The Man of Opportunities

"Then the Israelites threw away the foreign gods among them, and they worshiped the Lord again. So he felt sorry for them when he saw their suffering." Judges 10:16

"Fooled you once shame on him,
Fooled you twice shame on you"

God disagrees with the famous phrase above, since He breaths, eats, and sleeps, forgiveness and new opportunities, time after time.

Our sinful ways, hurt and wound his heart almost every day, yet if we turn back to him He always griefs with our pain and forgives us again.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

My four year old knows that when we go out to the store, If he behaves I will reward him with a heart on his good boy chart once back at home. When he forgets, and misbehaves, and ignores my warnings, he later comes begging for, "one more chance."

There is no better example, than the people of Israel, who seemed to have used up all their chances with God. In Judges we read about Israel and the many times they turned their back to God and worshipped other gods. We also find, ALL the many times, God's heart is found overwhelmed because of their suffering and chooses to forgive them, even if the reader knows this was their, maybe, fiftieth time running back for mercy. 

To hurt God, we do not need to worship the gods made of stone and wood, Buddah or Shiva. A simple lie, an inn appropriate thought, a small argument between you and your spouse, an out of control scream at your kids or criticism, envy, and pride, are all sins that hurt God. Even our busy schedule that not only demands but infact actually keeps us away from sitting down with our Abba hurts His heart. Whatever pushes you away from God, even if only an inch away, is evil, and causes Him pain. 

If you have allowed something to push you back an inch or two, or ten away from God, Your God, you will know because you can feel that void. He is the man if opportunities, even If it's your hundredth time coming back, He still rejoices at your return. He will still open the door and invite you to dine with Him- The Man of opportunities. 


Fearful No More

I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you ... No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Joshua 1: 3, 5-6

My two younger children do no like to go into other rooms of the house by themselves, even in broad daylight.
My requests of bringing something from their room, results in whines and pouts because 'they're scared.'
My words of reassurance that God lives in our house and that He's with them are sometimes listened too, but other times their feet won't budge from where they're standing.

Yesterday in my car, just as I was about to get out, the first line of the song drew my attention:

'We were made to be courageous.'

Such powerful words with so much depth.
Here's what that means to me: God placed us on this earth to stand up for Him and our faith.

This simply doesn't mean placing a bumper sticker on your car stating you're a Christian. It means stepping into different areas of your life where your faith and devotion for His works will be tested.
Some tests will be bigger than others, but in all of them in takes knowing that God is there in every single step of the way.
Up until about two years ago, I heard my sister's voice encouraging me to move forward though the outcome looked pretty bleak. Although her words were reassuring, when the phone call ended, I would become afraid again.
This went on for a few years filled with countless tears. When I finally let go of that, God began to use me for more than I thought I was worth.
What froze me in fear for so many years, did not even present itself as an obstacle. God was faithful to fight by my side.

What is God asking you to be courageous about?

'Let the watchers become warriors, let the men of God arise.' - the song continues.

Today stop contemplating the what if's. Step forward with faith, not only believing God exists, but believing that He can, and that through Him ALL things are possible.


Giving Glory through our Chaos

'So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.' 1 Corinthians 10:31

The alarm goes off. We hit the snooze button too many times and then jump out of bed in a hurry. From there it's breakfast on the go, traffic jams, meetings, after school activities, dinner, and bedtime routines. The list can be even more jampacked for some people.
All these things are pretty typical in our world, although, things that at first flance are not ministries to serve the Lord.

How is it then possible to give God glory in all you do?

Simply in understanding we are His creation and without Him, our life would not be what it is. The opportunities, blessings, joys, victories and even the defeats, heartaches, and disappointments that make up our life, would be non-existant.

Recognizing and acknowledging Him in our life is to glorify His name. One of the best ways to do so in a busy, self - centered world is displaying His grace.

'and tell the story of grace, in every move that you make.' is a line from Steven Curtis Chapman's song 'Everything you do.' and tells perfectly how every move we make should be in glorifying Him.

Do we show grace to our kids as they test our patience giving Him glory?
Does our tone of voice to our spouse tell of His grace?
Do we reflect His grace in a warm good morning towards co-workers instead of giving a tired scowl?
And do we quickly forgive the one cutting us off on the highway or pay them back with road rage?

Our life is filled with routines that seem un-important to His kingdom, but the truth is that every single aspect, as minute as it may seem has been orchestrated by Him. Therefore all glory belongs to Him alone.


Joseph and God

When reading the story of Joseph, one thing that captivates my heart every time, is God's never ending goodness and faithfulness towards Joseph. Yes, Joseph was betrayed in the most cruelest way by the ones closest to him. Yes, Joseph was set up and falsely accused for wanting to sleep with his master's wife. Yes, Joseph was thrown in jail for two years. And yes, Joseph was emotionally distraught by his haunting past as he had to face his brothers in Egypt. But in the gaps of those horrible moments and surrounding each one of them, is God's goodness and love for his child Joseph.

I can imagine Joseph thinking on his way to Egypt after being sold by all, not only some, but all his brothers, "O God, please at least let me have shelter, food and clothing wherever I am to go." That would have been enough for Joseph, but God went beyond "enough," and made Joseph in charge of everything that his master, Potiphar owned. God gave Joseph favor with Potiphar, in the midst of suffering and pain, God made good.

As Joseph was being accused and thrown in jail by the evil lies Potiphar's wife made, Joseph might of thought, "O God, please protect me, do not let me be harmed by the other prisoners and let my innocence be found true." That would of been enough for Joseph, but God went beyond that and not only showed Joseph kindness in prison by the other prisoners, but gave him favor with the prison warden and was chosen to take care of all the other prisoners and responsibilities of the prison. God had already planned placing two dreams in two prisoners, and the interpretation of those dreams in Joseph's mind, so that one day, one of those prisoners, could be the voice to bring Joseph out of jail and into a kingdom where he would be made ruler over Egypt, and much more significantly, restore Joseph his family, his daddy, and brothers. God's goodness never stopped at Joseph's "enough." God's goodness always went way beyond Joseph's suffering and pain.

This is our God. A God who loves us inexplicably and does more than enough for us when we go through deep waters of great trouble, through rivers of difficulty, and when we walk through the fire of oppression. We will not drown, but I assure you, God will go beyond saving you from drowning. We will not burn, but God will go beyond rescuing you from burning.

The goodness God displayed through Joseph was not because Joseph was handsome,or strong or wise, it was because Joseph always chose to remain faithful to God even during heartbreak. We see that when Joseph is taken out of prison after two long years, Joseph is still exalting God, instead of being mad at God, he exalts him.

Genesis 41: 15 "The king said to Joseph, "I have had a dream, but no one can explain its meaning to me. I have heard that you can explain a dream when someone tells it to you." 16 "Joseph answered the king, "I am not able to explain the meaning of dreams, but God will do this for the King."

When we decide to exalt God and see God's goodness in the midst of our pain, His faithfulness in the midst of our heartbreak, God will never stop at our, "enoughs," rather he will go beyond them time after time.


Measuring Success

'In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And he prospered.' 2 Chronicles 31:21
What does it mean and how do we define it?
Forbes Fortune 500 lists the most successful companies according to their net worth.

It is a pretty coveted list to be in, as it indicates to the world how your company has grown and how successful it is.
The satisfaction that a company owner must receive from appearing on the list, can only be imagined.
After all, an empire doesn't grow overnight without any effort.

The dedication, obedience to business ethics, and discipline in financials should only yield but the best results, and great success according to earthly standards.

While some of us may not be able to appear on Forbes Fortune 500 list in our lifetime, we can still strive for 
in other areas of our life.

Whether it be wanting to be a successful role model to our children or to our peers, following God's commandment in being a model of Yeshua will bring forth success.
If we're looking for success in our marriage, then obeying His decrees of remaining faithful as He is to us, and loving and forgiving one another as He's done, is a crucial factor in achieving it.

God, creator of this earth and everything in it, will be the one to measure our success in this life. He won't be looking for our monetary net worth, though. He will, however, be looking at the state of our souls.
By continuing to seek Him and striving to constantly do His will, He will be faithful to prosper our ways.

His plans are always to provide us the paths that will bring us closer to Him. As we walk closer to His side, our lives will prosper with success according to His wise and loving will.

That's success that nothing else can supersede.


Father, we turn our lives to you today. We want to be successful in our daily lives with our children, spouses, and co-workers. We want to be a great reflection of who you are as you dwell in us. Walk with us in everything we do, so that you may prosper us according to your will.



Drink and Be Restored

'O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.' Psalm 63:1

This summer was the hottest yet.
Triple digits, dry & dead grass, and wildfires was what summer about here.

The excitement that a few sprinkles of water produced, signaling the mere possibility of rain, was as though gold would be falling from the sky.
Rain was yearned for in a dry and weary land. Our yards were parched and amid the wildfires, the lack of rain brought forth desperation.

We're all familiar with desperation.
Something that build yup when we cannot wait any longer for what we wish for.

What must the presence of God bring that David longed for it so?
Peace. Hope. Comfort. Love. Forgiveness.

Do you desperately need any of these?
If you're like any other human on this earth - you do.

Or lives can go through some pretty rough patches that leave our soul bare, dry and weary.
Life's mishaps can leave us like a person searching for a drop of water in the middle of a desert.
At which point nothing else will satisfy.

The Lord has so much to offer for your longing soul.
Come to His table and drink from the water of His cup.
Drink and be restored.


When He Looks Down.

'God looks down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any that are wise, that seek after God.' Psalm 53:2

I rarely watch the news, or read about them.
Once, however, I made the mistake of subscribing to a page of a news station on Facebook. I say mistake, because for the week that the news feed appeared on my page, I became saddened. Almost ever hour, there was a new posting of something terrible happening. A murder, robbery, children being kidnapped, a mother killing her baby.
I was shocked to see how much evil there can be.
That was just one news station for one city that I was receiving news feed for.
Now imagine what God from heaven sees. The world that at one time was perfect made in His image is now corrupted beyond recognition.
He, however, looks down to also look for those that stand out. He looks for those that seek to please Him.
Are you part of those that He seeks?

In this world that is full of fear, you can offer courage.
In the midst of the darkness, you can offer a ray of light.
In the hurricane that involves tears, pain, desolation and despair, you can offer shelter.

By seeking the Lord, not only will we be a difference to offer those that hurt, but we'll also become closer to the most true and pure form of love that is God.

The world today is rough and full of hurt. We must focus on all things lovely, pure, honorable and true (Phillipians 4:8) to become a light, a helping hand, the people that the Lord looks down to find.

Don't delay any longer friend. You were chosen and put on this earth for a reason. Reach out to those in need. Be the difference in this dark and cold world. Bring Jesus to a world that needs saving.
Let the Lord look down, and smile upon you.