Faith Action for Today – Do Nothing

“The Lord will fight for you. You only need to be still”  Exodus 14:14

When we are struggling with something in life, sometimes the best action is to do nothing.  That’s right, take no physical action.  Instead, turn the problem over to God.  Surrender that problem to Him and say, “I can’t do this Lord.  I’ve tried everything.  I put it in your hands.”

“You will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.” ~ 2 Chronicles 20:17

Now, don’t get me wrong.  If you are out of work, you can’t just sit home, binging on Netflix and think some job is going to fall on your lap.  Instead you probably need to brush up your resume.  God admonishes the lazy.

But for many problems, God instructs us to be still.  He instructs us to have faith.  Having faith oftentimes requires us to turn our struggles over to Him and “rest” assured in His strength that He will handle it.

Give it a try sometime soon, and see if His way is better than yours.

 

Flight3272Have you read:Flight 3272: January 9, 1997 The Day My Life Changed, but God Brought Me Through

Author Vanessa Davis tells of the true story of losing her husband, Geoffrey, on their 15th wedding anniversary in the only commercial airline crash of 1997. Her life could have resulted in anger and defeat, but instead she explains how she overcame her tremendous grief to a life of triumph. This is her inspiring story.

Today’s Reminder – We Are Not Promised Tomorrow

Kobe Bryant and familyOn Sunday the world found out that beloved NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. If that wasn’t tragic enough, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, including a wife, husband and daughter, were also killed.

It shook so many of us.  It didn’t matter if we were an NBA fan or if we had ever seen Kobe play.  The tragedy was shocking for several reasons.  Here were 9 vibrant people suddenly taken, each leaving behind many loved ones and family members.  Kobe Bryant represented someone who was, for lack of a better term, “on top of the world.”  But, his wealth and fame couldn’t prevent his life from ending at only 41.

NFL player and pro-life advocate Ben Watson summed it up perfectly in a Facebook post:

“There is nothing more common to the human experience than death. It touches everyone and everything on this planet. It is a part of life yet it is a fear evoking, painful mystery that we rarely get accustomed to. For many of us it looms in the distance, quarantined in the dark corners of the mind until suddenly our own mortality grabs us unexpectedly and stares us squarely in the face. Over 150,000 people die daily, largely unnoticed, but when icons expire unexpectedly it shakes our souls. If someone in good health, adored by millions across the globe, who had reached the pinnacle of earthly success, could not extend his days what hope do any of us have in this journey called life?!

The tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others reminds me of my own mortality. And it’s scary. I do not fear what happens after physical life but on days like today I do fear the uncertainty of the process and the circumstances surrounding it. Days like today remind me that life is a vapor. We are here today and gone tomorrow yet sometimes we live as if tomorrow is promised, so engulfed with the worries, desires, and frivolous pursuits of life that we lose sight of the missions, callings and divine purposes of our existence. True age is not calculated by years on the planet. In actuality, we are as old or young as our expiration date. Days like today remind us that unlike many other things in life, no one knows the day or hour of his last breath.

We all have an appointment with death that we can not cancel. It is appointed for man to die once and then the judgement. As final as it seems from this side of the chasm, physical death is not the end but a continuation of life; a transition from the mortal into the eternal. We will all live forever either in the glorious presence of our Creator and King or in eternal separation from Him. As the sand trickles through the hour glass, the most pressing question of life is not quantified by materials acquired, relationships cultivated, or goodness imparted. Our justification before a holy God, our life eternal, can only be acquired through repentance and faith in the shed blood of His Son; a free gift of salvation for all who believe.

Days like today call for raw emotional response and loving embraces, prayer and solemn reflection. They feel surreal until tomorrow’s morning concretizes their reality. May the Lord bring comfort to the friends family and loved ones of the Bryant’s, Altobelli’s and other victims in this time of tremendous grief.

This one hurts us all.”

The Lesson of Unconditional Love

My daughter was born on June 27, 2009. Natalie is my only child and she is going on three years old! It’s amazing how time flies, yet I have cherished most every day. Notice I didn’t say “every” day because inevitably life gets in the way, and less important things too often take precedence.

She is a true blessing to not only me and my wife, but also to my parents who didn’t think they were going to see a grandchild from their youngest son. “Pappa” and “Mimi” have loved their time together with her.

I have unconditional love for my baby girl. There have been times – already – that she has hurt me, albeit in a small way. She has pushed me from her, or at least attempted to, physically. On more than one occasion (ok, about a thousand) she has cried for Mommy and wanted no part of Daddy.

Likewise, she doesn’t always give me the reaction I am seeking. Sometimes she’ll awake in the morning and I fail to get the “good morning, Daddy” that I am yearning for. She doesn’t always want to give me a hug or a kiss. If she is in the wrong type of mood, attempting to give her a hugcan be a futile exercise.

Fortunately, the majority of the time she does do the wonderful things a parent looks for, and it is a true blessing as a father. My wife and I treasure the simple pleasures of being guardians of a precious little child.

However, regardless of what Natalie does or does not do, she has my unconditional love. There is a life lesson in this, at least for this parent.

Some have referred to this as the “Parent-Child Analogy” and it tells us so much more about God’s love for all his children. The Power that created the Universe and beyond has a level of unconditional love for us that we can not even contemplate. It’s unconditional love beyond measure.

We can not lose this unconditional love. It’s always there. Some of us, sadly, never accept it. However, because of the unconditional love, we can always turn back to God. That, of course, is the story of Prodigal Son (found in the Book of Luke, chapter 15, verses 11-32).

If I, like so many other fathers, have unconditional love for my daughter, how much more must God have for each of us? Some of us think that God doesn’t love them due to the way the world is flawed. The world is flawed for one simple reason – we have free will to do good or to do wrong. Sin corrupts the world, which is why it isn’t Heaven.

This world was never meant to be our final place. Why? Because a Father in Heaven loves us more than that. Our eventual destination is somewhere way beyond the only world we know…thanks to unconditional love.

 

Susan Powell, Her Two Sons, and One Promise

[Warning: This blog post is of an adult nature]

by Rich Nilsen,

Chuck and Judy Cox, parents of Susan PowellThis week one of the worst acts of evil ever witnessed in my lifetime was accomplished by Josh Powell, the man most sane people felt was responsible for the disappearance of his wife Susan in 2009. Powell claimed that he took his two sons on a camping trip during a snow storm that featured bitterly cold temperatures. During this overnight trip his wife Susan disappeared. He felt that Susan just up and left, abandoning not only him but also her two young sons. It was arguably one of the worst “stories” ever used by a pathological killer.Shortly after the national story hit the press, Powell moved out of state.

Evil often begets evil, and over the subsequent weeks and months that followed, Josh’s father was an accomplice in tarnishing the reputation of his beautiful daughter-in-law, Susan. He made outrageous claims, including that he had an affair with Susan. During this incredibly difficult time, Susan’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, stood strong in their faith and attested that they believed Josh was responsible for his wife’s disappearance.

Then in 2011 it came out that child pornography was found on the hard drives of Josh’s father. As a result, the elder Powell was sent to prison on child porn and voyeurism charges.

In recent weeks the grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, obtained custody of the two boys, and Josh Powell would only be allowed supervised visits. To make matters worse for Powell, at least one of the two boys had started recalling events from that fateful night, stating that he remembered “mommy in the trunk.”

Clearly, these events pushed Powell over the edge. Before blowing up his house this week in a shocking suicide-double murder, Josh Powell attacked his sons with a hatchet. Evil at its absolute worst.

1 Corinthians 2:9

But, as it is written, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

In a remarkable portrayal of strength, Chuck and Judy Cox appeared on NBC’s Today Show on Tuesday, only a couple of days after the two grandsons they had been caring for were murdered in a brutal and horrific way. The Cox’s discussed how they feared something awful could happen to the boys on one of the visits with their father, and they warned the authorities about their concerns.

At the conclusion of this amazing interview, NBC host Ann Curry asked the grieving couple what gives them the strength and peace to handle this.

“Our faith,” replied Judy Cox.

“We know where our daughter is,” explained Chuck Cox. “We know that she is safe, and we know that the boys are now back with their mother.”

Susan Powell reunited with her two beautiful sons.

No eye has seen.

No ear has heard.

No heart of man conceived.

What God has prepared for those who love him.