Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Walking on Water

"So Peter got out of the boat and walked on water and came to Jesus." - Matthew 14.29

Yesterday I got word that I will have some unexpected additional monthly expenses. Unexpected = unbudgeted. Hmmm. My first thought was, "How will these additional expenses be paid?" My second thought was, "LORD, you know my situation. You know everything about me. So, you already know how these things will be paid. You know from where the funds will come. You have provided for me over these past two years of being without full-time employment and I know you will provide for me as I enter into the third. So, I'm giving these over to you." 

After I said that ... OK, it was more than a thought, I actually said it out loud ... after I said that I began to remember all the ways God has provided for me over these two years. And, as I remembered thankfulness began to well up and over in my heart. God provides. God is with me. 

This morning I read this in Jesus Calling 
"I want you to be all mine. I am weaning you from other dependencies. Your security rests in Me alone - not in other people, not in circumstances. Depending only on Me may feel like walking on a tightrope, but there is a safety net underneath: the everlasting arms." 

How like God to give such an immediate encouragement for my situation. As I read that the story of Peter walking on water came to mind. So, I flipped open my Bible and because I couldn't remember the exact passage, I did a quick Google search, which wanted to take me to Luke. OK, I'll go to Luke. But, then the first result came up Matthew. That's funny. I choose Luke and it gives me Matthew.

I turned back to my Bible and ... you guessed it ... it was open to Matthew AND there before my eyes was the story of Peter walking on water! I laughed out loud! God wants me to know that He's got it all under control. And, even if I sink ... I will have walked on water! AND, even if I sink ... He will be there to catch me. I will have come to Jesus.

Taking the risk to get out of the boat and walk on water is worth it. For me, it's trusting God with my finances and my work situation and ... well, I won't bore you. For you, it may be something similar or it may be a relationship or an addiction or homework or work itself or ... whatever! The truth is that God provides. God is with you. God will catch you in Jesus' loving arms. And, as you trust Him, He will make you laugh!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Epiphany Blessing

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Eve of Epiphany

Tonight is a night for a party! Well, tonight or tomorrow night. Like Christmas when we celebrate the Light of Christ, Jesus, come to dwell among us, tonight we wait and watch and remember that on Epiphany the Light of Christ, Jesus is revealed to the Gentiles.

One of my favorite paintings is Tissot's Journey of the Magi. He paints a caravan of wise men, learned men, fitted out for the long journey to seek the child who would be born King of the Jews. Magi, the plural of the Latin word magus, studied all disciplines and within them were the Hebrew Scriptures and Astronomy. How did the Hebrew Scriptures, God's Word make its way to Babylon? Hmmm. I think, Daniel!

Israel was conquered by Babylon around 600BC and carried away the best and brightest young men. Daniel was one of them. It could be that those best and brightest passed along their knowledge of the One True God, their hope of His coming as Messiah and King, their faith in the sure promise of God's Holy Word. And, for 600 years magi, wise men, studied the Scriptures and watched the sky ... and discovering the revelation that "the heavens declare the glory of God" and that "nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising"!

Tonight, we remember that the heavens indeed declare the glory of God's Light revealed to the nations ... to the Gentiles, to those not of Jewish lineage. Tonight, we remember that a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope. In His Name ... we hope.

This presentation by Rick Larson is worth your time. In it God's plan set before the foundation of the world is revealed; in it is Hope in His Name! Happy Epiphany!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Holiday Press

"And there appeared to him an angel from heaven strengthening him." Luke 22.43
The Last Night of Jesus by Stefan Kuhn
This morning we read about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane ... in the olive press, in the press of prayer to His Father to remove the cup of sacrifice. Then, Jesus says, "Nevertheless, not my will but yours, be done."

Holidays can be such a press of sacrifice for us. Oh, nothing like Jesus' sacrifice ... of humbling himself and becoming human, born in the messiness of childbirth ... or of humbling himself and giving his life, dying in the messiness of crucifixion. But, the press of the holidays can be a place where we learn ... even a little ... about humbling ourselves in the messiness of life. The press of the holidays can be our opportunity to experience and practice "His divine power [which] has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him - Jesus! - who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature..." 
(2 Peter 1.3-4a)

I don't know about you, but that is astonishing to me ... simply astonishing that I may become a partaker of the divine nature. Me ... in all my brokenness and frailty and failure? Yes, even me. Even you. Because of Jesus himself, His divine power, which has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.

The Father sent an angel from heaven to strengthen Jesus in his press. Jesus sends himself, his divine power to help us in ours. In Him we have faith. And, because of that faith we practice virtue ... like Him. And, that virtue gives us deeper knowledge ... of Him. And, that knowledge enables us to have greater self-control ... like Him. And, self-control grows a steadfastness within us ... like Him. And that steadfastness increases godliness ... like Him. And, godliness nurtures brotherly affection ... in Him. And, brotherly affection blooms into love ... as Jesus loves. The divine nature growing in us ... in Him.

Is this easy? I think not. After all it's in a press that we learn these things. So, during the holiday press, we can choose to grow like a green olive tree ... like those in the garden ... as we look to and ask our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ to send to us divine power to trust in the steadfast love of God and wait upon his name ... to be like Him. When we do this we say with Jesus, "Nevertheless, not my will but yours, be done" in me and through me.

Please do let me know if an angel appears.