YET

YET is a little 3 letter word I keep in the pocket of my heart. Frequently, I pull it out and apply it to my life. I can say, “I don’t have it YET.” (definition: up until the present time) Or, I can say, “YET I will praise the Lord.” (definition: nevertheless)

According to II Corinthians 1:20, I know God’s promises are yes and amen. Hebrews 11:1 tells me, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
When I have a need, I find a scriptural promise and ask God to fulfill it. I believe He will answer. However, I do not always see the manifestation of God’s answer as quickly as I would like.
So, I pull out this powerful little word, YET, from my pocket.

For example.
I need a physical healing.
In Exodus 15:25, God says, “I am the LORD, who heals you.” According to Matthew 4:23, Jesus healed every disease and sickness among the people.
I claim and pray. However, my aches and pains do not immediately disappear.
Does this mean I ignore my physical limitations? Certainly not.
Does this mean I cannot claim healing? Not at all!
I pull out the concept of YET from my heart and proclaim, “I do not see or feel my healing YET.”

YET reveals my faith in God’s ability to hear and answer my request for healing.
I walk by faith, not by sight. (II Corinthians 5:7)
I believe in healing.
I also believe God answers in His time. (He has made everything beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Another example.
There are family members who are not walking with the Lord.
I claim the promise of Acts 16:31. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”
No immediate turn around by the wayward ones after I pray.
I verbally state, “These individuals have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior YET.”
I am still believing. I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Kris Vallotton has said, “between the promise and the palace, there should always be a process that is natural and needed.” He goes on to say, “If you’re in the middle of the process, what I really want you to hear today is that this time is just as purposeful as when you will one day be in the palace.” This is where I pull out my YET. No immediate answer to my prayer does not mean God is not answering. He has His way. (“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9)

Since I have the word YET out of my pocket, I use it another way.

In Habakkuk 3:17, the prophet describes his current circumstances. There are no figs or fruit or olives. The fields produce no food and the flocks are deteriorating. Not good! However, he then says in verse 18. “Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

My application.
Although I may still feel physical pain, I will declare, “YET I will praise the Lord for He is God. He is my Healer.”
O
r, I may admit that my loved ones have not changed their paths of life. YET I praise the Lord because He is God. I know He is at work.
I demonstrate my belief in the promise through praise.

I cast my cares on Him according to I Peter 5:7. I choose not to worry as I’m told in Matthew 6:34. I worship – not worry. Like Paul in Philippians 4:4, I will rejoice in the Lord. According to verses 6 and 7, I will “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” I rejoice in the Lord always. I rejoice in God – not my problems.

I keep the little word YET handy in the pocket of my heart. I use it often. It is a powerful word.

My Reader, is YET in your heart’s pocket?

 

A Cart Full of Blessings

Sometimes I grocery shop at a store that keeps it carts chained together. To retrieve a cart, I insert a quarter into a slot that releases a cart. When returning the cart and attaching it to the cart corral, a quarter is released.

Recently as I headed to the carts, a gentleman gave me his unchained cart. I offered him my quarter but he said it had been passed on to him and he wanted to do the same. I responded that I would follow his example. I thanked him for the cart and told him he was a blessing.

As I wheeled the cart up and down the grocery aisles, I thanked the Lord for the cart I had received. I also asked God to help me extend this cart to the right person. I prayed that God would bless my cart – and the next recipient.

When I concluded my shopping, I offered my cart to a lady. She thanked me and said she would pass it on to another person. I do not know what happened next.

Later, I reflected upon this encounter. God showed me something supernatural through this natural experience.

As I thought about the shopping cart corral, I realized that the locked carts could symbolize people in bondage. They were all locked up! A cart could only be set free when someone inserted a quarter in the little lock box. The Lord’s says in Jeremiah 40:4, “But now, behold, I am freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands.”

Our lives are of greater value than shopping carts. Jesus paid the price for our freedom.
I Corinthians 6:20 NLT says, “God bought you with a high price.” And Titus 2:14 NLT says,He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people.We are not required to stay chained up like carts.

Jesus paid the price of His life – much more than a quarter. If I had not been given a cart, I would have only paid twenty-five cents to receive one. And then, I would have gotten my quarter back when I returned the cart. Jesus does not take back His payment. According to John 8:36, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” He paid the price. The debt is canceled. Jesus will never return us to bondage.

At the beginning of the day, all the grocery carts were chained together. Because of one person’s generosity of a quarter, a chain reaction began. One person gave away one cart. By day’s end, numerous people had received a free cart.

God also gave. According to John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” He still offers this gift of eternal life to anyone who will receive it. People did not reject a free grocery cart. How much more valuable is the gift God is extending?

I had the privilege of being part of a chain reaction that offered a free grocery cart to other shoppers. As Christians, we have the privilege of participating in a chain reaction that offers freedom from sin to those chained to the bondage of sin.

My Reader, do you desire to be set free? Ask Jesus into your heart and He will set you free.
II Corinthians 3:17 says,Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

If you are already free, I encourage you to be a part of the chain reaction passing along this freedom to those who are still in chains. Follow the command of Jesus stated in Mark 16:15, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

 

 

 

 

Manger to Mansion for Me

Christmas is past but our house is still a mess because of our celebration. Consequently, I continue to think about the messy manger. What a mess! Messy manger – messy world – messy house – is there a “messy me” as well?

Throughout Advent, we unpacked how Jesus was born in a messy manger. We came to the conclusion that He is not uncomfortable in our messy hearts or the messy world today. However, Jesus does not leave us in a mess. Philippians 3:20a assures us, “Our citizenship is in heaven.” Yet, there is a preparation process. Acts 3:19 tells us to, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Another verse to consider is I Thessalonians 3:13, “May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones.” When Jesus returns, whether our hearts are messy or cleaned up will determine where we will spend eternity. Listen to what Jesus says about His coming again in Revelation 22:12, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

As a young girl, I heard a fictional story of a little boy who reminisced on Christmas night about the joy of celebrating the holiday. At the end, the boy said, “Now I have to wait 365 days to celebrate Christmas again!” According to the calendar, this is true. However, Christmas is more than one day of festivities. While Christmas is a celebration of the first coming of Jesus to earth as a baby, He promises to come again. No one knows the time when He will return – it may be tomorrow or it may be in another 365 days or it may be more years than we can comprehend. Luke 12:40 informs us, “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

While living on earth, Jesus promised in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. When Jesus first came to earth, we gave Him a messy manger. Now, He is preparing a majestic mansion for us in heaven. What a contrast! When I refer to the manger of Jesus, I am speaking of the natural world, but when I refer to the mansion Jesus is preparing, I am speaking of the spiritual world. Continuing with this comparison, we can say that Jesus experienced a natural birth to make it possible for us to be spiritually born again. In John 3:3 NLT Jesus emphasizes, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” John 3:16 clearly states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” When our spirits are born again, we are assured of eternal life. Today, we are waiting for Him to come again to earth to take us to His spiritual mansion. In summary, we can say that Jesus humbled himself when He came to earth and lived in a temporal home as a human being so that we can be lifted up into the mansion He prepares as our eternal home. John tells us in Revelation 21:3-5, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”

When Jesus was born as a baby, most people missed His coming. As far as we know, many residents of Bethlehem were oblivious to His birth. However, when He comes again no one will miss Him. Luke 21:27 says, “they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” And, within Revelation 1:7 we are told,”… every eye will see Him….” During December we have taken time to prepare for Christmas. Now as we near the beginning of a new year, may we take time to prepare our hearts for Jesus’ second coming. Let’s clean up our messy mangers. We do not want to miss His return!

The Gift

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Gift giving has become very commercialized in our society today. However, I like to think that when I give a Christmas gift, I am following the example of God who first gave a gift. His gift is revealed in Romans 6:23, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 3:16 explains why He gave us a gift by saying, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The first Christmas gift was Jesus when He was born in a stable in Bethlehem!

Through this gift, Jesus set the example of being born. His birth was unique because His birth was from spiritual life to human life. Jesus was not just born, He was born again into a more limited life. Physical life was a new or second nature for Jesus. In contrast, we also need to be born again but for us it is from limited physical life to eternal spiritual life. We gain a second nature when our spirit is born again allowing us to become like Christ. Through this new life we receive the gift of eternal life. In John 3:6-7 Jesus says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” In II Corinthians 5:17 Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” When Jesus came to earth as a baby born to Mary, He became a human being. Max Lucado says, “He became like us so we could become like Him!”

Jonathan Cahn says in The Harbinger Companion with Study Guide says, “Every heartbeat is a gift from God.” I like to think about this concept that every time my heart beats, it a gift I am receiving from God. This is the gift of life in its simplest form. As I listen to the sound of my heart beat, I hear Jesus repeating Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” I imagine every beat of my heart as a knock of Jesus at the door of my life. I cannot live without Him. I do not want to live without Him. He is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

In the December 2015 issue of Guideposts, Pope Francis is quoted as saying, “God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If He gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.” God gave us the gift of Jesus and now we have the choice of whether or not we receive this gift. My desire this Christmas season is to receive the gift of Jesus more fully and understand Him more deeply. Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Whether it be a gift from God or a gift I give, the person receiving the gift has the option of accepting or rejecting it. When I give a gift to someone, it is my hope that they will unwrap it, use it, and enjoy it. God has the same desire for the gift He has given.

My Reader, I pray that you will accept the gift God gives you this Christmas and that you utilize His gift every day of your life.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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