Where is God?

I gave up facebook almost a year ago and I am so glad that I did.  As I scroll with my husband on his account, I am reminded of what a broken, disgraceful, self-absorbed, messy world we live in.  I see headlines and posts about the attacks on Paris, Muslims, Syrian Refugees coming to the USA, liberalism, common core education, starbucks cups without snowflakes, political correctness, bashing our president, and so much more.  Not to mention all the personal posts about how life is grand, or life sucks, or look at what we have, etc, etc, etc.  I am sure you get the idea of what is out there, you may even be reading it in your own scroll.

I began to ponder the question so many ponder.  Where is God in all of this?  I am not a politician.  I am not versed in law, world affairs, government, political parties, etc.  But as I read about these events taking place in the world, as I see families being torn apart in my town by divorce, abuse, infidelity, and more, I can’t help but wonder what the heck is going on.

The only place I can and will go to find my answers is the Good Book, The Bible.  I happen to be studying Isaiah right now and oh my goodness!  It is almost as if God placed this book in my hands right when I would need answers to all that is happening in our world today.  The kings of Isaiah’s time all fell short.  Some to idolatry, some to prayerlessness, some to unbelief, legalism, pride (that’s a big one).  Each time these kings found themselves in troubled situations, God reached out to them.  Some accepted His hand and some refused it.  Those who accepted His hand were blessed.  Those who refused it were defeated.  This is a very simple, basic synopsis of what I’ve been reading about.  It goes deep and it is long.  But the principle remains the same.  God wants to help us.  Will we let Him?

Our fight in this world is not against terrorists.  It is not against  Muslims, Christians, Jews, Democrats, Republicans, Communists, etc.  It is not against our nasty neighbor, our abusive parent, our cheating spouse, or our dysfunctional school system.  Our fight is a spiritual war against the devil.  It is the devil who is causing all of these divisions in our world.  He is tempting everyone, using everything, and he is getting his way.  He has us fighting ourselves!

We sit here and wonder why is God not doing anything to help us, to save us from this suffering, to take this away from us.  But He is, He has, and He always will.  We are just not accepting the hand He is extending to us.  I am so thankful that God is so patient with us.  2Peter 3:9 tells us that “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand  slowness.  Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Don’t you see?  God is waiting patiently for all to repent!  He is giving us chance after chance after chance!  And when we repent, as individuals, as families, as neighborhoods, as cities, as states, as countries, WE WILL BE BLESSED!  The Lord wants to protect us and He wants to deliver us from this evil.  Our culture and our country is saying no, loud and clear.  Everywhere we go, God is being forced out and the devil is being invited in.  We are getting exactly what we have created.

Isaiah 61:1-4 promises the deliverance of those in bondage.
“The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.”

Our freedom is in Christ alone.  He is the deliverer!  He is the one who can release us from this world.  No political party or military plan will work without Christ.  It doesn’t matter if we accept or reject refugees, bind or release prisoners, secure our borders or keep them open.  Without Christ, we have nothing.  Our country needs to repent and praise God.  Until this happens, we will be under spiritual warfare.

I cannot wait for the return of Christ on the earth!  What a glorious and awesome day that will be!  But I am also so thankful for His patience in trying to reach all of His lost lambs.  He is waiting for us, all of us.

Instead of living in fear, let’s stand united in Christ.  Put on His armor.  He is our strength and our shield.  Let this political situation be an opportunity for us to stand together as one, not divided.  Let us minister to these refugee families as they come into our country.  Let us share Jesus with them.  These kids will be in our schools, they will live in our neighborhoods.  Let us not be fearful.  Cry out to God for His strength, His words, His direction.  Let us show these people what a peaceful nation can look like.  Take down the signs of hatred, the political party labels, the denomination disagreements.  Let us be ONE in Christ!  Let us welcome all who come to us and let us be humbled with the opportunity that Christ has given us to share His love with them.

Are you up for the challenge?

Jenny Original

My friend Jenny used to make these absolutely beautiful baby slings.  She gave me one 7 years ago when my youngest daughter was born.  After that, every time I needed a baby gift, I ordered a Jenny Original baby sling and gave it to the expectant mother.  It was always a favorite gift!  I told Jenny years ago that one day people would see a sling and say, “Is that  a Jenny Original?”

My family lived in Richmond for 6 1/2 years.  During that time Jenny was an important part of my life.  Our time together in the Family Room at church will always be treasured.  It was here that we met, spoke of our babies with Jesus, and cried together.  We spent many more days in that family room.  I’m not sure if Jenny realized what that time meant to me, but her kind and loving words carried me through my darkest days.

I remember seeing the Stevens Family walk into church before I knew them.  Jenny was pregnant with James.  I watched them each week in anticipation of the baby being born.  I was still raw from losing my own baby.  When James was born, I could not take my eyes off of him.  I was drawn to him.  A little peach fuzz, blonde boy, very much like my own little boy.  It was shortly after that I met the Stevens Family.

We became close.  We shared a small group together.  Our daughters went to Scouts together, choir together, and even coop together for a time!  Jenny and her girls spent endless hours helping my family with fundraisers for brain cancer, painting little Christmas ornaments, collecting toys for the hospital, and so much more.  Some of my fondest memories are sitting at my dining room table and painting those ornaments that would be given to those who donated toys for the hospital.  We painted for hours and just chatted!

Four years ago, we moved again.  I have not seen Jenny in quite a long time.  I think of her often and the impact she has made in my life.  She is a friend who has changed my heart.

Jenny did not only make original baby slings.  Jenny is original in her heart.  She reaches out just a little bit farther.  She gives just a little bit more.  She hugs just a little bit tighter.  She cares just a little bit deeper.  She lives and breathes Jesus in everything she does.  I cannot think of a better example of someone who others can see Christ through.

I love you Jenny.  You have impacted my heart and that will leave an impression forever.  My heart aches that you are battling right now.  I just want you to know that you have taught so many people so much.  You have touched the world.

Thank you for being so original, Jenny.  There is no other like you!  May you find peace and strength through God on this journey.  I will continue my prayers for you and for your family.  I love you all.

Jason Crabb – He Knows What He’s Doing

Dear Jesus,
Jenny needs you.  Her family needs you.  Wrap your love around them and don’t let go.  Let your peace and strength invade their inner souls.  Shower them with your Spirit and surround them with the support they need now and in the future.  The journey is long and tiresome, but this is not our home.  We are but here temporarily, on our way to your arms, where we will all rejoice with you in eternity!
Amen

Daylight Savings – From the Eyes of a 7 Year Old

This morning, as we were getting ready for school, my youngest daughter asked me, “Well, did everyone change their clocks?”  I told her simply, yes.  She was not satisfied with this answer, but at this time, I did not realize this.  She pondered this habit, this tradition, this bizarre occurrence in her mind as we got into the car and began our travel of first driving my eldest daughter to school, then driving little Emma to school.  It was just as we were approaching Emma’s school that she brought up this subject again.  She asked me why we change the clocks.  I tried my best, in my feeble attempt, to explain that we don’t like driving to school in the dark, so when it begins to stay dark longer in the mornings, we change the clocks so that we will be able to drive to school in the daylight.  I also explained that the sun will set earlier now, so it will also rise earlier.  She thought about this and then asked why can’t we just go to school after the sun rises.  Why do we have to change our clocks.

Wow!

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3

My mind was blown.  I sat quietly as I drove to capture my thoughts and form words she might understand.  This is what I came up with.

I told Emma just how smart she was for thinking this way and I also told her she was not wrong.  God created our world with a big, beautiful sun.  And the sun gives us different amounts of light as the seasons change.  God intended for people to wake and rise with the sun, do their work for the day, and go to bed when it got dark.  But, people got too busy.  People started having too much to do and needed to make sure they could get it all done. So, they created clocks, which of course are based upon the sun.  The difference is that as the seasons change, clocks do not change, so people have to change them to keep up with God’s amazing creation, the sun.

See, people think that we need more, need to do more, need better technology, better ways to accomplish things, etc, etc, etc.  This list can truly go on forever!  If we stepped back and looked at what God has already put in place for us, we might just see that His creation is all we ever need!

Perhaps we are burnt out, stressed out, overworked, and exhausted because of those darn clocks!  Maybe we should rise with the sun, have a nice breakfast and make our way to work.  Then, head on home as the sun begins setting for a hearty meal.  Doesn’t that sound fantastic?

All of these years I have taken Daylight Savings for granted.  It took my 7 year old to jolt me back to reality.  Faith like a child, Jesus says.  I hope Emma never loses her insight and her faith.  She teaches me things everyday!

As you are all adjusting to the time change, take a moment to realize that this is not how it is supposed to be.  This is not the life God intended for us.  Thankfully, this is not our world!  We have a world of eternity waiting for us with Jesus, where there are not clocks to change and no deadlines to meet, and no more being late!  It will be a blessed place where time will not exist.  God’s glory will be the only thing we need to concern ourselves with in eternity!  That sounds good to me!

AMEN!