We’re only one week into a new year and already anxiousness and fretting have penetrated most days.
Oh, I’m good at disguising them in prayers. Asking the only One who can accomplish my God sized longings. Truth is though, the many words and the stomach butterflies show my doubt. Still, He has given me a new word this year: N-e-w. Turning it over and over I see ‘new’ like a kaleidoscope – always changing.
“The LORD‘s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 GNT) I love this version of this verse – exploding like a sunrise, fresh like dewy drops on a green leaf. Unfailing love, mercy.
It’s the wait really. Trusting God has it all figured out, but so wanting to see it now.
Where does a waiting, weary world turn? Often to so much that doesn’t satisfy. Holley Gerth says it just right “I’m learning, slowly, to lean on Jesus instead of flimsy earthly things that can never hold my weight.”
The weight of what a sin-filled world has caused is pressing in on us. Finding ‘new’ every morning becomes a weight-lifter we sorely need. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and steams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)
A way through the desert of our doubt. Streams of life into parts of our soul we thought long dead.
Praise has a way of restoring, turning dissatisfaction towards joy. An odd concept for most – praising God instead of man and accomplishments. But give it a try. Right now – ‘God you are my One and Only. There is nothing and no one better. You are the definition of love, of joy, of peace.’
When we speak praise we lose worldly weight. In those moments we are no longer held by gravity, but we’re lifted into His presence. So today I ask: ‘Father, hold ‘my wait’ and show me how to live in the newness of Your freedom.’
It’s 2019 – time to look ahead – and maybe instead of wishing a Happy new year – how about just a new beginning?
We are bound by time. Ticking off days and weeks then years. But God is outside of those bounds. No beginning, no end. Every day (or moment) is a chance for a new beginning with Him.
Happy depends on our circumstances. New is a decision. A decision to not live in the past nor to worry about the future. But to seek the God who someday will walk us into a forever where we are no longer bound by time either. “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:5 NIV)
What wonder this is – no need for light, no night? “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23 NIV)
With no dark, no fear. With the Lamb, love. This is the wonder of hope – for this great thing He is telling us about is what all our hearts long for. To be renewed and have forever instead of minutes.
This is the year to tell those you love, and those you stand in line behind, and those who drive you crazy: “I wish you New”. For all who accept Jesus this is His promise: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
And so – for as long as we’re bound by time – we will age, sickness will happen, death will come to our bodies. But hold on to this:: “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2Corinthians 4:16 NIV)
Just New – my wish for you, new as only He can do!
My parents divorced when I was young. I came to Florida each year to see my dad – my only time with him. Torn between two homes.
I used to love airports, the smell of jet fuel and the hustle bustle. Then I had babies and with each passing year I really just liked the view of my children in the front yard best. We assign a place as ‘home’ – sometimes an actual structure, or maybe a town or country. The account of the birth of Jesus starts off by the government requiring people to travel to wherever their ancestral heritage began and register as a citizen. “And everyone went to his own town to register.” (Luke 2:3 NIV)
When I became an adult my mother moved a number of times. But wherever she was, when I walked through the door, that was home. It was her that made it home, not the place.
Yet even if we are blessed with an earthly home that draws us, it never quite fills our longing. We’re homesick like a child away at camp. And in so many ways, we are all homeless. Nothing really satisfies: remodeling, cozier blankets, minimalizing. We keep looking for ideas.
Jesus says “no one who has left home…for the sake of the kingdom will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:29-30 NIV) Perhaps He’s trying to help us see that if we change our concept of ‘home’ from tangible here on earth to forever in Him, we’ll realize we’ve got everything – now and forever.
Holley Gerth said in a devotion: “home is not a place; home is a Person. And He is with us always. His love is the place we can stay wherever we go.”
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1 NLT) All of Psalm 91 speaks of Him being our refuge, our fortress, our dwelling, our rescue, our salvation. And there it is – Salvation is home, and Salvation is a person. Salvation is Jesus and when we rest our head on the pillow of His protection, we are home.
Homesick? Come Home – your Rest is Jesus, wherever you are.
I’m noticing lately all us wanderers. I can’t help but think: what if, instead, we were wonderers?
We wander around stores looking for gifts. We wander around outdoors seeking quiet. We wander all our days and what do we find? Emptiness mostly. So I’m thinking its time to wonder all our days instead.
We need Jesus Wonder: “As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet Him.” (Mark 9:15 NIV)
Will we run to greet Him? When my grandson arrives in the mornings little arms stretch out to me, his heart running to mine. Does God see us, His children, like that? Do we stretch out arms eager to fall into His? What a smile starts on my lips and works it way through my very being at the sight of my children and grandchildren. So it is with God – even when we don’t run to Him.
“God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1Corinthians 1:9 NIV) When we wander from Him, He still longs for us. His arms ever reaching for our faithless hearts. Oh wanderer let’s seek Him.
And, by the way, there’s nothing we need to do first. No messes to wash away. No changes we need to make. He’s in the business of cleaning us up, transforming us.
This is the promise I cling to when I forget Him in the busyness. This is the truth I know when I worry for my loved ones. He has a plan for each and every one of us – and His plans are not spoiled by us or any other force in the world.
Each day – and dark nights – always there. Don’t think so? Things are too bad, too hopeless? He’s forgotten you? Not a chance. Some wondrous day all this won’t even be a memory. “You have done many things for us, O LORD our God; there is no one like you! You have made many wonderful plans for us. I could never speak of them all–their number is so great!” (Psalm 40:5 GNT) Someday those familiar arms that have carried us through will once and for all embrace us and we will indeed wonder always.
America is about to celebrate a land that is still bountiful, a culture that values freedom – how many will give God all the credit?
As we spend a couple days eating too much, laughing a bit more – maybe we can extend the once-a-year to moment-by-moment. Not just giving thanks and moving on, but living thanks. Whether we enjoy a life that doesn’t give the bank account much thought or we hold our breath til the next paycheck – isn’t there much to look heavenward and give thanks for?
Each breath a gift, any love we enjoy here on earth welcomed, heap on all the ‘stuff’ we may have, and top it off with the wonder of creation. All people are rich – from the ‘least’ to the ‘greatest’, God grants the luxury of salvation to any who will accept. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NIV)
Thanks-Living, how does it look? I see it in others: trips to far away locales where dirt floors and no a/c are the norm; time spent at a nursing home with old, lonely souls; hard earned dollars to organizations that meet needs and speak Jesus.
Maybe we can’t always, or maybe ever, do those things. But can we smile at everyone? Leave our judgmental attitudes at home? Open a door for a stroller pushing mom?
Whenever we’re recognized for our abilities, our cute children, our nice car, etc. – can we just plain out say: ‘oh, it’s a blessing, more than I deserve’ ? That’s the reason for Thanks-Living: knowing what we deserve we don’t get (God’s eternal judgement) and what we don’t deserve we do get (God’s promise of forever with no pain, need, fear, or sorrow).
“Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28 GNT)
Happy Thanks-Living – may you and I find more ways to live in reverence and awe – to be filled not with earthly things but stuffed to overflowing with the riches of our God who so generously gave it all for us.
Sometimes we just need to squeeze a hand that loves us.
During labor I watched as my daughter fiercely squeezed her husband’s hand. When I got close to her face once she grasped my hand with all her might as well. And when her little one came into the world and lay on his momma’s chest, little fingers squeezed her finger with all his strength.
We have a Hand Holder – always right there with us. Sometimes we just forget to hold on with all we’ve got. “Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23 NIV)
The thing is: He never let’s go. We may loosen our grasp and run ahead. We may forget His hand is there as we flail in the turmoil. But that Hand, the strong and capable ones that formed and fashioned stars and wee babes, that Hand guides and protects. And that Hand is tender in mercies and fierce in strength.
We need strong. The times we’re in move so fast, change without notice, catch us off guard – try to steer our course. We need a strong hand that says: ‘this way’. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ “ (Isaiah 30:21 NIV)
A new babe is in our lives, his momma and papa will hold his hands many times over the years. Their hearts will never let go. And so it is with the God who knit you together – His heart has you. His salvation is for you. His love knows no bounds. He grace is abundant. His mercies don’t cease.
Most of all his forever for you will show just what a life of hand-holding is really all about. For now you will rest secure in the hands that calm storms. Hands that give joy in the midst of what seems the worst. And hands that will guide you safely. So take Him up on His offer – just hold His hand. “I am the LORD your God. I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” (Isaiah 41:13 CEV)
There’s a new song out – a little album done mostly for kids – you know, like you and me. Kids still on the inside – that we see a glimmer of now and then. (More about the song at the end.)
Every new day is a new song to sing – to the One who sang the first song. No coincidence that joy often pours forth in song. Not being one of those blessed with an angelic voice, I hold back. Except, when I’m all alone – and when I’m with a certain one year old. Then songs to the Maker pour forth.
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him.” (Psalm 98:1 NIV)
His right hand – well that would be our Jesus who sits at the right hand of God. Yes, this Savior has worked salvation in us for the Father. Right there is something to be overjoyed thank-full for. Whether we live in plenty or struggle – whether we live in healthy or broken bodies – whether we are surrounded by loved ones or we’re lonely…salvation is our joy.
Joy – ours in the midst of all of life. And just when we can’t find it He reminds us: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5 NIV) Even tears are not wasted, they will be turned to joy.
The world is full to the brim with everything except for praise for God. No song breaks through the evening news reminding that God is in control. No politician comforts with promises from the Promise Maker. And so it is to us to dwell in praise and spread it. The song in our hearts is where the Hope this world needs will be found.
Oh how I love this Psalm: “I think about you, God, before I go to sleep, and my thoughts turn to You during the night. You have helped me, and I sing happy songs in the shadow of Your wings. I stay close to You, and Your powerful arm supports me.” (Psalm 63:6-8 CEV)
Yes, during the night, dark moments – always there. During sunshiney times dancing and singing with us. So as Ellie Holcomb tells us in the song below – Sing!
PLaY CReaTivEly WitH YoUr LiTtLe OnE
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