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Monday, January 22, 2018

Clean At Last

My husband and I have been living in the same house for over 15 years. It was just meant to be our starter home, but two kids and one dog later, it’s obviously stretched into far more! As I sit here on my sofa (like I do every morning), I’m staring at my dirty floors I just swept yesterday. Yes, YESTERDAY! It’s practically impossible to keep my house clean for a solid 24 hour time span. I guess four people and a shedding dog will do that. After 15 years, I have cleaned the very same spots in this house over and over and over and over and over again. If I do the calculations, I estimate that I’ve probably cleaned them 5,475 times (give or take)...and counting! That’s a whole lot of dust pan and vacuum use! Oh, to be able to clean ONCE and have done with it forever! 

As impossible as this would be for my home, God has actually made it spiritually possible for people to experience this very thing. Hebrews tells us that the priests in the Old Testament had to offer sacrifices everyday to get clean - not to get a clean house, but a clean heart. EVERYDAY, they made sacrifices to take away their sins. Ugh, I can’t imagine. 

But then Jesus entered the scene in the New Testament. And, boy, He didn’t mess around. He’s didn’t just take over as Priest, He also became the Sacrifice! And in one fell swoop, He handled Sin once and for all, so that the business of daily sacrifice could finally come to an end! And when He had done all this, He sat down because it was finished!

Ladies and gentlemen, if someone came to me and said that they could come in and clean my house once and I’d never have to pick up a broom or vacuum again, I would be a fool not to take them up on their offer! In the same way, Jesus is presenting this outrageous offer. Because He died once and for all, He can now clean our hearts, as well as our consciences, forever. It’s a deal only God could think of and a plan only God could make happen!

***

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. 

And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, 

“This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord:
 I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 

Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” 

And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. 

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. 

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, 
for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
‭‭
Hebrews‬ ‭10:11-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/heb.10.11-23.nlt

Monday, January 15, 2018

What This Is Really All About

What’s this really all about? 

I’ll tell you. It’s about one single person.

Our Christian Walk starts with Him. It starts by building on Him, the Cornerstone. Not a religious theology. Not the opinions of others. No, we build our lives, our thinking, our agenda, our goals, our words, etc. on the Person, Jesus. We do this by getting to know Him through reading scripture and prayer/worship. It’s a personal journey that no one can take for you.

Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭28:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/isa.28.16.nlt

And our Christian walk ends with Him. When we leave this earthly dwelling, there is only One we are accountable to: Jesus. Yep, sorry, St. Peter won’t be the one welcoming some and turning others away. That job is reserved for the King. 

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/heb.4.13.nlt

The whole thing is pretty straightforward, really. The One who called us to Follow and started the work in our hearts, is the One we will report to at the end of the Day. So it is Him that we listen to. It is Him we conform to. It is Him that we love.

Yet, it still seems easy for things to get muddled. Some think Christianity is simply immersing themselves in Christian culture. They just need to talk a certain way, dress a certain way, use the right jargon. We can start to think that Christianity is about being part of a culture - the more we conform to it, the closer we are to Jesus. I dare say, that is dangerous ground to tread on. Jesus never said build your life on what religious culture is doing. That would be a shallow life, and can deceive you to think that you are saved, but in reality, are not. 

No, true Christianity is a Love Story between you and Jesus. It’s a beautiful romance like one you’d see in the movies where the Prince rescues the princess, they fall in love, and live happily ever after. That is Christianity! And once He sweeps us off our feet, there is no one else we’d want to follow or conform to. His Love penetrates every part of us and He moves us to care about the things that He is passionate about. He energized us to be History makers, Bread distributors, Love Story tellers! It’s a life lived in the Shadow of the Most High and at the feet of the One who died. 


And that is what this is really all about.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Bats in the Night

The only light in the room was coming from our neighbor's outside light. I heard it at first. Then I saw it. When I realized what it was, I found myself completely frozen under my blankets. I knew there were bats in our neighborhood, but had no idea one had found its way into our house! Without removing my covers, I slid down off the bed and onto the floor as I simultaneously nudged my husband.

"Honey! Honey!" I said in a paniced whisper. "Honey, there's something in our room. I think it's a bat!"
***
Many of us experience it: the haunting fears that come out at night. The ones that hover over us in the late night hours - like a bat in our room. The ones that wake us, shake us, and rob us of peace. The ones that leave us sleepless, frozen, and anxious. The ones that bully us, making themselves look larger than life- like a large shadow on the wall of something not so large in reality. The ones that make us feel helpless and we fall victim to in our most vulnerable state. 

Psalm 91 calls them “the terrors of the night”. They skew Reality and try to convince us of this lie: that God has left us, that He is not strong enough, and that we have been abandoned to figure things out for ourselves. We feel trapped by it and can’t even reason it away because the lie feels so powerful and makes us think it’s truth, when of course, it is not. 


In those moments, there’s only one thing we need to do: Take shelter and let God handle the Bats. Just the way my husband took care of the bat in our room that night. He woke up immediately and ran to get the broom, while I ran and took shelter in our daughters’ bedroom. I could hear all kinds of commotion through the door as He fearlessly went after it. This was his house and he wasn't putting up with such night time invaders - and neither will God, and neither should we, and yes, neither should you. Bats may think they have the upper hand with us when they come at night, but God is still God and we are still His children regardless of what time of day it is. According to this Psalm, He is our Refuge during the night, during the day, in the darkness, and at midday. He never stops being our 
Bodyguard and He will fight every Bat that terrorizes His children!


Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. 
He will shelter you with his wings.
 His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 
They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt
your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
 I will protect those who trust
 in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:1-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/psa.91.1-16.nlt

Sunday, January 7, 2018

New City Reality

When traveling from one city to another, it’s neat to watch the one you left behind fade in the distance. The lights and sounds and busyness that were once so bright and so loud to your senses gradually fade away until you no longer see even a twinkle of it. But then as you look ahead to the new city, a reversal happens. The city lights at first look like a far away star in the universe. They are barely seen in the distance. But the closer you get to the new destination, the greater clarity you gain. The faint lights get brighter. The sounds get louder. The reality of it all becomes more obvious. The city you could only imagine before, is now clear and real.

I compare it to the journey we are on with God. The ‘City’ we left behind that once used to fascinate us, mesmerize us, and fill our senses, start to lose their luster. What used to attract our attention becomes increasingly more dim and less appealing, until we finally don’t even notice it anymore. It has lost all glimmer to us. This world and its system becomes the City we left behind and Heaven becomes the New City we are headed toward. The lights of this New City become brighter to us even as we live here on earth, and we see the Kingdom of God with greater clarity everyday.

As a result then, we become more concerned with what’s happening in the New City where we are citizens of, than we are with the agenda of the Old City we left.

And YET -

though we know the Old City is not our home, we do not live in it in vain. Instead, we live with Purpose and our prayer becomes, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (or in the Old City as it is in the New City). God gives us hearts of compassion and eyes to see the Homeless all around us - those that do not know that they, too, are welcome in the New City and can find a Home there. We reach out our hands and say, “Come, meet the One who made you, loves you. Come. Let me introduce you to the King of the New City.” And we take as many as we can with us. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Make It Home Safely

“Make it home safely,” we say to our friends and relatives as they leave our houses. Above all things, we wish for them a safe trip home. You want the best possible ending for them at the end of the day.

Eternally speaking, this is our ultimate prayer for them, as well. In this life, we wish our loved ones health and wealth and happiness here on earth. But those that have eyes to see beyond the temporary, wish them far, far more. They understand that life is a breath and one day all this world will be history. So they pray with long term perspective for the ones they love. They intercede and ask the Father not just to get them home safely at the end of each day while they live on earth, but also that they will make it safely to their eternal Home in Heaven. They pray that they will have a relationship with Jesus and be forgiven. They pray that they will know Him and not be lost forever in eternity. They ask the Father to get them Home safely. And this is the most important prayer we could ever say for anyone. We simply want the best possible ending for them at the end of the Day.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Glue In My Scissors, Hair In My Vacuum

There are two things in life that create resistance problems:

Glue. Anyone that’s done any amount of arts and crafts knows what it can do to a pair of scissors when it gets in them. Oh yeah, big time resistance. You get enough glue stuck in there, you won’t even be able to open them, not to mention use them.

Hair. Look at the bottom of your vacuum. Anytime I do, I’m guaranteed to find it tightly wrapped around the brush - which makes the vacuum work harder and even stop working.

Thankfully, there are ways to help both. Warm water over glued up scissors can go a long way. And funny enough, a pair of working scissors can then cut away the tangled hair in your vacuum. Clean one problem up and it will help with the other!

We are tools in God's Hands. But sometimes we get a little glued up. We may even resist the Creator. But God’s Presence does the trick every time. A little ‘warm water’ over our hearts can go a long way. And once we are ‘unstuck’, He can easily mobilize us to cut other people free from the hair that entangles them. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Nothing Wrong With Practical

When it comes to gift giving, my mother always says, “Please, please, do not give me anything I have to dust." That's her way of saying, "Don't waste your money on impractical gifts for me." If we're going to spend money on her, let it be something useful.

I have to agree with her. There's nothing like getting an expensive gift from someone that then just sits in your closet or drawer or cabinet because you know you'll never wear it, use it, eat it, etc. The point of gift giving is not to clutter people's closets with things they don't need. 

The Bible gives us a glimpse of what great gift giving looks like. 

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” 

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭2:7-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/mat.2.7-12.nlt

Some scholars say that these gifts were symbolic in nature. I could see that. God is always doing symbolic things. But it was two-fold. These gifts were practical in nature, as well. I don't think the Magi gave them gold so they could just lug it around with them feeling rich. No, they used it to live on. They gave practical gifts

It's hard for some people in the Western culture to fully grasp this concept. We're always looking for the novelty gifts and wondering what we can give the person who doesn't need anything. I'm certainly not saying there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying, it's OK to give ordinary gifts, too, because sometimes those are the gifts that are the most appreciated! I mean, if my vacuum broke and I couldn't afford to buy a new one, I'd be so much more grateful to get a new vacuum or a gift card toward the purchase of one, than get a fancy bracelet I'll never wear.

I say all this to say - there's nothing wrong with practical, even if it seems overly practical, like giving groceries or paying someone's electric bill. It's these kinds of gifts, actually, that will make some people lift their eyes to heaven and thank God for it, because they know it's Him that made provision for them. In these moments, you are not only giving a gift, but you are being part of answering a prayer.

So this season, let the Spirit of God guide you as you select your gifts. God loves to give gifts and He knows just what would tickle a person the most...and it may not be what you originally thought!


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Completely Touched

When we encounter Jesus, His work in us is always long term and penetrating. He never starts something without finishing it. So when He works on a human heart, it is with the intention of bringing about an end result. He doesn’t stop until the work is done. And His work is thorough. 

Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/mat.13.33.nlt

A relationship with God will affect every level of your life and touch every corner of your heart. Maybe it’s a gradual working through, but nonetheless, His Spirit is thorough, as deep cries to deep, shining its Light on both the visible surfaces of your life, as well as the hidden parts that no one sees - even you. 

And isn’t that what we would desire? Wouldn’t we want to be fully affected - just as we would want our bread to be completely touched and impacted by the yeast as we make it? Who would want to eat bread that is only partially affected by the yeast? Bread is only good when the yeast works through every part of the dough. And when it does, it is obvious to all that see it. And that bread is now able to feed many. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Blind Date

A first date can make ya nervous, but a blind date, even more. You’ve never spoken to the person face-to-face, maybe just a phone call or text about the date arrangements/logistics. The only thing you know about the person is what your friend has told you about them. You might not even know what they look like, and you might be a little nervous to find out. There is such mystery and curiosity surrounding the whole thing! Will they like you based on first impressions? Will you like them? And what in the world are you going to talk about? What if they find your topics of conversation to be boring? Or you find theirs to be? There are so many questions! And the only way to get them answered is to be brave and jump into it, hoping that you can just be yourself and they will feel comfortable to do the same. 

Getting to know God for the first time can kinda feel the same way. You may have only had distant and limited communication up to this point. A quick, “Help me God on this math test.” Or “Can you just hold back the rain until our outdoor wedding is finished?” They were mostly ‘help me out of crisis’ conversations, but never ones that involved dialogue and getting to know one another. 

But oh the day you decide to get to know Him more! It’s a day that He’s been waiting for your whole life! The difference in this ‘blind date’ is He already knows you and is smitten by you before the ‘date’ even gets started! He’s not worried about you making a good first impression because His Opinion of you is already formed. He thinks you’re awesome! There’s nothing you can say that’s going to scare Him away from your ‘date’, so you can be completely relieved and relaxed to be yourself and just talk to Him about anything. There’s nothing off limits in your conversation. He’s not embarrassed or scared to talk about the tough topics you might want to discuss. He’s ready to answer questions and yes, ready to even share His own secrets with you! He’s patient and will move the relationship at your pace, but just know that He’s ALL IN on this one and ready to take the relationship as deep as you’re willing to go.  

So, go and enjoy Him! Once you meet Him, you’ll never want the ‘date’ to end. And you’ll find it’s just the beginning of a beautiful relationship, with many more ‘dates’ to come!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Requesting More Help

Sometimes the work load is greater than the current work force can handle. Businesses can experience such dilemmas, especially around the holidays. Stores can’t stock the shelves fast enough and the lines for the cashier checkout can get extremely long. It’s one of those good problems for businesses. But it can get extra grueling for the regular employees. They may begin to look around and say, “The work is plentiful, but the workers are few!” They want very much for the business to go well, but they realize they can’t do it all alone. It’s too much on just a few people. 

So what’s the first thing they can do? Complain? Yep, well, I’m sure they do. But what’s the first productive thing they can do? Maybe push their fellow employees to work harder, do more? Yeah, let’s see how far they get with that. Ha! No, the first thing they can do is ask the boss to send in more help! The employees don’t have the authority to do so, but they can call on the one that does. And the employer that wants to see his business thrive, will heed the call to hire more help so the current workers find some relief and his business will continue on successfully and with excellence.

Jesus saw this same type of dilemma.

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:35-38‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/mat.9.35-38.nlt

Jesus saw that there was a whole lot more work than there were workers to handle it. And what was His instruction on the matter? Call on the boss for more help! The first step was not to pressure the current workers to work harder, but rather talk to the One who has authority to change and move upon hearts and send them in to help!

The dilemma still exists today - and the solution is still the same. Don’t waste your time and energy complaining or trying to change things on your own when you look around and find yourself among the “few”. Instead, ask your Boss to send in help! If Jesus says this is the first step in gathering a large harvest, we’d be wise to give it a try.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Shrivel or Flourish

Religion depletes a person, 
but a life spent abiding in the Vine 
will always flourish. 

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, 
you are my true disciples. 
This brings great glory to my Father.

‭‭John‬ ‭15:1-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/jhn.15.1-8.nlt

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Squeaks & Pains

The squeaky wheel gets the oil, they say. How true. I pay attention to things that are irritating me a lot more than the things that aren't. Like pains in my body. I can't say I think about my toes all day long. But if I stub one of them into a piece of furniture, you better believe all my attention is on that toe!

In the same way, I think God will let us hear the 'squeaky wheels' and feel the 'stubbed toes' and pain of people around us. Maybe we are blindsided by someone's cruel words. Maybe we are hearing someone complain a lot about their life and it becomes irritating how they bring a dark cloud with them wherever they go. Or maybe we are even being persecuted for our beliefs. These squeaks and pains are not pleasant, but they do have a way of getting our attention! Because of it, we are suddenly more aware of those people -- much more than when they weren't 'squeaking' so loudly in our ears.

So many people need our prayers. And I'm learning that we don't always pray for those that need it most, simply because we are not aware of the depth of their need. We just don't see it. But God sees it. And He knows how desperately they need Him and need our prayers and love.

Could it be, then, that when we experience persecution, or hate from our enemies, or grief from others, that in part, God is simply trying to get our attention and make us aware of their need for Him? If we aren't aware, we may not think to pray for them, and we may not think to reach out and tell them about Jesus. 

So, the next time someone squeaks loudly in your ears or you are brushed by their pain, consider that maybe this is just an alert signal that God needs you to love on them.



"But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father is heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:44-48NLT



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

JOY! To The World!

I’ve never heard an angry birth announcement made. And I’m glad for it. Can you imagine someone using an angry voice when announcing the birth of their child? 

It’s a Boy! And we’re furious!”

Haha! That would just be ridiculous! A child coming into the world is a beautiful thing. Even if it’s under rough circumstances, a new baby boy or girl is a gift to those receiving him/her. And the parents usually rejoice over the occasion and joyfully celebrate with their family and friends.

Looks like God felt the same way when His Son was born. I can imagine Him pulling out all the stops in Heaven for such a celebration. I can picture His angels rejoicing loudly in Heaven and the Father passing out cigars. (Ha!) Then, in their excitement, I can see the Father saying, “This is an amazing occasion! Angels, go to earth and make my official baby announcement!”

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby 
wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—
the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in highest heaven, 
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:8-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/luk.2.8-20.nlt

And that’s how God introduced His Son to world. Not with gloom and doom, but rather with joy and celebration because finally the LIGHT had come into the world! 

If this is how God chose to introduce His Son and announce such Good News, we should take note and follow suit. We, too, should introduce Jesus to others with JOY, like the shepherds went and did - not with a tone of judgment or doom. God has done an amazing thing! And only celebration is in order! Just as our traditional Christmas song declares:

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing!

Monday, November 27, 2017

It Took Two To Tango

The Garden. The fruit. The trespass! Was it just Eve to blame? Was it just Adam? Hardly. Together they brought the whole thing down. They were in agreement to disobey God and consequently, sin came into the world and relationship between man and God was severed.

The baby. The manger. The Savior! Was it just Mary to credit? Was it just Joseph? Hardly. Together they co-labored with God. They were in agreement to obey God and consequently they watched as God stepped in and saved the world!

Your marriage. Your life. Your calling! Have you accidentally been placed together? Does God not have a plan for your marriage? Hardly. God loves to work through marriages! And there is power in agreement! What a powerful force marriage creates against the powers of darkness - for now there are not just two hands pushing forward, but four! Imagine. If God can work through Mary and Joseph in such a tremendous way, what can He do through Holy Spirit-filled married Believers who are in agreement!

Consider what God wants to do in and through you and your spouse - together.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

God’s Emoji 😂😍😘

One day, while browsing through a gift shop, I came across emoji plush toys. I wasn’t surprised to see the variety they had because emojis are a hot item right now. Emojis can be seen everywhere and used all the time on social media and text messaging. I, personally, use them constantly to convey the meaning of my message. I’ve learned that just putting a little smiley face at the end of my sentence can go a long way. I never want anyone to read a message of mine and hear it with a mean or angry tone. And it’s funny how many people can default to that. I can type, “What in the world are you doing?” and in my mind I’m saying it in a playful tone. But they may read it and have the impression that I’m disgusted with them. Go ahead and read that sentence twice - once with a playful tone, and once with a disgusted one. See what I mean? But pop an emoji in there like 😆 and the message is clearer. 

Well, that day at the gift shop, as I’m staring at the emojis, God says to me, “What do you think my emoji is toward you?” In other words, what emoji would He choose when He looks at me? Is there an angry emoji attached to His words? 😡 Or maybe a 😤 emoji? Or maybe a big 👎🏻? 

As I’m contemplating, I look up to see a 😂 displayed high in the air and positioned in such a way that it actually looked like it was looking down at me. There it was. THIS is God’s emoji, I thought. What a contrast of what I thought it might be. I knew immediately, though, that God wasn’t saying He laughs at me and mocks me. No. God made it clear in my heart that this is His Delight over me! He’s so thrilled with me that He can’t stop smiling and laughing. He’s SO PLEASED! And this is the way He wants me to see Him from now on. Not as an angry or disappointed Father. Not as a scary and unapproachable Person. But rather a Dad who is smiling, approachable, and pleased with me!

And be encouraged friend, this is not exclusive to me. He feels this way about all His kids! So smile big and let your heart rest easy - because God is smiling (yes, even laughing!) down on you! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂