Our Hands

Have you ever shown up empty handed? If you would have known, you would have brought something, but you were not informed. I hate that feeling of not being prepared. This morning while reading the scriptures, I read two accounts of empty hands. Samuel was giving his final speech to the children of Israel and he asks several questions. He is asking if he has wronged, mistreated, bribed anyone. The people tell him no. “He said to them, ‘The LORD is a witness against you, and his anointed is a witness today that you haven’t found anything in my hand.” (1 Samuel 12:5). In Samuel’s case, being empty handed was a good thing. Could people say the same thing about us?

IMG_0748Another scripture paints a different picture. “He feeds on ashes. His deceived mind has led him astray, and he cannot rescue himself, or say, ‘Isn’t there a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:20). Sometimes our sin is so blinding and our hearts so deceitful that we cannot recognize the lie we hold so tightly too. One of the biggest lies I see our world clinging to today is the denial of God. Who created minds that can even think this thought?  Who set the stars in the sky? Who gave you the color of your eyes? Who gave dogs the ability to bark? Who taught birds to sing? Who came up with the colors of changing leaves? Who gave peaches such sweet juice? Something other than human hands created you, me and our world. Why is it so hard to believe?

“This is what the LORD, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says: I am the LORD, who made everything.” (Isaiah 44:24)

This is so simply stated, yet not accepted as truth today. Open up the scriptures and you will hear words of love, direction, peace, comfort, healing, joy, sorrow, purpose, eternal plans, hope, what is sin and the list could continue. If Bibles were placed in empty hands and read, maybe revival would be stirred. It is the Holy Spirit that works on hearts and the Bible was written by men, inspired by the Holy Spirit. “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16). It is  heartbreaking to see how little honor Bibles are given. We do not recognize what are hands are holding and therefore we go about living lives that are incomplete.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4). Keep reading to gain a bit more understanding. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). Jesus is the Word! Do you realize what this means? These 66 books, divided into 2 testaments, that in America we can easily obtain a copy, is life to us. Why do we want to deny life? True life is found ONLY in Jesus and the Word.

Pick up a copy of the scriptures for yourself. Stop going by what others post on social media and claim it as your truth. You are holding a lie and don’t even recognize it. Empty your hands of these lies and reach out for life. Honestly, nothing is more exciting to me than opening my Bible, but this was not always the case. My hands were filled with empty lies and I did not not even know it. It was not until my eyes were opened and I was grasping to find life, that the Bible became life to me.  Friend, He can do this for you too.

I challenge you to open up your Bible, pray and ask the Lord to show you life and get ready to know love. Hallmark has never written a card nor Hollywood made a movie that compares to the love found in the Bible. If you do not know where to start, I recommend the books of John and Psalms. If you have questions, pray and ask God to help you understand. He may lead you to someone who can help guide you. Ask me and if I do not know the answer, I will pray and find the answer for you. One of my favorite verses is, “For your faithful love guides me, and I live by your truth.” (Psalm 27:11). How does that sound?

 

*Picture is taken from my Bible:)

 

 

 

 

Unfailing

“What a person desires is unfailing love…” Proverbs 19:22

I read this verse a few mornings ago out of a devotional book by Beth Moore. I pondered these few words for quite sometime. Such a short, simple statement of truth, but it holds so much explanation and questions too. When was the last time you sat down and thought about the things you desire? I have often found that in hard times, to even think about desires is painful. Will I be disappointed again? What if my desire is not sinful, but did not get met? What if in fact, the very opposite happened? Have you been there too? Are you there now? It is hard to not lose hope.

IMG_0619Here is the thing, unfailing love is only found in One place. If every person desires unfailing love, regardless of race, male, female, age, single, married, divorced, widow, saved or unsaved, why are we not running to the Source? I wonder if it goes back to the loss of hope and disappoints that seem to be never ending?

If I look back to my high school and college years, I see a girl who desired to be a wife and a mom so bad, that I could barely focus on school. For as far back as I can remember, what I am doing right now, is all I have truly ever wanted to do. Now that this desire is a reality, what would happen if I placed this desire to be loved with an unfailing love on my family? My husband would have an unrealistic pressure placed on him and my kids would never feel like they were enough in my eyes. Sounds to me like the makings of a home based on how I was feeling at the moment. Feeling like I was loved with a God like love? Happy, peaceful wife and mom. Feeling unloved? Misery and chaos to all in my path.

What about this, we do not have to look far to see this desire of unfailing love trying to be met by a list of substitutes. Drugs, sex trafficking, alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, total gender confusion, homosexuality, debt and the list could go on and on. So many things that appear to offer unfailing love or at least numb the unmet desire, even for a short amount of time. What do we do when we are caught in the web of consequences these substitutes require us to eventually pay? Do we just keep going because to actually repent and turn from our sin could not be possible, could it? Could the God who created each of us, actually forgive each one of us? He might have sent His Son to die for others, but did He send Him to die for me? The answer is YES!!!

The choice is up to us. Keep running to things that will not satisfy and play it off as acceptance, open mindedness, our right, love and freedom. Heck, get a lot of people to join in your sin view and now you are justified. Make some t-shirts, dress alike, form clubs, get some laws passed and liberation surely will follow. Oh what a lie satan would have us believe! We have let him blind us long enough! It is time to wake up! Just because a group of people keep getting louder and push sin, does not change the unchangeable Word of God! Sin is still sin!

Our entire world is suffering because of the choices we make to meet our desire of unfailing love. When we face this reality and run to the creator of unfailing love, your heart is forever changed, not to mention your eternity. How about we put down the imitation and choose a treasure that is true love today? It is not too late. Maybe today could be your Valentines Day. He has given us a love letter, called the Bible, that will make life more exciting than you ever imagined and you will know a love that at times is unexplainable. This I will spend my life declaring over and over. Unfailing love is yours for the accepting today! Hope in His unfailing love and truly live.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

 

 

 

 

Clutter

My mind wondered a lot as I cleaned out our clutter. I am struck by the amount of stuff we accumulated over the years! The only thing that makes me feel a bit better is when my husband reminded me that we have lived in this house almost 10 years. Things do tend to pile up over time and it is time to let go.

IMG_0235The thought often occurs to me that clutter and sin have so much in common. I can only speak from my own experience, but as I go through all this excess, I see a pattern of what I was trying to find my worth in. If I could just get my outside right, maybe my inside would be accepted. Such a lie I believed. Letting the truth of Psalm 139:14 sink in has not been easy. This verse says this, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.” I am God’s marvelous work, fearfully and wonderfully made and so are you. Is that what you think when you look in the mirror? Is this what we are telling our children, family, friends and strangers? What would happen if we all believed this truth, stated very plainly in the Bible? I have often lived like this applied to others, but not me.

If satan can get us to believe we are not of any value, then we will spend whatever it takes to buy our worth. When I see this lie being lived out in one of our kids, it causes such a reaction in my heart. I quickly tell them that this is a lie and replace it with truth. The latest name brand shirt, new car or beautiful makeup will not give you what your soul is longing for. Do not get me wrong, I like nice things and I wear plenty of makeup, but these things do not give me value. However, I sometimes forget and so do our kids. As I look at our world, I see so many kids unaware of who made them and the preciousness of their very existence. Heartbreaking.

Just yesterday morning, things did not go well for me as I got myself ready for church. My outward appearance was not what I had hoped and immediately thoughts of self condemnation came to mind. We headed into church and the first song we sang was “Who You Say I Am”, by Hillsong. Oh, how these words just washed over me and refocused my thoughts. “I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who you say I am. You are for me, not against me. I am who you say that I am.” Another line reminds us that if we are saved then, “Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed. I’m a child of God, yes I am.” I needed the reminder of who God says I am and felt the dark cloud lift.

As our home becomes free of clutter, I pray my heart does too. I ask the Lord the same words as King David. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my  anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24). It is not easy and is at times painful, but I ask the Lord to show me my sin. I do not have any desire to “hide” anything from Him. My heart is open to Him and anything that does not need to be inside, needs to be removed. I cannot be completely filled with Him if my heart is cluttered with sin.

In my heart clean out, trash bags full of pride, doubt, envy and hopelessness, to name a few, have been taken out. This makes room for the fruits of the Spirit to grow. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22). Just think what our homes would be like if we were all filled with these fruits! So many problems in our country would go away. This I am teaching to our children and in turn, will spill out onto those they come into contact with.

I pray that the Lord gives us open hearts and eyes to see where we have sin. May He shed light on our dark places. Lord, give us courage, endurance and love to stand for You in the midst of evil. Thank you for the reminder, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12). We do not have to live with hearts cluttered with sin that God wants to remove. Throw it out like the expired coupons in that junk drawer. It is worthless and taking up unnecessary space. Let God do a work in your heart and I promise you, you will never be the same!