February 28 – Special Access

herd

Learning curves are wonderful. They can be wild and wooly rides, but they are oh, so needed in this life. My husband experienced one of these early on in our country move.

We had decided to ride our bikes one evening here close to our house. My dad has a group of cows and calves and one bull in the pasture right next to us. As we rode that evening, we made our way down the road right by the cow pasture. Animals can really tell you a lot about life, by the way.

They are easy to read most of the time. In this case, the cows looked at us like a dogs at a new pan. They all looked up, stopped eating, and stood motionless as we, the “strangers,” rode right by their territory on funny, shiny metal things that moved in circles (our bikes). They were obviously thinking, “We have no idea who you are, you look strange, and we are watching you and guarding our babies like hawks until you make your happy way back down the road. (The bull didn’t look like he was saying anything.)”

Lorenzo was asking me a ton of questions as we made our way back and we laughed about their obvious opinion of us as “foreigners.” The next day, he happened to help my dad with some cattle chores on another place. He watched as he has several times as my dad’s truck gets into view and suddenly the cattle are surrounding the truck, hoping for some cubes (kind of like a treat that he gives them.)

My dad asked Lorenzo to get something from the truck after they unloaded some hay. As he was trying to walk, the cows were so close to him he could have petted them, not to mention how close they were to him! He was a bit unnerved at their total abandonment in his presence, each of them weighing around 800 lbs. and being so friendly, remembering the evening before! But being with the owner of the herd in the white truck made all of the difference in the world. He had gained special access!       

This is a beautiful truth! Jesus is the One who gives us special access to the Father. His sacrifice gave us the right to walk right in to the throne of God as His children, free and without guilt. When we confess him as Lord, something inside of us snaps together and we literally become a “new creation.”

This transaction gives us the liberty to walk as He asks us to walk in this life with the garment of a Father’s unconditional love wrapped around our shoulders. How wonderful, how marvelous!!!!   May we never lose sight of this awesome gift, and may we convince others in the way we live and the way we love that they, too, can have special access to the God and Father of all creation!

Jennifer

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Luke 13:24

 Biblical Meditation: John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me..

 

February 17 – You’ve Got a Friend

211082-you-ve-got-a-friend-in-me

Have you found yourself, lately, wondering who is really telling the truth? There seems to be more talking going on than ever before. More news, more talk shows, more magazines and all of them claim their information is true. But the sad reality is time has taught us to beware of what we hear in the media. So what do you do? How do you know which way to go? And how do you keep from feeling frustrated and confused? Is there a way to know the truth in the midst of deceptive messages?

Let me start by asking some key questions: Are you convinced in your heart that there is a God? Have you settled the matter in your heart that He indeed created the heavens and the earth (i.e. Genesis 1 in the Bible is true)? And do you believe that God sent His one and only Son into the world in order to save mankind (i.e. John 3:16-17)?

 If there are questions concerning any of these, you have a good place to start. Ask God if He really exists. Why not? If He’s God and He truly loves you, He won’t be offended in the least. If you are not settled on the accounts of creation, ask Him to help you clarify those issues. And if the whole “Jesus, the Son of God” thing messes with you and you’re not completely sure about it, ask God to shine some light on the answer for you. Until your heart is settled on those three questions, truth will forever be elusive.

And for those who say “yes, I am confident about all of those questions,” take a moment to re-read the focused verse at the beginning. Do you see the word Friend? That Friend is described as the Spirit of the Truth. When we received God’s Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior (believed in Him), He gave us a Friend. And that Friend is with you right now. But in order for Him to help you much, you have to give Him something with which to work.

Assumptions, theories, and intellectual ideas do nothing for Him. He deals with the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. And you ask, what is that? That is simply God’s Word, the Bible. As you feed on God’s Word, your Friend comes beside you and enables you to see the Truth in tangible ways. And the more you do that, the more the Truth begins to shape your thoughts, ideas, and actions. Then, when you hear someone talking about the economy or the state of the world, you don’t panic. You can rest knowing you have a reliable source, a Friend that will guide you into all Truth.

“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’ ” John 16:12-15 The Message

Biblical Meditation: John 3:16 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.

November 25- The “Something” He Wants

Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Ephesians 5:11-14 The Message Bible

 I have come to realize there are a whole lot of actions that are permissible for me. I can act on them and they aren’t necessarily wrong and won’t cause any major problems for anybody, so I tell myself. If you are in any way tempted by such human tendencies as I am, may I be a source of encouraging insight to you today. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s the “something” He wants you doing. Don’t allow your selfishness to pull the wool over your own eyes; every step is ordained, planned and orchestrated by the Author and Father of all Creation. There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman at the end of the day. All that we are belongs to Him and He has established some guidelines to help us decipher His will for today. If you have any desire to stand before Him on that “tallying-up” day with a clear conscience and a completed work order, you will have to spend some face time with Him now – day by day! So don’t waste your time in the dark alleys of “I know what’s best for me.” Get on your knees and report for duty with the Master Foreman and get to working in the Light.

 

 

 

November 23-To Buf’ fet (buf-it) or to Buf fet’ (bu-fay): That is the Question!

I Corinthians 9:27

Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]. Amplified

My daddy took me to my first “all–you-can-eat” restaurant when I was about 11. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It was breakfast, one of my very favorite meals. They had absolutely everything. Hot cakes, eggs anyway you wanted, sausage, bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, everything. You can imagine what my plate looked like! This was not a morning to be eating oatmeal, if you know what I mean. This was the real deal. My daddy even let me have my own cup of coffee. By the time I was done, I was doing the Penguin shuffle! To say I overdid it was an understatement!

Over the years I’ve gotten better about moderation when I go to buffet- style restaurants, but I have to be intentional before I walk into the establishment or I will find myself going overboard. The problem isn’t the abundance of food at my disposal; it is my human tendency to get “just a little more.” Every person on the planet has this challenge in one area or another, because we are greedy and selfish by nature. You watch a couple of two-year-olds play together, it won’t be long before somebody’s crying about a toy they want and the other won’t give it back. Doesn’t matter that there are plenty of other toys to play with; no, they have got to have that one.

But here’s the deal, this word spelled “buffet” has another meaning. When you shift the accent it means “to deal harshly or to strike.” Every one of us has a continuing challenge when it comes to ourselves; we are going to either buf’ fet (restrain) or buf fet’ (indulge). As God’s master pieces, we have His Spirit living in us giving us the ability to know where we need to be aware. So, set your heart today on this nugget of I Corinthians 9:27. Let the Lord guide you as you train your “self.”

Lorenzo

 

November 20- No Need to Fuss

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, and do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Matthew 6:30-33

When I was a boy, I loved to get in the sun and throw shadows. I would be walking along and all of a sudden I’d come upon a wall. My shadow would make me look like I was ten feet tall. It was always fun to come up behind my buddies and make them think I was an adult or one of the big boys. Sometimes they would get all nervous until they realized it was just me.

Have you ever found yourself making a big fuss over something only to find out it was just a shadow? Growing up, penicillin was the wonder-cure for everything. My mom was a nurse, and if I ever even acted like I was coming down with something she would threaten to take me to the doctor to get a shot of penicillin in the backside!

One day the visit was inevitable and I got to fussing, “Momma, NO! I don’t need a shot. Please, Momma, It’s gonna hurt!” I worried myself sick all morning over that shot of penicillin and the mean doctor that was going to stick it to me. What I didn’t know is my mom worked with the doctor and had already arranged to give me the shot herself in his presence. I didn’t feel a thing, except a little foolish for making a big fuss over nothing!

Listen, life is no different then a shot of penicillin when God is your Papa. He’s not going to let anyone or anything stick it to you. Open your heart and hear what He’s saying to you today. He loves you and He knows your needs better than you do. All your problems are just sophisticated shadows that have no true power to harm you. Let His Word comfort and guide you. It matters not what the issues are. There’s no need to fuss, Daddy’s got you covered.

Lorenzo

Suggested Bible Meditation: Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-34

Daddy’s Kitchen

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19 a

When you go to a restaurant, what is your highest expectation? Is it good food, good service, clean bathrooms, quick delivery? All of us have different criteria for what we consider a successful dining experience. If you ever had the privilege of working in a restaurant, you know there are things that go on the customers never see. Much of the preparation necessary to get meals out in a decent time frame are hidden from sight. Many of the techniques used to make the food taste so good are kept secret. And even some of the undesirable occurrences like spoiled meat and ugly produce are quickly removed from customer visibility.

In all honesty, if we saw all that went on at our favorite places to eat, many of us would make some serious changes. However, when we are at mom’s or grandma’s, we don’t care two cents about what the kitchen looks like. Why? Our eyes are opened in a different way. With family, our relationship with them affects what we see when it comes to the kitchen. We look with a lot more grace upon the situation. With them, the meal is more of a by-product of our relationship, so it’s always good. Relationship affects visibility.

As you spend time with God, reading and meditating on the promises of His Word, your relationship with Him will grow. Then the eyes of your heart will began to see things you never knew. There are words in the Bible that make no sense to you right now that will all of a sudden start jumping out at you with vibrant clarity. Spend some time in Daddy’s kitchen today. Don’t stress over the mess, just keep your eyes on Him. He knows what He’s doing, even if you don’t. I can promise you, the end result will be a masterpiece of delight.

March 25 – Too Good To Be True

A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. Proverbs 31:10

At this moment, I am looking for the right vehicle. I’d like it to have space enough to carry 5-7 people, equipped with the option of fold-down seats in the back for hauling “stuff”! And, of course, for the right price.

I have seen many that are close and some that are not even in the ballpark. But what I’m searching for is the one that finds me. The one that I couldn’t unearth in a million years. You may think I’m nuts. That’s ok.

This new-fangled approach is really not that new. Although most of us learned early on how to do the “hover and hustle” when it comes to getting something we want, the wise ones of old knew to do what you can do and then, hurry up and wait.

I can’t count the times I chased after something, only to watch it grow wings and fly away. Yet the moment I quit running after it, here it came, tackling me to the ground.

This basically describes what happened when I realized my wife for life was right before my eyes all along. I looked every place but the right place. And later on, after we’d been married awhile and we hit those “not so fun” times, I thankfully knew this union was not all my doing.  I knew this virtuous woman was a gift I could never afford and would never deserve.

Now the life I get to live with her and our precious family through the years often feels just too good to be true. Thankfully, God being in charge means it’s good, and true, indeed.