God's Word is Powerful

God's Word is Powerful

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Eeyore the donkey is one of my favorite characters from the Winnie-the-Pooh books.  In the audio versions of the books he has a grumpy old voice and most of what he says comes across that way.  Eeyore is not a glass half empty kind of donkey as far as Eeyore is concerned there is no glass.  One of my daughters (not a morning person) has a mug with Eeyore on it that says (grumpily) Good morning if it is a good morning which I doubt.  Have you ever felt like that?  I have to be honest once in while I do feel like that.  Sometimes when I get bad news followed by hard news followed by a difficult situation that I have no idea how to handle I get a bit down.  At those times I find it hard to TRUST God.  My head tells me God is Sovereign by my feelings and circumstances pile on and I feel a bit like Eeyore in the morning.  What do you do when you face those kinds of feelings?  Getting back into the Word of God is the only way to correct Eeyore in the morning feelings.  So today two passages were a huge encouragement to me.

Psalm 130:1-4 (NLT) From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for Your help. Hear my cry, O Lord.  Pay attention to my prayer. LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But You offer forgiveness that we might learn to fear [honor, revere] YOU.

Those are the words of someone in deep trouble, someone who desperately needs help so they turn to the only SOURCE of real help that exists - God.  They may be in despair but they are looking for help in the right place.  How many times do we feel like this but instead of turning to God we turn inward trying to figure things out by ourselves?  Or how many times rather than seeking the Lord do we seek the help in others?  This desperate person knew to whom they must turn. 

Romans 8:1 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

No matter what I am feeling: down - like a looser - like nothing I do matters - like I blow it all the time - like it is NEVER a good morning - or like the half full glass does NOT even exist.  The TRUTH is that if I have accepted God’s gift of Forgiveness and Salvation then I belong to Jesus Christ.  If I BELONG to Him then there is NO condemnation that I need to fear.  ALL my sins, including my doubts and fears, my bad attitudes, my lack of Faith, ALL of those sins have been paid for.  I will NOT suffer any condemnation for them.  God has Forgiven me - SO THAT - I can learn to honor and revere Him.   I love Eeyore - he reminds me that God loves me EVEN when I feel like Eeyore the donkey under a dark cloud. 
PRAYER:  Lord Jesus - I give you my doubts, fears, and every wrong belief about You.  Lord God help me to be in absolute AWE of Your amazing grace and forgiveness.  Please Lord God help me in my unbelief - help me to TRUST You more and more. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The YOKE is on me?

When Carol and I moved to Kansas City over five years ago we packed and moved a lot of boxes.  There were times when there were things we could NOT move or carry alone.  In those times we were so thankful for those who helped us move out of our home in Detroit and for those who helped us move into our home here in Belton.  It was so much easier because we did NOT have to carry the load alone.  Sometimes however, we carry loads that are emotional or spiritual.  If you have a family member who is struggling with serious health issues - it can become a very heavy weight.  Others struggle with obedience to the things of God and may even think that the Bible is FULL of heavy commands which are designed to weigh us down.  I love these verses from 1 John and Matthew. 

1 John 5:3 (NET) For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down...

1 John 5:3 (HCS) ... Now His commands are not a burden...

Matthew 11:28-30 (NET) Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST. [29] Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

I love the fact that John makes it very clear that obedience to the Lord Jesus is NEVER a burden.  Perhaps John was thinking the illustration Jesus used of the Yoke when he said God’s commands do NOT weigh us down...they are NOT a burden.  WHY? Jesus calls us into a unique relationship.  He calls us to not just to be believers but to become disciples.  Jesus said that being a disciple of His means joining Him in the yoke.   This kind of yoke is something that makes it possible to harness two animals together so that their strength can be combined. It makes it possible for the animals to pull a wagon or a plow.  Jesus was saying give up your burdens and all the things that weigh you down.  Come to Me and I will set you free by inviting you to join me in MY YOKE.  He makes it clear that His yoke is not oppressive or harsh but gentle and the burden is light.  Why is the burden easy to carry?  Because we are NOT carrying the burden alone.  We are walking side by side with Him - and He is the all powerful God of the universe - if I walk with Him the weight of the yoke falls on Him.   Yes I am still in the yoke and that means effort - but that effort is made light and easy because I am walking with Jesus in the Yoke.  
PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, I do want to Obey and follow you closely.  I admit that at times I feel weighed down by worry and fear.  Please Lord help me to TRUST You to carry to Lord.  Please Lord keep me safely in the yoke pulling with you - not wandering off on my own.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I remember talking a man who was in ministry.  I was 19 at the time and I was at a point where I was starting to get serious about following Jesus and growing in my faith.  He seemed so mature as he shared with me that God was a God who loved to fulfill dreams.  He said that God loved to bless His people by lavishing His gifts upon them.  Then he went on to share a series of examples of HOW God had done that in his own life.  Every single example was about something pretty incredible.  He was given the opportunity to drive a sports car as he house sat for someone, he had the chance to visit several continents and see amazing things, he had seen God provide financial resources for numerous things he wanted to see happen.  Not once did he mention hard times or struggles and difficulties in obeying the Lord.  I don’t remember hearing anything about surrendering to God.  I had already seen some of my own dreams broken and crushed so I was a bit skeptical.  And in light of my own sinful motives I had to ask myself if what this man was saying was true?  Is God really like a genie in a bottle or Santa clause who grants wishes or gives gifts to those who have been good?  The more I learned and studied the less I believed the things that this man told me so many years ago.  I have found wonderful comfort in God’s Word as I have gone through struggles and hardships in my Faith.

Hebrews 11:32-38 (NAS) And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, [33] who through faith...

who THROUGH FAITH... conquered kingdoms, administered justice, received the promises, shut lion’s mouths, quenched flames, escaped the sword, were made strong, conquered enemy armies, raised the dead.  (vs. 33-35)

Hebrews 11:35 (NAS) Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were... 

through FAITH - OTHERS... were tortured and refused to be released, faced jeers, were flogged, were chained and put in prison, were stoned, were sawed in two, were killed with the sword, had to wear sheepskins and goat skins, were destitute, persecuted, and mistreated, wandered in deserts and mountains, lived in caves and holes in the ground.  (vs. 35-38)

Life Application Bible:  “These verses summarize the lives of great men and women of faith. Some experienced outstanding victories, even over the threat of death. But others were severely mistreated, tortured, and even killed.  Having a steadfast faith in God does not guarantee a happy, carefree life. On the contrary, our faith almost always guarantees us some form of abuse from the world. While we are on earth, we may never see the purpose of our suffering. But we know that God will keep his promises to us.  ...we live in an evil world filled with suffering, even for believers. But God is still in control. He allows some Christians to become martyrs for the faith, and he allows others to survive persecution. Rather than asking, ‘Why me?’ it is much more helpful to ask, ‘Why not me?’ Our faith and the values of this world are in CONFLICT with one another.”  

PRAYER:  Lord God, thank You that You are in control of all things.  Thank You that You are with me no matter how hard things may be.  Thank You that You ALWAYS work EVERYTHING - including the hard, the difficult, and the painful - out for Your honor and my good.  (Rm. 8:28)  Please Lord help me to surrender willingly each day.  Help me to live my life as a living sacrifice for YOU!