Great Insurance

Kev Sheba BeachFor the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.  1 Corinthians 1: 18-19

Sheba could easily have a career as a garbage disposal.  She will ravenously gulp down almost any food, never exercising any restraint; not even slowing down to savor the taste.  Or, perhaps she could masquerade as a pig, albeit a likeable one, maybe a bit like Miss Piggy.   Left to her own appetite—her own wisdom—Sheba would eventually destroy herself by eating herself into oblivion.  But she has a health insurance policy—me.  I’m here to make sure she doesn’t self-destruct.

Not all of us have an eating problem like Sheba, but we all have a sin problem that can eventually destroy us if we follow our own foolish plans.  But God has a life and health insurance policy that can’t be beat, one unlike anything the world has to offer. First of all, it’s free; there’s no cost to us at all.  It was purchased by Jesus on a wooden cross about two thousand years ago, and it never goes out of date or gets canceled.  Second, it wipes out all of our past mistakes and provides everything we need not only to survive but to flourish during our life on earth.  And third, it guarantees an eternal home with God in heaven.

So how do we sign up?  It’s easy. “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame…for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:11,13)

Running in Circles

Kev Sheba CouchFind rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  Psalm 62:5-6

One of Sheba’s favorite pastimes when she was younger was to run around in circles and entice people to chase her; and there was no way to catch her either, unless you managed to get tricky and trap her.  Such fun! But it was a temporary pleasure.  She would eventually get tired and have to rest (and so would we!)—and then go back and do it again…and again…and again… Always pleasurable, but always tiring, and needing to be repeated in order to experience the joy.  Never really getting anywhere either; just going around in circles.

Do we ever do that?  Run around in circles, spinning our wheels, to achieve the satisfaction of being the best, with nobody able to keep up with us because we’re so fast, or talented, or efficient?  If we do, we eventually fall into a trap—it may be that  someone else outperforms us, or it may be that we simply get tired or old and can no longer manage the pace.

Now that Sheba’s an old lady there are very few circles anymore; just a deep contentment that comes as she rests at my feet.

Perhaps we also need to learn that there is a level of peace that cannot be achieved by our hectic lifestyle, a quiet contentment that comes from learning to rest at the feet of our master.  We no longer have to work so hard to feel good; all we need to do is follow Him around, do what he says, and we will be rewarded with constant peace and joy, not just a temporary “fix.”

Making a Statement

Kev ShebaWhoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  Matthew 10:32

Kevin had a t-shirt with a picture of a pug on the front.  On the back, lots of paw prints and the words, “My dog walks all over me.”  It was a statement of his love for her, that he was proud of her and wanted to show her off; and also a joking admission that she had a lot of influence over him.

May my life be as that t-shirt, portraying a proud witness of my love for God.  May the marks on the back be God’s fingerprints; and may the words be, “God holds me in the palms of his hands.”  May I never be ashamed or afraid to identify myself with Him.

A Song of Hope

IMG_0105_2Like many of us, my cousin, Crystal Kain Ross, felt overwhelming grief at the Supreme Court’s decision to endorse gay marriage.  Soon though, she realized that God had not been caught unaware, He is still in control, and in the end He has already won the battle.  When all is said and done:

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  Romans 14:11

Then the Spirit of God spoke to Crystal’s heart and gave her a new song to sing. In telling me about the song, she emphasized two phrases (italicized in the text) that spoke volumes to her.  In the first verse, “His crystal tears,” the Lord showed her that Jesus’ tears are as crystal, multifaceted and pure.  In the fourth verse, the phrase, “His torrents of love,” cannot do justice to the magnitude of His love for us.

The darkness will soon disappear
The daughters of earth are awakened
To cry His crystal tears
His voice sings o’er the oceans
With judgments in their waves
The nations soon are coming
To see His brightest day

Soon every knee is bowing
Before the King of truth
And every heart will be accepting
Of the faith that needs no proof
The sinners are confessing
The secrets of their nights
They see the King’s great promise
Every day a new nation in His light

Sweet rivers of salvation
With healing life and grace
Flow now inside us unceasing
Until the darkness is stayed
Wash over us victorious
Bring purity from sin
Until we join the chorus
Of the songs that never will end

His torrents of love are falling
In glorious light-filled rays
So bright His paths before us
They flow in brand new ways
Each cry to heaven is counted
No prayers are cast aside
The gates to the heavens are opened
The King is drawing nigh

No matter what the Courts say
Or all their dark desires
The King of glory cometh
To light His holy fires
Be of that group so counted
Of His purity within
So when you time here is over
Your soul can enter in

Each cry to heaven is counted
No prayers are cast aside
The gates to the heavens are opened
The King is drawing nigh

Body Language

Sheba on grassAnd my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Sheba has a cute, curly little pug tail. When she’s happy that funny little tail wriggles back and forth with joy—and anyone watching invariably laughs right along with her.  But when she’s sick, or tired, or frightened, or in a hurry to find just the right spot on the grass; that cute, curly little tail will just go straight—hanging down between her legs—no joyful anticipation, no contentment—just a sure sign of stress.

Sounds a lot like life.  When we’re happy or excited, we exude enthusiasm.  Instead of a curly tail we may have a smile on our face, a twinkle in our eyes, or a confident spring in our step.  But just let the trials of life come—sickness or fatigue, financial problems, misunderstandings, sorrow or loss, failures, fear—and all of a sudden the smile/twinkle/spring is gone.

When Sheba’s tail is straight, we’re alerted to either help her meet her immediate needs or to comfort her through her pain.  God does pretty much the same for us; for every problem, He has a solution; He’s always there. Jesus promised that He would not leave us alone—that He would ask the Father to send his Holy Spirit of Truth to be our Comforter. (see John 14:15-28)

Be Encouraged

BibleLet the people of God be encouraged!  The unrighteous decision of the US Supreme Court this week is an affront to God as well as to His people, and it is surely one more nail in the coffin leading to His judgements on man.  But His purpose in judgement is to cause people to look to Him and be saved, not to pour out His wrath on the righteous.  We must come into agreement with His plans and purposes to draw all men to Himself, even if it takes very severe/difficult/unpleasant circumstances; and in the midst of it all we must stand in faith and rejoice that our God is on the move!

I have sort of been in mourning for a few days over the increase of evil that has been unleashed, with a heaviness of heart over it all, but this morning the Lord directed me to three Psalms that brought things into perspective for me.

First, Psalm 131, just 3 short verses, but they pack a punch, and I believe show the way to the first thing we need to do, which is to quiet our soul and rest in Him. What peace!

Second, He directed me to Psalm 75, which speaks of judgement, and there are some truths there we need to hold onto. In verse 2, we see that in the set time that He appoints,  He will judge with equity.  Wow!  From our calm place of rest in Him, we can be assured of the righteousness and justice of His judgements, for God is the One who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another, and as He does, the wicked will be cut off but the righteous will be lifted up (verses 7 and 10).

Third, was Psalm 35, David’s prayer the God would “contend with those who contend with me and fight with those who fight with me.”  We must realize we are at war, and it’s much bigger than just the “gay agenda.”  It’s an all-out attempt by all spiritual forces of evil, aided by their physical allies, to overcome the world.  But it’s simply not going to happen!!!  Jesus has already won the victory, and even as we witness the terrible consequences that come in any war, we must commit to the attitude of verses 27 and 28:

Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long.

In the midst of the judgment that God will undoubtedly be pouring out, is our opportunity to tell those who are deceived of His righteousness, of His grace and mercy; it is an opportunity and a call for righteousness such as we’ve never had before.  There no hope except in God, and we are the ones who know the truth and are equipped to deliver His hope to those who are desperate.  Let those whom He has called rise up and joyfully enter into battle, for our commander in chief is Jesus, our Soon and Coming King!!!

He told us repeatedly not to be afraid, so heed His words.  He wouldn’t have instructed us to be fearless if it were not possible, so kick fear out the door and focus on Him.  Remember the power of obedience and praise, and watch from His rest as the present-day “walls of Jericho” are taken down.

Ready to Get Wet

page33bIn this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise and honor when Jesus is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:6-9

Sheba is afraid of the water.  Not long after she joined our family, we were at the beach.  We wanted to play with her in the waves, but she would have none of it!  We would walk into the shallow, receding tide, and she would pull away as far as she could—up to about thirty feet if we allowed her to pull the retractable leash all of the way out.  A few days later, walking alongside a lake she did the same thing.  We’ve also noticed that just walking around our neighborhood she strenuously avoids sprinklers or puddles of water.  And if you want to make her keep her distance in the yard, just pick up the hose—it doesn’t even have to be on!

But Sheba has come to love her baths because she knows that bath time means some serious pleasure in terms of rubbing and cuddling.  After all, how can you not rock and cuddle a cute, towel-wrapped bundle of pug with those huge brown eyes staring up at you with absolute love?.  Her inborn fear of the water is overcome by faith that she’s going to experience incredible joy.

Faith in my master’s love also gets me through frightening situations.  It replaces my fear with joy beyond measure, and I can agree with Paul, “that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).