Rain, Rain, Go Away {5.27.17}

Rain, Rain, Go Away – Come Again Some Other Day

How many did we sing that song as children? How many times do we think it as adults?

A few weeks ago it rained and rained and rained where I live. We had no flooding at our house but nearby there were overflowing streams and ponds, flooded yards and roads, and standing water everywhere. I’m sure many of us were at least thinking about that song! Then the sun came out and we all rejoiced. It made me stop and think. If we didn’t have the rain, would we rejoice in the sun or just simply take it for granted?

It seems that in the heat of August we are usually longing for rain. Our lawns are dry and brittle, we have to water plants and flowers once or twice a day. We can’t be outside long without a hat and sunscreen. We “glisten” (I heard that once as a nice word for sweat). But, we all know what happens in the very hot summer sun, we sweat! There’s nothing nice and sweet about it. Then, we enjoy the summer showers. Of course, we don’t want them to last very long. Actually, we probably would rather they came at night while we were sleeping and then the sun would be out in the daytime. Convenience. That’s what we really want, isn’t it?

Last night we had another thunderstorm. It came up quickly and it seemed at times like it was raining sideways. Then this morning, everything looked fresh and clean – refreshed. The grass seemed greener, the flowers more bold in color. There is something about the rain that seems to bring new life – it does actually.

We take the sun for granted and I’m sad to say that often, we take the Son for granted too. When things are going well, we don’t always give either a thought. But, when the rains and storms come, we look to them with longing. drinking rainJesus told us that He (the Son) gives “living water” to all who are thirsty and come to Him. The well never runs dry. Just like the spring rains bring refreshing to the soil. Jesus always refreshes our soul. Michael W. Smith says it well in his song “Let It Rain”.  Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven. The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad Let the distance shores rejoice Clouds and thick darkness surround Him Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne A fire goes before Him and consumes His foes on every side His lightning lights up the world The earth sees and trembles The mountains melt like wax before the Lord Before the Lord of all the earth The heavens proclaim His righteousness And all peoples will see His glory. We want to see Your glory, God! Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven

Have you noticed how children love the rain? rain puddleThey love to jump in puddles (and it’s not just boys). I saw a little girl this week in a parking lot, going straight for a puddle to step in it. There’s something in water that draws us. As kids, we didn’t mind the rain, did we? Maybe that’s another reason Jesus told us to come “as a child”. Like a child welcomes the rain and appreciates the sun, I want to welcome the rain in my life so that I never forget to appreciate The Son.

No matter what the weather is in your home this weekend, enjoy the blessing in itself. And remember, if we never had the rain, we would not appreciate the sun. If we never had trouble, we would never appreciate the good times. When was the last time we prayed without complaining or asking for anything but simply gave thanks for God, who He is, and the day’s blessings? I’m going to try to put that into practice. How about you?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Love {2.14.17}

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! I hope you are giving and receiving love on this day and every day. It’s hard not to think of love this time of year in our part of the world isn’t it? We are bombarded with suggested gifts for our loved ones. flowers I was in our neighborhood grocery store yesterday and before I even got into the store, the “in between area of carts” was FULL (I mean full) of flowers! It was beautiful! There was hardly room to get in the door. Our retailers help remind us all to give up some cash and show someone we love them. It’s not all about cash though. There are many things we can do and say to show our love. We can get creative and think like a child. They usually know what it’s all about.

I have felt God calling me to write a message on love for this Valentine’s Day and I actually typed one up yesterday but never could get it finished. It just didn’t seem “right” somehow. This morning I realized why. God gave me a message as only He can.

I checked Facebook to see how a friend is recovering from her surgery. Praise God she is doing well. While I was in Facebook I saw a post from another friend. It was a prayer request for a dear friend of hers who is waiting for a transplant. Then it hit me – right in the heart. You see I had a dear friend years ago who was also waiting for a transplant. It’s a terrible time of mixed emotions. You want the transplant because it will give the person needing it hope for continued life here on earth. However, you realize that in order for them to live, someone else must die. We don’t wish death on anyone (or at least we shouldn’t) so that’s a hard thing to wrap our heads and hearts around. Usually the person dies of illness or accident. While that’s a tragic time in the life of their family, it brings hope to the one waiting the transplant. Hope and despair sometimes go hand in hand.

There was another though who died so that we could live. His death was no accident. It was caused by no illness. He willingly gave up His life out of love for The Father and love for all of us – ALL OF US. His name is Jesus. He suffered more than any of us will ever be able to truly imagine and He knew exactly what it would be like before going down that road. Now that is love – true love – sacrificial love – pure love – everlasting love.god-is-love

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:16-21)

We all seek love. Millions of songs, poems, books, movies, etc. are centered on love. We all want to be loved and to love. But this Valentine’s Day, let’s remember where love started in the first place.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

spread-loveToday it seems like we see a lot of hate in our world rather than love. Don’t you wonder what would happen if we turned that hate around by loving others? Let’s give it a try. It’s possible even to love our enemies when we have God in our hearts. We can make the world a better place – one person at a time. Like the song says, “Love is all we need.” Let’s share it.

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

What’s in a Name? {12.30.16}

How did you get your name? Chances are that your parents named you and maybe, like me, you were named after someone or some people in your family. Maybe you were given a name from the Bible. Or, maybe you were named after a great athlete, movie star, or other celebrity. Perhaps you were named after a favorite character in a book or a beloved friend. Some of us were even given a name created by putting a couple of names together or just created to be different or unique. Maybe your name was chosen from a book of hundreds of baby names.names Whatever our given name is, it is part of our identity isn’t it? People associate us with our name. Sometimes that can be bad or good, depending upon how we live our lives. Aside from our given name, we also get other names in our lives, don’t we? Whether it is daughter, son, sister, brother, mom, dad, friend, co-worker or teammate, they all reflect a relationship. Such is the case with two names given to men by God. Those two names are John the Baptist and JESUS. Let’s take a look…

John the Baptist – Luke 1:13 “But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid Zechariah: your prayer has been answered. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.”

You can read the full details Luke 1:5-25 and 57-80. It’s quite a story – a true story.

JESUS – Luke 1:31 “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”

Let’s look a little further to the “name of JESUS”…jesus-salvation

Luke 1:32-33 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Did you notice that? “His kingdom will NEVER end.” That is good news for us. It’s in fact, the best of news. Here’s why…

John 20:31 “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

God is talking about life here on earth but also everlasting life (remember – “his kingdom will never end”) if we believe in Him. But don’t get confused. The devil believes in Him. He knows He exists. It’s not just the knowing and believing He exists. It’s to have faith in Him, belief in Him, trust in Him, obey Him, love Him and follow Him.

Let’s check out how powerful “the name of JESUS” is…

Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 1:20-21 “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  

jesus-name-above-all Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

1 John 3:23 “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”

1 Corinthians 6:11 “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Acts 3:16 “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.”

jesus-power-in-nameThere is power in the name of Jesus! Even when we are in a situation where we can’t even articulate a prayer, we can call upon His Name. Just say the name of Jesus. There is power in His Name.

Whatever our given name is, let’s make sure to give it a good reputation. Even if we’ve made a “bad name of it” in the past, we can change that. Remember, there is power in the name of Jesus. Call upon Him for help, he can change anything from bad to good if we allow Him to be Lord of our lives. Let’s start off this New Year with Jesus leading the way and us following His lead. For, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD and there is POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS. Happy New Year!