Friday, March 27, 2015

God's Promises

It is written in 2 Pe 1:3-4 “ His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises.”

1.   God is always with me (I will not fear) “It is the Lord who goes before you, He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deut 31:8
2.   God is Always in control ( I will not doubt) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him , and he will make your paths straight.” Prov 3:5-6. Conquer the wave of doubt, live by faith, trust, He is sovereign. God’s promises are an assurance God gives his people so they can walk by faith while we wait for Him to work. God’s promises never fail.
3.    God is always GOOD (I will not despair) “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28.  I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Ps 27:13.
4.   God is always watching (I will not falter) “No temptation has overtaken (seized) you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted (tried) beyond your ability, but will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 10:13.

5.   God is Always Victorious (I will not fail) “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the  heritage of the servants of the lord, and their righteousness in from me.” Isaiah 54:17 NKJV

Friday, March 20, 2015

ONE THING

ONE THING- that is what the Lord requires of us. What does that mean? Well, a study of God’s Word reveals that at least three times in Scripture God says, ONE THING. Let’s review starting with the Old Testament.

In Psalms 27 David says, “ONE THING I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”

This prayer is David’s of the Lord, desiring to live in God’s house and see him always. This seems to talk about after death and being in heaven. True, I think it does, but also it speaks of the present and seeing God through the Holy Spirit always as we seek after him in prayer and his word the Bible.

In the Gospels, Luke 10:42 takes us to the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus comes to visit. Here Martha frenetically goes to work preparing a meal for their special friend and guest. Not Mary, she sits at his feet and listens to his teaching instead, much to the consternation of her sister. Martha in fact, somewhat angrily asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her.  To this Jesus responds, “Martha, Martha, you are worried (upset) about many things, but only ONE THING is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  On the surface, this looks like quite a put down. Really it is Jesus telling us that the Word of God is our nourishment and far better than other things, especially being worried. Yes, hospitality is good, particularly in that culture. But Jesus would only be with them a short while longer.

In Philippians 3:13 we hear Paul say, “…but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But ONE THING I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

What an incredible goal, admonition and challenge. ONE THING, that is hard in this crazy and fast-moving world. But that is what the Lord is telling us throughout Scripture. Put aside the worldly things and seek after Him and His word and promises. There is no eternal value in the things of the world, but only in heavenly things of the Lord. Press on!


Friday, March 13, 2015

God's Faithfulness

“Don’t be afraid, am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So don’t be afraid, I will provide for you and your children. And he reassured them and spoke KINDLY to them” (Genesis 50:20).

The above Scripture is among the most reassuring in the Bible regarding God’s faithfulness. I know that I could not have done what Joseph did. I would have been very angry and probably vengeful. I might have caused evil for evil. You know the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, a great grandson of Abraham, having been thrown in a pit to die by his brothers in a fit jealousy, and the story of his false imprisonment and journey to the top spot in Egypt.  God used this time in bondage and prison to soften Joseph’s heart and bring him wisdom. God’s plan for his chosen people will not be derailed by human failings. He is faithful.

There are other great scriptures like the Joseph story.  Jeremiah 29 is about the Israelites in slavery, exile in Babylon. In this incredible story, God uses the Prophet Jeremiah to tell the chosen people to be obedient and pray for their captors and to try to make a normal life. In Jeremiah 29:11 he says, “For I know the plans He has for you, plans to prosper and not harm you, plans for a hope and future.” God’s plans for good will not be derailed, he will succeed.  God brought them out of exile for a second time toward the Promised Land.

In the New Testament, Romans 8:28, “And you know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He is conforming, molding and making us more like him to suit his plan for us.  This is not fate; it is the grace and love of God for us in Christ Jesus. Paul’s teaching goes on to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” (v.31). “Who can separate us from the love of Christ?” (v.35).  Nothing!

Once again in in 1 Corinthians 1:9 we are told, “God who has called us into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”  Yes, he is always faithful to accomplish his purposes for our good and his glory. Nothing will stop him. We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful. I have many stories that I have shared of his faithfulness to me in times of trial. He has saved me or changed me multiple times. Each time, I have become more trusting and a little bit more like him in faith. He usually does not remove the trial, but he is faithful to take us through it. That is his plan, until he returns or takes us to be with him, as we trust in him. So do not fear for he is with us and he is good.


So think of a verse or biblical story that reminds you of God’s faithfulness. There are many besides the ones I have related above. Try Psalm 23 and God’s faithfulness in the valley of the shadow of death. Comment about it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Intergenerational Communications

Intergenerational communications was the topic of a training program recently at the hospital where I work. The theme of respect was discussed and is critical to treating one another well. Clearly one of the New Testament themes is brotherly kindness, which means truly caring for one another.

The training program of which I speak did not address specific language strategies for intergenerational communications. It seems to me that when addressing someone that you do not know, the respectful title of Mr. or Mrs. and their surname is always appropriate.  A person’s first name should be used when given permission by the person or patient, particularly if you are in a healthcare setting.  It is always appropriate to ask a person how they would like to be addressed.  In this way we are not only showing respect, but might also find out about the accuracy of our records.

I have noticed that sometimes when an elderly person is addressed, the other person may raise their voice, speaking more loudly, implying that the person is hard of hearing.  More inappropriate is a tendency I have witnessed of “dumbing down” communications, assuming the person is not capable of understanding.  This is disrespectful and annoying for the older person frequently. Perhaps even more inappropriate is calling someone, “Dear" or "Honey.” This is condescending and not respectful. However, if an elderly person addresses a much younger person with these appellations it is more acceptable. The following website deals with intentional programs for elders and millennials to communicate better.  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/teens-elders-bridge-generation-gap-digital-divide/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=newshour



Biblically, the reference is to make all communications with gentleness and respect. Beyond that, if there is an important communication to make, ask the other person to verify that they understand. Also, asking if there is a need for clarification or if there are questions is useful.  We have all heard of the “Golden Rule”, treating people as you would want to be treated. I think perhaps a better rule is one I have heard referred to as the “Platinum Rule.” This means treat someone as they would have you treat them, which means we must first understand what that might be. This higher level of interest will help develop a relationship with trust.
Pr 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath."