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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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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Guest Post – I Am Mary

Today’s guest post, I Am Mary, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I am Mary.

This is not my normal way of introducing myself. As a matter of fact I have never, until today, introduced myself by saying “I am Mary.” To clear up any misunderstandings that may come from this introduction; my name is Dave and I have no intention of going by the name Mary. However I must, if I intend to introduce myself fully, use the words, I am Mary.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

I had it all figured out. I knew what it would look like. Maybe not the exact details or the final destination but I knew where I was going, or at least I thought I did. I am Mary. Now I peer into a dark tomb expecting to see my dead hopes and dreams. I am ready to say goodbye to them. I have accepted that things did not turn out the way I thought they would.

I don’t see what I expect to see.

One more look at the one I trusted with my future. I know the last look will cause an overwhelming flood of emotion. I will be filled with the should have beens and could have beens but I need to take one more look. I need to bury my hopes and dreams with the one I thought would make them all come true. I look but I see nothing, well maybe I should rephrase that, I don’t see what I expect.

My desire to say goodbye, to move on, blinds me.

All hope is gone all dreams destroyed. I am ready to move on. All I need is one last goodbye. I will be at peace, not happy, not relieved but I will be at peace once I can say my final goodbye. They say accepting what has happened is the toughest part. I have done that. I have been able to come to grips with the fact that life will not end up the way I expected it to. I just want to make it official, pay my respects and get on with the grieving process.

I can’t do it, I can’t move on. The one who held all my hopes and dreams, the one who was but is no longer is gone and with him my chance to say goodbye. I don’t understand why anyone would unwrap a dead body and take it. I don’t know why these shiny beings are sitting where the author of my hopes and dreams should be lying. I really don’t care, I just want to say goodbye and move on.

“Sir, if you have carried him [the author of my hopes and dreams] away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him [I will go there and say my goodbyes and give the future a proper burial].”

I am Mary, hopelessly alone with my broken dreams trying to make sense of it all.

I have accepted what I once thought was impossible. I have faced what I never could have imagined. I have seen my future destroyed, my hopes and dreams decimated because the one who held them all, the one who could make them all come true is gone. I want to feel his presence once again. I want to experience the hope that only he could give. I want to dream dreams that only he could make happen.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” John 20:10-15 (NIV)

I am the Mary of John 20:10-15 and I want to be the Mary of John 20:16.

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

I want to hear Jesus call my name when all hope is gone, my dreams are destroyed and the only conclusion I can come to is that the author of my hope and dreams is no longer.

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective.

I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Don’t Just Talk About It

If you’re going to write, don’t just talk about it, write.

That was the point a speaker made in one workshop I attended during the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May.

The speaker mentioned a friend who talked about writing, attended writing conferences each year, and gathered writing resources but never wrote. His friend liked the idea of being a writer. Liked talking about being a writer. And especially liked having people think she was a writer. But the truth was, she never applied any of the knowledge she gathered to actually write. For her writing was fun to talk about. Hard to do.

Although I view the speaker’s words from a writer’s point of view I wonder, could the same thought be applied to those of us who call ourselves Christ followers? Don’t just talk about following Chris, live it out?

Like the speaker’s friend, do we like to talk about following Jesus, belonging to a church, and lining our shelves with books on spiritual development? Do we like for others to think we follow Jesus’ example without evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives?

Just as the speaker pointed out writers need to study the craft of writing, followers of Jesus need to study the ultimate how-to-guide book, the Bible. We need to understand what our lives should look like.

As the speaker also pointed out, all the studying in the world will do us little good if we don’t put it into practice and apply it to our lives.

Especially when it comes to following Jesus.

The book of James tells us if we only listen to God’s word without putting it into practice, we’re fooling ourselves. We have to do what the Bible says.

We fool ourselves when we say we follow Jesus without doing what he tells us to do.

Jesus said even the smallest thing we do for others we do for him. And the reverse. Whatever we neglect to do for others we neglect to do for him.

It’s one thing to say we’re writers and not write. It’s something completely different to say we follow Jesus and don’t.

Talk the talk and walk the walk, right?

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But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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