Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Healing Your Heart

I have come that they may have life, and that they have it more abundantly.  (John 10:10b)

Has God ever surprised you by doing something for you that you didn’t even realize you needed? 

In a previous post I mentioned the fact that there was a fire on the north side of the city where I live in which over 500 homes we destroyed.  And that we had a fire last year a fire destroyed almost 400 homes.  They are still picking up the pieces from this year’s fire, getting things cleaned up, repairing what can be fixed, figuring out the best way to go about rebuilding what was lost.  The area affected by the fire last year is on the road to recovery, homes being rebuilt, grasses and such growing, people’s lives returning to normal.

I remember how I felt both last year and again this year while the fires were burning.  It is a different feeling when a disaster happens where you live as opposed to something you see or hear on the news.  It affects the whole community, whether you are directly affected or not. 

Every year in August the local Home Builders Association sponsors what is called the Parade of Homes.  The Parade consists of about 35 homes ranging from smaller track homes through larger custom built homes.  You can tour through these homes; see some of the latest in construction styles, decorating, etc.

A few of the homes in the Parade this year had been destroyed in last year’s fire and have since been rebuilt.  While looking at these homes the last thing I expected was an encounter with God.

Jesus told us that He came to give us abundant life.  Abundance means to be overly plentiful or overflowing and since God is good, this abundance can’t be anything other than good.  If we need something, God wants to provide. If we are hurting, God wants to help heal us.  Even if we don’t even realize we need anything, God knows and will provide what we need.

David tells us about God answering prayers for healing in Psalm 30:2, “O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.”  Along with many others I have been praying for those affected by both of the fires.  Prayers for strength, healing, and restoration.  Little did I know I was also praying for myself.  I had not realized there was a small part of my heart that needed healing, but God knew.  

Emotions were high on the opening day when I toured the homes that had been destroyed last year.  A couple had small displays of things that were recovered from the ashes of the previous home, in another they were showing a video with images of before and after the fire and during the rebuilding of the house.  As I toured the houses I felt a heaviness in my heart being lifted.  Even with the heaviness lifting I didn’t realize what had happened until I started thinking about over the next couple days. 

Isn’t God amazing?  You never know exactly when or how He is going to do something and sometimes He catches you by surprise and meets you where you least expect it.  I have looked back to when this happened a few weeks ago and can’t help but feel the wonder as I contemplate a God who loves me so much He wants to meet me where I am and help make me whole. Not only does he want to make me whole, He does it with style!

Open yourself to receive what God wants to give you.  Let Him step in and fill the voids, to heal the hurts and the pain.  Even the things that are buried deep and you want to forget.  God wants to make you whole and give you an amazing life.  You won’t know how or when He will respond but from time to time He will show up where you least expect it and say, “Watch this!  This is just for you!”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Which Way Do I Go Now?

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.  (Pvb 3:6)

Generally people don’t like the unknown.  The unknown can be frightening and the future is full of unknowns.  This can make it hard to make the right decisions on which direction to take in life.  We wait too long and miss a great opportunity.  We jump the gun and commit ourselves to something we should have let go by.  We make a decision, then we second guess ourselves and pull back or hesitate. 

Setting goals and coming up with a life plan give us a direction in which we can use to guide us in making decisions.  Unfortunately this doesn’t mean everything is going to work the way we want it to.  We can still make the wrong decisions or do the wrong things.  So what do we do?

Ask God!  James tells us we can ask God and He will answer, generously.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  (James 1:5)   So ask.  God will answer.

God has a plan for all of us.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)  Since God calls us to be active in our walk with Him we can’t just sit around waiting for Him to reveal all the details to us.  We need to seek it passionately through prayer, reading our bibles, guidance from mature Christians and paying attention to what is going on around us.

As you start asking God about these plans you will find that it isn’t just some sort of script for you to follow.  It’s a journey with things for us to do along the way.  Another aspect of the journey is that God will not necessarily reveal all the details to us when we ask.  Why not?  We may need to learn something, to complete a specific task before moving on, or to maybe it’s to make sure we keep coming back to Him for guidance.  Whatever the reason, God will reveal His will in the proper time.  In the meantime He will always reveal everything you need to live for Him today.

In committing everything we do to God, doing it all for Him, we will be successful in accomplishing what God has planned for us in our life.  Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Pvb 16:3)  How’s that for a promise?

A common concern that people have in seeking God’s plan for their life is often along the lines of thinking God is going to send them to some isolated tribe or group of people in Africa or the jungles of South America.  Does God send people to these places?  Absolutely!  Does God send everybody?  No.  If He did, all the Christian of the world would be in these locations working with the people there.  God needs us in our home town just as much as He needs us to travel to various parts of the world for Him.

If God does want you to do work for Him in another part of the world and you are truly seeking His guidance in your life, when the opportunity presents itself you will know it is the right thing to do.  That is what happened to me.  I had never really given much thought to going on any sort of mission trip, had even avoided talking to people I knew were looking for people to go on trips, but when I was asked by a friend and mentor about going on a trip with him I knew it was something God wanted me to do.  I can’t tell you how glad I am I went on the trip, it changed my life and my heart.  I have even been back a second time.  Something else to remember, not all these trips are life commitments, most trips people make are just a few days to a couple weeks in length.

God has both general and specific plans for our lives and wants us to fulfill our purpose in life.  Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)  Allow Him to work in your life and complete that good work.

So what do you do while you are waiting for an answer to your prayers?  I think Jesus gave us a great example; For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)  Start by serving others, putting their needs ahead of your own.  That’s part of what serving God is all about.  God will reveal the rest to you.

There will always be a sense of mystery in following God’s plans for our lives, but we can be certain He will guide us as long as we rely on Him.