Real true faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength.
—D. L. Moody
Shared from Today in the Word.
Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. —John 21:17
Sometimes we wish for a remote control with a giant rewind button. If only we could start the day, the conversation, or the relationship all over again, we would do it differently!
Peter longed for a second chance with Jesus. The unresolved shame of his denial gnawed at him. Jesus understood Peter’s shame and reconstructed the circumstances under which they had first met. The sea, the boat, the long night without fish—all were in place. Jesus called out from the shore and the nets came up overflowing. Peter got the message. Jesus was inviting him for a redo!
Read the rest here.
Happy Monday everyone! I am in the process of moving my site to a new hosting company so there may be a lag in when I can post again. I hope it will be a seamless change but in case it is not, I just wanted to make you aware of what’s going on. Also, it might reappear in a different form or theme until I can get everything straightened out again.
Here’s something to get your week going!
For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore,
for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.
I’m glad I keep notes on things that greatly impact me because I recently found one about this song. The first time I ever heard or sang “Rock of Ages (Jesus is the Rock)” was when we lived in California years ago. The first time we sang this at church, I was greatly moved. The lyrics are simple yet very powerful:
There is no rock
There is no god like our God
No other name worthy of all our praise
The Rock of Salvation that cannot be moved
He’s proven Himself to be faithful and true
There is no rock
There is no God like ours.
Each time I sing this song, the words never fail to make my eyes leak. Imagine being someone who is “faithful and true” and who “cannot be moved”! Of course my eyes leak! Although it is hard to keep singing through the tears, I continued to sing in my heart and mind.
I suspect there are many of us who are very susceptible to our emotions. Some days, in the midst of the storms in our lives, we feel confident that God is holding our hand to guide us through it. On other days, we may despair that He’s even there. Maybe He’s forgotten about us because He has so many of us to look after.
Beloved, God is always with us, no matter what! His love for us is so vast and constant, completely unchanging—unlike our own inconsistent emotions. We have the confidence of knowing this to be true because He tells us over and over again in His Word how much He loves and cares for us. It’s the one thing in this ever-changing world we can always count on!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I can’t number the times I’ve almost given up on You and instead tried to do things in my own strength. But You have this way of reminding me of Your immense love for me, and sometimes a little nudge is from You is all I need to get me back on the right track. Thank you for being my Rock, the One Who will always be there for me, no matter what.
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If for any reason you cannot view this video, please go here for the lyrics.
P.S. Some of you native Californians or those who have lived at or visited California’s central coast will recognize that the top photo is of Morro Rock. Rick and I spent many special times camping in Morro Bay and along that section of the coast.
Crucified, laid behind a stone
You lived to die, rejected and alone
Like a rose, trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
The song “Above All” never fails to make my eyes leak, especially today as I contemplate the suffering and death of Jesus Christ that we commemorate today.
How can we possibly view the agony Jesus went through during all those beatings and His crucifixion—just for us sinners—without being impacted by it? And how can we not be utterly thankful for all that He went through—just for us sinners—and not be thankful beyond words?
Beloved, we should be spending the rest of our earthly lives thanking Jesus for His great sacrifice on our behalf, and looking for ways to share the truth of His mercy and grace with others. Telling people about the Reason for our faith, hope and joy may seem scary but it is not difficult. Simply tell them where you came from and how Jesus transformed your life into where you are today!
If for any reason you are unable to view this video, you can read the lyrics here.
According to Ecclesiastes 7:20, Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.
That is a real problem with only one solution: Jesus Christ. By His death on the cross, He bridged the gap between sinful man and God.
God showed how much he loved us
by sending his one and only Son into the world
so that we might have eternal life through him.
This is real love–not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice
to take away our sins.
—1 John 4:9-10
Jesus Christ chose be the bridge between sinful man (all of us) and God. In accepting the penalty for our sins, Jesus’ death on the cross paved the way for us to be able to live in paradise with Him forever. There is one catch: we each need to ask Jesus Christ into our hearts to be our Savior and Lord of our lives.
It is very easy to ask Jesus Christ into your life:
ADMIT that you are a sinner.
BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you.
CONFESS that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of your life.
You can read more details about this on my A…B…C page.
I watched this video the other day featuring Chris Tomlin singing “At the Cross (love ran red)” and I know it will bless you as much as it did me:
There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies,
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide.
Where all the love I’ve ever found,
Comes like a flood,
Comes flowing down.
In case you cannot view the video for any reason, go here to read the entire lyrics.
The education of our faith is incomplete
if we have not learned that there is a providence of loss,
a ministry of failing and of fading things,
a gift of emptiness.
I’ve been pondering this phrase I read the other day: the gift of emptiness. What contradictory terms! How can emptiness be a gift?
We have all received gifts from family and friends for various occasions. Every so often someone will give us something special just because. Those are my favorite gifts—a card for no reason at all, a special book from a friend who knows my taste in reading, a hug, a fistful of flowers my Rick picked from the side of the road just for me. All of these make me feel special and loved.
My daughter once gave me a purse she hadn’t used in a while. It was the perfect size and color for me (bright pink!) and I loved the feel of the soft patent leather. There was no special reason for this gift; she simply thought I might enjoy using it, and oh, I did I ever! On top of my desk is a sweet teddy bear wearing a dress and pinafore, with a bow and headband around her head. A close friend gave me this gift because she saw it and thought of me.
I was away for a week and before I drove straight home I stopped at the car wash to surprise Rick with the gift of a brightly clean truck. A couple of days later, as a surprise gift to me, he completely cleaned out the inside of the truck. How’s that for mutual gifting?
As special as touchable gifts are, there are some intangible ones that are special too. The one I’m thinking about now happened a few years ago when my son renewed his commitment to the Lord and was baptized. As the tears streamed down my face, I thanked God that He had allowed me to witness this extraordinary event in my son’s life.
Emptiness is defined as an unfilled space; a total lack of ideas, meaning, or substance; a desolate sense of loss. On the other hand, a gift is something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned. How can two such different words occupy the same sentence or thought?
Ecclesiastes 5:7 says “For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.” The fear of God is not that cowering kind of dread but rather a total awe, wonder and reverence for a perfect, holy, righteous and just Creator. When we truly fear God, we bow to His awesome power, complete knowledge, overwhelming faithfulness, and unfailing love and mercy for us.
God is our strength when we feel weak, our fortress when people try to overpower us, and our refuge when we need to pull back from the pressures of life. In fact, God is our ultimate security and protection.
There is nothing He is not able and willing to help us with. No matter how far we may stray from Him, He is always ready to take us back with open arms because His love for us is immeasurable. All of these are intangible gifts from God, gifts we experience from Him but cannot touch or feel with our hands. We know these gifts are from Him because:
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 For we are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Pastor David Strem, in his sermon “Easter: Emptiness that Fulfills,” shares this:
The empty tomb is about the power of God to overcome death…[and] is God’s promise that physical death is not the end. It displays His power over death and satisfies our hope for eternal life. The world is full of empty promises, but God is different. Instead of promises full of emptiness, God gives us emptiness that is full of promise. Emptiness because He poured Himself out for us.¹
Beloved, God’s ultimate gift to us is the reality of that empty tomb where Jesus was after He died for our sins. God bestows many gifts on us because He loves us so much, but His gift of emptiness tops everything else. If Jesus had not conquered death, leaving us that empty tomb, we would not have the reassurance of His coming back for us. It is this reassurance that comforts and upholds me during my worst days because I know without a shadow of doubt that God has my back. His gift of emptiness keeps me from losing heart. How about you?
Earlier this week the Lord called Dad home. He had been struggling with dementia and other health problems for some time. Last fall his health began to go downhill fast.
I cannot travel by air these days because it causes severe migraines, so last year I faced a difficult decision. I wanted to see Dad again but knew what flying would do to me. Reality: should I see Dad while he was still alive or wait and go to his funeral?
I happen to have the greatest sisters in the world. I’ve written about them here before. They know what I go through each day, and all of them encouraged me to see Dad while he was still with us. So I flew to Florida in November to be with Dad and my sisters. It was the most special, yet bittersweet time, and I am ever thankful I got to see him one last time.
I can only imagine the joyful reunion Dad and Mom had in heaven and am looking forward to seeing them there someday.
Beloved, family life is special but there are also times of anger and strife. We’re only human after all. If there is one thing I want to leave you with, it is to choose to forgive and love. Okay, that’s two things, but my point is that life is short. Don’t allow circumstances or disagreements to keep you at odds with or separated from your family.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body
to hardship that I may boast,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
—1 Corinthians 13:1-8a