Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Am Never Alone

16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
2 Kings 6:16-17 (NIV)

Do your eyes need to be opened? Mine do. I need to be reminded that I am not alone- EVER. I never walk into a home, a church, a workplace, or a store that I am alone. Because the Spirit of my God lives within me- I am NOT alone-EVER. Praise the Lord! I’m going to say that again- PRAISE THE LORD!

I want you to hear me with your whole heart because what I have to say is powerful- it can set you free. Free from pain, free from insecurity, free from whatever might hold you captive at this season of your life. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Elisha was facing a war- he and his servant were facing a mighty battle with the enemy, but he knew the secret. His servant panicked, and all Elisha had to do was pray for God to open his servants eyes so he could see that that although they were surrounded by the enemy, they were more importantly surrounded by protection from the Lord. Elisha said – they might have a lot- but we’ve got thousands! They might have the boat- but we have the Ship. They might have the pistol, but we have the Machine Gun!- Do you get the picture?- They had Him- His protection- His shield!

Because we live in this world, we live as Christians in a world that is filled with pain and suffering. Every day we face some sort of enemy. God never promised us moonlight and roses as long as we’re on this earth. But He did promise protection- security and we will never face anything alone. I don’t know about you, but for me- that alone is worth getting out of bed for. I have lost sight of that at times. I have allowed my own insecurity to consume me and as a Christian I should known better- shame on me.

I have had to be reminded of that very recently and I am so thankful for His Words- powerful Words of promise and hope, Words that can make the difference in my life, my actions and my witness. When I feel surrounded by the enemy- whether it be a person or a situation- I don’t face that trial alone. I face it with the security that He is with me and loves me and will and does protect me! How cool is that!?!

My prayer lately has been that my eyes will be open to the evil around me. And although I know that we are all made in His image and there is good to be found in everyone- the devil is alive and well and sometimes is sitting in that chair next to you- walking up behind you, or may even be living under your same roof- I pray for the ability to see that. I want my eyes to be opened. I want to know who my enemy is and that’s not always obvious. We’ve all trusted in someone- confided in someone- loved someone that has hurt and disappointed us. I can’t be shielded from hurt my entire life and it’s through some of my hurt that I learn, or am reminded that yes,- there will be pain, there will be tears, there will be loss- but I don’t face it alone.

I guess the bottom line for me is- I can’t escape pain or evil- but Lord- open my eyes so that I can see You. So I can keep my eyes fixed on You- and know You are with me and that I am NEVER alone!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

No, You Can't Do It By Yourself!

"The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of whom shall I be afraid?"
Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

It's that time of year- the kids are going back to school- the weather is still hot and the Illinois State Fair has come to a close. Phil and I took two of our grandchildren the final weekend and while were waiting on some other friends to meet us, our 4 yr old grandson, Mayson wanted to get on some rides. So Grandpa purchased tickets and we made our way through the people trying to pick out the best one that would satisfy him.

He was determined as he walked through the people, like he was a (little) man on a mission. He came to a stop in front of The Octopus. Now,... he had been to the fair the night before and I was told he rode it with his dad. I looked at Phil, walked Mayson to the device that checks to ensure he's tall enough to ride, turned to my big brave husband,Phil and asked if he wanted to ride it with him. I got "the look"- and he gracefully declined and said he's stay there (grounded) with the little sister.

So we waited our turn and while we stood in line, Mayson kept telling me "Nana, it's ok- I can do it myself" "Really, Nana- I can do it myself". I watched it turn one way, then another. Then it went up and down and I lovingly said to this FOUR year old, "Oh no honey, you can't do it by yourself".

Now, I have said numerous times that I love a thrill. I love the excitement of roller coasters and rides that flip and turn you, so I really didn't think twice about jumping up into the seat with him and watching as the man pulled the front towards us and locked us in. We were the first ones on, so it took awhile for the entire ride to start, but as we sat at the top and the seat swayed back and forth, I'm saying to myself... WHAT WAS I THINKING???

Let me say that the only saving grace of this entire fiasco is that because we got ON first- we got OFF first. The ride started and we went up and down and round and round and one way, then the other and I can honestly say- I thought he was going to die. I held on to him with a death grip and just kept saying "Hold on baby- just hold on!"

When we finally had our feet planted firmly on the ground, I looked down at him and he looked up at me and said "Nana, we just about fell out!"... I said, "yes honey, we just about did" I don't mind telling you, this was probably one of those times in my life when I was really, really, really scared. I was shaking as we walked away and thanking God we had lived through it.

I've been reminded several time since then when I recall the memory of that evening- you can't do it yourself! None of us can. We can try, we give it our best effort, but we really can't do it ourselves. We need to rely on God. We need to prepare ourselves for battle against the enemy, stay as close as we can to Him and hold on for dear life! I have to ask myself if God sometimes feels like I did when I was trying to hold on to Mayson and make sure he was safely out of harms way- I'm sure He does. I'm sure He's been with me on my wild ride of life and He's said "hold on baby- just hold on"

I've done things in my lifetime that could have cost me my life. I've been reckless and out of control. I've been so caught up in the thrill that when the danger approaches so fast- I'm totally not prepared. I praise God that I have parents that prayed me through those wild years, because I might not be here today if they hadn't. I know how much I love Mayson- how much I love ALL my grandchildren and the thought of him or any of them being hurt breaks my heart. I know I can't always be there to protect them- but praise God we have a Savior that calls down his angels to protect us during those hours of need. God loves us and He never leaves or forsakes us. He's with us 24/7- isn't that awesome?!? Think about it,... we're NEVER alone- His Spirit is always with us- IN US, protecting and guiding us to a safer path.

It'll be awhile before I'll try that little stunt again with Mayson- or anyone for that matter. I guess my age is mellowing me out some because it wasn't nearly as thrilling as I thought it was going to be- at least not the good kind of thrilling. I'm ready to slow down and enjoy my life a little more, bounce my grand-kids on my knee more than swing them through the air on a silly carnival ride.

God tells us in His Word that we can't do it by ourselves and give us the Handbook and the tools through prayer to face any and all wild rides that life can dish out. I'll always be thankful that He's with me and that I can't to do it myself!

Father, I thank You for always being there with me- through it all- the good and the bad, the calm times and the scary. I praise You as my Savior and Protector. Thank you for Your Word and for the promises that it holds for my life. Help me to remember You're only a prayer away. - Amen