BECAUSE I believe, I see …

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“Seeing is believing,” so goes the old saying, but is that true? Yes, I wanted to see that my students had finished their homework.  Yes, if the package of lunchmeat I had thawing on the kitchen counter was missing, and I saw my dog  licking her lips and paws …. But when it comes to things spiritual, things of and about God, are we supposed to wait until we see Lake Michigan part or the old city  walls of Chiang Mai implode before we assume that God is in our midst? Do we hold out for absolutely unexplainable by anything other than a miracle events in front of us before we’ll begin to give slight credence to the “remote” possibility that God exists, much less loves us and wants to be in relationship with us?

I could re-title this blog “Because I’ve believed, I’ve seen ….” and I’m not frivolously connecting random events in my life to the presence of God in my life, as some might think,”to tell myself a story to make myself feel better.” Some people think the Bible is a collection of fairy tales, but millions of lives transformed by the presence of God’s Spirit in their existence down through thousands of years, even giving them the strength to face death for standing for the One in whom they believed,  tell me what they haven’t “seen”  is more real than what we trust in because we can see it.

I think we all have a natural inclination to doubt. Thomas, one of the twelve men closest to Jesus, saw miracles: the blind given sight, the lame walking, bread and fish multiplied, lepers cleansed, and the dead raised. He SAW these miracles come by the hand and person of Jesus, yet after Jesus was crucified, Thomas wasn’t sure Jesus was truly the promised Messiah, God in the flesh.

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20: 24-29 NIV

BECAUSE I believe, I’ve  seen:

A miracle of healing in my own body; a child after it looked like I’d never have a second one; a chance to use my writing gifts (I didn’t make myself a writer!) to help, incredibly, write books that went around the world; saving the lives of all four of us from a plane crash on August 16, 1987; saving my husband from a fatal fall at the Grand Canyon in 1988; the certainty wo days before he died that my fathe’r spirit was still fully intact even though he had Alzheimer’s and hadn’t spoken in two years; a connection in a move across the country that I’d need ten years later to help me connect with my family during an emergency they had across the world; the card-making”girls’ night out”  workshop my buddies helped me create to take to a conference blessed SO many more people than I expected; the rescue of my trip overseas when the carrier changed a flight schedule and the agency I booked my flight through wanted to cancel my trip; a stranger behind me at an airport on my way home from Asia to, out of the blue, show me the van I needed to take in a sea of vans in the parking lot; another stranger at an airport in Asia, behind us, to out of the blue help us find our way to the terminal we needed to reach to board our flight on time; the couple – who didn’t even attend our church – in the row in front of us, there just to see a friend baptized,  and as we introduced ourselves after the service, Kate told me about the amazing Monday morning worship intercession group I’ve been blessed to be part of for two years; the perect person to meet to donate the tandem to the perfect non-profit; turning back from my walk route to say hello to the woman with her back turned to me who was standing in the cross street, only to meet Jessica and Brian and the improbable connection we discovered, new neighbors there to plant a church  …

 

“GOSH, Rose, there are a lot of coincidences in your life!”

Coincidence my eye! Go ahead and read my old blog posts back from 2008 to the present. Everywhere along my journey, God has put people in my life to remind me He loves and cares for me, connected me with people who needed to hear something from Him, done incredible things I never expected from the little things I did to try to show Christ’s love to others. If you think for a minute I think those things are accidental, please try computing the probability that any one of those things happened “by chance.” Then compute the probability that they ALL did!

24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’[a]

28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“‘We played the pipe for you,  and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7: 24-25 NIV

So who do you think the man Jesus was, and IS?

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.Philip once said,”Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us” (John 14:8).

Jesus said,”Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! …believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen Me do” (John 14:9-11).

My whole purpose in writing this blog, in putting together the book that came out of it, has been and is to show you through my own life that GOD IS REAL! GOD IS ALIVE! GOD IS LOVE! GOD CARES ABOUT YOU! JESUS DIED TO GIVE YOU – OUT OF HIS SACRIFICE – THE WAY TO COME INTO RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! YOU MATTER TO GOD! GOD’S SPIRIT IS ALIVE AND WILL COME INTO YOUR LIFE IF YOU ASK HIM! HE WANTS TO DO WONDERFUL THINGS THROUGH YOUR LIFE, YES, YOUR LIFE, BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU!

Down off my soapbox now, but I wish I could convey to you the passion, the sense of urgency I have for everyone who reads this to know, truly KNOW, God who is your Father in Heaven, come to Him through His Son Jesus, and live in fellowship with God’s Holy Spirit every day of your existence on Earth and every day forever after! Who He is for me, He will be for you, too.  God wants you to know that, and that’s why he nudges me and some days pushes me to write; it’s evidently part of my purpose here on Earth.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7: 7-11 NIV

All of you, my friends, who do know Jesus as theLord of your life and lover of your soul, please tell someone else who he is and what he’s done in YOUR life. Risk it, because you and all of us only have a short time to truly BE disciples and make disciples! And any of you who don’t yet know Jesus – Just ask Jesus into you life as your Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and yes King; seek, knock, believe he’s real and he loves you, and I can promise you, YOU WILL SEE!

Today write your own “…BUT…” prayer for God Almighty to move through in your life. In Jesus’ name, by the power of God’s Spirit, amen!

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“Don’t you want my happiness?”

Has anyone ever asked you this question?

 

Of course I hope my loved ones are happy, and I enjoy being a part of their  happiness, but I suspect we need to examine what happiness we’re talking about. Earthly, temporal “happiness” is temporary. Things wear out, clothing goes out of style, the newest update of electronic gadgets seems to come annually, rendering whatever I have now “obsolete” and therefore no longer useful; “stuff” collects dust and can be broken or stolen or lost; swimming pools need constant sweeping and chemistry added; lovely lawns need to be mowed, watered,fertilized, weeded and protected from insects; a bigger house means bigger  electric bills; even my good memories of wonderful vacations and experiences  in exotic places can be lost to vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s, strokes …. and sadly, people we love move away, get sick, and eventually die.

So what kind of happiness does last? And what kind of happiness should we be hoping for, praying for, and investing in for ourselves and our loved ones? Jesus sure had. and has,  the answer to these questions!

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21 ESV

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” 22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,[b] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his[c] kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12: 13-32 ESV

You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7: 16-29 ESV

The evangelist Oswald Chambers spoke about where we can find true, lasting happiness that enriches our life now and gives us the blessing of happiness eternally with God in His Kingdom.

“In the biographies of eminent saints, you will find many instances recorded in which Jesus has been pleased in a very special manner to speak to their souls and to unfold the wonders of His person; in this way their souls have been steeped in happiness, and they have thought themselves to be in heaven. Although they were not there, they were close to the threshold of it–for when Jesus manifests Himself to His people, it is heaven on earth; it is paradise in embryo; it is bliss begun.

Special manifestations of Christ exercise a holy influence on the believer’s heart. One effect will be humility. If a man says, “I have had such-and-such spiritual communications, I am a great man,” he has never had any communion with Jesus at all; for “the LORD regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.”1 He does not need to come near the haughty to know them and will never give them any visits of love. Another effect will be happiness; for in God’s presence there are pleasures forevermore. Holiness will be sure to follow. A man who has no holiness has never had this manifestation. Some men profess a great deal; but we must not believe anyone unless we see that his actions agree with what he says. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked.”2 He will not bestow His favors upon the wicked, for He will neither cast away a perfect man, nor will He respect an evildoer. Thus there will be three effects of nearness to Jesus–humility, happiness, and holiness. May God give them to you,”Christian!”

I can honestly say I HAVE tasted the Presence of Jesus here on Earth. Decades ago after one Easter sunrise service at our church, very simple but from the hearts of everyone who added their creativity and passion to the service, God blessed us, “kissed” us, honored us by the weight of His Presence in our little sanctuary for a full  ten minutes, when none of us could move or speak, so powerful was the sense of the Person and Holiness of God. And ever since, I have never wanted anything more than I want to be in that Presence again and again and forever.

For two years on Monday mornings, for three hours I’ve been blessed to be part of a worship intercession group, a gathering of some 15-20 women from 8-12 churches united there in the passion to see the unsaved saved, our loved ones come to know and receive Jesus as Savior, nations, governmental bodies, terrorist groups come to the Cross of Jesus and find God’s incredible, unmerited, lavish love for them. I truly believe we’re on the same “wavelength” as God’s heart, and for that reason the  Presence of God shows up regularly. Yes, through closed eyelids I’ve “seen” the fluttering wings of angels – and no, I am not drunk or “on” anything other than Jesus, Holy Spirit, and Father God – and others in the room actually saw them at the same time! We feel blessed, loved, empowered, humbled, strengthened,cherished, and yes, we know God’s broken heart, too, to see everyone we care about come to genuinely and fully receive His love. I read recently that sin doesn’t just break God’s laws; it breaks God’s heart, and that matters much more than religious legalism! I never want to break God’s heart because He love me so much and gave so much for me to be his!

Yes, I feel “happy” on Mondays in that group and in God’s Presence, I feel like my true self, created to be an intercessor and worshiper, fulfilling part of my purpose and calling from my Creator, Father, Lord, Savior, Redeemer, King, Friend, the Lover of my soul.

“Don’t you want my happiness?” YES, I WANT EVERY ONE OF YOU READING THIS TO TRULY EXPERIENCE RELATIONSHIP, LOVING RELATIONSHIP, HUMILTY, HOLINESS AND HAPPINESS WITH ALMIGHTY GOD THROUGH JESUS! I want my family, my friends, my acquaintances, my  neighbors, even my enemies, especially my enemies and the ones who’ve asked me this question, to KNOW and EXPERIENCE this happiness that transcends, overwhelms, surpasses temporal Earthly “good things.”

The whole reason I post this blog, the whole reason I turned parts of it into a devotional prayer journal “Move Your “…BUT…”- A Journey Into God’s Heart”  for you to make your own and speak intimately with God’s Holy Spirit yourself, is this very reason: that you might know the happiness that comes from relationship, as a child of Almighty God who made you for loving relationship with Him. If I could box it and sell it, or better yet, give it away,, I would, not for my gain, but for the pure joy of everyone on Earth knowing this happiness and breathless joy I’ve known and know. Sadly I can’t do that.  Only God can do that for and in you,  through Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit, but if you DO want happiness that won’t ever go away, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK FOR IT!

If I could only transplant my heart and what I feel in my spirit into yours … that would be true bliss for me. What I can do is share this with you, in hopes that you’ll tgrust God’s love enough to ask and open your heart to Him. Don’t you want my happiness? 🙂

Take a look at the people singing this song. Do they look unhappy??!!! Fill in the blank with your own words No, they look __________________________________________________

A  “…;BUT…” to pray: Jesus, I admit I want ______________________________________ BUT YOU have the truly lasting happiness that will never leave me, never forsake me, make my life on of meaning, purpose,  and  ultimately, humbled joy when I stand before the Throne of Your Father God, so I’m asking you in faith, come into me and ___________________________

____________________________________________________________ in Jesus’ name, by the Holy Spirit, and I’m waiting and listening and eager and downright hungry!

I’m SOOOO Glad God knows the engine from the caboose!

I still remember the diagram in the little Four Spiritual laws booklet. Fact is the engine. Feelings don’t drive faith; fact and faith drive feelings.xpersonal-follow-up-your-new-life-train.png.pagespeed.ic.89DaW7D4uY

I remembered an old song from – gasp – 1957 this afternoon, and it started me thinking about human “love” and God’s LOVE, and I asked myself this question: What if God only loved me/us when we MADE HIM FEEL happy, or when we DID enough to “please” Him? I once heard, “You just aren’t doing it for me…”   Ask yourself if you’ve ever given God reason to say that, and seriously ask yourself how you would react if you heard GOD say that to you! (Then ask yourself why you expect other people to always “make” you feel happy and withold your love when they don’t…..)

If we had to do enough things to “make God feel happy” all the time or “do it for Him” to “earn” His love for us, the Earth would have been a cold pile of lifeless rock a LOOOOONG time ago and God would have truly given us what C. S. Lewis called in his book “The Great Divorce.” If GOD walked out ….. no more physical laws governing the Universe (since He created them), no more life in our bodies (since life itself comes from God) and DEFINITELY no eternal life with God in Heaven through Jesus, who loved YOU, regardless of your performance or how you measured up to His expectatioons, enough to die for you.

Are we not BLESSED that God ”took the same course” I took from  hmm … it was either Focus on the Family or Campus Crusade waaaay back in the late ’70’s, called “Love Is A Decision” ? Human love may seem to start in those tingly feelings (based primarily on hormones and brain chemistry), but love that is genuine, love is real and true and that lasts, is a conscious choice give to and do good for and stick by the other person regardless of how you happen to “feel” or if you don’t “feel” on any given day.

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’ Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

Joshua 1:5, No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 1 John 4: 7-14 NIV

All I can say to that is THANK GOD THAT HE LOVES US TRULY TILL THE TWELFTH OF FOREVER because HE CHOOSES TO BE AND TO GIVE EVERLASTING LOVE not based on our merit or how “happy” we “make” Him.  I want to choose to love as God loves, and yes, the train can chug along quite well even without the caboose!

And here’s the REAL love song:

Maybe I’m stubborn in this, but as Beth Moore delights to say, “I’m believing GOD!”

Your own “… BUT…” goes here: God, I know I get it wrong and I’m sure sometimes the way I live and the way I treat others doesn’t “make YOU happy.” BUT  God, amazingly, impossibly, undeniably, You tell me you love me, and as I come to you through the gift of Jesus Your Son and believe all Jesus did and bought for me on the cross, I choose to believe the FACT that YOU ___________________________________________________ and I take it by faith. And yes, any time you want to attach the caboose of my feelings to the reality of Your LOVE, I rejoice! In Jesus’ name, amen!