We as people always want to give back. We want to give back to our neighbors, our co-workers, our family, our friends. So of course we want to give back to God. But we can’t. We can repay a cup of coffee with a cup of coffee, or having our grass mowed by baking some cookies or so on… but how do we give back to God?
In giving fully of ourselves. But is that enough? It is to God.
But say In full measurement of the ‘equal gift calculator’ do they add up to the same? No.
Think of it like this.
Your dad buys you a new CD. You’re eight years old and super excited and want to give him something in return, so you run to your room and grab your second favorite Super Star doll and give it to him as a present, what is a grown man going to do with that doll? From anyone else he would probably tell you politely that he doesn’t want it and you should keep it, but you are his child and thus are special, so what does he do? He takes it to work, puts it on his desk and when people ask about it he says with a smile, “my daughter gave it to me”.
We want to give back to God because He gives us so much, we have nothing to give Him that He wants except our hearts, but we still dish out things that we think will make God happy, even though it’s like a little girl giving her dad a doll, God still smiles seeing us trying so hard to give to Him. Our gift will never equal His, it can’t, but the giving we try to do makes Him smile because He loves us.
One person does not define you.
Five people don’t define you.
People don’t define you, God does.
Jesus defines who you are, He directs who you are.
Look at your life through the eyes of the man on the cross, the man walking out of the tomb, God sitting on His throne. If He was willing to die for you, the you who you are right now, then what person has earned the right to try and judge you? If God loves you enough to give up everything for you, then isn’t that enough to show you your value? Because you do have value! You right now reading this, God wants you to know that you have value and are valued by Him.
People don’t define you, God does.
I want to live like I have been listening.
Do we live like we have been listening? I know that I don’t always. There will be things I say or do or don’t do and I realize after that it was not Christian. I know that sounds ridiculous to some, or maybe it sounds familiar others but it is still true. I used to always wear a WWJD bracelet to school so that I would remember that I was to live like Christ, yet it is so easy to forget who we are supposed to be following. The world says ‘If it makes you happy, then do it.’ But God says to do all things that are pleasing to Him (Romans 21:1). Do people ask us why we are different? Do they see Jesus in us? Do we live like we pay attention to our pastors, to our Bible, to Jesus? Do we live like we have been listening? I know that I don’t always, and I ask Jesus and The Holy Spirit to help me do better, all you have to do is ask and they will guide and help you. Trust Jesus, listen to Jesus and live like Christ the best you can. You won’t be perfect, you can’t be, but God looks at the effort of us doing our absolute best and that is all we need to strive for, because only He is perfect.
But he was God’s man, so he succeeded.
How often do we see this in the Bible? How often do we watch as something unbelievable happens simply because the person is God’s.
Today my dad spoke on Genesis 14, he told is many great things to remember but the thing that stuck out to me the most was what he said about Abraham. If Abraham hadn’t been God’s man, if you hadn’t had had the angels of heaven, the armies of God coming with him you never would have been able to defeat the Kings and save lot. That is so true in so much that we go through. There are so many times when I feel like I should fail because I am inadequate to the task, but because I call on God and have him with me somehow I succeed. There is no way we can survive or succeed on our own, yes there are people who have made a success of themselves even though they are not Christians but it’s not the same, it’s not the kind of success that’s fulfilling. If you have Jesus you have everything, if you don’t have Jesus you have nothing. I know there will be times when Jesus doesn’t feel like he is enough to sustain you but he will always be enough and eventually you will see it. Keep pushing through and fighting forward, because somehow Jesus will do the impossible.
Today I was watering my grandpa’s flowers and when I came around the corner, in the far back away from every other plant, I saw this small and dehydrated pansy. Obviously I poured some water on it and watched it spring back up. I felt happy as I watched the flower regain it’s zuberince. Then I realized how like us that flower is, we have dry moments, sometimes even dry years, where we feel like we are separated from everyone else and that nobody notices Us and nobody cares. Suddenly, just as we feel we are about to fade away, God delivers us from our drought and pours his healing water on us, and we are able to stand once again. Jesus never looks away, and he always sees us, Even in our times of testing in trial, Even in our times of dryness, he is taking care of us and he never lets us fade away. Right when we don’t think we can take anymore he pours his healing water on us and we come alive again. Don’t let your times of drought make you feel like the father doesn’t care or isn’t watching, sometimes we have to become dry so we can grow in him. Even if you can’t feel his presence today, he is watching and caring for you, and loves you.
There are things we do as Christians that seems unacceptable by the world. This is because (as the Bible says) the world is offended by our light because they are lost in darkness. We have taken time off work to help someone who has no one else to call and been told that that is not acceptable, we reach out to the fallen because we are the only ones who see their reaching hands through the eyes of Christ and have been called unacceptable because of who we allow to have time in our lives and have had people who claim we are helping to forward our religion, but in truth we are helping because we see a need. Our music supports our Faith and is called unacceptable.
Not working on Sunday is considered unacceptable, smiling in the face of pain (because Jesus is just that amazing) is considered unacceptable. Not standing down when told to sit down and shut up is unacceptable, refusing to conform to everyone else’s standards is unacceptable, being free from the chains of this world is unacceptable, exercising our Faith, not giving in, never giving up- unacceptable.
Because those with a disease want you to be sick too, those who are being eaten alive by the devil want you to be devoured too so seeing your light and freedom makes them angry and you are marked as unacceptable.
Isn’t that wonderful! Paul want unacceptable, John was unacceptable, Elijah, Daniel, Mosses, David, all unacceptable at one time or another, Jesus… He was unacceptable too.
So, be unacceptable! Who wants to be accepted if it means having to give up what you believe in and who you are? Not me. I don’t throw Jesus in people’s faces but when asked I do say, ‘yes that is what I believe and who I believe in.’ If what I believe makes me unacceptable then that is something I need to be okay with. Because losing Jesus to gain this world is not something I am okay with.
So live unacceptably (to the world at least) and be a person who stands with Jesus.
Jesus is the God of somehow.
Somehow the disease vanished, somehow the pain is gone, somehow they got the job, somehow they survived it, somehow it was all okay.
Jesus is the God of the amazing and unexplainable, the things that happen that don’t make sense- the impossible. When the doctor says, “I don’t know how, but the colitis is gone” -that’s God. When the police say, “there is no reason they should have survived that accident” -that’s God. When the addict says, “I don’t know how but I managed to turn away from my addiction”- that’s God.
God is the God of the unexplained.
He doesn’t prevent suffering all the time, sometimes He let’s us go through something that we need Him to help us through or rescue us from so that we acknowledge His wonders. You may say, “what about when God doesn’t heal or rescue?” That is a painful but fair question, sometimes God’s miracle is simply being sustained through suffering or trial. I know that for some that isn’t good enough, but when you have God the burden is lifted. That doesn’t mean that it is gone, that means that it is raised so that you can keep walking. Someday, somehow God will end the pain, and when He does you will probably say, “somehow, I’m still okay.”
Somehow she kept her faith.
Somehow she persevered.
Somehow she held on to Jesus so tight that she feared at times her hands would give up, but she kept on and saw her redemption.
I know many of you are in the pain moments right now and I would like to take a minute to pray for your somehow moment.
Dear Jesus we ask in your name that you will touch every person who is in pain right now oh, that you will touch them and heal them from there pain and suffering whether it is physical and emotional, psychological, whether it is an outside suffering that is plaguing them or an internal suffering. In their families or in their bodies or in their daily lives. Jesus whatever the painful is help please we ask, and give these people who you love their somehow moments, their moment of ‘somehow I made it through’, ‘somehow I was delivered’, ‘somehow it’s all okay’ because somehow you always manage to work things out for our good even if we can’t see it from where we stand now, we ask these things in your name of Jesus, Amen.
Reach beyond your cages and praise God!
Today my beautiful mom was worshiping God behind a covid safe screen in our church this morning and it made me realize that God is reaching down behind many walls and cages, He’s reaching for us. There are people in prisons, in underground churches, in basements, in flood and fire areas, in churches that are restrained by the government, in their own homes- afraid to go out. In hospitals, In sick beds, in care homes. Whatever your cage is. If your cage is literal or figurative. God is reaching down behind your walls and your cages to grab your up reached hands, up reached hearts and to lift you out of your cage. Sometimes Jesus enters in and if you look around you can see Jesus in your cage with you.
Your cage is not God’s cage.
God is working even when you can’t see past the bars. My dad’s old school mate Billy Richards said that faith is a muscle, you need to use it to make it strong. You can either let your cage defeat you, or you can let it grow you and your faith. Believe that Jesus can save you, He has already saved you, trusting His will can hurt- but it is always the right path to take.
No matter your cage, remember that Jesus loves you, and you have the savior with you.
Jesus, we know that you can save us from our cage, no matter what it is, we use our Faith in you and know that you are with us even in our cages- amen.
Read Paul’s letters from prison and see how God can work beyond the bars of your cages❤
We must remember to pray. To boldly approach the throne of God and speak our hearts, to humbly cry out to him.
We see the flooding in Europe and the NWT God, we see the fires across our country here in Canada, we see violence and drought and hunger and fear and we know God that the only solution is you. So help us please God to seek you, to know you, to ask you and to worship you. A great man once said that God’s love language is a broken heart, there are so many broken hearts God and we ask that they find healing and rest and repair in you.
In Jesus name. Amen
Last summer I lived in our trailer during the covid lockdown to make it feel like I was camping. While there I found that I had new neighbors, a pair of crows. They had built a big nest nest to me in the rafters of our pole barn. No big deal right? Ha! They had three babies, loud babies, from dawn till 10 am crying babies. Oh ya. At first I hated them, so loud all the time. Then as a week went by and then another I learned to love them. I named them and would call to them when I walked by, and they learned my voice and responded to me. The cawing I hated became the sound of a friend. Did you know that crows learn to recognize your voice so they can avoid you if you are an enemy? These ones learned to trust me as a friend, and now that they have moved on because a racoon destroyed their nest this year, I miss them.
Isn’t that the way it is with people? You can learn to hate them, to hate things about them and to want them gone, but then after you get to know them you sometimes realize that they are actually great! That you eventually can’t imagine life without them and miss them when they are gone. Just like my ugly feathered friends, the more you get to know and understand these people – the more they welcome you into their circle, the more you learn to care about them. Maybe that’s why Jesus had his disciples eat with other people, spend time with other people oh, and get to know them beyond where they stood in the community. Because He knew that when you open yourself up to others you learn more about yourself and are more accepting those around you.
I am grateful for my ugly feathered friends teaching me the lesson of learning to love those around you, even if they are noisy and messy and oh so very loud.