Forfeit The Grace

Do I really believe the Word of God to be “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path?”  Yes I do!  God’s word to me has been increasingly more meaningful and His voice, through His word, has been steady, firm and clear.  His promises and assurances fill me with more God-confidence and far less self-confidence.  More of Him, less of me.

Jonah’s life has always been an interesting read.  There’s nothing like the consequence of disobedience resulting in an unexpected journey in the belly of a whale.  It’s evident through his journey that God is serious.  And it is in this seriousness God reached out and demanded Jonah’s attention.  I know the feeling!

What is better is Jonah listened and pondered God’s direction.  He was in quite an awkward position of surrender and so he did.  And as he did, his heart too began to hear the steady, firm and clear voice of His savior.  As he listened, he learned of the greatest consequence of all.  To God, Jonah’s worship was silent.  It echoed throughout his life, but little belonged to His Lord — in fact, one might question what or who Jonah truly worshipped.  And without Jonah’s complete surrender in worship to His Lord God, the grace that could be, would be forfeited.

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.  But I, with a  song of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you.  What I have vowed I will make good.  Salvation comes from the Lord.  Jonah 2:8-9

Lord Jesus, I know your grace is sufficient . . . for even me!  You have reminded me to trust in you even when the waters get deep and rough (Isaiah 43:1-2).  You have assured me that you hear my thoughts and words (Micah 7:7).  You have encouraged me to not allow my heart to be troubled or to be afraid — because you have given me Peace (John 14:27).  May I sing the same song as Jonah!

The Very Answer

Life is filled with hard knocks — I presume you’d agree.  Circumstances that wield their way in and out of our lives, leaving a trail of hurt, pain and worse . . . destruction.  It can lead to personal torment and depression, worrisome and troubled thoughts and a sense of control that has somehow remained out of reach.

We look at the world around us in a more global sense and see buildings collapsing, abuse, political positioning, failing economies and all things corrupt.  It truly is difficult to see the light shining around the edge of this dark cloud.  But Jesus said He was the answer.  Surely if He were then He’d make right the wrong.

We look at our own world and see many things that fail.  We experience the unexpected death of a loved one, the dysfunction of divorce, the chaos of relationships, abuse and the absence of anything good.  No, it’s not about being a pessimist, it’s about the world — our lives, that reflect the growing nature of life since Eden.  God’s great plan to rescue his people has never changed, but the life we live today is that detour.  It’s a detour filled with pot holes and rough terrain, but God never promised smooth roads and clear skies — he just promised the destination because he is the answer.

In John 11 and 12 there is a story of faithfulness, trust and belief that brings rest in a worry-filled world.  We know from the story that Jesus loved Lazarus.  We also know that Mary, because of His love for Lazarus, knew that Jesus was the answer to Lazarus’ sickness and therefore sent word to Jesus so He would come.  Mary trusted in Jesus to be their Healer!  But Lazarus died before Jesus arrived.  And not just died, but Lazarus was placed in his tomb and was there for four days before Jesus arrived.  To Mary, Jesus was late and never showed up!

When Jesus finally arrived, Mary ran to him and stated that Lazarus would be alive today had he been here on time!  But Mary didn’t know that God’s glory would be shown to everyone in Lazarus’ life.  Mary didn’t realize that Jesus was the very answer for which she was asking all along.

Sometimes we only see what stands in front of us and forget that Jesus is never late and Jesus always shows up.  And every time He does, He understands our world!  No matter how bad it gets, no matter how dead life appears — Jesus isn’t the answer . . . Jesus is the VERY ANSWER!

So they took away the stone.  Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”   John 11:41-42

 

Without Wings

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  James 4:10

There are plenty of things crafted by the Master’s hand that goes counter to all things understood.  In many ways we would consider these things “exceptions” to whatever rule they seem to break.  For instance, the Platypus, an ostrich-headegg-laying mammal — seems a bit odd, don’t you think?  Let’s consider the Bat, a flying mammal — blind none-the-less — still a bit odd.  How about a Penguin?  A bird, that swims!  Speaking of birds, what’s up with the Ostrich?  A bird that has wings, but cannot fly!  Imagine if it could though — wow!

God is the only one that can get away with this kind of “exception-al” thinking or doing!  It truly demonstrates the mastery of His design.  When we try to apply some of these same exceptions to things created by human hands, it doesn’t quite run the same “exception-al” rules.  For instance, we don’t drive boats on the road, nor can we get a hot-air balloon to lift with water!  Perhaps more so, we have yet to create or design a plane that could fly without wings.  It just doesn’t happen.

But beyond all things tangible things, God also created a relationship that is truly “exception-al.”  It is built with love at it’s core, faith as it’s fuel and hope in it’s veins.  All of which assume their own “exception-al” design.  Further, God reminds us that in order to be more like Him we must humble ourselves before Him and man. Seems “exception-al” to me!!  In essence, He says, deflate your pride and I will make you soar on the wings of eagles!  What?

He has designed us without wings — yet, He has promised to lift us high if we are to humble ourselves.  That means making life all about Him and little about me!  That means saying, “I wanna do life Your way, not my way!”

Thank you Lord Jesus for doing an “exception-al” work in me!  You designed me to love the unlovable, to worship the God of the universe, to soar without wings, to taste and see!  Continue to show your immeasurable love to me each day as I learn more about dropping my pride to the curb!

by:  Mark Cruver

A New Day

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.   Psalm 90:12

Today is pretty simple for me — it began as a new day, a new hour, a new minute, a new second — and all of them without doubt have come through His mercy and grace as a gift!

Today is not mine, it’s His and He is sharing it with me — through me!

This hour is not mine, it’s His and He is sharing it with me — through me!

This minute is not mine, it’s His and He is sharing it with me — through me!

This second is not mine, it’s His and He is sharing it with me — through me!

But . . .

unless I allow Him by receiving this gift and abiding in Him I live under today’s laws.  Freedom to live each day a new day is resting in the comfort that comes from knowing who I am in Christ and through Him, in all things, I gain a heart of wisdom!

Lord Jesus, may today, this hour, this minute, this second not go by without being in step with your Spirit within me!  Give me wisdom as we walk together today!

All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.  II Chronicles 9:23

Where Joy Is Bred

I usually don’t write in my blog on the weekends, but after reading this morning I cannot help but share this — mostly for myself.

Thomas Brooks was an English Puritan preacher and author. In his book A Cabinet Of Choice Jewels he wrote the following:

“That Christian who has free grace, who has free justification, who has the mediatorial righteousness of Christ, who has the satisfaction of Christ, who has the covenant of grace most constantly in his sight, and most frequently warm upon his heart—that Christian, of all Christians in the world, is most free from a world of fears, and doubts, and scruples which do sadden, sink, perplex, and press down a world of other Christians, who daily eye more what Christ is a-doing in them, and what they are a-doing for Christ, than they do eye either his active or passive obedience.

Christ has done great things for his people, and he has suffered great things for his people, and he has purchased great things for his people, and he has prepared great things for his people; yet many of his own dear people are so taken up with their own hearts, and with their own duties and graces, that Christ is little eyed by them or minded by them!

This is the great reason why so many Christians, who will certainly go to heaven—do walk in darkness, and lie down in sorrow.”

This has made me ponder and reflect.

From Bethlehem To My Life

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A busy night and day in Bethlehem it truly was! My life feels equally busy these days – so much so I miss the God of the universe on display in my heart!

May I never forget and remember today that the God of the universe who came to earth in Bethlehem not only lives in my heart but IS my life . . . today and forever!!! Amen!

Merry Christmas to all who have faithfully followed my thoughts each day and may God richly bless you this Christ-filled day!

Thanksgiving And God’s Goodness

Many are arriving at homes with their best dish in hand to visit with family and people they’ve never met before. Regardless, God is good and we all have much … so, very much to be thankful for. For something different, I thought this videowould be a bit of fun and perhaps something we all can relate … God’s goodness!

Happy Thanksgiving!