Friday, February 24, 2012

To Be Carefree

Even though the calendar says February...the weather seems to be confused. Where I live, the high today is 75 degrees (where the average for this time of year is in the low 50's). The flowers are already starting to bloom. As I'm sitting here typing, I have my door open and I can hear the birds chirping.  Abby (my 6 yr. old Lhasa Apso) is staring out the glass storm dorm at all the squirrels chasing one another, hoping to get out so she can chase them.

It's like Spring is in the air...only it's still winter. Tonight a cold front is moving through and they are predicting some severe weather. At this moment, you would never know that storms are headed this way. All of nature out my window is busy with activity and seems to be completely carefree.

Carefree would be a wonderful feeling. Is that even possible?  Surely with all the problems and  burdens of this life, it's unobtainable...or is it?
  • Matthew 11:28-30 - "Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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.” 
  • Matthew 6:26  - "Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?" 
  • 1 Peter 5:7 - "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." 
  • Psalm 55:22 - "Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."
I'm reminded that my life is not my own - I am not responsible for it's outcome if I truly put my trust in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My only responsibility is to be obedient. I'm told not to worry or be anxious, especially concerning my "needs" (Phil. 4:6, Mt. 6:25, Luke 12:22).

So I take my que from nature, and I will place my trust in the one who created me to take care of everything I need. He is able to handle any storms that are headed our way.

I don't believe I'll be "carefree" in that I'll ever have an absence of trials...but I can be free from my cares as I learn to constantly hand them over to Jesus, in exchange for His peace.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Problem or Opportunity?

Are you facing a huge problem? Or is it an opportunity for God to show His power and glory?
What is the difference? It’s a fine line, and very important which side you’re on, especially when “everything is on the line”.
Here’s what makes the difference . . .Perspective
How you view your circumstances makes all the difference, because how you see things determines how you react. You see things through the lens of faith or fear, God’s way, or the world’s way, from a “heavenly perspective or the earthy realm”)
Remember these examples from the Bible:
·        2 Kings 6:15-17 – “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh, my lord, what shall we do’? the servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
I pray that God would open our eyes beyond the physical to see what’s really going on in the supernatural realm.
·        Numbers 13:31 – Ten spies were sent out, eight had this report “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” In contrast, Joshua and Caleb had this report: Numbers 13:30 – “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
They saw the same situation, but with very different perspectives – all based on their view of themselves, AND of God.
The Bible says that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus – so spiritually speaking our view should be looking down on our circumstances with clear direction. If we’re looking around, we’re only seeing earthly solutions. However Psalm 121:1-2 says...
“I will lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and earth.”
It’s our choice…we choose what to focus on, and it will affect our outcome.
Let’s look at one last example – Peter and his famous “walking on water” moment.  First of all, you have to give Peter a lot of credit for getting out of the boat. I believe it pleased the Lord to for Peter to ask if he could come to Him on the water. Jesus responded “come” and Peter was defying the natural laws of the earth by walking on water as long as he focused on going toward Jesus. It wasn’t until he heard the wind and waves and allowed a place for fear and unbelief that he began to sink.  What started out as a great moment of faith, ended with Jesus asking Peter, “why did you doubt?” I don’t believe Jesus was being hard on him. I think He really wanted to encourage Peter that he was, and can do the impossible! It just takes keeping our eyes on Him so we give no place for the enemy to bring doubt and unbelief. We know that those are the weapons the enemy uses to keep us double minded and unstable in all our ways (James 1:8) – rendering us ineffective.
If we are looking at Jesus, but still don’t have clear direction, the Bible promises that we can ask for wisdom, and He will give it to us generously (James 1:5).
Lastly, I want you to imagine how you think God views your circumstances? Does it line up with what the Scripture says? Look at the following verses and see it from God’s perspective.
·        He warned us that in this world, we would have trouble...but not to be afraid because He’s overcome the world. (John 16:33)
·        He said nothing was impossible to those who believe (Luke 1:37, Matt. 17:20)
·        He said we’d become mature and lack nothing if we allowed hardship to produce perseverance in us. (James 1:2-3)
·        He said that He would work in every situation for the good of those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:28)
·        He promised blessing when we’re persecuted and treated badly because we follow Him (Matt. 5:11)
The list goes on and on…the point is that God cares about us and everything we’re going through!  He wants to carry our burdens, in exchange for the life He ordained for us. He desires for His people to cast every care on Him, because He cares for us.
Our only responsibilities are:
Ø  Seek -  (Matt. 6:33; Matt. 7:7)

Ø  Pray - (Phil 4:6)

Ø  Trust  - (Prov. 3:5-6)

Ø  Obey  - (Deut. 30:15-16; 1 Sam. 15:22)