All 3 of these reasons can be summed up with the word “Reflection”! We end up reflecting other people’s ideas – for sure at least in how we look. Never really concerned about out Mirror’s Image.
My family starts our journey to our new home back in MA today. It has been a year long journey with many more upsides than downsides. So many people have come alongside our family and have helped set up these stones with us to remember what God has done!
As we start “our” new, our desire is to remember where we have come from and not forget that God is the one that got us this far! The dreams and victories, along with the valleys and hard times are all part of what God has for all of us. The journey was sweet and hard, great and vigorous, blessed and challenging, but worth it all! We are so grateful to God!
Today we think of the the twelve stones that Joshua set up in the river, he said something really amazing…
“Let these stones be a reminder to the next generation of when God…”
Our prayer for us and for you today…
“God let our lives be stones of remembrance for all people to see and remember that God Can and He Will because we remember when He did!”
What a great truth! When Jesus forgives us, we are forgiven indeed! Oh the JOY! There is no wondering if you are made clean, if you are set free, or if you are made new! When He forgives, our sins are put out of sight! We are clean, free, and NEW!
Thank You Jesus!
Over the last 18 months of my life, I can truly say that the definitions of life, love, passion, cause, purpose have all been rewritten. A painful process, but the kind of pain that comes from stretching muscles to the limit. The kind of pain that comes from recuperating from a surgery. The kind of pain that tells you it may hurt now, but it will not hurt forever!
So in that, you begin to look for little joys that you probably have never done before. I would like to share with you one of those times. 4 months ago, I took my 9 year old daughter and 4 year old son for a walk. We started off walking on the cart path of a local golf course. (If you know me, you know that I am NOT a golfer…therefore I would like to publicly apologize for walking on the course, I didn’t know that was not allowed. I am sorry!)
Now on the inside I was quietly hoping that we would find a golf ball or two left over from the last several fall outings of 2016. Can I just share with you that not only did we find a golf ball, but we found 9 golf balls. None of them were on the fairways, the green, the tee boxes – not a one. All of them were found in the rough, the weeds, the woods, far away places from the playable grass of the course. But what joy we felt, as we climbed under trunks of fallen trees, moved aside piles of old thatch, and weeds that were just waiting for warmer weather. As we walked home, having stood all of the cold we face, the joy that my son and daughter and I had. Oh they were dirty and crusty, but the joy just continued as we cleaned this little white golf balls as if they were pearls harvested from the ocean. Oh, the joy!
As my family continues on in our journey of “next steps”, I think of that little excursion to the golf course. I just wanted to find one little golf ball, but as we found the one, the search intensified, and we found 9… My hearts turns to the scripture and the words of Jesus…
Matt. 13:44-46, “44 The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”
Now let me assure you, I am pretty sure these little “pearls” we found only have a value of about $2.00 a piece maybe if they were brand new… But the lesson is surreal and powerful! Life may not be what you or I think it should be right now, but there are little pearls that the Father has hidden along the way, and sometime the way is not the “normal playable surface”, it is in the rough, it is in the hidden places of the world, it in the torn down branches of your world. But as I am finding, the world around me is small and normal, but the world that I have looked at for so long is so big and ready to search out the pearls that our Heavenly Father has laid out for them to find! I only wanted to find one pearl, we found 9! He is such a “GOOD, GOOD FATHER!” He gives extravagantly, He is generous, and gives out of His abundance!
So how about it? Will you join the Father on getting off the beaten path, the playable surfaces, and get out in the rough and the hidden places to find some pearls? They are there, you have to just take a risk and take a chance, don’t be afraid to dream about the pearls that He has for you!
There you will find joy! There you will find peace! There you will find Him!
This question plagues so many… Families of Muslim or Christian Faith in Syria. The athlete that has to “hang up the cleats” too early in his or her career. The High School Senior answering the question, “Now what?” The patient that just finished the visit with the doctor who gave the answer they were wishing wasn’t reality. The dad who is looking for the place where salary and purpose merge to take care of the family. The mom that said good bye to her son years to early. The daughter saying goodbye to 89 year old hero dad. The man or women that sits in obscurity longing to be loved and accepted for the reasons that their heavenly Father created for them.
Get the idea… We are all looking for peace! All of us in our little journey on this earth. We are looking for the place where calm and certainty override the intersection of doubt and fear.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
It is interesting that Jesus starts off in John 16:1, “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.” He then goes on to say that many things will happen to us, some will even be killed for our faith in Christ. Then He promises the Holy Spirit! Jesus in John 16 describes Holy Spirit as “The Spirit of Truth”. All that the Spirit of Truth gives is given from Jesus! Where is Peace? In Holy Spirit thru Jesus!
Galatians 5:22 & 23 shows us the fruit of the Spirit. “The Holy Spirit produces this kind os fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Did you see it? Peace! The 3rd in the list! Peace is in Holy Spirit! The Spirit of Truth! The Advocate! God’s Seal! Our Guide! Intercessor! The Witness of the Father! Our Teacher! On and on the list goes!
Peace comes from a life lived in the Spirit of Truth – The Holy Spirit! Often that “gentle whisper” found in 1 Kings 19:12. You know it, that gentle nudge of direction or guidance that proves right and steady.
Peace comes in the form of a gentle voice from heaven – as found in Matthew 3:17, “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” And the reminder in Deuteronomy 31:6, “He will not leave you nor forsake you…” You’ve heard or seen it. That “vote of confidence” that comes in the form of a card, a check in the mail, an email, call or text. Holy Spirit using someone else to let you know that you are loved and that you are important and not forsaken!
Peace comes from that place where you and Holy Spirit meet and you know Jesus touched you. Like the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8:44, “She came up behind Him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.” Peace that comes when Jesus unexpectedly heals you, sets you free, or sets you up for success!
Peace comes when He gazes at us with love and contentment! Song of Solomon 8:10 (ESV). “…then I was in his eyes as one who finds peace.” The wink from heaven when you are blessed in a way that you never saw coming!
Are you searching for Peace today? I want you to know that Peace is right there for you! All you have to do is stop and receive it. Maybe a word, maybe a gesture of love, maybe just a stop in the busy schedule for a place of intimacy, or maybe just realizing how much He loves you!
John 14:27, Jesus says…
Peace was granted for all mankind when Jesus stretched out His arms and died – “overcoming the world”. I am reminded today, of Isaiah 49:16, “See, I have engraved your name on the palms of my hands.” How much peace is that? That the Son of God has not forgotten about you! Your name is on right there on His palms! Thomas saw the hole from a nail, but Jesus sees your name and mine!
Peace is in His Hands!!!!!
I was recently in a conversation with a group of Christ Followers, the conversation lent itself to going inward as a Christ Follower. The statement was made that we as Christ Followers need to put “Feet to our Faith”. I thought about this statement a lot over the last couple of weeks. Then today, it came into perspective for me in a real and authentic way…
Today, after my family went to church together this morning to “1st Service”, I headed over to a different church across town. 2nd service was at a completely new and fresh church, that I have never been to ever. This visit was inspired simply because one of the young men in my very first small group ever, is now on staff. I was in his world today, not my world. All of a sudden I was back in 1994, hanging with Jr. High kids, showing up at their games, See You At The Pole, hauling these kids from one end of Omaha to the other. It was right today. It was good today.
I got to simply watch one of “my kids” flourish in the ministry that Jesus had given him, using gifts Jesus has given him; simply to spread the Gospel in a different part of our “small” nearly 1,000,000 people Metro-plex! It was awesome! Ironically, the Pastor that preached, used the title – “Defining Moments”. I couldn’t help but think that today was another “Defining Moment” in my journey.
You see those long nights of Jr. High Ministry paid off. This young man is living his dream in worship and music, and he is in love with Jesus as much as ever. My heart left “2nd Service” full and happy; satisfied that my life was and is still being used for the Gospel of Jesus Christ! A quick reminder of what Paul said…
Acts 20:24 (NLT), “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God!”
All the small groups, the Sunday School classes, the parties, the all-nighters, the drives, the retreats, the Cokes, and maybe even an ice cream cone or two. They were all worth it . They were clearly the feet to the faith in those early years of serving students in my home church. Good years, strong years; years that I wouldn’t exchange for anything! Years that I am grateful to have shared with some awesomely talented and called students!
Drew, thanks for keeping your feet to the Faith that you learned about years ago. It is incredible watching you do ministry with Passion and Love! I am so proud of you and even more grateful to be able to watch in this time in your life! I Love You Bro!
Jesus, thank you for helping me to learn that sometimes my feet have to log a few miles, but it is worth it – to see Faith walking on! I Love You! Thank you for loving me! And thank you for loving Drew! Thanks for using us both in different ways, at different times; but nevertheless the Faith we share has feet and is still to this day walking!
As a little boy, I remember so vividly a book that sat in the living room of my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It was the story of a leprechaun and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I now know that that is not a true story, and the rainbow is not a sign of a pot of gold or even a short stubby Irish man, but of a promise from God never flood the earth again. A promise that remains true to this day.
Well, tonight as I was driving to church to drop Isaiah off for REVO and Shelter: Merge Night… Low and behold – a magnificent rainbow! So beautiful it seemed almost touchable. Isaiah and I saw it come out of the trees and traced it all the way down the road. It was a sight to behold!
As we are driving, Isaiah said something so profound…
“Dad, sometimes I look at the rainbow and I see and hear all the other things that a rainbow is supposed to mean. It is sad that people do not know what it is really means. God said He would never destroy the earth by flood. Something so beautiful is a reminder from God, a reminder of a covenant!”
Well said my son!
Tonight as I write this, I am watching people walk through the doors, they are marveling at a pretty rainbow, but going about their business. My mind flashes to a passage of scripture that is found in Matthew and Luke of the Gospels…
Matthew 24:37-39New Living Translation (NLT)
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
My heart aches for people as they just do what comes natural. The things that simply are no different than any other day. Seeing the signs in the sky, yet the signs have changed their meaning. I have begun to ask the Lord to give me a word, a prayer, a sign for people as they are living their life, people I know and people that I just happen to “run into”. I sense that they feel they have a seemingly unimportant life. That they have struggles they face – with victories that seem few and far between. I seem to sense they feel as though the defeats are daily… Oh, that they would know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior! Oh, that i would keep the passion to help them know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior! That they would see in my lifestyle, my words, my desires, my driving, my attitude, the simple way that I live my life. I want people to see Jesus in me!
I so wish that people knew how much God loves them…
John 3:16, “For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever would believe in Him, will not perish but have eternal life!”
Isaiah 43:4, “…I Love You!” – God
He loves us so much! We are so busy looking for a pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow, life, job, relationship, etc… We fail to realize that we are the “pot of gold” that Jesus paid for with His life! We are His Bride, His Prize, the Apple of His Eye, and the Object of His Affection! Oh How He Loves Us!
Isaiah looked at me in the car and said, “You know Dad, God is going to eventually allow the Earth to be destroyed.” Yes Isaiah, but He is going to create a new Heaven and a new Earth! What a sight that NEW will be! I can’t wait to see it! I hope you can’t wait to see it either!
Remember, Oh How He Loves You!
The Tomb is EMPTY!
My son was walking through the house today singing, “Deeper, Deeper, I want to go Deeper…” Man that just stopped me in my tracks – COLD…
God, right now I don’t feel as though I can go much deeper. Deeper is cold. Deeper is hidden. Deeper hurts. Deeper is scary. I am not sure what I will find there. I am not sure what You will find. Deeper brings great fear to my heart and soul right now. God I want the easy answer, the surface to be redone, not the inside to be redone.
But Lord, I want You more! I want to be a reflection of You more than of myself! I want to be like You Jesus!
Okay Lord, I give up! I give You the deep of me! The place that is cold and hidden. That place that is protected from other people that have cold and hidden places. Lord, can You remove the fear and replace it with LOVE? Lord, can You remove the pride and replace it with LOVE? Lord, can You take the unknown story, and fill it with the assurance that is only the Joy of my Salvation in you? Lord, can You take that deep bitter root, that I keep trying to kill in my own power? Can You kill it so that it is really dead – no life – no resurrection? Lord will You take those moments of immense fear and anger and regret and pity – and turn them to LOVE and JOY, TRUST and FREEDOM, GRACE and MERCY?
Lord, what I really crave right now – not an assignment, not a job, not a place, not a person – I really crave – LOVE – so deep – YOUR PRESENCE – Jesus, You are love – Jesus, You are my deep desire! Lord, I desire Your grace, Your mercy, Your LOVE to cover me!
Yet Jesus, I need You to know something. There is this deep flow in my spirit that continually tries to consume me. It’s life source is not from You, but from the enemy of Your dreams and desires for my life. It continually desires to place me ahead of You. It so wants to be the object of affection that is fleeting and selfish. This flow is not like a spring formed in the mountain that flows to the mountain side – cool and refreshing, pure and untainted, filling and from a life giving life source. This flow is more like a murky stream, ill-colored and smeared with sinful flesh, smelly and life draining, filled with fear and unknown consequences that only lead to death. Take this flow that comes from the enemy of my soul and make it new. Take the life source of this stream and reroute it from You – my true Life Source. The Creator of the heavens and earth. The Author of all cool mountain springs. The Creator of me. The Author and the Finisher of my Faith and Lover of my soul. As You clean the life source of this spring, take out all the impurities of my mind and heart from this spring. Make my soul clean and pure before You and You alone! Fill it with You – Jesus – Love – Faith – Grace – Mercy!
Jesus, call me to the deep waters, take me from the shallows. I want to go there in the midst of being displaced. I will trust You in the midst of my questions. Call me to the place I can only trust in You. Call me to the place that scientists marvel at Your attention to detail and beauty. Take me to the place where the pressure is so great, if it weren’t for Your Presence, I would burst. Take me to the secret place where Your Spirit hovers and covers all. Take me to the place where You are. I want to go there, just You and me. I want to lay in Your arms and just know the intimacy of My Father’s Love – for me. I want to experience Your Love in a way that only your presence can flow through me!
Fear be gone! I am going to tread the water of the unknown. Loneliness be gone! In the mystery of your presence, my faith in You sustains me. Pride be gone! I am Yours, and You are mine!
Let my trust not have the boarders this world tries to place on You! Spirit Lead Me! Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. Let my faith be made stronger in the presence of You Jesus! Love cover and transform me! Grace abound in the deep! Lead me to the place where Your sovereignty is the only source!
Lord I call on You! I will keep my eyes on You! My soul rests in Your embrace and Your work in me!
I am Yours! And You are mine!
One of the things I miss about Cape Cod is the light house. They weren’t everywhere, but the ones that were around, were such a reminder that God is always there and visible. In the times of darkness and storm, the constant was that the beam of light was coming around every 180 degrees. It didn’t matter the type of storm, the length of storm, the time of year – it was coming and you could count on it!
Just like Jesus! You can count on Him – Always!
Just remember that He is always there with you. He will never leave you or forsake you! He loves you forever! He is right beside you and I!