Fullness

… God will maintain with you the covenant loyalty…  As I began to read this passage in Deuteronomy ( 7:12-16), I thought about the many promises we make to one another and the times we’re not always able to keep them. We find ourselves beholden to things and or people that keep us from living into the fullness of life that is promised by God. The fullness however is not about the things or the people. Fullness, I believe, is about the peace of knowing God which surpasses all understanding of anything else we claim to know and the willing action of the encompassing energy of God’s love for God’s creation. Precious Lord, guide our actions that they may become aligned with your Love and allow us to experience the fullness of your Glory.

 

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Set Sail

The only way we can testify to the journey is if we live it! It’s okay to marvel at what we hear concerning the truth. It should inspire us to set sail upon the seas. All of the good that’s out there is meant for us to explore and receive. Though we pass through waters that run deep and when disturbed stand tall, God’s messengers; the ones who  earnestly seek, sail through and survive in life and death to tell the story of God’s glory. Are we not God’s witnesses today because of them? Now – it’s our turn! Awesome is the Lord and very great, and marvelous is God’s power (Sirach 43:23-33).

Making My Way

“….and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’  John 5:1-18  Sometimes it seems as though there is always someone ahead of us in life. News Break! There will always be someone who is ahead of us! But that is merely a physical concept. We all have some limitations, some of which we caused and some caused by no fault of our own or anyone else. The man in this story was ill but this day he had the good blessing of crossing paths with Christ. Jesus knew that the man had been at that portico a long time trying to get in the water and no one else would help him. I think one of the worst things about achieving goals is the feeling that no one will help you. Feelings of abandonment can sometimes be misunderstood or miscommunicated. Yet as believers, as long as we are making our way, God will not abandoned us. By our faith we are already ahead and are always where we need to be so that God’s glory may be revealed and not our own. Everyday, with every praise and every prayer, we cross paths with Christ. So while we are making our way, we must remember to ask ourselves, “Have we crossed paths with Christ today?” 

Double Edge

“keep him in custody, but let him have some liberty and don’t prevent any of his friends from taking care of his needs.”  Acts 24:1-23  Ever wonder why you are who you are or why you are where you are right now? When Paul was accused by the Jews and brought before the Roman Council, one aspect of his identity (Roman citizenship) not only served to benefit him, more importantly it served to glorify God. Paul’s message, carried a double edge – saving and convicting the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles. When we like Paul say yes to God’s will and his way, it doesn’t matter who we are or where we are, God our protector and provider will also use us to his glory as well!

Who’s In Your Ear?

You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Luke 19:11-27 I’ve always found the parable of the ten pounds a bit odd. The nobleman that no one likes is actually quite generous with his money and his trust in ten of his slaves, with the expectation that they will do right by the gift. One of them however is simply afraid and chooses to do nothing. He ultimately ends up paying a heavy price for what he believes to know about the nobleman based on what the other citizens of the country have said against the nobleman. So many times I have hindered myself with fear because of what I thought I knew based on what someone else believed. Many people speak against God when in fact he has been quite generous with the gift of his son Jesus Christ, redemption, salvation, forgiveness, everlasting love and the Gospel. These are the things we ultimately have to remember when other people are in our ear telling us what is contrary to the truth. Regardless of what other people may say, God has given each of us a gift that we can use for his glory. Even in fear he encourages us to be faithful; to love not hate, wish well and not begrudge, build up and not tear down.

Bridges And Tunnels

We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way,… There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 2 Cor. 6:3-7:-1  The distance between Philadelphia and Baltimore is a little more than 100 miles. If you travel the most direct route, you will find yourself going over a bridge and through a tunnel. If you have an aversion to bridges or tunnels you will find another route even though it takes you longer to get there. There are some people and situations in our lives that are like those bridges and tunnels. In and of our own strength we can not move the bridges and tunnels. We can either choose to go around them and take longer to get to our destination or we can through Christ confront the aversion we believe hinders our journey. There are countless stories in scripture of God using people who were clear obstacles to his people of faith. By faith as God’s people faced each obstacle, time and again they were used for God’s glory. We have more than enough smaller struggles in this journey. Eventually we have to stop taking the long way around because we can’t overcome what we are not willing to face. The sooner we choose to go over the bridge and through the tunnel we can begin to put our aversions behind us. The straight path isn’t always easy. Don’t risk putting our selves at a disadvantage because of our disinclination to face what we believe is an obstacle. With God all things are possible and we can through Christ cross the bridge and go through the tunnel.

Inevitable Hearts

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit… John 13:21-32  Really there is nothing that can be said about a troubled spirit particularly when you know the inevitable is about to happen. To anguish over the physical is human. The triumph of those who believe is in knowing that there is a larger picture, the inevitable greater outcome that awaits not just our selves but the people around us as well. What appears to be the end physically for us is never the end for God.

the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:26-27

Featured image: Illuminated text designed & executed by F.Sangorski and G.Sutcliffe — 1910/ mydelineatedlife.blogspot.com

Getting Beyond Insanity

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18-31  There’s this thing about waiting for God that sometimes drives me “insane.” I desperately need a sign or I desperately need the waiting to make sense. Often, I get neither one and I am tempted to do something because I feel like I have to in order to “help” the situation along. Of course God’s glory doesn’t need any “help” from me. Sometimes in this journey only in retrospect do we understand the sense of it all and no sign is given specifically on behalf of ourselves. However,  if we look closely enough we can see God’s glory taking seasons on everything he has created. When it is our season God’s glory will take place through us. As I wait I remember the sweet resurrection of life, as like Christ, is lived in faith and guided by God’s power and not by the power I perceive to be my own. God’s glory is being revealed every day, in every way and in every one of us.

‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’  Isaiah 49:6

 

Resurrection And Life

‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’  John 11:1-27  Jesus knew that Lazarus was going to die. Lazarus was in a tomb four days before Jesus returned to Bethany at the request of his sisters. I remember years ago my mother and aunt came up from Baltimore on their way to see their Aunt Florence. She was the oldest sister of their father and the last remaining sibling of five. They didn’t expect her to live past the year and wanted to be with her and asked if I wanted to go with them. Like a story out of Mark’s Gospel, immediately I changed my plans for the day to make that journey with them. My Aunt Florence had a lot of stories to share. She was the woman who loved and cared for everybody’s children including her own. Her house was always open and heart never judged. My own mother the youngest of five was the same way. On March 13th of this month, she would have been 68. My mother literally spent a lifetime in social service. She taught, healed and cared for people she didn’t know like they were family. She saved the preaching and rebuking for her three children. When she became ill it wasn’t long before things went from bad to worse. Nevertheless, I remember very clearly the point at which I knew her struggle was coming to an end. I was at her bedside everyday. People who new her from everywhere came to be with her because she had helped them in some way. Each person had their own story. Even as she was passing away, something new was being revealed about this woman I called Mom and nothing would me the same after she died. Because of those stories she lives. Because of those stories I am able to strengthen myself. Because of those stories I too experience a resurrection and glorify God every day.

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. John 11:1-27

Hope And Testimony

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11

After having lunch with a friend today I realized my own selfishness. While catching up with our lives, not once had I given glory to God. As I continued to reflect, I had to ask myself where was my faith? Our physical life is not a test but rather a testimony – and our spiritual disciplines really are important. If in Christ we have hope, the expectation that things yet unseen or experienced will manifest in our lives. Then to live according to this hope, is to live with a testimony that the presence of Christ lives within us. Our living is our testimony. Sometimes however in the chaos of living we forget to speak the Word, to proclaim God’s glory with our mouths. For the believer, regardless of our situations, failures and successes, every new day is hope and every day we live is a testimony. Remember daily to Speak the Word.

2 Corinthians 4:7-11 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.