My partner, Marsha, owns a painting and wallpapering company in Tulsa.  For over 20 years she has fielded calls and emails that ask her to “restore” the old to make it new.  Whether it’s just a fresh coat of paint or new drywall, she approaches each request with personal attention to the individual and to the process.  And the restoration process almost always begins with needed repairs to the existing condition.  Sometimes she fixes cracks in the wall, or sands down areas that needed to be painted over.  She can never make anything look new without first fixing the old.  If she did, it would fall apart and, over time, look exactly like it did when she started.

The same is true in our relationship with God.  Many of us have wandered away, did our own thing, and in doing so we might not have done the necessary maintenance on our spiritual lives to keep it in good shape.  The good news is that with one call, God will come in and personalize your restoration based on what you need.  But don’t think for a minute that He’s going to come in and make things like they used to be.  Oh no!  He cares for you much more than that.  He knows that doing so would lead to cracks in the relationship and He doesn’t want that!  Instead, He’ll come in and fix the cracks; sand down the areas that need smoothed; soften your heart, and wrap you in His arms.  Whatever you need before that fresh coat of paint.

And just like Marsha’s clients must be ready for the restoration before contacting her, you will know you’re ready when you cry out to God.  He’s waiting for your call.

“Croutons!” An Evening Meditation

Nobody wants stale bread unless it’s a crouton!  People are made to be hungry every single day and I always say, “Healthy people are hungry people.”  It’s true!  We are hungry physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually and not just once per day, but multiple times per day we reach for substance to fill us up.  And yesterday’s bread just won’t satisfy!

Jesus prayed a famous prayer that contains these words, “Give us this day, our daily bread…” (Matt 6:11).  And in Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, “People do not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.”

Jesus is the ultimate Word that proceeded out of the mouth of God.  John 6:63 says, “The Spirit alone gives eternal life.  Human effort accomplishes nothing.  And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

The words of God are important to our daily life.  Without God’s Spirit-Words quickening our spirits and bodies, we are simply existing and not really living.

As the day comes to a close and the evening begins, what are you hungry for?  How will you fill the healthy hunger in your spirit, soul and body? Choose fresh bread and don’t settle for the croutons.

Sustained By God

1 Peter 5:7 comforts us with this invitation today: “You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon God, for you are His personal concern.” (Phillips)

The Amplified translation reads this way: “Cast the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on him, for he cares for you affectionately and cares for you watchfully.”

This scripture is taken from the original passage in Psalm 55:22 that urges us to cast our burden upon The Lord, and he shall sustain us.  “Our Lord, we belong to you. We tell you what worries us, and you won’t let us fall.” (CEV) “Cast thy care, or thought, [(or) busyness,] on the Lord, and he shall fully nourish thee; and he shall not allow the righteous to be moved, or shaken.” (WYC)

Fully nourish.  That word “nourish” is part of the definition for the word “sustain” which means to strengthen or support physically or mentally.  To comfort, help, assist, encourage, succor, support, give strength to, to buoy up, carry, cheer up.

Don’t carry the weight of your anxieties today, throw them all onto God and allow the Holy Spirit have the pleasure of sustaining you.  Try saying this phrase from your heart today:  “God, I need your nourishment and I trust you to sustain me.  I open my heart to receive your comfort and your help and your peace. Hold me up, God.  My trust is in you.”


Trust In The Lord

Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not to our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths.  What a promise this morning! We do not have to rely on our own understanding of things in our life; we can put our trust in Him to work it out, to figure it out, and to direct our paths for good.

The first recorded miracle that Jesus did was at a wedding feast, he turned water into wine.  This may sound abstract and unnecessary to use heavenly, miracle-working-power to do what seems to be a “nice-to-have” kind of thing. It wasn’t like he was feeding the 5,000…yet.  He started with water and turned it in to what was needed in the moment for those people at that time.  Jesus’ mother, Mary, played a role in this first miracle when she told the people at the wedding, “Whatever Jesus tells you to do, do it.” This is significant instruction.  It’s what Bible scholars would call a “precedent setting event.” Mary’s instruction sets forth an example for the rest of Jesus’ miracles and it’s this: Whatever Jesus tells you to do in your situation of lack, or despair, or sickness, or hopelessness – do it, and the change in your circumstance will follow.  The people at the wedding used what they had which was water, followed Jesus’ instruction, and what they had miraculously turned into what they needed.

I believe today that if we trust in the Lord with ALL of our heart, and do what he says to do, that he will lead us from what we have to what we need!

A God Who Responds

Psalm 91:15 says that we can call upon God and He will answer us, and that He will be with us in trouble.  I believe God answers us quickly when we call upon Him with a child-like faith, expecting a response from a loving, caring God.

In Luke 6 Jesus was preaching to his disciples and he urged them to treat others as we want to be treated, and he said, “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

Jesus is telling his disciples to be kind even to those who don’t deserve it.  To love even our enemies and he’s telling us to do this because this is how our Heavenly Father treats people.  Our Heavenly Father is kind and He is merciful! He promises to answer us when we call upon Him.  That’s good news as we face the week ahead!

Monday mornings can be difficult as we look at our schedule and all the things that need to be accomplished.  It seems that time is moving swiftly these days and we can often run out of hours, or energy, before all the task are complete.

I encourage you to call upon God, your Heavenly Father, for help today.  Ask for strength to accomplish your to-do list this week, and then trust that he responds to you just like a loving father would do.  Ask Him for peace in your mind and heart, for joy in your soul like never before.  Trust Him to be merciful to you, and because of His great mercy to you go and be merciful to others.

Have a good week knowing that we have a God who responds to us!