Sunday, May 25, 2014

He Called it an A+ Day



He called it an “A+ Day.”




Have you ever had one of those? When one happy thing leads to another and another? And you can’t think of anything you’d rather be doing than what you’re doing with the ones you’re doing it with.

That’s why he called it an “A+ Day.”  He was with “two of his favorite girls.” On his favorite hiking trail. With his favorite burger spot waiting to finish off the day.

That’s why it was an “A+ Day.”

And he doesn’t have many of those.

His wife is in a care center and can’t remember his name. She can’t speak it anymore. She stares blankly at him. His heart bleeds for her to be the woman he loved when they were young . . . yet he loves her more today than he ever has.

He has heartaches of other kinds, lonely days, memories. He loves to share those memories . . . and laughs now, like he did then.

He has few “A+ days.”

But if he did, would they have A+ status anymore?

Would they continue to be as joyful day after day?

More likely, they’d be your-normal-every-day-sort-of-day-that-everybody-has. And he wouldn’t know the joy of many special things all wrapped up in one day.

Life isn’t a string of “A+ days.”  Life is learning to love and live and rejoice and hope when days are hard and mundane and lonely and exhausting.

He called it an “A+ day.”



Because not every day is “A+.”

But if they were, would any of us ever really know true joy?


"This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)


Monday, May 19, 2014

To Whom It May Concern


To Whom It May Concern:

If you’re reading this letter, you’re concerned. About kidnapped girls. Missing planes. Wayward children. A diagnosis. You’re concerned about a loved one. A bend in the road. A misunderstanding. A hurting friend.
There’s much in this world to bring concern. Concerns can rightfully be called “troubles.” 
But I’m not writing this letter to stir up our troubles, but to share what Jesus said.
He said, “See that you are not troubled” (Matt. 24:6).  We’re concerned. And rightfully so. But Jesus said not to be troubled.
Because “in the world [we] will have tribulation.”  But “Be of good cheer,” He also said. “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
We are children of the God who reigns (Psalm 47:8).
This world will become the kingdom of our Lord (Rev. 11:15).
God is on our side (Psalm 124:1).
In this world, we will have tribulation. But, to all who are concerned, rest in the One who said, “I have overcome” it all. Rest in the One who knows why we have no cause to be troubled.
He knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10).
Nothing escapes the reach of His hand (Isa. 59:1).
Our God reigns (Psalm 47:8).
To whom it may concern, rest in the One who is compassionately aware of concerns, reigning over them, long-suffering, on-time, able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20).
Our God is big enough, compassionate enough, powerful enough, and more present than our human hearts realize.
Do not be troubled.
See to it.

Sincerely,

Concerned, yet seeking to not be troubled 


Monday, May 12, 2014

When Life Hurts Too Much Not to Trust



She was an outcast by choice—a moral one.

She was cunning, beautiful, desirable, a wreck, a wounded heart behind a prosperous life.

Wounds had turned to scars. Scars had healed themselves into hardness. That hardness turned into a life of hurting and bleeding that hoped for a better day. 
A life too wounded and scarred to hope too long.

But she had heard about a God stronger than her; stronger than her city; and stronger than the walls she lived on and the walls she had built around her scars.

She had heard that He was “God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Josh. 2:11) whose people were headed her way. Her hope—almost lost—was marching toward her.

She met two men who worshipped this God. 

Her heart—her wounded and scarred heart—heard their God was strong. 
To be on His side meant safety.

She believed He was a God not carved with stone Who was capable of conquering any wall.

She trusted this God.

Because her life hurt too much not to trust.

Hope kept marching toward her. The God in heaven above and on earth beneath was about to show Himself real and powerful.  She trusted. She kept trusting. She watched as thousands of those who worshipped Him, trusted and obeyed His voice.

He conquered the walls around her and left her house standing strong.

He conquered the walls inside her heart—the wounded and scarred heart—and left her standing in a God she never stopped trusting from that day forward.

Her life had hurt too much not to trust.

And she never stopped trusting.

She joined His people.
He poured out His grace.
She changed her ways.
He gave her royal descendants—Boaz, David.

She became the royal heritage of the Savior of the world (Matt. 1:5).

Because God is a God who saves by grace through faith.

And her life had hurt too much not to trust this God.

He conquered the walls around her and the walls inside.

And the wounds and the scars and the hurt all turned to hope and change and faith that never stopped trusting.

The God in heaven above and on earth beneath conquered the walls.

And when walls are conquered, all that’s left standing are healed hearts leaning hard on a God stronger than any wall.



Monday, May 5, 2014

When We Dare to Let God Be For Us All He Has Said He Will Be


Ever found yourself up against a Red Sea—hemmed in, with nowhere to turn?

Ever faced a wall too high and too strong, with no way over or through?

Have your circumstances caused you to long for previous, even loathsome days—like the Israelites who said it would have been better to be back in Egypt, serving the Egyptians? 

“It would have been better to still be ‘back there’ than swallowed up with THESE circumstances.”

It’s at times like these when the Lord says:
                “Stand still . . .See. . . ” (Exodus 14:13)
                                Watch what I will do.
                                You have nothing to do but be silent.

Oswald Chambers once said: “Dare I really let God be to me all that He says He will be?” (“My Utmost for His Highest,” p. 139)

When the Israelites had nowhere to turn and God said He would act, they dared to let Him be for them all He said He would be. 




They stopped, stood still—marched silently around an impossible wall—and watched God work.

Because He said He would.

The sea split open.
The walls fell down.

They crossed through their frightening circumstances.
They marched around their greatest fear.

Because God said He would work.
They had nothing to do but be silent.

Someone has defined “rest” as to “cease striving.”

When the children of Israel let their faith rest, they watched God work.

God stepped in, because He was capable of doing what they couldn’t.

They rested in who their God is. They watched silently.
They passed through (Hebrews 11:29); they took the city (Joshua 6)—only after God had worked.

They did what God said, because He said He would do it.

Ever found yourself against a Red Sea, a wall like Jericho’s, a circumstance, a need, a dream, an ache that only God could conquer?

He is able.

Rest.

Dare to let God be for you all He has said He will be.

Faith that rests will watch God work.

Every time.

“Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. . .
Rest in the Lord.” (Psalm 37:5,7)



Click here for the lesson on Rahab and the Children of Israel.