Total Eclipse

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Total Eclipse

Eclipse

A few days ago, across the United states, people from all walks of life looked up into the sky, wearing special glasses to view an amazing sight… a total eclipse. Many beautiful images of this magnificent splendor, like the one above, flooded social media (please advise the source if known so proper credit is given).

Amidst all the hoopla, pomp and circumstance, there are lessons to be learned. In all it’s beauty, let’s stop to consider the definition of an eclipse. It is an obstruction of the sun by the moon. There are times when life itself seems dark and obstructed. Just like the recent total eclipse only lasted for a short time, so do difficult circumstances. And just as it cannot be viewed by the human eye without causing permanent damage, such is it with focusing on the negative. When we do that , we fail to see the light of the sun which never stops shining. Focusing on our circumstances paralyzes us, and if not checked, causes damage to our souls (mind, will, emotions).

What makes the eclipse so beautiful is the reflected light caused by magnificent sun. Although darkness was all around, the focus was skyward. If we can lift up our eyes, away from the temporary darkness of the day, to He who holds us in the palm of His hand, the light we see will peace and joy…

Take a look at the image above again…do you see it yet? It’s all a matter of perspective.

After The Cross (Scrubbing Bubbles)

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This product provides a good example of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Before “Scrubbing Bubbles” the go-to agent for cleaning was Ajax.  It required sprinkling the product on the surface to be cleaned; scrubbing with a brush or sponge, then rinsing. More often than not, a second rinsing was required to remove the residue of the scouring powder.  This type of “work” is what kept professional house cleaning contractors employed.

Then came “Scrubbing Bubbles”!  You just spray it on, let it sit for a while and rinse or wipe it off! That’s straight from the throne right there!  Little to no effort required, but the results yield a clean surface.

Before the cross, we were bound by sin, subjected to a law (ten commandments) we could not keep) Especially since breaking one of them meant we were guilty of all ten (James 2:10).  We were doomed without a savior.

After the cross, our only work is to believe in the finished work of Jesus. His last words… “Tetelestai!”  Hebrew translation…”It is Finished”. Then, His final show of force demonstrating his power was the way he died.  Usually a person’s spirit leaves his body at death, causing the head to slump.  Our Lord Jesus bowed his head and  “gave up the ghost”. No man had power to take his life, He willingly gave his life; the greatest act of love this world has ever known.  He did it just for me and you.

Allow me to interject the famous phrase from the old scrubbing bubbles commercial:

“He worked hard, so we won’t have to!”

Paradise Lost? (Not So Fast)

The young man looked at his wife with utter disappointment. “How could you have done this?”, he snarled. She wiped away her very first tears and wondered why all of a sudden she was to blame, when he was there too.  Why did her covering, her king, not stand up to her, cover her, protect her?  Now, all was lost and they had to face the music.  Suddenly, like clockwork, at the appointed time, they heard him coming.  Gripped with  fear at the sound of parting vegetation and the whistling cool gentle breeze, the husband held his wife close as they hid themselves. It was at that moment they were introduced to hope.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. ” Genesis 3:15

Translation: “I will not leave you in the state that you are in. I have a plan. I will send my son who will make all things new.”

We often confuse hope with wishing. To wish for something is like playing the lottery; while hope is defined as a confident expectation of future good.  There is a difference!

Confident expectation is your direct deposit hitting your bank at the appointed time.  In fact, most of us start spending it days before it actually appears.  Confident expectation is you swiping your debit card on that day without going to the bank to lay eyes on “your” money that was deposited.

As believers we should have full confidence in the finished work of Jesus. His precious blood paid for our healing, prosperity, soundness, safety, deliverance, and favor. No matter what happens in life, we have hope.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ” Romans 8:28

So the next time that “snake in the grass” (Satan) introduces fear of loss to you, look him dead in the eye and pull a Lee Corso on him and say “Not so fast!”

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Love Gives, Faith Takes

” And He said to them, Why are you so fearful. How is it that you have no faith?”

Mark 4:40 NKJV

Physicians prescribe antibiotics to fight infection in your body.  The instructions indicate the medication is to be taken for a certain period of time, usually 5-7 days, sometimes more. Even though the symptoms may subside after a couple days, it doesn’t mean that the infection is gone. However, following the doctor’s instructions provides the most likely successful treatment. There is a biblical faith lesson to be learned here.

The disciples had just left church, hearing a great message from the “master teacher”. Afterwards, they had questions regarding the parable and wanted to get a better understanding of the sower, the seed and the ground.  Once this intimate session was completed, they were to board the ship and cross over to the other side. Jesus went below to catch some Z’s.  He had been pouring of Himself for quite some time which can take a lot out of you physically.

Not long after they got underway, a storm interrupted their journey. Being that several of them were experienced fishermen, this should not have alarmed them. But this was no ordinary storm. It was like a tsunami to them and they panicked as the ship began taking on water, starting to sink. Someone said, “Go get the Lord!” Master, Master! How can you sleep during this? You act like you don’t care that we are all going to die! Jesus was so cool. If I could use my imagination, He said something like’ Chill Dawg!” You wit me!

The Master of the sea calmly went topside and said three words. “Peace be still.” The bible says those three words
brought about a “great calm”.  He then questioned why they were afraid in the first place. Where was their faith?  No doubt they were puzzled by this reaction from their leader.  What they failed to realize was what He had been trying to teach them earlier that evening.  Faith for anything can only be supplied by hearing the word of God on a consistent basis. But it’s more than hearing only. Faith must be taken. By that I mean ingested, meditated on, spoken, until the symptoms dissipate. Then it must be taken some more; over and over again just like an antibiotic.  Smith Wigglesworth was quoted as saying: “We feed our bodies three square meals a day and our souls one quick snack a week, expecting great faith.”
Regular consistent  doses of the Word of God  according to Joshua 1:8 successfully fight the infection of life’s trials. That explains the “great calm” you have when all hell is breaking loose around you.

Behold The Star!

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Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Matthew 2: 1-2 KJV

 

The star that the wise men saw was not an ordinary star. It was His star. The star announcing the birth of the Messiah. The one who would take away the sin of the world. It was the light of one whom the prophets spoke about. Centuries had passed and they were alive to witness it all!  This caravan of learned men, bearing gifts, made their way to Bethlehem, to see this child. By the time they arrived, he was 3 years old.  What kept them going as they travelled over all types of terrain and weather conditions?  Why didn’t they falter in the heat of the day or the coolness of the night air? They followed this star for three years! Who does that and why? It was the light of the star and the Promise that lay beneath it.

Today, that Promise, that Light, that Star is within us. Inside every believer is that Light that can never be extinguished.  But life can be hard, gruesome, unkind, and unrelenting at times. Even the best of us waver and lose focus on the Light within, giving way to situations and circumstances that seem to choke the life out of hope.  Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, financial hardship, or health issues, our “Herods” want to find the source of our Light and quench it forever. Just as Herod the King really wanted to kill the Christ child, Satan’s task is to kill our hope once and for all.

Our only recourse is to focus on that Light, but we cannot force ourselves to focus.  If we could, we would have succeeded by now. The key is the source of the Light and it can be found in this verse of scripture:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16 KJV

The key to this whole verse is that God’s love for us caused an action on His part. He gave. Yes, giving is part of our DNA. It’s the reason our faces light up when we see the smile on someone else’s face as a result of our gift . It’s the joy we feel, not expecting anything in return, while walking away more blessed than the recipient. What if we were to turn the tables on our own tragedies like the woman whose son was killed in the line of duty as a police officer. She had every reason to literally stop living.  I can’t imagine losing a child.  But she chose to give by feeding the other police officers every year for Thanksgiving at her house until she was 70 years old. What a blessing!

Christmas can be a tough time for many people and believers are not exempt from the trials of life.  But instead of focusing on “What do the lonely do at Christmas?”;  How about being a blessing to  someone else. It could be something as simple as a smile, a hug, a listening ear, a sandwich to a stranger; paying for someone’s meal, or groceries; There’s no greater gift than the one we have inside of us!  Let’s “Give Love on Christmas Day!” And when we Behold the Star, it alters our perspective!

 

 

 

Bad Decisions Are Not Final

Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. Gen 37:28

It was cold, damp and dark in what used to be a place where water flowed freely and people came to draw from its sweet refreshing contents.  The young man was mentally and physically anguished, disillusioned by his kin that they would actually be excited about his dreams. He should have kept his mouth shut, but he had to share what God had shown him with those closest to him. Look what that got him; thrown into a pit and left there to die. ” …and now what would become of his dreams?…” -the very words spoken by his brethren  rang out in is spirit.  Sometimes we make poor decisions even with the best intentions.  But that doesn’t stop God’s plan for our lives from being accomplished.  It’s not like He is caught by surprise or anything.  If Joseph hadn’t opened his mouth he may have never ended up in Egypt and would not have eventually become the Prime Minister of that country, second in command to Pharoah and responsible for saving his entire  family.

On the other hand, sometimes we make poor decisions knowing full well the error of our ways. Consider Abraham, for example.  God told him he was going to have a son. Granted, he was 75 when he was told this and there was absolutely nothing cookin’ in he and Sarah’s bedroom.  First, God changed that situation with supernatural Viagra. He had to because why else would Sarah offer her handmaid (a sister with a bangin’ body) to be the surrogate and help God out.  Abraham said “Sarah, I believe you heard from the Lord!”  Now you know Jehovah had nothing to do with that. The result was Ishmael who was blessed but not the son of promise. Isaac came just the way God said he would, through Abraham and Sarah.   Generations later, the descendants of this “mistake” purchased Joseph from their brothers the Midianites and took him to Egypt, the location where his purpose was manifested.

God is the air traffic controller of our lives. He proves his love for us in that even when we  “miss it” (our scheduled flight) He always redirects and revamps the flight schedule, sometimes even sending a chartered flight just for you to get you to your destiny.  As long as you are “in Him” (in the terminal – in Christ) you will always reach your destination.. You may not can trust Delta or United, but God can be trusted.