Thursday, December 25, 2014

And He Showed Up - Merry Christmas

The song, “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas,” has real meaning in the Pacific Northwest. If a lawn has a snowman adorning it, it was bought at a store. Rarely does snow show up for the PNW’er unless they go up to the mountains. Except this year, the mountain doesn’t have snow like it usually does. Not even the tourist town of Leavenworth is covered with snow.

Snow rarely shows up.

Quite a few years ago my family faced the unexpected death of my Uncle. After his death, a group from church made their way to my Aunt’s house, and spent the day helping her with yard work.
I remember her explaining that it touched her, because they “showed up.”

A few thousand years ago, on a starry night, that is what God did. He “showed up.”

“Immanuel” – God with us, appeared on the earth, in the form of a baby, named Jesus, God’s son.

The birth of a baby is such a wonderful thing. What makes Jesus birth even more exciting, is this is not where His life started.

The Bible says Jesus always has been.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1.

The Bible also tells us in Phillipians 2:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus showed up, and He walked among us. He is still here today, by His Spirit, that lives within us.
That’s what this awesome holiday is really all about.

It’s the greatest gift that ever was given to the entire world. You just have to open up your heart and receive it.

From my house to yours, have a Merry Christmas! And may you be filled with the love and joy that comes from above.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Why Haven't You Shown Up Yet...

One day, I got my daughter out of school earlier than her usual time.

"I was worried you weren't coming," she said as she got in the car.

"Why? I've never missed picking you up from anything, and I'm here at the time I told you I would be."

"Because, I had told you that I wanted to get out earlier than this." She answered.

I smiled and told her this was definitely a blog moment.

How many times do I pray and wonder why God doesn't show up when and how I want Him to?

I've had my moments where I've been pretty good at acting like the "God director" when I pray. I've also had my moments of frustration, while I wait for Him to answer them, when and how I wanted the prayers answered.

I know I'm not the only one to do this.

Over the last few years we've been praying for a prisoner in the mid-east to be freed and returned to America to be with his family. There are updates on him on the radio and face book. He is even in the news at times. 

Even with all of the prayers, he still isn't freed.

My daughter asked me about this, why God isn't answering this prayer.

I had to think for a minute, because I wondered this too. I know God is capable of it. He freed Peter from prison in the middle of the night and the prison guards didn't even know it.

This man, Saeed, is suffering quite a bit physically from the treatment he is receiving in prison. As the reports come out about him, there are many, many prayer vigils that go on for his release. 

Yet...he is still in prison.

I learned through a study called "Experiencing God" to look around your circumstance and see what God is doing and how you are to be involved. What is HE doing? What is HIS plan?

So, we changed our prayers, or rather added to them. We still pray for God to free Saeed. But my daughter now prays that Saeed would not give up on God's love for him. And she prays for his family. We've added that the people around him would come to know the one True God, and be saved. Prayers are added for his healing, comfort, and other things.

Yes, we want God to show up and free him very soon, but until then we've learned to cover him in prayer to be able to deal with his situation.

I'm sure back in Biblical times when it took years for the people to see God answer their prayers, they got discouraged. Like, Abraham and Sarah, the Israelites who were under Pharaohs rule for a couple hundred years after Joseph died, the Jewish people who longed for the promised Messiah who was to come and be their King.

When He did come - he didn't do things in the way the people thought he should...instead, he walked with the people, people that the deemed righteous ones wouldn't hang out with. He ate with them, healed them, and showed them the true love of God through a human touch.

Then he went and died. He didn't get himself off the cross and become the ruler of the world. Instead, he died and rose again, and became the ruler of eternity.

God always has a bigger plan than what we see.

His ways are so much higher than our ways.

It's so hard to deal with that when we are truly struggling, hurting, and desperate for the immediate answer to our situation.

Still, His ways are higher, and filled with more love than we can ever comprehend.

Ephesians 3:20-21
"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, forever and ever! Amen."

My prayer for you this day is that God will answer your prayers, more than you could ever ask or ever imagine for yourself.

Even though you may have prayed, and it may look as though God hasn't shown up yet...He will.

Believe it.