Keep Carrying Them

I think we all have that one prayer – the one that our hearts refuse to give up on. The enemy would love for us to quit asking – perhaps even to grow a little bitter. But I always come back to this.

The man was lame from birth. He’s now over 40 years old. And, daily, someone carried him to the temple gate. Someone physically carried him every day. Until, one day, he encountered Jesus.

👉Sometimes, we’re the lame man. Praying daily – maybe, at first, for healing. Then, perhaps, we begin praying to just get what we need to make it through the day. Maybe we get to the place where the real need – the big need – seems too much to ask for anymore. But Jesus knows what we need even when we’ve grown weary of asking.

👉Sometimes, we are the one helping bear the burden. Someone we love, know, or do life with has a need. We are the ones carrying our loved ones to the Lord daily. Don’t grow weary in doing good for *at the proper time* you will reap a harvest *if you don’t give up* (Galatians 6:9.)

👉And, sometimes, we are Peter. We encounter someone with a grave need. An illness that we can’t heal. Brokenness that we can’t restore. Loss that we can’t make whole. BUT – we offer what we can (Acts 3:6.) We give them Jesus.

One more note from yesterday’s reading. The enemy is all about the shame game. He will try to convince you to hide (think Adam and Eve in the garden.) He will tell you that confession will bring condemnation.

This is why we need to know truth.

Because that is not what God’s Word says at all. Read Acts 3:19-20. Peter tells the people that repentance brings refreshment! It brings release because Christ is about setting people free.

Go be free, my friend.

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The GO Gospel: Because Jesus Never Said to Get Comfortable

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I’ve looked for it in Scripture. Believe me, I have looked. I have searched diligently and, were it there, I feel quite certain I would have found it. But, after decades of studying God’s Word, I have to resign myself to the fact that there is no command to get comfortable and stay put. God’s people are never encouraged to find a safe spot and hunker down. I’ll admit that, sometimes, I really wish that’s how this thing worked.

What I see, instead, is this recurring theme of God calling people out of their comfort zones. Time and time again, disciples left loved ones and livelihood behind. In chapter eleven, the author of Hebrews lists many Old Testament heroes of faith and describes them as strangers, exiles, and wanderers (Hebrews 11:13,38.) That doesn’t sound very comfortable to a homebody like me. Then, we have the command to New Testament believers to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus. Do you know what crosses are not? Comfortable.

It turns out that my obsession with my own comfort is in direct conflict with the whole gist of the gospel which assumes we will be a people who go. To our neighbors. To our family. To strangers. To unfamiliar territory. Back home. From Abram all the way to the confused disciples in the upper room – the command stayed the same. “Go.” When it doesn’t make sense to you – go. When others mock you – go. When you’re afraid – go. We do this to follow Jesus who knew a little something about going, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

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When I was ten, we moved from my childhood home in Ohio to South Carolina. Then, as a teenager, I moved from South Carolina to East Tennessee. Then, as an adult, to middle Tennessee. Then, to Alabama. Then, back to Tennessee. Then, to Kentucky. Then, somewhere else in Kentucky. Just typing that out exhausts me and stirs up a little anxiety.

Somewhere, in the midst of all the moves, I began to desperately desire roots. I wanted to plant myself permanently in one place. To get comfy and cozy and have a forever home. I envied people who had lifelong friends with inside jokes and weekly coffee dates. Who finished each other’s sentences and quoted lines from movies they had apparently watched countless times – together, of course. I even envied those who talked about back home as if, though they weren’t presently there, there was at least a place they knew of as home.

Along the way, slowly and subtly, something sinister began to sneak into my heart. I began to idolize this idea of “home” that I had created in my mind. The line between God’s call and my comfort became blurred. My flesh earnestly longed to belong somewhere. To have a place. To have people. Just as surely as the children of Israel fashioned themselves a golden calf, I had created an idol for myself that I began to desire more than God. (That was hard to admit.)

I’ve always said that Satan is crafty, but he isn’t creative. He’s been using the same bag of tricks forever. And do you know why? Because, so often, they work. Just like Eve in the garden, the enemy began trying to convince me that God was withholding something good from me. How could something that I desired so greatly not be good for me? I was Eve staring at that one tree thinking, “It sure looks good from where I’m standing.” Somewhere, in my heart, I decided to do whatever it took to stay put.

to be continued…

Don’t Sit in Shame. Go in Grace.

We act surprised every time a prominent leader is found to have failed financially or morally. We gasp and clutch our pearls as if it’s never happened before. But, as Solomon taught us, there is nothing new under the sun.

Today’s #f260 reading is painful to read and, yet, encouraging at the same time. We have a group of men who were Jesus’ inner circle. His confidants.

They were, in Matthew 26:35, all completely devoted to Jesus.

Then, in verse 56, they all deserted and denied Jesus.

When things became uncomfortable, they fled. They fell. They failed.

Do you know what Jesus did? He died for them. He conquered death for them. He mocked the grave for them. And, then, he came to them.

I love Mark 16:14-15. Jesus entered the room where these men sat- the ones who had promised devotion but provided betrayal – and he sent them on mission.

Their failings did not render them useless. Jesus did not leave them sitting in shame in the upper room. He extended grace, mercy and forgiveness to them and gave them purpose and work to do.

Whatever your past failings – there is no condemnation for those in Christ. He still has fruitful labor for you to do.

Don’t sit in shame; go in grace.

#f260biblereadingplan #mysisterskeeper #bible #biblestudy #forgiveness #grace #dailybibleverse #wordbeforeworld

Step by Step

Every time I say, “yes,” to God – I feel one step closer to the finish line.

Every act of obedience that didn’t come easy. Every time I trusted when I could have turned back. Every time I chose grace over a grudge. Every time I’ve overlooked an offense.

Step. Step. Step.

Paul described the life of faith as a race. And that makes sense to me. I ran a marathon last year – okay, fine, it was a 5k. But it was New Year’s Day and 10 degrees so it felt like a marathon.

At the beginning of the race, I was so concerned with looking like I was a “runner.” Like it came easy. Like I did this running thing all the time. I was overly interested in every person (and there were many) who passed me.

But, by the end, I just wanted to finish well. I didn’t want to quit what I had started. I wasn’t trying to beat anyone else. I wasn’t judging the ones I passed. All I wanted to do was run the race set before “me,” as Scripture says.

When I crossed the finish line, I literally collapsed on the ground exhausted. But my husband helped me to my feet with the biggest smile and said, “You did it! I’m so proud of you!” And, you know what, I felt wonderful.

There will be some painful moments. Instances where you literally fall face down. Times when you don’t feel like another breath is possible. Just keep moving. One more yes. One more act of obedience. Step. Step. Step.

Because I promise you, when you get to heaven and Jesus smiles at you and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It will feel wonderful.

#jesuslovesyou #runtherace #bible #mysisterskeeper #god #faith #faithrace

How to Endure to the End

In today’s #f260 reading, Jesus describes how we should respond at the end of the age.

👉Do not be led astray (Matthew 24:4.)

👉Do not be alarmed (Matthew 24:6.)

This tells me that Satan will be pulling from his same, old, boring bag of tricks. Distraction and fear are always the enemy’s game.

And do you know why he keeps using the same tactics? Because they work! Look what Jesus says.

👉Many will be led astray (vs 5.)

👉Many will fall away, betray one another and hate one another (vs 10.)

👉Many will be led astray (vs 11.)

👉The love of many will grow cold (vs 12.)

The enemy’s tricks will work on – not a couple or a few or some – but MANY. How can we endure to the end (vs 13?)

👉We refuse to be led astray. We choose devotion over distractions.

👉We refuse to be alarmed. We choose faith over fear. We do not fear what others fear (Isaiah 8:12.)

#f260biblereadingplan #wordbeforeworld #readyourbible #dailybibleverse #dailybible #dailybiblereading #mysisterskeeper