Friday, March 7, 2014

Don't Start Over

In Ladies Bible Study we have been discussing Genesis and God’s love for us.  This evening the message God gave was simple and yet so deep.

As we were looking at Genesis and the fall of man-kind, God began to speak to my heart about going back to the beginning.  When Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t scrap all of humanity and start from the beginning.  Instead He told them what the consequences were for their actions.  The first thing we have to understand is that consequences are not punishments.  In Genesis 3, when God is telling them what will happen, He doesn’t curse humans.  He only curses the serpent (v. 14), and the ground (v. 17b).  Everything else is consequences for their actions.  He even gives them hope that man would crush the serpent’s (satan) head (v. 15).

The message God gave tonight was this:
When you make a mistake, I don’t start over.  I don’t throw it all away and start from the beginning!

We have a lady in Ladies Bible Study that has three children.  Two of them are adopted.  They are a beautiful family and she has shared with us their story of how they adopted their daughter and their son.  As I was praying over this message, God showed me this family.  Their son was acting up and began misbehaving.  At that time, in the vision God gave, they packed up their van and drove to the courthouse.  Frustrated, they were going to sign the adoption papers all over again!  When I asked them why they had to sign the adoption papers again, the mother answered, “Because he was disobedient and now we have to adopt him again.”

That’s when God began to show me that this is what His people are doing.  Instead of coming to God to repent and allowing Him to forgive them, they are going back to the cross to sign adoption papers all over again. 

I want to be clear that I am NOT saying that we don’t need to repent and go to God.  I AM saying that once you are a His child, you do not need to be re-adopted.  We simply need to be forgiven.  There are plenty of people out there who have alienated themselves out of guilt and shame, just as the prodigal son did.  In shame we remove ourselves from The Father but, just as Jesus told us, when we return to The Father and ask for forgiveness, He is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9) and restore us to the family!

The awesome part of God’s forgiveness is that even the consequences of our actions are no match for our awesome God.  Hebrews 13:5 says that He will “never leave us nor forsake us.”  Even in our mess God wants to be there for us.  He doesn’t promise to take it all away but He does promise to provide for us and walk through it with us!  When we come through to the other side of it, we will have seen God’s hand upon us, protecting us as we walked through the consequences.  He loves us so much!
It doesn’t matter how big or small the sin or mistake, God is greater than them all!  His love for you is infinite. 

I pray that as you come to Him and as you allow Him to reveal Himself to you that you come to Him openly as your Heavenly Father!  Hold on to His hope and love and remember that He died once so that you could live with Him forever!  He knows that we make messes but He doesn’t want us to stay in the mess. 
God bless you as you seek and serve Him. 

The story of the Prodigal Son can be found in Luke 15:11-31.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Latest Testimony of God's Faithfulness

It started a couple weeks ago when, my husband, Joe’s father had a stroke.  At that time they also discovered a heart condition.  He is on the road to recovery and is doing fairly well.  However, on Saturday we found out they are going to do an exploratory surgery to determine what course of treatment would be best for his heart.  We live in Indiana and have been trying to get to Michigan the past two weeks to visit with them and help in any way we can.  However, the day after Joe’s (his father’s name is Joe too) stroke, we woke up to a flat tire and below zero temperatures!  The finances have simply not been there to go. 

When we got the call from my father-in-law Saturday, we knew God was saying it is time to go to Michigan.  At that time we sent out an urgent prayer request (not asking for money) for the situation.  I was at the store picking up prescriptions when my husband informed me and used my phone to send out the quick message.  When I got home, Joe called his dad and got ready for work.  He left for work at 12:15pm and started work by 1.  He was able to get off by 3 and we were on the way to Michigan by 4:30!

From noon until 2:45, a lady from our church stopped by with a card and said her and her husband wanted to help!  Inside the card was $140!  TEN MINUTES after she left, a friend of mine stopped by with her husband.  She had called her prayer circle with the urgent request.  Amongst the prayer circle, there was $350 donated!  Within another 20 minutes, another lady and her husband called and wanted to pay for our hotel for two nights or $200 (whichever was less).  Another couple after that donated $80!  That was a total of $570 and two nights of a hotel within 3 hours!
By 4:30 we were packed and out the door to try to beat the most recent wave of Polar Vortex!   

We got to Michigan around 7:30 and didn’t even SEE an accident in all the snow!  God is just that good!  We grabbed some quick pizza and spent the evening with my in-laws, just relaxing and enjoying seeing them.   
*SIDE NOTE* We haven’t seen them face to face in two years, since they moved to Michigan for his work. 

Afterwards, we headed to our hotel.  This part is awesome too!
When we reserved the hotel with the help of our friends, we used our rewards account to reserve the room and they used their card to pay.  She talked to the manager and set it all up for us.  It originally came out to $195 and some change for two double beds and a rollaway bed.  This would have been tight but ok with us.  We were just grateful to have a hotel room!  BUT GOD…  When we pulled up, bushed, the manager, ERIN was there.  I told her who I was and she began to grin from ear to ear!  She said, “we were waiting for you!”  She proceeded to tell me that under the circumstances, she was going to give us the room for $64 per night instead of the $84 that we were originally charged!  BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!  Then she said that the room we were originally going to have was surrounded by a group of kids that were from a weekend tournament of some sort (High school sports) and they were pretty loud.  SO she was going to move us to the second floor into a King sized suite!  That was going to give us a King sized bed (not a double) with a Queen sized hide-a-bed in the sofa, and then we will still have our rollaway bed!  SO, instead of two full sized (double) beds and a twin, we had a king, a queen and a twin!  For two large people (my husband and I are fluffy J ) we were VERY happy to have a king bed! The total was now $174!  We paid LESS and got MORE!  That is GOD’s math equation for you!

Over the weekend, we saw God move in a tangible and magnificent way and so did everyone around us!  We are so humbled by His grace with is exceedingly sufficient and His mercy which is new every morning!  He loves us so much and knows exactly what we need and exactly when we need it.  I love Him so much and He loves me so much more!  I love being His and delight in how His presence surrounds us and His favor engulfs us!  This is just a bit of what happened over the weekend!  The opportunity to be with His parents and live the love of God before them was worth it all.  We gave them a Bible and prayed for them and I pray that they see God’s love for them is infinite!  I am still praying over their health (both of them) and ask that anyone who can, join me in praying for them.  More than anything, that God’s will be done in this situation and that He intervenes in every area!

Thank you to EVERYONE for your prayers and support.  Just as I talked about in my last blog entry, prayer is the act of faith!  When we pray, the faith we activate becomes prevalent in our lives!  I believe and I will walk in active belief!  (Mark 9:17-29)

God bless you and remember that God is not biased!  Acts 10:34b-35 says “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” 

He loves you so much and every promise that I have is available for YOU too!  All you have to do is believe in Him!  Salvation, provision, peace, freedom, comfort, healing, and every other promise from Genesis to Revelation is for YOU!  BUT, it’s hard to claim a promise that you don’t know exists! 

I challenge you to pray and seek His face!  When you seek Him with your whole heart He promises (one for EVERYONE) that He will be found (Jeremiah 29:13)!  It’s not just pastors or evangelists or elders and deacons that can have a relationship with God!  The promises are for everyone! 

God bless you as you seek and serve Him!