It was a morning filled with the chaos of snow. For those who love snow, I’m sure they were enjoying the white fluffy madness. I’ll admit it looked beautiful on the trees; however, I am more thankful for the arrival of spring. I’ve never been a big fan of snow. Driving in the snow is always nerve-wracking. It just so happened that on my drive to work, in front of me was a truck with the fire hazard warning posted on the back. My nerve issues increased as I was concerned I would slide into the truck and that big explosion that we always see in the movies would be my new reality. I kept a very safe distance as I pressed onward.
With the truck before me, I had a nice conversation with God. I considered how I stayed back so far to avoid the fire hazard. I considered how I was intentionally trying to avoid the posted warning before me. The conversation turned to the topic of hell. Heaven and hell are choices. We make a choice. I asked how can someone knowingly travel forward without caution, knowing that without Christ Jesus, the path leads to death and destruction. The Bible is very clear. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone (Romans 10:9). He has paid for the sin debt—and that debt was paid in full at Calvary. But there are many who continue to drive closely toward the truck with the fire hazard warning. It grieves me.
Today, remember the cost that was paid by Jesus Christ. Thank Him that He took on the wrath of God for you and me. The wrath of God is satisfied (Romans 5:9). The debt is paid. Everlasting life is ours through Jesus (Romans 6:23). We are right with God because of our loving Savior (Romans 4:25). Pray for those still driving toward the truck marked with hazard. Pray that eyes would be opened. Pray that hearts would be softened. Ask God how you can be a light today in this dark world, pointing to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
Forever is a very long time. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 61 about a request: “Let me live forever in Your sanctuary.” This is not a simple request. This request is for a sinful man to spend forever with God, Holy God, in His presence.
Despite it not being a simple request, it is a request that can be met. There is a possibility for you and I to live forever in His sanctuary. To abide with Him, we must accept the Son. To abide with Him, we must have the desire. The Bible promises that when we abide in Him, He will abide in us (John 15:4).
Thankfully God sent His Son to pave the way for us to be able to come before God as unblemished spotless ones. Because of the blood of Christ, we are cleansed and we are righteous. We are called children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26). The wages of sin is death, but we accept the free gift of God, eternal life through Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). Forever we live in Your sanctuary!
“Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings! Interlude” – Psalm 61:4 [NLT]
There are different types of love. Phileo is often looked at as brotherly love. Eros is the sexual kind of love. Agape is the highest form of love, an unconditional love; this is the love that God has for us.
Many of us have a broken understanding of love. Our definition of love has been corrupted by abuse and worldly definitions. Maybe too many Hallmark and Lifetime movies have caused us to cross the line. The truth is we cannot truly love others, until we first grasp the love of God. When we begin to understand His love, and we walk with Him, we begin to grow in love and overflow in love. We then “love each other because He loved us first.”
Today, embrace the love of God. God loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son to pay for your sins so that if you believe in Him, you are given the free gift of eternal life. He loves you so much, He continues to reach out to you. He desires a relationship with you. It is by His example and through the Spirit that we can love others. We love each other because He loved us first.
“We love each other because He loved us first.” -1 John 4:19 [NLT]
The other night I left the van windows open. It’s so easy for me to overlook as I’m not sitting back there. Of course it rained that evening. Thankfully it did not rain inside the van. I did not learn my lesson. Last night, I left the van windows open again. This time, the outcome was different. At the end of the day, I understand that it is not good for me to keep the van windows open at night. Perhaps practicing this bad behavior does not have any consequences most of the time, but there comes the moment when the downpour arrives.
We live in a world where most people believe that every road leads to God. I won’t argue that statement. I agree. Every road leads to God. At the end of your life here on earth, you will in fact meet God. For some people, this meeting will not be pleasant. Judgment arrives. After all of those evenings of leaving the van windows open without much consequence, the final judgment comes. And without Jesus Christ, the road leads to hell. Why? Because every road does NOT lead to heaven. Only through Jesus Christ do you receive the free gift of salvation. Only through the grace of God do you receive eternal life. This is why they call the road to heaven a narrow road.
Today, consider how you are living your life. Consider also the lives of those around you. You can leave the van windows open every night, but one day the downpour will arrive. Don’t wait for the downpour. Close the van windows at night! Ask Jesus into your heart. Begin to do life with Him and then write His Word on your heart. Treasure His commands. Embrace His presence.
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:14 [ESV]
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]
As I look at my skin, I see many scars. I have a few scars from some bee stings that caused my life to be rattled for a few weeks. I have the scar on my right hand when I attempted to cut open a brand new VCR I got for college using my house key and it did not work out well. I have a scar on my knee from falling on the ice while walking Max, gashing my knee causing me to walk a mile home with blood dripping down my leg the whole way. I have scars on my wrists from when my great aunt put my chubby self into a checkered dress a size too small, only to have my circulation a bit cut off by the nasty elastic in the sleeves (hence why they don’t make clothing like that anymore). With scars, comes pain. Each of us have scars; each of us have suffered pain.
The Bible speaks about how life is going to be when we get to heaven. We know that we will leave the earthly body behind—which means all of our scars will be gone. We also will have no more pain, no more struggles. No more of the bad knee that causes the hobble walk. No more back pain that keeps you up at night. No more headaches that make it feel like your head could explode. Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 for more on the resurrection body.
We also know that there will be One Who will bear scars. In Revelation 5, we read of He who was slaughtered. We are reminded of the One Who never sinned, but died on a cross to pay for our debt, to be a sacrifice for our sins. We are reminded that the wages of sin is death, but that God has offered us life through Christ Jesus. We are reminded that we will see the Lamb, and we will see His scars. The scars remind us of His love and His sacrifice. No words can describe His love.
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1 [NLT]
“Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth.” – Revelation 5:6 [NLT]
Parents understand the word sacrifice. Most parents do for their children before they do for themselves. Parents sacrifice time, money, and energy. If you and your child both need to get an eye exam, chances are the kid will get taken to the eye doctor first. When it is time for a new pair of shoes, you realize your kid needs a new pair so you put your shoes on the “wish list.”
This week, I noticed my daughter Jess struggling with her headphones. She saved up money for new headphones that were not an improvement to her half broken old headphones. She returned to using the old headphones for half the time. I had the same headphones that I used for work. I decided to switch my good headphones for her broken ones. She was so grateful and she didn’t understand why I would take her broken headphones in exchange for good headphones.
I am not mentioning this to make you think highly of such sacrificial parenting. The truth is, when she noticed the sacrifice and I had to explain to her what it meant to sacrifice as a parent, I was reminded of the greatest sacrifice, the Lamb of God. I was reminded of the sacrifice our Heavenly Father made by sending His Son to die for my sins, for your sins, so that we could no longer suffer the wages of sin, but instead have Eternal Life. I only gave headphones. His sacrifice we should remember each day. Thank you Jesus!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [ESV]
Does God ever give you more than you can handle? That is something people debate often. Many times I hear that God will never give you more than you can handle. This is often said when we are going through something tough in life like a loss of loved one, a painful illness, or an employment layoff. As we suffer and look to friends with our tear-stained faces, we hear the somewhat comforting words, “God never gives us more than we can handle. You’ll get through this.”
When I hear these words, I consider 2 Corinthians 1:8, where it says that the people were “crushed and overwhelmed beyond… ability to endure.” They were suffering. They believed they would not live through it. I consider Job, who lost it all—family, financial resources, health. Could you handle this? Would this be more than you could handle? I know some were not able to make it through. I know some who could not take it anymore. Why do we think we should be able to face all of this, that we can handle anything thrown our way? It is not that easy. We shortchange ourselves believing it is that easy. Instead, cling to the Father.
The Bible does not say that God will not give you more than you can handle. The truth is this world is a dark place and you may find yourself drowning and unable to cope. What the Bible does says is that God “will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.” In 1 Corinthians, it says that God “will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” This is talking about temptation, not about pain and suffering. This is saying that when we are tempted, there’s always a way to not succumb to the temptation. We saw this demonstrated. While Jesus was in the Wilderness, He responded with the Word of God when faced with each temptation.
Today, you may be facing something very difficult. You may not think you can make it through it. Whether it is too much to handle or just getting the best of you, know that you have a Heavenly Father Who is the Comforter. Cling to Him. Remind yourself of His promises. Surround yourself with those strong in the faith and be in continuous prayer. This great burden is temporary my friends.
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” – 2 Corinthians 1:8 [NLT]
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 [ESV]
Abraham was blessed to be a blessing. Oftentimes I find myself remembering this truth. We too are blessed to be a blessing. When we realize that we have been blessed by God, and that nothing is ours, but rather everything is His, then naturally this blessing should flow through our fingers and bless others. This is not simply a nice idea—it is the way life was meant to be lived.
Jesus makes it clear that we are not to build our kingdom here on earth, because the earth is our temporary residence. Rather, our treasures are heavenly treasures. The world tells us otherwise—the world desires that we max out credit cards to compete with our neighbors for the newest of things, the biggest of houses, the fanciest of cars. The world tells us we should look out for ourselves and water our own flower bed. This verse tells us the “one who waters will himself be watered.”
When we open our hands to another person, we open up the doors for the blessing to be multiplied in a few ways. As we bless someone, this blessing may be paid forward. As we bless someone, this blessing will turn around and bless us. We feel joy when we give to others. We feel joy when we are able to act in lovingkindness. When we don’t cling tightly to the blessings God has bestowed upon us, He continues to rain down blessings so we are enriched, so we are well-watered. Who shall you water today?
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25 [ESV]