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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

I love spring.  The bursting forth of new life thrills my soul.  The awakening of the countryside from the drab greys and browns of winter to multi-colored flowers set against the backdrop of green simply makes me happy.

We recently experienced the birth of our 4th grandchild.  My wife helped with the delivery and today Lilah Joy is 7 days old. We actually have two grandchildren now who were born on Good Friday.  Jasper Leland was born on Good Friday 4 years ago.  As I held Lilah last night I couldn’t stop thinking about what a precious gift I held.  As she lay restfully sleeping in my arms she was totally at peace.

I was reminded that this is what God wants for each one of us… to rest in Him, to put our trust in Him, to be His child and be at peace.  Holding this precious child and considering the amazing love God has for us was both humbling and inspiring.  Roman 8:14-17 comes to mind.  We are His children and He wants to be known as our “Abba”, our Daddy.

It seems appropriate that for most of us Easter corresponds with spring.  Jesus’ resurrection marks the ultimate of new life.  There are a number of ways that Jesus coming to earth, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His resurrection changed the world forever.

There is salvation.  The price for our sin has been paid and we can enter into a right relationship with God as our Father through what Jesus did on our behalf.

There is freedom.  The power of sin is broken because of what Jesus did.  We can experience freedom from the dominating and destructive habits of our old self because of the cross and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit given to each one who accepts God’s gift of salvation.

Oh, and there is purpose.  We no longer are subject to the whims of a fickle nature.  We are called and equipped to live a life that has God-ordained purpose.

There is praise overflowing.  God gave us new life to live in Him and to live for Him.  Our lives are testaments to the one, wholly, and Holy Other.  God is worthy of our constant praise.  We do this best by living in close communion with Him and responding in prompt obedience to His nudges.

Yes, spring has sprung.  The tomb is empty.  And there is new life… radical…rich…full… abundant new life available to all who trust in and give their lives to Jesus – the lover of our souls.  Rejoice my friend.  He is ALIVE!  And so are we.  Death no longer has a hold on us.  Neither does sin, at least it doesn’t have to.  The only power sin has left is the power we give it.  Let sin no longer reign in your body, but live your life totally immersed in Jesus and His saving, cleansing, healing, delivering power.  Again I say REJOICE!

Be blessed today my friend as you bask in the new life Christ Jesus provides.

As a new grandpa’s prerogative, I included a few pics of our new grand-daughter who helped inspire today’s blog.

 

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Source: Bible In One Year 2017

I love finding writings that eloquently echo truths I’ve learned and then tie it to Scriptures in a concise manner.  I am finding that to be true of the Bible in One Year Devotion I started earlier this year.  I’ve missed a few days so I may not finish in exactly one year, but when at a feast why rush through the wonderful food!  I am willing to take time to savor it.  Besides I am also using the devotion “Jesus Always” by Sarah Young in the mornings with my wife.  Both are excellent.

There is a point that I want to reiterate from today’s reading.

We are on a journey and God alone knows the perfect path through life.  Seeking Him at the outset of each day and traveling the route side by side with the LORD is the absolute best way to go.  Then, even when we encounter difficulties (and we will encounter difficulties) we can do so with confidence knowing the Father is walking us through the challenge and into something better on the other side.  Jesus taught it, the Psalms proclaim it, and the Old Testament describes it in a multitude of stories.  I want to travel with the Lord, day by day and step by step.  Won’t you join us on the journey?

Have a blessed day and be a blessing to someone along your path today.

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As I looked out my window at the rain-splashed tarmac a heaviness strove to lay hold of my soul.  Gray thoughts swirled through my mind –

  • “it’s cold, damp, and nasty outside and this is just the beginning”…
  • “winter’s coming and outside fun is gone for several months”…
  • “I have too much to do and too little time to do it”…
  • “this country is heading in a dangerous direction and I don’t know why people don’t see it”…
  • “this election isn’t going to provide a leader to unite and heal this country”…

A whispered prayer – “Lord help me to see differently.”

Suddenly my thoughts shifted.  Even though the plane had not yet moved my mind went to the ascent we were about to make.  In my mind’s eye I could see the gray giving way to the white of clouds all around.  That white growing gradually brighter until suddenly we burst through into brilliant sunshine.  And my spirit soared.

I know the sun is always there – clouds or not.  Yet there are times when what I see overwhelms and dominates what I know.  More importantly, my mind can then make projections from what I see to build a future that carries me away from what I know.  Worry, anxious thoughts, discouragement, and depression are waypoints on the road my thoughts will wander if I forget what I know.

Jesus is every bit as real as the sun.  In fact Malachi prophetically speaks of Jesus as “the sun of righteousness who will rise with healing in His wings”.  Simply stated that is what I experienced in a small way that morning.

Interestingly my flight was a rather short one so we did not get to a high enough altitude to fully break through to sunshine on that leg.  I watched for it with eager anticipation but the brilliant break-through was not achieved.  But it was not an issue.  I remembered the sun and I was content to wait.

As I sat on my next flight I engaged my seat mate in some light conversation.  He was amenable and so began a 90 minute conversation starting with work but ranging far and wide from family to travel to the election (I usually don’t go there) to church and faith.  And it was wonderful.  I thoroughly enjoyed making a new friend… so much so that I hardly noticed the weather outside.

After landing I grabbed my bags knowing I had a fairly tight schedule, but I felt the Lord’s nudge to linger for a final word with my friend.  As two new friends it would be normal to part with a firm handshake and a word of encouragement.  But as two newly found brothers in Christ we had the opportunity to go to our heavenly Father with a word of prayer and thanksgiving before parting.

As I then hustled to my car I stepped out the front door of the airport into glorious sunshine… and my heart soared with gratitude anew.  It may have taken a little longer than I first thought, but the sun is always there on the other side of the clouds.  Faith reminds us it’s there.  Patience and perseverance help us get to where we can see it.   And thanksgiving is our right response when we arrive.

Thank you Lord for your loving-kindness to us and to all mankind.  Please use me, use us, to point to you, to reflect your grace in a manner that others can see and receive.  Be glorified in us today.  In Jesus Name!

 

 

 

 

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I am moved by how deeply, how passionately God loves us.  As we approach Holy Week I invite you to pause each day and plumb the depths of what God did for us… for you 2000 years ago.  He literally dealt with sin once and for all.  Jesus, God’s Son, performed the most gracious act ever undertaken because He loved and obeyed the Father and because they both love us.  Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

I heard a story about a Railroad switchman many years ago that has stuck with me.  Back in those days switching a railroad from one track to another was accomplished by manually actuating sets of large, open gears that literally shifted the rails from one set to another.  The switchmen were the railroad employees responsible for knowing which tracks went where and how to keep the trains flowing smoothing through the yard without incident.  While this is all automated today, back then it was a task that rested upon the knowledge, quick-thinking, and physical strength of the switchman.  The story told was long before OSHA rules and regulations.

As the story was told to me one particular day a watchman had decided to take his young son to his work to show him the trains and give him an idea of what his dad did for a living.  The young lad was thrilled to see the engines and all new things in the switchyard.  While they are there another railroad employee approached the switchman with a question to which the switchman responded.  His son saw his chance to “explore” and slipped away.  The question it turns out reveals a significant drama unfolding.  A passenger train is barreling into the switchyard and has had a brake failure.  The father’s presence becomes providential in that he understands the gravity of the situation and is able to quickly determine what must be done to save the train and it’s passengers.  It’s fairly complicated, but with a few rapidly executed track switches he can prevent a certain crash and derailment which would injure and kill many passengers.  As the father runs from switch to switch making the necessary changes, he is barely ahead of the speeding train.  At the last switch he arrives with only a moment to look up before he must throw the switch only to realize making the last switch will send the train down the track where his son is seated playing with a piece of coal.  He has only two choices – either save his son and watch many people crash and die or make the switch and watch his son die.

I heard this story before I had children and it was hard to fathom the sacrifice the father made even then.  Today I have four children and it is even harder.  But this gives us a sense of the sacrifice our heavenly Father made in sending His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins.  Why did He do this?  The answer absolutely blows me away.  He did it because He loves me.  He did it because He loves you.  He did it because it was the only way we could be reconciled in our relationship with Him.

Sin… my sin, my choices to go my way, had put a barrier between the God who loves me and me.  But God never stopped loving me.  He never stopped loving you despite your sin.  In fact He knew we would be separated from Him so He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him.  He called a people group to be His chosen people.  Through this group He set up the process where by a substitution, a perfect lamb, could stand in the place of a sinner to take their deserved punishment.  The code of justice was served, the penalty was paid, and mercy was extended to the sinner.  But the blood of goats and lambs only rolled the penalty forward.  It foreshadowed God’s ultimate plan to send His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect sinless life among His chosen people.  And at the right time to become the one, perfect sacrifice for all people, for all time.  AMAZING… AMAZING LOVE!

For the person reading this right now, I believe God put these thoughts in my heart and encouraged you to read this so He can get you this message.  “He loves YOU with an amazing, hard-to-fathom, but true love.  You are so precious to Him that He gave that which was, and is, dearest to Him – the life of His Son, Jesus.  He purchased your salvation at the highest price imaginable because to Him, you are worth it.”

“Father, this day we thank you for your amazing love.  You absolutely overwhelm us with your goodness, your kindness, your mercy.  Although we don’t deserve it, we will receive it with thanksgiving.  And we love you in return.  Imperfect as it is, we offer you our love, our lives, our obedience.  God, please deepen our knowledge of You.  Help us to be transformed by Your Holy Spirit through the reading of Your Word and obedience to what it says.  Jesus, make your life inside of us grow more and more each day.  Let your love do its work in us and through us.  And love others through us today so that they might know You – the Lover of our soul.  Jesus, I pray this in Your mighty and powerful Name.  Amen.”

Be blessed and be a blessing today my friend.

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