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Fall on the Lamb

A dear friend of mine relayed a story to the rest of us in our women’s Bible study.

In Scotland, two men were thatching a roof. One slipped and fell off.

The other heard him cry out but couldn’t reach out fast enough to save his friend. As he inched toward the edge, the second man heard a thud.  Then an eerie silence. Fearing the worse, the other man was overcome with a feeling of helplessness. His coworker was gone.

He crawled down from the roof and walked around to the side where his friend has fallen.  There the first man stood! Upright, brushing the dirt and thatch from his clothes. He wasn’t even bleeding.

“What happened?” the other man called out in disbelief. “You fell!”

“I know. But just then a herd of sheep sauntered by.” The man pointed to a white lump on the ground behind him.”I fell on that lamb. It took the brunt of my fall. It died to save my life.”

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What a graphic story of redemption. Christ, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, sacrifices Himself for each of us. But here is the catch (pardon the pun.)  He does that each time we slip and fall from God’s grace…if we let Him.

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great . . .” 2 Samuel 24:2

Are you like the man who fell? Do you feel on the edge, teetering? Fall into the arms of Jesus. He is there to catch you if you cry out to Him.

Perhaps you relate to the other man in the story. Do you feel helpless as you watch a loved one plummet into a bad situation? Pray for Jesus to catch them. They might come away with a few scrapes, but they will be saved.

We all want to “do things” in times of crisis. But the best we can do is fall – fall on Christ who will always be there, arms outstretched to receive us. He is the only one who can take the brunt and save us, or any others we know.

The other man couldn’t help his friend. My guess is he gasped a prayer in a moment of distress.

So can we. Each and every time – for ourselves, or those we love.

 


What is a digital ministry? My passion. My mission field is my keyboard, which reaches hundreds of thousands over the internet every month through Power to Change’s websites called  Issues I Face and The Life. We truly are fulfilling the Great Commission to go into all nations over the internet. Want to journey with us?  Sign up for free devotionals sent to your inbox each day. You can volunteer as an online mentor to those searching (don’t panic we will train you and you set your own hours),  you can pray, and you can support the effort with a donation.  

Stirred, Not Shaken

“I have set the Lord continually before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

I watched, a smile etching over my lips. A little girl in front of me stood with her daddy as she waited her turn on the merry-go-round at a local fair. The other kids’ squeals fascinated her as they straddled the up and down steeds. The loud calliope music added to the excitement along with their squeals of laughter. The mirrors and colors swirled by. Her eyes kept widening, stirred by the sounds and motions.

At last the ride slowed to a halt. Kids climbed off and it was her turn to get on. He lifted her onto the pink one. Then, oh so carefully, a shaky little hand groped for her father’s strong one—just to make sure, before he stepped back. The whole time, her daddy stood by her, resting his hand on the plastic horse’s rump, his eyes focused on his daughter as her face changed from worry to wonder.

Then next time, she scrambled to get on, all smiles. Even so, her father resumed his stance. Even though she now enjoyed the ride, he never was more than an arm’s reach from her.

Her dad obviously knew about merry-go-rounds. He understood the joy and the risks, and was prepared for his daughter’s reactions.  He stood by ready to steady her or comfort her. Or to share her laughter. And above all else, to ensure her safety.

For me, that’s God. He is always right there, watching, guiding, protecting me. Whether I am anxious or anticipating something with joy, He never steps away. He lets me experience things, but always under His watchful eye. As life moves up and down, slows and then goes faster, He stays the same. Always within reach. Always ready for me to grab hold and squeeze tight.

Because that is what a loving father does for his daughter.

My heart is stirred…but never shaken.

 


One way God has stretched me is to become a digital missionary with The Life Project. However, to continue to grow in this ministry, I need to become fully funded by partners who will pray and financially support me. Will you join my 20/20 Vision? I am seeking 20people who will pledge to provide  $20 a month.  You can learn more here.  Comment and I can send you more material to peruse so you know this cause is legitimate, why I am so passionate about it, and be assured your money will go to reach people around the world with the message of Hope in Jesus, one click at a time. Thank you for seriously praying about it.

Unaware

“Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?” Jeremiah 23:23

I had to have surgery, which meant undergoing anesthesia. For a natural control freak like me, not knowing what is happening is a huge leap in trust. Especially when I went under with an IV in my left hand and woke up with one in my right.  It freaked me out because I didn’t recall even getting drowsy after they positioned me on the operating table, and then woke up in a different room realizing time had passed without me being aware of it.

Not to mention trusting the anesthesiologist and the surgical team to do what they said they would in my interest, all the while monitoring my vital signs. I had visions of them laughing at my cellulite. But of course, they are way too professional, right? Even so, being unconscious and naked under a flimsy no-size-fits-anyone surgical garb is a bit daunting. Did I mention I have a strong sense of modesty?

Where did I find God in all of this? Not to say I go through my day unconscious, but I do walk through my life with very limited insight.  There is a lot happening that I am not aware of in both the physical and spiritual realms. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that our battles are not always of this reality. There are dominions and principalities in constant spiritual warfare. And we go about our day totally clueless of all the ways we are being guarded and monitored.

Amy Grant recorded a song, “Angels Watching Over Me”, back in the 1990s. She sang about how so many things are orchestrated to protect her that she never sees. All was for her benefit and had a purpose, even though she remained unaware of it.

Perhaps you hit every single red light on the way into work, so you’d not be in the blind spot of the weaving-through-traffic driver three blocks up. Maybe while you waited in line at the grocery store as the coupon queen made sure she had one for each purchase, the dry cleaners you were headed to next was being robbed. We never know—which may be a good thing, in a way.

If I can trust the surgical team to do best by me even when I am not aware of what they are doing, then how much more should I trust my loving Lord?  Quite frankly, as controlling in nature as I tend to be, I’m glad to not always be aware of what is happening outside of my vision. But I hope I do not neglect to thank God anyway.

This past week my life was in the hands of competent individuals. Every day my life rests in the eternal hands who gave those people their abilities. And I’m grateful my surgeon believes it as well.

Power-ful

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

 

It happened…like it always does, I suppose. Murphy’s Law in motion. With a deep smile, I tuned in to TV program I’d been wanting to watch for weeks and in a split second–nothing.

No lights, no electricity, no sound.

I became enveloped in darkness. No street lamp shown through my living room window. I pulled back the curtains to see the whole neighborhood shrouded in black. For almost four hours…on a crystal clear moonless night.

I rarely think about how much I am dependent upon electricity. Most of the time I don’t give it a second thought. I enter the room and flick on the wall switch. I ask my Google mini to play the radio station and boot up my computer to check my emails. I adjust the room thermostat and nuke my food while getting cold water from the fridge. I recharge my phone and my tablet as I sleep. Electrical power is an essential part of my life.

But that night, nothing worked. No power came through the wires. I felt blind and helpless. I sat on the couch for several minutes trying to get my brain to kick in and solve the situation.  After a half hour, I realized the lights were not coming back on anytime soon. There must be a major outage. All I could do was wait. My phone only had 20% power, even on battery saver.  I had no entertainment options. No computer, music or lights. I reminded me of the time I rode out a hurricane. What did I do then? Ah.

I used the flashlight on my phone to dig out the battery-operated lantern, and then located a shoebox of candles in my closet. I lit a few (ignoring the prohibition of their use in my apartment complex, but I doubted the manager would swoop in at eight at night and evict me.) Recalling that if they are placed high up they let off a larger glow, I set them on top of bookcases and countertops. Much better. A soft yellow glow penetrated my apartment.

I prayed a while and mentally went through my prayer list of folks. Still no lights returned, though a few times the power tried to gin back up only to go back down again within a few seconds.  My phone was almost dead so I couldn’t pull up my Bible app. I went to the bookcase, found my old study Bible, blew off the dust, and began to read as my cat curled in my lap. Memories of an elementary school teacher explaining how Abe Lincoln studied to be a lawyer by firelight etched my mind.  I think it was in reference to there being no excuse for us not doing our homework. Funny how things like that surface.

Then Romans 1:20 jumped off the page.  It’s words whacked me in the heart.

How often do I take God’s power for granted? I deeply rely on it. Whenever I need Him, I flick on my prayers and He comes. I plug into His strength when I feel mine diminishing. I seek His warmth when the world feels too cold and harsh. I lean on His love as a widow who, being housebound, often goes for days without any human touch. Without my Lord, I am powerless. I need daily recharging, just like my phone. I rely on His light.

 

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to not have God’s power in your life? Do you expect it to be there whenever you need it, like turning on a  lamp?

Rest assured, unlike the electric company, the power of our loving Lord never goes out. We can always tap into it, and we should…throughout our day and our night.

 

Of All the Nerve

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you as though something strange were happening to you.  I Peter 4:12

piron-guillaume4 – unsplash.com

In a few days I will undergo a surgical procedure that entails burning seven nerve endings in order to relieve the chronic pain I have suffered with the past two years. The nerves will grow back in a few months but if this brings me any relief, it will be indicative to the insurance carrier that I am a candidate for the major surgery three specialists agree I need to permanently resolve the situation.

The idea of them burning things inside my body doesn’t sound very pleasant. Talk about a fiery ordeal! But I know that, even though I will be uncomfortable for a few days, it is for my welfare.

It makes me ponder about the fiery tests God sometimes puts us through for our own good.

Sometimes parents must show their love by allowing their children to suffer. I recall my mom saying, “This will hurt me worse than it hurts you” while tugging on a band-aid or digging out a splinter, or the few times she had to paddle my behind. When I became a mother, I finally understood what she meant.

It’s not that parents like to see their children suffer, and I don’t think God, our Father, does either. However, anyone who has been a parent realizes pain has to happen, at times, for their child’s betterment. Such as slapping their hand to keep them from touching a hot stove, or allowing them to wobble, fall and skin their knee as they learn to balance on a two-wheeler. Or living with the consequences of a bad decision.

Sometimes we have to experience hurt for our own good. God allows that pain in order to squelch a worse one, or to correct something that has gone awry, potentially causing us harm. Despite what our “pain-free” society tries to persuade us, pain can be a good indicator that something is not right. And often, we must endure a bit of suffering in order to experience the blessings of healing.

If we truly believe God can purpose all things for good (Romans 8:28) then we must suffer embarrassment and heartache to come before the throne on our knees to be cleansed of our sins, the way the sting of hydrogen peroxide must bubble up on a cut to disinfect it. Or the twinges of pain as a stitched incision heals. Enduring the uncomfortable feeling for a while is worth it in the end.

I will try to remember to be thankful as they wheel me into the operating room. After all, this procedure is to help me. Praise God it exists.

And the next time God decides what I am going through is worth the pain, let me be thankful that I am in His loving and competent hands. All will be good.


What is a digital ministry? My passion. My mission field is my keyboard, which reaches hundreds of thousands over the internet every month through Power to Change. We truly are fulfilling the Great Commission to go into all nations. Want to journey with us? You can volunteer as an online mentor to those searching (don’t panic we will train you and you set your own hours) , or you can pray, or you can support the effort with a donation. 

Park Your Thoughts

courtesy of brianna-santellan unsplash

A friend drove me to do my weekly shopping, but by the time we got there all  the handicapped spots were occupied. (Many of you know I have to use a walker, so even grocery shopping is a chore.) As we pondered whether she should circle around to drop me at the door then go find a place to park, a car began to back out across the way, right near the entrance. I immediately lifted my hands. “Thank you, Lord.” My driver agreed.

 

I recalled someone asking me if I truly thought God did little things like provide parking spots. My reply? “Why not give God the glory?”

Then, in my Bible reading I ran across Psalm 34. It starts out with a phenomenal faith statement: I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (vs.1)

At all times? Not just when I think He has shown me favor? Would I say “thank you, Lord” if the only parking spot had been 100 yards away and my friend had not been able to take me? Would I have blessed Him when the pain shot down my leg and my foot scraped the ground as I tried to hobble back to my car after a half hour of walking through grocery aisles because all the scooters were being used? Would I thank Him if I’d gotten to the register and discovered some hacker had drained my account when my refrigerator had an echo in it and my cupboards were bare?

Paul put it a different way in his letter to the Philippians. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (4:4).  Always. In every circumstance. Good or bad.

I don’t think it means we shouldn’t get angry in response to injustice. Yes, we may feel frustration.  Our heart may jolt at a strange sound or coil at a perceived danger. It is in our nature to react. But we shouldn’t let it gnaw the edges of our faith.

A singer in an older Christian contemporary song states that whatever happens in life has already passed through God’s hands.  Very true. He knows long before we can. And He is always there, ready to make it a lesson for us. Ready to send helpers to comfort us, and His Spirit to guide us. Even in bad times, “God is good all the time”, as the chant states.

Today, I found a lesson from God in a parking slot and a psalm.

Dearest Lord, I will try harder to live out Psalm 34:1 and Philippians 4:4. If King David, who had to run for his life and hole up in caves, or Paul who suffered whippings and Roman prisons, could, why can’t I? Forgive me when I do not acknowledge You moving in my life. Amen.

To the Letter

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

 

You probably know by now that I love words. Yesterday I looked at two of them:

WORD                   WORLD

The difference? An “L“.  For me it stands for “Law”.

The world is run by law, because it needs order. Otherwise there would be chaos. There is the law of nature, the law of the land, even the law of the jungle.  Paul explains in Hebrews, Chapters 7-9,  that God gave us laws for a reason — because humans, by nature, are lawless.  But he goes on to state that “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.” (Hebrews 10:1)

Jesus is the Word made flesh, according to John 1. When Christ came into the world of law, His job was to remove the L, leaving only His Word. The Word which lives eternally. Actually, in doing so, He replaced the “letter of the law” with another “L” – love.

By inserting Christ’s love into His Word, our worLd can become a very different place. That Love can then lead to Light and Life.

Don’t take my “word” for it. Seek out the Word:

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

So…let me ask you this. What “L” do you want in the middle of your world?

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