What is on the other side of the door?

Doors, decision,faith

image

After these things I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven. Revelation 4:1

In life sometimes we are like the game show contestants who are asked if they want to see behind door #1. They are pulled between choosing what might be and settling for what they know they have for sure.
Jesus Christ has also put some doors in front of you and I to see what we will choose. Will we stay with safe and sure or will we by faith walk on through?  Are we trusting that He will only work for our good or will we simply stare at the doorway wishing it would open without us having to risk everything for Him? God is opening a door in heaven. We can never know what is on the other side unless we go through!

Commit your way to the Lordtrust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5

Commit: To put into charge or trust (Entrust) Merriam-Webster

When I was born, my Great-grandmother put a small amount of money into a trust fund for me. It was mine, but I couldn’t use it until I turned eighteen. The money was no longer hers but she had established a control over when I would receive it. She had entrusted it to me…but not yet. Some of us when we pray and “commit” our way to the Lord are doing very much the same thing, however I do not think the Bible definition of the word commit matches Merriam-Webster. We say with our lips that our way is committed to the Lord but we still maintain control over it. We set up guidelines within which we will accept the directing of our paths. God’s idea of commitment is in fact quite different. In the New Testament Jesus called Peter and Andrew, one morning as they were washing their nets at the end of a long night of work. The account is very simple,

And Jesus said to them,“Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:17-18

Peter and Andrew left behind with the nets every other option they had in life. They did not put any limitation on the will of God. When we commit our way to the Lord we entirely release to Him the control over the path He has chosen. The key is the second part of the verse “And He will act” One thing we know for certain is that Peter and Andrew saw amazing acts of God in the lives: Waves stilled, bread multiplied, sick healed, dead raised and then their Lord crucified and risen!

What mighty things can you expect from God in your life if you truly commit your way to Him? You will never know the answer until you dare to trust Him, leave your nets and follow Him!

 

Pathway

 

Follow the Leader

Baby ducks with momShe came waddling up as we walked through the park with her entourage scurrying around her. The ducklings probably didn’t know anything about us but they trusted that wherever Mom went it was safe to follow. As long as they stayed under her watchful eye they knew that all would be safe. Their food, their safety, their health and their lives all rely on the mother duck, who will never lead them into danger.

In the same way we are called to follow our leader, Jesus Christ. Not only will He not lead us into danger, He will also never send us anywhere that He doesn’t go as well. Though it may feel to us as if He is far away, our ultimate safety, blessing and spiritual growth don’t depend on us but on Him. We aren’t called to know all the answers but to trust that He does and to stay close to His side.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

 

This is the Day

IMG_3976This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

When we look back through the Bible at the history of God’s dealing with man we see not just words and stories but a collection of days which all are leading us to today. here are just a few highlights which are something of like the Year of the Lord in review (Remember that a single day with Him is like a 1000 years!)

The first day God created man and breathed his own breathe into Him and created woman from man’s rib

The day Noah entered into the ark (And God shut the door)

The day Noah came out of the ark to begin a new world

The day the Lord called Abram and the day He fulfilled His promise and Isaac was born

The day Moses was called at the bush and the day the Red sea parted

The day God gave 10 commandments on the mountain and the day the Jordan opened

The day David defeated Goliath and the day the Temple was dedicated

The day Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego entered the furnace and the night Daniel slept with the lions

The day Mary met the angel Gabriel and the day Jesus was born

The day Jesus multiplied the bread and the day He walked on water

The day Jesus shone like the sun on the mountain and the day He washed His disciples’ feet

The day Jesus was crucified for our sins and the day He rose from the dead

The day Jesus appeared to Mary at the tomb and the day He breathed on the disciples giving the Holy Spirit

The day when Jesus was taken up to heaven and the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came like wind and fire

The day Paul was struck to the ground by the light and the day when John fell at Jesus feet on Patmos

All of these days were “the day the Lord has made”

If we have seen the sun rise this morning then today is again the day the Lord has made. How we value this day will be determined by the words we say and the things we do. The choices we make to give or to keep, to laugh or to cry,  to sacrifice for someone else or to demand our own way will one day matter more to us than we can ever imagine.  Today is again the day the Lord has made. What will we do with His gift of a brand new sunrise?

 

The Gift of Today

After the death of both my Dad and Mom I remember finding a bundle of letters, my letters. They had stored in one place every letter (not the Christmas cards). I had forgotten writing all those letters but they remembered. Writing had seemed like just a small thing but it was one thing I could do. To my parents the letters had been precious and they treasured them away.

Every day is like Christmas because God hands us the great gift of another sunrise. Giving a part of our day away to someone else may seem like just some small thing to us. But those things we think to be the smallest and of least importance will one day be read by God when he opens our life’s book in heaven.

Dec-Jan 2011-12 096

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:34

The Other Side of the Window

applying for a real jobor entering into college so she cleaned houses and prayed for God to help her find a way to reach a legal status. Maria struggled with all the same issues that other teens struggle with here in America but always behind the smiles lived the fear of what might happen if she were to be found out. For a time Maria began to come only rarely to church then it seemed something slowly began to change. Step by step she began to commit her life back to the Lord and with halting steps to find a new path.

 

But one afternoon shortly after, as she drove home from house cleaning Maria was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. One of her turn signals was not working and when she looked into her mirror she saw a police car. All the things she had feared came crashing down into her life that day. Her father called our pastor and asked him to pray because his little girl was now locked away behind the doors of the County prison.

IMG_4531

One day not long after I sat in the visiting room of the prison. I still could not

believe that Maria was really there. At the time for the visits to begin a guard called everyone to line up and pass through a metal detector and then into a long narrow room with tiny cubicles, each facing a window. On the other side of the windows were the prisoners waiting next to a telephone receiver. As I sat in my assigned place I saw Maria sitting on the other side. “How are youMaria?” I asked in Portuguese. “I am good Pastor how are you?”

“Not good at all Maria.” I answered and tears began to roll down my cheeks. This isn’t the right place for you!”  “Don’t cry Pastor!” She said. Then Maria began to encourage me that God was taking good care of her there. had few options but inside that prison she began to pray also. Her first prayer was just a simple request. She prayed, “Lord Jesus it is so cold here and the clothing is so thin, please help me to stay warm!” Then she explained how she felt the warmth of God’s presence around there in her cell and fell fast asleep that night and each night afterward.

We joined together as a church to pray for Maria. She was alone, afraid and vulnerable. She had no money and no lawyer. So we had a special offering and a fund-raising dinner to raise the $1500 needed for legal counsel. So we prayed, we cooked, we sold meals and soon we were able to present her family and friends with the money needed to get an immigration lawyer. On the day of Maria’s hearing about ten of us drove the 2 1/2 hour trip to the hearing. Yet in spite of our hopes and prayers the answer was 42 days to gather her things together to go back to Brazil.

For those who have not never had a friend or family member pass through this the matter may seem simple.

Maria came without the documents – she was an “illegal” and she got caught. Logically she should go home (at her own expense). But real life is never as simple as it seems. As a young girl could she have stayed behind alone in Brazil? Had she been asked her opinion about leaving her friends and family behind to go to a far away country? Did she have any means by which to get the paperwork she needed at any point along the way? Add to the mix of official problems, all the normal average growing up teenage problems such as boyfriends, a desire for independence, and hoping and dreaming for things beyond your grasp. Maria’s story is just the first I will share. All the incidents are exactly as they happened with only names being changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

I will end this first installment with the thought that Jesus left us, because one day it may our own face on the other side of a window!

 Do to others as you would like them to do to you Luke 6:31

FXCD0020_crop

Reflections and Flowers

Reflections and Flowers

Sometimes our quiet place is in the pause between hurried moments, nestled between flowers and reflections. God leads us there to think again, turn around and follow Him!

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15