January 18, 2018

Family Ties

The day after Thanksgiving I received a call that my grandmother of eighty-five years had passed. I know this sounds terrible, but after 16 years, I flew back to California to attend her funeral as well as have a mini reunion with my family.  As many of you know, when attending a funeral of someone as significant as a parent or grandparent, everyone is reminded of how important family ties are.

Distance and the cost to travel that far is the main reason for not having visited. As time went on, it just didn’t seem that important. I was busy with my family and they were out there tending theirs. Once I saw my family, it was all hugs and emotion and the overwhelming feeling of how could I have not at least kept some form of ties for so long.

My grandmothers passing helped me to see at that moment she was the connection for all of us. She had ten kids, and I had all these cousins, aunts and uncles to love on and be loved by. I realized I needed all that family love all along. I guess when a parent is missing due to divorce or death, it’s pretty obvious that your missing out. When it comes to distant family, I figured maybe it didn’t really matter as much because they are not a part of your immediate upbringing. That was certainly not the case.

All of that bonding made me think of our bond with our Heavenly Father-how once made can never be broken. Once we have confessed with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, we are joint heirs with Christ-adopted and sealed by Him.

That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,  and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Romans 8:16-17

No matter how far we get from Him, due to sin or lack of time spent with Him, we are reminded of how much we need Him and how He is always still there waiting. We might get busy with the duties of life or fall into a sinful habit, but the bond is still there waiting to be experienced again. Because I didn’t stay in touch with my family, doesn’t change the fact that we are still family. Once I re-connected with them it was as if no time had passed, yet there was so much to catch up on.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

The need to know my connections was great; to know where parts of my roots were established. Therefore, because we distance ourselves in communication with Christ doesn’t mean we no longer belong to Him. Our greatest needs can only be met by Him. There is nothing more fulfilling than to be filled with His love, grace and mercy. There have been so many times where I have asked God to fill my emptiness and comfort me, and He has come through. There is no other way to describe how I felt in those times except full and complete.
You see without that relationship or that bond with Christ – allowing Him to fill me, there is no comfort, no knowing the root of your foundation, or peace and comfort with Christ. Only He alone can confirm us with an everlasting love.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Colossians 2:6-7

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him

1 Corinthians 6:17

Draw Near

There were times when God spoke to His chosen ones in the Bible. He spoke to Moses face to face, He appeared to Daniel in his dreams, and David sang songs of praise to Him.  There are also times when I desire God to speak to me – to show Himself to me in some way. I want to be drawn near to Him.

Sometimes our circumstances aren’t going the way we would like or the way they should. Rather it be finances, health or managing your household. In those times, I cry out to God; like we always do when we need Him. We want Him to step in and save the day, make everything better. Sometimes He does. But when He doesn’t come through when we want Him to, we must remember He is omnipotent and has kept the promises He’s made before. Not only the people He spoke to in Biblical times as mentioned above, but the times He spoke and showed Himself to you and me in our personal lives.

Remembering those times gives you a peace no one else understands but you. It gives you joy knowing that He is near and carrying you through. It draws you nearer to Him and in turn you trust Him more. These are a few times He’s spoken to me:

  • He gave me protection growing up as a child in a broken home.
  • Kept me in arms reach all during my life, so that when I finally realized how much I needed Him, He was already there.
  • He placed me in a Godly marriage with three kids – no matter what we would have to deal with.
  • He has continuously spoken to my heart.

Why would He stop speaking now? He may not speak when I want Him to. He may not even speak the same way, but God will show up. His word says He will.

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

In the end of our circumstances we will have gained so much. We will have been drawn near to Him and will learn that no matter what –  He is enough.

In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. I will lay my request before you and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3

Quick Fixes

This past weekend was tiring – fun, but tiring. Sunday evening I had come home from going to two stores to pick up our Thanksgiving turkeys. When I got home I had planned on doing a few chores then relaxing a little before bed. Well, I got all the way home, headed to the “ladies room” and discovered we were running of toilet paper. So of course, I headed back out to the store for a third time.

While at the grocery store I found myself perusing the aisles to find what else I could buy or what treat I would like. After all I’ve had a long weekend and could use a treat, right? Anyway, I suddenly realized I wasn’t even hungry. My belly was still full from dinner. Don’t laugh – I know I’m not the only one whose been there. Now I’ve realized at that point, what I really wanted was something to soothe my weariness. I was exhausted, I didn’t even want to go home and clean. The only reason I was searching the aisles was to find something that would make me feel good for a moment. So, to my surprise, I left the grocery store with ONLY my six pack of toilet paper. Yeah for this time, anyway.

During that simple moment, God showed me that there a lot of times I look for my “quick fix”. Everyone’s fix might be something different, but it’s still trying to cover up a need; sweets are number one for me. At other times or for others it could be spending money on something – anything that you can think of. Or for some it may be a juicy novel or a not-so-good relationship. We keep turning to those things over and over again with the same results – a temporary, quick fix.

If we pause for a moment, we will learn that whatever that quick fix is, we don’t really want it or need it. What we need is something that will fill us even more – rest and rejuvenation. That may be physical rest to begin with, but you could probably by-pass that and go straight to our Father who knows best. The one who cares for you more than anyone else. The only reason we don’t go to Him is because we don’t truly believe His love is real. We’ve heard and read that God loves us, but do we really believe? If we spend time in prayer, read and study His word, and worship Him, then we will learn His word to be true. Here is a verse that is not only helpful during this time, but also for those times we are dealing with difficult circumstances.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

And before you know it, you’ll feel invigorated and focused on what you are set out to do. You will have gained more knowledge and direction from His word. You will feel lighter because you’ve laid all your burdens upon Him and you’ll discover His power and might by praising Him through worship. You’ll also discover that you didn’t even miss those Krispy Kreme.:)