Friday, April 25, 2014

The Water

Psalm 65:9 (NIV)
You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it
What is it about sitting by the water that brings such peace and causes me to reflect on God’s character?  It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a; river, a lake, the ocean or even a pool. 
For me this week it’s the lake.  I’m drawn to the water and every time I’m there I find myself reflecting on God’s work in my life.  I think about the way He has gently led me throughout my life. 
You can’t help but think about these things when you’re near water.  Perhaps it’s the peaceful setting or maybe it’s the expanse which seems to nourish everything nearby and reminds us of the greatness of our Creator.
I’ve often wondered if God created large bodies of water just so we’d be reminded of His greatness, His provision for us and His care over His creation.
The Psalmist in Psalm 23:1, 2 reminds us how God leads us in ways that nourish us;
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Did you catch that?  God gives us just what we need and we lack nothing.
So this summer if you find yourself vacationing near the water be reminded that God is watching over His creation.  He cares for His children and He leads us in paths that nourish.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cleansing Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

When my children were little I was cleaning up in the living room one day and realized that someone had drawn on the back of a leather recliner with an ink pen. I asked the children how this happened and each of them looked at me with this innocent questioning look. One of them said, “Dad, I have no idea how this happened. I didn’t do it.” All of my interrogation techniques seemed to meet with failure.

Later on I noticed that one of them seemed rather sullen. I suspected there might be some connection to the artwork on the back of my chair. I asked, “Is there something wrong?” Does this have some connection to the writing on the chair,” I questioned. There was a reluctant nod. I said, “Why don’t you tell me what happened,” and a tearful remorseful and full confession followed.

After my instructions about not writing on furniture there was an embrace accompanied by great sobs. I gave my full forgiveness and the matter had been settled.

It’s like this with God. When we have done something wrong we can confess to Him and He forgives us. It doesn’t matter how great our sin is His Word promises that He completely forgives us. What great relief to know that we can find forgiveness of all our sins in Him.

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (NIV)

Friday, April 4, 2014

How to Handle Greed

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 (NIV)

While sitting in the middle school office waiting for my son to arrive, a young man approached me. “Sir, do you have a piece of paper I could have?”

That’s a strange request for a student standing in a school office, I thought. Surely paper must be in an abundance here.

A girl standing nearby jumped into the conversation. “He’s trying to see how much he can collect,” she explained. The boy opened his back pack to reveal that it was stuffed full of paper—more paper than the entire sixth grade would require for a year’s worth of homework. He proudly announced that the rest was being stored in various lockers throughout the building.

Greed is named as one of the seven deadly sins. It’s a common snag for many of us. It shows no prejudice for age, race, or even economic standing. The desire to have more than we need can creep in unannounced, and it can overwhelm our common sense.  

At times I have felt the tug of greed and struggled to shake loose of it. The best thing I’ve found to battle greed is giving. That’s right! When we’re giving generously, we remove the ground where greed takes root. Generous giving is the antidote to greed.

Giving is also a way to share Christ with those around us. Our verse for today shows that God was generous with us by sharing even His own Son with the world. He didn’t hold back in His giving, and when we generously share our resources, we can be an example of what real love is to those around us.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)