Why Would God Wait for You?

I seriously miss my family. My husband is in the Army, so for our twelve-plus years of marriage we’ve lived at least 500 miles away from them. After we visited them last time, I printed off dozens of pictures and covered every square inch of my refrigerator. Now, whenever I open the freezer, my heart catches a little. I long to cuddle with my nieces, play games with my nephews, sip coffee with my dad and walk the dogs with my mom. Even though I’m so blessed to have a family who loves me, missing them hurts sometimes.

There are many Bible verses that instruct us to wait on the Lord, but did you know that God waits for you?

Isaiah 30:18a says, “Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.”

The word for waits is “chakah”, and can also be translated “to tarry or long for”. If you have not yet trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, He is not far from you (Acts 17:27), and He is anxiously waiting to be merciful and gracious to you.

(first published on http://www.swagga4christ.com)

 

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The Conclusion of It All

Just a few brief thoughts this morning. Do you have any idea what the term “Maundy” Thursday means? I didn’t! So allow me to share my new found knowledge:

Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”, the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of
John 13:34 (paraphrased from Wikipedia)

Jesus’ words there have been pooling in my mind all week, also the following words, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

Think of it! Today is the very day (some 2000 years ago) that we recognize Jesus telling His disciples the secret to evangelizing the world; the secret to complete obedience to Jesus Christ, the secret to all God wants from you.

It is love for one another. Look again. Jesus single commandment to His disciples: Love as I have loved you.

Also, it is in that love that the world will recognize us as His! It is in that love we find our own identity. 

I want to share one short devotional that I wrote recently for http://www.swagga4christ.com, as well as three songs that bring me to my knees. 

 

 

 

 

Short Devo: The End

“I finished the laundry!” My husband said.

“Now you can rest because there’s nothing left that you have to do!”

I cast a glance at the stack of clothes on the top of the washer. They weren’t folded the way I fold them. The didn’t look like they do when I’m finished doing laundry. I sighed. There was no way I could rest, the laundry needed a little more work.

John 13:1 says, “…having loved his own which were in the world, [Jesus] loved them to the end.”

When Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is finished,” John 19:30.

The words “end” and “finished” have the same root word in the Greek: telos. Telos means: that by which a thing is finished, it’s purpose.

Jesus loved us to the finish. His love for us, shown by His death and resurrection, put to an end all of our works to please God or to earn His forgiveness. All the payment for sin that God required were finished by Jesus.

Think how it would hurt my husband’s feelings if I refused to accept his gift of doing the laundry for me and decided I could do it better myself. It is the same way with Jesus. When we think that we can or must do more to please God, we are actually saying that Jesus didn’t do a good enough job paying for our sins.

You only have to believe in Jesus. All the work is finished!

This Day

sunrise“Where does the time go?” 
What if we quit saying that? It doesn’t make a difference anyway, and perhaps only serves to dull the brilliant uniqueness of this moment. Is it even possible to “live in the moment” while we are bemoaning the lost ones and plotting the next?
I wrote this article about two months ago for http://www.swagga4christ.com. It was also published on FaithWriters as one of the daily devotionals. But when I skimmed over it again today, I felt chided. How quickly I forget God’s lessons…
Every January, the world seems to lose track of time. For a few days, all we can think about is how we are going to do things differently next year, in the future. Or, we look back at the last year and feel guilty about things that happened in days gone by.
The Bible doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about the past or the future. In fact, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “The old is gone and the new has come.” So, the past is gone and the new is now!
The phrase, “This day”, is used frequently in the Bible. God tells us that He made this day, we can rejoice and be glad! (Ps. 118:24) In Matt. 6:11, Jesus reminds us to pray and thank God for His provision this day. 
So, when others talk about New Year’s resolutions, or moan about the past, remember that your choices, actions, attitudes and words matter this minute, right now, this day.
“Choose you this day whom you will serve.” Joshua 24:15

BUZZ word!! “Religion”

Bear with me, one more conversation with C.S. Lewis. (I never tire of this man.)

Recently, I wrote a brief word study on “religion” for Swagga4Christ Ministries. Wouldn’t you know, the very next day in my C.S. Lewis Daily devotional from Bible Gateway, the sage himself wrote on the topic. So I thought I’d share our perspectives. It’s a hot, controversial topic. I’d love for you to add your voice!

My words:

Bound by Freedom

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

No one really knows where it came from. The word “religion” is kind of mysterious. For hundreds of years, scholars have debated its origin.
One opinion I stumbled upon bothered me at first. Modern scholars think it might have been derived from the Latin word ligo, meaning “bind or connect”.
I got hung up on the word “bind”. Many people today view religion that way. They feel that it binds them, constrains them to a certain list of rules. But Galatians 5:1 says that Christ set us free, so our faith must have nothing to do with being bound. However, there is a different kind of binding, of connecting. Colossians 3:14 says, “Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony.” The Christian faith is not merely a religion. Jesus came to bring us freedom from the law—a long list of do’s and dont’s. But it is also the love of Christ that creates harmony among believers. We must be diligent as we enjoy our freedom in Christ that we work for unity among our Christian brothers and sisters.

C.S. Lewis:

I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F., an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, ‘I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!’
Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.
From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

What do you think?
Is religion the same as faith in Christ?
Do you need Jesus to get to Heaven?
How do you experience Christ?

He Sat Down

Has anyone ever told you that God loves you so much that if He had to, Jesus would die for you all over again?

I have some good news: He won’t.

In the Old Testament, Hebrew priests stood constantly. Their tireless work of sacrificing animals to cover the sins of the people, literally kept them on their feet all day long. Morning and night, not to mention special festivals and offerings, they sacrificed lambs on the altar.

Hebrews 10:12-14 says, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

When Jesus died for our sins and rose again, He “sat down”. This means that there are no more sacrifices to be made – ever. No one needs to kill a lamb or pay the penalty for their own sin. Jesus, who is also called our High Priest, offered the final sacrifice and the work of salvation is completely finished.

“He sat down”, might seem like an unimportant phrase. But it has great significance for  you and me. Because Christ is seated, we can be sure that if believe in Him, God will never, ever hold our sins against us.

That’s good news!

This was first published at Swagga4Christ ministries. I hope you’ll visit their site!

Embrace the Silence

“A time to keep silent, and a time to speak.” Ecc. 3:7b
Silence makes most of us uncomfortable.
The silence of a vacant page is enough to rip the words right from a writer’s finger tips. So, as I frantically searched the hall of my mind and the pages of my commentaries for a way to explain to you the profundity of this word, silence, I panicked when God said, “Be still.”
“As soon as I figure this out God,” I whispered back, “As soon as you tell me what to say!”
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10
The Hebrew word translated, “Be still,” is, raphah, which means: to sink down or drop into, to let it drop, let alone or to be quiet.
Has someone ever told you to, “Just drop it.”? They mean to abandon an argument or discussion, to withdraw from your frantic pursuits.
That’s what God is calling us to here. He desires to spend time with us, not only to hear our petitions or worries, but so that we can know Him and love Him more because of who He is. And that happens in silence. It happens when like a little child we come into His presence and sink down deep into His loving arms. It happens when we drop our fears, frustrations and pleas (and our discomfort in quiet).
If you’re struggling in your walk with God and feel as if you do not know Him like you want to, or don’t have a strong relationship with Him, be still. Sink into His arms and get to know Him in the silence.
This post was written for Swagga4Christ and also featured on FaithWriters daily devotional. I hope you’ll visit their incredible website and read the other inspiring and aspiring Christian authors.