Love That Heals

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 NIV Our hearts cry out to be known. Sin keeps us hiding from one another. But something deep within us all longs for significance. And in a world that easily overlooks us, God sees. He knows your name, dear one. He calls it—even when no one else cares to know it—inviting you to turn your gaze to Him. You see, God also longs to be known. We are not nameless to God. He knows us, and He desires us to hear Him calling our names. He taught me this one day as I walked through the village next to our base in Pemba. I had been visiting the neighbors for hours, and I was late for a discipleship meeting. As I hurried down a hill, I noticed a very old lady in rags sitting in the dirt against a mud hut. She was blind. Her eyes were pure white. I felt the Lord asking me to stop for her. In the local dialect I asked her what her name was. She told me she had none. I thought perhaps she was from another tribe and didn’t understand my Makua dialect. I asked her again in a different language, but her answer was the same: “I am blind. I have no name.” There was another woman sitting nearby. I asked her if she knew the blind woman’s name, and she too replied: “She is blind, and she has no name.” I was stunned. I hugged [...]

Creation Knows Its King

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Psalm 93:1  In the beginning God said, “Let there be…” and there was. Wonder still grips my soul at the thought of it. God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—enjoying perfect fellowship with Himself, decided to create. The Word came forth as He expressed His thoughts. And all things came into being in obedience to the sounds God made. Amazing. Inconceivable. True. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:3 Oh, the power of God’s words! And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:3 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. Verse 9 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. Verse 11 In the beginning, all of creation moved in agreement with God’s words. No created thing denied Him obedience. Not even man. Until the day that man entertained a sound that disagreed with God. Adam and Eve trusted that sound, and for the first time, man denied God’s Word. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the [...]

Exposed…And Set Free!

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? Psalm 139:7 We spend a lot of time hiding. Who we truly are. What we really think. How we really feel. Our hiding began the moment seeds of sin embedded in man’s heart. Those seeds bore immediate, unwelcome fruit. Shame. Guilt. Regret. Fear. Blame. And that fruit still does what the enemy intended. It makes us hide. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.  And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:7-8 Adam and Eve found themselves naked. Exposed. So they did what they could to cover themselves and hide their true condition. But their hiding only distanced them from God. Distance remains the enemy’s goal, dear one. He wants to separate us from our Creator so that he can render us powerless. But while we might feel better with a little distance, the God who created us does not. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Verse 9 God’s intense love for man pours out from the pages of Scripture. He pursues us. Always. Disobedience doesn’t withdraw His affection. Rejection doesn’t stop His pursuit. We may run from Him, but we can never really hide. Yet we still try. And He still calls us out from hiding. Like Jesus did to a woman hiding in the crowd in Galilee. He [...]

Does Anxiety Compel Your Work?

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV There’s no getting around it. Scripture calls us to work. Heartily. Giving it all we’ve got. So sometimes we get a little confused when we read the story of Mary and Martha. We see Martha busily serving all who had gathered in her home, and we expect Jesus to commend her. After all, He blesses diligent servants. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” Matthew 24:45-46 Martha was sure her service would bring her Master’s blessing. So sure, in fact, that when she saw her sister idly sitting at His feet, judgment surfaced. And she brought her frustration to Jesus. “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Luke 10:40 Look at the emotion revealed in Martha’s words. Lord, do you not care? Her thoughts are obvious. He should care, because she cared greatly. She cared so much that she commanded Jesus to intervene. “Tell her then to help me.” His answer surprised her. And—if we’re going to be honest—often frustrates many of us. But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42, emphasis mine Mary has chosen the good [...]

Do Your Words Carry God’s Power?

And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 1 Samuel 3:19 Most of us are careless with our words. We let accusations fly without thought. We put others down and call it humor. We’re often quick to say things we don’t mean. I wonder what would have happened if Samuel had been careless with his words. After all, scripture makes an astounding statement about Samuel. God was with him, and He made sure none of his words landed without effect. Beloved, everything Samuel spoke proved true. Can you even imagine it? Honestly, with my track record the thought scares me a bit. Where would I be if God had worked that promise in my life? Carelessly spoken words would’ve undoubtedly wreaked havoc in the lives of people I love. But that’s the difference between most of us and Samuel, dear one. His words weren’t careless. Samuel’s words echoed those flowing from the mouth of God Himself, and that brought about some amazing results. … and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. I wonder, dear one. What would’ve happened if Samuel had chosen not to listen when God spoke? What if Samuel had ignored God’s words, letting them fall to the ground unheeded? Surely Samuel would’ve had a very different legacy. But Samuel didn't make that choice. In a time when “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision” (1 Samuel 3:1), Samuel heard and lived by the word of the Lord. It wasn’t the common thing to do. No one else heard God speak. But when God spoke to him, [...]

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a year filled with Christ's presence, redeeming love, and resurrection life! May the power of the cross be evident in you and reveal God's love to a broken world. Happy New Year from our family to yours!

The Word of God became Flesh

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 What’s your favorite part of the Christmas story, dear one? Is it Mary’s response to a visiting angel? Or perhaps the terrified shepherds tending their flock who found themselves engulfed in glory? I love the image of Magi from the east bowing to present costly gifts to a toddler King. If you let them, the details surrounding Jesus’ birth inspire awe and wonder. Today I’d like to spend some time treasuring one of those details tucked in our opening Scripture, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Have you considered the significance of that phrase, beloved? Perhaps you were not aware that the birth of God’s Son—the Word—came on the heels of four hundred years of silence from God. That may seem of little consequence to you. Maybe you’ve lived your whole life expecting God’s silence because that’s all you’ve known. But scripture overwhelmingly declares that God speaks to His created. He talked with Adam and Eve in the garden after He gave them life, and our first glimpse of Him after they sinned reveals a striking picture of God’s heart. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9 Do you see it, dear one? Even after they sinned, God came seeking them. He desires [...]

Daring to Hope

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5 NIV 1984 I love Christmas. It’s always been my very favorite time of year. Don’t get me wrong. If we’re talking about weather, summer wins. No question. Warm breezes, cookouts, and sunshine beat the gray winter doldrums any day. But Christmas to me was never about the weather. It was about the feeling. Do you know the one I’m talking about? My mother called it sugarplums. Every year the onset of Christmas carols, decorated trees, holiday smells, and overflowing trays of Christmas cookies brought inevitable excitement. Anticipation built with each opened door on the advent calendar. Finally on the night of December 24th, I would lose the ability to sleep altogether. Fun times. I wish I could tell you that my childhood excitement over Christmas was rooted in something spiritual. It wasn’t. Although I marveled at the wonders surrounding Jesus’ Bethlehem story, it would be years before I understood its profound significance and opened the gift God gave me in His Son. No, my childhood Christmas sugarplums came from the presents. You see, for the 12 long months from one December 25th to the next, my brothers and I would hear one thing from my parents in response to asking for things we wanted. “Maybe. Put it on your Christmas list.” So we did. Then we’d wait. And we’d hope. And as the big day drew near, we’d wonder what treasures might actually appear beneath the Christmas tree. Do you remember what it feels like to hope, beloved? At some point, even if only for a few brief [...]

The Greatest Thing You Could Do Today

Recently God showed me a glimpse into His wounded heart. While in prayer for the church, a picture of His bloodied Son nailed to the cross filled my mind. Then I saw the curtain torn that had separated man from God’s presence. And I began to weep, because I realized how few actually enter in. Beloved, Jesus endured incredible suffering for one singular purpose: to allow us the privilege of drawing near to the Father. Yet when He invites those of us who bear His Name to meet with Him in secret, we recoil. We act as though it’s a great hardship—a sacrifice—to give Him the time. I felt the pain in His heart, dear one. Our heavenly Father has only ever wanted us close. Yet time after time, we choose distance. We call it relationship, but it isn’t one. We hardly know Him. And yet this primary desire burns within God’s heart. He longs to be known. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 Today I’d like to share an excerpt from a recent article by Francis Chan. May it stir your heart to enter the only place you’ll find true heavenly power. The Greatest Thing You Could Do Today Imagine walking up a mountain alone. But it’s no ordinary mountain. The ground beneath you is shaking, and the entire mountain is covered in smoke. At its peak is a thick cloud with lightning and thunder. God descends onto the mountain in fire, and each time you speak to him, he responds in thunder. This is what Moses experienced in Exodus 19. Now compare that experience to your last time in prayer. Distracted, obligatory, ordinary — I [...]