Personal

6 04 2012

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

These are big words. We tend to read verses like this and focus on the grand, sweeping language. There is a universal invitation contained in these words that resonates across all cultures, languages, social stratums, and backgrounds. This one sentence reveals the heart of God in a picture so profound and beautiful that it has the power to provide the one thing Satan can’t defeat – hope.

These words are personal. Too often we read words like “world” and “whoever” and hold them at arm’s length. We examine them from a distance, admiring them but not admitting them into our hearts. God means for you to hear these words in the most personal way possible. For God so loved Casandra… Those aren’t the words of a distant God to six billion faceless people. They are the tender words of a Father to His child. Come home. Believe. Choose life.

God aches to hold you close. His deepest desire is to reveal His heart to you. He wants to relieve your fears, pour peace over your worries, erase your shame, and empower you to soar. These are just a few of the assurances embedded in the promise of eternal life. He doesn’t just change our futures. He changes right now. He doesn’t just want you to live with Him in heaven. He wants you to live, really live, abundantly live, confidently live, with Him today.

The cross is the bridge. The movement of Jesus into this world, through this life, to the cross, and out of the empty tomb is a move toward you. Can you see His hand? Feel His gaze? Hear His voice?

My Jesus Resolution today is to remember that the cross is as personal as it gets. It speaks to my most desperate need. It answers the deepest ache of my heart. It swallows up the death that is rotting my soul. It opens the door for me to enter God’s presence. It shouts my victory, proclaims my place, and declares my worth. Say it with me. Make it personal. For God so loved…..





Surrounded

4 04 2012

I am surrounded. God knows that I am a visual learner. I need to see it in order for it to sink into my heart. In His quest to make me look more like Jesus, He filled my vision this week with people who do exactly that.

Elementary students standing on stools explaining how I can better follow Jesus. A woman in her eighties explaining how she can’t wait to see what God will teach her as she opens her Bible again. Teenagers invested in developing the character of Christ. Adults giving their time and talents to help kids catch a glimpse of the Savior. Friends willing to pray with me and for me. A young woman taking a deep breath and leaving it all in God’s hands. A college student describing the fire God is lighting in his soul. A young parent and an elderly heart both making a resolution to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Simple kindnesses. Profound sacrifices. Courage in the face of fear. Surrendered hearts. Gentle hugs. Whispered prayers. Dirty hands. Calloused knees. Wide-eyed wonder. Examples of Jesus right in front of my eyes.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1

My Jesus Resolution today is to open my eyes and open my heart. God continually finds ways to point me to Jesus. It may be through circumstances, the words of a song, a verse that pricks my heart, or the example of another. I want to see Him. I want to notice the witnesses that testify to His goodness, proclaim His love, envelop me in grace, and offer me a fresh look at my Savior. But I don’t just want to see. I want to be someone who surrounds others with the presence of Jesus.





April Showers

2 04 2012

“April showers bring May flowers.” It is an old rhyme that reminds us of the value of all kinds of weather. The storms we are experiencing today have the powerful to bring beauty into our lives that may not have otherwise bloomed.

God makes a remarkable April showers/May flowers promise in Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” The promise God makes here to the hearts of those who love Him is staggering.

And we know… We don’t have to wonder, question, doubt, or worry about the movement of God in our lives. Whatever is happening, no matter what clouds hang in the skies, regardless of the rain falling in our lives, we can know that God is present and moving on our behalf.

All things… I love the little word all. God doesn’t just work in the big moments, the tragic moments, or the mountaintop moments. God is moving in every moment. Whether it is laundry, dishes, deadlines, traffic, brushing our teeth, or paying bills, God is in the middle of it all. Every moment of every day is filled with His presence and His power.

For good…Storms scare us. They knock us off balance, disturb our sense of direction, soak us and chill us. But even when the clouds are their darkest, God is investing His goodness into the situation. He promises to use the situation for our good, to bring us closer to His heart.

Called according to His purpose… Here is the most exciting part of this promise. God will use every moment, every storm, every raindrop, every thunder clap, every lightning strike to bring about His purpose in our lives. His purpose for you is for you to look like Jesus. He wants to conform us into the image of His Son and He will use every situation to work that transformation in our hearts.

My Jesus Resolution today is to look at the rain differently. We all wish that every day was sunny, bright, warm, and wonderful. The reality is that there are going to be rainy days (sometimes weeks or months). God promises to use every drop of rain to sow the beauty of Jesus into our lives.