Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Preparation Ground

     The moment we are born we are in the process of dying, life is the journey between it.   Life is a journey whether good or bad, it’s has tremendous opportunities to learn from.  Some lessons are repeated because we are too stubborn to either repent or change.  So, instead of getting to the destination, we are planted firmly in the desert.  Nevertheless, the desert has a beautiful purpose, its preparation ground.   

     Besides being dry, covered with sand, and extremely hot the desert has purpose.  The desert causes us to crave water; it makes us to die to ourselves, and prepares us for the Lord’s purpose.  The journey to the Promise Land wasn’t a delay in God’s Word; it was Israel learning to rely upon it.  Whether it was the water from the rock, manna from Heaven, or walking with God’s presence (Pillar of Fire at night/Cloud by Day) Israel had to learn to trust God.  Although Israel made some terrible choices, God remained faithful to His people.  God never departed from them; He walked with them to the Promised Land.  Deuteronomy 29:5 "During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet." Some lessons are easily learned, others we have to be cracked over the head.  Pride and stubbornness truly caused major delays in Israel getting their promise.  It doesn’t mean God never corrected them, He did. 

     On the other hand, the desert doesn’t mean it has to do with being corrected.  According to the Word, the Spirit led Christ into the desert.   In the desert, Christ was tempted by the enemy.  (Matthew 4:1-11) Satan came to entice Christ to sin, forsake His purpose, and His mission.  Yet, Christ overcome it all, His faith stood the test, so we could overcome whatever obstacle Satan throws.  So the desert will prepare us for the work of the Lord.  After Christ was tempted, He was able start His public ministry.  So, if you are in the desert, allow the Spirit to empower you, draw you closer, and prepare your heart. The desert is only preparation ground, so wait on Him. Don't get impatient!
     Our faith will be tested; we will go through the fire.  Yet, we will not be burned.  As the three Hebrew men stood in the fiery furnace, a fourth man stood in their midst.  All of the Hebrew men came out of it unharmed, without smelling like fire, and victorious over their enemy. 

Daniel 3:26-27, "Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnance and shourted, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come out!  So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them.  They saw tht the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scrorched, and there was no smell of fire on them."
       The desert must cause us to hunger for the water, the living water.  It’s only through the desert; we learn who our source-Jesus is.  We will never be led anywhere without the Spirit, He is our comforter.  Yet, we must learn to come to the end of ourselves, so Christ can shine.  So, don’t be upset about the desert, realize you are being prepared for God’s purpose.  It’s just time to become an empty vessel, He can fill. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chosen By God

During gym class or childhood games, many of us can recall two children selecting who would be the best for their teams.  As each child was called out, it usually was from the strongest to the weakest.  Or the most popular to the unpopular child, those dreadful times of waiting to be selected.  Can you recall those innocent prayers?  Oh, Lord!  Please don’t let Suzie be on our team or don’t let them pick me.  On the other hand, the last child remaining would have painful questions what is wrong with me?  Why am I always the last one selected?   

Rejection is one of the hardest pains to overcome; it eats away at our hearts.  The inner turmoil of questions rips the heart piece by piece trying to investigate the cause.  It’s one of Satan’s strongest weapons to diminish our self-image and our identity in Christ.  If he can cause us to doubt our worth, we become confused, powerless, and hopeless.  If we walk in the confidence of Christ, we walk victorious.  So, I wanted to share something with you, God has precious thoughts towards us.  Oh, I don’t think you know about my past or my weaknesses.  God can’t have precious thoughts towards me.

      Regardless of what time period on this earth we live, we are chosen by God to dwell with Him.  Our Heavenly Father’s complete pleasure is adopting us to be His children.  No one was created as an accident, a misfit, or a mistake in the sight of God.  Although we come to Christ in our sin, we can be transformed to a holy and blameless life so we can resemble our Father.   May this truth enter your heart, God PREDESTINED US TO BELONG TO HIM.  We belong.  YOU BELONG! Nevertheless, God not only predestined us to belong to Him but to complete His will.  We are not without a home or a purpose on this earth, God is my Shalom.

What’s so amazing, I once didn’t belong to anyone even my own family.  Besides being rejected by my peers, my family didn’t see any promising potential.  It’s sad but true.  This nagging emptiness didn’t fade until I accepted the Lord as my personal Savior.  In His presence, I belong.  The world can completely pass me by or melt away but my soul will boast in the Lord.  Regardless of the battles of life, I am thankful I belong.  As a child of God, my heritage is secure with a seal from the Holy Spirit.  On the day of redemption, I will inherit my heritage-eternal life.

Sadly, some people never know who they are or where life will lead them.  I admit, I don’t have life all figured out but I have the most important part complete.  I am a child of God.  Since I belong to Him, I have life and a wonderful future ahead whether on earth or in Heaven.  If that doesn’t make one thankful, I don’t know what else would.
Ephesians 1:4 states, “For he choose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will