Aug 25, 2009

Does God Care?

Have you ever asked that question? Have you ever asked that question of God? If you are a human you probably have at one time or another. You’ve probably asked the question as you wondered “why?” or “how come?” as you’ve struggled to make sense between a loving God and all of the pain of life. And you’ve probably asked the question not really expecting or looking for an answer.

Sad thing is, we often ask the question and come to the conclusion that God just doesn’t care; about me or my life or my problems. So we walk away from God and try to make sense of this hurt-filled world all by ourselves instead of looking to the Bible for answers.

Truth is; God does care; VERY MUCH about you and me and what is happening in our lives. And He wants us to come to Him because He KNOWS what it feels like to hurt just like you and I hurt at times.

Jesus KNOWS very deeply what we are going through. He too went through life! "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus knows what is like to HURT; His cousin John (the Baptist) was put to death! "27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb. Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves." Mark 6:27-32

Jesus knows what it is like to have a loved one die. His friend Lazarus died: Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” 37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it" John 11:33-38 33

Jesus knows what is like to be rejected by family; Mark 3:20 tells us that his family thought that Jesus was out of His mind! During His lifetime, His nearest and dearest didn’t understand Him.

Jesus KNOWS what we are going through because He too was misunderstood and rejected by the leaders of His synagogue, and even His followers.

My friends, we live in a broken sinful world that is so far away from how God created it to be. Read Genesis chapters 1 & 2 before things got messed up and Adam and Eve chose to sin. The good news is not only do we have a God who cares; but Jesus Christ died and rose again to destroy the curse. Jesus came that we could once again walk in the garden with God. Go to Him. You will find mercy and grace in your time of need!

Have you come to faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ? You can today, right now, join the family of God! Don’t wait. His arms are open to receive you! Simply put, Jesus is calling out for you today. All you have to do is respond to His calling to you to turn from your ways and ask His forgiveness. He will take care of the rest!

Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Aug 18, 2009


By Cathy Oestreich Philippians 2:5-11 (New King James Version) 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In my life, the best natural example of losing my life is the picture of motherhood Even though I chose to be a mother, -I quickly found many elements of motherhood that were not a choice. I found many of “my rights” had been taken away.

The right to: - My physical sleep - Sleep 8 hours a day - Have time to myself - Sit through all of anything - Plan my schedule (eat, shower, shop, pray) - Think independently (self-focused)

I learned that when I felt frustrated as a young mom, -It was usually because I resented my rights being ‘taken’ But God used that realization to turn me to my walk with Him, and evaluate my spiritual life.

Philippians 2:6 “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” -Jesus did not “demand & cling to His rights as God” And … (v5) “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” -

My attitude was to be the same as that which was shown by Jesus When we come to Jesus, and become saved, we have CHOSEN to surrender all that we are.

BUT: - We may not realize what that fully means until we encounter resistance in ourselves; - And that continually takes place over years as our walk with him deepens; - As He points to areas in our lives in which He desires to change.

We have given Him Lordship: -Made Him Master, and given Him authority in our lives,

Therefore we have given up our ‘rights’ to: -Plan our lives/our days -Think independently (self-focused) -Live only for ourselves/our interests -Sometimes, our right to eat or sleep if He calls us to pray -Our goals

He calls us to keep our eyes on him; on His plan and purpose for our lives; on the bigger picture And like that, in parenting, -We need to be looking ahead to God’s purpose in the raising and training of our children; -Beyond the diapers & teething and all-nighters, beyond the daily demands, -To God’s eternal purposes, -And willingly accept the sacrifices of our rights in light of that.

Aug 13, 2009


by Peter Furler and Steve Taylor as sung by the Newsboys

When You come back again
would You bring me something from the fridge?
Heard a rumor that the end is near
but I just got comfortable here.
Let's be blunt.
I'm a little distracted.
What do You want?
Headaches and bad faith
are all that I've got.
First I misplaced the ending
then I lost the plot.
Out among free-range sheep
while the big birds sharpen their claws.
For a time we stuck with the Shepherd
but You wouldn't play Santa Claus
Let's be blunt.
We're a little distracted.
What do You want?
Once we could follow,
now we cannot.
You would not fit our image,
so we lost the plot
Once we could hear You.
Now our senses are shot.
We've fogotten our first love.
We have lost the plot.
When I saw You for the first time
You were hanging with a thief.
And I knew my hands were dirty,
and I dropped my gaze.
Then You said I was forgiven
and You welcomed me with laughter.
I was happy ever after.
I was counting the days
when You'd come back again.
We'll be waiting for You.
When You comin' back again?
We'll be ready for You.
Maybe we'll wake up when...
maybe we'll wake up when
You come back again.
Let's be blunt.
We're a little unfaithful. What do You want?
Are You still listening?'
Cause we're obviously not.
We've forgotten our first love.
We have lost the plot.
And why are You still calling?
You forgave, we forgot.
We're such experts at stalling
that we lost the plot.
lost the plot.
When You come back again
would You bring me something from the fridge?
Heard a rumor that the end is near
but I just got comfortable here. c. 1996 Dawn Treader Music

Aug 6, 2009

Who's Behind Your T-Shirt?

When I was driving to work today, I saw a man who was wearing older clothes and looked as though he may be low income or even homeless. The man was wearing a shirt that said; “I am Loyola College”. In a split second I made a quick judgment, if you will, of who this man was and who he represented.

 I know that isn’t right because I never got a chance to know who this man was or how he arrived at his current condition. And, I don’t know much about Loyola College; so be gracious with me if Loyola is your college.

But the first thought that went through my head was; “I wonder what the recruiting office for Loyola College would say if they saw this man waking around with their shirt on!” “This man was Loyola College? This was their ambassador who represented their college?”

I imagined the college politely offering to trade the man for a shirt that said something else like “I am Boston College”.

I imagined that alumni would be “horrified” to know that this man was their ambassador.

I amused myself by asking the question; “Is this is the lifestyle I could expect to have if I attended Loyola College?” And then I had another thought; “When people see me, who do they see?” I don’t think that we realize that we are representatives or “ambassadors” of our families, the company we work for, or the college or our church we attend that other people will ever see. I don’t think that we realize that we may be the only representatives or “ambassadors” of Jesus that other people will ever see.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (New King James Version) We are ambassadors for Christ.

Do others see Christ when they look at you? Do they see Christ, not your church or your particular denomination, but do they see Christ when they look at you?

I know that we are saved by grace, but I wonder if some days Jesus would like to politely offer to trade to get His t-shirt back from those who misrepresent Him.

It isn’t unusual for me to see fellow Christians (and that includes me) at times mis-representing Jesus.

It isn’t unusual for me to see people wearing crosses around their necks and seem to have no thought for what comes out of their mouths.

It isn’t unusual for me to see motorists that cut others off as they drive by too fast in their car that has a bumper that is covered with Christian bumper stickers.

It isn’t unusual for me to see frustrated Christians responding wrong to their spouses, their children, their bosses, their neighbors, their families; I think you get my point. Because we are ambassadors for Christ we need the Holy Spirit to work through us and to shine through us and fill us with the fullness of God so that we can truly represent Him to those around us.

It is my sincere prayer today; “17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 (New King James Version) In Jesus Name, Amen!