Trust

During this Advent season, I have been following the Gifts of Advent Devotions.  Each day there is a word, a few verses and a story.  So far I have yet to be disappointed on the “word of the day” as they all seem relevant:  Hope, Wait, Steadfast, Help, Compassion, and Trust.  The word most relevant thus far is Trust.  What comes to mind when you hear Trust?  “Trust in the Lord, for he is good and his mercy endureth forever.”  It sounds very simple.  Please spend a moment reading Psalm 25:  1-10 .  These verses highlight the trust we are to put in the Lord.  “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.”.  This does not seem that simple.  What is we don’t like the path he shows us?  What if we can’t stop long enough to see the way God wants us to go?

Trust in our daily lives and our interactions with others is filled with twists and turns.  We want our kids to grow up trusting in others and trusting in themselves to make good decisions, not to be swayed by others.  As my kids progressed through junior high and high school, I have seen them trust their friends.  I have also seen them trust their teachers and their coaches.  This trust can be a good thing but what happens when the trust breaks down?  How do we teach them to handle situations where trusting in someone ends up hurting.  Then what?   The sports arena is where we see examples of things not working out as we would have liked.  Maybe it is playing time or maybe it is conduct or grades.  Kids watch closely as the season beings but then they start to lack trust if the guidelines outlined aren’t followed.  They follow the rules but others get “passes” for not following the rules.  Who can blame them for becoming disenchanted?  How do we help them through these hard times when life seems terrible all due to a sport or a coach?

Another personal example has to do with my oldest.  We were not sure as to why he ended up at the school he did.  Was it to get away from things that didn’t work out at the end of high school with baseball?  Did he really want to start over?  Multiple reasons but the path forward was incredibly fuzzy.  I kept praying for God to show up the plan and kept encouraging him to trust that there is a plan.  This fall part of the plan was unveiled through a fantastic internship opportunity.  He is a new person, so excited for this challenge and learning so much right before our eyes.  It could not have been a better situation and he knows he was given a gift this semester.  Fun to hear him talk about it as he wraps up the semester.

My devotion this week on trust was perfectly time.  It was a nudge to remember that there is path forward if we are patient.  When our children are faced with adversity, we should help them turn to God.  If one door closes or is even slammed in our face, another one will open if we are patient and trust in God’s plan.  Easy to say, difficult to follow.  “The ways of the Lord are loving and faithful.” He has our backs.  He has our plan.  We just don’t know the end result.

Prayer from the devotion I am following:  “O Christ, the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow, help us see your reliable, trustworthy nature working in us and sustaining us this season and this day.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.”

~Carol Barham

How do you carry your load?



I think we all know what it feels like when someone says “How are you??” and we answer “Great! How are you?” and they say “Not bad!” and then we just keep on talking, like we didn’t just tell each other a great big lie. Know what I’m talking about? 

God has worked miracles in my (and my family’s) life over the past year or so. Some of them are bigger and more obvious than others, but as I began reflecting on the things I’ve prayed for, asked others to pray for, worried about, lost sleep over, etc. for the past 18 months, it’s amazing how many ways God has answered prayers. 

What I want to share with you today is that many of these prayers didn’t even come from me. 

“Wait – How can God answer prayers you didn’t even pray?”

Glad you asked. 

There was a time just over a year ago when I was facing so many difficulties at the very same time that it was literally weighing me down. There were some days that I was so overcome with fear and anxiety that I was unable even to think about moving forward. I’ve never actually been in quicksand, but I’ve seen it on movies, and if I had to describe the way I was feeling, it was that I was stuck in quicksand – unable to get out and sinking. 

I remember one particular Sunday at church when I ran into someone who I would describe as an acquaintance. We were introduced through a mutual friend and had visited before, but hadn’t really connected on any personal level. On this Sunday we found ourselves in a time and place that allowed for conversation. She asked me how I was doing. I looked at her and said, “Actually, I’m having a really hard time.” I shared with her what was actually going on, how hopeless it all seemed and how stress was eating me alive. I cried and she cried. She prayed for me – right then and there. She asked God very specifically to provide for needs I had indicated were the most pressing. She hugged me, and then she THANKED me. I said, “For what??” And she said, “For sharing your burden with me. For allowing me the opportunity to pray with you.”

I’ll never forget that conversation, although over the last several months we’ve had so many more that I can’t recount them all. We have shared many burdens with each other, prayed for each other, rejoiced with each other and mourned together as well. 

Sharing burdens isn’t easy. It requires humility and faith. (Neither of those virtues is over-abundant in my heart.) 

There’s a saying that “God never gives you more than you can handle.” This is one of those sayings that felt like a Bible verse but I had no idea where it was. Being a sophisticated researcher, I googled the phrase. It turns out that it’s not technically a Bible verse. In my search results I found a devotional written by a pastor on the topic. He wrote:

We will face adversity in our lives. We will experience hardships. We, or someone we love, may face terminal illness. We may struggle with debilitating depression or suicidal thoughts or grief so heavy that we feel we’ll suffocate. We may walk through financial circumstances where it seems there is no way out. If we are like most human beings, at some point we absolutely will face things that are more than we can handle. The promise of Scripture is not that we won’t go through hard times. . . . What Scripture does promise is that at all times, good or bad, God wants to be our help and our strength. 
It’s not that God won’t give you more than you can handle, but that God will help you handle all that you’ve been given.

Rev. Shawn Coons

My prayer today is that none of you have burdens you are bearing alone. If you do, look for an opportunity to share them with a fellow believer. Conversely, look for ways to help carry another’s burden. The burden is much lighter when it’s not carried alone.

Matthew 11:29-30 – Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Psalm 68:19-20 – Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

Psalm 55:22 – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

1 Peter 5:6-7 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Isaiah 46:4 – Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Romans 8:18 – I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Proverbs 12:25 – Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

The Plans He Has

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfareand not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Jeremiah 29:10-14

Well hello Bible Journal readers, another Monday is upon us! How are you feeling? I think of you and pray for you at the beginning of each week. I hope that you are finding joy and some peace in this holiday season. In these final days of the year, we have the opportunity to share a verse or two with you that is close to our heart. Jeremiah 29:11 has always been a foundational piece of the word for our family. I wrote these words on a small piece of paper the night before our son had a very important brain MRI in 2011. That small scrap of paper has been there ever since. We rely on these words to remind us that God will indeed fulfill his promises, that he has plans for us that are good and that he doesn’t ever harm us.

I had to go back to that little scrap of paper this week for the first time in a long time. A friend of ours died very suddenly in a place that was not his home and in a way that brought more questions than will ever be answers. It’s been a long time since I have questioned in the “but why God” sort of way. Honestly, I thought I was more mature in my faith journey than that, but this event changed things. This extinguished life without a why brought on unexpected waves of grief and anger. Have you ever had a rock bottom moment like that in your faith journey? I rolled it around in my mind looking for the grace or maybe a hint of mercy in the situation, but I couldn’t see it. I came back to my foundational verse, Jeremiah 29:11 and I got even more angry. There is no hope or future for our friend so what is the plan?When it came time to write today, I went back to my Bible, flipping pages looking for inspiration and came back to Jeremiah. For the first time in a very long time I began at the beginning:

“These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” Jeremiah 29:1

 These are the words. The words of the letter. The letter sent to the exiles. So, before the exiles got this letter they were just exiles. In fact, I noticed for the very first time in the ten years that I have been frequently this page of my Bible that the name of this chapter is, “Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles” All along it’s been really helpful and comforting to read that part about God’s plan for hope and a future but I sort of missed the point. Without a period of exile, we can’t experience the hope and the future. Without the separation or exile from that which we hold dear, we can’t truly know Him. Shoot, I forgot that being a Christian does not guarantee that we’ll be protected from really hard things. It doesn’t mean that we’ll have an easy life without the broken parts. It does mean that when the really hard things happen that we will know to seek Him. And when we seek Him, He finds us. He finds us in the darkest dark when all we have left is to cling to Him with our whole heart. There may never be answers but there will berestoration.

If I’m writing to you today, I hope you find comfort and hope in this message. I hope you see that all Christ followers have a bottom of the barrel “whyGod” moment. We are all in exile some of the time. As Christmas draws near, I hope you’ll go to Him with all your heart. Pour out your hopes to Him and ask Him to intercede with good in your life. If you are approaching this holiday with trepidation because you are broken, go to Him. If you are reading this and you are not sure if He has a plan for you, go to Him and ask.

Have a great week!

 

Devoted to Prayer

Prayer is one of those spiritual mysteries I can’t wait to fully understand some day – but for now, I am blessed to reap the benefits of direct access to God. And while He doesn’t need me to fulfill His will, I believe He delights in our prayers, praise, and requests (Proverbs 15:8)

In fact, He tells us to be devoted to prayer – alert in prayer, continuing in prayer – Colossians 4:2-3

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ. 

What does devotion to prayer look like in your life? There have been seasons in my life where every hour I was praying – sometimes every minute. Talking to God and pouring out my heart to Him was the only way through the turmoil. And not because He swooped down and fixed it in an instant, but because He was present, with me, available.

I can think of other seasons where I wasn’t relying on my communication with God – and how quickly things can spiral. A good friend shared this challenge with me, and OH MAN, has it ever stuck.

Do you go to the phone or do you go to the throne?

ZING! So many times when something happens – from exciting news to tragic circumstances – do we pick up our phone to call and talk to someone, or do we first thank God, praise God, cry to God? I want to be someone who goes to the throne, FIRST. More consistently. The big stuff, the little stuff. I want to be a warrior in prayer and build a deeper relationship with the Lord through my prayer life.

Prayer has already brought so much richness to my faith journey. I know that investing more time and focus into my prayer life will draw me closer and keep my mind on things above. When I make time to praise God for who He is – it’s so affirming for me to say out loud all of His attributes. Sometimes when I’m running I will pray the ABCs of God:  “God, you are so Awesome, you are Almighty, you are my Advocate, you are the Beginning, you are the Bread of life, you are my Comforter…” and it is so powerful to meditate on each character of God and how we have seen Him work in our life.

Some of the goals in my prayer life are going to take practice. Sometimes I find my mind wandering. And sometimes I feel like I’m rambling on and on, and the conversation is so one-sided, barely coming up for air. I’m trying to spend more time yielding, listening, waiting, during my prayer time. These are some ways I want to be more devoted to prayer in the coming year.

In Daniel chapter 9, Daniel prays to God, and says “we don’t pray and make requests because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy. I love this! Our prayers aren’t because of anything we have or can do, but are completely because God gave us this channel to talk directly to Him, and He shows us so much love, comfort, and mercy, through prayer. He doesn’t care about our fancy words, He cares about our sincere hearts.

Another area I want to be more devoted in prayer, is in leading others in prayer, and I have a great opportunity with my own family.

Each morning on the way to school our kindergartener and third grader request “Mom, will you get the prayer sticks”. During the 6 minutes between our home and the school we try to refocus the morning frenzy of getting out the door, and prepare our hearts for the day. I know that prayer is the most important key to the success of my day, and I hope to lead my kids in strong prayer habits. This is one small practical thing we do and our kids love it!

At the beginning of the school year they write down all their classmates and teacher on individual popsicle sticks. Each morning they each pull one stick out of the cup and that’s the person they pray for that morning. It’s a small and simple way to start the day. And sometimes at the end of the day they share a praise report of something specific they prayed for that friend, and how God answered that prayer. I love that they get to see God working in their world!

While Jesus was on earth, He modeled prayer for us. We hear him in the garden of Gethsemane pouring his heart out to the Father. We see him retreating from the crowds to take time to pray. He tells his disciples to watch and pray. He even gives us a template of what to pray, in the Lord’s Prayer, recorded in Matthew and Luke.

Prayer seems like one of those marvelous mysteries – God tells us to come to Him, let our requests be known (Philippians 4:6), all the while He already knows what is in our hearts, knows what His perfect will is, and knows the outcome of all things. I’m so thankful that we can go directly to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and do not need a mediator (1 Tim 2:5). We have direct access to the Creator of the Universe, the King of all Kings wants us to talk to Him, and share our heart with Him!

Do you have any prayer goals for the coming year?

 

 

Just Ask

Hugs

My wife Amy is a hugger.

During a recent interaction with a friend, Amy did her usual hug thing. Except this time after the hug, the friend said “could I please have another hug, I could really use one”. Amy was delighted to serve!

Amy shared this story with me and we reflected on the fact that the friend was bold enough to ask for another hug. Sure, hugs are free and it was a simple thing to do, but it made me wonder how often people need a good hug or any favor, but refrain from asking.

It is my opinion that 100% of the time, a friend, or even a casual acquaintance would find joy and satisfaction in being trusted enough to be asked for help.

Amy has always had the desire to be independent or self-sufficient. She is a passionate individual, and when she wants something she goes after it. In doing this, she doesn’t like to burden anyone, ever.

Becoming vulnerable

We have one car so logistics can be a little tricky. Shortly after the hug incident, we had a scheduling conflict. Amy wanted to go to her fitness bootcamp and I needed the car for work.  As a result, someone needed to change their plans or we needed a new variable in the mix.

Then out of the blue, Amy decided to go out of her comfort zone and ask for help. She messaged the bootcamp group and asked if anyone might be able to give her a lift. The same friend from the hugging incident quickly replied and offered to help. Nice!

The two ladies chatted it up en route to the workout and when they arrived the friend turned to Amy and said “ok, give me a hug and hop out”. Surprised, Amy said, “Wait, what? You’re not coming?”. The friend briefly shared that she just wanted to help Amy out; friends helping friends. How refreshing.

This was a reminder for us to not think so highly of ourselves that we miss out on building closer relationships and being part of someone else’s joy in giving. Becoming vulnerable builds trust and opens us up to new experiences we might not have otherwise imagined.

Ask our creator

Through this story we are once again led to our God who desires relationship with us; a two way relationship. He wants us to communicate with him in prayer, to ask him to meet various needs and he wants to answer. It is a model for how we can and should be in relationship with others.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

Asking shows our trust that the responder will be open to our requests. It is symbolic of relationship. Conversely, not asking says “I’ve got this”… and in the end, we don’t have this, Jesus has this!

  • Whose life do you need to inject yourself in and start helping?
  • What situation in your life could use some help from a friend?
  • In what ways can you step out of your comfort zone and become more vulnerable?
  • What aspect of your life have you not turned over to Jesus because “you’ve got this?”

Just ask!

This is Your Life

I spent about 30 minutes last night making a spreadsheet of my 11-year-old daughter’s extracurricular activities between now and the end of February to see if we there was any way we could fit one more activity in.  She’d like to try volleyball, I’m just not sure if we can make it all work together.  This seems to happen every year.  We get to December and we’re running everywhere.  So far this week we’ve been to diving practice, Orffcats, gymnastics, a parent volleyball meeting, a band/chorus concert, and a diving meet – the problem is it’s only TUESDAY night.  I’m tired already.

It isn’t inherently wrong that we are involved in a lot of activities.  It provides our kids the opportunity to try new things, allows our family to connect with other people in our community, and gives us a chance to build lasting relationships.  I wonder, however, if too many of them are keeping us from focusing on what is most important.  Will you read and meditate on the words in 2 Peter 3:10-14 with me today?

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:10-14).

The second epistle of Peter was written to believers in Asia Minor to warn them about complacency and heresy.  In our world that is filled with things other than the truth of Jesus Christ competing for our attention, it could have easily been written it to us.  This section of the letter contains a couple fire and brimstone images about the coming destruction of the earth, but focus in on verses 11 and 14.  These verses are about the here and now, how we are living through the ordinary, everyday activities of life.

…what kind of people ought you to be?

living holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God

…make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him

As I reflect on the past few weeks I wonder, am I making every effort to be the person I ought to be, making holy and godly choices?  Am at peace with God?  I wonder if the business of life is keeping me from focusing on living the life to which I’m called – spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

And today is all you’ve got now.
And today is all you’ll ever have.
Don’t close your eyes.

This is your life, are you who you want to be? 

(Switchfoot, 2003).

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/thisisyourlife.html

Wake Up!

Today’s reading is Revelation 3

Have you ever received a letter from someone that was a little harsh, but true? I’ve received some rejection letters, some letters about my kids doing weird things, and a few letters of thanks or appreciation. I’ve thrown the rejection letters away but I kept the letters about my kids and the appreciation. While they were painful to read initially, they were also filled with encouragement and hope.  The three churches mentioned in Revelation chapter 3 received letters, but they were not left without feeling encouraged and hopeful.

The church of Sardis was deemed “dead” and they were instructed to “wake up”! At one time they had been strong in their faith but they let it fizzle. They were urged to get back to the basics of what they believed at the very beginning. If they didnt wake up they would miss out on His return.
The church of Philadelphia also received a letter. They Lacked strength but they were obedient and did not deny Him. They were encouraged to hold tightly to whatever strength they had and use the gifts God gave them to keep their faith. Lastly, the church in Laodicea. They were lukewarm in their faith. Their riches and self sufficiency took the place of their need for God. But they were reminded that in the midst of their riches they were actually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. They were encouraged to be diligent and turn from their indifference. The things of God are greater than any riches obtained in this lifetime.
Rev 3:20-22 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door,  I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends. I will invite everyone who is victorious to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on the throne. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the spirit and understand what the spirit is saying to the churches.”
Which of these letters would you be receiving? Are you dead in your faith? Weak? Or lukewarm? God disciplines those he loves. May we hear the encouragement in the midst of the discipline to turn from our ways back to Him.
Shelly

To The Church

Happy Tuesday Bible Journal family!

In Revelation 2 we have hear Jesus speak to John and to four of the seven churches in the province of Asia. The words Jesus speaks to John would be the letters written for the churches then and to all of us as “the Churches” now.

The letters to the churches are of praise and encouragement, but also warnings.  So as you read through Revelation 2, listen to His words and hold onto His promises.

7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

To the Church in Ephesus

  • He is our right hand that holds it all in His hands. v.1
  • He knows our actions and our deeds. v.2
  • He understands our perseverance.v.3
  • He reminds us to repent when we have fallen. v.5

To the Church in Smyrna

  • He is the First and the Last v.8
  • He knows our pain and needs. v.9
  • He reminds us the devil will test us, still be faithful to receive your victor’s crown. v.10

To the Church in Pergamum

  • He holds a sharp double-edged sword. v.12 (Hebrews 4:12)
  • He will provide manna v.17
  • He will provide a white stone with a new name on it. v.17

To the Church in Thyatira

  • He knows our deeds, love, and faith, our service and perseverance. v.19
  • He gives us time to repent, are you willing?
  • If we don’t repent, we will suffer. v.22
  • I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.  v. 23

Jesus is reminding us that He truly knows us. (Romans 8:27-37)  He knows what is said and done in the dark and what is in the light. (Luke 12:3)  That judgment will be passed and He gives us the opportunity to repent and turn to Him. (John 9:39 and Matthew 4:17)

To each church and to each of us Jesus says, Whoever has ears let them hear.  Do you hear Jesus speaking to you today? Listen close, He knows what we go through every day, He is here for us, waiting. All we need to do is listen.

Dear God,

Thank you for your words that we are able to apply to our hearts each day.  God, we know you are with us always and know every detail of our being.  Help us to listen and obey your words. That in this wonderful Christmas season we remember and focus on your ultimate sacrifice of sending your own son Jesus to live a perfect life and ultimately die for our sins.  The sins we all like to hide away, let us bring them to the light and repent.   God I’m sorry when I lose faith, I’m sorry when I don’t listen.  Search my help and reveal to me all that you desire and help me to live not by my will, but yours.  Help me to open my ears, and hear your loving voice today.  We love you.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

Season of Anticipation and Wonder

 

Today’s Reading: Revelation 1

Advent is here.  This is the time of year that we celebrate the anticipation of the coming Christ.  This is the time that we start to sing Christmas carols.  The kitchens are a buzz with warm cookies and treats to share and gift to our loved ones.  We might start decorating our houses for guest and family to share in the holiday.  And in the midst of the preparation have we allowed our spirit to settle and prepare for Christ?

John gives us a beautiful salutation to the season:

Revelation 1: 4-5

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

In the Life Application Study Bible, the commentary is as follows “ The book of Revelation unveils Christ full identity and God’s plan for the end of the world, and it focuses on Jesus Christ, his second coming, his victory over evil, and the establishment of his kingdom.”  This echoes the fulfillment of the prophets Isaiah and the gospels of the apostles.

Isaiah 9: 6-7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon
[d] his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called[e]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
 

As we begin our journey through this Advent season let us mediate and reflect on the Grace and Peace that Christ give us daily and allow the love of Christ to more evident in our daily lives especially in this season.

 

 

Share the Good News!

In the past 6 months we have shown our house to 3 prospective families who are relocating to our town.  Our house is not officially on the market, but a few realtors know that we have a desire to downsize now that 2 of our 3 kids are off to college, so they reach out to us.  Each time after the showing we have gotten a phone call from the showing agent saying, “Your house showed great!  They really liked it!  It is one of their top 2 choices.  We will get back to you soon!”  With this news our minds start reeling with thoughts!  Where will we move?  How much time will we have to find a new house?  The excitement grows quickly.  But, low and behold, 3 times now, we have gotten the same phone call, “They really loved your house, but they chose the other one.”  So many questions go through our minds at this point!  What is wrong with our house?  God, don’t you want us to downsize and save money?  Will we ever get out of this house?  God what is your plan???

Today we read the first chapter of the Book of Acts.  Jesus has spent the past 40 days with His disciples.  They saw and touched his nail pierced hands.  They ate together.  They talked about the Kingdom of God.  They enjoyed being together.  The disciples were asking Jesus exactly this question.  God what is your plan?  If you are leaving us, what are we to do?  

Acts 1:6-8 (ESV) So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Father alone sets the dates and times of our future’s events.  And as much as we want to know what’s next, the answers are not for us to know.  

Jesus had to leave so that we could be armed with the presence of and power of the Holy Spirit.  We are given one mission as Jesus states in the verse above, to be His witness to ALL people.  Everywhere we go, we need to tell people about Jesus.

As we face our day and the unknown days ahead of us, we are not without purpose.  Even though we may not know our next steps.  Or, we may receive answers that we don’t think are right, we are not without direction.  The Holy Spirit is with us and longs to be part of all our interactions each and every moment.  

May we not miss a moment today when: 

talking with our neighbor, the grocery store check out person, the Starbuck’s drive through person, our child’s teacher, our child’s coach, our co-worker, our boss, our parents, and even our own children…

to know that THEY are our purpose! We need to share the love of Jesus with each and every person we encounter!

The Holy Spirit is with us and He will empower us as we tell them about Jesus and who Jesus is to us.  

Share the good news!

Love God, Love People!