Crossroads. Waiting. Questioning. Searching. Longing for truth. Longing for direction. Seeking purpose. I know so many people (including myself) who can relate to one or all of these descriptions. We long to see God’s direction. We long to be filled with His Holy Spirit. Yet, it’s so easy to give up, to become discouraged, and to let our circumstances and the world around us become greater and bigger than the promises of God.
God has promised to give us what we are asking for, but we mustn’t stop asking. He has promised to help us find what we are seeking, but we can’t give up the search. He has promised to open the doors of Heaven to us, but we can’t stop knocking as if no one is home. We must believe His promise. We must cling to His truth. We must trust His words and never give up.
Stress and anxiety are at an all time high in our nation. So many of us feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to relate to the world around us. So much is changing so fast and we have more information thrown at us than we can possibly process. Yet amidst all this, God commands us not to worry.
He doesn’t just leave us there though. He stoops down and shows us the way. At first glance His solution is simple, but when we dig a little deeper, we find it is radical. We must first seek after Heaven. We must first seek after righteousness – Christ’s righteousness.
What would our lives look like if we really did that? What if seeking Jesus first with all of our hearts, what if reaching for Heaven became the most important thing in our lives? What would things look like? How would they change? It’s ironic because this way of living requires total and complete surrender and trust. It’s enough to cause a bit of anxiety on its own.
Yet, if God cannot keep His promise here, then all else is in vain. He is faithful and He is true. My prayer today is that He can shift my eyes toward Heaven, that I may learn to trust and depend on Him more each day.
The sermon on the mount. I could easily take a month just to study the precious gems contained in this first public speech given by Jesus. But as I was reading today, one thing really stood out to me.
Growing up I always thought this passage, this chapter really, was a call to perfection. That anything less was not acceptable. Yet, what l see now is an urging, a push, the realization that we need a Savior.
I always felt great pressure in the call to let my light shine. If I messed up, or fell short, I would be misrepresenting Christ and my fear was that this misrepresentation would actually turn people away from God. I felt I had to be perfect.
The reality is that we are sinful. Only God is perfect. We must allow God into our hearts, our lives, and He CAN change us. But the focus with this kind of thinking is still on self. We must ever be looking to Christ. He is big enough. He is strong enough. He is bright enough to shine through all of our imperfections, all of our shortcomings and failures. He is bright enough to eclipse my imperfections. He is strong enough to work change in me.
But, the biggest thing I’m realizing today is that it’s not about me. It’s about Him. It’s about surrender. It’s about the amazing things He can do, will do and is doing in me, and it’s about not being afraid to share that with others.
Jesus’ ministry had begun. His time was here, yet it was clear from the beginning that Jesus’s work, His reign, His deliverance would not be what everyone expected.
His ministry began with Him being baptized rather than baptizing. He spent forty days of fasting and temptation and was then tended by heavenly armies, not earthly ones. He gathered a band of fishermen, sinners and unknowns to be his closest network. Where were the big names and people of great influence? Jesus did not begin gathering an army and organizing a force of renegades determined to bring change and freedom. Rather, He began loosing people’s chains of sickness, freeing them from the chains of their own bodies. With His love and words, He soothed the soul and mended broken hearts.
The people had prayed for a savior, a liberator. God heard their cries. He sent His very own Son to bring the freedom, yet because their pleas were not answered in the way they expected, so many were confused and missed the blessings. How often does God answer our prayers in unexpected ways, but due to our myopia, we fail to see His work in our lives.
My prayer is that God may open my eyes today that I may see His work around me – that His ministry may not go on unnoticed. I pray that He will shift my focus from seeking physical liberation to seeking His wonderful liberation of my soul.
When we think about Jesus’ birth, it is not uncommon for us to recognize that He was born in a stable, His bed a manger. However, what we fail to realize is that even as a very young child – a babe learning to walk and talk, He was already hated and despised. His family moved from Bethlehem to Egypt to protect His life. When they were able to leave Egypt, His family did not settle in Judah as they would have liked. It was too dangerous. Rather, they settled in the small city of Nazareth.
Such a rough start. It would be easy to become discouraged, to live in fear, to hide away and recoil. But Jesus and His family did not live in fear. The lived in faith. They knew that these trials were no surprise to their Heavenly Father. They knew He would prepare a way, so they trusted. They trusted and listened. In his twenties Jesus must have had moments of fear and doubt as He knew revealing who He was would cost His life, yet He was getting older and His purpose was not yet fulfilled. Still He waited. Still He trusted. And His faith grew.
What an example. What a thought. No matter what trials we face, even when we feel the whole world is against us, we have a Savior who understands. When we reach that point in our lives where we feel as though we should have done so much, but it seems we’ve done so little, we can rest in the strength and hope and trust in Jesus.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Genealogies. I have to admit, as I read through the Bible I often skip the long lists of names and move on. But this time, I was struck by the beauty of the list. Of course there are names that everyone has heard of like David and Abraham – people who were fully devoted to God and who served him with their whole hearts.
There are also names of people we know virtually nothing about, people who seemed to be only a whisper in time.
There are people like Amon and Ahaz who did evil in the sight of the Lord. Yet they have not been forgotten. Their names remain in the genealogy as participants in the coming of the Messiah.
There are poor, rich, royal, wicked, unfaithful, unwavering, strong, converted, and the list goes on.
This record tells me so much about the God we serve. He has amazing plans, and He truly loves and longs to use us all for great things. It doesn’t mater where we come from or what we have going for us. It also shows me that He loves us so much that He refuses to force us into obedience regardless of the great work He has in mind for us.
Wow – what an awesome God we serve; a God who would use a scattered lineage to bring us the greatest gift of all – Jesus. 💝