December 9, 2016

Matthew 11:5 ~ CEB
“Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”

I really like the way the Common English Bible puts this. Those who WERE blind are able to see. Those who WERE crippled are walking. To me, it makes the transformation seem more complete. Like a complete change of person.
It reminds me of the story of the blind man in John 9. This man HAD BEEN blind all his life, then Jesus found him and healed him. And in that moment, he wasn’t the blind man any longer. He was so greatly changed that some people didn’t even recognize him anymore. They had to ask each other. ”Hey isn’t this that guy?” ”No. He kind of looks like him. But that’s not the same guy.”
I think one of the best part of that is, that can happen for each one of is. When our current problem meets Jesus it becomes a thing of the past. And if we let Him, He will take us to the point where people don’t recognize us anymore. Because when our problems meet Jesus, they don’t have any power anymore. And then what’s satan going to hold over you? Nothing much, but he can go ahead and try. It’s good for him to fight losing battles, that’s what he’s best at, it reminds him of who he is. Plus, it reminds us of who we are, and who we aren’t anymore.

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December 8, 2016

Isaiah 9:2 ~ ESV
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”

We’ve all seen the movies where it’s pretty loud while a baby is being born then all of a sudden it gets really quiet and this baby starts screaming at the top of its lungs and it’s the most beautiful thing ever right? I don’t know what it’s really like, I was only ever around for one of those and I was a little preoccupied. But, that’s what they make it look like in the movies. Well, one day a baby was born into a world full of chaos and darkness. That night, all of heaven and earth felt the release of that baby’s cry, because the silence was OVER. Two worlds collided and darkness was on it’s way to a losing battle and chaos had no place in the world any longer.

But wait it gets better. Each and every one of us can have that moment in our hearts. In the darkness, in the pain, and in the chaos, we can have that moment where two worlds collide. Collision is a big deal when I think about stuff colliding I think of an explosion. So it’s like this when heaven and earth collide in your heart it explodes and burns up all the dirt and nastiness inside of you and all that’s left is this beautiful innocence.
In those moments, all of heaven is on the edge of their seats. They’re all watching, and as soon as you let God deal with the mess and the darkness and the chaos. It’s not just the collision that explodes, all of heaven explodes. It’s one of the biggest parties ever but above it all, you can hear God shouting it out louder than everyone, “That’s my kid!” Like the proud Father He is.

But wait, there’s more (I’ve always wanted to say that). This isn’t just a one and done experience. You don’t surrender once and be done and if you mess up, well I guess it stinks to be you. No! We need to be surrendering to God every day and if there is stuff we need to deal with we need to let it explode. Darkness and light can’t be in the same place it’s impossible. So let the light take over.

And I could go on and on about how much more there is. But in truth, I’d never be able to tell about it all. Never, because the best is ALWAYS yet to come and God’s love ALWAYS has another level that we don’t even know about. There’s no end to Him and no end to His love. I know I keep saying that but I just can’t get over the fact that we can’t exaggerate Him or anything He does. We can’t! Because anything we say, He already is. We can’t make Him love us any more because He already loves us like crazy. And all He asks in return is that we love Him back.

December 7, 2016

2 Corinthians 1:20
“For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory.”

Sometimes God gives us promises and I can’t see how they will ever come true. It seems as if God always tries to operate just on the edge of the explainable. However, that still means it is unexplainable. A great part of worshipping an unexplainable God is that we can never exaggerate Him. We can never tell someone about Him and go into too great details. People for centuries have exhausted their vocabularies in thousands of languages to try to explain our God in a way that justifies Him for who He is, but it’s impossible.
Historically, God has chosen to work in some crazy ways. Just imagine trying to explain the battle of Jericho without God’s hand in the story. No really, just try it. Still, it worked, the people marched around the city and when they blew their horns it fell to the ground. Why did God do it that why? I don’t know. The important thing is, God had the Israelites’ yes of obedience first.
When God promises is something, we can always believe it. So when God gives us His promise we can always tell Him yes we believe it and we will do whatever He asks us to do. Every promise God makes will come true in time, you can count on it.

December 6, 2016

Jeremiah 33:3 ~ ESV
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

In all the rushing around of the holidays, it is easy to become distracted. There is so much to do and so many things to prepare. But through it all, Jesus is still calling to us. He wants to show us new things even this morning. If we will call out to God and seek His face, He will show us the wonder of His glory.
In the story of Mary and Martha, Martha got so busy “making sandwiches that Jesus never ordered” (as my dad said in his sermon at one point). That she didn’t take the time to just sit with Jesus and listen to Him. But if we will take the time to be still and listen to Him, He will tell us about the great and hidden things that we would not have known if we hadn’t taken the time to listen.

December 5, 2016

1 Corinthians 14:33a ~ ESV
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”

When our lives are at peace, it can be easier to thank God for His peace. On the other hand, when it feels like things are collapsing all around us, and we don’t know where to turn or what to do, God is still the God of peace. That is one of the great things about worshipping an unchanging God. Our circumstances may change, but our God never will.
This reminds me of the story of Peter walking on water with Jesus. We often paint Peter in a bad light with this story, but we do the same thing all the time. We will be walking with Jesus and everything’s great, but then the storm comes. All of a sudden we aren’t so confident anymore. We let ourselves get distracted by everything going on beside us and we take our eyes off of Jesus. The moment our focus leaves Jesus is the same moment we get overwhelmed.
When we are locked in the eye-to-eye connection with Jesus, the enemy can’t shake us, and he knows that. So, he will try to get us to take our eyes off of Jesus. He shakes things all around us and tries to get us to look away – if only for a moment – because that’s all it takes. In a single moment of distraction, the enemy will flood us with stress and worry and anything else he can find.
But, if we call out to Jesus in the midst of it all, He won’t let us drown. When we lock our eyes back on Jesus, the wind can howl and the waves can rise; but the God of peace won’t let you drown. As you watch Him, eventually the storm is going to run out of rain, Jesus will silence it all with a wave of His hand, “that’s enough,” and it will just be you and Jesus.
A quote that just keep running through my mind is one from Brian Johnson (I think) and it says: “The storm came and went, and I never moved.” We can say it right out loud in the middle of the storm. The storm came, but it has to leave; and until then, I’m not moving.

December 4, 2016

1 Corinthians 13:12 ~ ESV
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Has anyone ever tried looking in a mirror without turning on the lights in the bathroom? It’s kind of hard to see anything like that. You can make out a couple of features, or you think you can. But it is hard to tell anything for sure.
That is kind of how we see God in this life. We can look for Him where we know He is, and we can even catch glimpses of His glory. But no matter how hard we look, we aren’t going to see Him fully until we get to heaven.
I think that is such an amazing thing. God is good here on earth, we can all agree to that. But when we get to heaven, and we see Him face to face, there will be no end to His glory.
As good as it gets here on earth, we will never fully know God the way He knows us. He knows everything about us, but we don’t know that much about Hum. If we knew everything about God an truly understood what He did and who He was and how He loves, we would probably blow up. Because it’s too much, He’s too good.
So, as we each go to our own churches today, can we just praise our God who knows everything about us and loves us anyway? And as we experience Him this morning, I hope we all remember that the best is yet to come.

December 3, 2016

Matthew 3:11
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is lighter than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit as fire.”

When I was younger, we used to play dodgeball in gym class at homeschool group a LOT. The teachers would announce the game and there would be a collective groan from (most) of the girls and a roar of excitement from the boys. We would all line up in a long line that stretched all the way across the gym and bent around a little at the edges. All of us scrambled as fast as we could to get someone between ourselves and our friends. As everyone went over to the side they were assigned to, we would watch the teams. It was like the NFL draft pick or something: “Oh man, they got Tommy.”
“That’s alright, at least we have Katrina.”
“But we lost Joe.”
“Well I don’t know what to tell you about that.”
That’s just how it would go. We always wanted to have the best players on our team because nobody wants to lose.

John must have felt a little bit like that before Jesus came around. All these people were always asking him for stuff and asking him if he was the Messiah. Finally he just laid it all out for them, “Look guys. It’s not me. Okay? Someone is coming later, I’m just getting y’all ready for Him.”

That is really good news for us. All the struggles we face, the problems we deal with, and the fears we have, they are all nothing compared to Jesus. We don’t have to worry about anything because the Lion of Judah has already won the victory. And – I’ll tell you a secret – HE’S ON OUR TEAM! And if our team has already won, we have nothing to worry about. Any problem we have, we can bring it Jesus and leave it at the foot of the cross, never to look at again. Just like that quote says, when Satan tries to remind us of our past, we just have to remind him of his future.