Ever heard the phrase “Timing is everything”?

Faith in His timing!

Well, have you ever God the saying “God is never late, rarely early, and always on time”? Some may be feeling that it is too late, but the reality is that it isn’t Some may hope that it comes early, but then it won’t have accomplished or have the same impact. On time brings the biggest bang for the buck!

Let’s consider this as we take a look into today’s reading! Some may wonder why He didn’t go earlier. Some may wonder why the emotion when He knows. Some may wonder what can He do when they feel it is too late. Expanding the text to help answer all these questions…

The Death of Lazarus

1A man named Lazarus, who lived in Bethany, became sick. Bethany was the town where Mary and her sister Martha lived. ( 2This Mary was the one who poured the perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was sick.) 3The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Lord, your dear friend is sick.” 4When Jesus heard it, he said, “The final result of this sickness will not be the death of Lazarus; this has happened in order to bring glory to God, and it will be the means by which the Son of God will receive glory.” 5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6Yet when he received the news that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days. 7Then he said to the disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8“Teacher,” the disciples answered, “just a short time ago the people there wanted to stone you; and are you planning to go back?” 9Jesus said, “A day has twelve hours, doesn’t it? So those who walk in broad daylight do not stumble, for they see the light of this world. 10But if they walk during the night they stumble, because they have no light.” 11Jesus said this and then added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I will go and wake him up.” 12The disciples answered, “If he is asleep, Lord, he will get well.” 13Jesus meant that Lazarus had died, but they thought he meant natural sleep. 14So Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15but for your sake I am glad that I was not with him, so that you will believe. Let us go to him.” 16Thomas (called the Twin) said to his fellow disciples, “Let us all go along with the Teacher, so that we may die with him!”

Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days before. 18Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many Judeans had come to see Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother’s death. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for.” 23“Your brother will rise to life,” Jesus told her. 24“I know,” she replied, “that he will rise to life on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; 26and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27“Yes, Lord!” she answered. “I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

Jesus Weeps

28After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. “The Teacher is here,” she told her, “and is asking for you.” 29When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him. ( 30Jesus had not yet arrived in the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.) 31The people who were in the house with Mary comforting her followed her when they saw her get up and hurry out. They thought that she was going to the grave to weep there. 32Mary arrived where Jesus was, and as soon as she saw him, she fell at his feet. “Lord,” she said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” 33Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. 34“Where have you buried him?” he asked them. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered. 35Jesus wept. 36“See how much he loved him!” the people said. 37But some of them said, “He gave sight to the blind man, didn’t he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?”

Lazarus Is Brought to Life

38Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. 39“Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered. Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!” 40Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” 41They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. 42I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave cloths, and with a cloth around his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.”

–from John 11

God’s plan is for good! God’s timing is perfect! Our hope is not only for the future, but for today! God is working in the world today! We can help shine light and hope into the world around us! Yes there is the eternity part, but we don’t have to wait till then to get to enjoy everything God has for us! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us today! By grabbing onto this hope and living our lives with Jesus, we have become children of God!

Children of God

1See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God’s children—and so, in fact, we are. This is why the world does not know us: it has not known God. 2My dear friends, we are now God’s children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is. 3Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure. 4Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law. 5You know that Christ appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. 6So everyone who lives in union with Christ does not continue to sin; but whoever continues to sin has never seen him or known him. 7Let no one deceive you, my children! Whoever does what is right is righteous, just as Christ is righteous. 8Whoever continues to sin belongs to the Devil, because the Devil has sinned from the very beginning. The Son of God appeared for this very reason, to destroy what the Devil had done. 9Those who are children of God do not continue to sin, for God’s very nature is in them; and because God is their Father, they cannot continue to sin. 10Here is the clear difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: those who do not do what is right or do not love others are not God’s children.

–from 1 John 3

So let’s live differently! Let’s live with the knowledge and faith of our relationship with Jesus! Let’s live in daily relationship with Jesus! Let’s walk with Him and talk with Him throughout our day! Let’s build upon our relationship with God! Just because something hard, challenging, or bad happens doesn’t mean you did something wrong. Consider the blind man

1-2Everything you say, I have heard before. I understand it all; I know as much as you do. I’m not your inferior. 3But my dispute is with God, not you; I want to argue my case with him. 4You cover up your ignorance with lies; you are like doctors who can’t heal anyone. 5Say nothing, and someone may think you are wise! 6Listen while I state my case. 7Why are you lying? Do you think your lies will benefit God? 8Are you trying to defend him? Are you going to argue his case in court? 9If God looks at you closely, will he find anything good? Do you think you can fool God the way you fool others? 10Even though your prejudice is hidden, he will reprimand you, 11and his power will fill you with terror. 12Your proverbs are as useless as ashes; your arguments are as weak as clay. 13Be quiet and give me a chance to speak, and let the results be what they will. 14I am ready to risk my life. 15I’ve lost all hope, so what if God kills me? I am going to state my case to him. 16It may even be that my boldness will save me, since no wicked person would dare to face God. 17Now listen to my words of explanation. 18I am ready to state my case, because I know I am in the right. 19Are you coming to accuse me, God? If you do, I am ready to be silent and die. 20Let me ask for two things; agree to them, and I will not try to hide from you: 21stop punishing me, and don’t crush me with terror. 22Speak first, O God, and I will answer. Or let me speak, and you answer me. 23What are my sins? What wrongs have I done? What crimes am I charged with? 24Why do you avoid me? Why do you treat me like an enemy? 25Are you trying to frighten me? I’m nothing but a leaf; you are attacking a piece of dry straw. 26You bring bitter charges against me, even for what I did when I was young. 27You bind chains on my feet; you watch every step I take, and even examine my footprints. 28As a result, I crumble like rotten wood, like a moth-eaten coat.

–from Job 13

Whoever Is Not against Us Is for Us

I was faced with an interesting dilemma this week. I was faced with people pointing me at something that caused my stomach to be unsettled. It caused my mind to race as I wondered what I was to do. It caused me to ask questions like “how should I respond to them”, “what can I say to help share the truth”, “what should I do to draw them closer to the truth and away from the lies”, “what options are available to me”, “is there really a conflict that I need to resolve”, “is there something that I can do to share the truth and allow them to see and receive it”, and so much more.

One thought that came to mind was that there was a verse somewhere in the Bible that spoke to if they aren’t against us they are for us, or if they aren’t for us they are against us, or something like that and so the search began. This morning as I got started that is where I went, that is what I wanted to remember and I found it in Mark 9:38-41. But the search and questions continue. So when I first take a look I read:

38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man who was driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop, because he doesn’t belong to our group.” 39“Do not try to stop him,” Jesus told them, “because no one who performs a miracle in my name will be able soon afterward to say evil things about me. 40  For whoever is not against us is for us. 41  I assure you that anyone who gives you a drink of water because you belong to me will certainly receive a reward.

— from Mark 9

But I couldn’t stop as my mind kept wondering and my mind kept asking do I need to be worried or stressed out because of it? My real concern is about wanting those I love to make it to heaven. My family and my friends and all the people that I meet. And if people are out of alignment what can I do? What can I say? Is there anything that would draw them closer to God?

So I kept searching and a few things that came up included discussions of God, Jesus, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Salvation, and the Bible. These are pretty core and pretty important topics. Who do you think God is? Do you even believe there is a GOD? Who do you say Jesus is? Do you believe that He is the son of God and is God? What is the Trinity? Do you believe that the three are one? The Holy Spirit? Who do you say He is? Do you believe that He is? How about salvation? Do you believe  you can be saved? Do you believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that it’s exclusive? What do you believe the Bible is? Do you believe that it’s the Word of God? Do you believe it’s the inspired, inerrant word of God?

Faith is only as good as what you are putting your trust in. And as for me and my house, we put our trust in God! We believe that Jesus is the son of God who gave His life that we can be reconciled back to God! We believe that on the third day He rose again, defeating death and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. We believe that when Jesus left the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide for the rest of the time we are here on earth. It’s not Jesus+, it’s Jesus!

Continue reading “Whoever Is Not against Us Is for Us”

Going through some tough times?

Are you going through a tough time? Have you gone through a tough time? What does stress do to your relationships? What does the pressure cause to happen? What are you doing in advance to make sure the foundation is solid prior to any storms coming up?

Let’s consider pre, before any tough times, before the storm hits… Are you building on the rock? Are you building your relationship with each other? Are you building your relationship with God?

24“So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock.

26“But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, the wind blew hard against that house, and it fell. And what a terrible fall that was!”
— from Matthew 7:24-27 (GNT)

Next, when a storm or a trial comes how do you respond? Do you pull together? Do you attack the problem rather than each other? Are you holding each other up rather than tearing each other down? What we say in those moments can have an impact for the rest of our lives. How we handle it can make our relationship stronger or tear it apart. We need to keep Jesus in the center of our relationships and keep pulling closer to Him! James 1 gives us this advice:

2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4 Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.

— from James 1:2-8 (GNT)

When combined with the words from Romans 8:

24For it was by hope that we were saved; but if we see what we hope for, then it is not really hope. For who of us hopes for something we see? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. 27And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.
28We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. 29Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the first among many believers. 30And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.
— from Romans 8:24-30 (GNT)

So no matter what comes our way, God’s plan is to use it for GOOD! So don’t walk away and try to do it all on your own. Don’t attack each other, but rather come together with God and attack the problem, the trial, and stand firm on the rock so that you can endure the storm!

So if we know that we are to consider it all joy when we face trials and we know that God in all things will work things out for good, then we should be able to stand firm on the ROCK trusting and believing that it’s going to be ok and in the end we will be stronger together and better in the end. One real life example I have of this is when I was betrayed at work. I felt lied to and my response was to hold onto God, being encouraged listening to the radio on the way home, being loved and encouraged by my family, but I was still sliding down and not feeling any better. It wasn’t fun. It was very physically and emotionally draining and painful. God spoke truth, love, and forgiveness to me, but I allowed bitterness and anger to get the best of me to the point of feeling sick over the situation. However, afterwards, looking back, I learned things and can now relate to others who are going through similar types of pain because God me through it. I am now not only able to live better because I learned the power of forgiveness, but also am able to help others through their trials because I can actually relate now. God actually brought many people into my world after I got through it so that I would be able to be an encouragement to them. Had I not gone through it, had I not taken that dark road down, had I not kept asking God and praying, and reading, I wouldn’t have come out so much better on the other side as we read above from James. God can use all things for good, that’s right, not some things, but ALL things. There have been so many lives that have been touched because of what I went through and how I was able not only to share my story, but also because I could relate better with them, and for those who go to see or watch me go through it, they got to see how God was able to take something that the devil had planned to try and tear me apart and turn it around and use it for good, for His glory!

So where are you at today? Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Draw closer to God! Listen to what He says! Be obedient and see how much faster He can turn the situation around. I know the second time the devil tried to trip me up, rather than my last action, I made my first action to be to forgive and wow did that make a difference and wow did that get people’s attention when they saw me walking in and through the trial fully trusting in God and having His Word being spoken over me through the entire thing and the incredible blessings of being able to share the first time with those who only got to see and experience the second time. Let’s do it His way, right away and avoid going astray and the delay!

Don’t ask to make it easier, ask to be made stronger!

When it hurts too much try cry, lean on Jesus and He will comfort you.

God’s not somewhere out there, He is a personal God who desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Take time today to hear from God’s heart. He loves you and desires the best for You. God’s got a plan…

In Jeremiah – through the Old Testament we read:

11I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. 12Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13 You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. 14Yes, I say, you will find me, and I will restore you to your land. I will gather you from every country and from every place to which I have scattered you, and I will bring you back to the land from which I had sent you away into exile. I, the Lord, have spoken.’

— Jeremiah 29:11-14

So don’t give up and don’t give in! Seek God and build up your relationship with Him!

Some may think that God wants to judge and condemn us, but that is shown to be wrong when He sent Jesus. In the end we will be judged, however, before that we are given freewill to choose who we will follow and how we will live. The New Testament speaks to it this way:

14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.

18Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. 20Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.
— John 3:14-21

So today, not matter what you are facing, don’t turn in fear, don’t run away. Put on the full armor of God and stand firm. Ask God to make you stronger. Ask God to fill you up with the Holy Spirit that you may have wisdom and courage to take on the lies and the attacks of the enemy.

10Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. 12For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people. 19And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret. 20For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.
— Ephesians 6:10-20 (GNT)

God brought you to it, He can and will get you through it!

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

1There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen. 2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night. 3When people say, “Everything is quiet and safe,” then suddenly destruction will hit them! It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labor, and people will not escape. 4But you, friends, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like a thief. 5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, we should not be sleeping like the others; we should be awake and sober. 7It is at night when people sleep; it is at night when they get drunk. 8But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet. 9God did not choose us to suffer his anger, but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us in order that we might live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life. 13Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do. Be at peace among yourselves.
14We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
16Be joyful always, 17pray at all times, 18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
19Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; 20do not despise inspired messages. 21Put all things to the test: keep what is good 22and avoid every kind of evil.
23May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.
25Pray also for us, friends.
26Greet all the believers with the kiss of peace.
27I urge you by the authority of the Lord to read this letter to all the believers.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5

So this is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not give up nor turn away, but let’s hold onto the hand of God and press forward for He will get us through it! Let’s complete the work that God is calling us to that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer changes everything!

This morning my day began as usual, but as I looked through my social feeds one video really got my attention. (http://x.co/Yielded) that showed the power of prayer. God’s Word speaks to us that worry isn’t helpful or useful, and that prayer changes everything!

25“This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? 26Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds? 27Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?

28“And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. 30It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t he be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!
31“So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ 32(These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. 34So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.
— from Matthew 6

Worry just weighs us down but with no real value or purpose. Let’s keep our eyes, our focus, our hope, and our trust on the right things that help strengthen and encourage us rather than being distracted by things that have the only purpose of tearing us down, holding us back, and trying to destroy us.

6Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. 7And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.

8In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. 9Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.
— from Philippians 4

Where are you at today? We weren’t made to this on our own! That’s why God gave us one another! Can I pray for you?