Two Words You'll Never Hear From God

10003872_593829884047224_1845891609_o.jpg

Panic sets in when I can’t find my cell phone. I dig through my purse like a lunatic, tossing out items in search of one small rectangular object. My moment of madness passes once I get a glimpse of it buried at the bottom of my bag.

And how about those two words in the upper corner…NO SERVICE. They drive me nuts. But that’s what happened to me at the gym recently.

For a half hour, I had no connection to the outside world.

NO SERVICE. A nuisance more than anything, I suppose.

Once I stopped obsessing over it, I realized how much I depend on something so small, as if I couldn’t get through life without it. So what if it didn’t work? More times than not, it serves as a distraction. Maybe I’m showing my age.

Ironically, my teenage son asked me last week how my generation got through life without cell phones.

He made it sound like I was from the prehistoric age.

How did we get by? Easy.  

We talked to our friends on the landline phone in the kitchen. When our car broke down, we’d walk to a business or house and ask to use the phone to call a tow truck (been there, done that). We didn’t overload our brains with a bunch of useless information the second it hit the masses. We got news updates during the noon or six o’clock news. Believe it or not, there was something called a newspaper we read from time to time. And we carried on conversations using our mouths, not our fingers.

Sure, things may have been a little slower way back then. But we survived.

But it also got me thinking how God never puts up the NO SERVICE sign. He is available 24/7. He never shuts down. He never takes a break. He doesn’t go on vacation. He never says, “I’ll get to you later.”

God’s line of communication is always working. And while He is waiting on us, we tend to be the ones lacking in the service department.

One of the many promises God has made is found in Hebrews 13:5.

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

This is our guarantee that we can always depend on God because He isn’t nor has been or will ever be a liar.

When we find ourselves stuck in the middle of one of life’s storms, we aren’t alone. I know sometimes if feels that way, I’ve felt it too. Our flesh likes to try to trick our mind.

But we should always remember that though we may struggle, battle, and face challenges, God never puts up the NO SERVICE sign.  

 

But I Need It

There’s something to be said about shopping.

10003872_593829884047224_1845891609_o.jpg

I rarely go into a store without the desire to buy something, even if I don’t need it. Even if I don’t really like it. There are times when I actually have to stop and have a conversation with myself. I ask, “Do you really need this?” As I stare at the object in my hand and search my soul, more times than not I realize, “Nope. I don’t need this.” In fact, sometimes I realize I already have a similar item at home that I bought a year ago.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Mad Money,” you’ll know what I am talking about. Without giving a full synopsis of the story, three women work at a federal bank and pull off a three-year robbery heist. Because the money is out of circulation and ready to be shredded, there is no trace of the theft. Pretty clever, huh?

Yes, they do get caught. But that’s not a spoiler alert because that’s how the movie begins. I love what one character says when describing consumers’ attraction to “stuff.”

“Something about stuff. It’s on display. Even if you got the same stuff, the way they lay it out, makes you want it.”  

My biggest temptation…the holiday seasons. Before the kids even go back to school, fall decorations are overflowing the aisles. Like a school girl daydreaming during class, I imagine what they would look like in my home. Where they would go and what I can replace them with.

Don’t even get me started on the apparel section. Coats and sweaters on displayed in an eye-catching way for sucker shoppers like me. Funky shoes I drool over even though they don’t fit exactly the way I’d like (kind of like the blue high heels I have on).

Because I am a list person, I have already written down the stuff I need to get for the next several months.

Wait? Need to get? Or want to get? Big difference.

I often catch myself saying that. “I need this.” But the reality is, “I want this.” And there is nothing wrong with wanting things. There is nothing wrong with needing things. But when we get so engrossed with the two that they become one, our priorities shift. They shift when it comes to our families, our work, our ministry, and even our relationship with God.

With God, it shouldn’t be a choice of either “wanting” Him or “needing” Him. It’s both. As believers, we should always want more of God. To go deeper in His presence through the Word, in our prayer time, and as we worship Him.

We should never get to the place where we are independent from God. We will always need him. Even though children grow up and become adults, they will always need mom and dad on some level. We will always need our Father.

And Scriptures throughout the Word confirm it. Here are just a few examples.

"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty'" John 6:35

Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Life's Moments

Nine months is a long time to wait.

10003872_593829884047224_1845891609_o.jpg

But when the day finally arrived to meet my son face to face, I was overcome with emotion. Joy, happiness, and love washed over me like a tidal wave.

The first few days of his life were wonderful. He was the BEST baby. Then again, I was still in the hospital and the nurses were waiting on me hand and foot. The real test, however, came when we arrived home for the first time as a family. I walked in the house and set the car seat down in the entrance way. As if my son sensed something was wrong, he immediately started to cry. Then I cried and didn’t stop all afternoon.

My world dramatically changed in an instant and I struggled to get a handle on the new way of life. Nothing was the same. My house didn’t feel the same. My marriage didn’t feel the same. I didn’t feel the same. Everything changed because of one beautiful little baby.

At the time, it felt like I held him 24/7. For the next few weeks, I couldn’t wait until he was a few months old and could sit up. And when he would crawl. Then walk. Then talk. It seemed like those milestones would take an eternity to come to pass.

But they did. And before I knew it, they were gone. Now, they are a distance, blurry memory.

It was as if I were leap frogging over each stage, racing to get to the next because it would be easier on him….and me.

Now that he’s a teenager, I find myself wishing he’d go back to that adorable curly-haired kid that ran around the house smiling and laughing at the silliest things. But time marches on…faster and faster each year.

Even though this sounds like a lesson on parenting, it’s not. Nor is it about a child’s innocence. It’s about moments. It’s about how many moments you will experience and how fast they go by. It’s about the short time we have here on Earth compared to eternity in Heaven and how we spend those moments. Do we spend them in sorrow, wishing for something better to come along? Do we spend them in anger and frustration, wishing our life didn’t turn out the way it did? Do we spend them consumed with ourselves and the futile things around us we cling to make us feel good…in that moment?

James 4:14 says:

Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

That’s a paragraph that really packs a punch, don’t you say?

Have you ever watched steam pour out from a tea pot? Fast and strong than it dissipates just as quick.

That’s life, no matter how many years you live. Time here on Earth compared to eternity in Heaven…well, there’s really no comparison, is there?

Time is short. But it’s up to us how we spend that time. We can do our best to live for the Lord and spread the Gospel of Christ to those around us. We can have peace and joy and be thankful for the price Jesus paid when he went to the cross. We can live in the moment rather than rushing through it to get to something better.  

The Sting of Rejection

Rejection hurts.

10003872_593829884047224_1845891609_o.jpg

The angst of being told or shown we’re not what someone is looking for can be difficult to overcome. Rejection leaves a handprint of pain that sticks around longer than we’d like.

During my teenage years, I was driven. But my motivation had nothing to do with getting the best grades. My short-term goals didn’t include acceptance into the best college to equip and prepare me for my future. My eyes were set on life’s superficial route—to find a boyfriend who made me feel wonderful. The guy who was crazy about me and I was crazy about him. The one that flooded my thoughts day and night. The one I couldn’t wait to see and make memories with. As with many budding romances, the initial phase of the relationship started off on a good note. But sadly, a high percentage of them turned into rejection in the blink of an eye. I knew the signs well before I was told goodbye.

Thankfully, I got through those awkward years and when the timing was right, I met my husband. So, I got everything I wanted…just a little bit later in life.

But rejection didn’t fade away into the sunset. It still hovered around me like a dark cloud. Only this time, it had nothing to do with relationships. Every job I didn’t get, every resume I sent out that didn’t lead to an interview, every letter I received that started with “Unfortunately.”

Rejection.

Just typing the word sends a sharp sting to my heart.

I can only imagine what Jesus feels like when He is rejected. But unlike us, He doesn’t stop reaching out to those who haven’t entered into a relationship with him. He doesn’t give up.

At the cross, He endured the rejection of men. The physical torment and verbal abuse were reasons enough to throw in the towel. Yet, in Luke 23:34 He said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”

Even during the worst moment in His life, Jesus wasn’t angry. He had compassion on those who rejected Him because His love is greater than we can ever comprehend.

There are people in my life from the past and present who refuse to open their hearts to Jesus. They reject Him over and over. Sometimes I stop and wonder how that is possible. We are talking about the son of God. The Creator of the universe. The Almighty. We are talking about our Savior. Our healer. Our provider. Our friend. Our Father.

Then I stop. While my flesh wants to scream out, “How could you?” I become sad because they are missing out on the greatest love they’ll ever know. My heart softens, and I pray that one day they will turn to Jesus. To put their whole trust in Him. To live for Him.

 

Verses of Salvation:

"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

 

How Soon We Forget

10003872_593829884047224_1845891609_o.jpg

Has God ever come through for you in a big way? Or even a little way, depending how you gauge such things. When He did, you think to yourself, “I’ll never doubt Him again.” Only you find yourself grumbling about something else? Don’t feel too bad, we’ve all done it.

Several instances in my life come to mind when God has blown me away with His blessings. I’ve experienced situations when it was only God that could have done what He did. But time passes and how soon I forget His greatness because I’m too busy having a pity party for myself about something. Or I’m distressed thinking nothing will ever change, why isn’t God helping me? On and on I go.

Then I come across chapters in Exodus when the Israelites are in the wilderness complaining. I think to myself, “How in the world can they be moaning and groaning after God just parted the Red Sea and had them walk on dry land to flee from the Egyptians? Didn’t they comprehend His power? That nothing is impossible for Him?”

In Chapter 15 they sing a song about God’s greatness. By Chapter 16, they’re angry at Moses for leading them out of Egypt (which really means they’re angry with God). They’re hungry and would rather stay in bondage with full bellies then be free from Pharaoh and trust in God.

But again, God comes through for His children. Every morning they see His glory as they gather Manna.

I get it. No one is perfect. We all get selfish from time to time. We let our flesh get in the way. So how do we work on getting better in that area? Good question? For me, I think back on those times God did what he did. I think about them and know that He is always going to be there for me no matter what. Maybe what I need won’t happen instantaneously. Maybe it will take time. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean God isn’t at work.

Reading the Word is also a reminder of God’s greatness. The Bible is full of examples of God’s power, His faithfulness, and His love.