Lost Time

Then I will restore (make-up) to you the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).

I love interpreting this verse metaphorically in order to apply it to my own life.

We have all had periods in our lives where we have wasted days, even years on being angry, or timid, or sulky, or fearful, or whiney, or even mentally checking-out. Later we regret those times especially if there is a person involved who is no longer with us.

In many instances a do-over is not possible, but God is able and can somehow compensate. He is so gracious to those who put their faith in Him, and with Him nothing is impossible. After all, it is not God that invades our peace, but it is Him who can lead us to still waters and can more than satisfy the ache in our soul.

No Holding Back

Let’s throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Heb 12:1).

What holds us back from enthusiastically following God’s plan for us? In my own life it has ranged from “You don’t really mean me, God?” to “I am definitely not dong that!” From timidity to downright rebellion.

There are many other things in-between that hinder us like guilt, or bitterness, or not moving on from past mistakes, or harmful relationships.

The important thing to remember is that God would never give us a job to do without thoroughly equipping us to handle it. It is not timid-sinful-guilty-unprepared-unknowledgeable me, but rather the Creator who makes grace abound giving sufficiency in all things, and an abundance for His good work (2 Corin 9:8).

 

Known by our Love

We thank God…because we have heard of the love you have for all the saints (Col 1:3-4).

As believers we are called to love, and especially to love other believers. In fact, John 13:35 states that our love for each other is proof that we are disciples. This bothered me for a long time because there were some that just really rubbed me the wrong way. Then people would say that you can love someone that you didn’t agree with, or even necessarily like. I didn’t get that at all!

I think my problem was attaching the emotion that I associated with love and trying to muster that feeling toward someone that I didn’t even want to be around.

A respected bible teacher defined love as “that which seeks the other person’s highest good.” Now that I can handle.

We can choose to have that kind of love for everyone, even those we don’t want to spend time with. We can hope, desire, and pray that they achieve their personal highest good—God’s perfect plan for their life.

I hope that someone is praying that for me, too—I still have a long way to go.

Whatever is Noble

Whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things (Phil 4:8).

God’s word  cautions us to fix our minds on these things. Some of these are self-explanatory like “lovely” or “praiseworthy.” But what is “noble”?

A few versions interpret it as “honorable” and another as “venerable.” There is a reverence attached to this word, almost like something commanding worship.

Then it hit me!! This word study led me to an entirely different interpretation of this verse. These are qualities of Jesus. We are not just to think lovely thoughts like rainbows and roses; we’re to fix our minds on Jesus, Himself.

It seems like every time I have a question or a concern, the answer  always cycles back to Jesus.

 

Blessed Assurance

If you declare (admit) with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Through the decades, up to and including the present, many religions have misinterpreted or overcomplicated God’s plan of salvation. I remember as a child thinking that my only hope for Heaven was if I died walking out of church right after confession. It was only for those few minutes that I had a clean soul (or so I thought). What a burden for a child—or anyone! It’s a sad state to be living without the assurance of a joyful eternity.

God’s plan, His free gift of salvation, is outlined several times in scripture. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins; we don’t need to. All we have to do is have faith that through His death, burial, and resurrection, eternal death was defeated.

That’s it! Not good works, penance, or any kind of punishment. Just faith plus———nothing!

We can be assured that the very second we exhale our last breath on earth, we inhale a joyous eternity.

As I Have Loved You

This is My commandment, love each other in the same way I have loved you (John 15:12).
This sentence set my mind off in a number of tangents. If we are supposed to love as He loved us, that means our love must be unconditional. We can love our babies unconditionally, but what about those, even other believers, who we consider unlovable? Or those who treat us poorly or unfairly?

Christ gave up His life physically for us. He set an example of setting His own human needs aside to do what was necessary to demonstrate ultimate love. Can we follow Him, even in a small way, by putting our comfort aside in order to love as He loved?

One way to start can be found in Galatians: Therefore whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially those in the family of faith.
As Matthew Henry says, we should make this the business of our lives…when the occasions arise…as far as our power reaches.

God’s Presence

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there. If I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me. Your right hand will hold me fast (Ps139:7-10).
There are verses in scripture that clearly speak for themselves. Once we invite the Lord into our life, He is always there. He promises, I will never leave you, and will be with you always. He will never abandon us.
The right hand, signifying power and authority, is the right hand of the Creator, holding us, supporting us, leading us.
I often pray, “Lord, guide me today as I….”
He’s probably repeating yet again, “I AM. Just be aware of my presence. I am with you and will protect you wherever you go. Promise.”