Friday, March 27, 2009

Hiding from God

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?” Ps. 139:7 (NIV)

One afternoon while I was busy with two of my grandchildren, I suddenly realized that the third one, my two year old grandson, was missing. I made a quick survey of their small home and discovered that he had quietly, unobtrusively hidden in the hall closet and closed the door. My push against the door met with some resistance because he was sitting on the floor munching away on an open jar of peanuts. I guess he was hungry, but he also did not want anyone to find him in his closet hideaway.

How often do we try to hide from God? We all face challenges in life, such as eating disorders, uncontrolled anger or depression. We may feel like hiding in a closet hoping God will not see our pain and sinfulness.

At times, I feel that if I continue to hide my sins or uncomfortable thoughts from Him maybe He will not notice and will leave me alone. In Psalm 139, David reminds me that no matter where I go or how far I try to run from God, “His right hand will hold me fast.” Ps.139:10b (NIV). Why? Because God is a loving, compassionate Father, who created and knows me, and desires to pursue and to build a relationship with me.

He always knows where we are, and He will never leave nor forsake us. We can trust Him and come out of hiding.

Dear Father: Thank You for reassuring us of Your love and for helping us see that we can openly trust You with painful feelings. In Jesus name, Amen.

© 2009 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, March 20, 2009

Come Away With Me

And he said to them, Come ye yourselves apart into the desert place, and rest a while (Mark 6:31 KJV).

The theme for the Women’s Retreat was “Come Away With Me.” It was a time of getting away from the pressures of life and renewing my mind, body and soul.

The difficulties of families, jobs and life’s unexpected losses can often bring us to our knees in desperation. Yet we become overwhelmed and don’t take the time to find a quiet time with God.

Jesus saw the need for the apostles to get away with Him and rest. They had just put John the Baptist in a tomb, and they came to Jesus to see what do to next. Jesus understood the pain and confusion that they felt over the death of their friend. He invited them to come away.

My life of juggling a job, my family, church responsibilities and friends takes so much of my energy that I often put my time with Jesus on the back burner. Jesus is calling me to come away with him and find rest.

I need to get away with Jesus daily. I need to start and end my day with Jesus. It is through His presence in my life that I find the strength and will to go on. When I rest in Him, I am ready to face whatever challenges life throws at me.

Prayer: Lord, You delight in my relationship with you. May I always take the time to get away from the pressures of life and find rest in your presence.

© 2009 Dawn M. Sexton

Friday, March 13, 2009

Recognizing One Another

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35 NIV)

While waiting with a friend for his doctor’s appointment at the Veterans Administration Hospital, an older gentleman slowly limped by using a walker. He paused, looked at my friend’s ball cap, and commented on its emblem.

“Marines huh? Sixth division World War II” Then in a louder voice, “Semper Fi.”

My friend, who had been leaning on his cane with his eyes closed, looked up at the older man. “Second Division, Vietnam. Semper Fi,” he said.

The first man moved along after those few words. A generation apart, yet, in that moment a genuine understanding of common experiences, beliefs and pride of country passed between them.

It brought to my mind thoughts of how Christians might be able to recognize one another. Some wear a cross for purposes of fashion rather than a statement of belief. So, that might not work. In ancient times when persecution of believers was the order of the day, the drawing of a simple fish could signal safety to a Christian. That might work sometimes.

The Bible tells us in John 13 that all men can recognize us as Christians by our love for one another. That seems the best method. Not only can we recognize another believer by their show of love, but it is a way to witness to others not yet in the fold.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the author of love. Show us how to love one another so that our love will identify us as your children and witness to others not yet in the circle of Your love.

© 2009 Christy Struben

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Life

And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish. I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.” Ezekiel 17:24 (NIV)

The trees are bare and stand forlorn on the earth--their beauty hidden until spring when new buds will sprout. The earth has a blanket of leaves that will fertilize the ground for all the grass and plants. The old leaves become new life. God prunes nature.

When I look out at the bare trees, I see myself. God removes old junk from me, and I stand before Him naked. God prunes me whenever I need it, and with the dead branches removed, new and better growth will bloom.

Through the cross, Jesus made the way to strip the sins from me. Then another season of my life started. God’s words are seeds to my spirit and life to my soul. The seeds will spread, as I become a living testimony for Christ. The pollen from the flowers spreads when bees carry it from flower to flower and tree to tree. New life blooms. I can do the same with the Word of God by taking the good news from person to person. New life will flourish.

Father, strip me and clothe me with your righteousness. Teach me how to be a disciple for you.

© 2008 Marcella Panowicz