For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Just Pray

Acts 16:24-26
When he (the jailer) received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Leave it to Paul to pray in the face of stress. He and Silas were sitting in a jail cell. Instead of throwing a pity party; he opened his mouth and prayed. On top of that he worshipped God in song. Imagine what the jailer must have thought. “These two are plumb crazy, they’re in jail, yet they sing and pray.” But then God answered their prayer and shook the prison off its base. The prisoners were loose. The jailer knew he was in trouble. As a matter of fact, if you read further in the scripture, he moved to take his own life. But because he was filled with God’s grace and goodness, Paul stopped him. The jailer was so excited about this miracle that he asked Paul and Silas how to be saved. He and his household believed and were baptized.

All of this happened because Paul and Silas prayed. They spoke to God and asked him for help. There are great examples of prayer in the Bible, like the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave a great outline for communicating with God. But is that how I always pray. No, sometimes my prayer is more like a text message, short and to the point. While other times I talk to God as I would my best friend, spilling out all of my concerns and praises. No matter how I pray, God knows my heart. He hears me. When I can’t even form the words, the Holy Spirit takes over for me. God wants to hear from his people and he’s made it so easy. He just wants us to open our hearts and pray.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sure Enough He's Here

John 20:11-14
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

Mary Magdalene missed Jesus. He died on the cross on Friday and on Sunday morning she hoped to honor him at his tomb. Except, he wasn’t there. When she looked into the cave where his body rested, she found two angels and his death shroud. What on earth just happened? Where was her friend and Lord? In her panic to find where Jesus had been moved, she totally missed him. There he stood, a few feet away, but she didn’t recognize him. She’d spent a lot of time with her Lord, yet she didn’t know the guy standing beside her was the same one she’d spent countless hours listening to.

I hate to think how many times I’ve panicked or been stressed and prayed for Jesus to be by my side. Sure enough, He was there. Right beside me. But I was too caught up in my own agenda to recognize my Savior and King. Sometimes people ask, “Where is God in the tragedy?” He’s there. He’s the one holding me up, hugging me with his spirit and filling my heart with comfort. Sometimes in my human state I fail to understand, yet He is there. Of course Mary eventually realized she was talking to Jesus and joy filled her. Whether I call him my Savior, King, Lord, no matter, He’s right beside me and dwells in me as I follow Him.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Romans 8:28
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

Did you ever have one of those coloring books filled with activities? Some pages were for coloring, some had puzzles or word searches. My favorite required me to connect the dots. I’d look at the picture first and try to figure out what object the joined dots revealed. Many times, after I’d drawn a line from number to number, I’d find an animal or toy. If I connected the dots out of order, I might end up with an elephant whose trunk hung out of his ear or a choo-choo train without wheels.

In life the dots often get out of line. They may not connect the way God intended. That’s usually because I’m not waiting on God for answers. I get ahead of myself, lose my patience, if I had any to begin with, or I don’t listen to God’s direction. He’s given me a perfect guide for my life. The Holy Spirit nudges me and whispers to me. I need to pay attention. I can tell when I don’t listen. Whatever I do becomes a scribbled mess. But, when I hear him and follow his lead my dots come together to form a picture of what He wants for me. God works for the good in my life. And through that gives me purpose. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Praise the Lord!

Maggie C. Photography
Psalm 148: 1, 7-12, 14b

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above…

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
    old men and children…
Praise the Lord.

As the leaves of October burst with color, I witness the beauty of God’s creation with fresh eyes. Red, orange, yellow, golden brown, the colors of warmth surround life. When they reflect against a clear blue sky, I can imagine that God dipped his watercolor brush and enlightened the day. He’s not only an artist. He created the science behind these amazing changes.

Why do I get so excited about colorful leaves? Because they are one more proof that God exists. He not only exists, he loves me and has provided me with the truth of his kingdom. Jesus gave his life. He died on the cross and rose from the dead. I never get tired of hearing about how incredible my Savior is. Praise the Lord. Even the trees cry out in praise.