Monthly Archives: June 2016

No Short Arm

God's Hand is not too shortCompassionate hands and hearts
have a limited reach.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations so distressing and painful that no one can comfort us. Friends and family may offer physical comfort, assistance, and love, but their arms are too short to touch our deepest grief and fear.

The Israelites repeatedly encountered similar situations. Even though God — with outstretched arm — had provided a faith-building experience of walking across the Red Sea on dry land, they repeatedly fell into despair. When they complained, and cried, and mutinied God asked, “Is my arm too short to handle your problems?”

Throughout the scriptures we see reminders of how God’s outstretched hand brought deliverance, strength and comfort to people. God still asks, “Is my arm too short to reach your problem?” With an outstretched arm — in whatever depths of despair that you find yourself  —God’s hand can still  touch the deepest need you have.

Isaiah 50:2; Isaiah 59:1; Jeremiah 32:17

Martha Hawn VanCise©2016

Photo: Pinterest. Artist unknown.

I Just Called to say, “I Love You.”

God embraces us with love

Sometimes we sense the Holy Spirit calling us aside. The Spirit often directs us to a passage of scripture that encourages or gives us direction. Other times, it seems that God simply wraps us in love. It is, as if, we sit under a shade tree by the River of Life, embraced by God. In these rare moments, we speak no words. Nothing can be said. We are just quietly soaking in God’s love.

Satan, though, is usually close and whispering, “Yep, it’s coming. Something big and disastrous is coming to you and God is getting you ready for it.  Ohhh it’s gonna be bad if God is this close to you!”

Perhaps God does occasionally prepare us in such a way, but often, God is simply saying, “I just came to say ‘I love you.'”  How inexpressible the joy of resting in the arms of God and realizing the Spirit has just come to embrace us with never failing love.

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  Psalms 112:7

Martha Hawn VanCise©2016

Stranger Danger

Beware of Strangers

I was walking  near my home, when a couple neighbor boys, about six-years-old, approached on bicycles. One boy had pink hair. “I like your hair,” I called out.

As the boys slid to a stop, I pointed to my pink T-shirt and said, “Your hair matches my shirt. Maybe I need to dye my hair that color.”

The pink-haired one excitedly explained, “You can get this color in Walmart. Doesn’t cost much and you just spray …!” Suddenly he stopped mid-sentence and yelled,  “I DON’T KNOW YOU!”  The warning  of “do not talk to strangers,” had suddenly hit him. Both boys began to back their bikes away from me.

When Satan roars “God doesn’t love you,” or “You’ve built your life on the wrong foundation,” we know to step back,  examine the threat and say, “This is not the voice of God. This is the voice of a stranger.”

Satan, though, doesn’t always roar like a lion and breathe fear and depression into our minds. Sometimes, Satan masquerades as an amiable non-threatening person who casually compliments us and causes us to let down our guard. Satan had a casual conversation with Eve about the desirability of a forbidden tree. Satan used back-handed compliments about Jesus’ awesome powers when he tempted the Lord to turn stones to bread and call for angel protection. Satan used a simple servant girl to trip up Peter.

Make sure you know the identity of those who offer you spiritual advice. In an age where people are “spiritual” but “not religious,” strangers may fall in step with you and casually comment on the absurdity of taking God’s commands seriously. Their compliments can lead you to focus on the human power that lies within, rather  than the power of the indwelling Christ. Paul told the  church at Colossae, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8

When Jesus spoke of the Good Shepherd, he said the sheep, “… know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger: in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Take time to familiarize yourself with God’s voice through his Word. Don’t hesitate to back away from an  unfamiliar voice and say, “I Don’t Know You!”

Be alert to Stranger Danger

Martha Hawn VanCise©2016 www/