He Reigns!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Old Cars

“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”
~Psalm 57:15

I love old cars. There’s just something about the rounded fenders, bulky bodies, roomy interiors that appeals to me. Unlike today’s cars that are all so generic you can’t tell one model from another. My favorite car is a 1957 Chevy. I often see old cars sitting in yards or lots, they’re rusted out with flat tires and oxidized paint. They look terrible and it makes me sad because I know what they looked like when they came off the assembly line. But every now and then, I’ll see one on blocks in someone’s driveway that’s being restored, and it gives me a thrill to know that car is going to be shiny and beautiful again. We’re kind of like those old cars—no matter how we exercise or eat right, we still age and our bodies break down. We’re really just a bunch of old Chevy’s in the junkyard of life. But we have an advantage, we don’t have to sit and rust, we can be recycled into someone shiny and new too.

There’s a lot of stress and pressure in today’s world, and it’s easy to feel like a generic model that looks, dresses, and acts like every other model around us. Striving to be noticed can be a lot of unnecessary work when our goal is to impress someone like a boss or someone else that we feel has a higher station in life than we do. On every level, the world says we have to be better than someone else, we have to earn more, have more, be more, do more, and if we don’t, there’s something wrong with us and we’re not worth noticing. We even get caught up with that idea in our own heads, setting goals that we can’t attain and then beat ourselves up because we can’t. It causes discourse in every area of life and leads to a myriad of health problems like high blood pressure, but it also leads to mental health problems like depression and suicide. A recent report states that 13% of the population ages 12 and over is taking antidepressants, and 68% of those have taken the drugs for ten years or longer. However, that number is small compared to the 94% of the population who report having stress related health problems.

Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).”

Yokes aren’t used much these days but in ancient times, they were heavy wooden implements that were used to team up oxen for heavy work, like plowing, pulling wagons, and other work that was too much for a human being. Stress and worry are a yoke that is too much for humans to bear. We all need rest, not just physical rest but mental rest. When we get mentally weary, we begin to lose hope and that’s when depression sets in. It can come from doing too much, worrying too much, berating ourselves for not achieving what we think we should, from taking the words of others to heart, and from having unrealistic expectations. But Jesus says if we come to Him, He will give us that rest. First, we must come to Him. That means we accept who He is as being absolute truth. Second, we take His yoke upon us, or we exchange yokes. Ours is heavy and wearisome, His is light and easy. Third, we learn from Him. Exchanging our knowledge of this life for His knowledge is a burden-lifting, stress-reducing, spirit-elevating event that leaves us feeling freer than we ever have before. Jesus can take any old jalopy and make it brand new again!

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27).”

Read 2 Chronicles 11-15 

©2018 Marie McGaha

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Crossing Lines

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
~Colossians 3:1-4

I was thinking about lines the other day while driving down the road on the big truck with my husband. Our entire lives are dictated by lines—lines on the roads we drive, lines at the business we patronize, lines we can see and those we can’t. “Girl, you’ve crossed the line this time,” was my dad’s favorite saying. When I was younger, that always confused me because I had no idea what line he was talking about. However, as I got older, I crossed so many lines that if they were visible, the path behind me would look like some artist went crazy! 

However, for the past 30+ years, I’ve walked a relatively straight line, doing what I’m supposed to do and being the kind of woman that makes God proud. Don’t get me wrong, I still cross lines that perhaps other people don’t approve of, and I say things that tend to shock people, but I’m a plain-spoken person. I don’t mince words or say things just to make people feel better. And mostly, I do not care what people think about me; I am not in this world to please people. I am here to please God by serving others, which I sincerely try to do every single day. Do I feel as if I do that every day? Absolutely not. But I get up every morning and start over again because my hope lies within Jesus Christ, not within my own capabilities.

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all (Colossians 3:5-11).”

“In these too you once walked…” We all walk in evil ways until we come to the knowledge of who Christ is and what He can do to change our lives, and then we put off “the old self,” which is our sinful ways, and “put on the new self,” which is Christ in us. It doesn’t seem possible at times that Christ could possibly love us even in our sins and want us to be part of His heavenly Kingdom. When we know how wrong our lives are, how wrong our thinking is, how wrong our hearts are, it seems impossible that life can change into something wonderful and worthwhile.

I think about Christ on the Cross and the moment everything went dark for three hours (Mark 15:33). That was the moment Father God turned away. That was the moment Christ knew what it was like to be a sinner because every sin that could ever be committed was fully on Him. Christ, the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, knew exactly what it was like to cross every line we could ever imagine, and some we can’t. God cannot look on sin, and because His Son was covered in our filth, He looked away and darkness fell. That’s what sin is—pure darkness. It covers our hearts and minds and prevents us from seeing that which is pure light.

Imagine life as a two-lane road, with a broken white line down the middle. Anyone who’s ever driven a car knows that a solid line is one you can’t cross to pass other cars, you have to wait for the broken line. Our lives are one big line too, and we choose which lane we’re going to travel in. Sin is the solid line that keeps us in one lane but when we are broken and come to the knowledge that sin is killing us, it’s then that we can cross that line into the arms of Jesus Christ.

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:12-17).”

Read 2 Chronicles 6-10

© 2018 Marie McGaha

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Rich Man vs. Poor Man

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.”
~Luke 16:25

Luke 16:19-31 tells the story of “a certain” rich man, and Lazarus, a poor man who both died. The rich man had a life of luxury, while Lazarus suffered his entire life with some sort of disease that made him unable to work and had to beg for food. They both died and verse 22 says that Lazarus was carried away by angels, while the rich man was buried and tormented in Hades. Lazarus, on the other hand, was comforted by Abraham. The rich man could see that Lazarus and Abraham had quite a different afterlife than he did, but no matter how he tried to bargain, the rich man could not cross over to Abraham. He could not change his fate. He finally tried to convince Abraham to allow Lazarus to be raised from the dead in order to tell the rich man’s five brothers what awaited them in death but that wasn’t allowed either. “He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead (v. 31).’”

Although wealth does not preclude one from going to Heaven, and poverty does not guarantee Heaven for anyone; I was struck by verse 31 for one reason, someone did rise from the dead—Jesus Christ. He was seen by hundreds of people and walked the earth for 40 days after He rose from the dead, yet people still refuse to believe the Bible as truth for their lives, both then and now. We have the evidence of Creation all around us. We have the Word of God, we have churches everywhere, and TV and radio stations full of gospel broadcasts, yet people continue to scoff at the idea Jesus Christ can change their lives and eternal destiny.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:20).”

We are without excuse when it comes to salvation and eternity. We have all the evidence necessary to know and understand who God is and what He did on the Cross through the body of Jesus Christ. We make the choice for Heaven or hell every day by choosing whether we will follow Christ or go our own way. For many of us, we were absolutely convinced that our way was not working, and we had only one choice, choose Jesus or die. For others, perhaps the choice is more difficult because they do have money that allows for their bad behavior, allows them to get out of whatever trouble they find, and allows them to go on through life as if their behavior has no real consequences. It does seem that way when we read the news about celebrities or politicians getting away with things that a normal person would be in prison for.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).”

Our hearts are our moral compass. Whatever direction it’s pointed to is where our lives follow, and it’s sad to think that while Creation praises the work of God’s hand, His greatest Creation – us – continues to deny Him.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in Heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:15-20).”

Read 2 Chronicles 1-5

©2018 Marie McGaha

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
~Romans 5:7-8

I have been absent this past week because I went with my husband, who is a truck driver. We don’t get to spend a lot of time together, so I am always grateful for the times we do, and especially when I get to ride along with him; and now we are enjoying a great, albeit, busy, Memorial Day weekend together. However, I thought of the above verse and was prompted to post today despite the sunshine calling to me.

We live in the greatest country in the world because of the men and women who have given their lives to ensure our freedom. My own family history in America goes back to Captain John Files who fought, and died, in the American Revolution, along with his sons. Perhaps that is why I am such a huge American history buff. I am very proud of my family history and all the family members that includes my dad, brothers, youngest son, countless cousins, and grandparents, who have served in the different branches of the service. Freedom has never been free, it was bought with the blood of patriots who laid down their lives so that this country will remain the land of the free. While most of us will never know the sounds of battle or the horror of war, we can take a moment to be thankful for those who have taken that burden upon themselves, and be grateful that such men and women exist.

Remember those who gave their lives and pray for those who continue to serve.

God bless our military.
God bless America.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Law of the Lord

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
~ Psalm 19:7-11

I love these verses because of the way they separate God’s laws from the laws we currently have. The law of the Lord is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, enduring, true, and righteous. I don’t think I would describe any of the laws we have right now by any of those words. While I don’t find it difficult to follow laws, after all, most are common sense and keep us from danger, but I do find there are way too many laws, and most are redundant. I don’t think I would describe any of our laws today as pure, clean or righteous, and I wouldn’t say they are desired more than gold or are they sweeter than honey. That’s the difference between God’s laws and man’s laws. Man’s laws are designed to be followed under penalty of fines or imprisonment, God’s laws are designed to be followed out of love and for blessings. However, I see the reasoning and necessity of man’s laws, and until everyone is under the subjection of Jesus Christ, those laws will continue to be a necessity.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (1 John 5:3-4).”

We don’t obey God because of fear of penalty but out of love for what He has done for us. Those of us who lived a life of sin, who have been on the wrong side of man’s law, know that following the Lord is easy in comparison. When we accept Christ as our Savior, His laws are written on our hearts and put into our minds by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:16). We don’t have to try to obey, we don’t have to try and be “good”. We are brought into a life lived out of love and joy because we know where we were, and where we were headed, before we knew the love and peace of Christ. If you are having a hard time keeping up with the laws of man, give your life and heart over to the Lord, His burden is light and easy to bear (Matthew 11:30).

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men (Romans 14:17-18).”

Read 2 Kings 21-23
Weekend Reading 2 Kings 24-25

©2018 Marie McGaha

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Last Days

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."
~2Timothy 3:1-5

There is no doubt we live in perilous times. Every day, war in the Middle East looms closer. Terrorism, violence, crime, and all types of evil surround us. Those things, however, have always been with us. We are a people of war, and since Cain killed Able, we've continued that vein. We've gone from sticks, rocks, and swords to some pretty impressive weapons. Our ability to kill each other one-on-one has reached new proportions, but our ability to kill millions with the push of a button has been a real and present danger since WW2 when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. Our nuclear capabilities are endless. As a people, we are self-destructive. As a race, we are ruthless, murderous, and treacherous. As individuals, we are selfish, self-centered, egotistical, and there is no good thing within us (Romans 3:10).

"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out (Romans 7:18)."

Our fleshly desires lead us astray. We are like monkeys who see something shiny and have to have it. We chase after impossible goals in search of happiness that we never find. We throw away relationships, marriages, and children because something better and more exciting comes along. We want instant gratification and if we don't get what we want, we have no problem throwing tantrums over it or knocking someone in the head to take it. We live from the outside in, thinking external gratification will bring internal peace. Living externally only brings strife, anger, and unhappiness. We must learn to live from the inside out.
No thing, no person or object, can make us happy. Happiness, contentment and peace come from within. When we learn to be happy and content, we have peace. True peace is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. All else is glitter. 

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil (1 Peter 3:8-12).”

We are living in the last days, both physically and metaphorically. No one knows when their last breath will be, no one knows when the Lord will return. We can know the time is approaching by the signs we see. If we have heart problems, we can know a heart attack may be imminent; if we constantly drive like we’re on a racetrack, we can know a wreck is in our future; if we drink excessively, we can know our liver is going to give out; there’s ways and means to know if we are living dangerously or excessively. There are also ways and means to know that the Lord is going to return. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” Rest assured that no matter when or how you die, you will stand before the Lord God Almighty and answer for how you lived on Earth. The only answer is to be ready at all times.

Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

Read 2 Kings 16-20

©2018 Marie McGaha

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The End

"But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. When they came back and told him, he said, 'This is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite: ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel, and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.'"
~2 Kings 9:35-37

If you've been following along with the daily reading, we have been reading about God's continuing love for Israel and the people's continuing rebellion. For some, it wasn't just disobedience but downright spitting in the face of God. Jezebel was one of the worst. She worshipped false gods, practiced witchcraft, and used sex as a weapon to get her own way. Not only that, she also encouraged the people she ruled over to do the same. When she met her end, it was pretty gruesome. I can see the parallels between the kings and queens in the old testament and some of the leaders in our modern era who have also led the people astray; Hitler, Stallin, Clinton, Obama. There are many more of course, but all of them had one thing in common with Jezebel - they abused their position for personal gain, power, and gratification. Throughout the Old Testament, these greedy rulers meet an untimely end. God does not suffer fools forever. 

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy,
drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)."

All of these things practiced by Jezebel, and by us, are of our own fleshly desires. We make decisions every day, and when we choose desires of the flesh over rational, common sense, over what we know is right in the eyes of God, we are bringing on our own gruesome end. The only answer is repentance through the blood of Jesus Christ. 

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)."

"And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit' (Acts 2:38)."

There will be an end one day. Our lives do not go on forever. We will die and step from this life into the after life. We will stand before God Almighty, sinners and saints alike. Whether we believe in God right now or not, we will all become true believers one day. The problem is, if we wait until we stand before Him, it's too late. Our fate is sealed the moment we exhale our last breath. Don't wait until the end.

"Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7, 10)."

Read 2 Kings 11-15

©2018 Marie McGaha

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


"Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'"
~Matthew 18:21-22

Some versions of the Bible translate the number of times as 77, but I like this version of 70 times 7, which comes to 490 times per day! In other words, no matter how many times someone does something to hurt us, we are to forgive them. Even though forgiveness can be difficult, it is possible to forgive even the most horrendous acts against us. Especially when we keep in mind all of the things Christ forgave us for. 

When we fail to forgive, we continue to carry the pain of the offense wherever we go. It colors everything we do, and often destroys new relationships before they even get started. Unforgiveness makes us bitter, resentful, and angry. And it keeps us focused on the past. You cannot move forward in Christ if your focus is behind you.

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14)."

We must forget what lies behind us in order to reach the goal before us. No one wins a race by watching those who are behind. A race is won by concentrating on the finish line ahead. We will not attain our prize in this life, but we won't reach it at all if we hold on to the things that hurt us. Continuing to allow our past, and the people who betrayed us, to remain in our heads and hearts allows defeat. It makes us race in vain (Philippians 2:16). Forgiving those who have wronged us is not saying what they did was okay, instead, forgiveness releases the offenses to God and allows healing.

"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15)."

Read 2 Kings 6-10

©2018 Marie McGaha

Monday, May 14, 2018

Grow Up!

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
~Ephesians 6:1-3

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and it always makes me a little sentimental as I think about how quickly the years flew by and my kids grew up. Even though it’s the order of things, as parents, we don’t realize how quickly time flies until our kids are out of the house and on their own. I miss the days when my kids were little. I miss the handprint drawings and papier mache flowers. I miss being the only woman in my sons’ lives and I miss being the only comfort for my daughters. I miss the sound of giggles and footsteps and fingerprints on the walls. I miss all of that, but I realize that I also seem to have forgotten all the fighting, screaming, yelling, arguing, and the beds that were never made, laundry never put away, garbage never taken out, and all the other things that also go with being a parent. We tend to romanticize the past once it’s actually the past and not our every day life. There’s a lot to be said for growing up too.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways (1 Corinthians 13:11).”

We are all expected to grow up. Even God expects us to grow up in Him. We don’t expect our children to stay in the infancy stage, the toddler stage, or the teen stage. We want them to grow, learn and mature, and eventually, be on their own and start their own families. God wants the same type of growth in us. When we come to Him, newly saved, unsure of our first steps in Christ, He gives us His Holy Spirit as a guide, and directs us to church, to pastors, to teachers, and others who can help us grow in His word and His ways. It is our path in life to grow and spread the gospel to others, to lend a hand to help others grow in God, and to become mature Christian men and women. Just as we expect our children to grow and leave behind their youthful pursuits and immaturity, God expects us to do the same (2 Timothy 2:22). Growing up isn’t easy but that’s why there are parents and grandparents to help us along the way. Once we are grown, however, we are expected to act accordingly. We are expected to earn our own living, pay bills, raise our own kids, and to act responsibly as mature adults. God expects nothing less.

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:14).”

I miss the children my kids used to be, but I am madly in love with the men and women they’ve become. They are no longer children subject to the whims and careless pursuits of youth. They no longer base decisions on what their friends do, or what they think they can get away with if mom doesn’t know about it. They have grown up and act accordingly. When we, as children of God, continue to act as though we have no direction, or pursue things contrary to God’s word, then we are not growing in Christ but are instead, hanging on to the things of the world; to the things of the past that made us feel good or gave us a sense of worth – even if that really wasn’t the case. We must put away our childish whims and grow in the Lord, becoming like Christ and being set apart from the world.

“And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:11-14).”

Read 2 Kings 1-5; Ephesians 4

©2018 Marie McGaha

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Season of Life

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-9

Everything in the world runs in cycles; that is how God created things, including us. We see the cycles in everyday life – clocks, calendars, work schedules, the weather, and our very lives. We are conceived in our mother’s womb, we grow and develop at a certain rate and are born at a certain time. We grow as children, become adolescents, young adults, and the cycle begins again with us as we marry and have our own children. In the Disney movie, The Lion King, one of the songs is called “Circle of Life.”

“It's the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life…”
(©1994 Elton John)

We all live in this circle of life and there’s nothing we can do that stops it. It is what some call the “law of the universe,” but in reality, it’s the law of Almighty God. When God calls something into being, it cannot be undone. We are all the creation of His mighty hand. There is nothing created that was not created by Him, through Him, and because of Him (Colossians 1:16). All life was created by Him, and that includes the planet we live on. He created it in perfect proportion to suit the human body’s need for different elements, food, oxygen, sun, rain, and wind. Everything serves a purpose under the hand of God. For humans, our purpose is to serve Him, worship Him, and then spend eternity with Him. When we stray from that purpose, we suffer consequences just like Adam and Eve did when they disobeyed God.

“And to Adam He said,Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, you shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:17-19).”

Humans have been disobeying God since the beginning and we continue to do so to this day. No matter what we are told, what we experience, we continue to go back to our sins in spite of the pain it causes us. As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Why do we do it? What is the appeal of a painful life? I have theories but as a human who was caught up in the cycle of insanity, expecting different outcomes even though I was doing the same things over and over, I can’t explain why we do what we do. Some say it’s human nature to do things the hard way, and while I suppose that’s true to an extent, it’s still not an explanation, it’s just a rationale. So, what is our true purpose here on earth, our purpose under the sun?

“Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3).”

There may be things that we cannot control – the sun is going to come up when it comes up; the wind is going to blow where it will; the rain is going to fall upon all the earth; we are going to follow the cycle of life - birth, growth, marriage, death, just like those before us did; but we don’t have to follow a path that leads us to hell. That much is within our control. We have free will, we can choose Who to follow. We can decide the path of our souls, and as long as there is breath in our bodies, we can choose to stop living like we can’t wait to get to hell, and start living like Heaven is waiting for us.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Read 1 Kings 13-15
Weekend reading 1 Kings 16-22

©2018 Marie McGaha

Thursday, May 10, 2018

You Gotta Forget About It

"I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins."
~Isaiah 43:25

I’ve had a lot of physical, emotional and mental pain. Some was of my own doing, but the worst was caused by others. As a child, I suffered sexual abuse from an uncle, which set the stage for a future of drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, domestic violence, and a host of other problems. I had no idea how to cope. I had no idea what was even wrong with me. I was an emotional wreck and tried to self-medicate in order to pretend I was “normal,” when there was nothing normal about my life. I lived in an emotional hell that kept me from even acknowledging what had happened until I was in my late 20’s. And then all that pain turned to rage and hatred. I was holding on by the proverbial thread.

I was going to church. I was saved by grace. God was working in my life. But I couldn’t let go of these feelings I had toward the man who had ruined my life. He had molested and abused me. He had stolen my virginity, my future, and my sanity. I hated him, and he had been dead for a couple of years. He was dead, and I had no one to direct my feelings toward. But then a curious thing happened. A lady who was blind came to our church. She and I became acquainted and she told me the story of how her 17-year-old son, her only child, had been murdered by the next-door neighbor for breaking a birdbath while mowing the lawn. Over the course of the next three years, while the man was in prison, she told me of the many and varied emotions she went through, the anguish, the guilt, and the hatred. Without her knowledge, the man was released from prison, but one day, while she was walking, the Lord led her to a house she didn’t know, and it happened to belong to the family of the man.

While she was standing there, wondering why God led her to that house, the man and his family came outside. The man stopped dead in his tracks when he saw her, and then he went to her, fell to his knees and begged her forgiveness. While he was in prison, he had accepted Christ as his Savior, but he had not been able to move on in life. His wife said he had horrible nightmares and often broke into a cold sweat and cried over what he had done to the boy and his family. At that moment, with the man crying at her feet, the boy’s mother said every feeling she’d had against the man, evaporated. She fell to her knees, hugging him and crying, and she forgave him. Not only that, like Christ when He forgives our sins, she also forgot. It allowed the man to move forward. He went to Bible college, became a minister, and continues to minister to young people in gangs to this day.

Forgiveness can be a tough emotion to navigate. We often hear, “I’ll forgive you, but I will never forget.” That isn’t true forgiveness. True forgiveness also includes forgetting the offense and moving forward as if it never happened.

After crying with the woman over her story, I was able to tell her mine. Then we cried some more. But through those stories, through the tears, I felt something in my spirit give way. I forgave the man who had hurt me so many years ago. I discovered that as long as I held onto the pain and unforgiveness, I was still his victim. I was set free, finally, from all the unforgiveness I had harbored, and from all of the residual emotions that went along with it. I was able to forgive and forget and pray that he did not go to hell as I had wished every day since his death. I have been able to use this part of my life to help others who have been in similar situations, who continue to hold on to their past, and be dragged down by it. Our past can either be an anchor that drags us under, or a sail that propels us forward. I have the wind of forgiveness through the Holy Spirit that propels me forward.

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15).”

(For the rest of the story, you can buy the book, Comfort & Joy book one: forgiveness on Amazon)

Read 1 Kings 8-12

 ©2018 Marie McGaha