The Link of Love

Jesus saves

Then Peter opened his mouth and said, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ-He is Lord of all- Acts 10:34-36

Have you ever made a paper chain? Perhaps when you were young or you helped your children create one. You take brightly colored strips of paper and glue them together one by one interlocking them as you go. When it gets as long as you want it, you take a concluding strip and lock the ends together to make it complete. This reminded me of Cornelius.

Cornelius is found in Acts Chapter 10. He was a devout man who feared God, prayed regularly and gave to the poor. He was also a Gentile, one not from the nation of Israel. It doesn’t say how he knew about God. I can suppose someone told him. Cornelius believed in God and contributed daily to his chain but was missing the last link. He could add to it forever but without knowledge of the new covenant his chain would never be complete.

An angel appeared to him and told him that his prayers and gifts to the poor had come up before God as an offering. He instructed him to send for Peter who was staying in Joppa and he would tell him what he must do.

In the mean time God had sent a message to Peter letting him know that what God had cleansed he must not call it unclean. God was broadening Peter’s diet but also was letting him know that Jesus died for everyone of every nation, not just Israel. Friend that means you and me!

I adore how God brings a plan together! It is always so detailed and perfect. It is never like I think it will be, so grateful!

Just as Peter had received the message two men from Cornelius came for him. They would travel the next day.

Cornelius wasn’t just hanging out at home waiting for 4 days. He was calling together relatives and close friends to come and hear the words of Peter. They were all there waiting on him when he arrived.

I imagine that every day activity had stopped for these people. There were no phones or any other method of communication except messengers so they had no idea when his exact time of arrival would be. I suppose they could have told Cornelius, “Just come and find me when he gets there, then I will come.” They considered what Peter had to say very important and it certainly was so they patiently waited.

Are we that eager for the Word of God that is preached on Sunday morning? Would we stop everything and wait 4 days until the preacher came? I would like to think so but it does leave room to ponder.

Peter let Cornelius and all in his home know about Jesus, his missing link of love. The Holy Spirit fell on those people and they were baptized!

My heart is truly with those who are praying and giving. It was important enough to God to send an angel to Cornelius and have Peter come and speak to them about Jesus. You are extremely important to Him as well.

There is only one way to having peace with God and that is through His son Jesus. He came and lived a sinless life, fully God and fully man. He died a cruel death and took our penalty for our sins. Past, present and future. It has been settled. God rose Him from the dead on the third day and He is alive seated at the right hand of His Father. He will return to us again at the appointed time. The only requirement of you is to place your trust in Him, repent (turn from your sin), confess your faith to others and be baptized.

A relationship with Christ means that you have completely turned your life over to Him and you are no longer in control of it. It means you have a relationship with Him where you pray to Him and He answers you. The primary method of God speaking is through His Word the Bible. If you read it, He speaks.

God loves you. So very much. He doesn’t want you to have the missing link in your chain. I love you and want you to have peace with God. It is indescribable joy! If you just aren’t certain contact me via any of the social media outlets and we can talk. Seek out a pastor or trusted Christian. Do it today! I am praying for all of you! Blessings and peace to you.

 

 

How about some help?

 

organization

“From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their clans and families. List all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war. You and Aaron must register the troops, and you will be assisted by one family leader from each tribe.” Numbers 1:2-4

Organization. I love when things are organized. But can I be honest here? I am far from it at home. We don’t live in chaos but I do have a lived in home where stacks of papers and evidences of family life lie about. When I was at work everything had a place and I was meticulous about paper work and making sure I knew where it was. My pencil and pen had to be in a specific spot in my drawer when I left in the afternoon. I knew if someone had been in there because things were out of order. At home we cannot find a missing headphone cord!

I was privileged to be a part of Vacation Bible School this week. When you get that many kids coupled with that many adults, chaos should ensue. But it didn’t. It was like a well oiled machine. The children did what they were asked to do and under great leadership, all of the adults did their part. It was so much more organized than any Bible school I have ever been a part of. Everyone worked together for a common goal. The result? Children accepting Christ as their personal Savior.

We see throughout scripture that God is a God of order. He is all about organization. We see from the verse today that he was very specific how the census would take place. He didn’t just say, “Moses count the men able to go to war.” He was particular about their age and was specific about what family leader from each tribe that would help him. He enlisted Aaron, Moses’ brother to oversee the project with him. We always used to say at work, “It helps to have two sets of eyes on things.” I think when God sees a task of great magnitude in our path, He orchestrates who can help us by their strengths. There are particular tasks that we will be called to are just too much to take on alone.

This is for somebody-it’s okay that you don’t do everything yourself. Even if it turns out differently than your vision it’s okay to relinquish control. Those of us that don’t want to trust God for the outcome thinks that our hands have to be on every detail of the project. Not so. Our goal should be to glorify God in all we do even if that means two or three taking care of a project instead of one. Does that make you a little uncomfortable? It’s actually very freeing to know Who is in control. Trust God with who He places in your life to help you. It’s very likely to turn out better than you could have imagined.

I have a bit of tunnel vision (lots actually). I can walk right past you and not even see you because I am so focused on where I am going and what I will be doing when I get there. But I can’t tell you how many times that I have stepped back and put on the vision of someone else and saw a much better way than I had originally thought. With that noted, there have been many times that others have put on my vision and went with it instead of their own. You need to be a team player with a heart for God’s ultimate vision to come to pass. Yield your thoughts and dreams to him and He will bring to pass the very best that it can be for His own glory.

So how in the world would you number over 600,000 people without a calculator or a computer? How would you ensure everyone was counted? God knew how to make it work. I thought about Jethro watching Moses try to govern over every dispute among this assembly of former slaves. Jethro said this is not good. Essentially, you need help. It’s okay to have competent help just like in today’s key verse.

The feeding of the 5,000 (one of my favorite passages) also comes to my mind. Jesus was specific about them sitting down in groups of 50 or 100. He didn’t say, “Just give this bread and fish to everyone.” He constituted order. The people obeyed what they were told. There is no mention of anyone bucking the system or grumbling because they wanted 75 in their group. Oh that we would agree in circles and committees to accomplish God’s goals. It must grieve God’s heart when we are at odds with each other trying to carry out the mission Christ imparted to us.

God made us all so unique and we all have something special to contribute. But part of organization is submitting to authority. In this passage, 10 or 20 Israelites didn’t say, “Moses, we know how to do this. We have a better way. We are going to do it this way.” They simply did what their leader instructed them to do. What can we take away from this today? My hope is that you will order your heart, head and home. Talk to God, get His plan and put it into motion. When we organize what has been entrusted to us first, He then takes us on to other tasks. As the Lord leads, delegate responsibility to family members. We laugh at my house because we have four natural born chiefs. We need some Indians! Even in that, everyone has specific things they are to keep in order to keep harmony. We are all chief over our specific tasks to work together for the whole.

If you have read this and feel completely overwhelmed, I get it. There are times when I am taking something on and I have no idea where to start. Pray first and just start. Sometimes the highest hurdle for me is to just get started. I am amazed how quickly I accomplish something once I begin. Don’t let your enemy keep you from enlisting help and accomplishing your goals! You can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you!

 

 

 

 

Soaring in Trust

Eagle_Soaring

“But those that trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31

When we truly trust in the Lord we will find new strength. A super natural strength we didn’t have before. It is the ability to face perilous situations with a confidence and boldness unlike anything you have ever known.

Do you trust the hitchhiker on the side of the road? You want to stop and help him. Your heart goes out to him. But because you don’t know him or his motives, you drive on by. Keeping yourself safe from danger. I think at times we view God this way. “I have no idea what He is doing here so I am going to keep going my way. It is comfortable, I understand it, it is familiar, it feels safe.” This is where the enemy wants you. Stuck. He is fully aware that if you trust in God whole heartedly that you will experience God’s best for your life. He is not at all about that.

When faced with breast cancer last year, God taught me several things. He put me into a place where I had to trust Him. I couldn’t go my own way, there was only His way. I fully surrendered my situation to Him. I cannot describe the peace I had and how easy it was to walk through it. I am not making light of it or your situation. I am just voicing how it transpired for me. Was it painful? Yes. But was it unbearable? No. Did I walk through it with a strength I had never known before? Yes. If I had tried to do it on my own, I would have been consumed with the all too familiar stress, anxiety and fear of the past.

I prayed, a lot. The verse that He sent to me to take me through it was 1 John 4:18 that states there is no fear in love. It goes on to say that fear involves torment and he who fears has not been made perfect in love. I learned that God’s love and care are not in any way comparable to a human’s. It is not fleeting, it is constant, secure and rock solid. I guess that has been the hardest thing for me to comprehend on my journey with Jesus. Those ingrained memories of here one day and gone the next with people are hard to dispel. Oh how God loves and cares for you too! He lavishes (I so adore this word) His love on you in any circumstance. All you have to do is receive it.

The second thing He taught me was that there are many more people than I realized that genuinely care about me. My family was super, which I anticipated. But the out pouring of my church family and my work family far surpassed anything that I have ever encountered before. The visits were treasured and the food was marvelous! I know how much that I care about people I just didn’t realize it was reciprocated. I was so thankful. There are people that care about you too. I care about you. I am praying for you today.

The third thing that I learned was that I am important and valuable. God made me for a specific reason and time for this world. I matter. So do you. I am somebody that other people care about and I sensed that I would be missed if I didn’t make it through cancer. I don’t ever remember feeling like that before. Knowing that now has changed so many things for me. I am by far perfect and will always be a work in progress. But I am okay. If God is for me who can be against? I can promise you friend, He is for you too.

So are you ready to soar? I am! I have always loved to watch birds hovering in the sky. Just gliding along. No cares because their creator is sustaining them. All they have to do is flap their wings and reach as high as they care to and soar. They cannot however, soar without the journey to the top. We don’t know what kind of resistance that they meet on the way. Storms, wind, altitude, other birds for heaven’s sake (seems to me like they would cheer each other on and not try to deter them). We just look up and there they are seemingly without a care in the world. As they sail through the sky they begin their decent. It is at that time that they flap those wings again to climb higher and higher.

It’s your turn friend. Trust Him like never before. Turn your burdens completely over to Him and flap those wings. With each thrust forward you will obtain more strength. You will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not grow faint. Before you know it you will be soaring lofty and high. Looking down you can see the problems of this world. But they are no matter to you. You are wrapped in God’s loving care. All you have to do is soar.

Seasons of Waiting

changing seasons

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:18

In a microwave world where I have been persuaded to think that everything should be instantaneous, waiting for God seems unnatural. It goes against what the world says I deserve. Just turn on the TV, flip through a magazine, surf the web or regard a billboard on the highway. It all points to split-second gratification and makes everything all about me. With a few mouse clicks you can obtain just about anything you want right now. How many times have you pushed “place order” and then wonder why in the world you just did that? You did it because you bought the lie. The truth is, it is not about us at all.

Waiting has the tendency to make me think that God is not listening, that He doesn’t care and that He won’t show up this time. All lies that the enemy wants me to believe so that I will try to manipulate the circumstances to come out in my favor (NOT advisable). I heard this week that every bad decision or habit that you find yourself involved with is simply a lie that you believe and don’t even realize it. Don’t buy his worthless lies! All you have to do is wait and watch God do immeasurably more than you could ask or even imagine!

Our verse says that the Lord longs to be gracious to you. That means He longs to give you what you don’t deserve. Often times I sit waiting for God to sort out my self-inflicted mess. He steps in, when He is ready and showers me with His grace. My baby girl used to pray for buckets of grace for her Mommy.  He has honored that child’s prayer over and over again.

Maybe your situation is no fault of your own. Perhaps it is the result of someone else’s poor decisions. I’ve been there too. El Roi (the God who sees you) is near. Our verse says that He will rise up with compassion for you and that He is a God of justice. He takes special care of those who love Him and have been neglected and rejected. El Roi saw an alone pregnant servant girl and met her at her point of need in the story of Abraham. He will meet you there as well. Sometimes the road He will set before you is not what you would have chosen. He told Hagar to go back to her situation which I am sure was not easy for her. She willingly, obediently traveled back into an undesirable setting and submitted to her authority that had mistreated her. God took care of her and blessed her. He will do the same for you.

The wonderful, yes I said wonderful, part about waiting is the change. God wants to radically move in your life to bring about the best you. He loves you just the way you are, unconditionally. But it has been said over and again, “He loves you too much to leave you that way.” What have you sensed God trying to tell you in your season of waiting?

It can be a sacred, treasured time with Him if you change your perspective. When we catch a glimpse of His glory and what He purposes for our lives, the waiting is all worth it. Just like the gif above, every season has a reason and yields it’s own beauty. Even the barren tree fixed on the dark lifeless ground has a beautiful blanket of white for it’s back drop. It minimizes the exposed branches and gives you a sense of peace and hope for the day of foliage again. When the time is perfect the tree will begin to bud. Then it will burst forth with new green leaves, once again covering the branches and providing food and shelter for other life forms. So perhaps your season of waiting will yield changes that will not only benefit you but everyone in your sphere of influence.

God’s grace is sufficient for any trouble we have. He is there during the waiting. It could just be a test of your faith. How are you doing? Today, try to refrain from honing in on your circumstances. Instead ask of God, “What are you trying to teach me? What can I learn from this and in turn help others?”  Our verse states that you are blessed because of your waiting. Waiting in patience and trust is what He desires. In one instant you whole situation can change. God’s favor can pour over your life and alleviate your burden. Embrace today knowing that God is with you and for you! Every season has an end and a new one begins.

Who God Is

Light-of-the-World“Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:5-7

As I implored with God about a post for this week, I was prompted to look at drafts that I had started and I stumbled upon this verse. How fitting that it would come to me today. A day when I am faced with great uncertainty and the many pressures of every day life.

I was pouring my restless heart and mind out to God this morning. Rambling and pleading from one subject to the other. Finally concluding that I was completely overwhelmed and I could not focus enough to continue my prayer. So, I turned away for a few hours and here I am now with this verse.

I just taught my Bible study girls last night that when we are filled with confusion, worry, doubt and fear that I am depending on my own abilities to solve the world’s problems, aka the Metcalf dilemmas. I know that I can’t do that, so what takes me to this place? A place of insecurity, inferiority and inadequacy, guilt, worry, doubt and fear. It is how I perceive my identity. Our verse today states who God himself said He is. So who am I?

It says in Colossians 3:3 that my very life is hidden with Christ in God. That means to me, that I take on the very life of Christ. He has none of those aforementioned attributes. His life offers completeness, preservation, sufficiency, freedom and peace. His offer of eternal life offers assurance, security, acceptance and total commitment. I have accepted the free gift of eternal life so all of this is now who I am. It is not what someone said about me along the path of my life. It is not something that I did. It is not a series of bad decisions. It is not even the super great choices that I have made. I was offered a free gift, I accepted it and now my life is new.

I need to remind myself constantly to allow Christ to change the way that I think. The renewing of my mind. When my head begins to form a funnel cloud, I will take a moment to breathe and ask myself, so what is the truth here? You are a child of the God who is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. He is not some tyrant looming above with a gavel stating, “Goodness Kim, won’t you ever get it?”

My life is not my own anymore it is the Lord’s property. It has been offered up and should be revealing Christ’s life. This Great, Mighty, Awesome God can most assuredly handle the pressures of everyday life, perilous pestilence, strained relationships, broken hearts and the lost loved ones in our lives. What a relief to know that I don’t have to take it on! God’s got this! And He has you too friend, whatever you are facing today, this week, next month or the rest of the year.

He. Is. In. Control. Period. So walk lightly today. Casting all of your care on Him because He cares for you. He longs for you to rest and be at peace, allowing Him to handle anything that gets hurled at you. He is with you and for you! Be encouraged, have no fear! Walk in the truth of who God is and allow yourself to be hidden in the life of Christ.