Monday, November 28, 2016

Until He Comes...What to Do? What to Do?

It is, isn't it? From September to the end of December, the world feels magical. 
From trees changing colors to trees lit up with sparkly lights, the world seems filled with Possibility (yes, with a capital P!). 
From the giving-of-thanks to the giving-of-gifts, I sense an overwhelming hope of brighter tomorrows. 
It's all because He came. 
Born as a babe in a manger....So.Many.Years.Ago!

Sunday began the Advent Season. 
A season of anticipation.
Of expectancy.
A season of PREPARATION for the Coming.
That's what we do this time of year, or, rather, what we should be doing, focusing on the advent of the Christ-child and how that one historical fact, miraculously changed our lives.

Recently (as in the last week), my devotional readings have fallen in the book of Revelation. 
It's perfect timing, actually.
I'm reminded from the get-go, Jesus is coming again!
He is. 

Not only is He coming again, but the time is near (Rev 1:3).
There is a fixed and definite moment, already pre-determined, for His arrival (kairos-time, not chronos-time).
That moment is soon to pass...
In reality, that word near, literally means "already on the way."
Jesus is on His way. 
Are we ready, Church?
Am I?

Nobody seemed prepared when Jesus came the first time.
So...will His church be ready when He comes SOON?
My question to myself was this: What does that look like?
How can I prepare to be prepared?
Until He comes...what to do? What to do?

In the middle of asking myself that question, another question popped into my head. 
A whisper.
A whisper so quiet, I wasn't sure if I heard correctly?
However, just in case, I wrote it down in my journal: Do you really BELIEVE I'm coming again?

My immediate answer was, "Of course, I do!!!!!!!!"
I was adamant.
Until I took a pause.
Sucked in a deep breath.
Then, on the exhale, these words formed, "At least, I am wanting it to be so..."

There was the reality of my belief.
I wasn't convinced.
I lived in a "wish-so-attitude" and not a "believe-it-for-sure" mindset.
Hence, a potential possible problem with the First Coming.
Is that the same mental state of those who were looking for the Messiah's first arrival?

True belief lives with a HOPEFUL EXPECTANCY. 
That's different than a WISHFUL THINKING.
True belief lives as if it's so.
Wishful thinking lives as if there's a possibility, but is uncertain and unconvinced.

There's the place for us all to start.
It's shifting the attitude of our minds from a "wishful thinking" to a "know-so-expectancy."
It's honestly answering the question: Do I really believe He is coming again?
Once the question is settled, that's how I will live...

Ponder these words of TRUTH:


(Here's a shameless advertisement if you're looking for a devotional just for Advent. Click on the link here: I Dropped Baby Jesus.)

Thursday, November 17, 2016


O come, sing to the Lord; 
let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our Salvation.
Ps. 95:1

Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth,
break forth into joyous song, and sing His praises...
Ps. 98:4

Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth...
Ps. 100:1

There are two common words in each of those three verses above.
I know you picked up on that commonality.
It's exactly why I chose these particular passages.


It's time to express our gratitude to our good, gracious, and gift-giving God.
It's time to sing His praises for our many blessings.
It is time to make a joyful noise.
Literally, the words mean "to split the ears because of joy."
Or..."to raise a sound, a applaud."

We all know the back-story of Thanksgiving.
It's in every history book that in 1621, the Indians and the surviving Pilgrims, met together to celebrate a meal together, giving thanks for the Lord's gracious harvest. It was a turning point. The successful corn harvest meant a better winter ahead...a future and a hope.

In 1863, in the midst of the brutal Civil War, President Lincoln institutionalized a day for us to set aside and forget hardship, come together, and focus on that which reminds us we have much to be grateful.

Certainly fitting with the year 2016...and almost as needed!

Nothing ushers us into God's presence like giving of thanks.
Nothing drives out complaining and arguing and bitterness of spirit as the expression of gratitude.
Nothing gets our minds off of self, and our struggles, as focusing on the litany of blessings bestowed on us.
Nothing counteracts self-pity, and yes, even depression, when we are overwhelmed with the goodness in our lives.

So, Pay Attention.
Make a list.
Write it out.
Let your thankful-list visibly wash over do have much to be grateful for...

However, start with this:

We have a Great and Mighty God who is FOR US...
He allows us to know Him...
He calls us His precious possession...His treasure...His child...His bride...His church...His sheep...His beloved.
His great, sacrificial love for us is steadfast...
His faithfulness is enduring...
His salvation is secured...
His plan for our future is beyond belief (not for calamity, but for a future with HOPE)...

Why does He offer all this?
Because we are so good?

No...because He is so good!!!

Now, make a joyful noise.
Split the ears of everyone around you...
Stand up and applaud Him...
Give Him an encore...
Let Him know you're excited for more of Him...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

American Believers...It's TIME!!! No, It's PAST TIME!

It's time.
In fact, it's past time.
For everything there is a season...a time for every matter under heaven...
(Ecclesiastes 3:1).
We've wallowed.
We've wailed.
We've debated the "who" the "why," and the "what happened" for so long, we've neglected to fix our eyes on even one banner under which we, as followers of Christ, can be unified.

Election season is over...YET...
It doesn't seem believers from around the world (not just here in the US, which is shocking to me) can mentally walk their way to middle ground.
Opinions vary.
Controversy reigns...
...and, Christians still continue to fight to be RIGHT.
I'm not even sure it's about being heard anymore...
It's more about being RIGHT.
Casting stones.
Pushing agendas.
Explaining to the "other side" why they are wrong.

To what end?
What good comes as a result?
Does anything change?

Can we not settle on this truth?

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 
(Romans 13:1)

He (God) controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. 
(Daniel 2:21)

Believers, we study the candidates and the issues.
We vote.
We do what we can.
The rest is in the hands of the Lord.
Do we trust Him?
Those are pretty big and capable hands.

The future course of our country really isn't about it's ruler.
It's about God's plans.
Those plans have been established from ages long past.
There's a bigger picture in play.
A plan of action that takes us right into last days...and to our permanent home.
A home where peace reigns eternal.
A home where there is no poverty.
No war.
No divisiveness.
No white, black, blue, brown...

I, for one, am ready to make my way to stand under that one banner where we can see unity begin to be restored.
Even if I stand there alone...
I've been ready since November 9th.

In any "personality profile test" I've ever taken, I score high in harmony.
This post-election is seriously every way.
Certainly, for me, but for each of us, in general. can we GIVE THANKS during this particularly WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR, when there is bitterness and complaint in our spirits?

BUT, it's not just for selfish reasons, I desire to see things "settle"...

Jesus' final prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was to the Father on behalf of those who would be His disciples in years to come.
That prayer focused on UNITY!
...That we would be ONE as the Father and He were ONE.
So, we would be witnesses of their LOVE.
So, we would be attractive in our FAITH.
So, we would be an inspiration of HOPE for a greater tomorrow.
So, the WORLD would KNOW that the gospel-story is TRUTH...and it is for ALL MANKIND.
(see John 17).


Come stand with me, please?
May I not stand alone under the banner that declares -


AND...He is not on His throne in heaven saying, "Oh, no! What now?"

P.S. Tomorrow marks one week until we gather at our tables to give thanks. It's my favorite of holidays. So, tomorrow I will turn my focus entirely toward Thanksgiving. As I said...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Just a Prayer

This morning, I posted this meme:

It is hand-in-glove with yesterday's post, which instead of being Thursday's Thought, turned into "Wednesday's Word." 

I had no intention of writing a blog today...
BUT, then...
I was in the middle of a morning walk, which is where I do most of my preliminary "writing" (in my head, at least), when I felt this grip on my heart.

Fingers of conviction...and a still small voice saying, 
"So do so..." 
Three little words, whispered loudly in my head (I know this is an oxymoron).
It meant, put feet to your thought...or,
Words in your mouth...and, 

So, here's my new Thursday Thought. In order to fully understand the "why" of this one, you'll probably need to revisit the last blog-entry. It gives a little backstory. May it springboard your prayer as you begin to pray harder, more earnestly, more specifically as we, the followers of Jesus, are instructed:

Sweet Jesus,

You've instructed me to pray for those who are in authority over us as a nation. So, may I not just teach this, then, hypocritically, not do as I say. 

I pray words that are from your Word.
May each of us who claim to be followers of the Way, the Truth, and Life, seek Your face for wisdom and discernment on behalf of those who are in authority over us. May we earnestly beseech You to grant them wise advisors, giving godly input...not for any agenda other than that Your agenda be promoted.

May we lift up the lives of the "king and his family" before your throne daily, as Ezra commanded (6:10).

May we bow low and look High, knowing that you are in control, and submit to those who are in authority over us (Romans 13:1).

Father, give those of us who are followers of Jesus hearts of restoration.
You've already made us ambassadors of I ask that we each live as Jesus-with-skin-on to our neighbors.

Give me, give us, hearts that usher in harmony and peace, and to the extent that it depends on me, may I do my part to work toward unity.
I want to live as Jesus did, showering steadfast love, through generous, sacrificial grace, kindness, mercy, and goodness toward "the other"...for Your sake, and Their sake, never for my sake. (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Lord, I pray that we not live out of hearts controlled by fear, but instead look to You the Sovereign King, to lead us. May we all, and may I, remember that when FEAR is driving my thoughts and opinions and responses to situations, it is indication that UNBELIEF is sitting in the passenger seat. So, may I be quick to correct my heart of unbelief.

May I, may we, rejoice always, just as you've instructed us. 
No matter what the season of our lives, whether stormy and difficult, or sunshine and peace-filled, may we declare:
"Blessed BE your Name!"

For, I trust not in horses or chariots, or military might, or political president. 
I put my trust in the name of the Lord, 
the Alpha and Omega.
Who holds the world in His hands.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Two Thoughts Post Election...Church: This is Our Calling!!

This question came on election night to a panel of hosts: Can a President Trump heal wounds opened by this election?

I don't know what the panel suggested. I really didn't hear. My mind was off giving it's own response...

...and my answer is a resounding "NO!"

Our country isn't Civil War divided (thank the Lord!!!), but in my lifetime, I've never seen a more divided country.

I've never seen Christians so divided on issues that really matter.
There is no political winner...

Only the Lord God, who serves heaven and earth, is the healer of the kind of wounds that I've seen bled out all over social media, the news media, and across dinner tables. 

So...we pray and begin asking Him to do just this: heal the hurts of those who are battle scarred, bloody, and who feel betrayed, confused, and, yes, even shocked.

I know, pray...that is such a simplistic response.
It's the Biblical response.
The Message translation puts it best:

The first thing I want you to do 
(by the way, this is the first morning following an election, what a better time to start this HOLY HABIT!!!)
is pray. 
Pray for everyone you know. 
(we are all sick hearted, because of this season of politics)
Pray ESPECIALLY for rulers and their governments to rule well, so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.
(1 Timothy 1:1-3, emphasis mine)

But, there's more...Yes, PRAY for our government and those who will lead her. PRAY for our nation and for godliness to be served. Pray that each leader will surround themselves with wise advisors.

Now (secondly), among the church, we must take heed to the Apostle Paul's words. It's his "short list." Yet it's a good list. An intentional list to give us our next steps post election.

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Aim for restoration,
Comfort one another,
Learn to live in harmony with one another, 
Live in peace;
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Cor. 13:11

His directions are clear.
No matter the outcome we hoped for or received, we rejoice.
We can do that by remembering that God is control, NO MATTER WHAT.
So, as Jesus told us, "be of good cheer."

AND...we set a goal, a target...of restoration, to be comforters, to live harmoniously and at peace with one another...
The word for restore literally means "to repair the nets"...

Church, we have a mission, a calling, to be fishers of men.
Our nets are torn with disunity.
Earthly perspectives have ripped our nets to shreds with huge holes...

We're losing the fish to the sea of worldliness.
Not too many want to be us, not anymore.
Why would they?
It's time to do the work of joining together what has been broken.
For the sake of the cross.
For heaven's sake.
For the gospel's sake.
For eternity's sake.

My prayer over the past couple of weeks has been a heart cry...often with tears streaming. It's been a simple one...only four words. It's all I could muster. Yet, it's been a focus, and it fits Paul's admonition:


"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds ... to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
Abraham Lincoln's, Second Inaugural Address

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Thought for this Election

For me, election 2016 is over.
It's been said and done for some months, now.
No, votes have not been tallied.
Nope, no winner has been declared.
I have no clue who our next president will be.

It's not that I don't care.
I do...
In fact, today has been set aside as a "fast-and-pray-for-our-nation-day" by the American Family Association (AFA)...and I will pray and fast.
That's a calling for followers of Jesus.

If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, t hen I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Yes, I voted.
I've already turned in my ballot.
I'm thankful that I had an opportunity to have my voice heard.

The truth is over the past many, many months of this political climate;
the continuing dialogue that prevails at almost every gathering I attend;
the constant news reporting, and second-guessing;
I remembered something important...


I know, DUH!!!!, RIGHT???
But, I'd slipped into a permanency-mindset...
I'd forgotten this place is temporary...
I'd let myself get carried away by the tide of anxiety that I sensed in the hearts of so many...

Then, I read these words from the Apostle Paul (because that's where I happened to be reading at the time - 2 Corinthians 13:11):
Live in peace...
(a tranquility of soul that fears nothing because one trusts in God and is content in its earthly lot of whatever sort it is...)

And I followed a few cross references to Jesus' words:
Peace I leave with you.
My peace I give you.
Not a peace like this temporary world gives; my peace...
So, don't be troubled in spirit.
Neither be afraid.
John 14:27

The Prince of Peace came.
He lived.
He preached a "gospel of peace" to all who would receive.
He died.
He rose.
He offered new life out of His death and resurrection.
His salvation placed me "in Him."

In can have peace.
This world is filled with pressure and trouble and affliction...
But, follower, BE OF GOOD COURAGE
I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

Now, my Prince of Peace has gone to make ready my permanent home.
A place beyond anything I can think or imagine.
That's where my eyes are.

If then you have been raised with Christ, fix your eyes on the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth...
Colossians 3:1-2

This world is on its way out.
That means, I am on my way in...
Where the Lord is on His Throne...
Where troubles disappear...
and unity prevails...
and PEACE is a constant.

So, this is my declaration...
GOD made me better than the results of an earthly election. 
I already have a ruler...
a King of Kings...
who is VICTORIOUS...
who has already OVERCOME...
So, no matter election results, I will live out my earthly days UNTROUBLED BY TROUBLE.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Has Consideration of God's Love Become Moribund? How to Not Let That Happen...

The steadfast love of the Lord.
Steadfast love: that's the Old Testament word that best explains God's loving kindness toward His people.
In the New Testament, we might call it grace.
Here's the thing...
The wise consider it...
(Psalm 107:43)

That just sounds so simple.
Oh, I'll consider it.
Meaning, it has crossed my mind, so now I can say I followed a biblical principle, and therefore, I must be wise...
Now that  I've considered it, I can dismiss it.

However, to consider isn't to dismiss...
Yet, I'm guilty of this quite often.
If I am, others are.

So many words in Scripture have become benign.
A better word is moribund.
Meaning, without force or vitality; not growing or changing; close to death.
Ponder that...

Now....look closer at the verse that stopped me in my tracks this week...
First, the word wise... Did you realize that the wise are the ones who know how to do AWE well? 

It's true.
Job said it was so.
The Psalmist did, too.
However, the sage of the Proverbs, repeated it most often.

The fear of the Lord (AWE) is the essence of wisdom.
(1:7; 9:10; 15:33)

The wise are in awe of God's steadfast love!!!
They consider it.
It's not just a momentary pondering that keep the wise focused for a few seconds.
It's more than a little meditation.
To consider is three-fold, including:
1. Understanding - Knowing by Experience
2. Heeding (a better word would be "marking")
3. Instructing

The entirety of Psalm 107 teaches us how to consider something. There's a pattern throughout Psalm 107. It looks like this:
The children of the Lord would forget the Lord (mostly they forgot His steadfast love)...
Trouble would come upon them.
They would cry to the Lord in the midst of their trouble.
Their compassionate Father would hear their cries and deliver them from their distress.
The privilege of revisiting and experiencing His steadfast love (His compassion, mercy, care, and grace) would be AWE-some.
At this point, they truly understood & appreciated steadfast love experientially.
The response was automatic: the Lord's children would thank the Lord for His steadfast love and for His wondrous works...
They would mark his deliverance with sacrifices of thanksgiving
They would tell of His deeds with songs of joy
They would pass on the stories of His wondrous works
They would instruct their children with songs and stories of His marvelous mercy...
And...they would record all of this for generations to come...

(I highly recommend reading Psalm 107)...

This week, the Lord convicted me to consider (in the Biblical sense of UNDERSTANDING, MARKING, and INSTRUCTING in) His steadfast love. 
His reminder was not to ponder and dismiss.
His teaching was to bask in and to follow through with my consideration of steadfast love.

I (we all) experience His steadfast love daily - in multiple ways -
He delivers me from myself time and time again.
He offers diamonds of delight.
He opens His mighty right hand with treasures.

It's November.
Thanksgiving Month. (#Thanksgivingmonth)
What a great time to consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
What a perfect season to not let that action become moribund...but to breathe new life into the word consider.
What a great prelude to Advent...

May each of us take time to truly KNOW HIS EXPERIENTIAL DAILY GRACE...
MARK it on altars of remembrance.
(...and) PASS it on...