The Sky is Falling

I live in Hawaii.  I also have a federal government job.  This means that recently there has been a lot of “the sky is falling” discussions taking place around me and in the news.  How to pay the bills with a pending government shutdown turns out to be the least of concerns after we just faced an impending nuclear strike incoming from N. Korea.  Now, I will agree that these are BIG issues, even life-threatening or life-ending issues, but the bottom line is that we didn’t have any control over either of them.  My worrying could not change anything.  My worrying also can not change the outcome of most of the things that I tend to worry about.

The answer of course, is that only God knows the future and HE is in control.  So breathe!  Be thankful that there is an all-knowing and all-powerful God in control.  I don’t need to worry.  In fact I am commanded not to worry.  So, I continue to place my trust in God and thank him that I am alive for another day (and that I am blessed to live in such a beautiful place as Hawaii.)

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”  Luke 12:25-26

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Walking with God

“Enoch walked with God.”  This statement is found in Genesis near the end of a long list of the descendants of Adam.  Each was named, along with an account of how long he lived.  Until, we reach Enoch. His statement was different; his statement stood out.  He didn’t just live – he walked with God.

Isn’t this the best eulogy we could receive?  Focused not on our accomplishments or degrees, but on our relationship with God.  As I sat in my quiet time and read this passage, I was made deeply aware of the significance of this simple statement and of how far I stray from this ideal.  This statement reveals a life-long, deep and personal relationship with God.  A life focused on God.  A life that faithfully walked with God.  As I begin this new year, I pray that I remember to walk with God each day.  Faithfully.

“Enoch walked faithfully with God.”  Genesis 5:24a

Praise from an Island in the Sea

New Year’s Eve.  A day to traditionally look back over the year and reflect on the good and bad.  A day to make resolutions for the upcoming year.  But I have decided not to do that today.  Instead, I will focus on the present.  To be thankful for the fact that I have a personal relationship with God and that he is constantly faithful.  Today I simply want to give him praise.  I read a passage in Isaiah yesterday that stood out to me because it spoke of giving glory to God “in the islands of the sea.”  Since I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it spoke to me.  I had never noticed before that islands were mentioned specifically in the Bible.  That is one of the things that I love about this book, that no matter how many times I read God’s Word, there is always a new treasure to discover.  And as I continued in my reading into the next chapter in the book of Isaiah, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and of his plans – “marvelous things planned long ago.”  God has plans for us that were made long ago.  I look forward to discovering some of them in the upcoming year.  May you have a blessed day and a blessed New Year.

…exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea.”  Isaiah 24:15

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”  Isaiah 25:1

A Child is Born

When each of my sons were born, we couldn’t wait to spread the news and to let everyone know of the new addition to our family.  We were blessed three times and made the announcement to our loved ones with hearts full of love and joy.  When we make birth announcements, we all rejoice in our happiness and invite others to share in our blessing.

God made an announcement regarding the birth of his son 700 years before it took place.  He shared the good news with the prophet Isaiah in order to give hope and strengthen the faith of his people – then and now.  He announced that those who were walking in darkness would see a great light.  That a child would be born.  That The Child of God would be born.  And he would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I have tears in my eyes as I write these names, these descriptions of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us celebrate the love and joy and remember the significance and uniqueness of this special birth announcement, made over 2700 years ago but still so relevant to the world, to us, today.  Merry Christmas!

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”  Isaiah 9:2a

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.”  Isaiah 9:6a

Love More

Today’s lesson in my current Bible study stated that the greatest motivator for our obedience to God’s calling is our love for Jesus.  She said that when obedience is hard, don’t just pray for strength but pray to love Jesus more than anything else on this earth.  This really struck a chord with me.  Several months ago, while reading another book, the challenge was made to summarize your calling in two words.  I initially thought ” teach truth.”  It was a gut reaction to what I have felt my calling to be.  But while true, it didn’t quite feel right, so I prayed about it.  Immediately two words popped up in my mind – “love more.”  This has become a beacon for me.  To love more instead of reacting.  To love more when hurt.  To love more even when I don’t feel very loving toward that person.  To love more when I approach any situation and any person.  But today’s study reminded me that I must first apply this to God.  Love Jesus more and all the rest will fall into place and will come naturally.  LOVE MORE is always the answer.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”  Matthew 22:37

Continuous Thanks

Thanksgiving is over.  My son and his girlfriend have returned home to California.  The turkey is old news.  And the Christmas tree is up and decorated.  But, I don’t want to lose the sentiment of Thanksgiving to end.  I want to continue to be thankful for each day, each blessing, each challenge that comes my way.  I have been so blessed in my past and I trust that I will continue to be blessed in my future.  But I want to live in this moment and continuously give praise to God for the ongoing blessings of life, love and family.  Thank you Lord for this day!

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24

Giving Thanks to the Lord

Thanksgiving Day! A day to celebrate the bounty that God has provided.  Family, friends and food is what we focus on today and I am grateful for the chance to share a Thanksgiving meal with those I love.  All of my sons will be home this year, so I am especially happy today.  Turkey, side dishes and dessert will all be served and enjoyed.  Laughter will abound.  Stories of past experiences and dreams of future endeavors will be shared.  And I am so excited about this day that lies before me.

But in this moment, before the hustle and bustle of preparation, before the rush to the airport, I sit and quietly give thanks to the Lord that provides not only all of the above, but all that I have and I that I am.  I give thanks to God, who has blessed me immensely.  I give thanks to the Lord and rejoice that he is good and that his love endures forever.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever.”  Psalm 136:1

Seasonal Joy

I love this time of year! As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, I can always feel my energy level increase.  I feel more joyful simply because of the upcoming season.  There is an anticipation. Not anticipation about presents, but about family, friends, celebrations that center around those you love.  It is of course, also a time to give praise to God for his blessings and to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  And this brings joy to my heart.

There seems to be an increase in positive attitudes in general during this season but I like to try to really focus on gratitude, love, faith and hopeful anticipation.  Let us ground ourselves in God’s Word and in prayer and praise as we move through this busy and sometimes distracting time of year.  Let us make a joyful noise to the Lord as we cook and shop and travel.  Let us remember the origin of all goodness and joy and praise his name.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness…Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”  Psalm 100

Take Heart!

Ever feel like the world is out of control? That you can’t deal with another sad story? Another report of a tragedy? Another disaster? Another war story?  Jesus reminds us that he knows.  He understands.  He offers peace.  He came to provide a different perspective.  What he offers is bigger and greater than this world.  We may deal with troubles in the present but Jesus can calm the fears.  He tells us to “Take heart!”  He reminds us that he has overcome the world.  With him, we can have peace in all circumstances.

I have told you these these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Impossible is not in God’s vocabulary

“For nothing is impossible with God.”  Luke 1:37

How often have you heard this verse quoted?  Even said it yourself.  Perhaps even wrote it in a note of encouragement.  But I wonder if we truly believe this.  We often use it more as a platitude instead of a verse of faith.

If we look back and remind ourselves of the context of this passage of scripture, I think it will help us to trust this verse more.  Mary had just been told by the Angel Gabriel that she was to give birth to a son.  When she asked how this could happen since she was a virgin, this was her answer.  “For nothing is impossible with God.” Simple, Direct. Absolute.  There wasn’t a long discussion on how it would happen, only that it would happen.

Hold on to this truth during the impossible situations and hard trials of life.  Let it become a verse of faith and hope that can sustain you through any situation.