Grace Realized

Be thankful for you’ve been given.
This is a partially excavated section of the Siloam pool. It is where the blind man, who received Jesus’ spit made mud, went to receive his sight.
As Israel doesn’t own the property to the left, only some of the steps leading to the pool and none of the pool itself have been unearthed.
Notice, though, the pomegranate tree growing from the non-excavated side. In its season, new fruit will be cultivated.
Despite the dirt in our lives, He brings forth fruit. He doesn’t have to, but He does. Grace realized.
He sees the pool, the masterpiece of Jesus’ image, underneath the non-excavated side of our lives. He is waiting patiently to excavate more dirt until we surrender. This too is grace realized.
He knows where you have been. Thank Him for His grace. He has changed your life, which gives you hope for today and tomorrow. Thank Him for His grace. And thank Him for His willingness to wait on you to surrender. He doesn’t have to, but does, which is grace realized.
We deserve or are owed nothing. The fact we get to experience His love through grace…well, it should cause us to be extremely thankful.

Believe Who You Are

It’s true. Believe it!
Pictured is believed to be the mountain where Satan wanted to see whether or not Jesus knew who He was; and then, would He act consistently with that understanding.
Matthew used a word for “tempted” in 4:1 that means to test a metal, say gold, to see whether or not it really was gold and then what percentage within it was gold.
Twice Satan said, “If you are the Son of God” (4:3,6). Jesus was being tested. Are you God (gold)? And, if so prove it (100% or something less).
In both cases, Jesus never directly answered the “if” question. He knew who He was and didn’t need to prove it by either making bread appear or jumping off a cliff.
Jesus was comfortable in the skin God gave Him and was secure in who He was, the Son of God. And because of this, He walked in victory.
A day of testing is coming! And you will pass it through knowing and believing who you are, a secure child of God, with nothing to prove and no one to please, except the Father, which is exactly what Jesus did by following the Spirit.

The Reality of Walking with Jesus

This is a pathway to the beach in Ashdod, Israel. It was a cold and super windy day, which made walking quite interesting. The wind blew so much sand on the path that I had to meander down to the water; and at times, I even had to lean into the wind to keep going.

Yet, I enjoyed every minute of it. The sights and sounds of the waves were quite relaxing.

This pictures the reality of following Jesus. Our daily walks with Him can be on firm ground, which allows us to walk further with less effort/faith.

While on other stretches, we’ll face resistance that requires increased energy/faith and alertness to navigate life’s choices to keep in step with Him.

This is the point of Psalm 23:3. The “paths of righteousness” are more like “circles of righteousness”. As we follow Jesus, despite our ups and downs, fears/failures/challenges, we will still end up righteous. Why? His name is on the line.

If you are on the down side of the cycle; don’t fret. Keep following Jesus. If you are on the upside of the cycle; enjoy the sites and sounds. Keep following Jesus.

In either case, He IS walking with you to make sure you get through the cycle righteous.

It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over

“You can never relive a moment. You can’t relive an opportunity. But you can be ready for the next adventure.”
Caleb was a slave in Egypt for 40 years. We know nothing about him until he shows up as one of twelve Israeli leaders.
He was an exceptional leader, too. He literally saw what God did to get Israel out of Egypt; and then believed God could do it again with the Canaanites, despite some of them being literal giants.
Because 10 leaders didn’t believe, he had to wait forty years to get his shot at those giants. He had to wonder, “When is it going to be my turn?”
Slow down big guy, it would be another five years of warfare before he finally got his chance. Yet, now he was 85 years-old!
Caleb couldn’t go back in time to get the 10 men to agree with him. He couldn’t relive that moment of decision. But he was ready when the opportunity finally came. And he took it too!
Life has a nasty habit of moving on – with our without you. Don’t look back. Keep looking forward to the territory God has for you take…now.
Life on this planet is not about ease and comfort. We have a real enemy who wants to defeat, discourage and destroy us. Don’t let him!
Keep looking to Jesus and take the territory He has for you now!

Climb Higher to See

“They shall mount up with wings like eagles.”
Pictured is Eagle’s Point that my hiking Go Group (doing what I already do with those who need Jesus) recently came across.
If you look closely, you can see what appears to be tiny sticks protruding from its beak. They are not sticks, however.
From our perspective much lower on the trail, they looked like sticks. But from our perspective on the point, we clearly saw people relaxing before they continued their hike.
Perspective. Life at times can be all about perspective.
A former student wrote, “A lot of people I know are going through a huge rough patch in their life. All I can say is LOOK!! Look at how far you’ve come. I know you’re not done. Pick up the pieces and paint the new picture. I know for a fact you’ve got more than one waiting for the new masterpiece.”
Looking at life from our perspective, which often is in the midst of the hike, can get pretty discouraging. We feel inept because we fall. We feel worthless because we don’t see the results we think we should. We get tired because it seems we’ve been walking forever.
It’s the like, though, the old adage says, “You can’t see the forest through the trees.” Your perspective is only trees after endless trees.
From Jesus’ perspective, it’s a forest, the finished masterpiece, as well as the trees. Even the dead ones that need to be cut down.
As you keep climbing higher and higher, the more you will see what God has done in and through the life He gave you.
Keep climbing. You’ll soon be encouraged by the forest you see.