I think it’s fun to talk about the end times! To think that one day soon, we will be caught up in the air with Jesus is beyond exciting! I have dreamt about it too, those dreams are so cool. In my dreams, we suddenly start to slowly float up into the sky.
I have always thought Jesus would return like a thief in the night, and that even believers would not know when, but when I was reading through 1 Thessalonians 5 this week, I see that believers are not in the dark about it.
“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4
We are children of the light, not darkness. We are to be sober minded and alert as we anticipate the coming of the Lord.
“So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6
1 Thessalonians 5 is full of exhortation about how we are to act as we look towards the hope of Jesus returning. Let’s keep encouraging each other and building each other up. Honor those who are leaders with whole hearted love and show them great respect. Live at peace with each other. Always be joyful. Never stop praying and be thankful in all circumstances.
“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Christ died for us so that whether we are dead or alive when He comes back, we can live with Him forever. What beautiful, beautiful hope!
Oh the love/hate relationship with Facebook that can plague us! Recently, I have taken the swoop and given up on Facebook. There are a lot of reasons why I have, and maybe you have wrestled with Facebook too and understand the glob of reasons the love/hate Facebook relationship exists. Maybe you agree it is not the best place to spend time or maybe you just think I’m crazy. We all have to do what we think the Lord wants of us! I am not here to debate Facebook, but in my life, satan has used it for waste, so I am happy to boot it to the curb.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Jesus came so that we can have life and have it to the full. If there is something in my life that satan can use to cause waste, I need it out of there! What does it look like to have life to the full instead? It is being wrapped up, head over heels in love with Jesus, the lover of our soul. And as we grow in a deeper walk with Him, more life takes hold, more freedom abounds, more joy, more peace, more of His sweet truth… More of everything that overflows with His goodness, grace, and His love. It just keeps overflowing!
“For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 13:12).
Life to the full sounds pretty amazing! Let’s not live for anything less! We can keep watch for Jesus in our day, abide in Him, search for God’s best, and bask in the precious overflow He intends for us to possess.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
God appoints events in time. My Mom came over one day this week and we had such a sweet visit together. One thing we talked about were the seasons in motherhood and in life, and embracing where God has us today. Seasons come and go and despite our wishes, sometimes they disappear just as quickly as they rushed in. In the tender part of our hearts, we can find ourselves looking back longingly instead of embracing where we are at today.
Time is a part of God’s plan…
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–
Every event under heaven has an appointed time and God will not fail to usher in His will according to His perfect plan. Knowing His character as a loving God, always looking out for His Bride, what peace will overwhelm our soul as we rest in His plan for us and in the lives of those we love? We can trust Him to work things out according to His perfect timing. Ultimately, He has appointed it all and there is such joy in today, right where you are at.
Until recently I had never been in a court room. But, not too long ago, I was able to go and witness the adoption of a precious little girl. As we were waiting in the hall to go in, I wondered why these people were coming in and out of the doors of the courthouse. Sad trials, maybe for drugs, or driving under the influence, beating someone up, all occurrences that happen. I thought about the people who live like this, who don’t know there is another way. I could so easily be that person.
Before I knew Christ, my feet were sinking in the miry clay. I didn’t have a clue who I was. I didn’t know there was a better way of living, that only comes from recognizing what Jesus did for me by dying on the cross. Because when He did that, He made a way for my feet to be set firmly on a rock.
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40:2).
If people have not put their faith in Christ, it does not mean they will spend their lives in courthouse situations, but if they are not in Christ, they do have their feet sinking in the miry clay. It’s not always this visible on the outside. But, there is only One way to be secure and that’s through Jesus.
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
Jesus takes us out of the turmoil, the pit, and the restlessness that weighs us down and He replaces that way of life with a lightness, an abundance of peace, love, and true joy. He takes us out of the sinking miry pit and steadies us as we walk along.
My husband and I have been married for 17 years. Oh, what a journey our marriage has been! Recently, we decided to go through all kinds of old emails we had written back and forth from years ago. We laughed pretty hard at some of them. We cried at others. I was pretty embarrassed about how immature I was at times! Looking back we both could see we have grown so much. Thank the Lord for that!
A year from now, I do not want to be the same person I am today. I still have a lot of growing up to do! But thankfully, God continues a good work in me. He is molding me to reflect a clearer picture of Himself and the results are so worth it. I wouldn’t want to go back to the person I was before.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Phil 3:12-14
When Jesus died on the cross for us, He made it possible for us to forget what is behind, no matter what is there. We are a brand new creation, surrendering to the sovereign, loving God, Who we can trust. As He presses us and molds us along this journey, we can trust Him to create in us a new beauty that makes it all so, so worth it.
“Love never fails.” It is on a picture in my living room, a reminder of the greatest love there is. This picture perfect Love is as real as it gets! He spoke the words of creation and sent His Son to die for us. He is available to us and cares to walk with us today. That is mind boggling! The love of God is real and true though, and what a wonderful thing to grasp more and more of!
The more I realize how much I needed Jesus to sacrifice His life for my sins, the more love I have for Him. I fall so, so short of perfection. I do not do things right and even when I do, my heart is still full of deception. Sometimes, I do not even realize the junk in me.
But, Love doesn’t log my past mistakes. It just continues to pour out more joy, peace and freedom. After all, Love forgives.
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
Love is quick to forgive. It is where Jesus made a way and where Jesus is the Way. He died so that my sins aren’t held against me. There is no greater love than what Jesus did for me. He is the perfect example and emulates exactly what true love means.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Jesus is the most excellent way.
Awhile ago I thought it would be nice to have a big dining room table for our family of nine, so I prayed for one. God owns it all, right? So, a few months went by, we came across country from Utah to Maine. After being in Maine about a month, my dad told me, “Hey, Ash, I have a dining room table set that looks nice. I think you are going to want it.”
I peek into the back of the trailer containing the load he had just picked up and there it was. In beautiful condition, there gleamed a sturdy, large table set, perfect for our family. It boasted of family dinners and parties and Thanksgiving. And not only did God provide for our family, but the man paid my dad to take this dining room table off his hands!
“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7).
There is a simple phrase I tell my kids often, “Our God is a good God.” His lovingkindness has been so obvious in our lives, that I could say this phrase all day long. The Lord takes such good care of His people! He goes above and beyond to show us His lovingkindness.