A Seat at the Master's Table
|Song of the Finch|
|Posted by Beverly on Monday, January 30, 2012 at 5:34am|
|"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." - Psalm 34:1|
The finch is an interesting little bird. One of the smaller varieties of its species, it spends almost as much time on the ground as it does in the air. It is not particular about which tree or on what branch it chooses to perch. The finch will build a nest almost anywhere, including above the bay window of my house.
The finch is a versatile member of the bird family. But one characteristic is constant -- the song of the finch does not change. Whether on the highest branch, at home or on an unfamiliar tree, the finch sings. No matter if the tree has fruit, leaves, or bare branches; whether the tree is dead or alive, it sings. Even if the finch is at its lowest point on the ground, it still sings.
Can we be like the finch? Can we keep our song through our highs and lows? Can we praise our God in our dark times as jubilantly as we do in our happy times? The God who brings us to our joys and victories is the same God who walks us through our disappointments and sorrows. He deserves the praise of our hearts, despite what our eyes see.
"Dear Lord, never let me lose my song. Thank You that You have promised never to leave me. You are with me through my highs and my lows, for which I praise You. Help me to see Your majesty and power through eyes of faith. Help me to sing a new song, regardless of my circumstances. Help me keep my song."
|You're Wearing Them!|
|Posted by Beverly on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 11:28am|
| Eighty-two degrees and sunny -- the perfect day for a picnic in the park. I called my friend, she was free, so I went over to pick her up. When I arrived I found her marching through each room searching for something of obvious importance. When I asked her what she was looking for, she replied, "My sunglasses, I know I put them somewhere!"|
"You're wearing them!" Sure enough, with one swipe of her hand she discovered her sunglasses perched on top of her head.
As I chuckled about my friend's "moment" my memory indicted me about such incidents from my own life. Past searches for keys I had in my hand the whole time added to the shame of the many times I have asked myself, "What did I come up here for?"
"You're wearing them." Though this happens often in the natural life, I believe it is also a spiritual truth. Jesus told us in Luke 17:21, "For indeed the kingdom of God is within you." All the provision and supply of heaven is available to the believer in Christ.
We frantically search for what we already have. We beg for blessings that were purchased for us 2,000 years ago. Healing, finances, relationships -- all we long for, chase after, and crave -- we're wearing them the whole time!
The world tells us to reach out to achieve our desires. This includes reaching around rules or reaching over people to satisfy our goals. But the Word of God encourages us to reach in to our invisible Source, the Holy Spirit, trusting and expecting, rather than clawing and stressing.
For anyone who is facing an impossible challenge, desperately seeking a solution to a dilemma, or overwhelmed by the weight of hovering conditions, and you need answers -- look within -- you're wearing them!
|What to Do When God Says "Yes"|
|Posted by Beverly on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 5:24pm|
| When we pray, we can generally expect one of three responses: "yes", "no", and "wait". When God says "No", we try to accept that what we've requested would not be good for us, it would hurt us, or it is not His will for us. "Wait" may signify the importance of God's timing, and our need to learn patience to help us grow and mature. "No" and "wait" are character-building life lessons for us.|
One response that often takes us by surprise is when God says "yes". We are often not ready, even shocked when we receive a "yes". We find ourselves unprepared to receive; to walk in the "yes" of God.
It pleases God to say "yes". Many of His children, however, are not good receivers of His blessings. We feel we don't deserve a "yes", even to the point of guilt. These feelings of unworthiness can cause us to loosen our grip, talk ourselves out of the blessing, and open a door for the enemy to rob us of the joy of it.
A story in Acts 12 illustrates what not to do when God says "yes". In this account, Peter was in prison for preaching, and was slated to be tried or killed the next morning. The disciples were praying earnestly that God would rescue him. So God sends an angel to Peter, the chains drop off, prison doors open, and he leads Peter out of the prison.
Verses 13-16 show us what happened when Peter shows up at the disciples' house. He knocks on the door, Rhoda peeks out, and sees him. She leaves him standing outside and runs to the disciples to tell them Peter is at the door.
Peter is free! Their prayer has been miraculously answered! Do the disciples shout, rejoice, and dance? No, they tell Rhoda she must be beside herself (out of her mind). They don't believe her! God said "yes" and these men, who had walked with Jesus Himself, didn't believe it.
The disciples in this story, though they were personal witnesses of the power of answered prayer, were not prepared for the "yes" of God. We, too, are often not prepared to receive. To be ready to receive our "yes" we need two characteristics -- responsibility and expectation.
Luke 12:48 (Contemporary English Version) says, "If God has been generous with you He will expect you to serve Him well. But if He has been more than generous, He will expect you to serve Him even better." We are responsible for our "yes", to tell others about the Source of our blessings, and to share them with others. Our responsibility is to use our "yes" to serve the Lord and to give Him glory.
"Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass" (Psalm 37:5). We need to expect God to work in our best interest. Expectation does not allow for doubt, leaves no room for fear, and draws a picture of the "yes" in our hearts and minds.
God wants to say "yes". We limit His work in our lives when we fail to prepare to receive all He has for us. Let's be responsible and expectant as we pray so we can cooperate with God's desire to bless our lives.
|Nail in the Street|
|Posted by Beverly on Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 7:10pm|
On one of my daily walks I noticed a nail lying in the street as I crossed. Reaching down to pick it up, I thought about the choice I was making, and why I was making it.
I reasoned that there are three kinds of people who could have come across that nail in the street. The first group are the ones who would walk over the nail and say, "It's not my problem." The second group would pick up the nail to keep it from puncturing their own tire. The third type of person would remove the nail to prevent anyone from being its victim.
The same three groups exist among Christians living in this world of lost and hurting people. Some Christians belong to the group that would ignore the hurting in their agony, or dismiss them to a possible eternity without Christ. "I'm so glad Jesus lifted me," is their motto, but helping to rescue others does not as much as cross their minds.
The second group, and by far the largest, are the self-serving Christians. How many times has it been said, "But for the grace of God go I," as if God does not extend His grace to everyone. Too many Christians perform good works with selfish motives. Though others are assisted by their efforts, these people are motivated by rewards -- "what's in it for me" -- such as recognition, gratitude, admiration, relief from a sense of guilt, or even bragging rights.
"If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom" (James 3:13). The type of Christian work that pleases God is without regard for who we help. Age, race, social, financial, or educational status make no difference when our helping others is motivated by the love of God.
Like picking up the nail from the street, our works of love should reflect our desire to rescue others from the dangers of their sin, and to relieve their suffering. We must remember not to be self-centered, ignoring the needs around us. We should check our motives, that the good we do is not driven by selfishness. All our work should be to glorify God and benefit others. God will see and reward us.
|A Picture of Grace|
|Posted by Beverly on Monday, July 4, 2011 at 2:41pm|
"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9).
As I was taking my morning walk around my neighborhood I saw ahead of me a pile of what looked like sand covering part of the sidewalk. I approached it and recognized thousands of dead seedling cones that had fallen from the pine branches that draped across my path from above.
Looking down I predicted that the tree had lost all its cones and would bear no seeds this year. But as I peered up I saw many times more cones growing on the tree as had been discarded.
This scene reminded me of the grace of God. Though much had been destroyed by winds, rains, and storms, many more were growing and healthy. In our lives we suffer loss, injury, death, and disappointments. But no matter how much we lose, grace will nurture and grow that which remains.
Let's shift our focus from what we have lost in our lives to what remains, and allow God to increase it for our good and for His glory. Thank Him for His grace -- keeping us, comforting us, and helping us to grow.
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