shani4jc

Tonight I made cornbread to use in my dressing for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast. I mixed up the batter and left it sitting on the counter while I waited for the oven to finish preheating. My grandson came into the kitchen and before I could stop him, he grabbed the spoon out of the bowl and took a big bite. He immediately spit it out and said, “Nana, this cake isn’t very good.” My poor boy thought he was getting a spoonful of cake batter, but instead, got a spoonful of cornbread batter. I couldn’t help but laugh as he spit the batter out in disgust. What he thought he was getting and what he got were definitely two different things! As I thought about this tonight, I thought about how our experience with sin is very similar. We are enticed to sin because we think we are getting something we want, only to discover what we actually get is nothing like that at all. We take a big bite expecting something amazing, but instead receive something that’s not good at all. And just as my grandson has to have some water to get the taste of the cornbread batter out of his mouth, we need something to erase the effects of sin in our lives. Jesus is the One who washes the effects of our sin away and leaves us with something so much better…eternal life spent with Him!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Advertisements

IMG_1333

These are two leaves that my four year old grandson gifted me with a few days ago. He was just beaming when he presented them to me. With a grin stretching from ear to ear, he ran up to me and exclaimed, “Nana, I got these for you!” He was so proud of his gift and I, as his Nana, was so proud to accept his gift. Now, I know that these leaves wouldn’t normally mean a whole lot to me, but the fact that my sweet boy gave them to me changes everything. Suddenly, they are not just leaves…they are precious treasure because of who gave them me. The fact that these leaves have no significant value   in the world’s eyes doesn’t diminish their value in my eyes at all. The fact that no one would covet these leaves doesn’t change the fact that they are special to me. You see, my precious little boy presented me with a gift from his heart and there is no treasure on earth I would rather have. God sees our gifts in much the same way. When we take the little we have and offer it to Him as a gift from our heart, He is thrilled. He looks at our “leaves” and sees priceless treasure. He doesn’t need anything we have to offer Him, yet He treasures every single thing we give Him. What we have may not be worth anything to anyone else, but to Him, it is priceless.

“So let everyone give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or if necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

Last night, my husband and I saw the movie “Let There Be Light” which I highly recommend. It is the story of the world’s most famous atheist and his journey to becoming a Christian. While there are many facets of the movie that I really loved, one thing that really spoke to me was how the movie portrayed the emptiness you feel when you seek the things of the world instead of seeking God. The atheist in the movie has everything the world says you need for happiness: fame, success, power, people hanging onto his every word, and anything money could buy. However, he still struggled to make it through a day. In fact, he struggled so much that he wasn’t making it. He was burying his life in alcohol, drugs, and partying, but to no avail. He was still miserable. The more miserable he became, the more he drank. The alcohol eventually stopped dulling his pain. He sought psychiatric help, but didn’t receive the answers he wanted. His so called friends were not really friends – they weren’t there to help him when he was at his lowest. All they were worried about was the next deal they could make with him that would net them a big paycheck. He admitted the fact that the drugs were just giving him hallucinations and not helping him at all. Everything he has built his life on was failing him and he had no where to turn. He was pretty much at rock bottom when he met the Rock at the bottom. We’ve all been here to some degree or another. We have sought fulfillment in the things of the world only to discover that they are not fulfilling. We have sought answers in the things of the world only to discover the answers we find are not enough to satisfy our soul. We seek the important things of the world only to discover we are still left searching for something more. We cling to people who make us feel special in one moment who bail on us in the next. We try to drown our problem in drugs, alcohol, shopping, food, unhealthy relationships, etc. only to find the are pushing us down even farther under the crashing waves. The world is not our answer…never has been and never will be. The only answer we have is Jesus Christ. He alone will bring us fulfillment, comfort, peace, answers, help, hope, and He alone will fill the void in our hearts.

At my fist defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…” 2 Timothy 4:16-17

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will the Father give good gifts to His children.” Matthew 7:11

Tonight, my four year old grandson and I went on a date to seePaw Patrol Live. It was a surprise for him. He knew we werrr going somewhere, but I didn’t tell him where until we arrived at the theater. He was over the moon excited when he found out what the surprise was. He thoroughly enjoyed every moment! In fact, he had such a good time that he has fallen asleep clutching all three of his souvenirs from the event. The only person possibly more excited than him about this evening would be me. I have been so excited to take him ever since I bought the tickets. I knew he would be thrilled because he is a big fan of Paw Patrol. I just couldn’t wait to see his face when he realized what was going on. I couldn’t wait to see him sing and dance along with his favorite characters. I couldn’t wait to hear him talk excitedly all the way home about the show. As I watch him sleeping, holding his treasures so close, I was so grateful that I was able to give him this special night. And I thought about how God must just beam when He watches us receive something good He has given us with. God is just like any parent…He loves to give His children good gifts. He waits in anxious expectation of our reaction when we receive His gift. He rejoices when we receive that gift with enthusiasm. Never forget that God loves you and desires to give you the very best He has to offer. Know that when you receive one of His gifts, He is even more excited than you are! What a good, good Father He is.

“…nevertheless at Thy word, I will let down the net.” Luke 5:5

Laat night I wrote about something new I discovered in this passage, but tonight, I wanted to share something that always jumps out at me when I’m read this story. Peter, who is a very experienced fisherman, has fished all night and has come up empty handed. Jesus asks him to launch back into the deep and let down his nets. Peter is quick to mention that he has already toiled all night, which sounds exactly like what most of us would say. However, Peter does something that most of us would not; he goes along with what Jesus says even though it goes against everything he’s ever experienced. Remember, Peter is an expert fisherman and he knows that fish are caught in shallow water in the Sea of Galilee, not in deep water. And he knows that they are not caught in deep water at high noon for sure, which is about what time it was. And he knows that he has just fished all night to no avail so he probably has zero faith that letting that net down one more time will change anything. However, he heeds the commands of Jesus and he launches out into the deep and lets his nets down. Can you imagine his surprise when the amount of fish he caught was so great that it broke his nets? None of his experience, none of his lifetime of knowledge, none of his gut instincts would have told him this was the way to go! In fact, everything in Peter had to fight against what Jesus was saying to do. Because of his obedience, not his experience, Peter experienced a miracle. Is there anything God is telling you to do that goes against every ounce of experience, knowledge, and fiber of your being? Have you toiled and toiled and toiled on a particular situation, only to have Jesus tell you to “let your nets down” one more time? Has He told you to “launch out into the deep”  when you know good and well what you’re seeking is in the “shallow” waters? Don’t discount what He tells you to do just because your knowledge and experience tell you something different. Obey Him even if it goes against everything you know. Obey Him even if it seems impossible. Obey Him no matter what your head and heart tell you. Obey Him no matter what simply because of who He is. Let your only answer be, “At Your Word, I will …”

“And it came to pass that, as the people pressed upon Hin to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret and saw two ships standing by the lake, but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.” Luke 5:1-2

I’ve read the story of Peter and how he fished all night and came up empty handed, as many of you have. Today, however, I learned something that I’ve overlooked before. In verse one, Scripture tells us that the crowds were pressing upon Jesus trying to hear Him teach. What jumped off the page for me today was that, in spite of the masses clamoring for His attention, Jesus saw Peter and the other fisherman. No doubt the crowds were loud and pulling Him from every direction, but He still saw Peter. It’s so easy for us to think that in the billions of people on this earth, God doesn’t notice us. We can think we are so ordinary that He pays us no mind. We can think that He has so many more important things to attend to that He doesn’t have time to be concerned with our problems. However, Peter was just an ordinary fisherman who probably had no idea that he, as he washed his nets, caught the attention of the One who was about to change his life in ways that he couldn’t even fathom. Peter had to be exhausted, dirty, smelly, frustrated, disappointed, and most likely a little angry after the night he had just had. After all, fishing provided his livelihood, so coming up empty handed was not going to bring him in any money. He was definitely not at his best moment when he caught the eye of Jesus. We aren’t unlike Peter. We, too, have caught the eye of the Savior when we are not at our best. We have been knee deep in the muck of our own sin with no way of escaping when we caught His eye. And He saw us! Us at our worst didn’t even phase Him. He came right on over and pulled us out of the muck and set us on solid ground and from that moment forward, He changed our lives in ways we couldn’t even fathom. Beloved, no matter what your situation is, He sees you today and every day!

“God always has a higher purpose in mind than just keeping us happy.”

The quote above was in my devotional a few days ago. I think we all can get caught up in the idea that if things are going our way and we are happy, God must be blessing us, but when everything is falling apart and we are struggling, He must not be blessing us. We fall for the lie when Satan whispers on our ear, “God is supposed to love you, but He doesn’t even care that you’re going through these difficulties. He doesn’t care about your happiness. He doesn’t care that you’re hurting!” We’ve all been there, drowning in the wave of self pity. We’ve all questioned where God is when our world is falling apart and we wonder if our happiness is important to Him at all. And the answer is both yes and no. God does care about every detail of our lives, and He does care about our happiness, but what she is more concerned about than our happiness is how are we progressing  in our walk with Him and how is our transformation into His image coming along. He would rather us walk through the fire than through a bed of sunshine and roses if it means that we come out on the other side looking more like Him. He would rather gonwith us through the deepest valley of despair than to have us stand on the mountaintop of victory without Him. He would rather have us sitting in a pool of our own tears at His feet than to see us rejoicing over what will  eventually leave us unfulfilled. God isn’t in the business of making us happy…He’s in the business of seeing us conformed into His image so that we may carry out the plans He has for us.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever increasing glory which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 985 other followers

Archives

May

November 2017
F S S M T W T
« Oct    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930