Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The God Of Possibilities

"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:31-37).

The story of the birth of Jesus is stuffed with impossibilities. An elderly, barren woman is found to be with child. A young virgin becomes pregnant. A star leads some wealthy magi on a long journey to the very place where the Promised Child lived with his father and mother. A poor peasant family eludes the murderous plans of a jealous king. At every turn, impossible problems are overcome. Time and again, impossible situations work out. Many of those involved in the drama had to be scratching their heads. How does that happen? Only when the God of possibilities is involved!

Perhaps you are facing an impossibility of your own at the present time. I don’t pretend to know how, when, where, or if God will work in your specific situation. But if you are a child of God, I do know that the God of possibilities is on your side! You may not see a way out, but don’t give up. God specializes in overcoming the impossible. Give Him an opportunity to do that at which He excels! “How can this be?” Because we serve the God of possibilities!

God loves you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Inheritance For A Stray

“A 4-year-old stray cat that was rescued from the streets of Rome has inherited a $13 million fortune from its owner, the wealthy widow of an Italian property tycoon. Maria Assunta left the fortune to her beloved kitty Tommaso when she died two weeks ago at the age of 94. The feline's new-found riches include cash, as well as properties in Rome, Milan and land in Calabria. As her health began to fail two years ago, Assunta, who had no children, began to seek out a way to see that Tommaso was properly cared for after she died. In November 2009, she bequeathed her entire estate to the alley cat that she'd rescued. Initially, Assunta had instructed her attorneys to "identify an animal welfare association or group to which to leave the estate and the commitment of looking after Tommaso," according to the Daily Telegraph. Unable to find a satisfactory association to see to it that Tommaso was loved and cared for, Assunta decided to leave all her money to the cat via her nurse, Stefania, who cared for her until her dying day” (Kevin Dolak, ABC News Blog, 12-12-11).

My initial reaction to this article was negative. Why would anyone leave an inheritance to an animal? How can a cat be worthy of such a gift? Wouldn’t the money be better used for something else? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am a lot like that cat. God has shared an incredible inheritance with me but I am so unworthy of such a gift. Others could look at me and wonder why God would be so generous with a sinner like me. Aren’t there better things that God could do with His resources?

Thankfully, qualifying for God’s inheritance doesn’t depend on my own merits. If it did, I would be in trouble. My only hope is to be made eligible on the merits of Christ. It is God who qualifies me to share in the inheritance of the saints of light (Colossians 1:12).

God loves you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seasons of Life

Well, it finally happened. I received my first “senior” discount Sunday evening. The family and I stopped at Wendy’s for dinner after visiting Bethlehem Village in Fair Oaks. Initially, I didn’t order a drink with my meal. But after sitting down and starting to eat, I changed my mind. I went back and asked the young lady at the counter for a 99 cent soft drink from the value menu. She said that seniors received that drink free of charge. Knowing that there HAD to be some mistake, I said, “I doubt I am old enough to qualify for that. How old do you have to be?” “Fifty” she replied. I’m sure I had a stunned look on my face as I thanked her for the free drink and returned to finish my meal. When did I pass that milestone? Since when do I qualify for “senior” discounts? Aren’t those just for “older” people?

Time truly stops for no one, but it is seasonal. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

Lord, please guide me in discerning and embracing the seasons of life.

God loves you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fence Straddling

"Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:14-15).

In spite of their promises of allegiance to God at Mt. Sinai, apparently some of the Israelites had reserved room in their suitcases for their old gods. Why would they do that? Perhaps they were just trying to cover all the bases. You know, in case this “God in heaven” thing doesn’t work out? Maybe they were finding it difficult to distance themselves completely from ancestral worship traditions. After all, to totally abandon these other gods might reflect badly on grandpa and grandma. Whatever the reason, Joshua challenges the people to quit straddling the fence. Make a choice! Pick a deity and put away the rest! Divided loyalties always result in lukewarm devotion.

But its so hard to loosen our grip on the old gods in our lives, isn’t it? Perhaps our “god” is a sinful attitude or action that we continue to nurture. Maybe it’s a relationship we encourage even when know better. It could be a sinful desire in our heart that we never fully eradicate. But whatever it is, it is a “god” that competes with our professed loyalty to the true God.

It can be very difficult to make a clean break from the past. But it is absolutely vital if we want to have a close relationship with the one and only true God. It was the Son of God Himself who clearly said: “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). The call of Joshua echoes down through the centuries to each of us today. Make a choice. Don’t straddle the fence.

God loves you!