June 28, 2010

The Secret to Survival: The Elijah Formula

“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” Deut. 4:2 (NIV)

Magic wands, potions, secrets and formulas! What we would pay to have one of those when life gets tough and we need answers. Where do I go? What do I do? How can I manage?

The market is flooded with self-help books by the zillions both secular and Christian. And a few of them actually provide some good stuff. My boss, Cheryle Touchton, has one for living. She calls her formula “An Ancient Secret.” But she is quick to share the secret is available to everyone. Do you wanna know what it is? Then look up Matthew 22:37-39 or Luke 10:27.

This week I came up with a formula of my own for surviving. We’re in tough times here and will likely be for a while. Some people wonder how they will survive the day, the night, the week or the year. Actually I discovered it while reading my Bible study lesson for Sunday. If you want to shock your Bible study teacher – then read your lesson! Besides, you’ll be surprised what you might learn! Anyway, we are beginning a series of lessons on the Old Testament prophet Elijah by Ray Pritchard (Fire and Rain: The Wild-Hearted Faith of Elijah).

I figured easy sailing on this one, because we ALL know ALL about Elijah. You know, sometimes I am just not as smart as I think I am! What a series of lessons! I have discovered so much more about Elijah, God and me than I ever thought! My favorite thing is for God to show me something in a new fresh way yet I prepare for the same old, same old. Why He continues to put up with me, I do not know.

But during my study I read about a pattern Mr. Pritchard noted and then I made a math formula out of it. Let me preface this a bit. We were only in the first few verses of I Kings 17 in the Old Testament where Elijah confronts evil king Ahab and warns of a drought. Apparently God is unhappy with the state of the union. Wait, I have a feeling of déjà vu.

Then God sends Elijah to hide out while he brings things to pass. (Sidebar: Run and hide is not the formula.) God had a reason for all of this and told Elijah during his vacation, not to worry about food and water – take out was coming to him – by way of ravens. No time to go into all we could here, but let’s simply say for Elijah to hang out in hiding while letting scavenger birds bring him bread and meat for 3 ½ years during a drought is a miracle.

How did the miracle happen? God issued a command, Elijah obeyed and a miracle resulted. Elijah survived. God’s command plus your obedience equals miracle.

Still confused well, I guess God does have numerous commands. (Sidebar: don’t confuse God’s commands with a list of “don’t do’s”. His commands are always to help provide needed guidance and protection in your life.) But in any given situation we can always refer to His commands to read His word, pray, seek His kingdom, be kind to others, and share the Gospel of Jesus.

When we take these commands and add our obedience, it will always equal a miracle. The trick here is to remember miracles come in all shapes and sizes. Elijah’s miracle was his survival. Your miracle may be survival by guidance, survival by healing, survival by peace, survival by comfort or survival by specific answer. And when you share your faith, the survival comes in the form of another person surviving eternally.

I really needed that this week and I am sure others did too. So whatever miracles you may need today – apply the formula and rest in the assurance that when God is in the equation, results are only an equal sign away.

Love, Barbara

June 21, 2010

Answers In Genesis

“In the beginning God created…” Genesis 1:1 (NAS)

On Sunday June 6, Carl Kerby spoke at our church. Now, you are asking, “Who is Carl Kerby?” Glad you asked. Carl is a fast-talker with a comedic sense. He is a former air traffic controller – which peaks the interest of everyone in the Gobbs household. He is married and loves the beach. But the best part about Carl is that he is a born again Christian committed to educating people in the area of creationism.

Carl works for an organization called Answers in Genesis. You can look them up at www.answersingenesis.org for yourself and I suggest you do! Carl came and taught four sessions on creationism vs. evolution to equip us to answer questions on that subject. It was amazing. There is no way I can repeat all I learned from this gifted and godly man – so let me suggest – you guys get him at your church fast!

But I do want to recap a few lessons I learned or relearned and share them with you. There is no rhyme or reason to this, just hoping the Spirit will lead you to something YOU need for today, and possible tomorrow!

1. Some frogs are toxic. God has made a lot of frogs. Some of them are actually toxic. I have seen these at the zoo so this was no surprise. What was a surprise is that when you take some of these frogs out of their environment and deprive them of some of their normal nutrients, they loose their toxicity. My spiritual lesson: some of us have mouths like toxic frogs. We can poison people with our words. But if we allow the grace of God to move us into the realm of a spiritual environment and we exchange old sustenance in favor of something more holy, we too, can loose our toxicity.

2. Okay God, I know what you wrote, but now let me tell you what you meant. I had to write this down right away. We exist in a society where some will acknowledge the Bible but then reinterpret it for us their way. As if God wrote His Word but really didn’t mean it that way! Unfortunately readily-Bible believing Christians are guilty of this as well. I know I have been. When was the last time we did what we wanted to do and justified it with this type of a statement? Thought I’d ask.

3. The Three C’s. Answers in Genesis serves to inform the Christian body but I gather their main purpose is to educate Christians in defending the faith. This is necessary if we are sharing our faith as the Lord has commanded. I mean, it’s hard to fully share something we don’t understand. So educating believers is a good thing. But there is more education to be had, because as believers, at times, we get our roles mixed up with God’s role. Need some explanation? Here’s a simple formula to remember our part in sharing the new goods, it is NOT our job to convict or convert, but only to converse. Who knew it could be so simple?

There is one last thing I will leave you with. Rest assured you were created by a loving and living God who cares for you above all other things. You were specifically designed and patterned “in His image.” You exist because God breathed life into you and your purpose is simply to love Him back. You were not created first – but big deal! God was the first to save the best for last! Therefore you are God’s greatest masterpiece and masterpieces are made complete at the time of creation. They are not made and then added to century after century. So it is certain you did not come from an amoeba, frog, monkey or Sponge Bob (you had to be there).

In the beginning God created and what He created was a man and a woman. They began as man and woman and have always been and will always be a man and a woman, breathed upon and blessed by God.

As you were created, so should you live!

June 13, 2010

Miles of Hope – One Step at a Time

“Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two and two ahead of Him to every city and place, whither He Himself was going to come.” Luke 10:1 (NAS)

During the summers of my childhood, I would spend time visiting my cousins and they would spend time visiting me. Of course, I always liked staying at their house better than ours, because other parents always let you do things that your parents don’t.

Actually maybe it would be more concise to say, they let you do things that were different from what you did at home. For me that meant walking. Of course, my parents let me walk, but my boundaries were tighter. Then again we lived in a bigger city than my cousins. Bigger is not necessarily better and brings other issues to the table, but I digress.

When at my cousins’ house, the three of us would walk all over the city. We walked what seemed like a zillion miles to Woolworths to get French fries and a coke. And we did most of it barefoot. I bet the early disciples could relate but it is something I wouldn’t be caught dead doing today!

Fast forward to present times where if I want French fries now, I jump in the car and head to the closest drive through! How lazy I have become! But in recent years walking has been revived! We walk for health and exercise. We walk for honorable causes. Walking is good, ask any doctor!

Now let me tell you another story: two friends of mine started walking together in the evening. After all, it is more fun when there’s more than one! They walked. They talked. They prayed. They shared their past time with a few others. Their walk turned into a topic of conversation. Their prayer turned into a topic of discussion. Today, it has turned into a ministry and an opportunity. I am pleased to be a supporter of their vision.

I am proud to introduce to you: Miles of Hope – One Step at a Time and the website http://www.mymilesofhope.com/ . This was created because two women turned their physical exercise into spiritual energy. The purpose of this site is for women (okay men, too if they want!) to log in, sign up and commit their walking miles to God. You might know this as prayer walking. The ultimate goal is to circle the globe in prayer over the summer. That’s 24,902 miles of walking and prayer! Can you imagine what the results could be?

There is no cost involved and you can walk two by two or twenty by twenty. Let me encourage you to check this out. Forward this to your friends, co-workers and your women’s ministry director at church. But by all means SIGN UP and PRAYER WALK! About what? ANYTHING! You can pray out loud or silently. Pray for your family, friends, our country, the world, and even those you pass by as you walk. Can’t get out – use a treadmill. You just need to move those hips and move those lips!

As I write we have 250 miles committed and yes, I have committed as well. I would never ask you to do something I would not do myself.

When Jesus sent out the seventy – you can bet your bottom dollar they prayed as they walk. Because of that, the face of the world was changed forever. With times being as they are, we are in desperate need of a face lift! I double-dog dare you to log on and sign up. The Lord will honor you for it and Miles of Hope thanks you. Your friends will thank you. Your community will thank you and I thank you. Most of all your heart will thank you – in more ways than one!

Prayer Warriors start walking!!

June 07, 2010

Lord, Help Me To Be . . .

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

I can’t speak for you, but there are a lot of things in this world that I would like to be. However, my neighbor’s bumper sticker sums it up the best. It simply reads, “Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.”

Of course, since I am a cat person, I customized the thought to fit me. The saying is quaint and amusing but probably holds more truth than we give it credit.

Ask anyone, I love my cat. I have loved all my cats, even the ones that didn’t love me back! And because I love my cat, I treat my cat well. Kitty Kat gets a spoonful of tuna fish every morning. She gets fed twice a day and she is freshly watered. Her medical needs are met.

I brush her, pet her, talk sweetly to her. She lives in an air conditioned home and sleeps wherever and whenever she wants. No chores are required of her and she is promptly and properly “cleaned up” after – if you get my drift! On numerous occasions, I have stated that if there is such a thing as reincarnation (and there is not!), I am coming back as my cat! Kitty Kat never tries to escape – she likes us and appears purr-fectly happy in her feline life.

Yet, on more than one occasion, I’ve caught myself . . .thinking. About what? Well, let’s see if this sounds familiar to my fellow critter buddies. Your day starts all wrong and it stays that way. Nothing goes according to plan and everyone is out to get you, so you react accordingly. Since you are not getting their best, they indeed, will receive your worst! You feel the madness starting to set in!

Finally, you are able to drag yourself into the safe haven of home. Your precious furry friend comes to greet you and soothe away your misery. As you both are reconnecting after an infuriating day, your mind ponders over the things you said to those around you. Your actions begin to dance hauntingly in your head. Then a stark realization occurs as you happily scratch Fido’s belly: You are treating your pet better than you treat people!

Perhaps the response to our Lord’s second all-time greatest commandment, would result in more improved behavior if He’d commanded that we love our neighbor as we love our pets! What do you think? Well I think I’ll end today with that. I’m sure I’ve throw you a big enough bone to chew on!

Love, Barbara