to Him and chose to live for Him. Separately, they turned to God for healing, having no idea that God was preparing them for each other. Over the past few weeks, God has used him to shower her with love in so many beautiful ways. Through this man, God has wrapped her in his love and  covered her with His protection. He has made her feel valued, cherished, and adored.  God has spoken to my friend's heart and met her deepest need for security and value through this wonderful man...and God has used her to do the same for him.
I have been blessed to watch this beautiful story unfold since before my friend's divorce. I have prayed with her, cried with her, and encouraged her through so many stages of this journey.
I am overwhelmed by the love God has shown to her in this new relationship. She says "It's like he read my journals. He speaks to my heart." This makes my heart smile as I am overwhelmed at the promises of God.
"I will restore the years the locusts have eaten"
The "locusts" ate her value, her worthiness, her self confidence and left her lonely, unable to trust, and empty. She believed that God's promise was that HE would restore...and He did. God restored her, healed her, and made her that HE could give her this beautiful gift...this man seemingly created just for her heart...this man who daily is restoring the years the locust have eaten in ways more wonderful than she could have dreamed.
Dear reader,
Wait on God's timing. So many times we become impatient and settle for less than what God desires for us.
It's always worth the wait when we wait on God.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Studying Acts

I just finished studying Acts. Every time I read a book of the bible, I come away with something new. The thing that stayed with me this time reading Acts comes from Chapter 19.
Here's the backstory:
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,  so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Acts 19:11-12
So Paul is totally filled with God. Doing all kinds of miracles. So filled with God that even touching his handkerchief would heal you! That's serious stuff!
Now, as is most always the case, trouble arose:
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. Acts 19:13-16
I LOVE this! Oh my word! HOW many times do we try to claim the power of someone else's faith in Jesus? This is another way of explaining why you cant get to heaven on Grandma's faith.  These guys thought that faith in Jesus was nothing more than one of the charms and spells they used to cast out demons. Since Paul's worked so much better than theirs, they figured they would just do what he did.
Thing is, Jesus doesn't work that way. HE wants each person to know Him fully and to have faith in Him.
And just like these guys, if we try to fight Satan by claiming the faith of someone else, we are going to lose the battle, every time. We will end up beaten and bloody. We have to know Jesus for ourselves and fight in the faith we personally have in Him.
Now, I LOVE what comes out of all this. As is ALWAYS the case, God is glorified!
When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. Acts 19:17-20

Friday, July 15, 2016

Who gets the effort?

I have prayed with and talked with too many women who feel that they are expected to make the "big effort" and invest in people who consistently choose others over them. These women feel like they are expected to put first people who have consistently put them second.
Honestly, I don't know what to tell them outside of "Jesus puts you first. HE is always worthy of being first in your life. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He will ALWAYS be there for you." I believe this completely and find so much comfort in these promises, but feel that, for someone who doesn't follow hard after Christ, more "tangible" suggestions, thoughts, etc. are needed.

So, I'm curious, who gets the effort in your life? How do you determine who gets the effort? Why do you invest in the people you invest in? These are the questions that come to mind:

 "WHO do you invest in?"
  • Who gets the effort?
  • Who do you drop everything for?
  • Who do you adjust your schedule to accommodate?
  • When making plans with multiple people, who's availability determines the date and time?
  • If time is synonymous with value, who do you value most?

"WHY do you invest in them?"
  • Because they need you most?
  • Because you have a deep meaningful history with (and love for) them?
  • Because they are family?
  • Because they share your life daily?
  • Because they invested in you?
  • Because they make your life difficult if you don't put them first?
 Finally, what would YOU tell someone in this situation?

I'd really like to know various thoughts on this. Feel free to comment or, if you don't want to publicly comment, contact me via email.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Who Needs Jesus?

Looking back over my life, I am sad to say that there really were not that many people who openly and boldly intentionally shared Christ with me. We went to church when I was young, but moved and dropped out when I was a teen. I went to church off and on with my Nan my first years of college (mostly just to make her happy.) To be honest I wasn’t particularly interested in the rules I associated with Church. It was easy to apply sermons and Bible lessons to everyone but myself. It was easy to dismiss and justify my own sin because people spoke about sin in generalities. I didn't have anyone who was willing to consistently tell me personally that I (me, Kris, not "everyone", but ME) needed the forgiveness, grace, love, and mercy Christ offers. It wasn’t until my early-mid-twenties that I met someone who explained Jesus and my need for His presence in my life. He showed me the love of Christ in every way he knew how. He applied Scripture to most every situation. He helped me see my need for a Savior and my life changed forever.
I am so thankful for the one who saw my need for Christ above everything else. I am so thankful for his intentional prayers during small groups. I am so thankful that he showed me Jesus in many different ways. I am so thankful that he took the time and made the effort to show me my need for a Savior. Of all the gifts I’ve been given and all the friendships I’ve had, this is the most precious because he gave me life.
I have to wonder what my history would look like if someone had boldly shared Christ with me earlier.
More than that, I wonder who in my life needs that same gentle, patient push to know Christ. I wonder who in my life needs more than an invitation to church. I wonder who in my life is waiting for me to tell them that they need a Savior.
I know that Jesus changed the very fiber of who I am and, because of that, I do believe that our greatest need is Jesus. Nothing this world offers has any value if we spend eternity in hell. I do want the people in my life to know Christ. No, that’s not right. I want the people in my life to have a deep, passionate, and meaningful relationship with Christ. I want them to have a living, growing, active relationship with our Savior that colors every moment of every day of their lives. I want them to bask in the beauty of His perfect love. I want them to find absolute peace and comfort in His embrace. I want them to find courage in His strength.
But enough about me…
Who in your life needs to know Christ?
Who needs YOU to show them, tell them, and tell them again that they need a Savior?
Better yet,
Do you know the Savior I spend so much time talking about? We're not talking about your neighbor, teacher, student, best friend, spouse, sibling, or coworker. Do you personally have a growing, active, meaningful, passionate relationship with Christ Jesus that colors every moment of every day of your life? Do you rest in the assurance of the promise of heaven and the forgiveness of sin?  Do you find comfort and peace in knowing Him? Do you draw our courage from His strength? If not, may I offer this to you? There is no one too good or too bad for Jesus. He loves you and wants a relationship with you. He can restore you and soothe all the broken places in your heart. He offers forgiveness for all things and promises eternity in heaven for those who believe in Him and turn from their own way of doing things and follow Him and His ways.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sinners in Need of a Savior

Sinners in Need of a Savior

black-and-white-person-woman-girl-large copy copy
I was out of town last week and didn't share my devo from The Internet Café.
You can read it here.
Still sorting thru my thoughts on the youth trip we chaperoned last week. Will share later this week!
Much love,