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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You might not agree with me…

Remember the game Clue? In classic whodunit style, you moved from room to room asking other people about the Suspects, Weapons, or Locations.

clue game

Mr. Green, in the Kitchen, with the Rope!

This game was basically answering the Who, Where, and How. The What was the murder that set up the game. And the Why never was address. After all, this was a game and not real people. Motive did not factor into the equation.

Today, I want to address the Who, What, Where, Why, and How.

Who – God 

What – God’s love

Where – Everywhere and anywhere

Why – Because He loved us.

These first four aspects are consistent. God never changes. He is always the same so we can put our faith in someone who is 100% reliable. No worries on being let down because God is completely consistent.

But then we get to the How. And this brings me to the next letter in the Alphabet Soup.

The Word – Inconsistent

The Worth – In most things, God is consistent. We can trust Him fully. However, when He decides to deliver someone, bring healing, or perform a miracle, He can be inconsistent.

What!?!? God does not change, He is never inconsistent! Let me explain.

Let me list a few of the miracles that God has performed:

  • He parted the Red Sea
  • He provided manna and quail daily
  • He made the sun stand still for a battle
  • He made Samson super strong
  • He walked in the furnace with the three Hebrews
  • He turned water into wine
  • He made Lazarus alive again
  • Insert your story here

You see what I mean? God is inconsistent in how he works in people’s lives. His love is consistent. His faithfulness is supremely steady. He does not change but His actions can.

The Work – Are you broken today? Do you have a miracle in mind? Is there junk in your life? We can answer yes to these questions and more on a regular basis.

Keep seeking God. Don’t just seek His hand but seek Him. He will pour out His love, grace, mercy on you according to His consistent character.

But when He decides to act, don’t be surprised if it is something you did not expect. After all, God is inconsistent!

miracle ahead

It is finished…?

When I was growing up, Saturday mornings were not structured. Sleeping late was common. I never really worked early on Saturdays so the mornings were free.

Many times that my dad would be out running his errands on these mornings. Almost every time he was gone, a note would have been left on the dining room table. He would have instructions or chores for us to do.

It was on one of these notes that I first learned a particular word.

Now imagine a 14-year-old boy who is supposed to do his chores. Let’s pick vacuuming. Nothing would ever get moved. I would just hit the large, open areas of the floor. It seemed that I only would hit roughly 50% of the carpet!

Ironically, my son vacuums the way I used to. Anyway…

So on this specific morning, my dad included a word that described how I am supposed to do my chores. I was instructed to be diligent.

The Word – Diligent

The Worth – Here is the definition from Dictionary.com:

adjective

1. constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything:

2. done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking:


My dad was frustrated with my chores because I was cutting corners and taking shortcuts. Yes, I would vacuum but certainly not with any care or diligence.
Transition with me here. Diligent can be used to describe God. The work that he accomplished through sending His son to die on a cross and then be resurrected was an amazing thing. He took attention to detail. Every little problem or issue was taken into account. God did the job and saw it through unto completion.
Hebrews 1:1-3 says, “1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.NIV
I added the underline because those words tell me that the job was complete. I do not have to work for my salvation. I do, however, continue to work out how I live for God. It is a maturing process. But my soul is saved! He loved me enough to send His son. He was diligent enough so that the work of salvation is finished.
Jesus said so on the cross. It is finished!
The Work – By all means, keep seeking God in your life. He will answer prayer for you. He will guide and direct you. You are not alone! But sometimes there can be sad or discouraging times. Be encouraged as I close with some familiar verses.
Philippians 1:3-6, ” 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.NIV
it-is-finished

 

Could or should?

2016 is almost finished. I would think that most people would reflect and look back on what the year has been for them. Not a bad thing to do.

Unless you stay there. Unless you get stuck wishing you should have done things differently. The mud of the past is very sticky.

“I could have given more this year.”

“I could have read more books.”

“I could have sent more thank you notes.”

“I could have…”

The past is past and there is no changing it.

I hear a song recently. The title is All is Well. There is link to the video as well after the lyrics. Here are the lyrics:

 
All is well all is well 
Angels and men rejoice 
For tonight darkness fell 
Into the dawn of love’s light 
Sing A-le 
Sing Alleluia 

All is well all is well
Let there be peace on earth 
Christ is come go and tell 
That He is in the manger 
Sing A-le 
Sing Alleluia 

All is well all is well 
Lift up your voice and sing 
Born is now Emmanuel 
Born is our Lord and Savior 
Sing Alleluia 
Sing Alleluia 
All is well

Christ has come to earth as a baby. All is well.

He then lived, died, and was resurrected. All is well.

jesus-will-be-right-back

Sorry the image is blurry. This picture is of my page-a-day calendar. The white square in the middle says “Jesus will be coming back soon.”

And then all will be well again.

Don’t waste time think about what could have been. Instead, think about what you should be doing for 2017.

2017 is full of great things! God is good like that.

Happy New Year!

Come back next week for the start of a new series; Alphabet Soup.

 

Page 715

Page 715 in my bible only has three words on it. It is blank on the back.

All it says is “The New Testament”. Here are some pics.

Page 714 ends with the last verses of Malachi. Page 718 starts with Matthew.

Think about the bible for a moment…

It covers thousands of years of history. There are many genres and writing styles used by 40 some authors. Can you count all of the people of which the bible speaks?

But yet, in all of that amazing stuff there is a period of silence. Page 715 

That single page represents silence. History tells us that the silence between Malachi and Matthew is 400 years. 400 years of nothing.

No prophets. No judges. No stories. No wars. Just…nothing.

Where was God?

Is your life stuck on page 715? Do you feel like God is not there? No voice? Nothing happening? There is silence and it is deafening.

But, (and there is always a But), God. Yep, He is still there. 

Let’s jump to page 867 in my bible to Galatians 4:4. This is my favorite Christmas verse.

Here is the first half of the verse in various translations:

New International Version
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son,

New Living Translation
But when the right time came, God sent his Son,

Berean Study Bible
But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, 

New American Standard Bible 
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, 

King James Bible
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, 

International Standard Version
But when the appropriate time had come, God sent his Son, 

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But when the end of time arrived, God sent his Son

GOD’S WORD® Translation
But when the right time came, God sent his Son [into the world]. 

 

After 400 years, God sent His son.

From silence came the Word.

From nothing came a Baby.

From darkness came the Light.

my-bible-3

 

Have hope this season. Christ is alive and well. You don’t need to live on page 715.

So turn the page and keep reading! God has great things for you this December!

Stay tuned next week for another Christmas post.

Have a fantastic day and Merry Christmas!