A Benediction Full of Promise

 

Benediction 2

A Benediction Full of Promise | 40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 31

Today’s Reading:  1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you [and] may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.  1 Thessalonians 5:28 and 2 Thessalonians 3:16

I woke up this morning repeating a benediction full of promise. I Thessalonians 5:28 and 2 Thessalonians 3:16 are the last words of each letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. The last words are a benediction to remind them of what they have in Christ.

Sometimes when reading a novel, my impatience to know the ending gets the best of me, so I read the ending first to know where the story will take me. Upon reading the end of these two letters first, I discovered a benediction full of promise. Knowing the ending, made we want to discover the beginning and all of the other details written between.

I have to admit that I’ve taken this benediction for granted the first thing in the morning. Every morning it’s the same routine. I shuffle down the hall towards the kitchen for a cup of eye-opening brew and then maybe I’ll be deliberate to recall that I have a brand new day of experiencing God’s grace and peace. Unlike discovering the end of a story first, I seldom consider the end of a day first. I think more about the beginning of the day and all of the details in the middle without much thought of the way it should end.

The beginning, as well as the end of this day is to know that the grace of the Lord will be with me and His peace that I long for will fill and satisfy in every way.  May I become wiser to plan ahead for the end of my day, remembering it is a benediction full of promise.

Benediction

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge

This is Love | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

This is Love Sunday Respite

This is Love| Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 

In humility, we rejoice that His lovingkindness never fails – while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

This is Love

Jumping Tandem

About 40 Gifts of Lent

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent 

#LentChallenge

Given Freely to be Deeply Owned

Deeply Owned

Given Freely to be Deeply Owned | 40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 28

Today’s Reading:  Galatians 1 – end

May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes! Galatians 6:18 (The Message)

I am discouraged today. I feel empty.

And so I run away. Purposefully running to the gospel of grace, owning its truth. I’m talking to myself. I’m telling myself that what Jesus Christ has given freely is reaching deep and deeper still in my soul. His gift of joy overwhelms discouragement.

Why are people usually unhappy? David Martyn Lloyd-Jones said it’s because people are listening to themselves instead of talking to themselves. I can choose to listen to whatever my thoughts are telling me–I can listen to the negative banter and feel horrible.

Or I can talk back. I can remind myself of what is true, and who I am, and who God is and what he has done.

This gift is unwrapped, there is amazing joy and is deeply owned.

Deeply Owned 2

I read a sweet devotional book today: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge
Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday

Surprised to Be Loved |Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

From the Sky to the Sea

Surprised to Be Loved | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 

But me he caught—reached all the way
from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
Psalm 18:16 – 19 (The Message)

Sunday Respite 3

Jumping Tandem

Scripture and Snapshot

About 40 Gifts of Lent

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent 

#LentChallenge

Ask the Big Question

Ask the Big Question 1

Ask the Big Question

40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 22
Reflections on Acts 24 – end

Then I heard a voice in Hebrew: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me? Why do you insist on going against the grain?” I said, “Who are you, Master?” The voice answered, “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down like an animal. But now, up on your feet—I have a job for you. I’ve handpicked you to be a servant and witness to what’s happened today, and to what I am going to show you”  Acts 26: 12 – 16 The Message

I think the biggest question I’ve ever asked God to answer is, “Who are you?” I often think I know who he is, but truthfully, I don’t know what I don’t know.

I forget to ask God, “Who are you?” when life is moving steadily by at a happy rhythm with no interruptions. It’s those “life interruptions”…those “stepping off a cliff interruptions” that shake up my thinking to ask God the big question, “Who are you?” I would like to say that I’m a brave person, able to face any challenge, but I’m actually afraid to face the unknown. The interruptions in life bring me to my knees. [1] I read once that you’ll never treat the darkness as something strange until your eyes are opened to the light. I’m asking to see more of his light. I’m asking God for his help to stop fighting against his will.

I am asking God to answer the big question…I’m asking for a life-change of deeper faith, a faith that is not just something I do with my brain (head knowledge) but the way that I live my life. Throughout life, our faith must grow. We start with a small faith, but as we live the Christian life our faith becomes stronger, enabling us to trust God more and more. [1]

Ask the big question of God and he will reveal who he is through his son, Jesus…and then you will get up and go and press on through his strength and grace.

In Christ there is grace to sustain for every need, grace to empower every deed. There is the grace to forgive all of our sins and the grace to impute to us his perfect righteousness. There is the grace to absorb the wrath of God we were due and the grace to conquer the sin and death we could not escape. There is grace to live and grace to die. There is grace to crawl and grace to fly. There is grace below and grace up high.

In Christ, there is grace to get through the stinkin’ day. And whether we do so by the skin of our teeth or bounding and leaping with joy upon joy, our souls are united to him day by day and age to age. Because his fullness does not afford a meager grace, a probationary grace, a tentative grace. For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. [2]

As the Big Question 2

[1] To Count it All Joy is a Real Life-Change, Donna Harris, More Grace  | [2] All of Christ for All of Life, Jared C. Wilson, The Gospel Coalition Blog

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge
Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday

Receive This Peace |Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

Receive This Peace

Receive This Peace | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 

I leave my peace with you.

I give my peace to you.

I do not give it to you as the world does.

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

And do not be afraid.

John 14:27 (NIrV)

Through Christ, we have peace. Through Christ we can be deeply joyful. Through Christ we can have unshakable faith. I want the kind of peace that He gives, not the kind the world gives. I want the kind of joy that he gives, not the world’s joy. I want the kind of faith that can only he can give.

Jumping Tandem

Scripture and Snapshot

About 40 Gifts of Lent

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent 

#LentChallenge

She Collided Into More Grace

I want to see

 She Collided Into More Grace

40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 15

Reflections on John 6 – 9

“…One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”  John 9:25

About four years ago, she was spiraling into a black hole of depression, doubting God’s love for her, questioning her purpose in life. Her faith was becoming shattered and trust was replaced with doubt. Her mind, will, and emotions were exhausted, fragile, drying up and withering away. Nothing made sense anymore. Prayers were lifeless and she felt that God was not listening. Was God there in this mess she was going through?

She ventured further on a path of addiction and hopelessness…careening further from truth, driving blindly through a storm towards a train wreck.

The flashing red lights warning of an approaching train was carelessly disregarded until she was on the track. The sound of the train’s whistle pierced the silence, along with her terrifying scream as the enormous bright light of the oncoming train swallowed the darkness where she sat behind the wheel of her car.

The only explanation she has for what happened next is a miracle of God’s immense love and mercy for her.

Within seconds…in a flash she looked at her rear-view mirror to see the train speed by with the sounds of the screaming whistle and screeching wheels pulsing in her chest…and she wept and wept and wept.

If you happen to ask her about all of that, she will tell you that she heard God call her name immediately after she crossed those tracks. And she will tell you that simultaneously, her eyes were opened to believing God was in the mess with her. He was in control of her life. And the mess she was living was his perfect plan and his perfect storm to reveal his glory to her.

She knows he pursued her when she was blind and desperate. She collided into more grace. She has never been the same.

Collided into Grace

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. I want to focus on the freedom I have in Christ to overcome strongholds, yet also to gain strength, hope, and peace as I lean into the trials…To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge

Completely Known and Still Loved

To Never Thirst Again

Completely Known

40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 14

Reflections on John 1 – 5

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4:29

She goes to the well in search of water and has a collision with the transforming power of the gospel of grace. Her soul is thirsty to be satisfied with something more…but she has looked for it in all the wrong places. She is broken, lonely, and in need of real love and acceptance.

She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know that she needs Jesus.

And there you are, Jesus, understanding who she is. You know everything about her, everything she has done and every place she has been. Yet, because you are a wonderful, merciful savior you are not condemning but accepting, not shaming but cherishing, not ridiculing but redeeming her forever.

There is nothing I have ever done or ever will do that will prevent you from pursuing me. You know me completely. You go to the dark places where I live to shine your light of grace and mercy.

I need to collide into grace everyday…moment by moment. It is a gift to be pursued by you…to be completely known and still loved.  You are the Messiah.

To Never Thirst Again

 

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. I want to focus on the freedom I have in Christ to overcome strongholds, yet also to gain strength, hope, and peace as I lean into the trials…To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge