Wednesday, August 29, 2012

8/29/12 – Guaranteed!

     Satisfaction guarateed. Remember those words? Remember when they meant something? I don't know about you, but lately I've been very disheartened by the lack of quality in the goods I've purchased. And customer service, forget about it! The last time we bought a vacuum cleaner, we had to return it two times before we got one that worked. Sad, eh?
     And it seems that even buying “name brand” doesn't always help. My daughter, Juli, and I enjoy decorating cakes. In the cake decorating world, “Wilton” was always a name brand you could trust to have excellent quality. Recently though we bought a cookie sheet from them that burns everything you put on it and two decorator bags that split wide open before their first use. Not what we expected when we went with the Wilton product. We've also seen it in the motorcylcle world. My husband, John, had the opportunity to work as a fill-in worker at the Harley-Davidson plant during his lay-off. While working there, he saw the decline in quality parts and the rush job in labor just to get more bikes on the road faster. Of course, the result is more recalls, unhappy customres, and unhappy employees. Several men shared with John that they used to be proud to work at Harley and to own the product they produced. Now, many employees confessed that they would never buy the product they are producing now. (Sorry to all you Harley fans out there!) And the bad experiences don't stop there, but my “ranting” will! (Aren't you glad?)
     Aren't you also glad that our God is a God of His word. He is a God of promises and a God of keeping His promises. He is the God who promised Abraham and Sarah a child in their old-age. He is the God who promised Noah a way through the flood. He is the God who promised David that he would be king one day. He was the God who promised Israel a land of their own. He was the God who promised Moses that he would go ahead of the Israelites through the desert. He is the God who sent Jesus to be our reconciler and redeemer! He is a God who keeps His promises! Guarateed!
     Even the names of God show His promises and hold a light up to reveal His character. He is Jehovah Rophe, the Lord our healer. He is Jehovah El Emeth, the Lord God of truth. He is El Eyon, most high God. He is El Emunah, the faithful God. He is Jehovah Elohe Yeshuathi, the Lord God of my salvation. He is Jehovah-jireth, the Lord shall provide. He is Jehovah Bore, the Lord Creator. He is El Rai, the God who sees me. He is Jehovah Maginnenu, the Lord our defense. He is Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace. He is Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. The list of name could go on and on. He is a big God and a single name would never do Him justice. But tucked in those names are promises, beautiful promises. He will provide. He will judge. He will make a way! It's in His name, it's in His charater, and we have witness in His word that He has kept every promise He ever made. Finally a guarantee we can count on!
     Take a little time today and read through Hebrews chapter 11. Often called the great faith chapter, it recounts the work of God in the lives of men and women throughout the old testament who walked by faith and saw God's faithfulness first hand. But remember, they are not supernatural human beings. They were men and women, just like you and I, who walked in faith, believing in their supernatural God to keep His word. Then, as the writer of Hebrews says, “since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down st the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

8/21/12 – Giving Up

     Have you ever felt like just giving up? Chances are that at some point in your life you've faced hardships or disappointments that made you feel like just throwing in the towel. If any of those times in your life stretched on for months or even years, then you can relate to the feeling of being on an emotional roller coaster. One day, you wake up and feel ready for the challenges. Nothing can bring you down. This trial can only last so long, right? You've got this! But then you wake up the next day and there's more bad news to face, more bills in the mailbox, another broken appliance, another child needing to go to the doctor, another bad test result. On those days, you just want to throw up your hands and yell, “I've had enough!”
     David, in the book of Psalms, puts these feelings into words beautifully. “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;” (Psalm 13:1-3) It sounds like David was definitely on the low end of the roller coaster ride when he penned these words, doesn't it? He obviously felt like giving up. But, he didn't give up. Instead he poured out his heart to the God he knew could bring him through. The God who had promised him that he would one day be king. The God who promises all of us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Psalm 27:10; Hebrews 13:5)
     After pouring out his heart to God, holding nothing back, David ends this prayer with a beautiful statement of faith including his resolve to praise God for His goodness. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:5-6) It would be fun to know how long it took David to write this Psalm. Was it written all at once, or did it take him some time? I know I have some journal entries that run a lot like this prayer. I come to God with questions and fears and He slowly, but surely draws me back to the truth of His word and the power of His promises. Sometimes this transformation of my attitude can take 10 minutes, other times an hour. Sometimes I leave my devotional time without feeling much better, but with at least a much better mindset. Off course, that change in mindset slowly works it's way into how I feel, but there are times when my heart can be pretty stubborn!
     So, the next time you're at the bottom of your roller coaster ride, remember your heavenly Father wants you to know He's right there with you. He feels your every pain and wants to help you through it. He never rejoices in our pain, He grieves with us and wants what's best for us. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.