Cut it off.

Mark 9 & Psalm 133

“If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell…” Mark 9:43-47

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really taken Mark 9 all that seriously. Sure, I understand that Jesus isn’t actually asking us to physically saw off a foot if it causes us to sin. But I believe that He is being far more serious about the importance of cutting sin out of our lives than we think.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time I took a drastic action in order to work to remove sin from my life. Whether it’s pride, selfishness, materialism, or any other struggle of mine, I’ve never realized the importance of focusing hard on getting sin it out of my life. I think what Jesus is saying in Mark 9:43-47 is that if we’re serious about making a change in the sin that’s in our lives, we need to do everything in our power to cut it out- no matter how drastic that might be.

I don’t know what sin you’re particularly struggling with today, or what sin instantly comes to mind when you read this post, but I do know that all sin is equal in the eyes of God… and every sin is a sin worth this strong of an approach as far as its removal.

Not only is it important to make every effort to remove sin from our lives because it brings fuller life, causes us to look more like Jesus, and honors God more, but there’s another major reason we should be getting more serious about removing sin from our life: Those who don’t know Jesus are daily watching how we act and developing an understanding of the character of our God from our actions, words, attitudes, motives, behavior, language, and habits. We are the only examples of Jesus that many people will ever see or encounter, and it is our job to represent Him well. Keeping this truth in mind motivates me to cut sin out of my life like nothing else.

Friends, let’s get serious about our sin and stop pretending that it’s a smaller deal than it is. Let’s balance feeling the guilt that our sin deserves with experiencing the grace that God so freely offers us through Jesus, and take actionable steps today in removing sin from our lives… whatever it takes. Let’s rely on Jesus to do this in us, and not simply focus on trying harder. He’s ready and waiting to help us.

Jesus’ Prayer for Us

John 17 and Psalm 119

I remember the very first time I heard John 17 preached back in high school. I remember it so well because I kind of felt like I’d been missing out my entire life… because somehow, I’d missed the fact that Jesus, the very Savior of the world, had actually prayed for me thousands of years ago. This passage instantly became so special to me, and I’m excited that we’re reading it together today.

The title in my Bible for John 17 is, literally, “Jesus’ Prayer for His Followers.”  Let’s read part of John 17 together… these are verses 6:12:

I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

These verses are literally full of language that speaks so much to Jesus’ deep love for his followers. I love how much Jesus talks about this love, as well as how thankful He is to God for giving Him us. Imagine that.

Despite the fact that Jesus was literally about to die on the cross on behalf of every human, and despite the fact that it was OUR sin that put Him there, He was still thanking God for us.

If that doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. These verses remind us that no matter what we’ve done or how far we’ve drifted from Him, Jesus still loves us. I especially love John 17:20-23:

I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.

Not only does Jesus spend a lot of time thanking God for the very people He’s about to die for, but He also prays specifically for us who will not know Him in person like His disciples got to. There are a few specific things He prays for, and friends, we fall into this category of people.

First, He asks that God won’t take us out of the world, but that God will consecrate us within the world and sets us apart for His glory. Next, He prays that God would help believers to have one heart and one mind – literally so that the world would believe that God sent Jesus. (No pressure on that one, right?) I especially love the line of Jesus’ prayer that says, “And give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them, in the same way you’ve loved me.” That’s our mission, friends- to give this godless world evidence, by the way that we love others, that God sent Jesus to save them. It’s a simple calling, yet such a big deal… and often so difficult.

Today, I’m thankful to worship a God who not only loved us enough to take on human flesh and walk amongst us, but who also wanted to leave us record through the Scriptures of His specific prayers for us. What a gift we have in John 17. I hope you are encouraged by Jesus’ prayer for you today.

You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Eph. 3:20)

Has God ever stopped you in your tracks? Have you ever been so blown away by what God did that you just had to pause and let it sink in for a bit? Even though you know how big God is, has His work in your life ever still stunned you?

I’m guessing you probably would answer “yes” to each of these questions. And so could I. I’ve known the Lord since I was little, and yet He still blows me away on the daily with His incredible faithfulness, mercy, love, and goodness in my life. There are certainly seasons where He seems far away, but He never is, and in the end, I ultimately can look back and know that He showed up for me even when I couldn’t see Him or feel Him.

I haven’t been around for decades upon decades yet, but I can imagine that by the time I am, I’ll have millions of stories about both the little and the big ways God showed up in my life. Part of me can’t wait to be there and look back on everything, but my story is still in the midst of unfolding now.

Here’s the thing, though: Sometimes, I have to think God must be a bit surprised (if God ever gets surprised, that is!) that Christians haven’t yet caught on to the fact that He’s pretty powerful… or that we’re blown away by something small in comparison to what He’s actually capable of doing.

A situation just like this unfolds at the end of John 1, the passage we’re focusing on today. In John 1:35-51, Phillip, one of Jesus’ disciples, was so overcome by the fact that he’d found the Son of God that he immediately had to bring his friend Nathanael along, too. However, Nathanael was hesitant at first, and he didn’t believe Phillip had really found the Messiah. Verse 45 of John 1 (The Message) says,

Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.”

But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”

47 When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.”

48 Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.”

Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”

49 Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”

50-51 Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.”

All it took for Nathanael to believe was Jesus telling Nathanael He’d known him even before Phillip had thought to call Nathanael along on this journey. Now, Nathanael is displaying some admirable faith, for sure… but I love Jesus’ line at the end of verse 50:

“You haven’t seen anything yet!”

While Jesus was referencing the fact that Nathanael was about to have a front row seat to the single most important event in human history, I have to believe this statement is true for our lives also. We think God has been faithful to us in our past? He has even more faithfulness to give throughout the rest of our lives. We wonder if God’s finished using us for His glory after a season has come to an end? There is always more that He is waiting to call us to in the days to come. We saw God work a miracle or show up in a situation a few years ago? He is capable of showing up in even bigger and MORE miraculous ways in years to come. And on top of all of these things, we have the ultimate hope of heaven to look forward to after this life is all over.

Whether we’re talking about life here on earth or life after earth in heaven, God is not done with us, friends. And we haven’t seen anything yet. I’m thankful to know and believe that truth today.

Words Are Eternal.

Matthew 18 and Psalm 91

“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” – Matthew 18:18-20

Something I struggle with a lot is remembering to think before I speak. Please tell me I’m not the only one here! My brain starts the second I wake up and doesn’t seem to stop moving a mile a minute until I go to sleep at night… and when my brain is moving a mile a minute, so is my mouth, most days- I’ll be honest.

That’s precisely why the sentence in the middle of the above passage felt like it smacked me right in the forehead when I was reading these verses today. The sentence I’m talking about says, “What you say to one another is eternal.” Um, excuse me? If that’s not slightly terrifying, I don’t know what is. All those little quips I say when I’m tired… the thoughtless remarks that slip out every so often… the careless things I say when I’m hurt to the people I love most… those are ALL eternal. Yikes.

Reading those words today made me pause and remember that my words matter. Not only do they matter, but they actually don’t ever go away… because they’re eternal. But on the positive side of this fact, I’m also reminded that the encouragement I share with a stranger, the kind words I try to remember to share with my people throughout the week, the prayers I pray over my marriage, business and family… those words are eternal, too. Read the last verses of Matthew 18:18-20 with me:

When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.

“You can be sure that I’ll be there.” I love that. Let Matthew 18 be a reminder to you today that your words matter… and whether it’s the encouragement you knew the Lord was calling you to share or the hurtful comment that came out when you were having a tough day, those words never go away. To close, the first verses of Psalm 91 bring me some hope after being reminded that my words never go away. And I don’t know about you, but I definitely needed some hope after that reminder! The verses say,

You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”

Thank goodness that even though this life can be challenging and we often fall short, God is our refuge and our safe place. When we mess up and don’t use our words in the way that’s most honoring to Him, He’s still our refuge, and we can be sure that He’ll be there for us.

Shifting Our Focus

If there ever was a Psalm that I have returned to time and time again ever since I became a Christian, it would be Psalm 73. For some reason, this psalm has always captured my heart, and it resonates with me deeply.

Just read the first line of the Psalm, in The Message version… it says, “No doubt about it! God is good,” and I think we’d all have to agree with that. No matter which way I look at it, God has been GOOD to me. There may have been seasons in my life where it felt like the WAYS in which He was choosing to be good to me felt difficult – and not so good! – in the moment, but He truly has been good to me.

I love how honest the Psalmist is in the next four verses of Psalm 73. Verses 1-5 say,

No doubt about it! God is good—
good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it,
missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way,
looking up to the people
At the top,
envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about,
not a care in the whole wide world.

“But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way…” these words stood out to me as I read this Psalm today. Does it scare you at all that it is so possible and so easy to miss COMPLETELY the goodness of God because we’re paying more attention to what everyone else around us is doing, thinking, saying, buying… you get the idea? Because this definitely worries me. I began thinking about all the times I’ve wasted mental energy looking the other way and looking at the world instead of my Jesus, and it was a good wake up call for me.

Friends, this is where Matthew 3 comes in. Matthew 3:11-12 (The MSG) says,

“I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”

It’s a darn good thing that my God is the kind of God who can take that old me and the old life who still resurfaces sometimes. My God promises take the old life – the life where I miss the goodness of Jesus because my eyes are on the world instead – and trade it in for a kingdom life (verse 1).  He says He will ignite that kingdom life inside of me, and that He will clean house and change me from the inside out. What sweet news that is!! He even promises to “place everything true in its proper place before God,” and in a season of life that is particularly busy for my husband and I – with not much seeming to be in it’s proper place – this sounds absolutely phenomenal.

Friends, no matter if you’ve been a Christian for 3 months or 30 years, don’t forget that God’s promises are still true. No matter where you are at in your faith walk, Jesus can STILL clean house in your life and change you from the inside out. Don’t miss God’s goodness because your eyes are on the world… let Him ignite that fire within you, and watch your life change DRAMATICALLY as your focus shifts back onto the One who deserves all of you, every day.

Draw Near

The two chapters of Scripture we’re going over today might not seem like they tie in together at first glance, but as I was reading these two passages, my heart was definitely drawn to a few aspects of each. Both chapters, in my mind, I believe, discuss the character of my God. Let’s start with the beginning of Luke 15, focusing on verses 1-7:

By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

Can we all just pause for a second and recognize how totally grateful we are that our God is a God who “takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends?” My goodness. I can’t help but think that it’s a really good thing that He does, because I don’t know where I would be without that kind of grace in my life. That is the God we worship: a God who will come and be with us. Immanuel. He is not a God who is distant.

Psalm 63 seems to be the perfect place to transition to from this point of total thankfulness for Who our God is. In this Psalm, the author is recounting all the ways that God has been good to him, and I love what he says in verses 5-8, in The Message version:

I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;
    I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises!
If I’m sleepless at midnight,
    I spend the hours in grateful reflection.
Because you’ve always stood up for me,
    I’m free to run and play.
I hold on to you for dear life,
    and you hold me steady as a post.

Because we have a God who came to be with us, a God who will eat with sinners, a God who will chase after the one who has run away, and a God who isn’t far from us even when we are imperfect, we can live this same sort of abundant life  we read about in Psalm 62. We are “free to run and play” as we hold on to Jesus for dear life, because we are loved by a God who came. Today, my hope is that you can rest in the fact that God is not far away or even angry with you. Instead, He wants to fellowship with you and draw near to you… in fact, He even promised, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). And you get to experience that free and full kind of life that Psalm 63 talks about because of Jesus. Today, draw near to God and allow Him to show you the kind of life He has for you to live.

Because He Lives

So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.” Luke 1:1-4, The MSG

I can’t think of a better way to start off today’s post than the words above. How awesome is it that Luke, who wrote this book, wrote it with the intention of ensuring his readers knew “beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what (they) were taught?” I think it’s with good reason that Luke starts off his book this way, because the next heading in Luke 1 in The Message version reads, “A Childless Couple Conceives,” and the following one reads “A Virgin Conceives.” Luke may not have been the one including headings in his letter, but the content of his letter is the same today as it was so many years ago… and the contents of that letter are enough to make some people stop and question their reliability.

As someone who’s grown up in the church, I feel as though I’ve heard most of the Bible over and over again. But Luke’s focus on reminding believers that the things we have heard about over and over again really ARE true challenged me. Let it never become old to us that these incredible things did happen so long ago… a very old couple who hadn’t been able to have children had a baby, and a virgin conceived. These things happened, friends, and because they did we have hope for our lives today.

You see, the very fact that the miracles in the Bible are true means that the other things in the Bible are true- particularly, the fact that Jesus was here and He was who He said He was. My hope is that as we read Luke over the next few weeks and reencounter portions of the Gospel which are all too familiar to us, we will never lose sight of the fact that these things are real and that they happened. They have direct implications on our life today. Luke 1 may be about Mary becoming pregnant with Jesus, but later on we’ll read about Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and it’s important to read Luke 1 with this truth in mind.

One of my favorite songs is Because He Lives by Matt Maher, and part of the song says this:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

Luke is going to take us through the life of Jesus, and as it does, I hope we can become recentered on the fact that these miraculous stories aren’t just stories, but true life events that happened and that mean we have hope for everything we face today. Be encouraged that our God is the very same God who was in the business of miracles 2,000 years ago, and that He is just as capable of being faithful today as He was back then.

Snap Out Of It

Do you ever forget, like I do, what we have access to as children of God? Often, I think we Christians forget that our lives don’t have to look the same as everyone else’s. Let me explain.

Think for a moment about the way the rest of the world lives their lives on a daily basis. Most people’s lives are packed to the max. Families are always stressed, way too busy, and pack their schedules with unnecessary commitments. People are wearing themselves out climbing the ladder of success, only to miss out on the joys of life along the way. People are living in fear and turning to material things and false securities to find their strength or a sense of peace. People are living with deep guilt and regret for the mistakes and choices they’ve made. Marriages are falling apart left and right, and the biggest priority in life seems to be self above all else. It’s a broken world… no one would argue with that.

Here’s my question: Why is it that the lives of so many Christians (my life included!) can start to resemble the picture I just painted? Granted, we are all broken and sinful people at the core, but I think we often forget that as adopted children of God, we have the opportunity to live differently than the rest of the world. Yet, it’s so easy to forget this truth when we live day to day life surrounded by a world that lives in the way I described above.

That’s why I love 2 Peter 1. Peter is writing to believers as if to say, “Snap out of it!” Often, I need this sort of shoulder-shaking faith reminder… and I’m sure you might, too.

2 Peter 1:1-9 (the MSG) says,

“Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

There is seriously so much goodness in these sentences, and I could focus on any number of these truths… but I want to trust that no matter what time of the day you are pausing to read this little post, the Lord will reveal to you what part of those verses, or the entirety of 2 Peter 1, He wants you to rest in today.

For me, the biggest thing I think God is telling me is that I don’t have to live my life like the rest of the world does. In fact, my life should look totally different from the rest of the world. As a daughter of Christ, I can live in freedom… not overcome by guilt due to my mistakes and failings. I don’t have to cling to worldly things for my security or turn to temporary comforts for my satisfaction… the only thing that can truly satisfy my soul is my Jesus. I don’t have to be fearful about the future, but instead, I can trust that God has a plan for my life and that He is a provider at His very nature. I don’t have to be busy and stressed all the time, but I can live a full life. I can live a full life that honors God and allows me to treat my body like a temple, rather than running it into the ground all the time as I try to do “all the things” in order to just keep up. My goals don’t have to be centered around money, prosperity, and success… instead, they can just focus on what will honor my God the most every single day. And I don’t have to be enough on my own… in fact, I was never made to be enough in the first place. I shouldn’t hold myself to the same standards that the rest of the world holds themselves to… because the only reason they do so is the fact that they don’t know Jesus.

I hope you are reminded today that your life as a Christian should look different from the rest of the world’s lives… and that full life is already waiting for you to take hold of. Jesus is just waiting. 

Jesus Doesn’t Change.

In the midst of a world that often feels unsteady with everything going on, whether in the national sense or my personal day to day life, reading Hebrews 13 was a breath of fresh air for me. I especially love Hebrews 13:18, which says:

For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.

Isn’t this incredibly comforting? I love that the God we worship has never not existed, and yet He has never once changed. I love that the God we worship will never not exist, and yet He will never once change. And I love that the God we worship is so steady to hold onto, even when everything in our lives feels exactly the opposite.

Even though I know these truths deep down, and my head knows the truth that God is unchanging and completely steady, my heart sometimes forgets. I’ll try to hold on to anything else I can when my life feels crazy, from relationships to possessions to any other place where security can be found. And then I read Hebrews 13:9, which says:

The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that, does it? God is the only thing that will never change in this world, and His grace is the only good ground for everything else in our life. Rest in that today, no matter how unsteady our world or your life feels… and let go of whatever other “good ground” you’ve been trying to build your life on lately.

Get On With It

So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it! Hebrews 6:1-3

Before we get rolling here, I just have to point out one thing… I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes The Message version of a Scripture is so motivating. When I read the first few verses of Hebrews 6 today, I could not help but feel convicted… maybe you feel the same way. Anyways, moving right along today… 🙂

I’ll be honest: it’s easy for me to focus on the “preschool fingerpainting exercises” of my faith and miss the “grand work of art” that God really wants to grow me in. I seem to start off really strong after Sunday, but since I’m incredibly task oriented and to-do-list driven, by the end of the work week I often am going through the motions and missing the big picture of what God is doing in the midst of my everyday. I love that Hebrews 6 literally tells me that there is so much more to life than that… and when I’m barely able to find time to be with the Lord during a busy week, I can’t help but realize I’m just sitting here doing those preschool fingerpainting exercises when God’s painting a gorgeous work of art that He wants me to make time to be a part of.

I listened to a sermon the other day that reminded us as Christians that God loves us enough to give us free will. He is not going to make us do anything… all the way from preventing us from sinning to forcing us to trust in Jesus for our salvation. That goes for the things Hebrews 6 convicted me about, too: have the choice to orient my life in such a way that I do exchange my meager attempts at fingerpainting for watching God paint a canvas. can choose to live my days on this earth out in a way that puts Christ at the center of all things- my conversations, my errands, my emails, all of it. have the choice to make the jump from the tiny to the grand- and God’s not going to make me do it. I have the choice, and He’s just waiting for me to take it.

What are grander things that God is waiting for you to choose this week? And what faith steps does God want you to take to grow your faith walk with Him, today? I fully believe that He wants us to trade in our meager attempts at finding full life on our own for the bigger, more beautiful things He’s already put in place for us. I hope that today you can be encouraged to get on with the grand work of art Christ has ready and waiting for you and to leave behind the lesser things. It’s time to grow in our faith and get on with what God has next for us.

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:18-20