Big time wrestling

Wrestler pose

Wrestler pose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” – Genesis 32:24-28

I’m afraid I don’t understand the thrill of big time wresting on television. I watched it once, and it seemed so fake to me like staged entertainment of violence. I don’t get it. Would their awards be for best entertainer? I know there is skill in wrestling as it is a sporting event in schools, so how does it get from the actual sport to the media blitz of the WWE it has become?

Real wrestling, as in wrestling with God, has a great outcome. It’s tough to struggle with the spiritual issues we come across, but in the struggling we see God face-to-face. The wrestling in itself is a choice to bring God into the equation. As we struggle, we learn more about God and his ways which helps us come to the end of the struggle and see the issue as God sees it. That’s what it takes to be a champion.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to wrestle with you. I pray that I don’t run from this, but partake in it even though it is painful. There will be victory. Amen

Faith Tip: Is there a spiritual issue that is a constant nagging in your life? Allow yourself to wrestle with God about it. Be brave in working it through and discover how God sees it.

 

Loosening Our Grasp

Holding on Tight

“I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven’t done a thing I’ve told you. Return to me so I can return to you,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

   “You ask, ‘But how do we return?’

“Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.

   “You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’

   “The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse —the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

 “You’ll be voted ‘Happiest Nation.’ You’ll experience what it’s like to be a country of grace.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. – Malachi 3:7-12 The Message

We are a nation of fear, aren’t we? We watch the stock markets, and the gas prices, go up and down. The unemployment rate is too high, along with the physical needs such as clothes, food, and shelter for families to survive. We clutch our resources with both hands thinking we own them. There is fear in letting go … even for God.

Perhaps together we can take baby steps of faith in letting go and letting God take over. We must realize that God owns it all. It’s not that he needs our offering for his arm is not too short to cover any needs, but it is for our growth in trusting God that we need to follow this Scripture. God invites us to test him. He wants to bless us beyond what we imagine. Let us give him opportunity to do that. And in doing so, our relationship with God will grow and bloom.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the abundance of gifts you have given me. Forgive me when I haven’t acknowledged your provision or taken it for granted. I pray that I can let go of what I have and let you do something wonderful for your kingdom. Amen

Faith Tip: What is your fear in giving to God? Voice it. This will lessen the power it has over you. Then take baby steps to loosen your grip on your resources and watch what God will do.

 

 

Thirsty again?

Water Jet

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:7-14

All of us crave something. Think about the things we may crave such as food, job, new car, new home, more money, better relationship or something else that we feel we need to make us complete. There is a hole in our soul that cries out to be filled. Sometimes we reach our goals like getting the new job we wanted. Then we are surprised to find out that the hunger inside of us starts us again with a new need in sight. We crave again to be filled.

Just as the Samaritan woman went to the well with her bucket to get the water she physically desired, Jesus offered her something much better. He offered her the way to have the hole in her soul filled permanently with his living water. God offers that same gift to us if we will only choose to accept it. By drinking deep of the living water of Jesus Christ, then we will feel and actually be complete. Our cravings will be focused on God who will continually fill us with the spiritual nourishment we need to be complete and not distracted by worldly cravings.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for giving me your living water. I pray that I continually seek to drink from your well and not the wells of the world. Amen

Faith Tip: Sing a song of praise such as “As the Deer” and really focus on the words to apply to your life.

 

 

Concepts of Heaven

An Angel.

Image via Wikipedia

Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!” (Mark 12:18-27)

I’ve read that people have lost the battle in their fight with cancer. I do not agree with this statement at all for it gives all the power to cancer, while we imagine God with his hands in his pockets not knowing what to do. We know that is not true. God has all the power, and while we don’t understand why someone dies from a disease, illness, accident or other, we can still know that God is in control. There is always a purpose and the purpose is God. Spiritual healing is a lot more important than physical healing. God wants his people to be healed.

What happens when we die? It is a question we all ponder because it is something we will all experience. We try to imagine it through our human minds and experiences in life, when in reality it will be something ultra experiential. Jesus is clear in saying that dying is not the end, but a new beginning that will go for eternity. “You are badly mistaken!” if you think that dying is the end.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the power you have over death. The gift of eternal life is ours as we follow you. It will be better than we can imagine. I pray that I can be used to share this good news with others. You are the God of the living. Hallelujah! Amen!

Faith Tip: Consider those you love who have gone before you to the Lord, and imagine the wonder of it all and how it will be when you see them again.

It will be worth the wait

Lots of POPs

Image by etgeek (Eric) via Flickr

“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.””  (Luke 1:30-31)

I remember as a child the commercial that asked the question, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?” The wise old owl took three licks and crunched into it. The owl couldn’t wait until the center came later for he wanted the center now. But after he got to the center, it was done. No more pleasure from that sucker. That’s how it is with things of this world. We want things now, but once we get them the thrill is gone after awhile.

The above verses we have heard again and again, but there is so much we can take away from them. I think the best part of these verses is at the end. “…his kingdom will never end,” which shows us that the pleasure of being with God will last forever—not just a temporary timeframe after the kingdom comes. But it’s hard to wait. How many years does it take for Jesus’ kingdom to come? God knows exactly when, and we can be sure that it is the perfect time. We must be patient and continue to walk in God’s ways. The journey will be well worth it.

Prayer: Lord, I am anxious for your return, but know that your timing is perfect. Help me to be the woman of God you have designed. Your plan is complete and I just need to walk in it. Amen

Faith tip: What are you anxious for today? Is it something that will be with you forever, or temporary? Be excited for what God is doing in your life for the eternal.