Designer of Life

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

 The existence of God is the most hotly contested issue in the world today, followed closely by  the creation of the earth.  The next topic in our “Know and Believe” series is equally debated – and rejected – from the highest levels of science to the curriculum for grade-school students.  How did life – specifically human life – come to be?

The Bible tells us that God created man” (Genesis 1:27).  He spoke the universe and all other life into being, but He scooped up a handful of dust from the earth and fashioned a human being, then breathed His own life into him. Yet fewer than half of Americans believe that is true.  A 2012 Gallop poll found that only 46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their complete form.  32% believe God guided the evolutionary process to man’s finished state, and 15% dismiss any concept of God’s involvement in human existence at all.[1]  They find it easier to believe that an intelligent man morphed into being from a chain of evolutionary transformations than to believe that man was purposefully created by a master Designer.

The truth is, we have no empirical evidence of God as creator. But that’s not to say we can’t reach a reasonable conclusion with the support we do have.  Because the most compelling evidence of God’s creative power stares back at you from the mirror every morning.  YOU are a living, breathing testament of God’s existence and of His creative genius.  In his message to the Athenians, Paul said, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth . . . He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:24, 25).  Again, the unbelievers reject this word and instead reason that life happened by accident, as parasitic bacteria randomly divided and morphed into molecules and cells and genes and organs and brains and legs and eyes and fingers.

Within every living being, whether plants or animals or humans, live molecules and cells and genes, each with its own properties and purposes.  They are working diligently according to their individual design—one small part of the whole.  From the connectedness of our organs, skin, bones, muscles, and brain to the delicate intricacy of our DNA, the human body shouts of a Creator.  The stunning dance of micro-organisms in your body sings of plan and purpose.  And if you need any further proof of God as the Designer of life, study the stages of procreation – of how a baby comes into being.  This is no random colliding of cells, this is Design at its finest!

God fashioned all of nature, to the deepest micro-cellular level, with incredible intricacy and detail, with beauty and function that could never happen by “accident.”  The deeper we go in studying the biological make up of life, the more we see God.  This is not without a purpose; Paul said to the Athenians, God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17: 27).  The great theologian F. B. Meyer says, “God . . . provides all we need to find and worship him.”[2]  God knows that man will deny Him and work to disprove Him, so the deeper man goes the more evidence he will find of a Designer.  Likewise, the farther out in space he goes, the more evidence he will find of the Creator.  It must be so frustrating to those who want to doubt God’s existence.

My friend, despite what the world says, you are no random accident of colliding parasites and micro-organisms.  God created you and signed His name deep within you, so that you will know without a doubt that you were fashioned by His hands.  He created you with intention and purpose—the greatest purpose of all—that you might know Him and love Him, because He knows and loves you.  God has made Himself evident in every cell of your body.  Know and believe this deep in your soul: you, beloved, are a wonder to behold.

Holy Father – my Creator – anytime I wonder if you exist all I have to do is look in the mirror and I am reminded that only a Master Craftsman could make such an intricate and delicate design.  You created me and designed me for a purpose and plan.  Thank you for the gift of life.  Amen.

[1] “In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins” http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/Hold-Creationist-View-Human-Origins.aspx

[2] F. B. Meyer; Bruce H. Wikinson, Calvin W. Edwards, Paula Kirk, Eds., “January 2 Devotional” Closer Walk New Testament: New International Version, (Atlanta, Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, Inc., 1990) 8.

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

mirror-effect

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them” Genesis 1:27.

I have a beautiful old mirror that I rescued it from an abandoned church that had become a “relief station” for transients (yes, I got permission to take it).  The room was filthy and the mirror reflected (pun intended) the condition of the room.  It smelled so bad I took it home in a doubled plastic bag and set it on the porch to let it air out a little.  After a couple of weeks I examined it more closely.  It was covered in grime and tar from cigarette smoke.  The felt backing had rotted away and there were scratches to the silver on the back, but the Art-Deco design on the front was still intact, so I cleaned it up the best I could and hung it in my study.  It wasn’t useful at all as a mirror, but it was a pretty piece that added a touch of character to my room.

A friend came by one day and saw the mirror, and after I told her to story, she recommended someone she said could possibly restore it.  I took the mirror to him and left it in his care.  A few weeks later, he called to say my mirror was ready, and he thought I would be pleased with the results.  He underestimated my reaction.  My mirror was beautiful!  He had cleaned it better than I ever could, restored the silver and recovered the back with new felt.  He had refreshed the paint in the design and polished the whole thing up until it more than shined – it glowed!  Most of all, it was restored to its original purpose, an instrument of reflection.  I re-hung it by the doorway and checked my hair and makeup everyday as I left for work.  It was truly a mirror now, not just an interesting decoration.

You and I were created to reflect the Imago Dei – the image of God.  In His original design, God could look at His human creation and see Himself in us.  But just as that mirror had been covered over with filth and no longer served its purpose, sin has covered over the beautiful image of God in mankind and we no longer act as the reflection of our Creator.  We are stained with the filth of the world in which we live.  We are useless as the image bearers of God, and we know we are not living up to our divinely ordained purpose, so we try to clean ourselves up – just as I tried to clean up that mirror.  I did my best, but my efforts fell far short of bringing my mirror back to its original condition.  It took a professional restorer to finish the task.

It takes Someone far more capable than you and me to restore us to our original purpose.  It takes a Savior.  It takes a great sacrifice – a divine sacrifice – to clean off all the world’s filth.  It takes a great power – Holy Spirit power – to bring the Imago Dei back to its original condition.  Beloved, you and I were not meant to reflect the world around us, we were fashioned to reflect the God of the Universe, our Creator.  Will you trust yourself to God and allow Him to restore you to the beautiful purpose for which you were created?

Holy Father, I could have left that mirror in that filthy place, but I saw the beauty under the grime.  You see the hint of Your own image in us, and You have given everything to rescue and restore us to our original condition.  Thank you Lord.  I surrender my life to You – cleanse me and make me once again a reflection of You.  Amen.

What Will You do With Your New Year?

2017-year-calendar-template“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

What will you do with the new year you’ve been given?  What goals and aspirations so you have for the next 12 months?  Start a new job?  Go to college?  Graduate? Buy a house or a car? Get married? Take on an exciting challenge?  I’ve got a couple of my own in that list.  It’s good to have goals, I think we wander through life without them.  It’s important to look ahead and consider possibilities and options and to sketch out some plans for the future.  That doesn’t mean we’re not walking by faith, God gives us wisdom and vision to guide us through our lives.

But don’t let the “big picture” crowd out the details.  As you approach this new year, don’t forget that you’ve been given 365 individual days which are broken into 8,760 hours. Consider that about 2,920 will be given to sleep, and about the same number at work. That leaves another 2,920 hours of “disposable time,” which you can use any way you choose.  That is generally spread out over several work days and days off.    Certainly there are chores and other responsibilities to be done, yet we still have a good portion of that time left over. 

This is where Moses’ prayer in our key verse comes in.  We can use our time to sit numbly in front of a screen, or to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.  We can fill our minds with trivial accounts of the rich and famous.  We can fritter away those hours with mindless distractions or create things that won’t last.  Or we can spend our time wisely.  We can draw closer to our Heavenly Father through prayer and studying His Word.  We can grow in the fellowship of other believers.  We can give our time to Kingdom work.  We can invest well in others; serving, mentoring, teaching, caring, loving.  We can use our words to bless and encourage and build up. We can share what the world so desperately needs: love, hope, and peace. 

It’s really up to you.  God has granted you a fresh, new year and the possibilities are endless. How will you invest the treasure of time you’ve been given?  With frivolity or with wisdom? With mindlessness or with purpose? Beloved, how will you number your days this year?

Why Bethlehem?

christmas_bethlehem“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea . . . “Matthew 2:1

I had a conversation recently with a friend who is moving away.  She is greeting this transition with both anxiety and excitement.  “It’s all going to be so strange in a new town, but who knows what God has in store there?”  I remembered my own move just a year earlier and that same mix of anticipation and trepidation.  Like my friend, I believed God was behind our relocation, that His will for me is here in this place.  I believe God sets things in motion and orchestrates events so that His will is fulfilled.  The Bible is filled with story after story of God’s hand in the events of human history, and in particular in individual lives.  But sometimes the path He chooses is hard and difficult to understand in the moment.

Joseph had a destiny in Egypt that affected his family, the forthcoming nation of Israel and the entire world.  But God took him through pits and prison on the way.  David would be king of Israel, but by way of the sheep fields and running for his life through the wilderness.  I love the accounts of Paul; God had a purpose for him, to “carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel,” (Acts 9:15).  He declared, “you must testify about me in Rome, (Acts 23:11).  And he did indeed make it to Rome to declare the name of Christ Jesus, but he arrived as a prisoner, through a storm and a shipwreck and a snake (Acts 27-28) .

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfilled a prophecy made hundreds of years before: “Out of you, Bethlehem Ephrathah . . . will come one for me who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).  How did that happen when His mother was in Nazareth, some 100 miles away?  “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  And everyone when to his own town to register,” (Luke 2:1, 3).

Beloved, a life surrendered into the hands of the Lord God Almighty may have twists and surprises, and yes even doubts and struggles, but you can be assured that He is faithful to fulfill His purpose.  Don’t be afraid of these “strange things that are happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).  It’s just God at work fulfilling His purpose for you. 

When God Sees Me

Young woman looking at herself in the mirror

Young woman looking at herself in the mirror

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13)

When you look at me through this blog what do you see?  Perhaps a Bible teacher or writer?  When my friends look at me they tell me they see a person who is determined to fulfill God’s call.  They also say they see someone who is friendly and helpful and dependable.

But when I look at myself in a mirror, I see a middle-age woman with graying hair (under the red hair dye), a weight problem, out of date clothes and a tired expression.  When I look at my heart, I see scars—lots of scars—some self-inflicted and some caused by others.  I see anxiety and a sense of unworthiness.  When I look at my spirit, I see hopes and dreams left scattered and unrealized.

But how does God see me?  Does He have the same image of me that I see of myself?  Let’s take a look through the Bible and see how God’s perspective is so vastly different from our own.

Abram whose name meant “exalted father,” saw himself as childless, but God saw Abraham as the “father of many”—in fact God saw him as the father of nations (Genesis 17:5).

Abram’s wife saw herself as a barren woman, but God saw her as the mother of the promise, through whom an entire nation would be born (Romans 9:8-9).

Jacob was known as a deceiver, a name he lived up to for many years; but God saw him as “Israel”—an overcomer (Genesis 32:28).

Joseph’s brothers saw him as arrogant and bratty, Daddy’s favorite son.  The Midianites saw him as a quick sale in the slave market.  Potiphar saw him as his slave, and Potiphar’s wife saw him as a temptation until he spurned her advances, then she saw him as a prisoner.  Pharaoh saw him as a wise and trusted official. But God saw him as the savior of Israel (Genesis 50:20).

Moses saw himself as a stuttering criminal on the lam, but God saw him as the deliverer of His people (Exodus 3:10).

Gideon saw himself as “the least in the weakest clan of Israel,” but God saw him as a “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:15, 12).

Ruth believed herself to be merely the caregiver of her mother-in-law, Naomi, but God saw her as the great-grandmother of the chosen king of Israel.

David’s father Jesse saw his son as the tender of the family’s sheep, but God saw him as the shepherd-king of His people.

Esther thought of herself as the wife of the king of Persia, but God saw her as the instrument through whom He would rescue the Jewish people.

Consider Peter, Andrew, James and John—just fishermen and Matthew—a tax collector and the others Jesus saw as His disciples, men who would turn the world upside down in just a few short years (Matthew 4:18-22, 9:9).

He saw paralyzed people as whole and walking, demonized people as souls at peace, sick people as healthy, dead people as alive.  He saw people once bound in sin as freed from their shackles to live as His followers.

The woman caught in adultery, who was seen through her sin, Jesus saw as forgiven and restored to a life of holiness (John 8:3-11).  Where the woman with issue of blood saw herself as ostracized and unclean, Jesus saw her as a “daughter” (Luke 8:48). Simon the Pharisee saw the woman washing Jesus’ feet as a “sinful woman,” Jesus saw her as a model of love born out of forgiveness (Luke 7:36-50). He saw Mary Magdalene, whom the whole town knew as a demon possessed woman as the first witness to His resurrection (John 20:10-18).

He saw Saul, the persecutor of His church as His “chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people Israel” (Acts 9:15).

The Roman Emperor Dominican saw the Apostle John as a criminal who deserved banishment, but Jesus saw John as the Revelator, who would receive his divine prophecy for the church (Revelation 1:11, 19).

So, to return to my question—how does God see me?—I believe the answer is found in these examples from His Word.  He sees me as forgiven, redeemed, and whole, set free and set apart.  Yes, He sees me with my scars, but He sees those scars as bridges as I reach out to other wounded souls.  He sees me as His servant and vessel, as His imperfect, but chosen mouthpiece in this generation.  But most precious to my heart, He sees me as His daughter.

My friend, God sees you and me far more clearly that we could ever see ourselves.  Who you are in the sight of others, or even in your own eyes, is not who you are in the sight of the God who created and redeemed you.   For those who are in Christ, He sees us as His children (1 John 3:1), with a purpose and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  Where others see us through the mistakes we’ve made, God sees us with all the potential He placed in us from before we were born.  When we see ourselves through the worldly standards of beauty and success, God sees us through the beauty of His Son and His victory over death.  When we see ourselves as unworthy, hopeless, useless and unwanted He sees us as valuable, and desired, because He sees us through eyes of love and compassion.

How do others see you?  How do you see yourself?  When you consider those questions, always come back to this truth:  the God who created you sees you as so much more than you can ever imagine.  Ask Him to give you His perspective so you can live as the child of God that you are.

Holy Father, Your perspective is what really matters to me, because Your eyes only see what is true.  Give me a glimpse of who I am in Christ, so that I can cast aside every false image and live as the woman You created me to be. Amen.

Advent 2015 – Day 4 – A Purpose and A Hope

Advent candle 1Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose.  Jeremiah 15:11

 In my seminary studies, I took a Christian Apologetics course, not to “apologize” for being a Christian, but to know how to defend the Christian faith.  (The Greek word for defend is apologia.)  During that course, I had to interview several non-Christians.  Some of the questions I asked dealt with the origins of life, the meaning and purpose of life, and what happens at the end of life.  Their answers were all interwoven by their beliefs—or lack of beliefs.  Because they did not acknowledge a Creator they subscribed to a theory of human existence as a random “accident.”  Because life began in a randomness, they saw no purpose beyond themselves.  Because they did not see a greater purpose to human life, they saw nothing beyond this life.  To just exist without a purpose – to live just to die – is a hopeless existence.

The Christian faith tells us that we are created for a great and eternal purpose:  to know God and love Him forever.  That is a purpose and a hope. That is why you woke up this morning—to have another day to know and love your Creator just a little more than you did yesterday.  And that is why this Baby came from the highest heaven to earth, that you might be restored to this grand and wonderful purpose.  Jesus came to give you and me life with purpose—today and tomorrow and forever.  Find God’s purpose for you—find your Christmas hope.

CPR for Your Dreams

“How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” Joshua 18:3

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. When I was very little, I would draw crayon scribbles on paper and call them my “stories.” I wrote with real words as I grew up, and placed well in writing and poetry competitions in high school. Writing gave me an avenue to express my feelings and order my thoughts and emotions. As an adult, I wrote in journals and developed the habit of journaling my prayers. Yet I kept those writings tucked away in boxes, never letting my words go any further as life and responsibilities pushed those dreams down deeper and deeper inside.

Ten years ago, God began to lay on my heart the desire to attend seminary, to write and to teach, another of my long held passions. He reached out and started plucking the strings of my heart to stir up old songs and old dreams; but once again I let life and the needs of my family and job take over. The more I pressed those dreams down the more discouraged I became. After an extremely difficult season, believing those dreams were dead, I took all those boxes of journals and notebooks and pitched them into the fireplace and shut those dreams out for good.

But God didn’t. He knew the plans He had for my life, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Two years ago, I heard the soft, faint sounds of the song again. This time I picked up the melody and began once again to put the words in my heart on paper. God made a used laptop computer available to me and a dear friend became my “editor,” giving me counsel and guidance in my writing. A sweet friend (a high-school student, no less!) helped me create this blog-site and I took a deep breath and finally put the words God placed in my heart out there for the world to see. Last fall, I began my first classes in seminary, and the Lord has opened doors for me to teach multiple weekly Bible studies in and around my community.

We often let our dreams and passions fade in the demands of work and family and the pull of responsibility. Sometimes we find ourselves chasing the world’s desires for us instead of God’s. When we push those God-given dreams aside, we can fall into depression and hopelessness, as I did while feeding the fire with my writings. But God has always had a plan for you, and He hasn’t let that plan die. Philippians 1:6 tells us that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God sets His purpose for your life and He works in and around you to fulfill that purpose, as David testified in Psalm 138:8- “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.” God works out His plans for His children. He knows everything about you, because He created you. He knows the desires and dreams in your heart, because He put them there. He has a plan to bring those dreams to reality. Listen to Philippians 2:13: “God works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”

What dream has God planted in your heart? What dreams have you buried under the responsibilities of your life? What dreams have you walked away from? My friend, if God has given you a dream or a passion, He has not given up on it – or on you. Ask Him to restore that desire and show you how He wants to fulfill His plan and purpose for your life. Listen carefully- do you hear the sounds of an old familiar song?

Holy Father, life has gotten in the way of the dreams You placed within my heart. Please stir those dreams back to life and fulfill the wonderful plans You have for me. Amen.

A Life of Hope

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

What does it mean to really live?  Is life just existence, just taking up space on planet earth – or is there something more to life than that?  What is the difference between “life” and “living?” On this fifth day of Advent we are going to look at a Life of Hope, tomorrow we will expand our focus to the Hope of Eternal Life.

God meant for our lives to have real meaning and purpose.  No one ever set a life goal to just exist. Our lives matter – and that was God’s intention.  So how, then, can we move into this purposeful and meaningful life?

First, we must come to the One who promises life.  We must come to Jesus Christ, the One who died to give us life.   You may be reading this and thinking, “My life has no great purpose,” or even “I have made such a mess of my life, there is nothing left for me.”  God says differently.  There is no life – no person – that God cannot touch and change.  Here is a wonderful word of hope for you and me: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17, emphasis added)!  If you have received Jesus Christ, you have been given a new life.  And if you have not – there is no better time than now.  Pray this simple prayer to begin a new life in Christ: “Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, and I need Jesus Christ to save me and cleanse me.  I receive Jesus by faith, I receive this new life by faith.  I am Your child God, lead me in this new life.”  God promises new life to all who will come to Christ.

With that new life comes the abundant, or “full” life, as our key verse says.  Jesus was not talking about an abundance of things, but of purpose and meaning – namely an abundant, fruitful life.  Jesus declared it just prior to His arrest saying, “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.  This is to my Father’s glory.” (John 15:16, 8).  Paul reminds us that  “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).  Now, mind you, this is not to say that Christ saved us because of the good work we do, nor did He save us merely to do good work.  This good work is the calling of God on our lives, the purpose for which we are here on earth.  There is much hope in knowing that God has chosen and called you to serve Him by serving others, and that He receives your good works as a fruitful offering.

If you have received the new life Christ offers, you are a child of God.  And if you are a child of God you have a calling that will result in fruitfulness.  Because of this helpless little baby in the manger, we have hope for a new and meaningful life here on earth.  That is real hope for a real life indeed.

My God and Father, I pray that You will receive my “work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope in my Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thess. 1:3)” as an offering to Your glory.  Amen

I Press On…

“One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…”  Philippians 3:13b-14a

One day, when my son was younger, we got in the car to run a few errands together.  My husband had driven the car the day before, and, as usual, had adjusted the mirrors.  So I reached up to give the rear-view mirror a tweak before putting the car in reverse.  My son asked me “What’s that for Mommy?”  I replied that it was to allow me to see what was behind me as we drove.  In his sweet, simple thinking he said, “You don’t need to know what’s behind you, just what’s in front.”   Isn’t it amazing when God gives little children such profound wisdom?  My son was echoing Paul’s words in our key verse.

Granted, on the road, we need to know what may be approaching from behind us, but on the journey of life, we often spend more time looking in the rear-view mirror that we do looking out ahead.  I have been guilty of that myself, but I am determined to apply Paul’s words to my life and look ahead rather than behind.

Paul’s emphasis in Philippians 3 is the futility of relying on past successes.  Paul had quite an impressive ancestral history, and had much room to boast about his personal success as a zealous and devout Jew.  In our culture the “self-made man” is highly regarded and even from childhood we are driven to succeed in education, sports, and relationships. As adults we are pulled into the relentless pursuit of success in our careers so we can have the biggest, the newest, the shiniest and the best.  For Paul, as for so many today, the mirror is filled with trophies, accolades, honors and wealth.

But you may be more like me, and the rear-view mirror is filled with dark clouds of pain, heartache, betrayal, grief, mistakes, and sin.  Life is full of struggles – I don’t believe anyone escapes difficulties these days.  Sometimes the pain is self-inflicted, sometimes the heartache comes at the hands of others.    A job loss, financial pressures, health problems, strained relationships, disappointments – just to name a few – can make life hard.  Perhaps your mirror is filled with a hard good-bye: the loss of a loved one, or the end of a marriage.  Maybe you’ve made some choices you regret and you are living with the consequences.  You may find yourself broken by a season of sinfulness.  Maybe not your own.

What do we do with all this?  We take the advice of my son and Paul.  We look ahead, not behind.  We look ahead and “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2).  We set our focus on our Great High Priest and move forward.  We move ahead trusting that God will turn our sufferings into perseverance and character and finally hope (Romans 5:3-5). We leave the past in the hands of “Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:11) – “His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). We trust Him with it all, believing that what was intended to harm us, God intended for good, to accomplish His purposes (Genesis 50:20).

The Living Bible paraphrases the first part of our verse by saying “I am bringing all by energies to bear on this one thing.”  That is an excellent perspective, because living with past regrets weighs us down and drains our energy.   Here is one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received.  “It’s done. You can’t change what has been, but you can affect what will be.”   You need to preserve your energy for the next phrase in our key verse: “straining toward what is ahead…” Paul is using a racing image here, picturing a runner stretching forward, pushing and accelerating through the finish line.   God intends for you to finish the race, and not only to finish but to win!   1 Corinthians 9:24 is Paul’s exhortation to “run in such a way as to get the prize.”   And what is the prize? “a crown that will last forever” (v. 25). A crown that we will cast before the throne of God, declaring him “worthy to receive glory and honor and power” (Revelation 4:10-11).

Do not allow your past – either success or failures or heartaches – to bog you down.  God has your life in His mighty and able hands.  He will not let one hard moment go to waste in the fulfillment of His plan for you – if you will entrust Him with it.   I keep coming back to one of my favorite verses, Psalm 13:8 which says “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.”  The New King James reads “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.”   God was not caught off-guard when you were hit with the hard things of this life.  He was not wringing His hands wondering how to bring about His purpose in light of my mistakes and sin.  God is still working in your life and mine, still moving toward His intended plan for you, still loving you with an unfailing and lavish love.  He is not finished with you.  He has such wonderful things in store for those who love and trust Him.   Listen to the Psalmist who sings: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with Him: (Psalm 126:6)

Put the past in your rear-view mirror and look straight ahead at the harvest that God will bring from your life.

Holy Father, I surrender my past to You, all my sin, all my heartache, all my sorrows and regrets – and all my successes too. I claim by faith Your promise that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Amen.