Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Road to Your Heart

Over the past 10 years the land behind us has been vacant.  We have thoroughly enjoyed the extra space and every Labor Day weekend we can sit on our deck and enjoy the fireworks display put on by our town.  Over the past year, our view of those fireworks is in jeopardy.  Buildings are going up with several already done.   We can still see the fireworks, but each time a new building goes up, the view decreases.  It is very likely that by the end of this year, we will no longer be able to sit on the deck and enjoy these fireworks.

John the Baptist talking to the religious people of the time says, "I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, clear the way for the Lord's coming!"

Just like those buildings blocking our view, there are so many things in our lives that compete with knowing the Lord.  Things that so easily block our view of Him.  He gives us the open invitation to come as we are and assures us that He will meet us there.  So what is in the way?  In John chapter one the religious leader are critical of John and question him.  We know God loves the religious stubborn leaders as much as everyone else, yet there was something in the way in their hearts.  As we read through the gospels, we see that something kept the religious people of the time from receiving the gift that Jesus offered to them.  John asked them to clear the way. Clear the way for Jesus. Clear the way to their heart - to put aside their expectations, pride, traditions, idols and clear their hearts for the real gift that God had to offer.  This is the gift that will satisfy completely now and through eternity no matter what this life holds.

Isaiah 40:3-5
Listen! It's the voice of someone shouting, "Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!
Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all people will see it together.

During this Lent season, many of us will choose things to give up.  Maybe it is red meat, or chocolate, or TV.  Whatever we choose or don't choose, let's make it a point to clear the path to receive all that Jesus brings to us. Lets make the way to see His glory!  He came to bring us hope. We simply say, "Yes Lord Jesus, I believe that you did all of this for me.  I know that I myself am not enough, but what you did for me makes me enough.  You covered me with your sacrifice on the cross, so that I may be your child.  Help me to follow you with all my heart and clear away those things that are holding me back."

As we prepare to celebrate Easter, clear the way, the clutter, the busyness, the fear, the expectations and let us simply come with an open heart.  He is always more than enough.  As Ephesians 3:19 says - "May we experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then we will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God".  This is the promise and hope we have in Christ!  Fullness of life.

Dear Lord Jesus help us to receive everything you offer to us.  Help us to clear the way and follow you.  Thank you for being the greatest gift!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Word of God Made Man

One of my favorite passages is John 1.  The picture of who Jesus is and what He is for me is so real in these verses.  As I was pondering these verses, I wrote the following and my daughter drew the picture.  May you be encouraged to
day with the hope, light, and peace that comes for our precious Savior...

Imagine yourself walking through the darkest place you have ever been.  Are you afraid?  You cannot see what is in front of you or what is behind you.  Will you trip and hurt yourself if you take a step forward?  Is someone there waiting to hurt you?  You are afraid to move because you do not know what is coming and there is no one to guide you or show you the way.   You remember the closet light or the night light that would give you a little hope as a child, a little direction, a little peace to show you the way.  There were those darkest nights that were so scary, that even getting out of bed was is too scary.  Instead just laying there paralyzed in fear, you grasp for hope, hoping that something or someone will take away the fear and give you the strength to take the next step.

In the beginning the Word already existed.  The Word gave life to everything that was created and his life brought light to everyone.

Light to everyone.  Oh how we long for that light.  We were made to want that light.  Because light brings life! (John 8:12)

You lay in bed paralyzed by fear and darkness, unable to take a step, but then the Word brings you light, takes your hand, and shines in the darkness.  You lay grasping for hope, and then hope meets you right in the midst of that darkness.  A hand takes yours and you feel yourself filling with strength, with hope, with peace. (Psalm 18:1-3).  The light begins to shine and it is so bright that it’s hard to worry about all that is around you, because you know that the light will be with you and take care of the circumstances around you.  The light fills you with life, with peace, with hope.  This is the light of the Word that existed in the beginning and never changes. (Hebrews 13:8)  This is the light of the one who loves you and says to you, “Come and be my child and I will guide you, You have no need for fear, for my love for you conquers all your fears” (1 John 4:18).  This is Jesus, the light in the darkness, the hope and peace we have.

But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, he gave the right to become children of God.

As a good father lovingly protects, guides, and shows the way, so even more Jesus loves you better then the best father in the world.  He came and made his home among us to be with us.  He is Emmanuel which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14).  He has come so that you may have abundant life, extraordinary, adventurous, satisfying life even in the midst of the hardest circumstances (John 10:10).  He wants to give you every good blessing and provide you with everything you need (Philippians 4:19).

Finding your way out of darkness, simply means, saying yes to the God who loves you more than the birds of the sky; saying yes to the one who moved heaven and earth to come and be with you and make you His child; saying yes to the one who holds in His hands an inheritance beyond our greatest imagination.  Let the light shine in the darkness.  Let Him wrap you in His love and light and let it bring you life today in the midst of your circumstances.