Monday, September 21, 2015

Nothing is for Nothing

How sovereign is God? We wrestle with this question when plans fall through and time ticks away and we suffer and we laugh and we say goodbye.

“Nothing is for nothing,” Elisabeth Elliot said.

And she knew about years of waiting and the hard lessons of suffering. She said goodbye before she wanted to and welcomed trial when she would have rather chosen joy.

God doesn’t waste our time. Or our pain.

He takes the random meeting of a stranger or a friend and the hard knocks or the wrong choices and the years of unsuccessful trying, and He patches it all together into something beautiful. More beautiful than we could design.

Because “nothing is for nothing.”

“Christ didn’t leave this world until He showed us His scars—and He won’t ever let you leave this world until you leave your most beautiful mark. To show Him.” –Ann VosKamp

There is no such thing as the too small or the too insignificant.

Or something that happened for nothing.

Yes, time ticks away. But with every tick, we are leaving our mark. And the hidden marks are the most beautiful to Him, when they’re done for Him.

So write that note only your friend will read. Pray longer than you have time for. Be kinder than is expected. Be thankful for more than you thought you had.

Think more about the scars He showed us before He left.

Nothing is for nothing.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Monday, September 7, 2015

Why God is Smiling at You

There’s a growing tendency among Christians to believe God is smiling or frowning at us based on our Christian performance. We read His Word. We pray for the missionaries. We thank Him for breakfast, and so He smiles down at us as we begin our day.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This thinking assumes we can somehow earn God’s approval—something foreign to what we believed the day we were saved.

But the Gospel wasn’t written for the day of salvation only. This good news should guard every day.

God is pleased with us based on what Christ did for us; never because of what we do for God.

Jesus cried out with a loud voice from the Cross and asked, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

The Father turned His back on His Son, because at that moment our sin was placed on Him. And God couldn’t look.

He couldn’t smile on His Son. Instead, His wrath was poured out—the wrath we deserved.

Why did God forsake His Son?

So He could smile at you and me, though we sin every day.

God is smiling at us, because our sin was already judged when God turned His back on His Son.

Christian “performance” is the joyful way we smile back.

“His own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.” ~ 1 Peter 2:24

Click Here to listen to the next lesson in the series on “The Words from the Cross”: Jesus Forsaken and Thirsty