Jesus never published a book. He probably only ever read a handful -- maybe just one.
Jesus never earned an advanced degree. He may not have even gone to school.
Jesus was never an internationally renowned speaker. He was a locally infamous revolutionary.
Jesus never led armies or held a commission. But He won the greatest victory in human history.
Jesus never claimed any earthly power or throne. But He set up an everlasting kingdom.sus
The Route 66 God Loves You Tour is coming to Albuquerque!
Have you ever really wanted something? To make a sports team? A part in a play? A dream job? A role at church? A specific position in orchestra? Everyone has, right?
We sometimes get what we want and we sometimes don't. And sometimes we realize in the middle of striving to reaching our goal that we just aren't a good fit or that someone else would be better for the team or the drama or the church.
The thought that someone else might be better than us is...honestly, a little disheartening. But it doesn't have to be.
1. You and I always fit in God's family. We may not be the best person to teach 8th grade Sunday School, but we are the best person for something and God will help us find it.
2. We can be grateful that God has gifted others in spectacular ways. And when they find their place in the band or in the backfield, the group benefits and the individual has an opportunity to glorify God more fully!
3. Even when the answer is "no" -- God guiding and providing and we can trust Him to continue to do because He loves you and me as His children.
It’s been a tough week. Hard decisions. Practical worries. Real-life stress. But God has provided “enough” – enough strength, enough support, enough time, enough information. That is His promise to provide enough.
And that is when I remember my “printer moment” last weekend before life took a left turn. Seven days ago I was struggling with an industrial printer. I was using expensive paper which had to be specially ordered. And after wasting a significant amount in my trials and errors, I was concerned there would not be enough.
Frustrated, and feeling ridiculous, I stood next to this printer and prayed for God to make the paper last. When it did – and well past what I was expecting -- it struck me: God only needs to provide enough. And while He always provides enough – so often He provides so much more. So much more, and as I supervised that suborn printer, I was unable to NOT lift my hands in worship. It was such a sweet moment of praising God for His undeserved provision.
Oh the goodness of God revealed in everyday blessings.
Eclipses are a fascinating natural phenomena -- one that many argue exists specifically because God designed His universe for people to be able to study it and glorify Him in the process. Eclipses are formed when the moon or the earth pass between the sun and what the light of the sun is hitting. So during lunar eclipses like the one above -- the earth is blocking the light that reflects off of the moon. And during solar eclipses the moon blocks the light that normal hits the earth.
This relationship seems very similar to the relationship between our temporal life, the struggles in life, and the light of eternity with God. Natural eclipses happen as the stars and planets obey the orders of their Creator. Spiritual eclipses happen as we obey the command of God to allow the glories of heaven to block our tendency to see this life as all-consuming. This life is passing away -- be encouraged, endure the trials, because the Son is coming back.
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." -- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
People really like the verses in the Bible that seem to remove our accountability to others. “Judge not” may just be the most commonly quoted fragment of Scripture. We like to tell people that they don’t have authority over us and that we can do what we want regardless of what they think.
But that’s not the whole story. We need to hear the rest of the story. The rest of the story is: I stand at God’s throne where I will be judged.
People are skewed judges, who think they know everything, but don’t. They judge based on what they see, feel, and experience. And those things change so their opinions do too.
God is the Just Judge, Who knows everything. Everything. People judged on what they see – our actions, words and attitude. Their perception is often wrong, but it is always limited. God is unlimited which means He judges the heart – including our innermost thoughts and most secret motives. His judgement will be absolutely just because there will be nothing hidden – it will all be revealed.
Yes, I stand before God’s throne – and I will get away with nothing. No one will.
Paul was standing before the religious and civil leaders. He was under arrest and giving his defense, again, when the civil authority asked Paul if he would submit to a purely religious judgement. This was Paul’s response.
“I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged.” – Acts 25:10
Now that’s not a verse that I have spent that much time meditating on. But a paraphrase from it has been stuck in my thoughts: I stand at Caesar’s throne.
Paul chose Caesar’s judgement over that of the religious or local civil authorities. He refused to submit to the authority of the religious leaders. He realized that he had the ability to select who was his ultimate judge.
We have the capacity to "choose" as well. (Well, it is more like simply recognizing reality.) Ultimately, we stand before God’s throne. People can judge us, but their opinions don’t have authority over us unless we give it to them. Instead we are to remember: I stand at God’s throne – where I have been judged and forgiven because of Christ. This is where I am constantly being judged and instructed to be more like Christ. And God’s throne is where my every thought, every attitude of my heart, and every word and deed will be judged against Christ’s perfection.
Regardless of people’s opinions or government decisions, I stand at God’s throne.
Jesus may not have had a backpack in real life. But in the TV series The Chosen*, He does. It’s handcrafted leather with simple lines and a boxy style. As we were watching an episode one night I was told by a family member that the production commissioned a family business to make the knapsack. But when the invoice came in the total price was $0.00. They had physically given “Jesus” a backpack.
As I watched Jesus hike up to Jacob’s wall, I realized: this family had, as tangibly as humans can, given God a backpack. It was literally on Jesus’ back.
If only we could each see our service and our gifts to God as being tangible gifts presented before His throne -- because they are.
This act of service, that amount of money, each sacrifice for God, I truly lay at Your feet.
*(If you haven’t seen The Chosen, I recommend it. It is a Biblically consistent TV series about the life and ministry of Christ.)
It was dumb. But the leaves were falling so prettily around me and the wind was so soft – I wanted to catch a leaf.
It was petty. But I thought, “God will let me catch a leaf.”
And I tried – all the while thinking, “Is it right for me to ask God for such insignificantly things?” He cares for the birds, and I know He knows when every leaf falls. Though, why would He want to know that? What is the purpose? Well, He knows because He is infinite and knowing everything (even the leaves falling) does not tax or drain Him.
“Those leaves are a lot like the fancies (Proverbs 1:31) we chase in life.” My thought stopped my quest for leaves.
In life, we can catch something we think we want by chasing it. Or worse sometimes we reach up and pluck it before it is ready and in the process we destroy its beauty. And then we don’t want it anymore.
I looked up at the trees and light filtering down through the clouds. All the wonder around me, and I was missing out chasing the falling leaves. Oh, how we all miss out in life chasing what we want (only to catch it and find out it isn’t what we need).
And that is when I caught one! A leaf fluttered down right into my lap. It was dead – falling leaves generally are.
“So are the dreams we chase.” I said to myself.
All the leaves are dead away from the tree. All my dreams are dead away from Jesus.
Hold loosely all the things that are dead. And obey instead those things which God assures us bring life (Deuteronomy 30:19).
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25
Jesus spoke those words after talking with a rich young ruler who was convinced surely he had done everything necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 10:17-27). Watching the man walk away, Jesus mused about how hard it is for the rich man to be saved. And He repeated Himself. Not once or twice, but three times – meaning to His Jewish audience that this statement was undeniably true.
The rich in material things. The rich in education. The rich in power. The rich in strength. All these people have the “resources” to support their delusions of self-sufficiency. They are rich enough to be knowledgeable, knowledgeable enough to have power, powerful enough to have strength – and they are too weak to ever save themselves from hell.
The ‘poor’ have no such delusions. They are simple enough to know they don’t know and humble enough to realize their lack of control. Every person – rich, poor, black, white, educated, or illiterate – must come to this place of recognition, “I cannot save myself. But Jesus can and I will trust Him completely.”
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3).
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.