Category Archives: Christian Life

The Next Adventure

Caution: Tears may fall as you read this, but they should give way to excitement.

An elderly man was in a hospital room and he was fading quickly. The nurses and doctors decided it was time to call the gentleman’s family, and they gathered around his bed. As he was lying there, holding his wife of 50 years hand, looking at his son and grandchildren, he whispered, “Don’t cry. I’ll see all of you again. This was not my permanent home; I’m only passing through.”

A moment later, the man looked up and said, “I can see the Lord’s face.” Peacefully, the man fell asleep and went to be with the Lord.

Death is a sad time for those of us left behind. The person for whom we love and care deeply has gone home to be with the Lord, so we have to say “see you later,” and live in their absence. But, for the Christian who passes away in death, a whole new adventure begins.

Heaven awaits. “For this is not our permanent home,” the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “we are looking forward to a world yet to come.” While we don’t fully know what Heaven will be like, the Bible does tell us it will be a glorious place. There will be no pain, sorrow, or difficulty. Today’s struggles will be gone. There will be no pandemics or tensions caused by skin color. There will be no hurt or heartache. Rather, Scripture says there will be peace. The lame will walk, the deaf will hear, the blind will see. Heaven will be glorious.

And, the adventure of experiencing Heaven will be ours. If you, or someone you love, is struggling today, remember, it is only temporary. Something much better is coming.

Failure is not the End

Failure comes and goes.

It has happened to us all. No one likes it, and it is not one of life’s enjoyable experiences. It hurts, it is painful, and it is a part of everyone’s life. It is failure.

One stumble does not break or define a person. Some of history’s most successful people have experienced the agony of failure.

  • Babe Ruth held the record for the most strike outs, and struck out multiple times in a World Series game. Yet, look at his overall record.
  • Robert Frost was rejected by a magazine stating there was no place for his poetry.
  • An English teacher wrote on Winston Churchill’s report card that he did not have much potential for success.
  • Oprah was fired from a Chicago TV station. She went on.
  • You and I can insert our failures here.

Max Lucado says, “Though you’ve failed, God does not. Face your failures with faith and God’s goodness.”

  • “The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand,” remarks the Psalmist in 37:23-24.
  • Proverbs 24:16 says, “The Godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.”

Failures will come, but the Lord will help us overcome those failures and move on with life. Remember amid failure, the Lord is with you.

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We Can Run

In a recent post, Today’s Encouragement reminds us Jesus has set us free from whatever is holding us down.

Rick writes, “so we can flee, leave the scene, get out of danger… because Jesus took the heat for us! Whatever threatens you and I, my friend, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we are – already – freed from! Jesus has paid the price for our freedom! It is time for us to walk away, flee, run! from the scene. The SWAT team of our enemies, addictions, shame, depression, fear, and failure has arrested Jesus in our place… and we are Free to go!”

Check out the post here.

Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free,” so thank him for the freedom, accept the freedom, rest in the freedom, and praise God for the freedom you and I have in Christ. Jesus paid to give us an opportunity to be free.

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His Plan

David was reminded of God’s grace.

David was in a season of turmoil. His family was a mess; there were many reasons for the messiness, and one of David’s advisors wanted to help him clean it up. He drafted a woman to tell David a parable.

The parable consisted of a widow with two sons. One son murdered the other, and the community shouted for the murderer’s head. If he was convicted, the widow would have no hope of continuing her family line. She pleads for mercy from the king.

David compassionately says she should receive mercy. Then, the woman applies the parable to David’s situation.

She points out David has a banished son needing reconciliation, and reminds David God himself makes plans to enable a banished person to be reconciled to the Lord. 2 Samuel 14:14 says, “All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again, but God does not just sweep life away. Instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.”

Mistakes; they have been made. Regrets exist. The list of things we would not do or redo can be extensive, but God knows how to handle all of it.

God has devised a plan to restore us to the family.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only son, so everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his son into the world, not to judge the world but to save the world through him,” Jesus explains in John 3:16-17.

Jesus also says in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Jesus is the plan which enables man and God to reconcile.

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Rest in Him

Isaiah was looking ahead to a time of rest and peace for God’s people. In doing so, he says the Lord will provide strength and energy for his people.

Isaiah 40:29-31 says, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will sore high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Isaiah reminds us those who trust the Lord will find new strength. They will find their strength in the Lord.

He exchanges our strength for his. The Lord helps us make it through our lives. The good and bad times. The Creator and Holder of the stars gives us strength.

“Look up into the heavens,” Isaiah 40:26 suggests. “Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army: one after another, calling each by its name because of his great power and incomparable strength. Not a single one is missing.”

We draw our strength from the one who will never grow weary. Isaiah 40:28 reminds us the Lord is the Creator of the earth. He is everlasting.

Life is tiring. The headlines we see and problems we encounter zap our strength, but they are no match for the Lord’s. We are promised the Lord will give us his strength. The Lord will renew our strength each day to take on that day’s challenges. His strength never runs out, so hopefully, we will always remember to draw upon it.

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Jesus Wept

It was a sad time for Martha and Mary. Their brother Lazarus has passed away. They sent for Jesus and he came, but his coming was delayed. The grieving sisters knew Jesus could help, but they were overcome by grief. They did not understand why the Lord delayed coming. They did not understand what was happening. All they understood in the moment was that Lazarus was no longer with them, and it hurt as they came to the realization, he would not be spending his days with them. Amid this heartbreak, we find two of the most powerful words in the Bible.

“Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

I believe these words paint a powerful picture. Jesus, fully knowing how the events were about to unfold, is so deeply moved by what is going on around him that he weeps. He does not stand idlily by as Mary and Martha grieve. He feels their pain. He understands what they are going through. He mourns with them; he empathizes with them. All powerful God has so much compassion for Lazarus’ family that he weeps for them.

We see here a compassionate, caring Jesus. Though he holds all power in his hand, he relates to Mary and Martha as they are struggling with the loss of Lazarus.

The same compassionate, caring Jesus relates to us. There is no doubt life is hard, and there are some truly sad seasons. Friends and family pass away. Relationships end. Trust in other people shattered. All of it causing heartache and pain, and in his compassion and care, Jesus is there with us. He is there to wipe our tears. He is there to heal our heartache. Jesus is there, weeping when we weep, mourning when we mourn, and holding our hand to help us get through whatever life may throw at us. How has the Lord helped you in a difficult time?

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Feeling Afraid?

Much fear has gripped many people over the past few months, and recent events are still causing many folks to battle with fear. Scenes of recent events startle us, and headlines provoke the natural emotion of fear to enter our lives. Individuals are fearful of what is happening around them; they are fearful of the days ahead. If you are saying, “That’s me,” you are not alone. There are a lot of people finding their way through a fearful season right now, and the Bible offers a suggestion.

David had fearful seasons in his life, and he writes these words in Psalm 56:3-4.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

We can find encouragement a few times in David’s words.

  • David says, “When I am afraid….” Fear is natural and comes into life occasionally. Though he experienced fear, David was still a person after God’s own heart. Being frightened does not make us a bad person. It is how we handle the feelings of fear that make all the difference.
  • Take note of how David handles his fears. He remarks when he is afraid, he trusts in the Lord. The Lord can deliver him from his fears.
  • At the end of verse 4, David asks, “What can mere mortals do to me?” He recalls God is more powerful than the circumstances causing him to fear. The Lord says in Isaiah 41:10, “10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
        do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
        I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

When we are afraid, the Bible suggests we look to our trust in the Lord for strength.

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It Is Finished

There he was, a criminal on each side, arms stretched across the cross. The events of the past few hours may have seemed completely out of his control, but he was still fully in control. In fact, he was in control of this moment. He has just gone through an excruciating time for us and his work is completed, so he cries out, “It is finished.” And, he gives up his spirit. No one took anything from him; he gave everything willingly.

As John 19:28-30 states, Jesus’ mission is finished; it is completed. Now, he is giving us an invitation, and how we respond is our decision.

What will you do with his invitation to bring mercy and grace today? What will you do with his invitation to help you in all aspects of life today?

You’re Unique

We’ve all seen coffee cup phrases. The encouraging words that are just right to place on a coffee cup and present to someone as an encouraging gift. Most gift shops stock these cups and they make great gifts for a person who just needs a little encouragement. The phrases usually originate from Scripture as the Bible is full of them.

You do not have to read very far into Philippians before finding a coffee cup phrase; maybe even one of the most encouraging phrases in Scripture. It is in the sixth verse of the first chapter; he, who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion.

There is no denying this is an encouraging statement. The Lord is at work in our lives, and he promises he will complete what he has started. God is completing a good work in our lives in spite of what we may do to try to stop him. The Bible’s biography of Moses helps us understand how this truth works. In spite of Moses at times, God completed a good work in his life.

What do we have in common with Moses?

What do we have in common with Moses? This may seem like an odd question. You may be thinking, “We can’t possibly have anything in common with Moses.” True, Moses had a once in history childhood, grew up to be a shepherd in the desert, and spent his senior years leading the Israelites through the desert. Unique is an understatement when describing his life, yet we share common ground with Moses.

A Once in History Life

I said above Moses is the only one who lived his life story. God placed Moses in a unique time and called him to a unique purpose. Moses was the individual God needed in that moment to fulfill that part of his plan.

Glimpse through Moses’ biography, and you can see how each phase of his life prepared him for the next. Growing up in Pharoah’s palace would have enabled Moses to become familiar with Egyptian customs. Shepherding sheep in the desert prepared Moses to be the shepherd of God’s people in the desert. God began a good work in Moses and carried it through to completion.

The same can be said for us. God has placed us in a unique position. Every person has a spot in God’s plan and a purpose to fulfill. Scripture speaks of each person’s uniqueness.

• The Psalmist says to the Lord, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was woven together in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).

• “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

• Esther was told, “You are here for such a time as this.”

Glimpse through your own biography. See how the previous phases of your life have prepared you for the current phase. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. Moses had a once in history life, and so do we. Share how the past has prepared you for the present with us.

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His Invitation

Everyone has made mistakes. When we look back at the past, we can beat ourselves up for a lot. We are all in need of grace.

And, the good news is Jesus offers us grace.

He has done a lot for us. From standing silent before his accusers to removing our guilt, Jesus brings much grace to us.

Isaiah writes, “Yet it was our weaknesses that he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down, and we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins. But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole; he was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own, yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).

All of this was so he could bring us grace. “But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief, yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants, he will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied, and because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous. For he will bear all their sins” (Isaiah 53:10-11).

Jesus came knowing all of this was going to be done, and he didn’t back away from any of it. He went through with the Lord’s plan so he could bring us grace, and he invites us to come and find peace with him.

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