Short Distance Relationship

James 4:8
James 4:8

Long distance relationships stink. Anyone who’s ever gone through one will tell you: They are hard and most of them don’t work. Hey, relationships are tough no matter what. Add distance to the equation, and you are almost doomed.

You wouldn’t make a relationship with someone you loved long distance on purpose, would you? Why make a relationship harder if it doesn’t have to be? You want the person you love as close as possible. If it was in your power to close that gap, you would. Right?

Jesus wants a close, SHORT DISTANCE relationship with you. He wants to be the first person you turn to in need. He wants to be there to comfort and guide you. He doesn’t want to be a world away. He doesn’t want to be the fourth or fifth or sixth person you go to. He knows what’s best for you, He knows God’s plan for you, and He wants nothing more than for you to succeed… so He can spend even more time with you.

It is you and I that create the distance. I say, “create,” because, it isn’t there until we put it there. We disconnect. We disengage. We cut the lines of communication. Jesus is always there. Always waiting. Always hoping. He is there waiting and hoping that we reach out to Him.

Skype is cool. Facetime is really neat. But there’s nothing quite like spending time with someone in person.

Take out your daily planner and set aside 10 mins every morning. 10 mins to just catch up with the Lord. Now, once it’s on the schedule, it’s on the schedule. There’s something about actually writing it down that makes it… more official. Know what I mean? You can’t break it… unless, of course, something more important than Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God comes up… then, by all means, take it instead. (Thanks to my Pastor, Dr. Rev. David Cyphers for this practical application.)

Long distance relationships stink. Jesus doesn’t want that. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” It’s in your power to close the gap. All it takes is that first step.

May God’s Love be with you

Up To You

Acts 26:28,29
Acts 26:28,29

It’s not my job to get you to believe in Jesus.

It’s not my job to “sell” you on Him. It’s not my job to make Him as appealing as possible so maybe, if I’m lucky, (fingers crossed!) you’ll give Him a try.

It is my job to tell you about Him. It’s my job to help you realize what Paul realized when he said, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phil. 3:8 (New Living Translation)

It’s really up to you.

  • It’s up to you if you’ve continued reading this far.
  • It’s up to you if you think this is all nonsense.
  • It’s up to you if you let Him into your heart.
  • It’s up to you where you will spend eternity.
  • It’s up to you, not me.

King Agrippa told Paul that he was “almost persuaded.” (Acts 26:28,29) Almost doesn’t cut it. “Almost” might as well be “Not At All.” Paul gave his witness and then it was up to Agrippa. The ball was in his court. And he dropped it. Big time.

It’s not my job to get to you to believe in Jesus, but I’d be happy to help! Jesus is with me to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:19-20) Is He with you?

May God’s Love be with you always

Creation Waits

Romans 8:19
Romans 8:19

Did you know creation waits for us to get our act together?

It’s actually “frustrated” (Romans 8:19-22).

Earth and all the things in it – hope to be liberated from their shackles. Paul tells us creation is chained up and left to decay. It longs to be brought into the freedom and glory of God. It longs to breathe. It longs to live! Ever since Adam, creation has been cheated and it yearns to be restored (Gen 3:17).
Restore to what? Soon God will restore everything (Acts 3:21). He will reinstate a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13, Rev. 21:1).
Jeremiah asked, “How long?! How long will the land starve?” (Jer. 12:4) Not long, man. Closer now than ever. And what a day that will be!
God Bless!

Standby

1 John 5:13
1 John 5:13

Ever been at the airport and people-watched? That’s the best place to watch people. I think it’s so interesting; just observe people as they come and go. Where are they going? Where did they come from?

Ever notice the people who are prepared? They are calmly seated. They have their ticket out and ready to go. They are not anxious about anything except to just to get going!

Ever notice the people on standby? They are not calmly seated. In fact, they are pacing back and forth. They do not have their ticket out and ready to go because they are not sure if they are going to be lucky enough to get one. They are anxious alright. And actually they have every right to be! They may not have a spot on that plane. Then what?

God is all about us being confident. He wants a people who are not pacing back and forth wondering if they have a ticket or not. He wants us to be anxious… not because we aren’t sure if we’re on the manifest, but because we are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves!

Is it too bold of a thing for me to say to you: You can be sure that you are going to Heaven? Ok, well – do you believe that the Gospel is the Word of God? Of course you do. Then what do you think about 1 John 5:13? “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

So that you may KNOW! Do you believe in the name of the Son of God? Has He made something new out of the mess you’ve made of your life? Then what are you worried about? “Oh, I’m not sure… I hope I get to go to Heaven… but,… you know, I’m not sure…” What?! That doesn’t sound like Victory to me. Jesus didn’t die on the cross, glorify His Father, and take on our sins for you and I to be… uncertain.

God doesn’t want us spending all our time and energy fretting over our destination. He wants us spending all our time and energy praising His name, helping the poor, and getting as many other passengers on that plane.

John 10:28 says “no one can snatch them out of My Hand.” No one. Not even you! No one can snatch God’s children out of His hand! Why act like someone snatched you out of God’s hand? It’s not even possible.

John 6:37 “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 10:9 “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

I could go on and on. There are so many verses assuring salvation… hmmm, maybe God knew we would need this many. Maybe He knew we would struggle with just flat-out accepting His amazing Love. So, like a good parent, He tells us over and over, down through time: You are saved.

This is my story. This is my song.

May you experience God’s perfect love today!

All Things

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I can do some things through Christ which strengthens me. I can do a couple of things through Christ which strengthens me. I can do a few things through Christ which strengthens me.

Nope, that’s not what the Holy Word of God says, is it? Instead it says: I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me. ALL THINGS! Not some, a couple, or a few.

All things.

That means everything. That means anything headed your way, good or bad – you can handle through Christ which gives you strength.

Now, does that mean you could run faster than a speeding bullet and jump over a building in a single bound? No… not unless God willed it and it would bring Him glory. Then, you bet you would. But, this refers more to like daily troubles.

As we face daily trials and tribulations, we know that Christ Jesus will strengthen us. He will be our strength when we have none. He will be our courage when ours has run dry. He will be there for us daily and supply us with ALL that we may require.

May you recognize God’s love with you today!

Set Your Heart On Things Above

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To listen to a particular radio station you have to zero in on the right frequency. If you don’t, all you get is static.

Col. 3:1 tells us to set our hearts on Christ.

It’s all about focus.

What is your focus? Are you listening to all the radio stations at once and getting only static? Are you listening to voices that pull you below? Or have you set your focus to things above?

May you set your heart on Christ today and experience His wondrous blessings!

God Bless!

Spinach In My Teeth

Gal. 6:1
Gal. 6:1

What if you had a bright-green glob of spinach stuck right in the middle of your two front teeth? Then you went the whole day and no one told you. Wouldn’t you wonder, with all the people you came into contact with that day, why no one told you?!

If someone did tell you, it would probably be embarrassing at first. It might even make you feel stupid. However, later on, you would thank them. Right?

If no one told me, I would think that the whole day, people were actually ignoring it. They had to have been distracted by this giant glaring piece of vegetable lodged in my teeth! Oh, you know they saw it, right? I mean, there’s no mistaking it!

Well, it takes guts to tell someone there is something stuck in their teeth. The whole time you’re thinking, “Should I tell them? Nah, it’s not that bad. Maybe someone else will tell them. Maybe it will become loose and just fall out on its own. How do they not know? Look at it! Wow, its huge!… Great, too much time has gone by and it would look weird if I mentioned it now. Ok, this is making me uncomfortable. WAIT! Maybe I’ve got something in MY teeth! AHHHH!”

If I did tell you had spinach in your teeth, how would you respond?

“MY TEETH? Look at YOUR TEETH! You think YOUR TEETH are so clean? They are just as bad as mine! Not to mention your breath! I’ve been meaning to tell you: Your breath is pretty rank, buddy. Why don’t you use some mouthwash? THEN come back and tell me about MY terrible spinach infestation!”
Of course not. You and I are not like that, are we? We would thank that person and get that dastardly spinach out of our teeth right then and there and FOREVER! Right?

I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. Pride is a funny thing. It can topple even the strongest person. It can blind even the brightest of people. We have to fill ourselves with the Holy Word of God and align our steps with His only Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. That’s the only way any of us even have a chance.

And if someone loves you enough to tell you that you have spinach in your teeth? Thank them. Thank them for being so brave and honest.

God Bless!
#BearOneAnothersBurdens
Ref: Galatians 6:1

Sent Ones

Mark 16:15
Mark 16:15

God sends.

He sent Abraham to Canaan. He sent Moses to Pharaoh. He sent Nathan to David. He sent John the Baptist to pave the way. Then He sent His Son to this world. He sent His Holy Spirit after that. He sent the Apostles to the rest of the world. And now?

Now, God sends us. Now, we are the sent ones (Mark 16:15).

He sends us out to spread the good news of His Risen Son. He sends us out to love in a world filled to the brim with hate. He sends us out to bring hope to the hopeless and to set the captives free (Luke 4:18)!

He sends us out to represent Christ.

Sent ones carry the authority of the Sender (Romans 10:15). The US Ambassador to the United Nations is just a man, but with that title, he represents the United States, it’s president, and it’s people. We are just men and women, but clothed in the precious Blood of the Lamb, we represent Jesus’ Love, Mercy, and Peace.

What a privilege! What an awesome responsibility! It is joyous and terrifying at the same time, isn’t it?

Now more than ever, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matt. 10:7). Just as Jesus submitted to His Father, We must submit to Jesus. (John 17:18)

God sends you. Are you sent?

God Bless!

#SentOnes #KingdomofHeaven

Victorious Limp

Genesis 32:24-32
Genesis 32:24-32

Are you wrestling with God over something? Who isn’t, right? Did you know that someone actually did wrestle with God? And I don’t mean “wrestle” metaphorically either. I’m talking literally. God wrestled Jacob in a straight-up, hand-to-hand wrestling match. The first-ever Smack Down occurred in Genesis 32:24-32.

In fact, God wrestled Jacob all night. They wrestled until daybreak and when God saw that He had not prevailed against Jacob, He touched Jacob’s thigh and dislocated it. Just a touch. That’s all it took. This showed that obviously God could’ve won at any moment. As dawn was breaking, God said, “Let Me go.” No one can see God’s face and live. But Jacob replied, “No. Not until You bless me.” Ha! Imagine that! The gumption of this guy! God then (I envision with a smile on His face) changes Jacob’s name to “Israel” which means, “he who wrestles/strives with God.”  Then He blessed him.

Why did God do that? If He wanted to challenge Jacob, He could’ve picked any kind of contest: a race, a riddle, or tic-tac-toe. Why wrestling? Well, any of those other contests are not interactive. They keep contestants separate. Wrestling is more intimate. God picked an activity that involved actual physical contact.

I’m not sure, but I figure Jacob had that limp for the rest of his days. I also imagine that he limped proudly. It became his badge of courage, his price for a blessing, and his evidence of a God that loves him.

We all wrestle with God, maybe not physically like Jacob here, but spiritually? You bet. All the time. It’s the “old man” in us rising up. It’s the rebellious tickle in our ear. Envy. Pride. Gluttony. Pick one. But here’s the thing, God will wrestle you right back. He will step into the ring. He wants to bless you.

Wrestling with God, however, does come with a price. You may carry a limp for the rest of your days. But you won’t view that hurt as loss. You will view that hurt as victory. You will want to tell everyone about your limp and what it means to you. You will want to tell everyone how much God loves you and how much God loves them.

God bless!

This post owes a lot to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones‘s “Victorious Limp” via Tim Keller‘s “The Theology of the Cross and Walking with a Limp,” I encourage everyone to check out these incredible links!

The LORD Sits

Psalms 29:10
Psalms 29:10

For our honeymoon my wife and I were blessed with a trip to Paris. While we were there, we visited the Palace of Versailles. Once the center of political power, Versailles is now France’s foremost tourist attraction. Besides it’s sheer grandeur, one thing stuck with me about that palace: the thrones.

It is there that I learned what a throne represents. I mean, of course I knew that a throne represented power. It is obvious that to have people come to you is a demonstration of power. But, it is absolute power to have people come to you as you remain seated.

Ever thought of that before?

The Throne of God is mentioned several times throughout scripture. I won’t bombard you with all of them. Most famously it is described by Ezekiel (chapter 1). I’d like to mention also that the angel Gabriel refers to the Throne of God in Luke 1:32-33 because… he should know, he’s been there. He’s actually seen it!

God is mentioned as “sitting” multiple times as well.

• “The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.” – Psalms 29:10

• “He that sits in the heavens laughs” (at the futile efforts of man’s rebellion) – Psalms 2:4

• “Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high?” – Psalms 113:5

Sitting on His Throne, God is The Absolute Power. He is the Power of the Power. There is none above and all below. Yet, He makes Himself low to guide and love His fragile creation.

In your quiet time with the LORD today, reflect on our God’s astounding ability to speak stars into being and also whisper encouragement to His children all in the same all-powerful breath. He does so with perfect love from His magnificent Throne.

God Bless!