You Want WHAT??

Just imagine that God shows up and offers to give you anything your heart desires.  Wowzers!!  What would you ask for?  More stuff?  Perfect health?  Happiness?

The Bible tells us of at least one person that experienced this incredible offer – the young Israelite King, Solomon.  This was his answer:

“Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead [the people of Israel] properly.” (2 Chron. 1:10 NLT)

This answer really pleased the Lord and not only did Solomon get the requested wisdom and knowledge, he also received a boatload of stuff too!  Now… consider this (on Father’s Day weekend)… What prompted a young man to give such an unusual response?  Here’s a hint:

“Now, my son (Solomon), may the Lord be with you and give you success…  And may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the Law of the Lord your God as you rule over Israel”  (1 Chron. 22:11-12 NLT)

Well, well.  It wasn’t an accident or freak of nature that caused Solomon to seek wisdom.  The desire that so impressed God and set Solomon up to be remembered as the wisest man who ever lived, was put in his heart by none other than his father, King David.

I don’t know if God will ever extend an unlimited offer to us… Oh, wait… Yes, He has!  He sent His son to pay the price for our salvation and along with this, the offer of much more than earthly wisdom – eternal life.

Fathers (Mothers and others), there is nothing you can give your children that is more deserving of honor than to set them up to receive eternal life later and joy unspeakable now.

That’s the best way to impress Father God.

I Am A Reader

I am a reader.  Reading is one of the joys and pleasures of my life; has been since I learned my ABC’s and will be until the day I die.

Sometimes I read things that stop me in my tracks and rock my world.

That happened to me today.

Most days, I read an article from our denominational magazine, The Evangel.  These articles are usually informative and helpful.  Today’s writing drove me to my knees.

My friend, Judy Griffis, shared an experience she had in a post-communistic country about the reality of child sex-trafficking.  While traveling in this country she learned that “there were several discreet buildings housing “human farms.”  There, young girls were taken and impregnated by force.  The babies born are afterward raised with the sole purpose of becoming child sex slaves.  They are then sent to other countries (including the United States)…  Upon further research, it has been noted that 2 million girls between the ages of 5 and 15 are introduced into the commercial sex market each year (UNFAR)…  Some stats noted that a prostituted child is forced to serve between 100 – 1500 clients per year per child.” (Evangel / May 2018 / p. 18)

Get over the “How could God allow this to happen?” mentality and embrace the fact that because He gave us free will, evil people will choose to do despicably evil things.  Now…  what will I choose to do?  What will you choose to do?

I can’t hop on a plane and jet off to a foreign city to lead a campaign against this wickedness (God hasn’t called me to do this). But I can be stirred to my core and pray like never before for these babies!

I can pray for the selfless men and women that God has called to rescue and restore these victims.

Also, the next time I am tempted to buy one more thing that I don’t really need, I can consider sending the money to Church of God World Missions “True Love for Children” Project (#1029264-005) [COGWM.org]

I didn’t ask to be born into a caring, loving Christian family in the greatest country in the world.  God in his mercy placed me into such a home.  I can ignore those less fortunate or I can thank God every day for choosing to bless me so extravagantly and, in return, find a way to be a blessing to the millions around the world with such a different story.

How about you?

Alternate Routes

Christmas – the “most wonderful time of the year”… and the most hectic!

Several years ago, I found myself driving from Fort Mill, SC to Greenville, SC for a Christmas banquet.  Knowing that I-85 can be quite challenging, I gave myself plenty of time to get there (even factoring in time for a coffee break at Starbucks). 🙂

Thankfulness welled up in my heart about 30 minutes from my destination.  Road work on the North-bound side had traffic whittled down to one lane and backed up for several miles.  (I don’t know about you, but I hate to be in that kind of situation!)

I breathed a prayer that the construction would be finished by the time I headed home the next morning… It wasn’t.  Although the construction crews were still busy several miles away, there were traffic signs warning drivers to expect delays further up the road.  They also told of an alternate route available if you wanted to avoid the worst of it.

Ah… All the people I had seen the day before could have escaped the frustration of having the interstate turn into a parking lot if they had only heeded the warnings… if they had only paid attention and adjusted their route.

As we zip along the highway of life, 2 Peter 1:19 cautions us:

“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain,                                                           and you will do well to pay attention to it,                                                                                   as to a light shining in a dark place,                                                                                             until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

May Christmas always remind us that God loved us so much He sent the “Morning Star,” shining in our dark places, to light our path and lead us to peace.

An alternate route is available…  if we will pay attention to it.

Frustration or fulfillment… the choice is ours.

May your choice lead to days both merry and bright!

Faith is Believing

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6

This verse brings back a wonderful memory…

When David and I were barely “Mr. and Mrs.” we decided to memorize scripture together.  Hebrews 11:6 was our first verse.  Sadly, we let the busyness of life and ministry sidetrack us and we didn’t follow through on this plan, but I have never forgotten this verse.

Out of all the verses in God’s word that we could have chosen, this one is a gem.  As I read it now almost 39 years down the road, I can see how it has marked our lives and shaped us into who we are today.

Have we always done everything right? No.  Have we wandered away from the path of righteousness?  Yes… a time or two (or three or four!) 🙂  But through it all, our lives have been grounded on the belief that there is a God in Heaven who loves us; who sent His Son to die for our sins and His Spirit to dwell in our hearts.

Have we dropped the ball and wished for a “magic eraser” so that parts of our story could be re-written?  Yes.  But day after day, year after year, our hearts have been drawn to the only source of true wisdom and knowledge – God’s holy word.  We have sought Him diligently and it has made all the difference in our story.

We often hear “seeing is believing.”  But I ask you to consider an alternative… “Faith is believing.”  And the only belief that will alter the course of our destiny and change the dynamics of our family’s story is believing in Jesus Christ and pursuing His presence day after day.

This will not only please God, but will bring with it a reward greater than we can begin to imagine.

By faith,

Sonja

I’ll Just Keep Scratching, Thank You

Once upon a time, my inside cats acquired some unwanted guests – fleas.   They were scratching and plucking out hair so something had to be done.

The vet prescribed a tablet that promised to kill the fleas and keep them flea-free for a month.  The only problem: getting the cats to consume this wonder working, flea-fleeing medicine.  We literally had to hold them down in order to get the tablet down their throats.  (I don’t recommend this action unless you absolutely have to!)  Lucy wanted nothing to do with it, and left me with a bitten thumb and scratched arms as witness to her aversion.

Never mind that it was what had to be done and that the medicine would take care of their problem.  They just could not grasp the meaning behind the undesirable treatment we were putting them through.  In fact, they sulked and pouted and kept their distance for a week.

Sound familiar?

It reminds me of the way we treat our Father God when He has to give us “medicine.”  Yep, I’m talking about those times of discipline we must go through to “gain a heart of wisdom.”  We don’t like it one little bit and many times we get mad, sulk and pout because God had the audacity to allow us to go through a painful experience.

If only we could embrace the truth that God knows infinitely more than we do about this thing called life…

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ God  (Isaiah 55:9)

When all is said and done, the unwanted, undesirable experiences “will work together for our good”  (Romans 8:28) when we love and trust the Eternal One who alone knows the purpose for the pain…

Trying my best to trust the Great Physician…

Sonja

 

 

 

Why Wait?

The year – 1974.  Youth camp is history and I want to see the pictures captured on film; to hold the memories in my hands.  I put the film in a mailer and send it to a developer in Atlanta.  A couple of weeks later the snapshots arrive in the mail…

The year – 1981.  I am expecting my first child.  I have no idea whether I will hold a son or daughter…

The year – 1999.  My favorite musical group has just released a new CD.  I have heard a couple of songs on the radio but have no idea how the rest of the project sounds.  I will have to wait until I get home to find out if I paid $15.00 for only one or two good tunes.

My how things have changed!

We see pictures instantly as our cameras take them; if we even have them developed, we can do it on line and pick them up in less than an hour…

Ultrasounds allow us to paint the nursery blue or pink months before the wee one arrives…

Thanks to iTunes and Google Play, we can pick and choose which songs we want to purchase and can listen to them anywhere (as long as our phone or tablet is charged!)

No wonder we want God to do it NOW!  Why should we wait upon the LORD?  Doesn’t He know that we are living in the 21st Century?

It makes me wonder – have we lost the wonder of the wait?  In our quest for the instant have we lost the joy of anticipation? Would we rather walk by sight than by faith?

I don’t know.  But I do know that waiting is part of the process God uses to mold us into the people He wants us to be.  And one day “through faith and patience [we will] inherit what has been promised.” (Hebrews 6:12)

Hang in there… it will be worth the wait.

 

 

 

 

Camping Out

My idea of “camping out” is staying in a hotel with a window that gives me a view of trees.  But I realize that many families actually go into a forest with a tent and camp out.  Maybe you and your family are some of the brave souls who have experienced a week without electricity and hot showers.  If so, I am sure you have made some memories that will not soon be forgotten.

There were some things God didn’t want his people to forget either – like where He had brought them from.  So every year they were supposed to reenact the early years by camping out in shelters made from tree branches…

   “For seven days you must live outside in little shelters… This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” ~ Leviticus 23:42-43 NLT

These shelters were meant to be visible reminders of how simply, and dependently, their ancestors lived during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.  I don’t know if the kids understood the symbolism, but I am sure they enjoyed these Holydays of camping out like our kids enjoy the vacations we take today.  God not only wanted families to make memories together but to remember all He had done for them and where He had brought them from.

On days when we feel despondent and burdened down with care; when our songs tend to the minor instead of the major; when the glass merely has a few drops in it – never mind being “half-empty”; on days such as this we must “dwell in the shelter of the Most High” (Ps. 91:1 NIV) and remember all that our God has done for us.

When we are tempted to complain about what we have or don’t have, then it’s time to remember where God has brought us from… to think back on the early days of our marriage when we didn’t have two dollars to rub together but we had each other and the dream of making a difference in the world side by side.

With the remembering comes the reminder that the same Lord God who was faithful to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, (meeting every need along the way,) is the One leading us today.

“Camp out” on that idea for a while!

Blessings and peace,

Sonja