Posted on January 9, 2021
The Bible tells the story of God’s redemptive plan in Jesus from beginning to end. From Genesis to Revelation, we see the fingerprints of our Savior. “All along,” wrote Glen Scrivener for desiringGod.org,” “true faith was messianic faith, centered on Christ himself.” Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus was born incarnate on the earth fully human and fully God.
“The Bible teaches that Jesus is not merely someone who is a lot like God, or someone who has a very close walk with God,” wrote Matt Perman for desiringGod, “Rather, Jesus is the Most High God himself.” What’s more, Jesus promised never to leave us alone. Believers are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in us at all times. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three separate persons that make up the one Triune God.
The mystery of the trinity and the incarnation is a subject that theologians much brighter and more qualified than I study in depth. This article is a mere starting point but continue after reading and explore God’s Word further. Inquire after sound, bright minds for additional theological truths about Jesus. A good theologian sees God’s Word as the ultimate authority for our earthly understanding of God. The Christian faith is not one of explanations we pull out of thin air, but of historical fact, evidence and eyewitness.
Posted on January 9, 2021
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14 ESV
Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but unfortunately, not all of the lost want to be found. The unfortunate reality of the narrow and wide gates Jesus spoke of is not all of us will choose correctly. Many will follow the mainstream and miss out on eternal life in heaven. The brief narrative on the Narrow and Wide Gate is the first of four warnings Jesus gave in regard to applying the Sermon on the Mount. The first being “a caution to the lost about where they are headed.”(Moody)God is patient, not wanting any of us to perish. All are welcome to walk with Jesus, through the narrow gate.
Posted on January 8, 2021
Think about someone you struggle to like. I bet it doesn’t take long for someone to float to the surface of your mind. This could be a neighbor, colleague, family member – anyone whose personality might not mesh so well with ours, or whose history is a messy tangled in our own.
We know what God’s word says – we’re to strive to love all, not just like the people we don’t prefer to be around… God calls us to the radical way of love. But what does that look like, to love those whose company we find grating, whose personality we don’t mess well with?
Here are 5 very practical, simple ways to begin to love the people you struggle to like:
Posted on January 6, 2021
When we sit down to pray, we bring a lot of baggage! As soon as we wake, our thoughts threaten to go rogue. Praying Scripture is a powerful way to reset our focus. God seeks a relationship with us, rooted in prayer and the study of Scripture. Through these divine methods of communication, believers experience the presence of God in their daily lives. His peace, which transcends all understanding, permeates the lives of those of us who choose to walk with Christ. We are continually enlightened by the way God connects His truth and our prayers to everyday life. May the following verses, and prayers that follow, inspire us to fix our hearts on who God is and what Christ has done for us.
Posted on October 27, 2020
Dark Autumn mornings beg me to smack the snooze button. At my dimly lit desk, coffee steaming into the quiet, I felt a pang of jealousy of as I read Acts 8: “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39 NIV) I would like the Holy Spirit to physically relocate me, I thought to myself, which is exactly what happened to Phillip. (Zondervan)
There are many pandemic days burned into the permanent section of my memory. Days full of shock, tears, heartache and loss. Normalcy has fallen by the wayside, and it’s been hard to cope. We miss hugs from friends, seeing smiles in person, and sharing live laughter. 2020 has been a very hard year.
The generation currently navigating junior high has a skyrocketing suicide rate, and they now pile on the anxiety of quarantine. My daughters are in 7th and 5th grade.
The patch of sunflowers I planted in late September had a slim chance of surviving long enough to bloom. Yet today, I cut the first batch and brought them into the warm house. Miracles do happen, and life can bloom despite of the odds stacked against it. In the midst of heartbreak over what they haven’t been able to do this year, my daughters have chosen to remember where their strength comes from. My oldest will clunk up the stairs from the basement in her pointe shoes to show me what she has been working on. Her grades, even though she had been zoomed in for much of the first quarter, were straight A’s. Today, a photo gift she made for a friend arrived in the mail, and she wore a new outfit she bought with her allowance to zoom into school. As I write, I hear her laughing with friends on a group chat.
When I told my husband the buns were on the stove next to the crock pot this morning, my youngest daughter laughed at no less than ten of her own “bun” jokes. Everyday, she has us rolling in laughter, despite of these dark times. This girl, who tends not to communicate with the same word count her older sister does, shared with me on our ride to school today about her nightly conversations with God.
God could physically pick me up and move me. He could change our circumstances …make it easier …ease the pain of isolation… Jesus wept and prayed for God to change His circumstances, too. He was isolated and deserted as He was crucified, unjustly. He endured all of the pain of this world voluntarily because He trusted God’s will. So in moments of isolation …I choose to remember the source of my strength.
Jesus gives me the perspective to see my situation through the filter of hope, and the blessings He’s sweetly and faithfully embraced us with in 2020. The laughter, long boating days in the warm sun, lunch dates during the school day, late night talks, and time with my girls who will disappear back into their busy lives as soon as they resume. I’m not glad its happening, but I know where my strength comes from. Acknowledging personal hardship is important. Tears are healing and some anger is righteous! But I know beyond what I can see, feel, and plan for …God is always on the move …and He is always good.
Remember the verse at the top of this post, and the man who went away, rejoicing? Phillip shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with him, and he was baptized! His joy was a sign of new life, and evidence of the Holy Spirit. (Zondervan) 2020 has taught us not to hang our hope on our plans, routines, and goals. All of those things are good, but His plans are more than we can ask for or imagine. It may get worse before it gets better. We were never promised life would be easy. But, if we unplug from the manic media and choose to tap into our real source of strength, we can live joyfully even in crazy hard times. Dark times. Jesus links arms with us through it all.
(Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary of the New Testament. Copyright 2002.)