Like a Child

Sometimes when you read a familiar passage of the Bible, you’ve really got to slow yourself down and pay attention.  Sometimes it’s so easy to just think, I’ve read this before, and quickly read through it, and then move on to the next passage.  When we do that, we can miss that unique thing that God may want to say to us today.

For instance, one of today’s readings was like that for me.  So I had to go back and reread Mark 10: 13-16 several times.  Listen to what it says:

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

When I was reading today this is what jumped out to me.  In verse 15, if you don’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child, you will not enter it.  I just sat and stewed on that for a little bit today.

By the way, that’s one of the ways that you can really hear God’s voice in Scripture. When you are reading, what jumps out to you?  What catches your eye?  God back and stay there for a while.  Go and listen.  Keep going back to it.  And listen to what jumps out.  Pay attention to words. To thoughts.  To ideas.  To images.  What pops off the page at you?  That’s where God is speaking to you.

christmas-treeToday for me, it was receiving the kingdom like a little child.  Know what I thought about?  Christmas morning.  The excitement.  The joy.  The anticipation.  The “waking up at 3 in the morning” type of passion that every child has a Christmas Eve.  The fact that you can’t wait, you can’t can’t wait, you can’t wait to get that present.

Look out work, here we come!

Our kids feel that way about Christmas, don’t they?  Honestly, don’t we still?

Do we feel that way about the Kingdom?  Do we feel that way about grace, about mercy, about Jesus?

This world makes us grow up, doesn’t it?  And that’s a little sad. We can lose that that joy for Jesus and His gift. This world as a way of dampening that fire.

Jesus today wants to light that fire in our hearts.

Today, you are not condemned.  You are forgiven.  You are loved.  You are treasured.  You are valued.  You are His prize, His joy, His love.

And He wants you to receive that today.  With child-like joy!

Today, may we receive His love like a child.

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In the Morning

Sometimes we are in a storm that we feel will never get better.  Sometimes the waves seem too high, the troubles seem too deep, the worries seem too much.

Sometimes there is weeping. And we feel like the weeping will never end.  It will never get better. It will never stop.  It will never change.  But know this. It will.  The weeping will not last forever.  The troubles will not stay forever.  The pain will not stay forever.

Listen to what we are told today in Psalm 30: 4-5:

4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

urlWeeping may come in the night. But joy will come in the morning.  It will get better.  It will.

The darkness will not last forever.  When we are in the middle of it, we may think that it will never end.  We may think that it will never get better.  But it will.

You may be in pain now.  You may be in trouble now.  You may be in the middle of a storm now.  Your tears may not stop now.

We all know that feeling.  We’ve all been there.  It hurts.  And not much makes it feel better in that moment.  No matter what you may be going through, you may feel like it will never get better.

It will.  Listen to God’s Word this morning.  It will.  Weeping may linger for the night.

But Joy comes in the morning.

Today, if you are in the night of your tears, hold on.  Morning is coming.  It is.  Morning is coming.  And joys comes then.

Hold tight to God.  He will not let you go.  And His joy will come.

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Why We Rejoice

One of the great blessings in life is to celebrate the ways that God works and moves.  Sometimes, in our bid to stay humble, we can forget to give testimony to what God has done.  Now, we do want to be careful, making sure that God gets the glory for whatever good happens in life, but we need to stop and realize what God has done.

It says in Revelation 12:11 the devil is defeated by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.  In our lives, we should, as often as we can, stop and testify and thank God for what He has done and is doing.

So today in our text, something surprising happens.  Listen to what we see in Luke 10: 17-20:

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

shutterstock_86099122-1Jesus said, yes, all these great things happen. You have authority to do so many things.

But don’t rejoice because of that.  Rejoice because your name is written in heaven.  We don’t rejoice today because of what we’ve done.  Or what God has done through us.  We don’t rejoice because of any of these things.

We rejoice because we are His.  We rejoice because He has given us life, life now, and life for all eternity.  We rejoice because we know the source of our life and our hope.

We rejoice because God has made us His very own.

Our identity is not found in what we do.  Our identity is found in who we are.  We are His.  That’s where our joy comes from.

May we never forget that!

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