The 5th letter is…

March! I missed it! Wow, how did I not post the last month? Not sure exactly…

Regardless, I am moving forward in this series, Alphabet soup.

So far this year, I have posted 4 times (5 including this one). As you may have already noticed, I am following a pattern. There is a word for each post and I started with Absolute. Breathtaking, Committed, and Diligent followed.

All of these words describe God. Today the word will start with ‘E’.

letter e

The Word – Essential

The Worth – Sometimes people use words in the wrong context. I work at an Olive Garden. I hear the phrase, “I am starving” literally everyday! Sometimes from the customers and sometimes my co-workers but usually from both! Do these people know what starving means!?!? Starving does not mean that you are so hungry because you have not eaten since breakfast! These people are not starving so I wish they would just say that they are hungry!

Essential means ‘absolutely necessary.’ Water is absolutely necessary in order to live. It is essential. Food is also essential. These are things that needed in order to live.

God is essential. In John 15, Jesus spoke some words. In this sermon, he did not exaggerate. He did not speak out of context. The words he spoke were accurate. So much so that we need to take heed and listen. Here is verse 5 from that chapter;

5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

john 15-5

Jesus said that without God, we can do nothing. Again, no embellishment in these words. The Son of God chose these words specifically and with a purpose. God is essential!

He wanted us to know that God is essential. We would not even be able to breathe unless God gave us the ability to do so. Death would happen. We just cannot do it on our own.

That is the penalty of sin. It is death. Physical and spiritual death.

But he gives more grace.

By the grace of God, he sustains us. He lets us live. He bestows grace so that we can come to Him and surrender our lives and follow Him.

The Work – Too many times, we try to live and succeed on our own power, talent, or perseverance. Stop it! I think that you and I need to try to abide (stay connected through consistent and constant relationship with Jesus). If and when there are mistakes, we can go to God for more grace. He loves us and the Bible tells us that His anger is only for a moment but his love is forever. see Psalm 103 

Stay tuned for the letter ‘F’. I am guessing that it will be a word that one usually does not ascribed to God. And, it just might be the best two minutes of your day!

2 minutes

Thank you and enjoy His grace today!

 

 

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

 

Bacon and Eggs

A chicken and a pig were talking one day. They were expressing their joy of living on the farm. Specifically, Farmer Joe’s farm. Having Farmer Joe take care of them was really a joy for these animals. So much so, they decided to throw a big breakfast in the farmer’s honor. Upon reviewing menu options, it was decided that Bacon and Eggs would be served. The chicken said that he was in support of this idea. After realizing what this breakfast would mean, the pig replied to the chicken saying, “You may be involved but I am committed!”

bacon-and-eggs

 

The Word – Committed

The Worth – Does this word scare anybody? People say men are afraid of commitment. As a minister, I talk with couples about marital commitment. My dad told me a long time ago that commitment is the most important aspect of a marriage. Are you committed to your family, your job, your passions?

Did you know that God is committed? How many times does the Bible talk about His grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unfailing love? This blog would take hours to read if I put all those verses in the post. So I am going to narrow it down to two verses.

Click on the verse to read the whole chapter.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God did not do salvation half way. He didn’t just provide enough to barely pass. He was committed! So much that His own son hung on a cross for you and for me. Our sins were paid for by the blood of Jesus. Everything you and I need for life (and even abundant life!) is found in the cross.

God loves us too much to be less than anything other than 100% committed!

The Work – So how is it even possible for me to live for God in return knowing I cannot repay Him?

You can’t. Accept the gift and live for God. Do your best for Him. Daily apply grace and mercy to your situation and keep moving forward. The Holy Spirit is right along side of you. Even after Jesus left this earth, the Holy Spirit was sent so we would not be alone.

God is fully committed. Are you?

commitment-quotes

 

 

A stone and it’s waves

Christmas time…celebrating a birth. The Christ child laid in a manger. The star showing the way. We all know the story, right? Hang on a minute and we will get to that very story.

But first…

Two weeks ago, I had a conversation with a good friend. It seems that every time we talk, something good comes from it. Thanks Nick!

One of the take-aways I had from the conversation was about influence.

We all have influence in our lives. Like a shadow covering the edge of the light, we don’t always see the influence we have on people. Why is that? Does God hide the influence so that we don’t see our total impact on people? Not really sure.

Imagine a stone. Now throw that stone into the water. What happens?

ripples

We have all seen it. The stone creates waves. Those waves are like influence. 

Some thoughts of mine regarding the stone and the waves:

  1. The waves all originate at the place where the stone entered the water.
  2. The waves are uniform in size and shape going out from the stone.
  3. The waves will continue until they hit the land.
  4. The stone, after creating the waves, sinks.
  5. The waves, once began, cannot be stopped, only redirected.
  6. Bigger stones make bigger waves.

Let’s bring this together now.

We are the stone. At least that is the way I feel that God designed us. We were made to splash! Waves of influence are the destiny to which we have been called. 

Will I let God toss me? Once I make that decision, God pulls back His mighty arm and lets go! Can you see Him throwing rocks?

Now that I have been thrown by God, my life is not my own. See Galatians 2:20.

Here is the catch, I am meant to sink. Rocks do not float.

I don’t mean sink as in fail. What I mean is that God uses a rock to create waves.

Waves equal influence.

Okay, back to the Christmas story. I want to recall a few “rocks” of historical note.

Mary.

Joseph.

The shepherds.

The Magi.

King Herod.

Baby Jesus.

If you look in the waters of our history, you can still see waves radiating outward from these rocks. 

God is using the influence of these rocks to impact you and me.

And it is about time we realize that we too, are making waves.

The choice is yours and mine to make. Let God throw you today!

Are you this one?

rock

Or this one?

ripples

 

 

 

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!