Nail-Pierced Tires

He propped those screws right up against the tire. Three times, they punctured. Three times, we limped our way to the mechanic for a patch. Three times, he saw the damage, the inconvenience, the interruption to our day, but never connected his action to the events until the mechanic handed over the screw.

The brother encourages him to tell, because “it is always better to tell,” instinctively knowing that confession is good for the soul.

He scrounged up all the courage his little frame could muster and spoke the hard-honest truth. It was his fault.

My heart swelled at his courage, his decision to speak Slide1and believe what we have been repeating for years.

Our family…

…says what we’re sorry for…

…never stays angry…

forgives.

With trembling lips, he waited to see if our mantra was true. Fearful eyes understood what we didn’t need to say. This was big—bigger than anything he could fix on his own. Worse still, he had no excuse or reason. Equal measures of boredom and curiosity set the plan into motion. Forgiveness, should he receive it, was undeserved, unmerited, and unearned.

Undeserved. He punctured those tires as much as my sin punctured the hands and feet of my Lord. We are both stained with sin.

Unmerited. Grace is the unmerited favour of God toward me. Grace is the best response to his hard-honest confession. He might not deserve it, but one thing I know for sure is that I certainly don’t, yet here I am, drenched in God’s grace.

Unearned. Even with all the coins in his piggy bank, he couldn’t pay for those three patches. It had to be done for him. And even with all of humanity’s good works stacked from bottom to top, the price of sin is still more. It has to be paid for us, for me.

Together we stand as recipients of undeserved, unmerited and unearned forgiveness. Praise the Lord!

*from the archives

The reminder that we all need

This is for the one buckling under bad news. This is for the one who tugs her sleeves over the track marks of her past. This is for all of us limping barefoot down the broken and narrow road. This is for me. This is for you.

The Lord is everlasting to everlasting, the first and the last, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, who calls, adopts, brings to repentance, and clothes the filthy and unclean in robes of righteousness.

You invite the wretched to come. You take all that is true in the enemy’s taunts and place it upon Jesus. In the greatest exchange known to mankind, You take my sin and You give me Christ. I can’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, but you do it anyway. You are for me. Your plans are good for me, even when this busted world makes the opposite seem true. Your Word promises that beauty will rise from the ashes of disappointment and heartache.

The Gospel for Every Day

The gospel truth is life-changing not only in that first moment of salvation, but in every moment that follows. The gospel truth matters today because I need You today just as much as I needed You yesterday and just as much as I will need You tomorrow. The gospel is good news for the guilty, good news in the mundane, and good news for the shamed. It is good news for every day.

The gospel truth declares me clean, holy, righteous, and able to stand before You, Lord, because Jesus makes it possible. I approach Your throne with confidence knowing You hear my prayers, have gone before me and walk beside me even now.

Enough

You are good even when life is not. And when the shame of my sin, the weight of my guilt, the hugeness of my needs overwhelm me, You remind me that you are enough. You are more than able to cover my sin, remove my shame and meet every need perfectly. I praise You, Lord. In all the earth there is none like You.

The end of the story

When I don’t know how this trial ends I will remember how this story ends. You are victorious. Nothing can steal victory from You and from all who believe in You. And I belong to You. I am cupped in the palm of Your hand and no one can steal me from You. Thank you, Lord!

I am

I lift dirty hands and yield a wretched heart. My righteousness shrivels into filthy rags. My heart is full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and maliciousness. I am a gossip, a slanderer, a hater of God, insolent, haughty, and an inventor of evil. I am disobedient, foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. I am a truth suppressor without excuse and with a darkened heart[i]. I am dust, nothing, apart from God. This is who I am.

Until I meet the great I AM

The creator and sustainer of life comes to me. The redeemer, the one who parts the waters and turns water into wine, the one who causes the blind to see opens my eyes. The rock of my salvation turns my heart of stone into a heart of flesh. He walks on water. He heals diseases. He has authority over darkness and evil and raises the dead to life. He is unlimited in power and unequaled in majesty. He is my refuge, my hope, and my deliverer. He is the one who multiples fish and loaves, who the wind and waves obey, and who knows hunger, weariness, and temptation yet remains without sin. He is my Saviour.

Fully knowing who I am, He imputes the righteousness of Christ upon me. The GREAT I AM no longer sees my sin. It is gathered in the wind and blown away. God sees his beloved Son standing in my place.

Praise the Lord!

 

[i] https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2010/08/27/what-are-we-apart-fro-christ/

He makes all things new

I’m spending today before my Lord in quiet, in worship, and in His Word. As my mom prepares to go into surgery the Lord takes me to Revelation 21 and I am in awe of His unending mercy toward all who call upon His name.

I dwelt on the new heaven and the new earth, the holy city prepared as a bride, where God dwells with man, and God wipes every tear from our eyes. Death will be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain—for they have passed away.

A voice from the throne declares, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Here, there is no need for the moon or the sun for the glory of God gives light and its lamp is the Lamb.

All this awaits if your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.

As the heavy decay of fallen life increases with each rotation of the earth, the blessed truth of Revelation 21 breathes fresh hope in Jesus. There will be no more tears in hospital waiting rooms or funeral homes. Loved ones will no loner pass away because death itself will pass away. All things will be new for those whose name is written in the Lamb’s book of life because God says they will.

No matter how today ends, this truth remains: God is making all things new. With a heart full of thankfulness, I praise the Lord!

 

*adapted from the archives

Everlasting to Everlasting

My heart must praise the LORD! All my inmost being shouts His praises because I remember His mercy toward me.

He has forgiven my sins, healed my disease, redeemed my life, revealed Himself, and crowned me with love and compassion. He wraps me in His goodness and

in His presence is perfect peace.

He delivers the oppressed and promises justice. He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love because He remembers that

I am dust.

He accepts Christ’s payment for my sins and removes the stain of my offence against Him.

His love is great for those who fear Him.

Life is short, flourishing like a flower until the wind blows it away.

But from

everlasting to everlasting

the LORD’s love is with me.

For that, I praise His name.

 

*Inspired from Psalm 103

 

When you stand for Christ, you never stand alone

The stoning of Stephen is recorded in Acts 7:54-60.  It is interesting to note that when Stephen saw Jesus, both times Jesus was standing beside God.

Other passages describe Jesus as sitting at the right hand of power (Matt 26:64, Mark 14:62) or seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 12:2) but here, when Stephen needed his Lord the most, He stands. Jesus takes a position of action.

I find this amazingly encouraging. Just think, when we need Christ the most, when we are overwhelmed, distressed, persecuted, or attacked (verbally or physically) we have this picture of Jesus on His feet and ready to act. We have this image of Jesus in a position of action.

No matter how it feels, no matter how deserted or abandoned we feel in a moment of attack – Jesus is ready and able to intervene. Jesus is ready to do whatever needs to be done to ensure the will of His father is accomplished.

Stephen died

Stephen was stoned and Stephen did die. Why? Why did Jesus stand, but not intervene?

God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours. We can’t and won’t always know why he doesn’t intervene when he can. But it is interesting to note that in Acts 8:1-2, Saul had approved the stoning of Stephen.

Why does this matter? Who is this Saul?

Saul persecuted Christians. Not like we are persecuted when someone “unfriends” or “unfollows” or “hides all posts” from us on social media. Saul pursued Christ followers for the purpose of murder. Saul’s name stirred terror in the hearts of believers.

Saul approved the execution of Stephen, yet at the end of his life Stephen prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

How will it possible for this sin not to be held against them?

“If they hear and receive the good news (24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 10:43), then their sins will be forgiven, and they will not have to face the final punishment for a sin standing against them.

Is Stephen’s prayer answered?

Augustine said, “The Church owes Paul to the prayer of Stephen” (quoted in Barclay 1976:62). In fact, Saul is the one adversary named in the incident. Luke is laying the groundwork for the great victory God will win through Saul’s conversion and subsequent missionary service.” (IVP New Testament Commentaries)

*Read more about Stephen’s martyrdom here. Read more about Saul here.

God’s Plan

God DID have a plan and perhaps Stephen’s willingness to forgive in those last moments before his death haunted Saul/Paul. Maybe Stephen’s willingness to speak boldly and die for his faith lingered and tormented Saul/Paul. Only God knows how he used Stephen in Saul/Paul’s life, but we can be certain He used it because God wastes nothing.

Christ knows all the ins and outs of your ministry trials, family difficulties, personal challenges, and relationships challenges and God has a plan for you.

I pray that this image of your Saviour standing, this picture of Jesus taking a position of action when Stephen needed him the most, will bring you immense comfort and courage to endure and accomplish what God has called you to do.

Never forget that you never stand alone when you stand for Christ.

Blazing Love

The black night gives way to the burning force edging over the horizon. Light floods the surface of the earth. You can’t miss it. You can’t deny it. It just is. Everyday

Love gently eases over the edge, melting, warming, inviting you to surrender to the blaze of newness. A new day brings new growth. It requests surrender. It demands I yield to Light and welcome Him into the darkest corners of my heart. I throw back the shutters and tilt my face upwards into the heated love of the Son.

He melts my hardness; He warms the cold and breathes new life into this tired body. This births prayer. Prayer dependent upon the Light.

O God, my perfect and good Father, may you continue to develop Godly character in me, a humble heart, and a tender spirit. May life’s difficulties produce growth, a deeper dependence on You, a giving over of my will and desire to Yours.

May the lost dream make way for a new dream. A dream that is more than I could ask for or imagine. I plan my steps, but yield the path to You, O Lord. You determine my way.

*from the archives