Saturday, January 19, 2013

Time After Time

Our church's youth group is reading through the Bible this year and the staff is doing a blog along with it. They invited anyone in the church to join in the reading and I have been really lacking in my discipline in my time in God's Word so I decided to take the challenge. Some days I do well, other days I don't. But I catch up when I fall behind and am seeking to just soak up God's Word and be in tune to His Spirit as He speaks to me. I have been amazed at how He has been speaking to me. The past few days I've been challenged to keep my focus on God and not on the trials or difficulties in front of me. The miracles Jesus performed in His time on earth have reminded me to focus on Him and that He is my Provider. When there were multitudes to be fed and the disciples only had a few fish and a few loaves of bread I'm guessing (and I could be wrong here) the people in the crowd weren't aware that there might be a "shortage" - they were listening to Jesus' teaching and as He gave thanks for the food they were thankful for His provision for them.

In today's reading was Nehemiah chapter 9... now anyone who has read Nehemiah knows there are a lot of lists and names and numbers and it can be somewhat difficult to get through. However, today's reading really struck me. He starts the prayer: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." (Nehemiah 5b-6) He goes on to talk about God's faithfulness, Israel's mistrust and turning away from God and then in verse 28 he prays, "“But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time. 
OK - I admit, I am a child of the 80's and when I saw the phrase "Time after Time" I thought of Cyndi Lauper's song of that title. I looked it up on YouTube and was surprised how this song, although I doubt it was her intent in writing it, could be a prayer... you can listen here 

How many times am I way too far ahead of God, worrying about the future, my bills, what if this?, what if that? And God is telling me, just as Nehemiah prayed, that in His compassion He will deliver me time after time - when I'm lost, He will find me... when I fall, He will catch me - in His compassion He will deliver me TIME AFTER TIME!

 It is my hope and prayer that I will learn to keep my eyes on Jesus, trust that He is Jehovah-Jireh - my Provider. It is my hope and prayer that I will not fret and worry about things that I have no control over and remember that I am the beloved daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - the Creator of all... there is nothing too hard for Him and He just asks me to trust Him... time after time.

Seeking to trust Him time after time,


Sunday, January 13, 2013

El Shaddai

Our Pastor started a new sermon series last week on the Names of God. Last week was the introduction which was great and this week was the first name - El Shaddai. It was so good I wanted to share the outline. I don't know that I'll do this each week - but wanted to share this.

El - Mighty
Shaddai - some take to mean mountain, but others from "Shad" to mean mother's breast - like a newborn has everything they need when they are being fed from their mother - God is all sufficient - He gives us all we need.

God is the all powerful one. He is the one who can and does do the IMPOSSIBLE. When you are at the end of your rope, you can rely on El Shaddai - the all sufficient one.

Our Pastor discussed 3 encounters and 3 needs from the Old Testament:

1. Abraham was blessed...Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:17, Romans 4:18-21

Genesis 18:14 - "Is anything too hard for God?" Abraham was 99 and Sarah was almost 90 when God told them they would have a son.... really? But Abraham believed. He was blessed and yet he found himself in a position where something that seemed impossible was being promised by God - and he believed. What am I facing in my life that seems impossible? Financial stress? Friendships broken seemingly beyond repair? Sherri - Is ANYTHING too hard for God?

2. Naomi was bitter (book of Ruth)

We can't always see what God is up to but the Almighty God managed to turn Naomi's bitterness to joy! God is working behind the scenes in ways we don't even know. Naomi's bitterness eventually led her to know God Almighty in a different way. Sherri - God can turn your bitterness to joy... He can lead you to know Him in a different way through this!

3. Job was broken. (book of Job)

Thirty-one of the Forty-eight references to God as El Shaddai are in the book of Job.

Job 6:3, Job 1:20-21, Job 13:3, Job, 43:3 & 5

Job had everything taken away from him - he was a man with honest hurt but a steadfast faith. Job's eyes were opened to see God Almighty in a new way through his brokenness. Sherri - God can use your brokenness to see God Almighty in a different way.

Our response:
1. Fall before Him in reverence Genesis 17:3, Job 42: 3 & 5

When we don't understand life - HE IS STILL GOD!! Sometimes God allows dreams to shatter in order to let better dreams to develop to know God as the all sufficient God Almighty. Sherri - what dreams of yours have been shattered? Do you trust that He is still God even when life makes no sense? Do you trust that He can build better dreams for your life to know Him as El Shaddai?

2. Run to Him as your refuge. Psalm 91:1

Our pastor told the story of a pastor's son who asked his dad if he really thought Jonah could live for 3 days inside of a big fish. The dad told the little boy if God can make man out of nothing and God could make a big fish out of nothing, didn't he think God could make a fish where a man could live for three days? The little boy said, "If you bring God into it that's a different story." :-)

When we bring God into it - it is different! Sherri - are you running to God as your refuge? Are you seeking Him in your brokenness?

3. Trust Him as your true reward.

One day El Shaddai will make it all better - there will be no more tears.Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

A.W. Tozer: Anything that God has ever done, He can do now. Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here. Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you."

Sherri - Do you believe this? Do you really think you are so different? Is there anything you are going through that God can't handle?

 WOW - talk about a whole bunch of 2x4's upside the head today... Thank you to Pastor Marty for being God's instrument in speaking to my heart just what I needed to hear.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Trusting in El Shaddai,