Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Surprise Visit

My Wife and I had an experience that was a “first” for us as Parents. On a beautiful Saturday, with nothing to do, we sat around relaxing from a busy week, when suddenly our doorbell rang. Not wanting to be disturbed by a solicitor, my wife peeked out the front window to see who had interrupted our peaceful solitude. Seeing no one, she came back to the den when the doorbell rang again. She went back and looked out of the window again, but the person was standing too close to the door to be seen. Just then her cell phone rang. She answered and heard a familiar voice say, “Mom! Come to the front door!”

With a shriek of joy, Martha ran to the door shouting, Laura’s home! Sure enough, there at the door was our precious Daughter. She had surprised us with her first visit home from college. We enjoyed a group hug and kisses.

We were thrilled, and yes, surprised. After a great day of family time, she returned to the University that night. But the excitement of her first surprise visit is something that we’ll always remember.

Thinking about the experience, I remembered the story that Jesus told about the prodigal son. Though the circumstances were different, we read in the story about a father whose son had left home. This father had no idea if he would ever see his son again. He didn’t know of the calamity his son had gotten into. He only knew that his son was gone, probably forever.

Then one day, one ordinary day when he least expected it, he saw the figure of a man in the distance walking his way. Like us, he couldn’t believe his eyes. His beloved son had come home! In the Bible account of the story it says, “And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:24 KJV).

Why such rejoicing? We rejoice because of love, the love of a parent for a child. As I pondered those things in my heart, my thoughts turned to God, our Father. As great as our love is for our children, it cannot compare to the love our heavenly Father has for us, His children. He proved that by giving His only begotten Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for us. He did it so that all of His children could one day come home.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NLT).

He loves us so much…why… we ought to pay Him a surprise visit! How do we do that you say? On an ordinary day, not a Sunday morning or a regularly scheduled prayer time, pay Him a surprise visit in the Spirit.

Pray, and talk to him. Spend time in his Word. Praise and worship Him in a song. Do it at a different place and at an unusual time. He’ll love it, and you’ll be blessed as well. Like that old song says, “And the joy we share… when we gather there, none other… has ever… known.”

Pay your heavenly Father a surprise visit. He’ll love it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals and Dreams

As I think back on the past year, and reflect on the years gone by, the goals I had set for myself come to mind. I looked in my notebook where I had written down my goals over the years and made a startling discovery. I had achieved every goal I had set out to accomplish in my life up to this point.

Immediately I thought, “I should have made bigger goals!” It is truly amazing what one can accomplish by just writing it down. Sounds easy, right? No. It’s not. There’s an old saying, “If it was easy, everybody would do it.”

Over the years I’ve probably read most every motivational Author, listened to tapes, etc. and they make success sound so easy. Well I figured out that if enough people buy your motivational books and tapes, success is assured! Good for them.

Now this brings us to this year. What shall we do? What shall we do? I submit that we should turn to the pages of the greatest motivational book ever assembled. You probably already own more than one. Yes, it’s the Bible.

This year as I set out to crystallize my goals my prayer is, “I shall write according to your will Lord.” His words come to mind, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you ... plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

God, the Author and creator of all that exists, has plans for us! Wow, what a thought! Of all the Authors I’ve read, not one can compare with the plan that God has. We know this on a spiritual level, so why do we fail to flesh it out and bring it into the natural? I guess I’m as guilty as the next fellow, but not this year.

No. I will seek His plan for my year and walk it out to the best of my ability. Remember that God doesn’t see things like we do. Unlike us, He sees things perfectly, and has given His wisdom through the ages, recorded in the Bible. So our first goal should be to immerse our selves in the Bible, God’s wisdom of the ages. That’s easy, right?

Sure it is. We can all do that. And if that is all we do this year, I believe that this year will be amazing. One man wrote that he read the entire book of Proverbs every month and became a millionaire! Wow, that’ll make you want to blow the dust off the old book won’t it? Ha. Yes it will.

This brings us to dreams. Have we forgotten how to dream? Have your dreams been crushed and squeezed out of you? It happens. But, that is the beauty of dreams. They are limitless! You can always have more. Do you know that God is the greatest dreamer of all? Yes He is. Before He created everything He dreamed It!

One time while I was praying in the Spirit with the Lord Jesus, He sat me down and told me to dream. So we sat down on a hillside of green grass and lay back, side by side, and looked up at the sky. He said to me, ”Remember when you were a boy and you would look at the sky and dream?”

“Yes Lord,” I replied.

He asked, “Do you remember what you dreamed about?”

“I believed I dreamed of having great adventures, of sailing the ocean, or flying airplanes in battle. Those things,” I said.

“Well, do it again.” He said.

So I spent time in fun light-hearted dreams. The Lord opened my mind to the joy of dreaming. Sometimes dreams come true, but while you are dreaming, they are true. This is just one of many gifts our Holy Father has given us. It’s beautiful. It’s His nature to dream, and He has so many wonderful dreams for all of His children. He really does.

The Bible says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (III John 1:2 KJV).

So seek Him in His word, the Bible. Seek Him in prayer. Seek Him as you walk in the Spirit and He will reveal to you His plans, His desires, and His dreams for you. He will! Then as you write out your goals and dreams for the new year, you will know deep down in your heart, that this year, this time…All things are possible!

Happy New Year!