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.

Faith Is….

confidence in what I do not see.

I don’t see God, but I feel his love.  I see him moving in my life…

arranging the pieces…..orchestrating his plan.

I hear his voice…

through his written word and when he speaks into my mind.  Sometimes he speaks through others.

I experience his strength while I’m struggling with the issues and questions of today.

Every morning, as I witness the sun rising in the sky, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to me.sunrise

Right now, he is holding the world together….for me.  The gravity he created is keeping my feet on the ground.

He is providing my next breath.

I rest in your love, Abba Father.

 

Growing Through It

Trials in my life have brought me pain…

and much heartbreak…

and an ocean of tears.

But they have also helped me grow in my faith.  As I have persevered through my current darkness toward the light, God has kept his promise by constantly being right by my side.

After asking God for wisdom for this journey, I find that he has given me insight and knowledge when I need it to make decisions and take next steps.  I have no doubt that God hears all of my prayers and is in the process of answering them in a way that is best for me and my family.

But it is extremely hard to consider this all joy as James tells us to do in his first chapter.

Maybe in years to come I will consider some of this trial as joy.

a-sparkDon’t get me wrong – there are small sparks of joy now.

Sparks of  ‘this is why’.

Sparks of ‘God is moving mountains’.

And my trust – our trust – is growing as we have had to hold onto God with both hands as we figure out how to move forward.  There is some joy in that.

I trust that he has the best planned for me and my family.   Trusting brings hope and peace and strength.

Please help us to continue to grow, Abba Father.

Fan the Flame

Our passions….

burning inside of us.

The things we really care about.

When we are believers, God give us a passion for him and for his kingdom.  It’s our job to grow it and let God transform us so that we gradually become more like Jesus.

Paul tells Timothy – and us – in 2 Timothy that the Spirit God places inside of us gives us power.

God’s Spirit gives us love.

He gives us self-discipline.

We are meant to love God and follow him with power and self-discipline for the rest of our lives.

Paul tells Timothy – and us – to fan the flame of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which God has deposited within each believer.fan-the-flame

How are you fanning the flame?  What do your spiritual habits look like?

Maybe you regularly go to a Bible-believing and teaching church.  Great!  Do you participate?  Or just watch?  Do you go all of the time or once a month?

Fan the flame.

Maybe you read your Bible.  Great!  Do you read it daily or once in awhile?  Are you letting God transform you through his Word?  Are you listening and obeying?  Are you closer to God than you were a month a go?

Fan the flame.

Maybe you’re a part of a Small Group Bible Study.  Awesome!  Do you participate every week?  Do you meditate on the things you study, pray over them and let God change you?  Are you more like Jesus now than you were 6 months ago?

Fan the flame.

Just doing these activities is not the goal.  The goal is to let God into our hearts and minds so that he can change us from the inside out.  We fan the flame through our spiritual habits.

And God transforms us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

How Wide….

how long

and high

and deep

is the love of Christ?how-wide-and-long-2

Paul  prayed to God, asking that the Ephesians – and us – would know this love.

And be filled with this love.

So we can be strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us.

For this reason, Paul knelt down before his Heavenly Father to pray.

As we kneel before him now –

Dear Father, we thank you for how wide and long and high and deep Christ’s love is for us. 

We know it.

We feel it.

As we quickly rush into the Christmas holiday, please help us remember what we’re celebrating – Jesus’ birth.  And also help us remember his death and resurrection.  His sacrifice on the cross for us is why we can talk with you right now.

Thank you for the gift of your son, Abba Father.  It is in his name we pray to you today.  Amen.

Peace On Earth

Peace.

Where do we find it in our world of busyness and problems and violence.

Where is it?peace-on-earth

How do we get it?

Is it even possible anymore?

Are we creating a culture where there is no peace?

I think some of us have adopted life styles that don’t include peace.

Because Jesus is our peace.

Knowing him, following him, loving him brings us peace.

Paul tells us in Ephesians that we who were once far away have been brought near to God by Jesus’ sacrifice.  As believers,  we have all been given free access to God.

We have an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Creator of the Universe.

Through Jesus, we can find peace within us.

Because God’s Spirit lives within us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

We Have Problems….

but we are not in despair.

Trials press in on us from every side…

but we are not crushed.

Many people in the world around us don’t respect our values and beliefs….

but God does not abandon us.

We are struck with grief and sadness..

but we are not destroyed.

When we believe and trust in God, he puts the treasure of his Holy Spirit in us.

we-are-weak-jars-of-clayPaul calls us jars of clay in 2 Corinthians.  We are weak but God is strong. We don’t have all the answers but he does.  We can’t successfully make this tough journey through life on our own – we need him walking beside us.  These ‘jars of clay’ just aren’t designed to be strong enough on our own to withstand all the things we’re going to go through.

Paul tells us that the all-surpassing power of God can shine through our tough times, the sad times and the questioning times of our lives.

If we let him.

Therefore, we do not lose heart.”

God wants to renew our spirit every day – if we let him.

God is growing us through our momentary troubles.  He is orchestrating the big picture behind the scenes.  He’s busy opening doors and shutting windows – getting all of the puzzle pieces lined up.

Our role in all of this is to focus on him….

and grow our trust.

Please help us fix our lives on what is unseen, what is eternal, Abba Father.

 

Don’t Waste Your Time

Watching TV for hours.

Staring at our phones.

Playing video games.

Organizing our lives so we can catch every game – baseball, football, basketball, whatever game is on.

None of these things are bad….unless we do them a lot.

So much wasted time.

I have a new understanding this year of how very short our time here on earth really is.our-life-so-easily-snuffed-out

We are a flame that can be snuffed out in an instant.

We are a flower that blooms and then quickly fades.

We are but a whisper in the winds of time.

Let’s not waste it.

Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 15 to give ourselves ‘fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain’.

This is my favorite verse in God’s word.  I love the fact that nothing I do for God and with God is a waste of time.  All of it has eternal value.  That’s extremely encouraging to me.

When I think of all the time and effort and concern I’ve spent on things that were temporary and fleeting….

wasted time.

None of us have time to waste.

Please help us keep focused on you, Abba Father.