Cast Your Cares on Him

Over the years I have been blessed to visit with and listen to people in nursing homes, hospital rooms, and even parking lots. And it has been a gift to see the healing that begins as people unpack some of their problems and cast their cares upon the Lord. There really is a benefit to unloading our burdens and handing them to Him. It seems like that during that time when we try to sort things out and place them on the table before us, we recognize that some things are smaller than we’ve imagined them to be. Over time we may have made mountains out of some mole hills and now that we have put things in perspective we are ready to begin to move on down the road.

Many times though, we see that things are indeed substantial in size and scope. They aren’t just mole hills; they are real hills that we will have to climb. But as we look at them God speaks to us. He gives us insight and wisdom; He helps us craft a plan to push forward and take a few more steps up the hill.

And some things we unpack are indeed monstrous in size and scope. We feel the weight of them. The room grows heavy just speaking of them and we recognize there is no way we can carry such a load. We see these things for what they are…impossible. And suddenly we realize, only God can handle the impossible. And we ask for the help, the courage, the strength and the faith to give these impossible things to Him. We ask for the faith to give all things to Him because that is His desire for us.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Posted in 1 Peter 5:7, Christianity, Church, faith, God's Mercy, God's Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Looks for Us

Marta and I went for a walk on Saturday morning. About halfway through, our walk was interrupted by distant shouts of “I see ‘em. I see em!” I looked up to see two little blondies turn the corner of the block and come running straight toward us as fast as they could, hugging us and shouting, “Nana! Papaw!” The girls knew we were on a walk that morning, they knew the paths we travel and they convinced their mom to go with them and see if they could find us. They found us all right and except for some neighbors who may have been still trying to sleep, it wasn’t really an interruption at all. I love those girls.

Their little search party reminded me of several passages of scripture that speak to the way the Lord looks for us. In Luke chapter 15 Jesus who has been scolded by the Pharisees for “eating with sinners” attempts to share with the religious leaders His passion for seeking those who need His touch. He speaks of a shepherd with one hundred sheep who would “leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until He finds it. He speaks of a woman with ten silver coins who would search her house diligently to find one if it was lost. Then Jesus closes with the story of the prodigal son. He tells of a young man who demanded his inheritance from his father, ran away with it and squandered it and then had to return to his father’s home in shame. The story ends with the father watching for his son, seeing him while he is still far off and joyously running out to meet him. The father has been waiting, aware of the path his son has traveled and longing for the young man’s return. As I think of that story and the father running out to meet his son, I can almost hear the father saying, “I see him! I see him!” As this thought crosses my mind I smile. I am grateful that God loves us so much that He seeks after us, longing to embrace us, to forgive us and receive us no matter what path we have traveled. And I am grateful that the Lord reminded me in such a lovely way.

Posted in Christianity, Church, forgiveness, God Seeks After Us, God's Grace, Lost Sheep, Luke 15:1-32, religion, The Prodigal, wandered off | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Met with Jesus in a Parking Lot

I met with Jesus at a gas station early this morning. I know it sounds a little crazy, but the truth is, He was there. So was a guy I’m going to call Fred. As a matter of fact, Fred is the reason Jesus showed up at the gas station so early. Fred happened to be there getting gas when I pulled up. He saw the magnet on the side my car that says “The Baptist Church of Driftwood” and he started up a conversation. Fred said, “This may sound awkward but would you pray for me?” I said I would and we talked for a few minutes about some concerns he had. Then we prayed. That’s how I know Jesus was there. He tells us in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Early in the morning, at a gas station, me and Fred met with the Lord and gave some cares and concerns over to Him. We asked the Lord to give Fred strength, wisdom, insight and the resources he needs to deal with his concerns. And I know the Lord heard our prayer…after all, He was right there with us.

Posted in Be Prepared, Christianity, Church, God, I Met with Jesus in a Parking Lot, Matthew 18:20, prayer, Praying for Others, religion, someone to listen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Substitute Ever

I got suckered into playing “monkey in the middle” with the granddaughters and one of their friends. Turns out that Papaw is almost always the monkey in the middle. I think it is part of the job description that falls under “other duties as assigned.” During one of our breaks I asked the girls how school was going, if they liked their teacher, etc. I was not just trying to stall and keep from being that monkey in the middle, I really wanted to know how things were going. Each gave a similar report but their friend added an extra detail and said that she had a substitute today. Avery who is 6 and in the first grade made sure I understood what that meant, “Papaw she means she didn’t have her regular teacher today. A substitute takes your teacher’s place and comes in and teaches the class. Like if the teacher is sick or if their kids are sick and they can’t come to school, then you have a substitute that day.” So we talked about substitutes for a while, ones they have had this year and last year. The girls agreed that sometimes it is good to have a substitute because you get to do special things. This gave me an opportunity to remind my granddaughters why Christ is often referred to as our substitute. He took our place on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins so that we can be forgiven by God. Jesus is a great substitute to have! Receiving Him as our substitute allows us to do all kinds of special things; we get to be reconciled to God the Father, we get to walk in newness of life, and we get to be in the presence of our Lord for eternity! Oh the list goes on and on. He is truly a wonderful substitute to have. I hope you know Him as your substitute because as Isaiah says:

Isa 53:5 He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, forgiveness, God's Grace, God's Mercy, grandchildren, Isaiah 53:5, Paid for our sins, redeemed, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s in a Name?

This past Wednesday night in our Bible study we were studying the letter to the church at Philadelphia. We spent a pretty good amount of time talking about verse 12 where Jesus is commending the saints at Philadelphia for their faith and perseverance in the midst of persecution. As a reward, He promises not only to strengthen them and make them “pillars in the temple of My God” but also to write on them “the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.” The writing of these names on the saints by the Lord is a means of marking and identifying them as belonging to Him. As we discussed this verse and what it means to receive the “new name” of the Lord my mind hearkened back to my childhood.

When I was a kid we used to visit some people. I remember getting in the car when I was really young, maybe even 3 or 4 to go over to “Kay and Louis’s.” I was so young that I thought “Kay and Louis’s” was one word with a lot of “esses” on the end of it. All I knew was we were going someplace where a lady and her husband and their kids were nice to us. We played and had a good time, usually ate something and I was always ready to go back. Over the years I learned more about who they were; it was Aunt Kay and Uncle Louis. They were always good to me. They even let me live with them when I moved to Austin to go to college. Yes, have they been good to me. They have been good to a lot of people. Sure do love that “KayandLouis.” I remember being surprised at one point to learn that Uncle Louis was really named George. He doesn’t look like a George, I guess that’s why he goes by G.L. to some people. What I am trying to say is that over the years, I have come to know them better and more fully. What I have called them has changed as our relationship has grown. And I think that is what the Lord is trying to convey in Revelation 3:12. By the time we have known Him for a while, grown in our faith, endured and allowed Him to strengthen us, we will be rewarded by having a fuller understanding of who He is. We shall know His new name. What a reward that shall be. Until next time stay strong in the faith.

Posted in A New Name, Christianity, Church, faith, God, God's Love, God's Strength, Revelation 3:12, The Church of Philadelphia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to Fly

I took this first picture when we were visiting the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. They have a lot of great things to see and one of my favorite exhibits was the Aquarium’s Butterfly Garden. They had several different types of butterflies and many would land on your hands. It was so cool. This large butterfly resting on some unknown gentleman’s hand is known as a Blue Morpho. The name comes from the blue color that is seen on the top of their wings (that photo courtesy of the Aquarium’s website). The brown underside helps them stay camouflaged while they eat fruit from the forest floor.
butterfly-at-rest blue-morpho-pic
When that butterfly took off and flew away from the man’s hand, you could see its bright vivid colors. My wife Marta pointed out that as impressive as that butterfly was while it was at rest, its true beauty is only apparent when it opens up its wings and flies. And so it is with us. God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us. He has unique gifts and abilities with which He has blessed us all. We are at our best when we use our gifts and put God’s handiwork on display. As Paul said in Romans 12:6 “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…” When we do, it is truly a beautiful thing.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, God, God has a plan for you, religion, Romans 12:6, spiritual gifts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make the Call

A couple of weeks ago I had to get a new phone. Unfortunately as a result I lost all the phone numbers of friends and family members that I had collected over the years. I am slowly rebuilding them. If you haven’t heard from me lately and think you might want to at some point in time, send me a private message with your phone number or email me at pastorpstephens@aol.com and I will gladly add your number back to my list of contacts.

Sorry to trouble you, I just don’t remember phone numbers like I used to. I do remember one from the Bible…Jeremiah 33:3. I was always heard that verse described as God’s phone number. The prophet Jeremiah finds himself held captive in the enemy’s court. It is not only a troubled time for Jeremiah but also for the nation. During this time, God encourages Jeremiah to call upon Him, to seek His face, His counsel, and His comfort. The Lord says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” The Lord goes on to tell Jeremiah of a time that is coming when He will bring health and healing to His people; a time when they will know peace and truth and He will pardon all their iniquities. Yes. Call on Me says the Lord. Jeremiah 33:3. That is one number that I do not think I will ever forget.

Posted in Church, God's Mercy, God's Phone Number, Jeremiah 33:3, prayer, religion, Talk to God | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment