Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Story Inside The Song

Within Tenth Avenue North's song Hold My Heart is a story we can all relate to. The lead singer and a friend were both going through some hard times and within their struggles they found themselves asking something we all may have asked at one time or another:

How long must I pray
Must I pray to You?
How long must I wait
Must I wait for You?

I do not know anyone who hasn't grappled with that question on occasion. It is only natural for each of us to have at one time or another an impatience with God.
And sometimes we may not get an answer within our time frame but we need to remember God has perfect timing and His plan is a perfect plan. But even though we know this we will still become impatient with His plan for our life. In fact lets face it: waiting stinks! But God asks us to,

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage,
and He shall strengthen your heart; wait I say on the Lord
! (Psalm 27:14)

And so as we grapple with these questions to God seeking for an answer,here is the great reminder this song delivers to us:

So many questions without answers
But Your promises remain.
I can't see but I'll take my chances
To hear You call my name

Yes, God's promises for our lives still remain even though we may not get the answers to some of our questions. There are actually over 800 promises in His Word that we can count on for our daily lives. One of those promises is:

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry;
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing
. (Psalm 34:10)

I like my chances with God. No, I actually LOVE my chances with God.
How about you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Good News

"The Cross is the cornerstone of our faith. It is the source of our healing and our hope. Through the Cross God has provided all we need for the life of godliness.
In fact, the Apostle Paul stated,'I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

---Dr. Charles Stanley

I could even extend what Stanley is alluding to even more, as Apostle Paul would also remind us later in this same chapter of 1 Corinthians 2:

",that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

The Cross represents a love and power that nothing else in history will ever compare.
Such a simple message: Jesus died on the Cross for your sins and rose again on the third day. There is power and victory in the Cross!

Aside from the biblical story surrounding the Cross, another story on the Cross that always comes to my mind this time of year is a story I have heard countless of times from a friend:

The gentleman and his family spent several years attending an old neighborhood church which was about to be torn down and rebuilt. They were having an auction or sale on some of the items in the church. The gentleman had a rare fondness for many years of a four foot cross that was hand carved in wood that hung on one of the walls. This Cross resembled that of a crucifix.

When the gentleman brought it home he removed the figurine of Jesus off of the Cross,and hung the now empty yet still eloquent Cross in his family room. He exclaimed it was the most beautiful Cross he had ever seen. And his explanation for taking Jesus off of the Cross:

"Jesus isn't on the Cross. HE AROSE! AND HE LIVES INSIDE OF ME!"

Whenever he would share that story his eyes would tear up. This gentleman knew the love and the power that resurrected from the Cross.

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1Cor.1;18)

We must not just embrace the Cross this coming week, but share that love and Good News with others. The love of God is worthy to be praised and to be shared!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On Eagles Wings

By now you have probably watched at least some part of the live web-cam on the eagles nest in northern Iowa.In fact,close to 33 million people have viewed it so far. The eagles nest was built by the pair in 2007,sits 80 feet high in a cottonwood tree on a farm and weighs up to 1 and a half tons. The camera was hooked up atop the tree in November 2010 a few months before the eagles started nesting.The cables run down the side of the tree extending to a garage near the farm. I have included a link at bottom of post so you can view the eagles for yourself.

I've found this reality show worth watching because there is nothing made-up about it,this is true reality at it's best. But I have also discovered while observing this incredible footage why the eagle is mentioned so many times in the Bible. Probably the most familiar scripture passage used in reference to the eagle is Isaiah 40:31:

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

An eagle can weigh up to 15 pounds and over half of that is muscle. Their wingspan can stretch to over 7 feet. When they fly with their wings spread they are not actually flying but soaring and use very little of their strength.

While Moses was leading the Israelites through the wilderness God gave Moses instructions to tell them to just obey God's voice and remember,

"You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings
and brought you to Myself
." (Ex.19:4)

An eagle can fly up to nearly 2 miles high and still view its prey from that distance. Two days ago I watched the mother eagle hover over her young while a high wind rainstorm moved through quickly. While the tree and the nest were swaying back and forth, there she sat content and patient until the storm had passed.

Moses spoke to Israel the words to a song about God's faithfulness which included:

He found him in a desert land
And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;
He encircled him,He instructed him,He kept him as the apple of His eye.

As an eagle stirs up its nest,hovers over its young,
Spreading out its wings,taking them up,
Carrying them on its wings,

So the Lord alone led him,and there was no foreign god with him. (Deut.32:10-12)

An eagles nest is 5-6 feet deep because they are constantly stirring up the nest covering the remains of the food they've been feeding their young. This past week I've witnessed the 3 eaglets get fed: a possum,a fox,and several large trout,and then watched as the dad brought more dirt and grass to cover up the remains. And so as this process continues the nest just keeps getting deeper and deeper. The dad will also continue to bring more tree limbs to keep building up and strengthening the nest. The babies will not have a full set of wings to fly until 3 months have past so the momma will feed them and hover over them until that time.

I am looking forward to viewing the process of the babes taking flight,which won't happen for 11 more weeks.

In Ezekiel 17 God gives Ezekiel a parable to speak to the house of Israel, and within it contains these Words:

"But there was another great eagle with large wings and many feathers;
And behold, this vine bent its roots toward him,
And stretched its branches toward him,
From the garden terrace where it had been planted,
That he might water it.

It was planted in good soil by many waters,
To bring forth branches,bear fruit,
And become a majestic vine."

Eagles will nest near waters,remain mates for life and are dedicated in delivering and taking care of their offspring each year. The eagles will invest close to 4 or 5 months in their young ones as they raise up a new generation of this majestic bird. This unique pair have raised up a total of 11 eaglets to add to the eagle population.

While God is revealing His omnipotence to Job He mentions the eagle. Here it sounds kind of like God is dishing out to Job a little sarcasm due to Job's attitude,

"Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high?
On the rock it dwells and resides,on the crag of the rock and the stronghold
(Job 39:27,28)

The eagle will use the same nest for years,adding to it each year and building it stronger and stronger.

Yes, the eagle knows its stronghold. But do we know who are stronghold is?

Even though an eagles beak and talons will wittle down they continually grow back. Their strength is being renewed.

Sometimes we have a tendency to let our faith wittle down, but just like the eagle we can renew our strength,it just comes down to us making that choice.

God is our stronghold and strength if we allow Him to be and here is what He promises to do for us:

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler. (Psalm 91:4)

Here is the link I promised you: www.ustream.tv/decoraheagle

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Forgive me Father, for I am on Facebook

In recent weeks there's been much brougha,critique,or just plain much ado about nothing surrounding Facebook. I think much of it stems from the media highlighting the fact that some folks have chosen to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up Facebook for Lent. And if you are one of those who did then I applaud you! But the past couple of weeks I have discovered an actual importance to Facebook.

Some of the disparaging but true images of Facebook being a distraction are:

a decrease in job productivity in the office, kids and their homework, reading,and most importantly reading our Bible and spending time in prayer, and spending quality time with our family. Some have even suggested Facebook has replaced communal relationships or in other words real world interaction .

Today some of our relationships are built via technology: twitter,texting,email,Facebook,and cell phone usage in general. Yes, Facebook can be an addiction, but what about all of the other distractions and addictions we face on a daily basis?

Today we have a wide variety of choices to be addicted and distracted to:
American Idol,Dancing With The Stars,cable news channels,sports,video games,texting and tweeting, and the over 300 channels we receive on that big screen television. Yes, the world is our oyster!

Along with Facebook being a great marketing tool for businesses, Facebook is also a great ministry tool as well. For some of us it's the friends we have facebooked who are missionaries in foreign countries that we can chat with and pray for,or we may post a quote or scripture verse on our wall to uplift someone who is in need. But one of the greatest things I've found recently were the many prayer requests that were posted by friends.A couple of urgent needs posted were: more than one request included families who had lost a loved one and needed prayer and another FB friend had an immediate request for a relative who was in dire straits in the hospital and needed urgent prayer. The latter one received an answer to prayers within hours.(thank you Jesus!)

Just by typing in a few words and with a click of a button a prayer request can instantly reach hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ all at one time. Amazing isn't it?

Facebook along with all of the other addictions and distractions we face can easily be cured just by our learning to discipline ourselves and our time.

Facebook can be put to good use if you choose it to be.Facebook can be your friend.