Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Truth


 

It has been said that those whose responsibility it is to recognize counterfeit bills are trained not by careful study of them but rather by studying the real ones. They become  so thoroughly acquainted with the legitimate bills they  immediately recognize those that aren’t truly authentic. 


We live in times when truth has become a rare commodity - or perhaps it would be more accurate to say we now have many different versions of the truth depending on your particular point of view. Your truth, some would have us believe, may be different from mine, but as long as it doesn’t hurt others in some way you’re entitled to believe whatever you deem correct. It’s all relative.


It leaves us standing on very shaky ground. With no foundational principles how can we possibly know what is really true? If truth can shift with every cultural change or with popular opinion or with whatever is most advantageous to me in my current circumstances how can it be real? We need something to stand on no matter what is happening in and around our lives - unchanging truths that have stood the test of time and are absolute. The only place we can find them is in the Word of God. 


For countless ages the truths found in the Bible have not only provided a strong foundation on which to live, they have changed lives. Holy Spirit breathed words that flowed from the pens of many different authors over hundreds of years all came together to tell the story of God’s love for us. 


Truth cannot be relative. It must be absolute. This is the truth found in scripture. This is the unchanging, life changing Word of God. 


"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right."  II Timothy 3:16



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A New Year

We enter this new year with what surely must be a world-wide wish that it will be better than the one we've just come through. We would like nothing more than to leave behind the fear, worry, grief, weariness and loss we've all experienced to one degree or another. Life has changed in more ways than we could have imagined, and it's hard to remember the way things used to be.

They come every winter, and this year they have come in astounding numbers. Our little piece of Texas earth has been filled with robins - eating, flitting and resting. This morning I ran from window to window marveling at their numbers. They didn't hurry off today still feeding and mingling until well into the evening. 




Their coming always reminds me of the miracle of creation and the wonder of God's faithfulness. They have come so far at just the right time - a wonder. 

It's true - we all want this year to be better. We long for healing, hope and community; for justice, truth and love. We long for things to change. We have quietly slipped into days labeled "2021."We pray and hope and wait for all things to be made new.

Perhaps it would do us well to remember those things that haven't changed - those things that will never change. The One who sends the robins on their annual journey south remains the same. He is still our hope and peace, our sure foundation. His promises to be with us, to bear our burdens, to weep with us when we weep and comfort us in our sorrow never fail. We can trust His word and believe Him when He assures us He is in control - that He loves us with immeasurable love and has our good in mind - even when circumstances would suggest otherwise. Our doubts and fears don't put upset Him. He understands. 

Most precious of all, I think, is the unchanging truth that in Him we have the hope (the confident expectation) of eternal life in heaven with Him. He is with us as we wait in that hope - making all things new. 


 Blessings,

Linda

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

His Plan

DSCN5133They were living in difficult times. The oppressive boot of Rome had come down heavily on Palestine. The people staggered beneath the weight of poverty and unjust taxation. To make matters worse, the Emperor, Caesar Augustus, had  issued a decree that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. Quite a proposal even for one who considered himself to be a god.

It would require everyone to travel to the city of his ancestors to register for a census that would enable Rome to tax them even further. For one young couple, it would mean traveling seventy miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem – a difficult journey under the best of circumstances, nearly impossible for a teenage girl only days away from giving birth to her first child.

What went through Joseph’s mind as he looked with tender eyes at his young fiancee? Did he question God’s timing in all of this? Did his mind reel with  imagined scenarios of what could go wrong? Suppose Mary’s labor begins on the road to Bethlehem? Suppose she has complications? How will I keep her safe?

Or did he remember the words of the prophet – words he had surely read:

“But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”  Micah 5:2

And in the remembering, did a deep sense of peace fill his heart? This God, who had done this miraculous thing, was in control. He had taken a man who thought he was more powerful and wise than any other and used him to fulfill the promise made hundreds of years ago. The Savior would be born in Bethlehem, and Caesar Augustus was unknowingly playing his part.

We, too, live in difficult times. It is easy to forget that nothing happens apart from God’s sovereign will. There is a plan. This tiny baby, born in the exact place God had foretold, is coming again one day. Earthly powers, filled with an overblown sense of their own greatness, will fade into insignificance. One is coming who is ruler of all.

We celebrate His coming as a baby. We await His coming as King of kings and Lord of lords. We trust that He is in control and that all things will work together according to His plan.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”  Rev. 22:20

Blessings,

Linda


Saturday, December 19, 2020

At Just the Right Time







We have come to rely on the predictability of time. Hours become days and multiplied days swiftly turn into weeks. We count on the changing of seasons - each one flowing into another  as we tick off another year. We find a measure of comfort in knowing what comes next.

How nice it would be, we think, if we could count on the important issues of our lives resolving themselves with the same predictability. We pray to the God who has promised to hear and answer prayer - trusting Him with the deepest needs of our hearts and lives. We believe all He has said, and we want desperately for Him to come through - now. We need the answer now.

Sometimes it comes right on time - our time. More often than not - we wait. Our deadline comes and goes and still no answer. We pray all the harder and lean into faith, but the heavens are "become like brass."  (Deuteronomy 28:23)

When heaven is silent, discouragement, doubt, fear and even anger try to set up camp in our hearts. We see time slipping away. It's late - too late. It will never work out the way we planned. We wonder if the promises are true.

All the while, in the silent waiting, God moves to the rhythm of His perfect timetable. Paul tells us in Romans 5:6 "When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners." 

The Old Testament closes with a promise in the book of Malachi.  One will come to restore the hearts of mankind before “the great and terrible day of the Lord.” Surely welcome news to a backslidden nation.

Then for four hundred years, ten generations, heaven was silent. Not one word.  The people must have wondered if God had forgotten His promise.  

God was not indifferent to man’s distress. Time was ticking down to the moment set apart long before time began - to the coming of the promised One. 

On a dark, lonely night in a stable in Bethlehem, a baby’s cry pierced the silence. All of heaven rejoiced - for from that moment nothing would be the same. The promised One had come.

At just the right time.

Stories of God's perfect timing fill the pages of scripture. What looks to us like "too late," is "just the right time" to Him. If we had the ability to look into the future, we wouldn't hold God to our demanding timetable. We would see what eventually becomes evident - His ways are perfect and just. Even His timing - especially His timing.


Blessings,
Linda










Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Hope In the Darkness

 


Once again the green has turned to red, bringing beauty to another Christmas. With my lack of gardening skills, it feels like nothing less than a miracle. For two years in a row this seemingly fragile plant has bloomed in celebration of Jesus’ birth. 


All through the spring and summer it was touch and go. When her leaves turned brown on the edges, I thought the culprit was too much sunlight and moved her to another room. When so many leaves turned yellow and began dropping off, I thought I wasn’t watering enough or that I had over-watered. I didn’t think we would have her with us this Christmas, but I never gave up hope. 


The earth slowly changed position and darkness began to come earlier. I left her alone in the unlit guest room - waiting. Slowly they began to appear - tiny red leaves that would soon grow into beautiful blooms. 


In spite of, or perhaps because of, the months of suffering and long nights hidden away in the darkness, she bloomed - a lovely picture of the good God promises to birth out of our struggles and sorrows. We wait, not without hope but with confident expectation in the One who loves us. The One who came and gave His very life for us. 


Blessings,

Linda

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Light


 “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good;” Genesis 1


Over a deep, dark nothingness the Spirit hovered, and the Lord spoke creation into being. First came the light dispersing the darkness. “God saw that the light was good.”


Hundreds of years passed. Man’s choice to go his own way  had created a barrier between him and God. Into the dark  silence of a longing world, God, through the angel Gabriel, spoke to a young girl:


“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;” Luke 2: 35


The promised, long awaited Light was coming. A Light that would disperse the darkness and bring hope and life to a dying world. Always the light -making a way through the darkness. 


We rejoice in HIs coming and give thanks that the Light has come. 


Blessings,

Linda


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Our Light Has Come


“the people dwelling in darkness

    have seen a great light,

and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,

    on them a light has dawned.”

Matthew 4:16


One day slips into another and the darkness deepens. It has been a season in which we long for the light - for someone to rescue us from circumstances beyond our control.


So it was in the days when the life of a young girl, living in the darkness of an uncertain world, was changed forever. The promised Light would come to shatter the darkness. She had only to wait.


On this first day of advent - we remember and wait for His coming. May this season find the darkness of a weary, sorrowful world shattered by the Light. May it shine in us and through us on a world longing for release. 

 Blessings,

Linda