This is the Day

“It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God, but we have not. We have to be the exception in the ordinary.” Oswald Chambers

I was on a walk while the sun was just above the horizon. As I got to the top of a hill, I took in the exceptional evening beauty.

Yet, the sun was long gone while I was still a half mile from home walking through land being graded for new homes. I took out my phone and turned on the light.

As long as I kept the light at my feet, I could see the tire tracks that would lead me to the street by my house. If I looked up, I started straying from the track into hard packed uneven dirt. Not good. Ankles don’t handle that kind of surface well.

I quickly got back to focusing on my feet and the tire track, which eventually led me safely to the street.

I missed last week’s blog, for which I apologize, because I delved into territory that didn’t belong to me, tomorrow. It belongs to Jesus alone. Ever wonder why Scripture says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” instead of “Tomorrow is the day…”?

Jesus has tomorrow in His hands, leave it there. Yes, planning and goal setting are necessary. If you don’t walk with Jesus while executing that plan, however, what good is it in the end? Zip. Time wasted.

Jesus cares that we walk exceptionally with Him in the moment, not that we have exceptional plans. Today you can make choices to walk with Jesus, even in the ordinary things of life (1 Cor. 10:31).

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“God speaks in the silence of the heart.” Mother Teresa

I think most of us are afraid of silence. We’re afraid we might hear something we don’t want to surface. And/or, we’re afraid we might hear God ask of us something we don’t want to answer.

The shofar illustrates this truth of silence. “The shofar is the most basic and primal of musical instruments. The sound of the shofar is essentially the person’s breath channeled through an organic amplifier. While concentrating on the sound of the shofar, the person creates an inner silence that allows them a deeper level of introspection, a chance to hear their own personal and God’s still small voice” both in the midst of sound.

Our breath, not our words, create the sounds of the shofar. Our breath brings the shofar alive.

Have you ever been silent enough to hear yourself breathe? At the most basic level, it lets you know you’re alive.

Alive, though, goes beyond just breathing. It’s about living with an eternal purpose that only God can give, which makes you feel alive – not matter your age or health status.

Don’t be so busy doing that can’t hear to be, which is actually what the doing is all about.

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Jesus, not our failures, defines us.

I know this is the same picture as last week. It’s not a mistake.

This past Sunday I taught about Mary Magdalene. Twelve times Scripture describes her as Mary from the town of Magdala or Magdalene. Only once is her past added to this description in that she had seven demons cast from her.

Neither she nor God focused on or defined her by her past. She was now walking with Jesus, the One who had freed and changed her life.

I used this picture to illustrate this truth. I said the boat was coming out of the storm. It was in the past. And what happened in the past stays in the past as Jesus took care of our all past choices on the cross when He said, “It is finished!”

He defines us, not our failures. Sounds great, right? Yet, I was wrong…about the picture!

After the message, two sailors in the congregation corrected me. Having owned a sailboat myself, all I had to do was take a closer look at the boat. The jib (smaller sail) was in front or to the left of the picture; and, the rudder was in the back or to the right of the picture, meaning the boat is actually sailing into the storm, not away from it!

I became the illustration! After this revelation, I had to tell myself, “I sure blew that one;” and then, “It is finished.”

Know what, though? The story works either way the boat is headed. Whether it’s stormy or calm weather, all that counts is going forward with Jesus today, in the moment.

Life will not always be smooth sailing. Mistakes will be made – whether intentional or not. Yet, Jesus has forgiven those mistakes, so I can walk with Him by faith now.

Stay focused on the truth that your past mistakes are finished, whether it was years, months, days or minutes ago, so you can make faith choices in the moment to walk with Jesus, the forgiver and redeemer of our past.

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Looking Forward to a New Beginning

Live the do-over!

This past weekend, was the biblical Feast of Trumpets or what Judaism calls, Rosh Hashanah. Voices shout and trumpets blast on the first day of the seventh month (Lev. 23:23-25).

The number seven is the number of completion; thus, on the first day when something is completed, something new begins. It’s the ultimate reset to learn from and leave the past in the past in order to let God change you in the future – a new beginning.

Jesus gives us the ultimate reset…every single day. On the cross He said, “It is finished.” Paul’s commentary on this is that Jesus died once for all (Romans 6:10).

Jesus’ one sacrifice was enough. Let that sink in. Despite ourselves, we are at peace with the Father today because of Jesus. Yesterday is forgiven.

When the past creeps up, shout out, “It is finished!” Hit the reset button in your head and blast away with thanksgiving that you can experience a new beginning.

Then go live a God provided do-over by loving Him through making better choices to follow Him today.

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Peace on the Path

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

They could have known when the Messiah/Christ would come riding on a donkey into Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Luke 19:28-42), when He would be killed (Daniel 9:26; Isaiah 53:8) and that He would die with criminals (Isaiah 53:9).

All they had to do was read their Scriptures.

We can know the events leading up to our Messiah’s/Christ’s return. For example, the technology where someone can’t “buy or sell” without following the party line and the will to use it is here (Revelation 13:17). Just ask the Canadian truckers and the person behind the WikiLeaks who couldn’t access their funds even though they were never convicted of a crime in a court of law!

All we have to do is read our Scriptures.

It’s not politics. It’s not government. It’s not the environment. It’s not inflation. It’s not the anti-God value system being taught in our public schools and higher forms of education.

Jesus has spoken about all of these in the Scriptures. He did this for a few of reasons. One, so we are not caught off guard by these events. And two, so our trust in them will deepen.

If God can write about tomorrow with such accuracy, we can certainly trust Him with our choices today.

My friend, now is the time to be in and to know the Word of God experientially. Do this to increase your love for Jesus with each choice, which only increases your peace no matter what comes next on the world’s historical timeline.

We might not be able to change the course of history; but, we can change the world one life at a time. It starts with yours. Be in and walk with the Word of God, Jesus. Others need your experiences with Jesus to help change their lives as well.

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