Over The Rainbow

How many times in this life have we experienced the thought that tomorrow will be different?  We, whether children of God or not, are always hoping and praying that tomorrow will be the special time we have dreamed about all our lives.  Some of us may be so fortunate, some not.  However, that does not mean that our lives haven’t been just exactly as God programmed them to be.  Our creation wasn’t a haphazard thing, but a well thought out plan to achieve the world that God originally intended.  If you are wondering if that was the case, why are we in such a mess these days?  It doesn’t take a college degree to figure out that something not willingly given has any value.  God never wanted a collection of robots; He wanted the very best for the children He created out of the vast love of His heart. 

It doesn’t take much thought to figure out where the problem lies.  Created beings were planned with a choice as robots have no value in any world.  God reasonably thought that if people loved Him as He loves us there would be no conflict.  While that is true, He also knew, that people programmed to react in a certain way would bring no satisfaction to the Creator.  So, here we are today, in a world of unrest with one nation after another disagreeing with the way things are and should be done.  Our egos have done a grand job of overpowering our wisdom.  Is there a solution?

Those of us who have come to know our Creator, even if in a small way, realize that life is not the easy come, easy go that is often accepted.  God didn’t simply create us; He created us with a plan for each individual life.  Do you remember when you were a kid, how we would play with our dolls and give each a personality and purpose?  How often in these busy days do we ever give a thought to the purpose God created for each individual child?  We have been taught that an entity is made up of the sum of its parts, but we have not spent the time to inquire or assimilate the problems it would take for an end resulting in glory.  How sad!

We are plainly told in the first book of our Bibles – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) …then God created man in His own image (27).  So, what went wrong?  Could it be that the freedom and trust God so graciously gave us has turned us into a selfish and angry world?  You can’t deny the mess we live in today.  How could we not have seen this end from the beginning?  It would seem that to truly accept life’s lessons, one must learn them for himself.  The world would not have been what our Creator desired if we were all robots and we would never have learned the joy of loving and being loved.

So here we are today striving all the time to maintain peace while growing to be the biggest and best.  God did know that truth could not simply be passed down; it has to be learned for itself.  Is it possible that we still could turn the tables and go to meet our God with the satisfaction of accomplishing His purpose - maybe if we get a little more serious, try a little harder and say “thank you” more frequently?  We desire our children to have the best just as our Father desired for His children.  I don’t believe it is too late, but I believe it is past time to get started.  Let us ever be mindful of the fact that –

Somewhere over the rainbow,
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dared to dream
Really do come true.

Sunny Side Up

You’re right, we automatically think of eggs when we hear that expression.  However, that would serve us well if we also applied it to our daily lives.  So often in these days in which we live we are inundated with anger, sorrow, helplessness and a mile long list of questions.  How are we going to simply manage today, not even considering tomorrow?  Many of us will agree that we are list makers and that helps a lot, but what about the unexpected event that arises and messes up our list.  Maybe the best way to start each day is to simply bow our heads and ask our all-knowing Father what He has planned for our day.  I wonder how many of people in our world ever do that? But you would have to admit that it would surely make life simpler.

Simple is the way we would always like things to be.  Complicated denotes stress, restlessness, anger, confusion, even denial.  It wouldn’t surprise me if there weren’t a lot of us looking for the same answer.  As Christians we will have problems as does the rest of the world, but our answer to stress is our Lord, the Creator of this world and with Him guiding us, I believe we will be able to frequently feel sunny side up.  Yes, I know there will be some bad days, but we have the advantage of knowing that things are going to turn out as He planned and that He will be with us; that He will help us to smile and laugh and trust Him because He has already paid our price. What a relief!

Yes, I can hear you wondering if this really is a possibility why are there any days of stress for any of us.  You might want to remember that even with cooking eggs you can always turn up a bad one once in awhile.  However, overcoming is a characteristic we should try to develop because without the bad days we would be limited in the lessons of life we need to learn.  How should we handle the not so good days and should we tough it out or is it alright to ask for help?  I believe it always pleases our Father when we turn to him for strength and guidance.  We are His children, created out of the vast love of His heart, but we would not develop to greatness if we never had any problems to overcome.  You also might want to remember that like our earthly father it pleases our Creator to be asked for His help.  He created us, but the relationship is ours to develop through both the good times and the bad.  If you are a parent you have probably experienced the pleasure it gives you when your offspring turns to you and asks for your help.  It is when you build a relationship and that was why God created us in the first place.

The Bible tells us Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-30).  Our Creator knew there would be days when we would not be able to cope without His help, but this was a step in building a relationship which is what He wanted in the first place.  That is not so hard to understand because it is often the same for us.  We need and want to be needed by someone else; that is often the way relationships are built.

Of course, it is hard to build a relationship with someone you cannot see, but it is not impossible and more than worth the effort.  Jesus thought we were important enough to give His life for and we should be grateful enough to repay the cost with our friendship.  I don’t think that is too much to ask.  And I believe we will find the icing on the cake more than worth the cost, as our lives, like our eggs, can be lived sunny side up.

Have Thine own way, Lord!  Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Tomorrow's List

Are you a list maker? I think most of us probably are because there are so many things going on in our lives that we can’t keep up with them without a list.  The problem is the things that keep getting constantly moved to the bottom because they are less important or that is how we are classifying them.  I wonder if our Lord agrees with our evaluation.  I know, for myself, that if I feel something is harder to do or there is a question about whether it is even something, I should do that it is easy to keep moving it to the bottom.  Do you ever wonder if the Lord would agree with your thinking?

I don’t know if you have ever considered just why you are here on this earth.  Were you created for a purpose and if so have you fulfilled your purpose or is it still ahead of you?  You may not even be aware of what it is the Lord created you for, but you can be sure He had a reason.  How can you determine that reason?  God’s Word tells us early in the book of Genesis that God created man in His own image (1:27).  Why would He do that?  Could it be because He, as many bosses would do, was delegating this particular project to those beneath Him in order to achieve an end result to His liking?  You would have to admit that we have not done a very good job.  We have managed to create but without the original quality that was desired.  In our world we are usually given another chance to get it right, but there is always an end to patience.  Forgive us, Lord, and help us to consider our responsibility with the gravity it deserves.

In the first book of our Bible, we are told So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  (Genesis 1:27-28) Those are very familiar words, but have we shoved them into the closet and shut the door?  Maybe over the years we have just revalued their intent and we are now in the process of assuming that our likes and dislikes are how we should value the workings of our world.  Don’t laugh, it just might be truer than not!

Okay! So, if we admit to that thought, whether we like it or not, is it too late to do anything about it?  After all, we are only one voice among many.  How can we possibly make a difference?  If we try to be realistic, we will realize that there is no way one voice can change the world so why waste our time?  And yet, it only took one man to give His life to make it possible for all of us to have what the Father intended in the first place - one life, one choice to give us more than what we ever could imagine.  I don’t know about you, but that is one choice I will not toss out the door.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white declare their Maker’s praise.  That is an old song.  It is true that a lot of valuable time has passed, but truth is still truth and cannot be overcome.  Many of us can look back and think about the things we wished we had done or not done, but the clock is still running and there is still time to choose the life we were created for.  This is one thing we cannot cram for at the last moment, but our loving, Heavenly Father, still has His arms open wide as He patiently waits and prays that His precious children will see the light before it is too late.

This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong is oft so strong God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world the battle is not done,Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heaven be one.

Woof

I beg your pardon!  I really do understand – it only takes one woof to accomplish a purpose. That one woof means, mama, I need to go out and right now.  It’s true and part of life’s lessons.  If we are smart, we learn to listen, stop what we are doing, and respond because sometimes it really is important.  It requires no explanation, only attention.  Have you ever wondered how many calls from our Father you have missed because you didn’t listen and heed His call?

We were created for a purpose you know, not just objects to sit around on a shelf and smile sweetly.  Our Lord does realize that it will take time and training to make us what He desires for us to be, but He also expects that we will pay attention and strive to learn how to become His emissaries in a needy world full of Satan’s well-trained staff.  Do you ever take a moment to simply be still, realize how blessed you are, and thank Him for loving you so very much?

I have been being reminded lately of how nice it is to be the recipient of unearned love from a new dog I got named Lexy.  Yes, I feed and water her, but somehow, she knows that I also love her dearly.  I wonder if our Creator feels love from His creation.  Does He ever wonder why we forget to acknowledge His presence in our lives, why we erroneously think that our achievements are due to our own super intelligence?  How foolish can we get?  All we have and are is because of His steadfast and unending love for each and every one of us individually.  He did make us for a purpose, but He also expects us to enjoy and appreciate the world He created.  We take so much for granted; do we even stop to notice the beauty of our surroundings?  Yes, we have our problems and need a little fixing from time to time, but we are a specific creation not able to have been manufactured with man’s simple understanding.

Jeremiah gives us the wisest of choices when he tells us while shut up in prison that he personally heard the voice of the Lord saying “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).  I don’t think any of us would have a hard time admitting that there is an awful lot that we do not know and more that we should be doing.  How nice to have a guide and not have to worry about a list stuck in one pocket or another or often misplaced.

We were not given the gift of life to simply sit around and look smart; we were given life to accomplish a purpose, the exact definition of that purpose only the Father knows, but we can discern it if we spend time with Him listening and responding to what we hear.  Just as a puppy helps show us purpose and joy, God’s children were created to reflect His purpose and bring Him joy.  We may not always know just exactly what our purpose is, but if we listen to our Father, we are more likely to bring happiness to both of us and others who currently don’t know Him but would like to.  I don’t think I need to explain to you how dull life would be if we didn’t feel like we had something we were supposed to accomplish. 

You may acknowledge that it is not always easy to discern, but if we sincerely try and are patient, God’s word for our lives will be revealed to us when the time is right.  Woof! Oh dear, I think I am being called so guess I had better go see what is needed.  Listen! Our Father will let you know what He has for you to do.

This is my Father’s world. He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.

Is Time Running Out?

We all know there is a time span for individual life and if we knew ahead of time, I am sure we would be arguing the point.  Fortunately, we don’t know when our end will come so we don’t worry.  What if we did?  What would we be rushing out to do before the clock chimes?  Most of us in this world refuse to think beyond tomorrow so we won’t have to worry.  What is that old saying – “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”.  That is a good calming balm to an already over-booked life.  But the question is never going to be buried.  One of these days we will face our Maker and He will ask us what we have done with our lives.  How will we respond?

The Psalmist tells us plainly this is the day the Lord has made (118:24).  Was He just sitting around with nothing else to do or was there a reason and if so, was it important?  Knowing the end from the beginning we would have to acknowledge that there was not only a reason, but an important one.  You might want to admit that it was a matter of life and death.  Death is the unknown that quite frankly frightens many of us, but it is not the end of the story.  The end of the story speaks of a time of unending joy, a time to be with the only one who really knows what love is and is eager to freely give it without judgment.  While it is true that life still has its costs, we will find that the end is something beyond what we could ever have dreamed or planned for.  Talk about blessings!

So, what do we have to do?  Do we have to earn it, or do we simply claim it by faith?  And is there a cost or has it already been paid?  Many would say “yes”; you have to live a life filled with doing for others and then being perfect yourself.  Wait a minute – I think there is a good Book that tells us that there is a big cost but that the cost has already been paid.  Could that be true?  Yes, my friend, it is true – there is a special friend who loves us enough to suffer and die so that we might live a glorious life with Him one day.  As for the cost He simply loves us enough to overlook the cost, even the dreadful one that it was.

So, how does one repay that kind of friendship or is there even a way?  We didn’t have to sign a note and there was no penalty that was disclosed.  Why would anyone pay our cost even if we were best friends?  You’re right again, what we would classify as best friend would probably turn away simply asking for an extension.  But the cost still has to be paid or does it?  Is there an alternative?  Yes, there is, but it is an expensive one even though it has lots of perks and no one can pay it on your behalf.  All that is truly asked is that you live the life you were created to live by the One who loves you more than any other could.  You’re right that sounds very much like you have won the jackpot.  The only drawback is that you must seriously strive to be worthy of the gift.   

You might be asking yourself how you can ever be worthy of such a gift.  You can’t, but you can please the giver and resolve the issue by letting others know about Him and the wonderful life they can have by giving of themselves to help His other children.  It sounds too easy, but you already know how daily living can throw pitfalls in your path.  You might have to suffer, but you will have to give of yourself to prove your sincerity, not just once but over and over, through good times and bad; extending your hand of mercy as an example of the Father’s love for all His children.

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my love, My Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store,
Take myself, and I will be ever only all for Thee.

Now or Never

Avid readers of Breaking Israel News should not have been surprised by last week’s earthquakes in California. That’s because BIN published an article in December of 2018, citing a rabbinic source pointing to the super blood moon over Washington D.C. as a sign that the upcoming year will be marked by increased volcanic activity.

“A lunar eclipse in the month of Shevat is a sign of the rise of the aspect of din (judgment) in the world,” Rabbi Genut told Breaking Israel News - “This eclipse will rule over the Americas but for Israel, it will bring chesed (loving-kindness).”  Just as the eclipse is a conflict between the sun and the moon to rule over the heavens, there will be a similar conflict on earth. This will begin a time when governments are in balance. Some governments that seem powerful right now will fall and others will rise in their place.”

We read a lot these days about the conflicts in this world of ours; the problem is that we often forget that this is not our world.  It has always belonged to our Creator and how He must mourn over the way we live and how we have departed from what He intended.  Has He had enough?  While I realize that we cannot and should not believe everything we read I do believe that we should take some time with our Creator to determine what He has in mind for our days, our thoughts and our actions.  In the book of Isaiah, we read – In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength (30:15).

I think in the hustle and bustle of our days we often forget what our hearts know, what many of us have been taught over the years.  We are so intent on solving our own problems we forget that there has always been one both eager and willing to help us.  How often have we heard the words – “I can do it myself”.  While those might be good words for one who is learning and trying to stand on his own feet nevertheless growth and wisdom should cause us to know that the best of life comes from allowing our Heavenly Father to be a part of it, to show us His way and to walk in it.

Unfortunately, in today’s world many of our friends and neighbors have not had the opportunity to learn about their Creator and are only aware of the things they can see and/or fix.  Even those of us who have heard and know better have let the world’s fear place us in chains.  Why is it so easy to forget?  Isaiah reminds us of something we should always be aware of – Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense if God; He will come and save you” (35:4).

In our war-torn world of today, we need to remind ourselves that we are not alone.  We have always had a Father who cares for us and has the power to restore both our world and ourselves to the path He originally desired.  All we have to do is ask and then follow His leading in the weeks ahead.  All of us are familiar with the words from The Lord’s Prayer – lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom – it has always been and always will be His Kingdom and His world no matter how hard we strive to make it otherwise.  Why don’t we simply get smart and thank Him for His provision and for loving us so very much?

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song;
To him that overcometh, a crown of life shall be;
He with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.

Help in the Storm

With so many things on each daily schedule we do a good bit of running these days, but we all long for the moments when we can slow down, catch our breath and grab a bit of rest and relaxation. Sometimes it seems hard to find that important time, and we wonder how long we can continue at the current pace. It seems to me to be harder to find these days. I wonder why that is. Is it that our list has become so long that we have misplaced our priorities? At the end of the day do we find ourselves telling the Lord, our God that we will do better tomorrow; that we will truly make the time to bring our Creator up to date on what we have accomplished and plead His indulgence for what we have left undone?

It does seem that the pace of life has changed even as we recall the inventions that are saving us more time than our ancestors had. They had to actually wash and dry the dishes as well as hand wash the clothes they wore. We have so much more time than they did, but have we used that time wisely? I imagine that you, like me, would have to agree that we have wasted an awful lot of it. So, admitting that what do we do now? While true, it makes little difference whether we sweep the floor again or choose another task do we ever ask ourselves what our Lord would have us do with our extra time. It doesn’t take a wise man to tell us that there are an awful lot of problems in life today. Is there something that we can do? Indeed, most of us don’t consider the problems of the world beyond our door, but it is also true that some people and situations could well use some time and effort if offered.

He calms the storms, so that its waves are still (Psalm 107:29). For You have been….a refuge from the storm (Isaiah 25:4). It sounds to me as if we have no worries in the storms of life because our Creator, who loves us, will be with us. Does that comfort you; it does me, but what about our neighbors? Sometimes a storm can indeed cause a change of direction in our lives which we may not understand, but it is also true that the One who created us will lead and guide us through this world if we will only trust Him to do so. It may be true that we do not always realize who is doing the leading, but if we ask and listen, usually we will have a Peace that gives us the answer.

Our Creator did not create us and then leave us to make the best of things. Whether we realize it or not He desires to share with us the blessings He has provided if we will only let Him. We are so used to having a contractor do a job, get paid and leave that we rarely realize that the One who made us is enjoying with us the beauty of life as well as its troubles. Maybe we could try to accept His help with joy and thanksgiving and pass it on to those who do not know Him.

I wonder how often we allow His presence in our day to day lives. Do we only call on Him in times of trouble? Shame on us! If you are an adult with children, you should know the enjoyment you receive when your child excels or is blessed beyond your expectations. If you are young and alone, you still should be filled with thanksgiving when things are going smoothly in your life. Our Father loves to share both the good and bad times with His children; surely, that is the least we can do for Him and His other children in return for what He has already given us.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light
And the burden of my life rolled away;
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

The Way

All of us, whether young or old, never ceases to make plans for tomorrow. We always have so very much to do and often wonder how we can accomplish it. And yet we often forget or refuse to accept that there is and has always been a plan for our life. If you are wise enough to admit that you will still wonder who has the predominant choice over your daily activities. Sometimes it may be good to put off thinking about tomorrow, but it doesn’t change the fact that we were born with a specific purpose in God’s plan. As you get older, do you ever wonder if you have done what you were created for? I have, and I will tell you that it is no fun to realize that you may have missed something or done something not wise in God’s eyes.

Can we avoid the mistakes life frequently throws in our lives? We may never achieve perfection, but I believe we can live a life the end of which will be “well done” by a Father who loves us. I have learned over many years that often the best way to avoid the big mistakes is to take the time each day to tell the Father of our love for Him and ask Him to guide our footsteps through the turmoil and temptations of this misguided earthly world. While we don’t look to the end of our lives when we are young that time will come and with it no opportunity to go back and correct our mistakes. Therefore, the best solution is to face each day with a desire to please our Lord as well as enjoy the day He has given us. It will become easier and easier as we follow His leading, and it is never too late to start.

As human beings, we are always thinking about tomorrow, but His Word tells us in the book of Matthew Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its things. Sufficient for the day is its trouble (6:34). I realize that trips and grocery store visits often require some thinking ahead, but have we let thinking consume too much of our time? Should we not be asking each day “Father, is there something You would have me do today.” We were not created just to live, but to accomplish our Father’s work. He knew that His creation would wander and that He would need workers on His behalf. Our greatest pleasure should be to please Him.

It doesn’t take much time reading or listening to today’s news to realize that our time and that of our children is passing faster than we would have imagined. Can we afford to let another day pass before we consider what our Creator placed us here for? Would you rather work for the money to live tomorrow or the assurance that tomorrow would be where you really want it to be?

The book of Psalms tells us that for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations (22:28). Those are not just kind words; they are the truth which we cannot ignore. We do not have the last say, our Creator does. Okay, so where do we go from here? It doesn’t mean that we just have to consider these words for one day or we will get a whipping from our parents; it means that our daily life on this earth should manifest itself according to the purpose for which it was created. Is this possible? Well, to be honest, probably not one hundred percent, but surely, we can make an effort to please the One who bothered to create us in the first place. There is another reason which many will never really appreciate but is right all the same. Those who choose to please our Father will find themselves reaping a life that is abundant and full of joy and peace.

But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low,
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.
- John Oxenham