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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Inspired by . . . expectant

For whom do you wait expectantly?

Your kids? Your husband? A long-awaited visit from loved ones?

Growing up I can remember waiting expectantly for the NJ cousins to arrive for Christmas at our farm in VT. I would fly to the window every time I thought I heard a car coming up the drive! Anticipation would build until, finally, their station wagon would pull in! 

Immediately the fear would set in, even as I raced down the stairs and out the door to greet them. Would they still like me? Would the girls still want to play with Barbies? But then they would pile out of the car and we'd grin at each other and the fun would begin!

These intense emotions from my childhood are but a glimmer of what it will be like to meet Jesus. No comparison really but they are all I have. 

Today, when the door opens, who do I expect to see? My husband, of course. Yet my soul longs for Jesus. I anticipate His coming and long for His return.

Do we do this naturally? I don't think so. It's a discipline learned and born within us as we read His word and draw closer into a relationship with Him. The anticipation grows as our love for Him grows.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope."

And then, when He finally does appear, I think I will be struck dumb with fear! If only for a moment. Will He welcome me? Dare I approach HIM?

And then I will run, fly even, into His outstretched arms. Because... to whom shall I go? You, Lord, have the words of eternal life. 

"Surely, I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


Monday, August 5, 2019

Yesterday, I watched a titmouse eating a persimmon fruit. Suddenly the fruit came detached from the branch. Imagine his delight! That is until he tried to fly away! The fruit was much too big for him to carry and eventually he had to let it fall to the ground.

This got me thinking about the fruit and the vine. The obvious analogy is that we need to stay connected to Jesus in order to produce fruit and flourish. 

After watching Mr (or Mrs?) Titmouse I think the further lesson is that we need to hold our blessings, our gifts, the fruit that God gives us in this life, close to the Vine, too.

Too often we receive these things with joy and then forget Who gave them in the first place. We move them into the "this is mine" pile. As you may have discovered, things held too tightly become blackened and bruised.

Allowing God to hold our blessings gives us the freedom to enjoy them with both hands!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The pendulum swings. 

As humans, we tend to rush blindly to one end or the other. This is true with most anything and the Law of God is no exception. We either view God's law as the solution and move far to the legalism side or we view it as the problem and move far to antinomianism (anti-law) side. 

Somewhere in the middle, we find freedom.

But we may have to set aside some negative thought processes to get there.

As our Pastor spoke from Romans and Hebrews this past weekend he reminded us that we are not under the law as a means of justification.

Even as I was agreeing with him in my mind he asked the question, "What is your response when the evil one accuses you?"

I don't know about you, friend, but that one hit me dead center.

Why? Because my response is to fumble around in my box of good deeds as I lamely attempt to point out where I haven't failed. The result? The enemy just laughs and heaps further condemnation because he knows that my good deeds will never be enough. They will enslave me as sure as sin itself.

He knows that good deeds offered year after year never bring the worshipper to perfection. (Heb 10:1)

My response reveals that I am still looking for justification through obedience to God's law. I am looking in the wrong place, beloved!

Our justification, being made righteous before God, is achieved through Christ alone. (Rom 5:9; Rom 5:15: 1Cor 1:30; 2Cor 5:21)

When the enemy accuses, our right response is to point to the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

All our sins, past, present, and future were forgiven at the cross. 

Period! End of story!

Yet the enemy likes to talk and cajole and stir up doubt. That's when we need to shut him down with the truths of scripture. 

We are justified by Christ alone, covered by the power of His blood.
"It follows that there is now no condemnation for those who are united with Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus, the life-giving law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1-2
Let us live in that freedom. A life that rejoices to be commanded by the One whom it loves most. One Who is completely trustworthy and true.