Impossible? Absolutely Not!

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 We serve a magnificent, all-powerful God. Nothing is too difficult for Him. Things that loom beyond our human realm of possibility become quite possible when the Almighty enters the scene. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live as though that’s true. We tend to limit what we’ll expect from God, especially when it comes to our understanding of how God might want to use us. We often allow our abilities—or lack of them—to define our idea of what God desires to do through us. That misplaced focus can cause us to miss out on marvelous blessings. Today we visit the desert with Moses to join him beside that famous burning bush. We have much to learn from his encounter with God, so come close. Feel the heat of the flames. But don’t worry, these won’t consume so you don’t need to fear getting burned (Exodus 3:2). You will, however, learn how to push past your own self-doubt and trust God to do something extraordinary through you. Let’s first consider the scene. Moses has spent the last forty years tending sheep in the desert, a long way from Pharaoh’s palace where he’d been raised. A botched attempt to save an Israelite slave ended in murder and sent him fleeing Egypt for his life. Now suddenly, on an ordinary day while Moses performed an ordinary task, God showed up and told him it was time to finish what he’d started forty years before. The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. [...]

A Thirsty Soul, Part 2

by Juliet Sharrow Last week I shared how God met me in my deepest pit and intervened when I tried to take my own life. He not only sent someone to break down my door, He showed up Himself to sing His love over me. I am still amazed by the thought. You might think that at this point I surrendered my life to the Lord. Nope. Instead I thought I deserved to be punished, not just for trying to take my own life, but for all the bad choices I had made, for all the times I had turned from God and went my own way. I was so ashamed! Surely God could not—would not—want me. Surely He could never forgive me. How could He love me after everything I had done? And so I ran, right into the arms of an abusive man. This man was not my husband. I chose to live in sin even though I knew in my heart it was wrong. When he hit me the first time, I knew I deserved it. I deserved every beating, every broken bone, every humiliation. I had been searching for love for so long, I was willing to accept any love I could get, even love that hurt. I suffered beatings and torture every day, and I would think, maybe today he'll kill me, because I knew I deserved that too. I died inside a little more with every beating, every humiliation, every broken bone. Each blow confirmed what I already knew in my heart of hearts: No one could ever really love me. No One would ever want me; I was too broken and too damaged. Satan worked his [...]

A Thirsty Soul

I have had the wonderful privilege of watching my dear friend, Juliet Sharrow, blossom under the loving hand of the God who pursues her. Today she shares a bit of her story. May you also discover the beauty of God's intervening love. My Thirsty Soul by Juliet Sharrow “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:13 I have been the woman at the well. I’d wager you have too. We've all had times, whether we want to admit it or not, when we’ve felt like her . . . unworthy, like an outcast, wearing our shame and guilt like a scarlet letter. In those times we try to avoid people, carefully evading their judgment and "knowing glances". Yet all the while we’re dying inside, our parched souls crying out for satisfaction but finding none. My quest to satisfy my thirsty soul began at a young age. My Grandparents wanted my mother to have an abortion. I was an unplanned child to an 18-year-old unwed mother. And my young father was not ready for the responsibilities of a wife and child. From these beginnings came a little girl who felt unloved and rejected from as far back as she can remember. I grew up without my father; I never even knew his name. I was raised by a wounded mother who was unable to love and a stepfather who was cold and abusive. The words "I love you" were never spoken in our home and hugs were rare. My stepfather only spoke to me when I did something wrong. I was not praised or told I did anything [...]

Broken Bread

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:51 We spend a lot of time talking about the Bread of Life. But very few of us eat it. And we wonder at the absence of heaven’s life. But life doesn’t come from hearing about the bread. Bread only nourishes when we partake of it. “It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table.” ~A.W. Tozer Taste the Bread, beloved. Don’t just nibble on it. Feast. Until you become the very Bread you consume. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29 You and I are also supposed to become heaven’s bread. Jesus was meant to be the first bread of many loaves. Bread that multiplies as it is given away. Have you ever wondered why Jesus’ miracles that fed hungry crowds both centered around bread? You may recall that Jesus fed a crowd of over 5000 with a few loaves of bread and two fish. When the disciples came to Jesus about the late hour and the people’s need for provisions, He responded with an impossible request. “You give them something to eat.” Luke 9:13 I imagine you and I would have been as perplexed as they were. They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all [...]

In the Cleft of the Rock

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 Sometimes that scripture seems impossible to believe, doesn’t it? Moments come when the darkness seems so thick you find it difficult to breathe. Your deceiving heart insists it will suffocate you. And yet your lungs fill again. But with every breath, the darkness murmurs it will have the next one. It won’t, beloved, unless you allow it to. Perhaps I need to remind you who gives you breath. The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4 The enemy doesn’t own your breath, dear one. He just wants you to think he does. And there’s something else the enemy doesn’t want you to know. The light that defeats the darkness rests within you. Christ gave it to you. Beloved, you hold the power within you to defeat the lord of the darkness. And he’s terrified you’ll figure that out. So the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9) works his illusions, insisting he is stronger than you and that darkness prevails. But his schemes only work if you believe him. This last month has brought an onslaught of darkness against my family. Serious health concerns have come out of nowhere against four of my family members. The enemy whispers the future holds the promise of more darkness. If I didn’t know my God so well, fear may have crumbled me. But I do know my beloved Savior. So I told the enemy I would not take his fear. I belong to the Most High God, and I rest in the shadow of the Almighty. And the God I love has promised: [...]

A Miraculous Delay

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 Are you the kind of person that likes immediate results? I am. I’ll admit I’m not a very patient person by nature. Waiting frustrates me. Just ask my kids. So when God whispers instruction into my life and I choose to trust Him through faithful obedience, I tend to expect that I’ll soon see Him fulfill a promise. After all, Scripture teaches that God blesses the faithful. But I’ve discovered that God’s timetable rarely matches my own. Sometimes blessings loom just beyond the horizon. Time passes and promises remain unfulfilled. And I get weary from waiting. Ever been there? Beloved, just as God calls us to trust His plans, He also insists we trust His timing. So how do you and I keep from becoming weary while we wait? Perhaps we need to allow God to change our perspective. I want to challenge you to consider something. What if the waiting is actually part of the blessing? What if that time between the promise and its fulfillment actually provides an opportunity to experience God in a way you’d miss without it? Caleb knows what I’m talking about. You may be familiar with Caleb’s story. He was one of only two men that God delivered from slavery in Egypt through Moses that made it into the Promised Land. The rest of them died in the desert. Let’s visit Caleb and the Israelites to watch him receive his blessing. When we left the Israelites last week they were ready to choose a new leader and head back to Egypt. As a [...]

Enter In

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6 NIV A delightful inheritance awaits you in Jesus Christ. Whether you believe it yet or not, God has wonderful plans for you. He has drawn your boundary lines in pleasant places. The only catch is, you need to go claim that ground. Many of us—dare I say most of us—are stuck floundering in desert places while the promised blessings Jesus made available to us lie just ahead. I’m tired of the desert. Aren't you? The Israelites once stood where you now stand. Their feet camped on desert ground while the land God promised them remained just that: a promise. God told Moses to send a representative from each of the twelve tribes to explore the land He'd set before them and bring back a report. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.” Numbers 13:27 Imagine that! They found the land exactly the way God had described it. God had called them out of Egypt by faith, but He didn’t stop there. He allowed them to witness the bounty of His provision with their eyes. Not just a promise. A reality. Surely they would run toward their allotted inheritance! Unfortunately they also saw something else. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. Numbers 13:28 Suddenly an adversary appeared bigger than their God. Fear overshadowed them, erasing their witness of God’s faithfulness. [...]

A Celebration of Grace

“Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. Mark 15:32 At times I have difficulty grasping the depths of God’s love. While His own people spit at Him and mocked Him, Jesus silently bore the weight of a cross and stumbled up the hill to Calvary. There, angry soldiers pounded nails into His hands and feet, pinning Him to that cross. The ground beneath Him stained crimson by the blood of earth’s Creator, at last Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished” (John 19:30). It might be easy for us to blame the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. But the truth is, you and I put Jesus there as much as they did. Our sin nailed Him to that cross. These words from Sidewalk Prophets’ song, You Love Me Anyway, pierce my heart each time I hear them. I am the thorn in Your crown, but You love me anyway I am the sweat from Your brow, but You love me anyway I am the nail in Your wrist, but You love me anyway I am Judas' kiss, but You love me anyway I am a blessed recipient of God’s grace, dear one, of His incomprehensible love. For 26 years I rejected my Lord and King while pretending to love Him. Yet still He welcomed me with open arms the moment I finally opened my heart to Him. Words cannot express my gratitude over His pursuit of this prodigal. He intersected my life, pierced my blindness with His glorious truth, and inscribed His Word upon my heart. I am eternally grateful. History records another recipient of grace [...]

Distress Call

In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:6 It’s the unexpected things that send us reeling. Extraordinary circumstances that reach into an ordinary day and make it anything but. Like when a few hives decide they won’t respond to Benadryl. Or steroid shots. Or IV antihistamines. And you watch those few hives cover every ounce of your child and set his skin on fire. And he develops a fever. And he swells so much it takes two nurses and two technicians thirty minutes to find a place on his body where they can insert a needle to draw blood. And you hear a doctor say words like, “He may have Steven Johnson’s Syndrome, which is very rare but very aggressive. If that’s what this is, we’ll be sending him out to Hopkins or Hershey.” When a mother hears words like that, tears burn and threaten to fall. But they don’t. At least not right away. Because those eyes need to look into the eyes of her son and let him know it will be okay. But when she slips into an empty room in the ER and shuts the door, that’s another story. There strength crumbles, and she gasps for oxygen. At least that’s what I did. I cried out to my heavenly Father, begging for His breath. The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4 God has such beautiful ways of providing, dear one. Like sending a friend and prayer partner to wrap me in her arms and let me [...]

Seated in the Temple

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:2 God has a way of shaking things up so that only He and His Word remain. And when the dust settles, many who thought they’d be standing will find themselves scattered among the rubble. A great shaking looms on the horizon, dear one. In fact it has already begun. “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.” Hebrews 12:26-27 God is about to reveal the danger of trusting in created things. This isn’t the first time He’s done this. When Jesus walked the earth He spoke some words that sent the religious folk reeling. In fact, they used those words to accuse Him at His trial. “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” Matthew 26:61 Mark 14:58 offers another detail. “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” Sounds like a shaking to me. God was about to destroy the temple they revered. A temple built with sweat and tears. A temple made with hands. But why would God destroy His own dwelling place? In order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  The people needed to understand that God’s power didn’t rest in a building. It rests with Him. The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to [...]