A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

I tend to rush through the weeping, the mourning, the tearing of life to get to the laughter, the dancing and the mending. But there’s a time for everything. Transitions can feel slow and painful, but God’s been reminding me lately that he simply does not operate on the linear timeline that I do. He’s not in a rush like I am. And he’s not worried about the things that I worry about. He has it under control. And can make anything beautiful. So much more beautiful than I can fathom.

Get down now

The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.
Matthew 27: 41-44

—–

I do that. 

I don’t mean to, and I wish I didn’t, but I hurl the same insults at Jesus as the religious leaders. If you are God, why don’t you fix this now. Now. 

It’s so hard to look and only see human suffering. Something in me always wrestles – if you are God, if you are good, if you are all-powerful, then what are you waiting for?

These men had no idea what they were asking. They had no idea how much the salvation of their very souls depended on that man’s death.

But God’s plan was greater. Greater than proving something to them in that moment, greater than the temporary suffering. And he’s the same God whose plans remain great. While he may seem to hold still in times of suffering, it does not mean that he is inactive, it does not mean he is unable. 

While we wait, while our eyes only see the partial picture, He is with us. Emmanuel. We don’t have to hold onto our faith ourselves, we don’t have to walk alone. We have Him, and most importantly, He has us. 

Laying it at his feet

“Do you think you’re praying about it too much?” a friend asked me once. 

Yeesh, maybe, I considered. So many of my prayers had become about me, about a specific thing in my life. 

Her comment made me think of John chapter 2 – Jesus’ first miracle where he changes water into wine at a wedding. 

When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” – John 2:3-5

I studied the book of John with three other women a few years back, just us and our Bibles. And one of the things that stood out to us was how confident Mary was in Jesus. She brings an issue to Jesus’ attention, seems to dismiss the comment that his time has not come, and tells the servants to obey him. And that’s it. What would it look like for us to pray like that? we discussed. What if we brought our problems to Jesus and then walked away, confident that he would take care of it?

Years later, in a different study group, a friend described a prayer analogy: a lot of time we come to Jesus, lay our problems and issues at his feet, and then we scoop it all up and carry it away with us.

How can we leave it there?

I journaled:
Jesus, how do I lay something at your feet when a situation is active and ongoing? 

Maybe by walking away from it one step at a time. For, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The more we study God’s Word, the more we learn about The Word, the true Word who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus. The more we know who he is, the more we can worship Him. And the more we worship Him, the less we focus on ourselves. And there, in that space of eyes on him and seeing his eyes on us, we begin to understand his love. To see things the way he sees them. And to trust him. So little by little, we might be able to truly give him our worries, our fears, our circumstances. And we might leave it all with him, for good, confident he will take care of it. Because that is who He is. 

—–

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. – John 1:4

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. – John 1:14

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

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God… Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior. – Psalm 25:1-2, 4-5

—–

Practical application: Sometimes I get too caught up in what’s ahead that I completely miss what’s right in front of me. I worry on Friday about what I will need to do Monday. I want to know today where I will live in a year. And while it can be wise to prepare in advance for situations and events, it can be easy to swing the pendulum too far, to obsess over what I need to do. And if all I am thinking about is myself, then I’m not thinking about the Lord. And I’ll miss the steps he has for me now because I’m looking too far ahead. If love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4), then maybe one of the best ways for us to love God is to be patient with him, to trust the timing of his answers to prayers and the timing in which he reveals steps to us. The point isn’t that we only should pray about something one time, but rather, the point is that we are in constant worship and awe of the one whom we pray to.

—–

Read: John 1

Consider: What do you learn about Jesus? Make a list of everything the chapter says about Him. Spend time in worship, praising God for who he is.

Digging deeper: Read the entire book of John. Who is Jesus? Who does Jesus say he is? (There are specifically seven “I Am” statements Jesus makes.) Make lists of things that stand out to you and spend time in prayer over the verses.

—–

Sing: My Desire – Jeremy Camp
Not for a Moment – Vertical Worship

—–

Related: Why should we know God?; The Bible isn’t about me; How do we keep priorities straight?; Fullness of Life; The Gospel of El Roi

We will worship

This verse made a big impact on me a while back, when I noticed Abraham saying “we will come back.” He was heading up the mountain to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering to the Lord, yet he was confident that he would not return to his servants alone, because God had promised blessing through Isaac. God used this passage to reminded me that he was faithful, that I could trust him to resolve a situation in my life. 

Two years later, as I continue to wait on God to resolve that original situation, He brought this same verse to mind. But this time a new word stood out: worship. Abraham told his servants that he would worship and then come back. Except what he was really heading out to do was sacrifice. He was heading out to kill his son. But that wasn’t his focus. He wasn’t his focus. 

Sometimes I wonder if we can get so caught up in our sacrifice, in the pain, in the loss, in the emotion of it all, that we lose sight of the one we are sacrificing to. 

Sacrifices are an act of worship – whether we are giving up time, money, pride, desire… anything. To give those things to the Lord and to obey him are ways to demonstrate and showcase that God is greater. And that’s exactly what Abraham did. 

“Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” – Genesis 22:12

We are called to worship. To love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. To give ourselves fully to him, to withhold nothing. This is not a partial command.

This is a foundation. A life anthem. An allegiance.

And God has already gone first.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all… – Romans 8:32

God gave up what was most important to himself to buy back the lost and broken people he created. 

He gave up Jesus. God gave up his son, the only one who ever truly loved his father with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. The one who fulfilled all of the laws, the words of each prophet, the details of every breath of scripture. And when this Father walked up the mountain with his son, there was no alternate sacrifice waiting in a thicket. Jesus was it. The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). 

He is our object of worship. His life, his sacrifice, his abounding mercy and never-ending grace. His character, his beauty, his love. He is our focus. Nothing else is worthy.


Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5

The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” – Mark 12:29-30


Read: Genesis 22:1-19
Romans 8:31-39

Consider: What has God called you to sacrifice? What catches you off-guard and distracts you from worship? Why?
Spend some time in Scripture and in prayer. 

Sing: I love the lyrics to this song, “The things of earth stand next to Him like a candle to the sun” – Behold (Then Sings My Soul)

Planks and Specks

My husband had lasik surgery recently. He could see more clearly immediately after the procedure, but even if he had been the world’s best lasik surgeon, I’m quite sure that no one would have let him perform surgery on someone else right then. He was not allowed to drive, and he was instructed to honor a regimen of eye drops and medication. 

His eyes needed time to heal.

I can only imagine that if I had a plank taken out of my eye, though I would be able to see better immediately, I would still need time to heal before my sight would be fully restored and someone would trust me enough to remove a speck from their eye.

Unfortunately for me, I know from experience that every time I see a “speck in someone else’s eye” – a fault in another, which usually seems more like a plank rather than a speck… there is always a fault in myself, as well. “All the time there is a plank in (my) own eye.”

It hurts my pride. And it hurts the identity I was trying to build. And before jumping into fixing a speck for someone else, God has been teaching me to take a little bit more time. He’s been teaching me to let my own eye heal, to just spend time with Him and recover entirely, so then I can, ever so delicately, gently and patiently, help remove a speck for someone else.

If they want me to. Because I’ll never be able to get a speck out of someone’s eye if they aren’t willing to let me.

And I’m learning that that’s okay. I’m actually not the only option for that person. They aren’t dependent on me, and God isn’t either. 

However he chooses, and whatever the season, God is always at work. He cares so much more about our sight and recovery than we could even imagine. He is the one who heals the blind and gives eyes to see, all when the time is right. He has everything under his control. Whether we are the ones healing or the ones being used to give aid, he is with us. And he is sufficient.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5

But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. – Isaiah 55:2

—–

Read: Matthew 7:1-5
Consider: How does this passage relate to Jesus? How does he fulfil the role of the Judge and the judged? Spend some time in prayer, asking God what he wants you to learn from His Word.


Related Posts: Eyes to See
A Christmas Lesson

Contact me! Leave a comment or send a message – I love hearing what people think and how God is working in their lives.

The Bible isn’t about me

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” – John 5:39-40

I was out for a run one day, listening to a sermon, and heard the pastor say that the Bible wasn’t about me. I was shocked, genuinely. He continued on to say that the Bible was about Jesus. Ohh… of course it is, I mentally corrected myself, embarrassed by my surprise. 

But as I consider that day and continue to listen to sermons and read Bible studies, I wonder – why was I shocked? Because I was so purposely inwardly focused? Because I was so vain to think God wrote a book about me? Or perhaps I was shocked that the Bible wasn’t about me because sermon after sermon detailed how scripture relates to me and what I am supposed to do. Because study after study, all I ever extracted was my own application points.

I wonder – How often are we learning the Bible absent the Gospel? How often are we learning the Bible without barely considering the main character?

It matters. 

Growing up in a Christian home, I became pretty familiar with the Bible intellectually. And too many times I found myself quick to spit out the “right answer”. And I started to become quite proud of my knowledge. Until my pat answers that seemed good for everyone else weren’t working for me. I was doing all the right things: praying, reading my Bible, completing various studies… but something was missing.

Jesus. 

He wasn’t in everything. He was alongside everything. He wasn’t the focus, he was a supplement. 

It’s innocent, and it’s subtle, but I see this pattern unfold in my life. All. The. Time.

If the most important, most repeated commandment is to love God first, then everything should always fall under that umbrella. But there is no way I can love God first if I’m only thinking about myself. The implications tend to go one of two ways:

1- I’m pushed away from God because I believe I can be moral on my own. I lose my need for Jesus when I can just apply a 5-step process and better myself. I don’t give him the credit he deserves when I believe I can slay my own giant and make a name for myself. And I become exactly like the Pharisees, high on my own goodness and self-righteousness. 

Or

2 – I’m pushed away from God because I’m not good enough. When I’m “doing all the things” – reading my Bible, praying, obeying God, and not seeing fruit or relief from battles, I see it as my fault. I find myself believing things like, “This situation isn’t going well, because my faith isn’t great enough. I’m not praying enough. I’m not reading enough. I’m not fighting hard enough.” 

Either way, it’s I, I, I… 

And ironically, this is the religious system that leads to slavery: dependence on myself and division from God. It is not a burden we are meant to bear. 

We are called to love God, not to be Bible scholars. We are called to worship Him, not to congratulate ourselves on our religious performance. But our love for God can only grow as we begin to understand the depths of his love for us. Our worship grows as we begin to understand just how great and mighty he is, as we begin to see his name unfold in every area of scripture, and as we begin to grasp just how desperately we need him.

Of course we should study the Bible. It’s God’s Word. Of course we should pray and join Bible studies. I’ve just seen from my own life that we can miss the point of scripture and a walk with the Lord if we focus more on knowing about God than knowing him personally. We miss the point if we only extract application without first considering the one whom we should apply everything through. We miss the main point. We miss the glorious, marvelous, beautiful main point. The cornerstone. Jesus.

The Bible is about Him. What he planned to do, what he did, why he did it and what he’s yet to fulfill.

The story of David isn’t about David, it’s about Jesus. The story of Moses and the Israelites isn’t about Moses and the Israelites, it’s about Jesus and his people. The parable of the prodigal son isn’t about a wayward child, it’s about the hope of redemption by a loving Father and an ultimate big brother who went after his lost sibling and welcomed him home, glad to share the inheritance that was rightly his.

Pray. Read. Fight when God calls you to fight. But keep the perspective that it is only because of Jesus that you can approach God, that you can call him Father, that you can understand scripture and that you can be victorious. Wait when he calls you to wait, move when he calls you to move. And worship. Again and again and again. May we praise him for who he is and what he has done. He is the author and the main character. And it is about his glory.

A lot changed for me on that run, when I was pointed back to Jesus, back to the only foundation that is secure. The truth that everything is about Him has shifted the way I read, study and teach. It’s shifted the way I look at myself and trust the identity that Christ has given me, in Him. And it’s growing my love for the Lord and opening my eyes to His beauty in ways I hadn’t before experienced.

The scriptures all point to Him. He is the life, both now and the way to eternal life, and He is the means to life to the full. It has always been about Jesus, and it always will be about Jesus.

—–

Practical application: When reading Scripture, consider – How does the passage relate to Jesus? How has he accomplished it? How does it point to Him?

Ask God to show you, and listen to people who will teach you. Savor the process.

I need constant reminders, so it’s been unbelievably helpful for me to learn from people who are consistently pointing me to Christ. I specifically choose certain podcasts and sermons, and I’ve cut out teachings that don’t point me towards Him. I owe so much of what I’ve learned to Tim Keller, and it was his sermon that inspired this post a long time ago. Some resources are below.

—–

Teachers and leaders – May we never stop declaring the Gospel. May we never stop exalting the name of Jesus. Believers need reminding, and non-believers need the invitation. They can’t receive a Gospel message they don’t hear.

—–

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. – John 1:1-3

I am the way, the truth and the life. – John 14:6

I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. – John 10:10

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any doubled-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” – Mark 12:29-30


Resources:

Related article, The Gospel Coalition – Your Whole Bible is About Jesus

Tim Keller, Gospel in Life Podcast

Knowing Faith Podcast

For Kids – The Jesus Storybook Bible

A furious squall

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” – Mark 4:37-38

I’ve had furious squalls come up over my life. I’ve felt in the dark, with the rain pouring and thunder ringing and wind whipping. I’ve felt distant from God, not hearing from Him the way I’ve expected, the way I’ve anticipated. I’ve felt no sense of control, emotions raging and heaviness weighing. I’ve had thoughts spiraling and doubts suffocating. I’ve asked, so many times, “Teacher, don’t you care?”

His response was something like this:
Teacher? Is that all I am to you? You’re worried about this storm, Jen, but I’m worried about souls.
You have the whole story, you know how this ends. 
I went to the cross for you. For you! What more could I ever do to prove that I care?
You are not in this storm alone.
Stay by me. 
I will call peace when the time is right.

—–

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. – 2 Chronicles 20:12

—–

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

In you I trust, O my God… No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame. – Psalm 25:2-3

My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. – Psalm 25:15

I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. – Psalm 32:8. 

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3

O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. – Isaiah 33:2

—–

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

God put this verse on my heart recently, and it’s been surprisingly difficult to be in prayer and be thankful when I’d much rather deal with things another way. But if God is my Lord, then let me lift my hands up, releasing all of my self and all of my stuff to him, and willing to receive whatever it is he has for me. May I stay watchful, prayerful for eyes to see things His way. And may I never stop thanking Him for all he is, all he has done and all he promises yet to do.

Journeying further: Read and pray through Scripture – Psalm 3, Psalm 25, Psalm 96 

Related posts: Stepping into a storm, God Most High

Spending all we have

A large crowd followed and pressed around (Jesus). And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” …
(Jesus) said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
– Mark 5:24-34

She had been suffering for years. She spent all that she had. She grew worse.
Then she heard about Jesus.
She came to him, touched his garment and believed he would heal her.
And Jesus spoke to her. He healed her, sent her off in peace and set her free.

This is the story of the redeemed.

We’re suffering, hurt, empty. We’re spent, exhausted, depleted. And we’re continually getting worse as we search the world for remedy.
Until we hear about Jesus. 
We approach him in prayer, timid, terrified, desperate for healing and hopeful that relief just might finally be within reach.
And then the unthinkable: we’re noticed. Exposed. Laid bare. Healed.
Without shame, without cost. 
We’re named. Son. Daughter. Welcomed into the family of The Most High King. Crowned.
We’re sent out in peace. Changed, never to be the same again. 
We are free.

For some people it happens in a moment, all at once, a weight lifted off.
For me, it was a process. A gradual shift.

But regardless of how, this is a picture of salvation. And this is the hope for all those still searching. Healing is possible. It is available. And it is a gift that the Giver so desperately wants us to have. It will recover our life and make us new.

Once we are healed, we will never be the same again.

This does not mean every day post salvation is perfect. Not at all. But it does mean that every day post salvation starts with a new truth, a new identity: son, daughter. We are welcomed into the family of God. And that defines us. Not our past. Not our wounds. Not our circumstances. We are His. And He is ours.

___

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” – Isaiah 55:1

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” – Revelation 21:6

As for you, you were dead in your transgression and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world… – Ephesians 2:1-2

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. – Hebrews 2:11

In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ… – Ephesians 1:4-5

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:14

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. – Galatians 5:1

Sing it – Whole Heart, Hillsong

Jehovah-nissi, The Lord My Banner

The first time I went through this study, I had a really hard time understanding what it meant for God to be my banner. But six years and three times through this book, it’s finally beginning to click because I’m living it. I’ve been living it.

The battle is constant.

My way or God’s way. While it may be a one-time decision to follow Christ and become a believer, it is a daily, moment-by-moment battle to surrender to his Lordship and walk in the Spirit.

In Exodus 17 we read about a battle between two people groups, the Israelites and the Amalekites.

Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning… So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword… Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my banner. – Exodus 17:8-15

If the Amalekites represent the flesh, then there are a few basic conclusions we can draw:

  • We must fight (vs 8)
  • We need a mediator with his arms held up (vs 11)
  • The flesh will lose by sword (vs 13)

Life experience as a believer will quickly reveal that a battle exists. The apostle Paul writes about this to the Romans. 

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 7:15-25

Jesus is our mediator, and there is victory because his arms were held up. Stretched out. And nailed to a cross. He died, and three days later revealed his living self to hundreds of people. He won. And in him, we win too.

I’ve been nose-deep in the book of Ephesians lately, meditating on the truth of who I am in Christ, and the truth of the battles that we face. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12

We are no match for this on our own. 

We need armor, and we need a weapon. Joshua defeated the Amalekites by sword, and the sword is the only weapon believers get. It’s the only weapon we need. We get the sword of the Spirit, “which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). The word of God is true. It is the ultimate truth, it is always true, and it forever will be true.

The battles may be tough, they may be frequent, and they may leave us feeling beat up at times. But no matter where we are at, our battles are not our identity. When we are in Christ, we are a new creation. We are his, we are robed, we are clean and we are loved. 

Stay near to the One who calls you his own. Stay near to the One who makes you new and loves you just because you are his. Let him be always your banner.

—–

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. – 1 Corinthians 6:11

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. – Isaiah 40:8

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. – 1 Corinthians 10:12-14

—–

Read: Ephesians. The whole book. It’s only 6 chapters and packed.

Specifically, read Ephesians 1:1 – 2:10. What does God say about who you are if you are in Christ?

Read Ephesians 6:10-20. What does God say about the battle? About your armor? About your weapon? What does he say will be true of you when the battle is done?

A Beautiful Easter

I wish I could communicate how beautiful God is.

But if I consider a beautiful piece of art, I would never attempt to describe it. I would just show you the art itself.

So how can I show who God is? Maybe the same way that he shows us who he is: through stories.

This blog is full of stories. 
It is full of stories of how God has worked in my life, and it is full of stories of what God has given us through his word.

It all hangs on the same thread. And it all points to one man. His name is Jesus. And he is so beautiful.

The Gospel is so beautiful.

As we enter into Easter weekend, I pray that the Gospel never ceases to amaze us, that it never ceases to bring us to our knees. I pray that it never becomes commonplace and that we are never causal about its implications.

God made the world, and it was good (Genesis 1). And just two chapters later, man sins and sets a precedent for all man after. (Genesis 2, Romans 3:23) Everyone has sinned and falls short of God’s glory. You. Me. Everyone.

And the gap where we fall short is not a short gap because the one we sin against is so great. He is Righteous. He is Holy. He is I Am.

And he is Just. And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22).

This is where it should end – our death, our punishment for our sins, our eternal debt to a great God.

But instead, God willingly satisfies his own wrath himself. He steps in, he provides a sacrifice, and he bridges the gap for us. For us.

Jesus becomes sin on our behalf, dies the death that we deserve, and three days later rises from the grave and proves his victory.

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News for all people. That while we mess things up, while we sin against a Holy and Beautiful God, we don’t have to bear our own punishment. And we don’t worship a God that can be defeated.

And. If that wasn’t enough, he also crowns us with the righteousness that he earned in living the perfect life we could never live. He takes our punishment, and he gives us his victory prize. And in him, we secure every spiritual blessing for all eternity (Ephesians 1).

Our job is to receive him. To believe in him. To call on his name and declare him as Lord.

And then, we worship, and we walk. We journey through this life soaking in the greatness of the Son and responding to him in faith. It’s not about perfection. That was already accomplished. It’s about praising his name and making him known. It’s about declaring his beauty and giving it away everywhere we can, any way we can. 

He is so beautiful. May his face be all we seek.

—–

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. – Psalm 27:4

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household. Acts 16:31 

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:12

We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. – Hebrews 10:10

—–

Additional resource: Does God have to punish sinners?

Worship: O Lord, You’re Beautiful

Related Posts: The Gospel
The Gospel of El Roi
Walking the Path