Sunday, June 21, 2009

Roadmap for Life: GPS – God Provides Security by Ann C. Wayne

A few months ago, I was traveling from Salisbury to Mooresville after dark. I was trying to meet a deadline and be on time for my small group. Trying to save time, I decided to take a route down a winding country highway that I had only driven on once during daylight hours. Suctioned to my windshield was my trusty GPS. Or at least I was hoping that I could trust it.

I typed in the address of the destination and hoped for the best. It had never failed me before, but I had always depended on it during the day. Not on a desolate country road that wasn’t the safest place to be as a single female. A little anxiety flowed through my veins as I took a deep breath and sped down the highway.

Then the Spirit nudged me as if to say, “Be still and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10. “I’ve always been here for you in times like this. Do not be afraid! Now why are you stressing over this?” So I began to pray and ask the Lord to wrap His hedge of protection around me and deliver me safely to my small group.

I began to think about God’s word being the road map for our lives. So many times we try to take things in our own hands instead of trusting in His word and putting our faith in Him. We worry and fret over issues as if there is no hope. In Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses reminded Joshua that the Lord was with him as he began to take the leadership role in taking the Israelites into the promised land. He said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (the Egyptians), for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Moses had the kind of faith that God wants us to have. The kind that moves mountains or the kind that parts seas.

In Proverbs 3:5-6, the scripture says, “5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Simply put, the Lord wants us to read and follow His road map to life – The Bible.

If we can put our trust in a man-made device like a GPS to help us reach our destination, why can’t we trust God with our lives? Could we be lacking in faith? Do we need to see something tangible so that we will believe and trust?

After arriving at my destination that evening, I realized that God was really in control of my trip that night – even while traveling on a desolate highway depending on a GPS. My real lesson that evening was a test of my faith. I prayed that the Lord would increase it so that I would trust Him more.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New! by Jenn Fromke

 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . . and He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’" Revelation 21:1, 5

“A new car!”  Surely most Americans have heard the announcer on the Price is Right shout these words at least once in their lives.  It’s the most exciting prize to win on the show.  A new car is a luxury.  It means security, no more repairs - and you get to breathe in the coveted “new car smell.” 

A car is a big thing and receiving a new one would bring some happy changes to anyone.  However, for the person whose car is broken, dented, and not getting the job done, a new car will bring not only gratitude but also welcome relief and peace of mind.

When Eve ate fruit from the wrong tree in the Garden of Eden, the world became tainted.  Since then, sin has deepened its impression on our world, and the people who live here.   Everywhere we look today we see the results of sin.  However, this will not last forever because God made a plan way back in that garden – or maybe even before – and His plan will bring everything back to right.

When a car is damaged in an accident, it’s possible to smooth out the dents, repaint the scratches, and fix the engine (sometimes with spare parts).  In the same way, people are forgiven and they can be healed from hurts caused by sin, so that they are essentially restored back into “working order.”  However, a car that has experienced an accident carries with it that experience.  The only sure way to avoid potential weaknesses in a vehicle caused by another driver, is to buy a new car.   

In the same way, in order for God to completely purge His people and all of His creation from the effects of sin He will need to “make all things new.”  God is not planning to salvage parts from our present world.  He will not merely spruce up the place so it’s just “like” new.  God will make an entirely new heaven and new earth out of nothing . . . again. 

What’s more, 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  God has already begun His creation of the new:  He begins to remake our souls at the point of conversion.  Philippians 1:6 says, “...He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This work continues throughout our lives and will reach its ultimate goal when Jesus returns to the earth and remakes everything, top to bottom - all new parts, perfectly crafted, untainted by sin, holy, and eternal.  To the praise of His glorious name!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Thankful Heart by Emily Carter

It was a Monday night, sometime after the 10 o’clock news, when I sat down at the computer to journal.  It begin with these words, “Father, I am overwhelmed with anger.”  As I ranted for four or five sentences about the misery of my anger over nothing, it dawned on me…STOP IT!  After all, I had nothing really to be upset about.  The verse “Do everything without arguing or complaining” immediately came to mind. 

So instead, I made a list of things to be thankful for.  Forty-six things came to mind within a few minutes.  They ranged from salvation and God’s new mercies, to sunrises and sunsets, to my husband and children, to a sort of clean house and good sales at the mall.  The list was in no particular order.  I just typed as the things came to mind.  When I came to the end of the page, I stopped.  I realized that it had taken no time at all for me to type the list.  In less than ten minutes, I had gone from overwhelmingly angry to unfathomably grateful.  The child’s prayer “Johnny Appleseed” says:

“The Lord’s been good to me and so, I thank the Lord

for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the apple seed. 

The Lord’s been good to me.”

            “The Lord’s been good to me” is a simple, yet profound statement to make.  Today, I challenge you to make a list of the things for which you are thankful.  Do not worry about getting the items in any certain order; just write them as quickly as possible.  Allow a thankful heart to begin to take root in you. 

God’s word is clear.  In all things, we are to give thanks.  I Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Often I simply want to be thankful when God has seen me through a specific trial or issue.  Yet, his word says I should be thankful no matter what I am facing.  As we walk this road with Christ, we will face challenges.  Some hills will be small and others will be gigantic, but still we must climb.  

Our countenance is our choice.  We can choose to have a smile and a thankful heart that will draw others towards us or we can choose a frown and a bitter spirit that will push people away.   I hope we will chose to join with the psalmist David and say, “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  Psalm 103:1-5