Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Big Picture.. by Nina Keegan

(Hebrews 11:1)
Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.

Have you ever tried to put together one of those giant jigsaw puzzles that has at least a thousand pieces? They are very time consuming. When you first open and glance into the large box of tiny freeform pieces, it's hard to imagine that each little piece has a significant job to do. 1 tiny random piece doesn't look like much of anything on its own but once you start putting them together and start finding that perfect little niche that needed that exact shaped piece, the formation of a beautiful picture begins to take shape. If even one piece is missing the puzzle will be incomplete.

Puzzles are like life sometimes except for one major difference, we get to see the end results of the puzzle before we begin the long toil of assembling it. The full picture of the completed puzzle is always on the box top. We already know the end results. We know the outcome that we will patiently create and we are not the least bit surprised by its ending. We saw the end from the beginning. Even though one piece on its own does not look like much of anything, together with all its counter parts wonderful things start to emerge... A bigger picture ...Sound Familiar?

( Isaiah 46:10)
I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.

God is the creator of our great puzzle called life. Each one of us has our own unique box with an amazing picture on the top, "The big picture", the picture that God carefully designed for each of us. We cannot ever see this picture, only God himself knows what our finished portrait will look like. He is working diligently on our behalf tirelessly arranging all of our puzzle pieces into a wonderful order of abundant blessings on a pathway of unspeakable joy.

When we are going through the tough times and can't make a bit of sense out of our hectic lives, we need only to remember that this is just one tiny piece of our puzzle. If this piece was missing, we would not be complete. We need all the pieces good and bad, easy and difficult to shape us and guide us on our uniquely individual paths. We may have to be uncomfortable for a bit. We may have to weather some unwelcomed storms but I guarantee you that those times of difficulty are never wasted. They serve a mighty purpose in our lives. We learn through times of uncertainty and pain. Our faith is fortified and strengthened. We learn to relinquish control and let God take the reigns. He has the bird's eye view. He has the miraculous ability to look down and see our entire time line, start to finish, beginning to end and every single second in between. He sees the whole puzzle at once. We see only the one tiny piece that we seem to be stuck on right now. He sees exactly where that piece belongs.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

This Scripture tells us that we were created for good works that God has already prepared for us ahead of time. So no matter where we seem to be or what issues we may be facing, they will be used for good because God has already gone before us and prepared the way. He already knows the plan, the way out, the diagram for victory. He sent His beloved son who paid the price in advance for everything we could ever need.

Jeremiah 29:11-14
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

We all certainly have those disheartening days where even though we prayed for a day blessed with favor, protection and safety, we still feel like we just got painfully pelted, metaphorically speaking, with a large rock! With anger and frustration we cry out to God asking why? "Why was I hurt by a stone when I prayed for protection today. Why did you ignore my prayers for safety?" What we are unable to see is the big picture. We could not see that God was standing right in front of us Shielding us from an avalanche of rocks that were being hurled at us. One rock may have randomly slipped through. We however can only manage to focus on that 1 stray stone that hit us. We see only that one tiny piece of the puzzle. We did not see that God did protect us from something very brutal. While we felt the sting of only one rock and asked where God was, God was lovingly sparing us from a very painful situation and certain calamity.

For example,
we might have had a bad morning because our car would not start and we were late to work perhaps not realizing that in the big picture God may have been preventing us from being in accident had we been on our normal routine route. Quite simply, we worry and complain about the stormy weather when God is lovingly saying His flowers just needed a drink. We see only one tiny piece of the puzzle ....

What is the reason we do not get to see more than a tiny piece of the puzzle at a time? God designed us that way so we must put our focus and trust in Him. Uncertainty builds faith in our wonderfully omniscient, all knowing God. If we knew what God knows, we would never change a thing. In fact we would decide real quick to go back to our old oblivious lives and let God handle the rest. We would see the magnitude of impossibilities we could never face without God going before us to clear the way and secure our footing.

God's ways are not our ways. We think God should just simply do plan A and all our problems would be solved but we could not see all the flaws in that plan. God takes us way over to plan C and we do not understand why. That plan seems so long and useless. Plan A seemed so much easier and more convenient to us. God sees what we cannot, His reasons for choosing the plan He did could have spared us much heartache even though it did not seem that way to us. We are not and never will be equipped to do God's job! The Bible says our steps are already ordered. When we fail to follow God closely allowing Him to lead us, we stumble, we falter and wind up taking one more trip around the mountain and one more dreadful, less than scenic, detour. When we follow God's ways, He gently puts each precious piece of our lives together. One by one the pieces fit perfectly together. Each tiny, colorful, piece tells its own story. Each one in its own perfect place and time. Together they all work together to make a beautiful picture, one that is brilliantly painted by the most talented and creative of all artists!

Enjoy your life, day by day, piece by piece. Do not worry about tomorrow today, let God be God! Cast all your cares and run to win that which has already been won for you! No matter what things may look like, a new piece of the puzzle is coming! God is already searching in the box for that next perfect piece with the answer you have been praying for. Find the good in every situation always remembering that God is completely in control and He always sees... The Big Picture!!

Thank you Father for always taking care to answer my prayers as you see fit. Help me to trust you even when it looks impossible from where I'm sitting. I love you and praise you that you are just putting the finishing touches on my next puzzle piece... In Jesus name!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

God Is The Great I AM.. By Nina Keegan Owens

(Ex 3:14-15)
God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM

Two small words, 3 simple letters, "I AM".
The Lord tells us repeatedly in His Word that He is the great "I AM"...I thought about that and wondered why He never added anything else to that statement.. I felt like God was being so vague and most certainly leaving out all the wonderfully important details and awe inspiring adjectives that He could have used to enhance His own resume or curriculum vitae. Yet, He chose not to. At no better time do the words "less is more" or "simple abundance", hold more truth... God's unvarnished, powerfully simplistic, 2 small words say more about this most awesome God than a whole novel ever could. They assure us that not one miraculous trait defining our God could ever be left out. "I AM", says it all... The magnitude of that is amazing . HE JUST IS!!

I realized after I pondered this fact for a while that if the scriptures would have actually added the enormous sum of greatness that would be necessary to define those two impactful words that the Bible would have tripled in size. The possibilities are infinite! You simply cannot list everything that God is!

Those 2 words are profoundly meant to be followed by whatever we need them to say, and whoever we need God to be at the time. We get to continuously fill in the blanks as needed.. There's no limit on how many chances we get to fill in those voids.. We can unceasingly call on Him. He is what we need, when we need it. He does not ever run out of supplies. He does not have to find someone else to take care of our situation. He does not have to locate a 24 repair service for us. We do not have to wait for the window between noon and five for His eventual arrival. He is never on vacation, never asleep on the job, He is not too busy with more important things, He is never too tired, too angry, too frustrated or too overwhelmed to be whatever it is we need. His customer service ranks the highest of all.. He never puts us on hold or lets our message go to voice mail." What do you need God to be today?"

(Isaiah 9:6)
His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

When we are sad, depressed or lonesome, God is our loving, kind, edifying, friend, savior and counselor. He is our bountiful provider when we fall on hard times. God is our divine healer when we are sick. He is our mighty protector who guards us and keeps us safe and free from harm. He is the teacher that fills us with knowledge and wisdom and orders our steps. He is the architect that draws the well thought out plans for our lives . He anoints us with talents, abilities ,ease and purpose. God is the prince and author of peace! He will go to battle for us, and fight for us. He is our deliverer! He is our dwelling place, our secret safe haven of hidden security. He is our unbridled joy, He is our towering strength. He is our restored energy when we are exhausted. He is our motivator when we need encouragement. He is a shoulder to cry on and our stoic voice of reason. God is the master of miracles and the supernatural creator of everything.
He fulfills our dreams, He validates us, He is our hope and our future. God is our infallible guide on this path of life. He is the very essence of our beings and He is the definition of pure love. He is after all our Father, the great "I AM!"

(John 8:58 )
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.

In Hebrews 13, The Word says that God will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. So I like to follow the words I AM with the word Here. God is here, now! Always! God is everything and anything we will ever need and He is always with us...He will never leave, never!! Imagine God being with us wherever we go, through thick and thin, through the good, the bad, the blessings and the storms. No matter what, He is there! I like to picture Him right where I need Him to be. I like to visualize him in the passenger seats of my 2 son's cars driving with them and protecting them when they are on the road. He sits with us when we are hurting, sick or sad... He is a shield of armor in the face of adversity hovering over us providing safety and His masterful protection. He follows us everywhere! He will not forsake us!! That is God's sweet promise. The Word of God does not lie! It is our personal guarantee and every word is gloriously still alive today!

(Numbers 23:19 )
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?

What ever you need today, go boldly to the thrown today and call on God to be there ready and willing, wearing one of His many hats!! Let the promises of God fill your heart .God is all you will ever need, He is faithful, mighty to serve, strong and omnipotent , He has unlimited, universal power and authority over all and is perpetually by your side!!! Bask in His greatness today... He is right here....

(Joshua 1:8-9 )
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

(Psalms 48:14)
For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.

Thank you Father... You are the Great "I AM!".... I will call on you and you will answer me!! You will never leave me! I praise you for your amazing selfless love!!! In Jesus name!!!!