Christian writers · freedom · God · Jesus · living according to priorities · prayer · thinking · to do lists

What if…

This is what I read today. It’s only three verses long…but packs a punch.

PSALM 131 (MSG)
A Pilgrim Song
1vGOD, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
or fantasized grandiose plans.
2 I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content.
3 Wait, Israel, for GOD. Wait with hope.
Hope now; hope always!

After reading this, I’m chewing on these questions…

What if we stop trying to control everything?

What if we resist the urge to shove our way to the front of the line?

What if we step away from gossip and choose not to meddle in other people’s business?

What if we choose to focus on the gift of the present, instead of the uncertain future?

What if we uproot our dependence on self — and ground ourselves in God’s wisdom?

What if we let go of the chaos and let Him cultivate a quiet spirit in us?

What if we choose to be…content?

What if, like a child in her mother’s arms, we choose to be completely reliant on God’s provision and promises?

What if we wait with hope…expectant, joyful, hope…even in the midst of the weird stuff swirling around in the world?

What if we choose hope over despair–today, tomorrow, and always?

***

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.
– Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)

writing for children

What Do We Want?

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

Today, as I pondered our current political climate and rhetoric, I decided to look up verses on Hope. One of the verses that popped up was John 5:6, “Do you want to get well?”

That’s the question for our nation, isn’t it?

DO WE WANT TO GET WELL?

As a nation, we have been in a “condition” for a long time. We are are lame, blind, and paralyzed by fear and sin. We hate those that disagree with us. We complain and shout about the sins others, but refuse to take responsibility for our own failings and hate infused actions. We disregard human life, the yet unborn and the fully living, treating our fellow human as disposable, less than, and as property to be bought and sold.

No one but Jesus could help the man in John 5 — and the same is true for our country. We look to politicians to “save” us from the mess we have created for ourselves, when we need to repent and seek the face of God.

He alone can save, yet as a nation, we refuse to call on the one who raises the dead – and instead settle into tombs of our own design, becoming comfortable wrapped in the stench of death.

What then, shall we do?

Christians have been given the task of loving as Christ loves, but we have chosen to love our own agendas more than the command that Jesus gave us.  We point fingers. We yell. We shout. We disregard the example of Christ in our quest to “convince” others that we love God. Jesus is clear —

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13: 34-35

We, as a nation, need to repent, seek God’s face, His forgiveness, His guidance, His vision and love for His creation… all of His creation.

We must refuse to allow fear and anger to replace Faith.

We must refuse to allow fear and anger to replace Hope.

We must refuse to allow fear and anger to replace Love.

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. T
 Jesus didn’t stir the water. He didn’t suggest the man get up. He asked him a question… then gave a command — GET UP AND WALK.
The message is the same for us. We must stop waiting for the “stirring of the water”, because too often we are simply watching as others “stir the pot” and we waste time and resources on dead end promises made by mere men.
Instead, we must reply to Jesus’ question. “Do we want to get well?” If so, then we must do as Jesus commanded —
GET UP AND WALK.
I John 2: 3-6 says it all…

“This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected.[a] This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.”

Now that is something to ponder.

writing for children

How Big are Your Dreams?

When we dream “big”, we allow ourselves to hope big, too! We allow ourselves to hope for and dream about things that are bigger than seem possible… and bigger than we can do on our own.

But sometimes, we only allow ourselves to focus on what is visible and “realistic” because we are afraid of being disappointed. What if our dream is “too big”? Proverbs 13 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” We don’t like to put ourselves out there. We don’t like to get excited about something – then have a let down. We don’t want to be heartsick when our hopes and dreams aren’t coming to fruition. BUT…

The next part of that Proverb says, “… but desire fulfilled is a tree of life!” Don’t you just love that? If God has put a dream or vision in your life, don’t be afraid! Nothing is too big for God. Matter of fact, all things are possible THROUGH Him! So don’t put a limit on what God can do for you… and what He can do through you!

There is FREEDOM in the asking. FREEDOM in the receiving! FREEDOM in believing for things not yet seen. So DREAM BIG!

Hebrews 11:1-4 (The Message)
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.

By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.