Things we Leave Behind

 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.

Matthew 25:13-14 ESV

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One day all of us will take a journey. We will finish our final 24 hours on this planet and go to stand before the Lord. On an earthly journey there are some things we need to do to get ready. We might need to draw money from the bank, pack our suitcases and fill up the car with gas. In our preparations whether we know it or not we are making two decisions: what will we take with us and what will we leave behind.

In the same way we need to prepare for our heavenly departure. Jesus told us to be watchful because we cannot know the day of His return. For some that will be the day He splits the skies and descends from the clouds and for others it will be the moment in God’s calendar when we depart to be with Him. Whichever way we meet Him there are some things we must do today to get ready.

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First into your suitcase be sure to pack faith. Faith is God’s first gift and – Without faith it is impossible to please Him… Hebrews 11:6 But to travel with your faith you will discover that fear is taking up so much space inside your bag that one must be left behind.

 

Next we must be sure to find a place for hope. Hope is the gift that God gives us after faith and it gives us strength to keep going through all the weary miles of life. But to find room for hope we have to allow God to unpack our shame and leave it at the foot of the cross. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts … Romans 5:5

 

Last always remember to never leave love behind. The entire reason for our journey is not because God needs more servants to get stuff done in heaven, but because He wants children on whom He can lavish His amazing love forever! So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love 1 Corinthians 13:13

 

Only Believe!

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 14:24

During a recent snow storm our friend’s son told his dad that since God had sent the snow then he would just wait for God to take it away. In the morning I sent the father this short message, “Let your son know that I waited a few hours for God, but finally I had to shovel the snow myself!”
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Jesus cannot be hurried or pressed into doing our part. The father in Mark’s gospel story had done all he knew to do. He had asked everyone he could think of for help. Now at last he stood before Jesus and pleaded for help for his son. But Jesus was not concerned only about the problem that this man could see. Jesus was at work, beneath the surface. He tenderly pressed this dad till he touched on the core issue of his struggle. He was willing to sacrifice. He was willing to humbly ask for help. Could he now be brave enough to believe?

It seems almost hard-hearted of Jesus to push this person to his limit, but Jesus saw something within him that he didn’t even know he had. He had faith! Listen closely to his prayer, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” That is a prayer God always answers!

First we believe, and then He gladly helps us with our unbelief. Drawing out this father’s faith is the great miracle.  When the miracle of faith drawn out to action in our lives is accomplished there is nothing that God cannot do!

 

“All things are possible, only believe!” Mark 14:23b

 

Seeing the Invisible

When we  wish to know the worth of a diamond we take it to a jeweler who takes his magnifying glass and looks at the color, counts the facets and so forth. If we need to sell a property we first call an appraiser who comes and looks carefully at it inside and out to ascertain its market value.While our practice is to value a thing according to its appearance God sees entirely differently.

Consider the story of the widow who gave her two mites. The disciples were quite surprised when Jesus told them that she had given more than all the others. They had clearly seen with their own eyes the two tiny copper coins fall from her hand into the offering box. But what they had seen was nothing in comparison to what Jesus saw of the inner beauty of her love, sacrifice and faith.

In a different circumstance Jesus sat down for dinner with a well dressed wealthy Pharisee named Simon. During their meal the pleasantness of the scene was harshly interrupted by a weeping woman who burst into the room and began kissing the feet of Jesus and wiping them clean with her hair. Simon was shocked! It was well known in his community what flagrant sins this woman had committed. How dare she enter his house, and furthermore how could Jesus (If He really were a prophet) allow himself to be touched by someone like her?

Yet Jesus saw the circumstances quite differently than Simon or you or I. Jesus neither saw the fine tableware nor savored the delicate cuisine. Jesus hadn’t at all been impressed by the beautiful columns or the handcrafted door at the entry of Simon’s home. Instead Jesus saw the cold lack of Simon’s heart. Jesus had noticed that Simon had not given him the customary kiss on the cheek, or offered water for his feet to be washed. Jesus saw quite clearly instead the depth of repentance and gratitude of this woman and treasured that.

God does not see things as we see them and as we enter this new year my prayer is for God to give me His own 20/20 heavenly vision. I earnestly beg and plead to see the value that He sees in others and the worthlessness of so many things to which I cling so tightly. The challenges that we face this year can only be met when seeing and valuing the invisible things of God’skimg0367 eternal worth.

As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

We’ll Meet Face to Face

We’ll Meet Face to Face

 

Am I learning to be thankful in the way you told me to?

To have that true and faithful heart that trusts the whole day through?

Will I walk with blinders on seeing just my own small world?

Or can I find the grace and strength to bind another’s wounds?

 

When weakness looms I pull the shades and double lock my door

No limping step, no bleeding lip, no bruises cuts or sores

No fever hot, no icy chills, no loss of any kind

Will I accept within my home just sweet and sunny times

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Yet in the silence of the night when sleep is sliding by

I awake with faith and doubt engaging in a fight

The Spirit stirs and takes a stand while flesh just moans and sighs

Then in my weakest moment when I feel I can’t keep on

My Savior stoops and picks me up and holds me in His arms

 

Son you see these troubles come

While we are in this world

There is a Battle in your soul

To turn you from the goal

But set your eyes upon the prize

That pearl of greatest price

Is waiting for you in my hands

When we meet face to face

 

The Valley of the Shadow – Part Two

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Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me Psalm 23:4

Many of us walk through dark valleys in our lives. The dark valley is not some mistake. The presence of a shadow means that something is standing between us and the light. God leads us through our valley of the shadow as His forgiveness moves us out of our darkest place.

Forgiveness comforts our sorrows

Like the centurion at the cross do we suddenly see what we have done to Jesus? All around us lies the wreckage that our sins have left behind. We’ve seen the pure love of Jesus and we realize that His sufferings have been at our hands. Yet from the cross the centurion heard the words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” God’s words work in our life like a shepherd’s staff that corrects and guides us. When we feel that staff we know that despite our many failures and sins He has still decided to be our shepherd and he has chosen us to be His sheep!Sept-Oct 2013 037

 

Forgiveness sets a banquet table

“He prepares a table before me” means that God has chosen the time and place of our forgiveness. Just as the father held a celebration when he found the prodigal on the road home, so God prepares a celebration of forgiveness just for us. When God sets the table He is not at all afraid to do so even while our enemies are watching! God doesn’t wait for some hidden private moment. He claims us as His own in full public view and then sits down with us. That is why Paul calls it, “The Lord’s table” P1010180

Forgiveness Restores more than was lost

When Jesus took the cup He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” That New Covenant cup is God’s offer of restoration. But when God restores He does more than simply return things to as they were. God’s forgiveness is the cup that overflows. God’s forgiveness pours until our cup can’t hold it all. God’s life giving forgiveness is given in such quantity that we have more than enough to give to those people in our world who have treated us badly. There is such a harvest of His mercy and goodness that even after we have given it all away  -there will be enough to follow us all the way to His home!

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