How Far?

How far away from God am I?

What about you?

Jesus had many confrontations with the Teachers of the Law while he was here on earth.  They were legalists and held the word of God over people’s heads like a hammer.

You did that wrong – Bam!!

You did that wrong – Bam!!

Jesus was all about grace and truth and many of the teachers and leaders at that time were about power and personal agendas.

Sound familiar?

So it’s very interesting to read about a positive conversation Jesus had with a Teacher of the Law the book of Mark.  The Teacher asked Jesus which of the commandments was the most important – they had over 600 at this time.  Jesus told him that loving God and loving others were the top two.

The Teacher then agreed with Jesus saying, “You are right”.  And Jesus said, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”  (Mark 12:34).

Translation – “You got this!”

In the middle of all the other Pharisees and Sadducees and Teachers of the Law who hated Jesus and wanted to kill him, here was a man who understood.  He believed that loving God and loving others were the two most important things.  Everyone around him was off track as they spent their time and energy on the less important  laws.

This teacher got it.

And I want to be like him.  As the world around me gets more and more confused, angry and judgemental, I plan to stay focused on these two things –

loving God,

and loving others.

My goal is to continually grow closer to God and live my life less and less like the messy culture swirling around me.  I’m moving closer to the Kingdom of God.

I invite you to come with me.

Thank you for your truth and guidance, Abba Father.

How Much More

She knocked….

and knocked……

and knocked….

on the door of an unjust judge.  Until he gave in and gave her justice.

How much more will my Father God, who loves me, give me when I ask?

How much more does he have waiting for me when I pray and never give up?

The parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18 changed my life.  It’s the answer to the question, “What am I supposed to do?” when I’m stuck, when I’m frustrated.  What am I supposed to do when all of the wrong answers are swirling around in my head?

Now, I know.  When I’m in those situations, I remember the Persistent widow and it reminds me that God has all of the right answers.

I just need to ask.  And keep asking.  And keep asking.

I ask knowing he will answer.  I ask knowing that he will guide me in the next step.  I ask knowing that he has determined the right path for my life.  I ask because I know he has chosen me and he has great plans for me.

As I persist in seeking God…

asking….

believing….

knowing….

he always answers.  Always.  Because he loves me and only wants the best for me.

When I have something big going on – something scary – something overwhelming….I pray.

And I keep praying.

I have had some very memorable days in my life which started in despair and fear and confusion but ended in peace with a plan and a smile because God answered my 200+ prayers that day.  He didn’t change the situation.  He changed my thinking, my perspective, my goal.  He reminded me that he is in control.

When I persist in turning to God for wisdom, direction and strength he gives me all that I need and much more.

Thank you, Abba Father.

I want to be…

like the Samaritan Leper.

He came back to Jesus after Jesus healed him.  He came back praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.  He was one of ten lepers that Jesus healed in Luke 17 as he travelled to Jerusalem.  Jesus healed them all and this man was the only one that came back to say thank you.

Jesus had redeemed the leper’s life from pain and death.  And the leper came back to show his gratitude for what Jesus had done for him.

Jesus has done the same thing for me.   He redeemed me from hopelessness, death and eternal separation from the only source of good things in this universe – our Father God.

After reading this passage many years, ago, I decided to start all of my prayers with thanking God for who he is and what he has done for me.  I still do this today and I find it puts me in the right mindset to have great conversations with God.  He has already done so much for me – lavishing his love on me, forgiving my rebellion and self-centeredness, pouring his blessings down on me, giving me purpose and peace…..I could go on.  So starting every prayer with ‘thank you’ helps me avoid the trap of treating him like Santa Claus and going down my list of ‘prayer requests’.

For the rest of my life here on this planet, I will be like the leper who came back to say ‘thank you’.  I will live my life in gratitude to God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

400 years of Silence

I can’t imagine it – God being silent for 400 years.

That’s the amount of time between the Old Testament and the New Testament.   So it is said that God was silent.

But was he?  Really?

It’s hard for me to imagine that my Father God who loves us and cares for us so diligently each day would be quiet for 400 years.  I think it’s very possible that he was speaking and interacting with people at that time but none of it was meant to become part of his revelation to us so it was not included in the Bible.

When I think about how much I need God each day and knowing that there were some faithful people during that time as well, it doesn’t make sense that he was actually silent for 400 years.  It doesn’t sound like something he would do.

But we know that there were 400 years between the two parts of the Bible.  For some reason, God put in a significant break before he begins the account of his greatest Gift of all time – salvation through his son, Jesus Christ.

Mark’s account starts with, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the son of God”.

John’s account starts, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

The Light of the World was arriving – we would never be the same.

Amen.  Hallelujah!

Thank you, Abba Father.

I’ve Got Your Back!

When we want to accomplish something big, it takes a team.  One person can only do what one person can get done.

But when a group of people join energy and brainpower to tackle a goal together, unexplainable synergy happens and their efforts are multiplied.  Success rolls in when a team of people are engaged, committed to working together and helping each other achieve a goal.

And when God’s involved – there is a supernatural factor that is truly astounding to witness.  Projects turn out much better than planned.  Blessings pile up.  We see our faith growing as, together, we experience the power of God in our lives.

Has this happened to you?

I’ve experienced this many times and its exciting every time it happens.

As a result, I love reading the historical account of Nehemiah leading the Israelites in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  The Jews were being attacked regularly by their enemies who didn’t want them to complete the wall.  They were very discouraged.

Nehemiah refused to stop building.  He knew that he had been sent back to Jerusalem to lead this project so he couldn’t stop.  He organized the men into teams – half of them did the work while the other half watched the worker’s backs with spears, shields, bows and armor.  They protected their brothers with everything they had.

Working together,

protecting each other,

they accomplished the goal together.

They could not have done it without each other.

Our Spiritual family is like this.  We need each other.  Each one of us needs to use our spiritual gifts in order to build each other up and fulfill our purpose of reaching others for Christ.

We watch each other’s backs – loving and forgiving each other in supernatural ways.

And we love those who don’t know Jesus yetblue-blob-ive-got-your-back

while our Spiritual family supports us and cheers us on.

We can do this, because He first loved us…

and He has our backs.

Thank you, Abba Father.

My Heart’s Response

As I read the beginning of Psalm 106, this is my heart’s response –

I’m giving thanks to the LORD today for how good he is!  It’s impossible to describe with words the magnitude of his greatness!

I feel his blessing and his smile of encouragement when I do what is right.

You constantly show me how much you love me, Father, by giving me your guidance and help.  I find joy in knowing I am your adopted child – a daughter of the King!

Please help me make the right choices and avoid straying into rebellion.  Touch my mind, Father, when I need to remember your goodness and kindness.  Help me to always remember how you have saved me and are walking beside me.

I believe all of your promises, Father.  Your Word resonates with the core of my soul and I know what you tell me is true.

I am staking my life on it.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

It’s a Plan

I know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.

As I read Psalm 89, my plan jumps right off the page- ” I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever.”  I will tell everyone I know about how I have experienced your faithfulness all my life, Abba Father.

I will talk about your perfect love for me and the abundant blessings you have showered down on my life.

I will walk with you each day, Father, until the day we walk into heaven together, hand in hand.

I will find my peace in your strength.  I will find my joy in your love and faithfulness.  I will find my strength in your righteousness and justice.

I will walk in the light of your presence each day, Father. 

And I will continue to sing of your great love forever.

Amen and Amen.

His Breath of New Life

A valley of bones.

Millions of bones.

When God breathed into them – “they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.”

Wow!!

Growing up in church, I always thought this vision of Ezekiel should be preached around Halloween because a valley full of dry bones suddenly connecting and standing up is creepy as well as scary.

How time changes things.  Now I love this visual because it’s exactly what happened when I turned over my whole heart to God.  His breath went deep into my soul and – for the first time – I was truly alive.  I have an eternal purpose.  I have been re-created into one of the soldiers in his army – wearing his armor and working hard next to my spiritual brothers and sisters to push back evil.  Each day, I read and study God’s word – getting to know him better and growing my understanding of the things he loves.

God gives me hope.  Not the ‘I wish’ kind of hope.  This hope is cemented into my heart by the promises of God.  I know who is in control and I know he is working everything out for my good.  I know where I’m going when I leave this earth.  I know who wins in the end.

God’s redeeming love has turned my dry bones into something good and useful.  His breath moves my soul and brings new life each day.

There are no more dry bones here.

What about you?  Could you use a breath of new, real life from God?

Thank you for your breath of real life, Abba Father.

Branded by the Truth

The truth is etched onto my brain,

it’s written on my heart.

God’s truth has forever changed me.

You and I are the created ones.  God is the Uncreated One.  His old relationship with us was broken by our rebellion and sin.  That’s one of the reasons why the Old Testament is filled with violence and gore.  That’s why there was continual conflict and strife between God and humans in the Old Testament.

Sin was in the middle of everything – messing it up.

But God had an awesome plan to fix this.  He was sending Jesus, his Son, to pay the price of all our sins for all time.  Because of what Jesus did through his death and resurrection, those of us who accept salvation through him can have a personal relationship with God which begins here on earth and extends into eternity.

In Jeremiah, God describes the New Testament relationship that is coming,  ” I will put my instructions deep within them and I will write them on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.”

Thank you, Father God, for sending your Son, Jesus, who offers salvation and freedom to everyone.  Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit deep within my soul when I put my faith in Jesus.  I hear the instructions of your Spirit and I feel the love and strength you give me each day.  I love your Word which is written on my heart.  I  am so glad you challenged me to get serious about memorizing your Word.   Now I am branded by your Truth – thank you for making that happen.  It still amazes me how my bad memory can remember scripture.

I am so very grateful that you are my God and I am your daughter – forever.  In the redeeming name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

If…

you will call on me and come and pray to me, I will listen, ” God tells  us in Jeremiah 29. “When you seek me with all of your heart, you will find me.”

The big IF.  The big WHEN.  This is the part where you and I have to commit.   This is our part of the deal.  God guarantees that he will listen.  God promises that we will find him.  IF I call on him. IF you call on him.  WHEN we seek him.

The verse right before this is very well-known.  It is a promise of God that we desperately hold on to when our lives are crumbling around us.  We often recite it in our prayers for our children and families.

God tells us that his plans for us are to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future.

Amen!  Bring it on, God!

But we miss it if we don’t read on to the next verses.  This is where he tells us HOW he is going to do this.  He promises to respond and prosper us  IF we call on him.  WHEN we seek him, he will be found and he will be able to do what he has promised.  He wants to give us a hope.  He has a beautiful future planned for us.

IF.  WHEN.

Am I calling on him?  Am I seeking him?  What about you?  I can’t claim this promise unless I’m doing these things.

I am calling and seeking right now, Abba Father.