The letter N stands for…

“Behind!”

This is something I hear and say every day at the Olive Garden. When I am carrying a tray of pasta, salad, and bread sticks, I need to let people know that I am walking through the dining room. They do the same for me as well. We all let each other know that we are literally, right behind when we shout out, “Behind!”

dropped food

Saying “Behind” serves a purpose. It lets the hearer know that they have someone directly behind them. We don’t have eyes on the back of our heads so this is a good thing. Now, I am aware of the presence of that person.

Trust me, it is no fun when a 15 or 20 pound tray of food crashes to the ground because someone was not watching what was happening around them!

dropping a tray


The Word – Near

The Worth – God is near. Near to me and near to you.

The Bible is filled with examples of how God has chosen to be near His people from the very beginning.

Genesis – He walked with Adam and Eve

Exodus – He gave Moses blueprints for a tabernacle to be built.

The Prophets in the Old Testament – They spoke the message that God desired relationship with His people.

The Gospels – Jesus being born as a baby. Immanuel means “God with us”.

Acts and the New Testament – The Holy Spirit is given to all who seek Him. The authors describe how we can have a relationship with God.

Revelation – God will take His children to be with Him.

All because He loves us. And He is near to us because of that love. All through time, God has proven His love because He keeps making arrangements to be near us. We can’t get away from Him! Even if we tried, there is nothing that can separate us from His love.

See Romans 8 for a deeper look on this idea.

How is it that we can be so distracted that we miss the fact the He is near?

The Work – As for the practical application of this blog…it really seems simple.

In a word, relationship. God wants a relationship with us and He has taken the first step to be near to us. God is doing this so we would be aware of His presence.

But what then, is our part?

Look for Him. Take the time out of your day and look, listen, search, and seek out this one who loves you so much. The bible says that if you seek, you will find.

After all, He is near you saying “Behind!”

 

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Do you believe in magic?

When my kids were young (think 4 or 5 years old), I could do magic tricks easily. Pulling quarters out of ears or making a penny disappear were standard. Throw in a few cards tricks and they would be amazed.

magic-tricks

As an adult, I enjoy a good magic show. It amazes me how these magicians can make big things disappear! How does a helicopter vanish into thin air!?!?

But all of that is just slight-of-hand or misdirection. The helicopter does not really vanish.

The Word – Magic

The Worth – God is magic. No, not Harry Potter magic or Gandalf the Grey type stuff. He really can make stuff disappear!

magician

If you have not read the post “What do you want?”, please click here. It will give you a context that will make more sense when reading this post.

In that post, I had written a line near the end;

He took action so we can take action.

Let me unpack that a little more.

2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

John 1 tells us to “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

This is God doing magic! He took away the sin of the world. He made it disappear! The action that God took was to make it possible for us to be sinless. We now can become the righteousness of God!

He loved us so much and was longing to be connected with us again. He wanted us so much that he took His son and used Him to take away our sin.

When I was 16, I got my first speeding ticket. This was 1989 so it probably was not too much of a fine. It was more embarrassing because I had three friends in the car with me!

I broke the law and deserved to pay the fine. But then my dad performed a magic trick.

He told that he would pay for the first one. He paid my ticket. That was both merciful and gracious all in one simple act.

God did a magic trick 2000 years ago. Jesus became our sin. See Isaiah 53:6

cross bridge

The Work – This part takes faith.

Understand that Jesus is the way back to God.

Jesus also took our sin upon Him.

Our part is to accept that payment. Just like my dad paying my speeding fine, we can accept this gift.

We can now live our life because of what has already been done.

Stop trying to earn salvation and enjoy the magic that God has performed!

Live to reflect your righteousness!

After all, God is not going to bring back your sin.

You are free. Go out and live it!

 

What do you want?

My kids are funny. They each get an allowance so they generally have cash on hand. If we are at a store, they might ask if they can have something. We, in turn, say to them, “Did you bring your money?” It has helped with the begging and whining that kids at so good at doing.

What makes them funny is what they really want. My daughter craves candy.

candy

And my son, a Playstation 4.

ps4

In fact, we all desire something. That is just the way we are made. So while my kids are saving their dollars for candy or a PS4, what are you desiring?

But this post is not about what we want.

The Word – longing

The Worth – More than my kids wanting their things. More than my dog wanting cheese popcorn. More than my wife and I desiring a healthy marriage or strong family. More than anything us mere mortals could possibly want is the fact that God wants us more.

He is longing to be with us. He yearns for a relationship with us. He craves our company.

Simply put, he loves us.

I chose the word longing for 3 reasons.

  1. It starts with the letter L
  2. It gives a sense of something desired but not yet obtained.
  3. It also implies that action must be taken.

God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden of Eden. He walked with them. I tend to be literal in my thinking about that scene.

What would that have looked like? Did God take a physical form? Did He speak in a regular voice?

But then the fruit was taken and eaten. The relationship was broken. And ever since then, God has been longing to walk with us again.

He desires us. Sure, we can have communion with Him now but with sin still in the picture, perfection is still not possible.

But God took action. He did something about His longing.

Desire drives decisions.

Pursuit proves passion.

He made a way for us to come back to Him.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 gives more detail on God taking action to make things right again.

Ultimately, the rapture will occur and we will be united once again! 1 Thessalonians 4.

God loves us so much! Even as I type the words, I feel like that statement does not encompass God’s love enough! He is longing to walk and talk with us.

And because He first loved us, we can love Him in return.

He took action so we can take action.

The Work – You might ask, “How do I take action?”

Ask God for help. Read your Bible. Then act on it. Do something about what God tells you.

take-action

God loves you and the Bible tells you so. That is a fact.

Do one thing today that reflects this truth.

 

 

 

Am I being productive enough?

If you have read any of my posts for 2017, you have seen the pattern. This post is going to be a word that starts with the letter K.

If you have done the math, 26 letters in the alphabet translates to one post every two weeks. That would get me through the alphabet and 2017 at the same time.

If you have figured it out, based on the schedule of one post every two weeks, then you know that I should be on the letter P! I am a slacker!

So I ask myself this question, “Am I being productive enough?”

In so many situations, we think we need to be ‘productive enough’ to succeed.

Perhaps these thoughts have wormed their way into your mind:

Did I do all I could? 

If I stay one more hour…

I need to make more money…

I feel so lazy!

I don’t deserve that…

  • promotion
  • raise
  • new job
  • woman
  • man
  • blessing
  • __________

…because I have not earned it. 

That list could go on a lot longer!

Why do we have this mentality that life is ‘works’ based?

I think we I can answer that question.

light bulb moment

We work because we don’t trust.

The Word – Kinetic

The Worth – We need to start with a quick and easy science lesson. This is physics 101.

There are two types of energy: Potential and Kinetic

Potential energy is stored energy. Kinetic energy is moving energy.

Potential-and-kinetic-energy

In the diagram, the ball is filled with potential energy because it is not moving.

When released, the ball is now falling (moving). It is now kinetic energy.

Here is where science and God meet.

God is always moving. He is kinetic energy. We can’t always see it. And because we can’t see something we tend to not trust it.

The Work – 

I got married at the age of 26. There were many years of asking God why He had not provided my wife. He was moving and preparing me even though I did not see it.

I used to be addicted to pornography. God was moving that whole time even though I was stuck. Now I can help others who are stuck in sin. Thank you Lord!

I was called into the ministry (specifically, March of 1990). Even today, there are times when I wonder about how to live out that calling. You can bet that God is still moving.

These are the biggest examples of my life. What about your life?

In what area is God moving even though you don’t see it?

Isaiah 55:8-11 give insight to our kinetic God.

Genesis 37-50 recounts the wonderful story of Joseph. God was certainly moving then.

Even when Jesus was in the grave, God was moving. Do you believe that God has, still is, and will continue to move in your life?

So start trusting God today. Trust Him because He is kinetic!

 

 

The letter J is a tough one.

God is Jealous! God is Just. God is Jolly? So there are not as many J words to choose from as there are for other letters. But even when I decided on this word, there was still a doubt in the back of my mind. Jealous and Just were both the leaders for a while. In fact, the word I am blogging about here almost did not even make the list. Why?

There was simply too much information about Jesus.

Yep. Jesus.

The Word Jesus

The Worth – There have been thousands of books written about Jesus. In my life alone, I’ve heard hundreds or even thousands of sermons about him. Millions, perhaps billions of conversations have revolved around Jesus.

What am I going to add in two minutes? Not sure but here goes!

In John 8:58, Jesus says this confounding statement, “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” NIV, Underline is mine. 

Here is a link to the whole chapter for more context.  John 8

These are the thoughts about Jesus that I gather from that passage.

 

  • The Creating Jesus was at the beginning of the world. The Old Testament contains numerous verses about this Jesus.
  • The Crucified Jesus is illuminated in the New Testament specifically Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He died and was then risen from the grave.
  • The Current Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us right now. See John 14.
  • The Conquering Jesus is found in Revelation. When He returns, watch out bad guys! There will be a great battle but Jesus will be victorious!

God can be misunderstood. He can be unclear to us. We don’t always agree on what God is, does, or looks like.

So in order for us to have a better picture, God gave us Himself…

…in the form of Jesus. And He was born as a baby. That way we could completely identify and understand who Jesus is.

If we understand Jesus, then we can understand God.

God is Jesus. Jesus is God. I like how it is stated in Hebrews 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…”

The Work – Action must be taken now that we know God gave us His son. Jesus died for us. We must choose Him or deny Him. Access to our hearts can be granted or denied. Remaining neutral is not an option. If I am not choosing to grow and move forward in Jesus, then I am declining or going backwards.

When I started writing this, I was not sure how it was going to end. Apparently, I have brought a challenge to all who read this blog. I myself am included in said challenge.

Let the timeless Jesus whom I have briefly described overtake your heart and mind. Allow Him to soak into your dry soul. Give Him the key to every closet in your life.

You will never regret opening your heart to Him.


Thanks for two minutes of your time. See you soon for the letter K.