A Future Hope

When my son was not quite two years old he was diagnosed with autism.  I will never forget that doctor visit and the sterile-sounding words the physician spoke.  The dream I held for my son’s future stopped in that moment.  I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach; unable to breathe.

I was angry at God for a very long time.  I blamed Him for this seemingly unfair situation.  I turned away from Him because I was convinced that He abandoned my son by giving him this incurable disease.

It has taken me years to realize that God didn’t do this TO my son.  God has allowed it, yes, but He did not cause autism in my son’s life.  It seems almost blasphemous to say, but I had to work through forgiving God for allowing this.  God knew I would react the way I did, and He loved me despite it all.  I believe He was, and still is, using the challenges my son faces to mold me into the vessel of His design.  He is using the struggles we have with autism to teach me how to help others in similar situations.

Don’t get me wrong, I pray regularly that my son be healed from autism.  I ask God to open my son’s mouth to speak and his mind to think and understand.  I pray that my son will always be safe.  Sometimes I forget to pray and fear creeps in. I panic. Then Jeremiah 29:11 comes to my mind: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.  I am filled with comfort by these words because I know they are truth spoken by my God.

I do not believe that this Scripture verse is saying my life with an autistic son will be without struggles.  Rather, I believe this verse is saying that DESPITE the struggle’s autism can bring God HAS a plan for me and for my son.  God’s plan is for a prosperous and hope-filled future.  I do not know the specifics of that future; the “when” or the “where”, but I know God’s Word is truth.  And because He says that He “knows the plans” He has for me, I do not have to worry. God’s got this.

“Heavenly Father, I thank You that You have a plan for my life.  Thank You that Your Word says You will prosper me and not harm me.  Thank You, Lord, for the hope which comes from You alone.  God, I thank You for all You have taught me and all You have yet to teach me.  I pray that You will continue to mold me and make me into the person You have created me to be.  I ask that You use me in the lives of others and I thank You for that.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

Kami R. Lobner

 

Rear view Mirror

Have you ever stared too long into your rear view mirror and when you looked up you needed to slam on your brakes, so you would not crash?  I have; just the other night in fact.  I saw my daughter’s car coming toward me and as she passed I looked back in my rear view mirror.  When I looked up there was a large deer about 10 feet in front of my car.  I slammed on the brakes and avoided that crash.  In life I have had many near misses and not just while driving.  I have also had more “crashes” in life due to bad decisions than I care to remember.

For me, my bad choices seem to occur when I’m either stuck in the present or focused on the past.  It’s like I am stuck in a loop of bad decision-making which causes me to crash and burn.  These crashes have hurt me, but more importantly, they have hurt others.  It is during these moments when I need to take my eyes from the rear view mirror and focus them heavenward.

The amazing thing is God knows every choice I have or will make.  He knows, and He loves me still.  God forgives, and He graciously allows me to start afresh.  Sometimes the crash es have been necessary for me because without them I would not stop looking in my rear view mirror.  I learn and grow from my choices with the hope of never repeating the same mistakes, however, I have not perfected life and I praise God that His Word says that is okay.

In Philippians chapter three Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:12-14 (AMP)

What an amazing promise from God.  I choose to accept His promise and obey His Word; I choose to forget what lies behind and press on toward what lies ahead. His promise is for me and it is for you.  Will you also choose to accept it?

Kami R. Lobner

 

Grandma’s Recipe

 

My grandma could bake.  I remember watching as she made a pie crust from scratch.  It looked so effortless; she rarely measured the ingredients. She taught me how to make many things over the years.  Though my grandmother did not need to look at her recipe cards or measure the ingredients, I am grateful she had those recipes written down.  I didn’t realize until my grandma was gone that I needed her written words to follow to reproduce her creations. As I became bolder in my own baking attempts I would add a little something of my own to grandma’s recipes.

This is how it is for me with the Word of God.   I have been aware most of my life that God’s written Word exists.  There have been seasons of my life where I spent no time reading it and tried to follow my own recipe for living. Let’s just say that my life did not turn out nearly as well as one of grandma’s pies.

Then I opened my Bible and read God’s recipe for living.  I read His Word which pointed the way to Him.  I learned about His Son, Jesus, and the salvation which is found in Him alone.  I read about the gift of His Holy Spirit whom we are filled with while we await His glorious return.

I know that I cannot add to God’s recipe book.  I do believe, however, that He tells me how to use His ingredients for holy living in ever-increasing measure.

In 2 Peter 1:5-8 God says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

I like this recipe. It is a recipe to be effective and productive for Jesus. It is a recipe for life.  I sometimes wreck the recipe, but by God’s grace I try again, and it turns out better.  This is a recipe I choose to follow and one I pray you will too.

 

Kami R. Lobner

 

To Obey or not to Obey?

Every day we have multiple opportunities where we can choose to obey or to disobey God.  It could be as simple as returning money to the cashier who gave us too much change or as difficult as forgiving, again, the person who hurt us. When faced with such opportunities do we choose obedience or disobedience? What is it that drives our decisions?

Obedience comes from a heart compelled by love.  Obedience takes positive action to show honor and respect to God.  Obedience requires us to set aside our own feelings, pride and desires in order to do what we know is right.  Most importantly, obedience draws us closer to God.

The epitome of obedience was demonstrated on a hill with a cross and three nails.  Christ was obedient to the point of death in order to honor His Father in heaven and to display His love for each one of us.

If we do not do what we know to be right, even in part, we are walking in disobedience.  If we keep the extra change the cashier gives us or only return a portion of it we are being disobedient.  If we say we forgive that person who hurt us but our heart remains bitter toward them, we are choosing disobedience.

What if Christ chose to disobey God’s will for his life?  What if Christ said, “I’m not really wanting to do this thing you are asking of me, God.  How about you let them pay for their sins themselves?”.  Imagine what humanity would be like without the gift of an obedient Savior.    That reality would truly be hell on earth.

But, praise be to God that Christ loved us enough to be obedient to the Father.  Praise God that Jesus chose, above all of His human desires, to draw close to His Heavenly Father and to obediently submit to God’s will.  Praise God for the salvation that is now ours to freely receive because of the obedience of Jesus Christ.

What is it that God is asking of you today?  In what way is He calling you to be obedient? Submit to His will. Draw close to Him through your act of obedience and He WILL draw near to you.

Ps 128:1 “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him”.

2 Jn 1:6 “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love”.

Ph 2:8 “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!”.

 

Kami R. Lobner