Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Beauty of the Lord

Ps 8:3-4
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
(from New International Version)

The South Coast Botanical Gardens in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA is something to witness. Miles upon miles of beautiful vegetation, nestled against hills, trails, and benches to take in the view, just 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles. My children and I went to visit there for my son’s social studies project—“Exploring His Community”, just last weekend. I was struck by how we live amidst the garbage of the world: crime, violence, disease, hate, pollution, and oppression, yet God still reveals Himself and searches for His people. Are we aware of His presence? Do we see Him in our everday lives? I’m not so sure. We get so caught up with what we need to do—laundry, chores, kids, work, bills, serving at church, serving at the kids’ schools, doctor appointments, homework, reading, and on and on.  But God is still working miracles in the here and now. Look at the lives transformed; those who were addicted and now are healthy and happy. Families reunited through divorce and sin, now together again and thriving. Babies without mothers, left behind, alone, but now adopted by loving parents who long to take care of them and watch them grow. And even this beautiful garden of gum trees, roses, hibiscus, lilacs, daisies, and more. God is seeking us. He wants us to realize it and take a moment and spend time with Him. How awesome that my kids decided we should sit after an hour into our hike in the park and stop and pray. How often do you stop to smell the roses?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Open the Eyes of My Heart

Last night I was praying and studying and a message began to develop for our weekend home to Montana next weekend, “Seeing is Believing”. It’s based upon Ephesians 1:17-20 which reads:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.
Without having a clear vision of our Lord, we may never know the path and plan He has laid out for us to follow. I love this little cartoon picture depicting the man who can’t see Jesus, despite standing right next to Him. His telescope was blocking his view of the Lord and he mistakenly thought Jesus was too far away. How often do we think that God is not near us, keeping us safe, comforting us, and loving us? How can we believe in God if we cannot see Him working in our life?

Many obstacles will try to get in front of our line of vision to God. Finances, work stress, homework, illness, relationship problems—the list goes on and on. Perhaps, we as humans can get in the way as well. How often do we rely on our own strength and knowledge instead of on the power of God? Pride and selfishness will often try to keep us from saying, “Yes Lord, I DO need You.”  We can’t do anything on our own. The flesh and sin are rampant throughout the world. In order to believe that God can and will provide us with victory over our trials in this life, we need to make sure we can see HIM at all times. We may not see God physically through a burning bush or appear to us as He did to Mary and the other women outside the tomb, but we can still know joy and His reflection in the miracle of His creation and through His people. Through the birds, vegetation, seas, and warm touch or hug of a neighbor, God is real. He is always there for us and wants to comfort and love us. Have faith and let Him!

1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy”