God Never Leaves or Forsakes

Have there been times in your life when you’ve wondered where in the world God went? You felt him right there with you a minute ago, but during the midst of a time of utter despair, he seemed to be MIA?

We cry out, and our cries seem to fall unheard. If God promised to never leave or forsake us, then what’s the deal? Doesn’t he care?

Yes. God cares. He sent his son, Jesus, to the earth to pay the debt we owed. A debt we couldn’t pay. A get out of jail free card. God definitely cares.

And no. God is not missing in action. He’s still here with us. Right where he’s always been. The same place he was when he allowed his son to suffer and die on the cross of Calvary.

When you were young, did you ever pretend your were invisible?

You know, close your eyes, and believe that because you couldn’t see someone, they couldn’t see you? Even when you stood in plain view? I did. But just because I couldn’t see someone, it didn’t mean they couldn’t see me.

Same with God.

Just because we can’t physically see God with our eyes, doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t care. It also doesn’t mean he can’t see us. Doesn’t mean he isn’t watching over us. Loving us. Protecting us.

Even when we feel as if God’s MIA, he’s on duty. During those times we feel God left or turned his back on us, we need to hold onto the truths we find in his Holy Word.

Remembering nothing reaches us God didn’t plan, or permit.

Going through a rough spot? Hold onto God’s promises.

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So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry Godly Advice

Welcome to Pause for Poetry, featuring a poem, Godly Advice, written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

Godly Advice

 

On days when things get hectic

And my head is spinning around,

Jesus takes me by the shoulders

And He gently sits me down.

He whispers, “Do not panic…

Relax and stop a while.

Fatigue causes tension

And robs you of your smile.

“Put everything in order,

Get your priorities straight…

Forget unneeded details,

On key things concentrate.

“Stop all of your rushing,

Tackle one thing at a time…

Slow down and take it easy,

As the ladder of life you climb.

“You don’t have to impress me,

It’s not how much you do,

It’s the way in which you do things…

Just keep My will in view.

“For whatever you accomplish

It’s not for you, but “Me.”

If you put Me first, you’ll triumph

And dwell with Me eternally.”

 

©Frances Gregory Pasch

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Tired of Waiting

When God set his timetable for giving Moses the commandments written in stone, the Israelites felt God’s timetable was too drawn out. They were tired of waiting and decided to do something about it.

Frustrated by Moses’ long absence, the Israelites grew impatient. They asked Aaron to replace Moses and the God who led them out of slavery with something Aaron could fashion with his own hands. A golden calf.

We might look at the Israelites, and others whose stories are recorded in scripture for us to learn from, shake our heads, and wonder what their problem was. When we do that, I’m afraid we forget about all the times we feel God’s timetable is not to our liking.

Maybe we don’t create a golden calf to replace the God who led us out of our slavery of sin, but do we fuss and fume and get upset when God isn’t working as quickly as we believe he should?

The longer the Israelites waited for this Moses to return, the more they doubted and failed to trust. They also forgot what God through Moses had already accomplished on their behalf.

Escape from Egypt? Red Sea? Manna? Quail? Water from the rock?

Cloud by day? Fire by night? Clothes that never wore out?

When we grow tired of waiting, like the Israelites, we have choices. We can look back and see all the times God provided for us, especially in those tough times of our wait, continue to wait upon the Lord, and trust he’ll continue to provide. Even when his timetable is not our own.

Or we can forget all the times God provided for us, especially in those tough times of our wait, and decide we’re tired of waiting, abandon God, and make some god to lead us.

If we’re smart, we’ll realize God’s timetable is perfect, providing exactly what we need at exactly the right moment.

What do you do when you grow tired of waiting?

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When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 32:1 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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On The Prowl

A large gray cat has been on the prowl in our backyard looking for some unsuspecting bird or squirrel to devour. Whenever I see the intruder, I rush outside and tell it to scat. I wish the cat wore a collar with a bell attached to warn its prey of its approach.

Reminds me of Satan.

He is constantly on the prowl looking for some unsuspecting individual to devour. If he wore a bell, better still a loud gong to announce his approach, perhaps we’d put up our guard and not fall prey to his attacks.

In the old television series, Lost in Space, a robot often walked around waving his arms through the air shouting, “Warning Will Robinson! Warning!” in an attempt to keep young Will from danger.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had such a robot?

Just think how something like that might have shut Eve’s ears to the serpent’s lies. Or kept Abraham from passing Sarah off as his sister. Twice. Or Moses from losing his temper, Miriam from bad-mouthing Moses’ wife, and Jacob from stealing Esau’s blessing.

An early warning system might have kept Joseph’s brothers from selling him into slavery, Samson from being Samson, and David from sleeping with Bathsheba.

Or kept Judas from betraying Jesus, and Peter from denying Christ.

I’m sure you can think of other accounts.

Then of course, there is us.

What about when we’re tempted to gossip, tell that little white lie, be critical, judgmental, prideful, jealous?

Or when we strike out in anger, are unkind, betray another, look with lust, spew vile hatred, do something we know is wrong to save face?

But you know what? We aren’t defenseless. Far from it.

Although we don’t have a robot warning us when the Tempter lurks, and he for sure doesn’t wear a bell around his neck, we have something much greater.

Those of us who belong to Jesus have the Holy Spirit living in us. He prompts us to do good. To turn from evil, and tells us which direction we should go.

We also have the Armor of God.

As with anything which warns when danger is on the prowl, it does no good if we choose to ignore it.

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Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan.  For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.

 So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up.

But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval.  Wear shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the Good News of peace with God.  In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.   And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Include or Exclude?

Include or exclude? Which of these are we more prone to do?

Invite others to join us, or turn them away?

When I taught elementary students, each year I began the school year with an activity designed to get to know each other better.

I called it Train Wreck.

Here’s the basics of the activity.

We formed a circle with our chairs for the number of people in our class. Minus one chair.

To start the game one person stood in the middle of the circle. The goal of the activity was to tell something about yourself others in the group might have in common with you.

When the person in the circle mentioned their thing, those who shared it, including the person who said it, scrambled to find a new chair.

Those who didn’t share the same thing stayed put.

After the mad scramble to find a chair, whoever didn’t end up with a chair went to the middle of the circle.

The game began again until everyone had their chance in the middle of the circle. Including me.

Some of my students liked to stay inside the circle. To accomplish this they named some obscure thing that excluded everyone else in the class.

Something like … I have a six-year-old black cat with white paws named Obediah who’s missing two teeth. On the top.

Others who stepped into the circle named something that included more people.

Something like … I’m in Mrs. Quandt’s fourth grade class, room 28.

As you can imagine, it was much more fun when more people were included in the scramble.

I believe some of us may be like my students who enjoyed standing in the middle of the circle. We like to think we’re the center of attention. We like to have a monopoly on who we include or exclude in our scramble. We like to think we are superior.

Instead of saying something like, “I’m a child of the one true God, covered by the blood of the Lamb, sinner saved by grace,” which includes everyone claiming Jesus as Lord and King, we say something like, “I belong to such-and-such church on the corner of so-and-so street in the town of this-and-that. I attend the first service, sit on the back row, left side, on the end.”

The more exclusive, we falsely believe, the better.

Do you believe that’s the way God looks at his children?

I believe Jesus includes all of us who claim him as Lord to be a part of his very large family no matter who we are or what our cat’s name might be.

After all, Train Wreck’s a lot more fun when everyone participates in the scramble.

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So you guys, go all ova da world an teach all da diffren peopos, so dey can learn bout me an come my guys. Baptize dem, an dey goin come tight wit my Fadda, an me his Boy, an Godʼs Good an Spesho Spirit. Teach um how fo do everyting dat I wen tell you guys fo do. An you know wat? I goin stick wit you guys all da way, till da world goin pau.”

Matthew 28:19-20 Hawai’i Pidgin (HWP)

Confused? Try this version…

So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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