On The Porch

I’ve noticed that God speaks to me a lot on porches. Anyway…

Yesterday I was standing on our front porch admiring the irises blooming. And they have more blooms this year than I’ve ever seen. Then The Lord reminded me that last year all that dirt was excavated so we could replace the retaining wall. I thought back then that all my bills were goners for sure.

Oh beloved, you and I are so blessed. Just like those bulbs in their places were heaved up and turned under- we too go through upheavals in life. We think we will be ruined for sure. Life will never be beautiful again. It’s so hard to bloom when you’re planed when life is overturned and we find ourselves under heavy burdens.

But God says oh you will bloom again. And your life becomes even a greater display of beauty when you trust the circumstances of life to Him. Oh it can be rough and it can look impossible. But that’s the Lord’s best ground to make your life more showy for Him than ever before.

God loves you and He’s for you. In the comfy, regular, simple times of life when all is undisturbed and in the harsh times of sudden change. Run to Him this morning and rest your heart and plans on Him. Beauty for ashes is your story as you live for Jesus, let God rebuild you and walk in the Spirit no matter what.

Luke 12:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Psalm 31:14-15. But I trust in you, O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God’. My times are in your hands.

Isaiah 35:1 the desert and the parched land will be glad. The wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

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Mushy and Sappy

I still have some of my parents’ cards and letters they wrote one another when my dad worked off shore on drilling rigs. They are mushy and sappy. They have hidden messages in them I’m sure. They talked about their love for one another. They talked about their love for me. I am so thankful that I have those tokens of the love my parents had for one another. Although they were older when they met and married, my dad always told my mother he’d never been loved like she loved him by anyone else. He felt safe in her love. She felt secure in his. Perfection wasn’t there, but love was.

Oh beloved, maybe you are struggling in your marriage. Maybe love seems so far from your mind right now. Maybe you haven’t got a handful of love letters to re-read from your spouse. You could be tired of the situation or you could be married to someone who is tired of their end of it. Marriage isn’t always easy and life isn’t always fair.

But listen, you have love letters from the Almighty. You have an entire book of pure love written just for you. The Lord wants you to know that from before the earth was in orbit His love was real. And before you were a sparkle in your earthly father’s eye or a dot on a screen in the physician’s office – God loved you. He wrote everything in the Word for you. He means what He says about you, for you and on account of you. God is Love. It’s time you get that settled in your heart once and for all. God loves you. Jesus died for you because of His great love. He rose again as a victor so that you can live in victorious love.

Regardless of how you are feeling in the earthly feels about love, you can nourish yourself with this amazing Agape Love. You can drink that Book of love in and let it wash over you. This love will replenish your hardened heart and give you a fresh start. And you can go to the Father any day and every day and ask Him to allow you to give that Agape Love out to your spouse. And to anyone else who needs it. You aren’t bound by another’s poor motivation or inability to love you.

You are betrothed to the King of Kings and you have the passion of Christ within you! You can ask God to return you to your first love and give you new love. Sappy and mushy? Well something about love from God makes you feel the warmth of compassion for others and even for yourself!

God loves you and He’s for you. Always, forever, and death will not even part you. You are loved. So run to the One who loves you this morning and ask Him for a fresh start in the Love department. Ask Him to show you His love and give you His take on love stories. And then live in the Light of His overwhelming, never ending, absolute love for you!

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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Easter Sunday and Gift Packages

Not once in all my childhood did I ever open a package for my birthday or Christmas and find it to be empty. Even as an adult all packages have contained something good. The planning and wrapping that the giver did for me was met with excitement and I could hardly wait to see what was inside!

Then I think about that Sunday morning the women went to the tomb. And they found it empty. And what did they feel? Disappointment? Wonder? Concern? Awe? In their case The Gift was bigger than they had even realized. And for them, an empty package meant a full life.

Oh beloved, the grave is empty. This is your best gift ever. And you get to do life with the Giver of the Gift forever! You may have opened your eyes to thoughts of what’s wrong in your life or just what’s got to be done this morning. But stop a moment and look inside the package again. This is your key, the entire world’s key, to a full and running over Gift. Because He lives, you get to live forever with Him! Because He emptied the tomb, you can shake off your grave clothes with a shout! Because He’s gone from the death that secured your future you can live without reservation, worry, fear, condemnation, or even self.

God wants you to know this morning that this Gift keeps on giving. No more beautiful sight than an Empty Tomb for you! He wants you to know that His appointment to rise again is your opportunity to take the disappointments you encounter and look past them. Empty words, empty promises, empty gifts can all be laid at the Tomb where the Stone was Rolled Away! And you can live in the awe of all of God’s gifts – full Words, Realized Promises and Huge Gifts – all yours to substitute for any life that you feel is less than. You can wake up this morning and look behind the busy-ness of this day and sit at His feet and live by His Spirit and walk in faith through and around all the things you have to do.

God loves you and He’s for you. Proven once and for all at the Tomb. You are His reason. He didn’t just die for your sins. He rose for your new life! Run to Him this morning and let Him speak His love song into your heart and fill you up with Him! And then face this day and every other regular, mundane, troublesome day in the Light of that Stone Rolled Away!

Luke 24:1-3 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Mark 16:9 After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons.

Matthew 28:6 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying!

2 Corinthians 3:6 He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

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NEXT – Five Minute Friday

secondcomingWhat’s NEXT?

For some people it seems that when they are down and out they just get into a funk. They wonder what’s NEXT.  And they anticipate more dread, worse outcomes, failures, flops and troubles.

I’ve been accused of being a Pollyanna.  If you’re not acquainted with the old Disney movie “Pollyanna” then you need to watch it.  It’s a bit overboard in my book (no pun intended). But here’s the definition of pollyanna –  “an excessively or blindly optimistic person.” The occurrence and danger of such attitudes in psychotherapy is discussed.”

Oh Beloved. Today is Good Friday which wasn’t good at all for Jesus. Bad day all the way around. The end to His troubles was met with what’s NEXT – His crucifixion.  Don”t you know His followers felt that way? Peter obviously felt the fear – He denied even knowing Jesus!

God wants you to know today that while being a pollyanna isn’t your calling, to be sure you can be an eternal optimist.  Jesus went to the cross today. But He rose again just three days later.  So  your NEXT is awesome! Your momentary light afflictions are doing something wonderful in your life. And even if your train is a bit off track right now, your destination is secure!

God loves you and He’s for you!  His life is the picture of NEXT !  Your life is too as you walk in faith, give thanks with joy and live in the Light of Resurrection life!

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

I Corinthians 15: 20-22 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

I Thessalonians 5:23 May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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What’s So Good About Good Friday?

Good Friday. Well for some employees it’s good because this is a holiday. For the rest of us, who work on this day it’s good as well because Friday is the end of our work away from home week. We turn our attention to more personal things for a couple of days.
For Jesus it was anything but good. For His followers it was awful – black, somber and silent. They were struck ill by the very thing Jesus had tried to share with them. He was busy being the Only Sin Bearer for the world. Good here meant anything but good. Yet it was all going to work together for the good of those that loved Jesus. It just couldn’t be seen at the time.
Oh beloved, I don’t know what your day looks like. I know mine is full of opportunities to experience great joy and if I let it opportunities to reside in a funk. Life isn’t always good and it isn’t always fair.
But listen beloved, Jesus has taken care of it all. He took the bitter cup so your bitterness isn’t your everyday drink. He took the lashing so that you could be healed. He wore the crown of thorns so you could become more than an everyday, worn out, slave of the world. He walked up the hill carrying your cross so that you could go free. And He died for you to live. And He rose again for you to walk in newness of life.
God wants you to know that all this happened for you. For God so loved (you) that He gave His only Son, so that (you) would not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 isn’t a sweet little Sunday School verse to recite by memory – it’s the power of God for you to live by!
You aren’t bound to the regrets of the past, the sorrows of this season or the emotional baggage that the world says is your right. You are, by divine design, free! In your worst Fridays there is always the Truth of your position in Christ. In your deepest funks there is always Christ lifting you up in prayer. The Savior who prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane is still interceding for you at the Throne of the Father! It’s personal! And even when the world, your pastor, your friends, your co-workers don’t know what you are going through, it is you and Jesus living life together by the power of Holy Spirit who is your Comforter, Provider, and oh so much more!
God loves you and He’s for you. How much more does He have to prove it? How much more do you need to know to release yourself from the bondage that is simply not yours to bear? Your life is not just about surviving until heaven – it’s about thriving in the Power of the Resurrection! Run to the Lord this morning, pour out your heart and ask Him to revive you to believe and receive fresh insight for living. And then walk, dance and sing for joy in the Light of what has been given to you!
Isaiah 28:16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.
Luke 23:33 When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on His right and the other on His left.
Hebrews 13:12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate, to sanctify the people by His own blood.
1 Peter 2:24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. “By His stripes you are healed.”
Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

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