Spring has arrived! I can see the evidence all over my front yard. No, not green grass, robins or tulips, I’m talking about the scooters, bikes, footballs, and baseball gloves. That is a sure sign around here that the weather is improving (despite the recent snow).
Spring is always an exciting time of year. It’s as if God allowed much of his creation to rest for the season of winter and now slowly coaxes it all back to life right before our eyes. It is a time full of happy anticipation as we watch the earth awaken to colorful beauty once again.
As a mother, we live our lives in anticipation. We eagerly wait nine months for the arrival of a baby, and when they are finally placed in our arms we are responsible for anticipating all of their needs. As they grow we continue to prepare and plan ahead for what they will need to be nourished and well cared for. We anticipate their excitement at birthdays and holidays and we anticipate their need for comfort and love when they are hurt or disappointed. You could say it is a part of our job description.
It is also in the job description of being a follower of Christ. We are called to live lives of anticipation. It may be better phrased that we are allowed to live lives of anticipation. Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse for many people for good reason; it gives us great hope. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
When we have surrendered our lives to Christ and understand that God has full authority and control over everything that happens to us (full sovereignty), we have great freedom. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Catch that? If you love God, ALL things work together for GOOD.
Once again: God is in control, God has your best interests in mind, he intends everything for your good, and it is all done ultimately for his purpose, his glory.
What will God do in your life? I don’t have that answer, but God does. He wrote your story long ago and it ends very well (if your heart belongs to him). You get to live in anticipation of what is in store for your future. This doesn’t mean that life will be roses, God’s Word does not promise that. Only that what happens is for your benefit and will magnify God in your life. As it says in Psalms 112, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”
We also get to anticipate meeting our Savior face to face one day. Whether this life ends and we join him in paradise or he returns to us before then. We get to live in great excitement of this glorious event occurring in our futures! What an amazing thing to look forward to. Everything we do, say, read and think should be in preparation for that exact moment.
“It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’” – Isaiah 25:9
I have a smile on my face just typing about seeing Jesus someday! How about you? Are you excitedly anticipating the return of your Savior? If so, continue to rejoice, for that day is on the horizon. Be ready (see Luke 12:35-40)! If this is not something you feel excitement for, time for a serious heart check. Do not delay another second; seek Jesus now. Allow him to bring spring to your heart, regenerating life where before there was death. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26
I enCOURAGE you to let the signs of springtime remind you to live in excited anticipation of what God desires to unfold in your heart and life and ultimately of Jesus’ glorious return to gather his beloved to himself!
Ladies, please let me know if you have ever experienced one of these days (if you haven’t just keep quiet). I sat down at the computer to write a blog but forgot my Bible. As I went to grab it I saw cleaning supplies left out and remembered that I had started to clean the bathroom but only got halfway done. I better get that done, but I should shower first. After I showered I remembered I needed to switch the clothes in the washer to the dryer. I get to the laundry room and realize I never started the washer because it wasn’t a full load yet. So I went to the boys’ room to get dirty cloths and see that I still needed to hang up the clean clothes I left there earlier. After finishing, I remembered I really had to get that blog done. So I sat down at the computer but forgot my Bible. As I went to grab it I saw cleaning supplies left out and remembered that I had started to clean the… wait a minute…
So here I sit, feeling like I have been running crazy today and I still have only a half clean bathroom (which may be better than a half dirty bathroom depending on how you see things), a washer full of dirty clothes and a blog still needing done.
Some days I wonder… is this how it starts? That slow decline of brain functioning they talk about on the radio? Where is that Sudoku book I had around here? When is the last time I did a crossword puzzle? OR… has all my Diet Pepsi drinking finally caught up to me? Did the aspartame turn my brain to Swiss cheese like Tristan Miles always told me it would?
Its scatter brained days like this that keep me truly thankful that I have a Heavenly Father that has everything under control. He never forgets to feed the sparrows, stock the snow reserves or cue the sun for its rising. Nothing is beyond his capabilities or grasp. God always accomplishes what he sets out to do each and every day. There is nothing left at the end of his “to do list” ever.
I praise God that he is forever perfect and his goodness never ends. God never changes. What comfort I take in that! He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). There is no need for God to change, you can’t improve on perfection. You can never add to or take away from it; otherwise it would not have been perfect in the first place.
The word I love to read in the Bible is “steadfast”. It appears 219 times in the ESV Bible according to my search on biblegateway.com. 132 of those times are in the Psalms, which is where I have been reading it morning after morning as I study that book of the Bible.
202 times out of the 219 it is connected to the word “love”. Here are a few instances:
Psalms 63:3, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”
Psalms 59:16, “I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”
Psalms 100:8, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
My heart rejoices every time I come across that word. I love serving a God that is steadfast. I looked up the definition and here are the words I found: firmly loyal, constant, unswerving, fixed, unchanging, and unmovable. How awesome is that? Yes! Those words describe my God and his love for me! Woo Hoo!
So on days like this when I feel a little out of sorts and wonder about the soundness of my mind, I breathe deep and praise a God that is constant and unmovable. He doesn’t experience forgetfulness or have senior moments. He never doubts, worries or struggles. “He upholds the universe by the word of his power,” (Hebrews 1:3). This does not tire him or wear him out even a little. He is fully and eternally sufficient to handle all he plans to do. That includes loving you with his steadfast, unswerving, fixed and unchanging love. He had it written down 219 times so you would understand it.
I must wrap this blog up now (just remembered I turned my hot iron on two hours ago to do my hair). Ladies, take comfort in knowing no matter how crazy or scattered we feel, we serve a God that is infinitely secure. He is deep and still, perfect and unchanging. He is steadfast. I enCOURAGE you to place your scattered mind and heart in his hands today. Trust in him to be your rock and solid footing always!
I have unsaved family members. I assume you do as well. If you are like me, you have prayed for their salvation and have asked others to do the same. We think about them once in a while and pray for them as we shake our heads wondering why they just don’t get it.
Not long ago I was driving down the road, once again praying for my lost family, just nonchalantly mentioning their names to God and I felt myself being frustrated with him for not acting, not showing any movement in their lives at all. What is he waiting for? “Do a work in their heart and save them already!”
You may have learned this (I am often a slow learner), yelling at God to “Do something!” often has a way of backfiring on you. I remember the question coming back at me like a brick. “How serious are you? You barely bow your head as you ask me to move in the lives of the people you say you love. You spend more time and money on your own pleasures than on ministering to those you claim to love. You drink up the Living Waters greedily when those near you are dying of thirst. You say you love my Word, but have not yet put these Words of Life into the hands of those that are lost. YOU tell me to do something? How bad do you really want this?”
I cry even as I type these words. No, God did not speak these words to me, but he was certainly doing heart surgery on me at that moment. He was cutting me deep and it hurt. There is often pain in truth. What work have I done or sacrifices have I made to encourage my lost family toward Christ? Very little.
The apostle Paul was willing to give everything up to save those he loved, even his own salvation! He had “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” in his heart for them. “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsman according to the flesh.” – Romans 9:3. I am so far from this mindset it is sad.
Often times the work that needs to be done before God opens the heart of someone to believe is the work that needs completed in us. Sometimes God tarries in others so that he can teach and refine us first.
I have started to get serious about interceding for my unsaved family who currently stand condemned to Hell (John 3:18). No more sugar coating it. No more avoiding the uncomfortable. They are on the burn list.
My plan involves times of planned prayer, fasting and engaging in more direct conversations. If you want specifics, just ask and I will be glad to share. My husband and I have also committed to getting Bibles into the hands of our family and to provide guidance on how to read it.
You can be sure this involves loads of boldness on our part; am I nervous? Oh my yes, but this is part of the work in my heart that needs done. It goes along with the questions, “How serious are you? How badly do you want it?” To be sure, our wanting does not make it happen, it is only by God’s irresistible grace and his perfect calling, but I will do all I can to be usable by God in this area.
As Charles Spurgeon said, "If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”
If you have loved ones who are walking toward Hell and currently stand condemned, I enCOURAGE you to decide that now is the time to get serious and be bold, share Christ with them and pray for them like never before.
My youngest son, Troy, has an unusually long tongue (just ask and he’ll happily show you). He also has a voracious appetite. One evening this past summer the boys talked us into eating supper outside on the patio table. While we bowed our heads and Phil gave thanks I heard noises to my right. I peeked my eyes open (don’t act like you don’t do it once in a while too ) and I see Troy running his big tongue along the filthy table licking up a pile of sloppy joe that had fallen from his bun. I grimaced as I could see the dirt he was taking in and that he was just inches away from ingesting bird poo.
Troy was hungry for the meat, but was also willing to eat a lot of dirt to get it. We often do the same thing in a spiritual sense.
We feel a hunger for more inside of us, a hunger for God and spiritual goodness. It is our soul longing for sustenance, so we look for what we can feed it.
We grab the latest “Christian” best seller and find Jesus talking to us in first person, yet these are not the same words in red from the Bible.
We turn on the radio to our favorite station yet hear more about being positive, uplifting, and non-offending than being salt and light in the world.
We watch feel-good movies that drop God’s name and play with our emotions yet are so off base scripturally that they are laughable.
We search for a good sermon online or a pithy quote to “like” on social media.
Not all of these activities are bad or sinful, but when a soul is longing to be nourished it needs the real stuff without the extra dirt tossed in. What sense does it make to lick up the dirt along with the meat just so you have to sort it out after it is already inside of you?
God tells us through James that we are “to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27, NIV). Many times godly instruction and God’s Word can be accompanied by a lot of unnecessary additives and fillers, this is what I am calling “dirt”.
Think of the dirt as pollution to your body. It may not always be blatantly “bad” but even the “fluffy stuff” can act like smog and cloud our vision of Jesus. The world throws enough trash at us each day; don’t willingly add more to your diet. Don’t acquire a taste for it little by little in seemingly innocent ways.
There is a lot of dirt masquerading as “Christian” goods out there. We need to be very careful in what we read, listen to and declare as “good.” This requires a lot of discernment on our part; a lot of comparing to the only source of Truth.
Remember that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made manifest (read John 1). There is nothing we can read, sing, type or say that can add a single ounce of worth to him. There are many great writings and songs that point us toward him, and I am a fan of many these, but never a follower. I follow Christ alone, God’s Word alone.
I have used dirt as my example, but many times it may look more like fancy glitter. It may even taste sweet like honey, but it will not last. The dirt will turn to slippery mud, the glitter will catch in your throat, and the honey will turn sour in your gut. Only God’s pure Word stands eternal and will not diminish. Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
I’m not really overly concerned about my kids eating some dirt now and then in the physical sense, no biggie. I have a house of boys and the five second rule is alive and well here. However, when I see those I love eating spoonfuls of dirt (or glitter) in the spiritual sense I will do what I can to grab their hand, toss the spoon, offer a fork and knife and put the filet of God’s unadulterated Word in front of them and say, “Eat!” I enCOURAGE you to do the same.