Friday, February 26, 2016

When The Eagle Stirs The Nest

Hey Friend,

I love it when I discover new verses or passages that I am not familiar with. That was the case this week.  Ready to mine gems from God's word, I got the context of the scripture.  It's in Deuteronomy and Moses, being one hundred twenty years old, is speaking to all of Israel and letting them know that Joshua will succeed him. 

After the reading of the Law, Moses recited or sang the words of a familiar song to the assembly of Israel.  This is a song, rich with imagery, that the Israelites would have been familiar with and understood.  It tells a story of God's faithfulness through history. It also cautions them to learn from their mistakes. Moses is giving them their marching orders in this song as they are about to cross over into the promised land.

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. (Deuteronomy 32:11)

Images of eagles are used over thirty times in scripture.  This week I could relate to this image of the eagle stirring up the nest.  Some days I get comfortable in the nest...complacent even. Like cozy young eagles in their nest, I don't want to be stirred.  God, however, was stirring up the nest because He had something important for me to do.  In spite of my protests, I had this feeling that I was going to get nudged out of the nest.  God had a job for me.

This metaphor of God's loving protection comforted me.  Just like His care and gentle protection of His people Israel, God is going to take care of me.  God does not toss us into the deep end of the pool and say "sink or swim". 

Interestingly enough, and naturalists agree, that when real eaglets take their first flight, the parents are absent...they are away from the nest.

Contrast that with what God is saying here.  Though He may stir the nest and urge us onward out of our comfy surroundings, He is right there watching and protecting and hovering over us -  His young.  If we fall and are unable to fly, He spreads His mighty wings to catch us (never letting us fall) and He carries us.

This passage encouraged me because God is stirring my nest, but He offers the time honored faithfulness of being right there to catch me lest I fall.

Another "eagle" passage that brings me comfort is Isaiah 40:31:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.

I'm not good at waiting.  Actually I stink at it.  When I pour all my human efforts into something, I want to see the fruits of my labor.  Lately, I have poured a lot of energy into my work with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.  I've worked to the point of exhaustion and I'm having trouble waiting to see what the fruits (or lack of fruits) of my labor will be.  I'm ready for the end of the story.

Thankfully, God is so much smarter than I am and He knows, better then me, what I truly need.  Look at God's prescription for me(us) here:

But they that WAIT (If you wait in hope, longing for God)...THEN the Lord shall RENEW their strength (God will renew my(our) strength)


God knows I need this resting time...this period of waiting.  He knows I'm worn out from laboring and he knows that in the waiting, He can renew.

What a gracious and loving God who gently tells us to wait and then pours out mercy on us to renew our spirit. 

One last verse that gives hope to those who are waiting is Lamentations 3:23-25:

"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him."

I've had to wait in difficult situations for hours (the surgery my daughter had when she was only four).  I've also waited in difficult situations for many years...over 25 to be exact.  I'm not a stranger to'd think by now I'd be better at it.

God is good.  God is good to those who wait for him.  God is good to those who seek Him.

To the discouraged, He says don't lose heart.  To the weary and worn, He says I'll give you rest.  To those restless in just waiting, He promises hope. 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  (Galatians 6:9)

Is the Lord stirring your nest?  Are you being called to something new?  Are you being asked to wait?  Are you weary and wanting to give up?  Are you discouraged?  Restless?  Exhausted?

If so, know that God lovingly protects YOU - His young.  He hovers over you and will catch you.  He will never let you fall.

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you that you are protective of me.  Thank you for compassionately hovering over me.  You are never out of reach and you spread your mighty wings so that I will never fall.  You promise that you will always be there for will even fight for me.  I just need to keep showing up.  Lord, I pour out my weariness, my discouragement, my faint heart and I claim your promise of renewal of my spirit.  I claim your promise that you are good to those who wait for you.  Help me and be there in my waiting so that all my days may glorify You.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed....

"With guns, you can kill terrorists,
With education you can kill terrorism."
(Malala Yousafzia)

This is Nisha.  Alone, to fend for herself on the streets, she cleaned houses for the wealthy in order to survive.  She always dreamed of getting an education, but with no funds and the Taliban banning education for girls, her hopes were dim. 

Here she is...with her Bible and learning to read...getting an education while being loved on with the love and hope of Jesus.

Will you join us in standing up to terrorism?
There IS something you can do...
Visit the Missions tab above to find out how
Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.
is making a difference...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Welcome A New Voice - Guest Post

Hey Friend,

One of the great things about writing and blogging is the wonderful people you meet out there in the blogosphere!  I have been extremely blessed to get to know my friend, Lisa, who is new to the blogging world, but I have been so encouraged by her and inspired by her story of grace in the midst of extreme trials.  Circumstances that would have left others bitter and resentful, have redefined true joy for Lisa. 

Knowing her story helps you appreciate her writing...

Meet Lisa - she is a 51 year old wife and mother of four grown sons who has lived in Connecticut for 25 years.  She and her husband are "empty nesters", but she adds that anything can change in a heartbeat.  She loves living by the shoreline and taking long walks on their beautiful beaches when she's able. 

In 2010, Lisa contracted viral meningitis as well as shingles.  The combination of the two viruses have wreaked havoc on her central nervous system and she's been left to deal with the fallout of many complications.  Among the worst of many neurological symptoms, are the severe migraines which have become chronic. 

Lisa has begun to journal her journey as she is trying to learn to adapt and accept her "new normal".  She wishes to offer HOPE to others who are currently undergoing their own HARD as she calls it.  Everyone suffers, and it is what we do with our suffering that really matters. 

Her blog, entitled "Embracing Grace" shares her story with openness, honesty, and of course a dose of humor for good measure.  She's no stranger to having wrestled with God and feels as though God is calling her to a vocation of "ordinariness".  Her days are lived more simply and quietly as she has learned to be less of a do-er and more of a be-er. 

I can testify to Lisa offering hope and encouragement to me as well as other pilgrims along this journey of life. 

I invite you to click here or paste this link to your browser

Hop with me, won't you, over to Lisa's place and leave her some lovin' in her comments section...

I'll be back next week. In the meantime...

Be blessed...

ps, Exciting things are happening with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.

With guns, you can
kill terrorists,
With education you can
kill terrorism.
Malala Yousafiai

Join us at the "MISSIONS" tab to see how we are fighting terrorism with love and hope...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pondering God's Promises Part II

Hey Friend,

As promised, here is the second part of my Valentine's Day gift to you.  Actually, it's not really my's God's gift to you. Today, I'm just the messenger. 

As I mentioned in Part I, I am so thankful that our God is the One true God.  He is not duplicitous in nature like we are.  Within ourselves, we battle with good and evil, right and wrong, good intentions and selfishness.  God, on the other hand, is ALWAYS ONE - never two sided, always consistent, always goodness and love.  He simply cannot deny himself.

When I go back and read all the promises God made in the Old Testament and I see how they ALL came true, I am encouraged.  There is not one single promise that God didn't make good on. 

Not one of the all the Lord's promises to the house of Israel failed; everyone was fulfilled. (Joshua 21:45)

This gives me hope and confidence that He will make good on all His promises to me.  So here are four more promises (so hard to choose) with a little more depth added by my trusty concordance and commentaries.  I also add in some of my own insights, but mind you they are human insights and not gospel truth. 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8: 37-39)

It's interesting that the Greek word for "more than conquerors" is hypernikao.  This is the only time this word is used in the Bible.  It means to thoroughly conquer, or to go beyond conquest.  In essence being a "hyper-conqueror". 

So what's the big deal?  In all the other versions of the verb to conquer the meaning is akin to:  "push away", "take possession", "drive out", or "take over".  In all of these versions of conquering - they can all be undone if you will. 

If you push the enemy away, they can push back. If you take possession of something, someone else can take it back.   If you drive out the enemy, they can return and drive you out.  If you take over someone's territory, they can take it back. 

Paul is saying that through Christ we are more than conquerors.  We are hypernikao.  What God has given us through the death of His precious Son can NEVER be taken back.  Christ has thoroughly conquered our salvation and He has gone beyond conquest to ensure that we will NEVER be able to be separated from Him. 

We can have absolute assurance that no matter what trials or sufferings befall us, we are stuck like glue - unable to be severed from our Lord and Savior. 

We, through Christ, have supremely conquered death.  There is no sting.  Life eternal is insured.

Wow...what a promise that I will never be separated from God and He has conquered death and all adversity once and for all!  We are hypernikao!!  Print that on a t-shirt and wear it!!

Next we have Paul speaking after he talks about having a thorn in his flesh that the Lord had yet to take from him:

But he (Jesus) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

My impression is that the Lord had a better, perhaps more eternal purpose, for not removing the thorn in Paul's side. 

Human weakness provides the ideal opportunity for the display of divine power.

Jesus is saying that His grace - His "charis" is sufficient.  He is promising that we will live in a state of kindness and favor toward us...that He will extend benefits, blessings, credit, goodwill, gifts toward us.

Jesus promises that His "charis" will be sufficient (or "arkeo") for us.

His grace will enable us to be satisfied or content enough.

Notice that His grace doesn't make everything perfect.  I believe that in this lifetime we may be content or satisfied, but will always have a homesick longing for the perfect life everlasting that awaits us when we are ushered into Christ's eternal presence. 

In this life, Jesus will give us what we need to make it through and be able to give Him the glory.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."  (Jesus speaking in Matthew 7:7-8)

Jesus is speaking to his disciples and He is speaking to us.  He encourages us that we can apply to Him for supernatural aid.  He is also reassuring the disciples/us that our perseverance will not be in vain.  His promise is that if we seek Him (in all difficulties whatsoever) we will have the aids of His Spirit. 

Provided what we ask for is agreeable to God's will...He will fulfill it!!

If only we ask...yes, all we have to do is ASK, and the door of mercy and salvation will be opened to us. 

No earning, striving, being good enough needed.  Just A-S-K period!

These words are binding on the side of God...bring Christ's word and His sacrifice with you and not one of Heaven's blessings can be denied you.

Ask ----with confidence and humility
Seek---with care and application
Knock- with earnestness and perseverance

The Bible talks about asking and bids us to ask over 700 times.  I really think God wants us to just ask...what do you think?

And the greatest for last: (Jesus speaking)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)

This promise has become so commonplace that we forget how truly magnificent it is; we even see it in the end zone at football games.  Take a moment and let it truly sink in...God's great, unfathomable love...

God's great love motivated not only His plan for creation, but His plan for salvation. 

No other promise in all the world was ever motivated by such pure love.

God promises that whoever "believes" = "pisteuo"="put one's faith in" Jesus, with a trust that believes that actions based on that trust will follow, shall not perish, indeed, and furthermore will have eternal life. 

All I can say is Amen!

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.  The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  (Lamentations 3:21-22)

As my Valentine prayer for you, I encourage you to go back and read through these scripture promises and insert the word "me" or your name as the recipient of the command, blessing, or promise.  Make it personal to YOU...because it is.  Happy Valentine's Day!!

Be blessed...

ps. Check our these Valentine notes of thanks to all of you who have prayed for and supported Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.  For more on how you can help, visit the "MISSIONS" tab above.  **News flash** Website coming soon.  Keep your eyes peeled!!

In case you haven't heart is with these precious children.  I am currently praying about cutting back on my writing because my work (which I believe has been given to me by God) with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. has become a full time job.  Will you please pray for me for wisdom and direction re: my writing?  And to my blogging friends...if I haven't stopped by in awhile, now you know where I've been.  Go with God's peace...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pondering God's Promises, Part I

Hey Friend,

I don't know about you, but I have made promises that I haven't kept.  I may have had really good intentions, but for some reason I failed on the follow through.  I tried so hard with my children not to do that - to let my "Yes" be yes and my "No" be no.  I didn't want to be a promise breaker, but the simple fact is that at times I failed.

In the Bible it says that the Lord our God is One.  I am so thankful that God IS that I mean that He is consistent, steady, never contradicting Himself, or changing His character. 

I am not that way.  I am duplicitous in nature - I can be deceptive in my behavior. I can be two fold our double.  One day I can be cheerful and generous.  The next day I might be moody and stingy.  One day I might make good on my promises and the next day I may fail.  Why?  Because I am made in God's image, but I am fallen and sinful. This double nature makes us/me different from God. 

There is nothing fallen or sinful about God, therefore He can be trusted to make good on His promises.

In my wanting to spend more time with God and be in His presence, I decided to delve a little deeper into some of my favorite and cherished promises from God in the Bible.  I invite you to slowly read God's promises.  Let them sink deep into your heart and I will share what nuggets of truth He revealed to me in my digging.  Concordance and Commentaries in hand, and prayers to the Holy Spirit for guidance, here's what I found:

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his mercies  never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

I am so thankful that every day is a new day.  Every day the slate is wiped clean.  God withholds His wrath, and instead pours out mercy with each sunrise.  Note that it says "mercies" which is plural.  God is faithful to ALL His covenant promises. 

Mercies = compassions, kindnesses, promises, great love

His faithfulness is beyond measure.  For you math majors - beyond infinity lol.

Because God IS love, all His actions are in keeping with His loving nature.  That's cause for great praise!

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  (Matthew 6: 31-33)

The pagan model of prayer was more of a "business partnership" with their gods.  Kind of like a contract:  If you do this then I'll do that.  Not so with the One true God.  He already knows our hearts, our thoughts, and what we need.  God is a Father who delights in meeting the needs of His people. He wants to meet your needs!

God wants a relationship of intimacy (Seek Him first), not a business partnership.  God desires that we seek Him first and He delights in taking care of the rest of our needs. Keep our focus stayed on him and seek being in right relationship with Him and He'll take care of the details.  We were made for intimacy with God.  He doesn't need our filthy rags of righteousness, He WANTS our hearts.  He wants your heart!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
(Jeremiah 29:11)

This is a favorite verse that is written in graduation cards.  I believe we are somehow mistaken when we think that God's plans to "prosper" us equate to material riches or everything working out wonderfully in this life. 

In this particular verse the word "prosper" is the Hebrew word "salom" or peace. 

salom =peace, well being, safety, feelings of satisfaction

God has plans to prosper us - to give us peace and a sense of well being and satisfaction.

Also, the Hebrew word for "future" is "ah rit" which means final destiny, at the end, on the other side (not in this lifetime).  We/I get upset with God when things don't work out well in this lifetime.  Not that God doesn't give us good things in this lifetime...He certainly does.  But, our ultimate peace, satisfaction, and well being will be when we reach the other side and are with Him in Heaven. 

I know I get caught up in always relating scripture to this lifetime.  God, however, has an eternal timeline that we would do well to stay focused on.  I can just hear God saying, "Hold on...the best is yet to come and it will all be worth the wait and the cost!" He is building a mansion in Heaven just for you!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11: 28-29)

As Jesus often does, I believe He is speaking on two different levels here.  The poor Jewish follower knew what it was like to be weary (kopiao) or physically tired from relentless hard labor of lifting burdens (or heavy loads).  This was often done by using a yoke. Like someone offering a weary laborer a cup of water - Jesus speaks of offering refreshment to this laborer. 

We may not be lifting heavy loads, literally, but we need rest and refreshment when we are tired from life's heavy burdens (emotional and mental as well as  physical).  Jesus is the only one who can give us the refreshment that we so desperately need. He's holding out the cup of water to you!

On another level, the Jewish people spoke of carrying the "yoke of God's law" (The Commandments).  Obeying the law could be hard work - carrying a heavy load with a yoke.  Jesus, here, is offering His yoke - the yoke of the New Covenant.  He tells the people that His yoke, unlike the old yoke, is easy and the load is light. 

We will find refreshment under the New Covenant of grace by Jesus' sacrificial offering of atonement for our sins. 

We are no longer under the load of the law...our load has been made much lighter by what Christ accomplished.  What pure refreshment that brings!!! Jesus' gentle and humble heart stoops low to lift the heavy yoke from our shoulders and replaces it with His yoke of love, grace, mercy, and compassion. He's offering this gentle yoke to you.  Will you take it on and leave legalism behind?

I am by no means a theological scholar.  My written word is not the gospel truth, but by digging into just these four promises from God, there is such great and deep truth to be mined.  These are just a few of the insights God revealed to me.  Every promise is filled to the brim with His great love for me/you.

As a lover of words, I love looking at the original Greek and Hebrew in which scripture was captured.  Also understanding some things about the culture, the times, and the history sheds a whole new light as well. 

I invite you to join me next week for Part II of Pondering God's Promises.  I can think of no better Valentine's gift to give yourself :)

Meanwhile I invite you to share your favorite promise(s) from God.  Maybe I'll dig into it for next week. 

Dear Heavenly Father,  I thank you that you are the One true God - that your character is constant and never changing.  I praise you that you are faithful and that I can count on your promises to me.  Great are ALL you promises - just like your mercies that are new every morning.  Thank you for your Word that speaks of your great love and compassion for me.  You know my heart even before I utter a word and before time began you already had a great plan for me to give me my one true hope of salvation.  Great is your faithfulness O Lord!!  I can never stop singing your praises.  Thank you for the peace, the refreshment, the intimacy, the love beyond measure that you offer to me.  May I know how fully I am blessed.  In Jesus' precious name, Amen.

Be blessed...

"Nothing terrifies a terrorist more than books in the hands of little girls."  (Bob Goff, Author of "Love Does")

Here at Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. we are getting Bibles and textbooks into the hands of little girls (and boys) in the Middle East.  We are getting them off the streets and into Christ centered classrooms.  Just because a child is orphaned or impoverished doesn't mean that they don't deserve love and the hope that an education affords. 

Will you join us in our work of literally saving lives?  Check out our work thus far and our dreams at the "MISSIONS" tab.  So many in the world have turned their backs on these innocent children...will you help them know they are loved and raise them up to love others with the love of Jesus?

Send contributions (all sizes welcomed) to:

Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC  27513

*Enclose your email address for end of year giving statement.