GOOD NEWS!


Today, as Christians, we celebrate Easter, not because “the Easter Bunny came to visit” and not because momma has fixed some “fine meat and potatoes” for after service today. We come together to celebrate, because “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8), and because Paul reassures us in 1 Corinthians 15 that we don’t serve a dead King, but rather, we serve a risen Savior and He is returning one day to take us all home!

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HAPPY EASTER!

Now that is something to shout about!!

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The Angels’ Song

“The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:8-11

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There are so many things in the book of Revelation that I simply do not understand; however, when it talks about the angels praising God all day long, I am definitely in awe. Can you imagine that being your calling in life? Your sole responsibility is to walk around the throne of God calling out praises and glorifying His name…non-stop! I mean, seriously, we get tired and distracted just being in a church service for over an hour.

Yet, the angels think God is truly something. One angel was sent to a young maidservant over 2,000 years ago to tell her she was going to miraculously conceive the Christ child. Just a few months later, they were sent to a bunch of lowly shepherds to proclaim that same child had been born in the city of Bethlehem. Another angel spoke to a man named Joseph in a dream a little earlier about this same baby telling him not to be afraid, to take the girl Mary as his wife, and later on, to tell him to leave the city for the life of his child was in danger. Many years later, angels go to Jesus and minister to Him after a long time of fasting and temptation by the devil. All through Scripture, these angels are constantly talking about this Savior King and glorifying Him with everything they’ve got!

I wonder if, during this Christmas season, we might be able to take a lesson from them? I wonder if we might pause for just a moment, lay down our agendas and ambitions to celebrate the presents, and take in His holy presenceCan we stand with the angels, lift our hands, and sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”?

Let’s praise and honor Him today, for He IS holy! He is Savior, and He is King! Best of all, He left His glorious throne to come to this earth to save us, because HE LOVES US!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS!

WE PRAY YOU HAVE A JOYOUS AND VERY BLESSED HOLIDAY SEASON!

You call me FRIEND??

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

This very statement, I believe, sheds light on the reason it is often so hard to become a friend of God. Sure, we can truly see ourselves as His daughters (or sons, respectively), His children, His servants and even, for those who really struggle with their place in Christ, His little, lowly followers who are just happy that He doesn’t decide to squash them today! However, sometimes, to see ourselves as His friend, it takes much more than just a quaint little understanding of who He is.

Maybe I’m the only one who has struggled with this…

You see, for me, friendships don’t come that easy, not those kind of friendships that really last, those kind of friendships that are more like blood-kinships, family-types. It’s not because I’m not a friendly person; you can ask anyone who knows me, I may be shy, but I can meet and greet with plenty, and it’s not that I don’t want to have friends. I have tons of people who are great acquaintances, wonderful “friends” with whom I converse during the week, say “Hi” to on Sunday and even hang out with from time to time. These are great and wonderful people, people for whom I care deeply and love immensely. These are definitely friends of mine.

However, these aren’t the friendships to which I’m referring. I’m talking about those people for whom you know without a shadow of a doubt that you’d give your life, those to whom you are comfortable sharing the innermost depths of your heart, never afraid of what they might think once you’re finished, those friends who see you at your very worst and your very best and have loved you regardless of what you’ve said or done at both ends of that spectrum. They are people with whom you have a common bond, a covenant and a kinship of spirit which cannot be broken by circumstances, other people or even your own fears and doubts. These are the kind of friends I’m talking about here, and this kind of friendship is very rare.

Many times, when I look at Jesus, I see a King. I see my Heavenly Father. I see the Creator of the Universe. I see a God so holy, so worthy and so glorious that I can’t even fathom why He would look at a lowly creature like me and love me and desire a friendship with me. Often, my mind has a hard time comprehending such majesty, such faithfulness, such love, and such a friendship.

Yet, then, my fourteen year old son walks into the room, and I begin to think of the conversation we had at lunch earlier that day. We enjoyed laughing together, talking about his latest music find and musing about the days to come. I remember how my soul longed for more time with him and how my heart leapt when he asked my help with something I thought maybe he didn’t need.

That’s when this statement by C.S. Lewis comes alive in my spirit, and I see just a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father might be feeling toward me. If I, being just a human, just a creature of such flesh, can long for a friendship with my own growing son, maybe, He, as King but also Father to me, can long for a kindred spirit and deep friendship with me. As I spend more time with Him, the more I get to know Him and the love He has for me, I find myself saying this very thing that C.S. Lewis said, “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…”

 

A King’s Gift

Mephibosheth…what a name. He was crippled in both feet, too…his nurse had dropped him as a child…and his Daddy and Grandaddy had been killed in battle…and he was born to royalty, but his kingship had been taken away, because a new king had been crowned. By law, he could be killed by that new king. He just wanted to be left alone to die in his misery…but the new king had called upon him. 

I wonder what he was thinking when he got that message. I wonder what he thought of his life. What hardship he had endured. What tragedy he had survived…I don’t think he was thriving in his current life. I don’t think he was too excited about this call either. He had to receive the call…and he had to answer; after all, it was the King

If it were me, I think I might just tell that messenger, “Will you just kill me now?? I mean, really. I’m crippled. I’m broke. I have no family. I have no heritage. I have no inheritance, and now, the very one who’s taken my inheritance away from me is calling for me to come to him…probably to kill me! What more do you want from me? Can’t you just leave well enough alone?!” What a terrible lot in life. 

He followed through with the request. He went to see the king. Could you imagine his anguish as he entered the Kings’ courts? Could you imagine his resolution, probably, to just take his death sentence and be done with this sorry life he’d been handed? In your mind, can you see him??

Now, could you imagine his relief when King David told his servants to clothe him in the finest robes and seat him at his personal table for a fine dinner? That’s what happened! He was seated at the king’s table to eat of the king’s meal, and then, he was welcomed in to live at the king’s palace for the rest of his days! 

You see, before he died, his father had been best friends with this king. This king grieved over losing his best friend. This king longed to show kindness to his best friends’ household, and Mephibosheth was the only one left. 

Oh, what relief. Oh, what utter JOY!! Could you imagine the turn of events? To be given such a gift, I would be elated! To be given such grace, I would be ecstatic!! I would be overjoyed

Did you know, you and I can actually receive such a gift??

It may not be in an earthly kingdom, but it is in a heavenly one. Here on this earth, you and I are destined for a life of sin and an eternity of hell, but we have a Father in heaven who sent His Son to die for us, to forgive us our sins, and if we’ll just accept His invitation, He promises to give us an eternity of heaven!

What an incredible story…what an incredible ending…it’s a true one,* by the way…

What an incredible opportunity for you and me… How about it? Will you accept the invitation today? All you have to do is believe. 

*2 Samuel 9:1-9 
*John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Isolated for Purpose

Just thinking about this today, and thought I’d reshare… 

(Originally posted May 7, 2015)

Have you ever been in a crowd and felt so alone? Have you ever been surrounded by family and friends and, yet, still felt as if you’re isolated and no one cares? I have, and it’s not always a fun place to be! 

Sometimes, I’ve done it to myself. I’ve pulled back from relationships, rejected caring hands, or simply stepped away from the fun and festivities, all the while, feeling as if I didn’t  belong. Other times, a certain responsibility has hindered and caused me to feel isolated,  because sometimes, God will ask you to simply obey and follow His directive rather than allow you to “go play.” Then, there have been those times, where like Esther, He allows me to go through a season of isolation to teach me something and to prepare me for what He has planned ahead in my life.  

No matter the reason, no matter the season, I’m not sure I’ve ever found isolation to be an “exciting” or “thrilling” time; however, I’ve always come out on the other side a little wiser and more experienced, having a little more understanding and compassion for the world around me.  As I’ve grown older, I have learn to be patient in these moments and have actually begun to look forward to the end result, knowing that on the other side, I’ll be a better person for it. 

I’ve always emerged from the times of isolation with a deeper awareness of those around me, with a keener sense of confidence that I can make it through the next time and a more intense passion for where I am going. Those times of isolation, especially when they are appointed times to walk closer with God, have always caused me to have a deeper thirst for His presence and a deeper hunger for His grace. These moments have always caused me to realize more fully the Scripture, “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6,8) For it is in those times of isolation, we all find that He “sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). 

When I read Scripture, I see the great heroes of the faith went through many times of isolation and loneliness. Abraham left his family to obey God and move to the land of Canaan. Later, he became the father of nations. Joseph spent years in isolation, while in prison, until he became the second in command to Pharoah. Daniel was isolated in his times of prayer and later in the lions’ den before being valued as a friend of the king. David spent years tending sheep in the pasturelands and then spent years running from Saul before he was crowned king. Esther spent 12 months in isolation while being prepared to meet the king. Paul was isolated in prison before preaching to noblemen and rulers. John was isolated on the Isle of Patmos while writing the Book of Revelation. All of these men and women were isolated, and each one of them did great works for God. They made an impact. They left a legacy. 

Loneliness, when given to God, can bring out the best in us. It can make us strong, more aware, more deliberate in our actions. Isolation, when guided by God, develops within a deeper walk with Him. It causes us to focus on Him. It causes us to hear Him, and it will cause us to have a greater impact for Him. 

So, I leave you with this… How deep is your walk? How far are you willing to go? Will you step into a season of isolation if He leads you there? Can you submit to loneliness in order to grow and be more effective? 

Will you go?

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b

Strength Is In His Hands

I remember as a strong fisherman

  pulling his nets, a far off seeing the catch

  With the wooden rod, slaps on the water, fish to draw

  His hands pulling, pushing, whittling, carving

  His hands weaving, threading, poking, prodding

Strength was in his hands

 

I remember as a devoted father

  smoothing the wrinkled pages to pray

  With the brewed coffee, black as syrup to sip

  His hands moving, stirring, guiding, soothing

  His hands directing, correcting, holding, loving

Strength was in his hands

 

I remember as a diligent businessman

  striving his way, dreams to become a reality

  With the suit and tie, a strong woman by his side

  His hands working, strengthening, molding, developing

  His hands reaching, greeting, building, succeeding

Strength was in his hands

 

I remember as a committed grandfather

  searching the moments to always remember

  With the Ol’ Ranchero, a thrill of adventures to find

  His hands steadying, nurturing, playing, resting

  His hands embracing, shielding, releasing, surrendering

Strength was in his hands

 

I remember as a merciful Saviour

  permitting the cruelty, my sins setting free

  With the rugged cross, a message of amazing love

  His hands bleeding, hanging, stretching, dying

  His hands redeeming, restoring, delivering, healing

Strength is in His Hands

 

I remember as a faithful King

  surrounding His creation, His children to welcome home

  With a crown of glory, a revelation of eternal hope

  His hands opening, receiving, enfolding, revealing

  His hands exposing, erasing, consuming, immersing

Strength is always in His hands…

 

penned 10/25/12 – MG