A Week Of Firsts

Turning 50

This last week has held two different firsts in my life. The first was that I turned 50. That did not really seem like that much to me. It is just a natural part of life. I have been bald on top since I was 17, so that did not mean much to me. And I have had some grey hair for several years already, nothing new either.

Getting older has never bothered me in any way. I guess having eight wonderful children has kept me young, even though I am getting older and slowing down. I can no longer run as fast, or as long as I used to be able to.

The other first for me this week did have a major impact on me. My oldest daughter got married and I had to be the one to give her away.

I am not one to cry very easy or at every little thing that comes my way. Although there have been movies that have brought tears to my eyes, and I am not ashamed or afraid to cry, when needed.

Over the last few months, since she got engaged, I have been ready for this wedding to happen. I never cried or was sad about it. I was very excited that she was getting married. It never bothered me that she would be leaving the house now, after 23 years.

IMG_1842

However, Saturday, when I began to walk my daughter down the aisle, the emotions started to overwhelm me. It was tears of joy, but tears none-the-less.

One of the things I had to do, as part of the ceremony, was to stand up in front of everyone and pray for her new marriage. She and her husband held hands, the pastor had his hands on them also, and I put my hands on top of hers when I prayed.

I have spoken in front of many people, many times over the years. I have also acted and sang in front of hundreds of people. I have even been the pastor over a wedding and over a funeral. Never once have I been afraid, or unable to speak, till that day.

As I was getting ready to speak, my mind went blank for the first time ever, another first in this past week. What I planned to say completely left me speechless. When I tried to speak, I had to really force the words to come out of my mouth. At that moment, my heart was overwhelmed at what was happening. It was overwhelmed with joy and pride. I also knew the value of the prayer that I was getting ready to pray. It was to be a blessing upon the new marriage.

I knew that the man she was marrying was the one God had for her. If I were to list everything that I would want in a man to marry her, he had it all, and then some. Over the last ten years, I have watched him grow up and become a great man of God. He has a heart to pray for and be a witness to anyone and everyone, anytime and every time. He has a servant’s heart to serve any person in need, no matter the cost to himself. He came from a family that serves God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths.

My daughter had desired to be married since before she graduated high school. She had continually prayed to God for the one that she was to marry. She constantly asked God where that man was and when would she get him. Although my daughter and her husband had grown up together, for most of that time, they were not together or even considering each other. God, however, was building both of them up to be who each one needed the other to be. They are the perfect helpmates for each other.

IMG_1843

As I prayed that prayer of blessing upon them, I knew that God is going to bless their marriage and ministry together. I am looking forward to the ministry that God will do through them, now that they are together in marriage. Both have great ministries of their own, but now together they will work together building God’s kingdom for His glory and honor.

I did pray a blessing over them. God filled me with His overwhelming peace of His Holy Spirit to say the words I prayed. As I prayed, I also had tears of joy welling up in my eyes. Afterwards, my wife was very surprised, because that is not something normal for me.

While I was watching the wedding, and watching it again on video, because it was recorded, I had the same feelings I had when I married my wife 25 years ago. I knew then that my wife was the one God had for me beyond any shadow of doubt. And I still know that to this day with no doubts. As I knew my wife was the one for me, I knew that this man was the one for my daughter. I also know that they will keep God at the center of their lives and their marriage.

IMG_1844

For those who are still single and want to get married, keep your eyes focused on God. He will bring the right person to you at the right time. Wait on His perfect timing.

For those of you who are married, also keep your eyes focused on God. Keep your marriage centered on pleasing God and He will do great things in and through your marriage.

god-is-the-centerof-everything-2-728

Staying in the center of God’s will, will always have many firsts in it, but God will strengthen you to do whatever comes your way or make it through whatever comes your way..

 

Advertisements

Jeremiah 15:16 Joy In God’s Words

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty. Jeremiah 15:16

As Jeremiah spoke the words God had given him, most of those words were not exactly the most comforting, kind words. They were often words of judgment and coming destruction. Yet, Jeremiah found great joy in those words and was glad to eat them. Despite the challenges and trials that Jeremiah had faced, he was glad to bear God’s name before the people. The words of God brought life and meaning to his life. Jeremiah was glad to bear God’s name on his life, despite the persecution he had to go through.

The world tries to say that the Bible is just a good story, but that it is not really from a god. It is often believed to be just a great book of stories made up by men. It is seen as one of the greatest literature books of all time.

The reason the Bible can be listed as the greatest literature of all time, is that it is in reality, God’s words. It was written by men who were under God’s inspiration, filled with His Holy Spirit. Thus the words of the Bible can bring about life. Any one who has life, also has joy.

It is easy to see the Bible as just a bunch of do and don’t regulations, however, it is much more than that. It gives you the instructions on how to really live life to the fullest. It tells you who God is, what He is like, and what He desires. It provides everything that you need in this life.

As you go through your life, day by day, you also need guidance. You need to know who God is, what He is like, and what He desires. All of this can be found in the Bible.

God will reveal Himself, first through the Bible, then through His Holy Spirit in your life. You cannot know too much about God. There is always more to learn. As you get to know God more, you will have more and more joy in your life. That joy will be there despite the trials of this life.

Are you finding joy in His Word today?

Spend your time with His Words today.

I pray today that you will know God more and more; that you will find joy in His word; that God will make the Bible come alive to you; that you will gladly bear His name in public; and that you will gladly speak His words to this world. 

Isaiah 65:2 God Is Holding Out His Hands

All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations–Isaiah 65:2

All throughout the Old Testament the nation of Israel would walk away from God and choose their own paths. They would pursue a path that, to them, appeared to be the best path. That path would be one without God in it. As they were doing this God would continually hold out His hands wanting to take them back. His great desire was to restore their relationship with Him.

Although several thousand years have passed, the pattern is still occurring worldwide. People every where are pursuing their own dreams and imaginations. Many feel if they can just get the right job position, or the right house, or hit a certain level of being famous, or live in the right area, or marry the right person, or some other thing, then everything will be perfect. Life will be the best if these things are met.

All of these things are just like taking a drug. They will make a person happy for a moment, but will quickly wear off. One will need to get more and more, higher doses to keep the happiness desired. Often a lot of these things that they pursue are not good for them, and are not what God wants for them.

As they are walking down these paths, searching for joy and contentment, God is reaching out His arms to them. He has the perfect plan for each one. He has a path for them, that will bring perfect contentment, joy and peace.

Many people look at what God has to offer and reject His arms reaching out to them. They see it as hard and difficult, with no real joy. God’s joy and peace is not always for the immediate, it is usually for the long run. His ways are the best ways in the end and are not just temporary fixes.

Each day, as you walk through this life, know that God is reaching His arms out to you, to hold you and guide you through this life. He wants the absolute best for you.

Are you willing to jump into His arms and trust Him?

Or will you continue, like most of the world, to follow your own imaginations?

I pray today that you will see God reaching out to you; that you will trust God’s arms of guidance; that God will strengthen you to turn from sinful imaginations and pursuits; and that you will walk in the ways of God.

Isaiah 56:6-7 Joy In Prayer

And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant–these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. Isaiah 56:6-7

Some things that have to be done in life are not always the most exciting or joyful things to do. For each person that list is different. Some people find great joy weeding a garden, while the other person finds it an extreme torture. Some find it challenging to work with little children, while others get great joy in it.

Prayer is something that many believers find as a great chore, often with very little to no joy. When a pastor calls for a prayer meeting, often very few show up for it. It is common to hear of people say that when they try to make a prayer time with God, they end up falling asleep. You may find this challenge sometimes or, maybe, all the time.

Yet, God says that He will give them joy in His house of prayer. Keep in mind that you are the temple of the Lord. Your body is God’s house. And is house, is one of prayer–communication with Him.

Think about how much joy it gives you to talk to your best friend. Most people find great joy in that.

It should be the same way, and even more so, with God. God is better than your best friend could ever be. He truly knows every little detail about your life.

Prayer is just communication, talking with God. It is not some solemn, spiritual act. It is talking and listening to each other. You do not need to use fancy church words, speak in your own words. He does not need doctorate degree words.

As you talk and listen to God, you will find great joy. You will learn God’s heart for you and this world. You will learn what God has for you each day.

Spend time talking to God. Don’t look at it as  just prayer, but a time to chat with God. And do it all throughout the day and night, not just on Sunday and meals.

I pray today that you will find joy in prayer to God; that you will know God hears your prayers; that you will find time to talk and listen to God; and that God will work through your prayers.

Isaiah 35:1-2 Blooming With Joy

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel  and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2

Deserts are amazing places. When there is no rain, all a person can see is sand as far as the eye can see. At the times of the rains, however, the landscape changes. Grass and flowers shoot up and blossom everywhere, almost overnight. The desert flowers shine brightly with many colors. Life arises very quickly in the desert with the rains.

Isaiah paints this picture as he describes the time of God’s splendor being revealed on the earth. That splendor is the salvation that Jesus provides. Jesus, like the rains, brings new life where everything was dead.

People living in this world, live in a desert. There is no real life, even though they feel as though they are living life to the fullest. Life is full of fear, worries, pain, suffering, meaningless, hatred, jealousy, and death. There seems to be no meaning to what is going on in the world.

Once a person accepts the forgiveness Jesus provides, there is a new life. Jesus makes a person a new creation, with new, abundant life.

It is at this point that the person bursts with shouts of joy. They have new life. Their outlook on life has changed. In what was a desert place, there is now life, blooming with great joy.

Your life may be or may have been a desert place, when you did not know Jesus. Going through life may be mundane and boring, with no excitement or joy.

Following Jesus will allow you to bloom with God’s glory and splendor. You are God’s prized possession, because of what Jesus has done for you and in you. You can know the joy of the salvation given to you. You can know abundant life that Jesus provides.

As you go through this life, allow yourself to be filled with abundant joy and life. Bloom with the characteristics of God in this desert place of a world.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your savior; that you will allow God to make you into a new creation; that you will bloom with the joy of God in this world; and that you will bring life to those around you.

Psalm 126:5 Sowing With Tears

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalm 126:5

Crying is something that many look at as a weakness in a person. This is especially true for men, but for many women they see it the same way. Most people want to be seen as strong and tough, not soft and tender.

When people cry, it is usually over something that has made them sad. Usually it is something that has occurred in their life that was not good. Death is one of the most common reasons for a person to cry. They cry out in memory of the one that they lost. Crying has a way of releasing the hurt inside a person. It can bring about relief and peace in the end.

The strongest man who ever lived had cried multiple times many tears for other people. He wept tears over the death of Lazarus, over the city of Jerusalem, and at the point of going to the cross. This was Jesus. He was the strongest man, because He was able to endure all the persecution of men and the cross without cursing men or God.

Jesus had wept many tears over those who were suffering and lost in their sin.

Many believers do not weep over the lost, but condemn them with many accusations. They want to point out how a person is living in sin and is wrong, rather than show them the love of Jesus and the way to have true life.

Along with not crying over the lost, many do not even cry over their own personal sins. They do not see their sins as that big of a deal or see how much they are harming God with the sin in their life.

When you see those in the world, living in sin, your heart should break like Jesus’ heart did. You should be weeping and praying that God will find a way to touch those lives and bring them the salvation Jesus provides.

Along with weeping over the world, you should be weeping over the sin you have allowed in your life. Seek God’s forgiveness.

As you cry many tears over both these issues, God will show you His love and mercy. Lives will be touched and changed, both your life and the lives of others.

As this happens, you will reap songs of joy. In the end you will walk the streets of gold with God in heaven with many other people. It will be worth it all in the end. Sow tears today and reap joy tomorrow.

I pray today that you will know the heart of God; that you will not fear weeping before God and men; that your heart will be filled with God’s love for others and Him; and that lives will be changed through your crying out to God.

Psalm 98:4 Shout For Joy

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; Psalm 98:4

People everywhere shout for joy when something happens that is good and that they want. Watch a football game and see how much people will shout for joy when their team wins a score or wins the game. Add how much more people will be shouting when their team wins the Superbowl.

There are many other individual times when people may shout for joy. Times such as when they get a pay raise or promotion, a new baby is born, someone gets married, or some other great event in their lives.

With all of these events, they are all one time events that is usually soon forgotten. The lives of people move on and the burdens of the day get them down.

It is common for most people to question what they should shout for joy about. Most are searching for just a little joy in their lives and cannot seem to find any. The bills and cares of this world loom like a huge wall in front of them blocking them from joy, pulling them down into despair.

The psalmist said that the everyone is to shout for joy and burst into song. Going back to verse one shows the reason why. It is because God has done marvelous things and provided salvation.

Take a moment to think about all the things God has done in your life. These are all the good things He has done. Provided food, shelter, life, clothing, and that is just the very basics.

Have you seen a beautiful sunrise or sunset? God gave that.

Have you seen a beautiful day? God gave that.

Have you been blessed with a great friendship with someone? God gave that.

Have you seen the beautiful stars at night? God gave that.

Do you have a job? God gave that.

Do you have a family? God gave that.

And the greatest gift God has given you is the salvation that Jesus had provided by dying on the cross. He died to give you life.

If this little list of things God has done for you does not make you shout for joy, then you are dead. Your focus is on the wrong things. Turn your focus on what God has done and know the joy that He has for you. Shout for joy today for what God has done.

I pray today that you will know what God has done for you; that you will be filled with the joy of the Lord; that you will not focus on the wrongs of this life; and that you will shout for joy to God for what He has and is doing in you.