Day 7 – The Joy of Life

Thursday, March 14, 2019

This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent–Jesus Christ. John 17:3

I’m thinking about life today. It may be because it is my daughters birthday. I am so incredibly grateful for her life and the joy I have in knowing her. Seeing my little girl grow-up and spread her wings and fly is this father’s dream and delight. Even more, knowing her and experiencing her personality, her peculiarities, her power, her perseverance and her love is my joy and gives me life.

Jesus came to give us life and joy. What’s more, he said knowing God the Father is eternal life. Eternal means forever. Life forever is found in knowing God. Knowing means having a connection that runs long and deep and intimate – well beyond a few superficial facts. Knowing the depth of God’s love, a love that would sacrifice his son for you and me, is humbling. Knowing that He is for us through thick and thin is radically encouraging. Knowing that our heavenly Father delights over us (Zeph.3:17) is motivating. Knowing He has planned good for us even though trials will come (Jer.29:11),  is comforting. Knowing God gave His Son’s to reconcile us to himself and secure us in His love, forever, is profoundly amazing. He gave us life that we might enjoy Him – forever.

What if today you asked God to let you know His love more deeply? And from that knowing allow yourself to enjoy Him.  The God who gives life and love in abundance desires your joy in Him to be full – will you welcome that today?

Hump Day Determination – Day 6

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Day 6 of our 40 Day Journey

We are midway through the week. Maybe you’ve had some challenges or bumps along the way.  Maybe you’re discouraged by the humps you have to get over and the pot holes you’ve hit. They are not fun, but maybe they are good.

Matthew tells us after Peter’s powerful confession of faith;

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”                                                Matthew 16:21-22

Jesus was describing the journey. A way of struggle, hardship, and suffering. It’s the reality that the narrow road is at times a hard road. It’s the truth that the hard road is the road to glory.  Is there some suffering on your journey?

Peter did not want the Lord to suffer. Who wants a friend to suffer? Who wants to suffer? I don’t. I am with young Peter, I’d rather it never happen to you or me. But this same Peter, later in life, said:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1Peter 5:10

There is more to say about suffering, but Peter who initially stood firm against it had come to realize that suffering is part of the journey to eternal glory. It is part of how we grow and mature. And we can fight it (as young Peter did) or we can look for the Lord in it. Lord, how are you restoring and confirming, strengthening and establishing me through the struggles and suffering of this week.

Today, would you be willing to welcome whatever the Lord brings your way? Would you open yourself to his love and presence and trust that he is working for your good, even  through the difficulties?  Determination to meet God in your difficulties and persevere with Him.

Day 5 – A Secure Life

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Do you ever wonder what you’ll need for a secure life? A good education, a great house and job, a partner with bunches of money in the bank? Would that make you secure?

Jesus said:

Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. John 6:37

and then the Apostle Paul said:

For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! Romans 8:38-39

The reality is, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, YOU ARE ALREADY SECURE.

Coming off of the madness of a Monday in the broken world – maybe you could use a reminder of the security of your eternal life in Kingdom of God because of the power and love of Jesus for you.

You will never be a cast away and never separated from the most powerful and satisfying love in the universe. Today – risk living in and out of that love – and take on the day with bold confidence in your security.

 

 

Day 4 of a 40 Day Journey

Monday, March, 11, 2019

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” Romans 2:4

I grew up in Roman Catholicism and I also have a pervasive critic in my mind. I don’t blame Catholicism, though in my experience the church sought to control through guilt. Maybe that contributed to my internal critic which guilts me. I easily see and critique what is out of place, disordered, broken, needs fixing, and just plain wrong. Internally, the critic responds to me with self-judgment that sounds like this: “You aren’t doing enough, you didn’t do it right, if you don’t get it right, you are not valuable.”

Repentance, in this distorted view is about penance and punishment for not measuring up. But, God does not operate this way through the love of Jesus. Rather, he extends mercy and kindness to all – for all have sinned and not measured up (Rom 3:23). Unlike the non-resourceful critical one in my mind, God extends kindness and grace. He patiently encourages us with kindness to turn from our false and sinful ways and bring our brokenness and our humanity to Him. Why?

Because God love you, that’s why. And because God knows He is the source of healing and wholeness and life and joy – AND HE WANTS ALL OF THAT FOR HIS CHILDREN!

Today, as you start your week, will you welcome the loving kindness of God for you? Breath in His grace and your security in His love, and let the joy of the Lord fill you as you follow Him on your journey.

Day 3 of our Lenten Journey

Saturday March 9, 2019

“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.”

John 14:18

According to social psychologist and researcher Brene’ Brown, we are lonelier than ever. Social media, cell phones, technology and the capacity to travel have not brought us together, but created a world of loneliness and superficial connections.

What a marvelous reality that the Savior of the world did not save from a distance, but came to be with us, to dwell as a man among men, eat with sinners, become known to friends, and go to weddings. It was very personal and very much a ministry of presence with Jesus.

And even as Jesus physically departs to return to his Father, he promises not only to not leave us alone, as orphans (exposed, in danger, fending for self), but to give us the Holy Spirit. In Paul’s letter to Timothy he says: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (2Tim1:7)

We are not alone – and we are not made to be alone. Take a moment and BREATH – breath in the reality that the Spirit of the Living God is in you, for you and loves you. Let him meet you in your loneliness. Now choose to meet others, to be present in love with others – let’s not leave one another as orphans, but love as we have been loved.

Day 2 of 40 – Journey to the Resurrection

Friday, March 8, 2019

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24

So the question comes: “Who are you?”  The answer may be a 60 second elevator speech that paints a positive picture. Like a Facebook post that hides the bruises and blemishes of life and tells a fantastic fable.

Truly being known however is much more than a positively spun, superficial, vulnerability avoiding cover for reality. In fact, King David seemingly admits in Psalm 139 that he doesn’t know himself all that well. He takes the bold step to ask God to reveal his inner being to him – that he might be led deeper still into the everlasting way.  That way is a way of knowing and being known by God and others (John 17:3; 1John 1:6-7).

Knowing ourselves, owning our reality – the good, the bad and the broken are critical to turning toward God (repentance), walking in the light,  and receiving the depth of grace and unconditional love he has for us in abundance.

Are you willing today to ask God to reveal you to you? And in seeing yourself, I encourage you to remember He already sees it all and He welcomes you into His love because He loves you deeply. Take the risk of press into that life giving love today.

Day 1 of 40 of our Lenten Journey

Thursday, March 4, 2019

Acts 3:19-20 say:

Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”

So long as I hold onto the things of this world and the demands that my fleshly desires be satisfied, I will be moving away from the satisfying presence of the Lord. And I’ll likely know this is the case because of the presence of anger, frustration, anxiety or frustration, at a minimum.

The call to repent and turn is not a call to dissatisfaction, but an invitation to move into the satisfying presence of God and welcome all the love and joyful security He offers in Christ.

Which way are you moving now?