You Are A Letter

You are changed.

I am changed.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, his spirit comes to live inside of us.

He speaks to us.

He loves us.

He redeems us.

He changes us – when we listen and obey.

Paul writes about this transformation in his second letter to the Corinthians.  He calls them “a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tables of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

You and I are Christ’s letter to our world – not written in ink but communicated by how much we love God and how much we love others.

Faith, Hope and Love…

and the greatest of these is love.

We love you, Abba Father.

 

His Child

Redeemed from paying the price of my sins for all eternity.

Redeemed from trying to be ‘good enough’ to get into heaven.

Adopted by God.

I feel it –

don’t you?

Every moment, I feel God’s love – not as a servant or friend.  But as his child.

God tells us through  Paul in Galatians that he sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts and the Spirit calls, ” Abba, Father’.

Daddy.

This has a very special meaning to me because my earthly father went to heaven almost 40 years ago.  My heavenly Father has been my only Father here on earth for a very long time.

And my spirit calls him ‘Daddy”.

I know my Abba wants the best for me.  I know he can do anything – nothing is impossible for him.  He works good out of evil.  He forgives.  He is patient.  He loves me enough to discipline me……and comfort me.  He is faithful.

My identify as a child of God is the most important thing in my life.

Thank you for being both my earthly and heavenly Father for all of my adult life, Abba.

This Doesn’t Look Good

It looks like pain.

It looks like grief.

It looks harsh….

really tough.

Life happens to us and many times it doesn’t look good.  It’s nothing we would ever want to happen to us.  We would not choose this path in a million years.

Life like this keeps happening to me – I know it happens to you, too.  If you don’t have any trials in your life right now, just wait.  It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘when’.

When things are looking bad, those of us who believe and trust in God can be confident that God is working through this trial to bring good into our lives.  He has promised, so it will happen if we remain faithful and obedient.

I see God fulfilling this promise as I read the book of Acts.  The believers are being persecuted for their faith.  This is bad – a lot of pain and loss and problems.  So the believers fled.   And they shared the Great News as they fled, spreading the truth into other countries.  They touched many people who had never heard about Jesus and grace and salvation.  Good – out of bad.

God has done this in my life.  Evil was done and God is reshaping the results to bring good out of it.  It still hurts.  It’s not easy.

But God is proving himself faithful once again by bringing good things and purpose out of my trials.

When things on earth don’t look good, Abba Father, please help us look up.

They Missed It!

But you and I don’t need to miss it.

Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane having a long, agonizing conversation with his Father about his crucifixion which was coming closer every minute.

Why did he keep going back to wake up his disciples?  He went back three times and they were asleep each time.

I think they were supposed to be learning an important lesson that night but they missed it.  Jesus was giving them a first-hand example of how we should respond to trials and tragedies in our lives.

Jesus talked with God all night.  He laid his human concerns and worries and fears at his Father’s feet – over and over and over.  For hours.  He let the love of his Father wash over him – pushing back the anxieties and concerns.

And did you catch the part where God sent an angel from heaven to give Jesus the strength to be obedient?

The disciples were asleep – but I’m not.

And I got the message.

In times of struggles and pain, I need to get as close to God as I can.  I learned this lesson years ago and I have found that it works – no matter what kind of nightmare I’m living through.  The closer I get to God, the easier it is for him to help me get through the darkness and hurt.  When I’m close, he can quickly wrap his arms around me, helping me to feel safe and loved.  When I’m right beside him, he it’s easier for him to guide me through the rough parts of this journey.

When I’m focused on him and his Word, I can see the angels he sends to give me the strength to be obedient….

and still.

This is what Jesus showed us in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And I know it works.

And now you know.

Please help us not miss this lesson, Abba Father.

How Can I Know the Way?

How do I figure out my next step?

How do I know who to believe?

How do I decide which way to go?

These are all tough questions with important answers.

Thomas asked Jesus this same question after Jesus told him he was going away to prepare a place for the disciples.  Thomas replies, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus replied, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus is the way.

I’m not going to choose the right path without him.  I’m not going to know what to believe unless I know the Truth.  I’m going to wander and end up places I don’t want to be if I don’t follow the Way.

It’s just that simple –

and that complicated.

I need to commit each day to following him,

commit each hour to believing in him,

and I need to commit each minute to trusting him if I really want to know the Way.

Please guide each of us in the right Way, Abba Father.

He Prayed for Me

And he prayed for you.

One of my favorite things about the Chronological Bible is we are reading about Jesus’ last days before his crucifixion in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

It’s so appropriate!

The holiday reminds me to be thankful and God’s Word reminds me the most important thing to be thankful for – Christ’s sacrifice for me.

For God so loved the world…

Life everlasting with my Abba Father.

I love reading the prayer of Jesus in John 17.  He prayed for us!  “for those who will believe in me’ through the message of his disciples.

We know the Truth because the disciples faithfully shared with others the Truth they had seen and heard.   And we pay it forward by sharing what we have seen and heard about the Truth with others…

in gratitude for what Christ did for us.

May we be found faithful witnesses to your love and grace, Abba Father.

How Close Am I?

How much distance is there between God and me?

How far?

Mark tells us that Jesus was asked which of the commandments was most most important and Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The man who asked replied, “You’re right!  I get it  now!  Loving God is more important than following all the religious rules, traditions and ceremonies.” (my version).

Jesus replied, ” You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

It’s like he said – “Good job, buddy!  You’re figuring this out!”  I’m sure Jesus had a smile on his face when he said this because Jesus was surrounded by people who weren’t getting it but this man was starting to understand the truth.

I pray that Jesus would say this to me if he was sitting next to me this morning. “You’re figuring it out, Judy!”  That’s what this journey towards the truth is all about.

Am I getting closer to God as I study his Word?  Am I letting God transform me as I put his Truth into practice in my life?

How about you?

Thank for this this journey towards the Truth – towards you, Abba Father.

Really Alive

We are all breathing.

Our hearts are pumping so we are all living.

But are we really alive?  There is so much more to life that just making it through the day.  There’s so much more that going to work everyday to pay the bills.  There’s so much more to life than buying that next new thing or going to that next new place.

Is my heart and mind and soul really alive?

One of my favorite names for Jesus is in John 8 when he calls himself the Light of the World. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Really living is when we have this light of life.

We experience a whole new dimension here on earth when we choose to live in the light of life.  

God is moving.  He is making things happen.  He is loving us and caring for us.  He is moving mountains for us.  When we live in the light, we can see some of what he is doing right before our eyes.

We are really alive.

When we are in tune with God we can understand his strength and we can feel his love.  We can sense his presence right beside us – lighting up our world.

This is what it means to be really alive.

Jesus made his free gift of grace available to everyone – we just need to choose to walk in the light.  If you haven’t made that choice – today is a great day to accept salvation through Jesus.

He is waiting.

Thank you for making it possible for all of us to be really alive, Abba Father.

There Is No Other Way

No other path.

No where else to go.

This journey of faith is not easy.  The hills are very steep and the roads wind around blind corners where it’s impossible to see what’s up ahead.  And the valleys go down….

down…

into darkness……

But it’s never complete darkness.  No matter what is happening, God is always next to me, shining his light on the way I should go.

Sometimes I can’t see the light because I’m distracted – I’m looking away – at something else – like my fears, my worries or my grief.

But I just have to focus on him and God is there –

always.

He is faithful.

There are times when my eyes and thoughts wander, but they always come back to my Heavenly Father.  Because there is no other Truth.

There is no other perfect love.

There is no other direction to go in this world that will take me where I want to eventually go – home with my Father.

So I have to smile when Peter says essentially these same words.  Peter was watching as Jesus offended some of the people who were following by telling them the truth.  It wasn’t what they wanted to hear,

so they left.

Jesus turned to Peter and asked him if he wanted to leave, too.  And Peter answers, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of Eternal Life.”

I’m with you on that, Peter.

There is no one else to follow.  There is no other place I want to go.

There is no turning back.

So I move forward – trusting, growing and loving God.

Thank you for the truth, Abba Father.

The Wind Blows Against Me

There are days,

and seasons,

and years,

when the wind blows against me.

And it blows against you.

These are times of questions and struggle.  It’s hard to move forward when the winds of tough circumstances and tragic change and roller-coaster emotions blow forcefully against me.

So I can relate when I read the story in Matthew of the disciples straining at the oars of their boat as the wind blew against them and the waters of the Sea of Galilee grew stormy.

I know how it feels to be trying to push forward through rough waters…

against growing waves….

trying to at least maintain the progress I’ve made so far….

knowing forward movement is going to be extremely difficult.

Do you know that feeling, too?

Then I am reminded as I read God’s word, that I need to look up –

above the waves.

Because when the disciples looked up, they saw Jesus.  The Creator of the wind and waves walked out to them – giving them courage in the middle of the storm.

Jesus challenged Peter to show his faith by stepping out of the boat.  Do you notice that Jesus didn’t calm the storm?  It’s all still whipping around Peter when Jesus asks him to step out in faith.

What a big difference from my frequent prayers to calm the storms!  Calming them is often not his plan.  Instead, he comes to me in the midst of the wind and rain to challenge my faith – asking me to grow my trust and step out of the boat right into the storm where I need to count on him even more for guidance and protection.

Its hard not to focus on the waves,

and on the wind as it blows against me.

What are you focused on today?

Please help us lift our eyes and focus on you, Abba Father.