It is Well

“‘Everything is all right,’ she said. When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, ‘Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the LORD has hidden it from me and has not tole me why.'” (2 Kings 4:26-27)

“Everything is all right”??? Her son, her only son, her beloved son had just died! “Everything is all right”??? How could she say that? She was in bitter pain…but she also had peace. How can that be?
I think it’s safe to say that none of us enjoys losing a loved one. It hurts, it’s painful. People who have lost spouses have told me that it’s like half of them is now gone. Death hurts. But notice what this woman did in her pain. She didn’t ignore it, stuff it inside, pretend like it wasn’t there, she took her pain to the Lord.
You see, you have a God who knows what it’s like to lose a loved one. He knows what it’s like to cry at a funeral because he’s done it. God the Father even knows what it’s like to lose a loved one, to lose a child, not involuntarily, but voluntarily as He gave His own Son up to death on the cross for you and me; forgiving our sins in full and rescuing us eternally.
So, like this woman, we bring our pain, our sorrow, our tears to Him. Not only does He know what we’re going through, but He’s also the one who can help. He dries our tears with His victorious promise, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” In Jesus our believing loved ones never really die, they live here and they continue to live with our Savior in heaven.
How do we know? Because He, Himself, went into death for us and came out victoriously alive on the other side! Because He lives we, too, will live! Bring your tears to Him for peace and healing.
Resting in Jesus knowing everything’s all right, just like you,

There is now no condemnation!

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

What is condemning you? Being “condemned” means that there’s something against you, a judgment against you, something you’re liable for. In other words, there’s something you have to prove to avoid condemnation. Perhaps you feel you need to prove that you’re a good employee at your job, or maybe it’s proving that you’re a good parent by having successful and obedient children, or maybe it’s being the best in a certain skill or ability you have. What is condemning you?
We can so easily live our lives being driven by trying to avoid condemnation from others or from ourselves. But notice what this verses says! “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Do you realize what that means?
In God’s courtroom the punishment has already been paid, the sentence has already been served. Jesus Christ was condemned by God, not for His sin, but for yours and for mine. Jesus was already condemned for you and me! Because Jesus went to the cross in our place the righteous requirements of God’s law are fully met in you and me.
Because of Jesus God has already delivered the verdict for you and me: acquitted, innocent, forgiven, not guilty. That’s how you stand before God! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! The court is adjourned. What’s condemning you? Why keep going back into the courtroom? It strikes me that if God says there’s no condemnation for you or me, we can live with incredible peace and joy, love and service!
Living with no condemnation from my God, just like you,

Thirst Quenching Grace

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life'” (John 4:13-14)

How thirsty are you? As I understand it, our bodies are made up of somewhere around 55 to 60 percent water. Water is a basic necessity for our bodies to continue to live and function.  In fact if you had no food and no water, you would die of dehydration before starvation. Water is that important.
But our souls crave what only Jesus can give us far more than our bodies crave water. Everyone thirsts; but only Jesus has the living water that quenches thirst. Look at the world around you. What do you see? Thirsty people. But see how again and again they go after earthly things that don’t ever quench the thirst? What about you? What are you looking for to quench your thirst?
Jesus gives water that truly satisfies. Jesus gives a “spring of water welling up to eternal life.” What is that water? It’s the peace of knowing that in Jesus your sins are forgiven in full. It’s the joy of knowing that God loves you as His dear child. It’s the fulfillment that because of Jesus you will live forever in heaven.
Jesus gives you a spring of water that keeps on satisfying now and eternally. And…it’s a spring. You can’t plug up a spring. No matter what dirt of life gets thrown on you, your joy and peace in Jesus has a way of continuing to bubble through for your spiritual and eternal thirst is quenched in Jesus your Savior.
Drinking in Jesus and His forgiveness, just like you,

A Life Changing Moment

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:1-2)
What bugs you today? What news have you heard that was discouraging, disheartening, or frustrating?
The disciples were about to face a test of their faith. They were about to watch their Lord be arrested, mocked, beaten, and finally crucified. They were about to be tempted to fight back, to flee in fear, and to fasten themselves behind locked doors.
But need they? What did they see on this Mount of Transfiguration? They saw Jesus in His glory! This moment was to drive doubt far from their hearts- Jesus is the VERY Son of God! Jesus is God HIMSELF! If Jesus is God, and He is, then no matter what He does or allows to be done to Him must work out for the good, must work out for His purposes, no matter what! And…guess what…it did!
What bugs you today? Remember Jesus’ glory on that mountain. He is God Himself! He chose to go down that mountain to that cross in order to save you from your sins. If He did that for you, and He did, then will He not be with you today, watch over you, work things for your good, and one day take you to heaven?
Thankful for such a glorious Savior, just like you,

Love Your Enemies!

“You have hard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44)

Who is your enemy? Who is it who makes your life miserable? Who is it who takes and takes and takes and never gives? Who is it who has caused you pain- mental, emotional, maybe even physical? The thought of whom fills you with all kinds of hurt and hate?
We live in a world that tears itself apart with hate, anger, and revenge. We live with hearts that naturally want to hurt and hate back. Yet what does Jesus say? “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’
How is that even possible?? Because Jesus did just that. By all of our hate, selfish anger, and wanting revenge, we’ve shown that as sinners, we’re God’s enemies. But what did God do for His enemies? In love and grace He stepped in our place and took God’s punishment for all our sins on Himself on the cross. Because of Jesus your sins are forgiven! Because of Jesus you are at peace with God! Because of Jesus God loves you dearly!
And…because Jesus loved His enemies – me and you – we can return evil with kindness, we can forgive instead of “making them pay,” we can love instead of hate. And you know what? When we model our Savior’s love and forgiveness, who knows how our enemy may be brought to repentance and finally be saved too?
Thankful that God loved His enemies, just like you,

True Romantic Love

“It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant” (Malachi 2:14)

What is a consumer relationship? A consumer relationship is something you have with probably every store that you shop at. In a consumer relationship you will continue to shop at a certain store as long as they provide the product with a certain quality for a good price. As soon as the product, quality or price doesn’t match your standard or as soon as you feel you are putting out more than you’re getting in, you break the relationship. In other words, in a consumer relationship you say, “My needs are more important than the relationship.”

Unfortunately in our society many have carried over a “consumer relationship” mindset into marriage. All live-in situations are really nothing more than a consumer relationship. Even in marriages, if you operate with a consumer mindset, as soon as you feel you are putting into the relationship more than you’re getting out, you want out.

That’s not God’s design for marriage. God has designed marriage as a covenant. You see, in a covenant the relationship is more important than the individual’s needs. A covenant is a legal, binding, promise and vow of commitment. In a covenant relationship you say, “I will adjust to you, I’ve made a vow, a promise, a commitment, my needs are less important than maintaining the relationship.”

That’s exactly what a parent does with a child. You commit to them in spite of your feelings. You get up with them in the middle of the night in spite of your need for sleep. You take care of them when sick, in spite of your need to stay healthy. You sacrifice and give. Why? Because the relationship is more important than your needs or feelings. And what happens? You develop an incredible love for your children- even though they don’t give you much at all in return. If only husbands and wives would treat their marriages that way!

Ultimately God has entered a covenant with you and me. For all of us who have treated marriage like a consumer relationship, in Jesus, God took on our human flesh to forgive our sinfulness so that we’d be in a relationship with Him for all eternity.

Renewed by His covenant to you, keep your marriage covenant,

2017 Curling Field Trip

The Upside Down Kingdom

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

As you look around at the world and as you look at the various people in the world, who would you describe as “happy” or “blessed”? Is it the person who has both a summer home and a winter home? Is it the person who has the biggest fish house and the largest boat? Is it the person who plays on the team that wins the Super Bowl? Is it the person who is in charge and can tell other people what to do? Who is blessed?
Jesus says that the person who is blessed is the one who is “poor in spirit.” Are you poor in spirit? Are you spiritually destitute, helpless, hopeless, and lost on your own? Are you so poor that all your spiritual needs must be met from outside of you? Do you have nothing, no resource in the spiritual realm? Whether you realize it or not, you are spiritually poor and destitute. Why so? Because you’re sinful. The reality is: everyone is poor in spirit.
But it’s those who know their poverty who Jesus says are blessed. Why so? Because when you recognize your problem you appreciate the solution. To the poor in spirit Jesus gives “the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus has opened heaven for you!
You may not have all the toys. You may not be very “rich” in material things. You may not be very powerful or influential. You may not be popular or famous. But you are blessed for yours is the kingdom of heaven!
You are blessed! Appreciate that today.