How the Bitter Things Become Sweet

One of the biggest misunderstandings of the Christian walk is that life will be easy. Saved by the blood of Christ, it feels like we should also be saved from the trials of this life. After all, we’re God’s children. Doesn’t that mean something?

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 15:22-27
Key Verse: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” Isaiah 41:17

Yes, oh yes, it means my God is for me and no longer against me. It means I have a hope and a future. It means I have an advocate in Heaven and every spiritual blessing. It means I am never alone. It means I am indwelt by His spirit. Able to please my Father. Able to store up treasure in heaven. Able to spend forever with my Savior.

But it does not mean I get an address on Easy Street. That my friend is a lie of the devil. Meant to sabotage the trust we’ve placed in Jesus. (I think our brothers and sisters in Florida and Texas and Montana and Idaho and California and Washington and Oregon would agree. Phew, did I miss anyone?)

Three days into the journey (post Red Sea) it wasn’t Easy Street for the Israelites either. With their tongues sticking to the roof of their mouths, and not a drop of water left in the can (at least that’s how I’m imagining it), they at last spot water up ahead. Oh thank goodness! But when they got to it, they couldn’t drink even the smallest amount, for it was bitter.

Now I’ll be honest, I’ve never been three days in a hot, dry desert with no water. I’m guessing thirsty at that point is an understatement. (Especially considering the giant water bottles we lug around these days. Gotta get in our H2O.) So I get it – they had a problem. Our bodies can only go so long without water.

But to their discredit, just 72 hours before they had witnessed God’s authority over water. (The parting of the Red Sea.) So when they got to Marah (which means bitterness by the way), and the water was bad, they should have been like, “No problem! Our God’s got this!” (Can you imagine how that would have pleased the LORD?) Yet instead, they grumbled against Moses. Or rather against God, since He is the one who led them there.

Dumbfounded at their predicament the Israelites asked Moses, “What shall we drink?” (It sounds so casual but I don’t think they were nice about it.) To which Moses, unsure, went to God. Who showed him a log (or tree) that he could throw into the water to make it sweet.

Right, a log. Sure.

But oh the significance of that log! I can think of another log (or tree) that’s sweetened my life. Can you?  1 Peter 2:24 states, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” Why? So we could enjoy the sweetness of eternal life, instead of the bitterness of death.

Do you see the comparison?

In this life, we’re going to face bitter, hard things. There’s just no way around it. Unimaginable things. Things that don’t seem fair. Things we’re going to question and shake our heads at. And it’s only Jesus who can make it sweet. Because of his death, burial, and resurrection, on the tree, we can still celebrate.

Nothing can sweeten the bitterness of life like Jesus can. He alone can work things together for our good and His glory. Taking what’s messy and making it shine with brilliance and purpose. Using the worst of situations to draw us into the sweet surrender of His presence.

The cup He offers is delightful. It’s not wrath, it’s rest. In Christ, the things that are naturally bitter in this world become sweet to us who seek life in him. Who patiently endure. Who share in his sufferings, but also share in his victory. “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13).

Take Paul and Silas for example. Beaten with rods and placed in prison, they sang songs of praise to God. The cross (or tree for that matter) sweetening what should have been bitter waters.

But what about when it’s not just bitter waters I’m wading through, but the driest of deserts? What about then? When my marriage is shriveled up. When my patience is dried up. When my job is messed up.

Just turn to Jesus my friend, he’s waiting to provide.

Isaiah 41:17-18 says, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”

Pools of water! Overflowing fountains! In the driest of places. It’s God who is able. Then look what comes next in that passage: “I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together” (Is. 41:19).

Not only water, but God will give shade in the desert! A place to sit and cool thyself. A place to rest and enjoy.

Consequently, look what came next for the Israelites: “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water” (Ex. 15:27). Shade! After Marah, came Elim. Water and shade in the desert. Refreshment for the weariest of souls.

Our God is so kind.

In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Not just in eternity, but now, in the sweetness of His presence. In diligent obedience, there is blessing to be had.

In addition, it wasn’t just drinkable water God offered the Israelites. But sweet water. He made that which had been bitter taste good.

So how about it? Are you thirsty? Are you worn out? Are there bitter waters to wade through? Or dry deserts to walk through? Come, taste, and see, that the LORD is good my friend! “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8).

Or as Israel might have said that day…

Blessed is the soul who holds on to Jesus until even the bitter things become sweet.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Where do you seek for satisfaction? In Jesus or the things of this world?
How have you experienced the sweetness of His presence?
When has Jesus made even the bitter things sweet for you?

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The Part of Motherhood I Least Expected

I know you were expecting to dig deeper into Exodus today. I was too, until yesterday when I realized the little talk I shared with my church on Sunday about motherhood, might be beneficial for you too. (With a few extras because well, I thought of a few more things.)

So let’s just start with how motherhood isn’t quite what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to be a mom. I love those little peanuts. But the need to dig deeper for godliness in the midst motherhood – the part I least expected.

After all, my mom made it look easy. Patiently redoing my ponytails over and over, because I was just sure it was crooked! Keeping her cool when I stomped to my room angry because life just wasn’t FAIR! Taking me shopping when I insisted I had absolutely NOTHING to wear.

So easy in fact, when Kreg and I had our first son, I confidently told her we’d be fine our first night home. “We’ve got this, he’s such a great baby. We’re good. Go home.” But she knew and wasn’t surprised when I called sobbing at 2 AM because for some crazy reason my perfect baby wouldn’t go to sleep!

Little did I realize, how much motherhood would challenge me. How much it’d change me. How it’d blaringly point out all the ways I was selfish. How it’d be the hardest thing I’d ever done. The long days, the even longer nights. The exhaustion, the perseverance, the necessity of patience – none of which I registered for at Babies R’ Us.

Then came baby number two. Our precious little girl. I was elated, but how in the world, I ask you, do you grocery shop with two? How do you even get out the door? By the time you get ready to go, it’s time to come. Let alone, how are you supposed to take a shower? (With a vibrating baby seat and a Curious George episode – that’s how.)

Then, another boy – our Ethan. And not long after that – our Tyler. Four beautiful babies – my heart so full it could burst. Yet at the same time – so did my days explode with the needs and wants of four little people. The word mommy screamed, cried, yelled, spoken, whispered, whined, and repeated. And me running in four different directions for four different reasons at any given moment, racked with guilt for dreaming of a hotel someplace far away – maybe just for a night or two or seven.

Why was I not any good at this? (Ever felt that way mom’s?) Why did it seem as though motherhood brought out the worst in me, and the best in everyone else? (Because doesn’t it seem that way sometimes?)

Yet again at my breaking point I made another phone call. “MOM – How do I do this? I can’t do this.”

Her calm and familiar voice: “You’re right honey, you can’t.” (Not quite what I was expecting.) “But Jesus can.”

“But you did it mom, why is it so hard for me?”

“No that’s not true. I didn’t do it. I just clung to Jesus and let him do the rest.”

Words never truer, I’m grateful for her honesty and wisdom.

It’s funny, or perhaps ironic, or maybe more like astoundingly perfect, that the very things I was lacking, desiring, and in desperate need of were the very fruits God promised if I’d simply abide in him – joy, patience, kindness, perseverance, gentleness, love, peace. God knew I couldn’t do this life, this job, without Him, and He never expected me to.

It wasn’t more sleep I needed or time away or better behaved children or a housekeeper (though I wouldn’t mind that one), but the presence of He who tells the waves to come this far and NO further. The strength of He who holds this world tightly together. And the love of He who died for it.

It’s tempting to think the things that come most naturally to us, are the very things we shouldn’t need help with. Thinking our abilities should sustain us, and our instincts carry us – it’s there at the edge of independence we often fall short and then wonder what happened. “Guess I’m not as good as I thought.”

But it’s not our ability that matter’s, it’s Christ’s. It’s not our instincts that carry us, it’s Jesus. His word a path to victory no matter the road, the job, the disappointment, the difficulty. Paving the way for all of us whether a mom, a wife, an employee, a leader, a student, a friend.

Verse after verse spoken to the church or through the prophets or for the people of Israel thousands of years ago still pertinent today. Encouraging me. Directing me. Uplifting me.

Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I can be a godly mom amid chaos.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” I can keep my cool, when no one else is.

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, [even diapers] giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I can get up with gratitude and do it again.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him, because He cares for you.” And I can do it without being anxious.

Phil. 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” [even your children]. “Looking not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others.” My mantra for motherhood.

And so on and so forth. I could go on forever. His word giving me the courage to write weekly devotionals and post them for the world to see. His word guiding me as I parent. His word softening my heart in some areas and making me braver in others.

So that today and tomorrow and the next my very full cup can runneth over not just with craziness but godliness. Because contrary to popular belief, I don’t have it all together. I just seek to cling to the one who does.


The Most Important Question You Will Ever Answer

There is not a single human being who hasn’t met, face to face, some element of God’s grace. His undeserved goodness, His kindness, His patience has laced the souls of men from the beginning of time. From the caution to Cain to be careful, “sin is crouching at the door” (Gen. 4:7). All the way to the end, “And let the one who is thirsty come” (Rev. 22:17), the Scriptures are steeped with grace.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 4:29-5:2
Key Verse: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:18

Not to mention the breaths in between. The deep inhales of an orange and pink sunrise, a sloppy baby kiss, a tender I’ll-never-forget-this moment, a tulip in spring, a filling of peace, a long-awaited hello. It’s entwined with grace. All of it. Some measure of it giving glory to a creative, more than able, God.

As do the long exhales. The hard to get through seasons. The ones we get on the other side of and think, “I have no idea how I did that.” Grace. That’s how. God’s sweet enabling when honestly, we deserve much less.

It’s everywhere, God’s grace, and it met Israel face to face the day Moses unexpectedly walked back into their lives, with big brother Aaron by his side, to faithfully speak on his behalf of the suffering that had not escaped God’s sovereign glance. The land flowing with milk and honey. The freedom. And the impending rescue.

The people long in bondage heard it and saw it and accepted it for what it was. Grace cascading over their parched hearts. They believed Aaron. They believed Moses. They took God at his word and “they bowed their heads and worshiped” (v.31).

This the appropriate response to grace, surely filled Moses with a bucket or two of confidence prior to his initial meeting with Pharaoh. For when the moment came Moses and Aaron approached the king with awe-inspiring boldness. Like two men on a mission, they were out with it: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness” (5:2).

And just like that God’s grace poured forth without restraint or apology, before Pharaoh as well. Yes, that’s right, grace. Though it wasn’t recognized as such, it was grace indeed.

You see the LORD had every right to take Pharaoh out then and there. Dismantling him from power. Eternally dismissing him with the lost for mistreating His firstborn son (Ex. 2:22). But God didn’t, not even close. Instead God gave him a chance, an opportunity, to say yes. (Grace.)

To step into the most beautiful of all relationships. The Creator with his creation. But Pharaoh rejected it. Seeing it as nothing more than a ridiculous notion, He responded to Moses and Aaron with the question every living, breathing soul must face at one point or another. “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?”

Who is the LORD? Have you asked it? It’s a question we all must answer. Our response, leading us to either accept the grace before us or reject it. There’s no middle ground. No gray area to land within and still be ok. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matt. 12:30). It’s a with or against situation. You’re either covered by the blood of Christ or you’re not.

John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already,” leaving no space for wiggle room. Either you’re a servant of righteousness or a slave to sin (Rom. 6:16). A child of God or a child of the devil (Matt. 13:38). Doing the will of the Father in Heaven or doing the will of the father of lies (John 8:44).

Face to face with God’s grace, you either accept it or you don’t. And here in Exodus we see the stark contrast of those who accept it and those who don’t. Israel worshiped, but Pharaoh scoffed, “I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go” (v.2).

Grace my friend, it’s there for the taking. Wrapped in God’s mercies renewed with each day. Never diminishing in quality. Never ceasing in quantity. Yet the likes of which requiring a response. An answer to the still pertinent question: “Who is the LORD?”

Is He Jesus? The King of kings, the descendant of David, the bright morning star, the light of the world, the Savior, the Redeemer? The way, the truth, and the life? “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

Or is he not? I know my answer. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus Christ, who came from the Father full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

And so I worship the King. The riches of his love too much for me to understand. “Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12)

Because grace met me. In the fullness of my sin, it met me. As it did on the banks of the Nile. When Moses and Aaron spoke first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles of the plan. The good news, that God had come to rescue his people. The gospel, if you will.

Received by one, but not the other. Resulting in worship by one, but not the other. Because of their answer to one simple question. “Who is the LORD?”

Thanks be to my LORD and God, Jesus Christ, through whom “we have all received grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Which is never a warrant to sin, but always and forever a means to worship.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Who is the LORD to you? Does your definition match the one given in the Bible?
How have you experienced God’s grace in your life?

When We’re Not Who We Want to Be, God Is

Most days, I’m not who I want to be or need to be. I lack patience with my children. I lack godly perseverance – at least the kind that lasts all the way until bed time. I get frustrated with the world around me – that guy’s driving too slow, that person took my parking spot. (Don’t they know I have two kids in the car with me and no working umbrella???) There’s more air, than chips, in my $3.99 bag of Doritos. And gracious why does rural internet have to be so slooowwww! (Yes, please go right ahead and feel sorry for me.)

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 3:11-22
Key Verse: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14

Not only that, but momma just wants to potty by herself occasionally. Know what I mean? But honestly, if that’s all I have to complain about, life’s pretty good. Yet nine times out of ten, the unexpected rough edges of my day, put me over the edge.

And then the guilt sets in. What is wrong with me? Is a spilled bag of gold fish crackers really that big of a deal? Based on my over the top reaction – it’s apparently life threatening. Who knew?

Basically, I stumble when there’s no reason to stumble. I get overwhelmed when I shouldn’t be overwhelmed. I huff and puff over things that are not huff and puff worthy. I make bumps into mountains, toddler accidents into crimes of serious offense, and my daily agenda the responsibility of everyone I meet – whether they’re related to me or not.

Let’s face it – I’m a mess. Like the apostle Paul, the things I want to do, I don’t do. And the things I don’t want to do, I do. Over and over again, I do them. Though the world wouldn’t label me terrible, I’m not who I want to be.

And the truth is, I never will be. At least not without Jesus. Which is why I love the name God reveals to Moses from the confines of the burning bush. Not only does it proclaim his eternal existence and external independence, but it sets the stage for Jesus to fill every single one of my lack thereof’s. (And yours too.)

With the weight of his new job expanding in his gut, Moses needed to know, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” (v. 13)

In other words, if you’re going to make me do this. I need more. I need assurance. I need truth and substance. Something to hold on to.

To which God replied, “I AM WHO I AM.” “Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you…The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you” (v. 14-15).

His answer was three-fold, giving some Biblical scholars pause. Is his name I AM? Or I AM WHO I AM? Otherwise translated I AM WHAT I AM or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE. Or is it LORD, commonly translated as Yahweh by both Jewish and Christian scholars. Yet in the original Hebrew it was written as YHWH with no vowels because a) they did not use vowels in the original written Hebrew and b) they believed God’s name too holy to speak aloud, so they wrote it in such a way no one could say it.

But I don’t think we need to argue over what name God intended because I think it’s safe to say he’s c) all of the above. He is who He is apart from us, apart from time, apart from circumstances. And he will always be the same. No shifting, no changing, no rearranging with the seasons. Whatever He is, He is.

Specifically, He is the LORD, Yahweh. The personal God of the Hebrews. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Redeemer. The one who faithfully fulfills every promise. “I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and land flowing with milk and honey” (v. 17).

Because I AM able. I AM willing. I AM with you. I AM faithful. “Whatever you need Moses, I AM.” My words, not God’s, but I don’t think God could have picked a better name. Moses would face fierce opposition, as God warned in verse 19, but I AM was with him. And when I AM is with you, there is nothing you can’t do

When the days are long and the nights are short, with I AM there is patience. When the ride is rough, there is endurance. When life is upside down, there is perspective. When you’re broken, there is healing. When you’re weak, there is strength. When you’re the widow, there is peace. When you’re the caregiver, there is strength.

When you’re the worn down, tired of saying no, I-didn’t-know-it-would-be-this-hard mommy, there is purpose. When you’re the ragged, there is righteousness. When you’re the disgraceful, there is forgiveness. When you’re the rejected, there is acceptance. When you’re the unloved, there is love.

There is no gap the LORD can’t fill. No barrier he can’t break. No lack thereof he can’t provide. He is all things, to all people, all day because HE is Jesus. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).

How do I know? In John 8:58 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” The great I AM came in the flesh so he could be the I AM of all believers. “I am the bread of life. I am the good shepherd. I am the door. I am the light of the world. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the true vine.”

“I AM,” said Jesus. And “unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24b). Declaring also in Revelation 1: 8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Jesus is the great I AM and he’s promised to be with us too. As we, like Moses, go and seek to tell the world about a God they’ve not necessarily seen before. And though they’ll be opposition. Though we’ll fumble our way through. Though we’ll mess up. Though we’ll struggle, doing the very things we don’t want to do, I AM is with us.

And in Him we can live godly and upright lives (Phil. 4:13), holding hands with Joy along the way. Befriending Peace. Pulling up a seat next to Hope; in the house of Endurance; on a street named Patience.

So whatever it is you face today or tomorrow or next week, know this, I AM is with you. Filling the gaps of whatever it is you need to do it well and do it holy. Thank you, Jesus. May I look to you every step of the way.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Is Jesus the great I AM of your life? Do you tend to rely on yourself or Jesus in the day to day of life? What steps can you take to remain in Christ and the power, strength, and endurance he gives?

A Christian’s Connection to the Burning Bush

I’d call it the iconic symbol of Moses’ life – the burning bush. It was the moment of his calling. A moment that took him by complete surprise. Out shepherding his father-in-law’s flocks, who had wandered up Mt. Horeb. Or perhaps he led them there, unaware of the sovereign hand guiding him along, when he noticed a bush on fire but not really.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 3:1-10
Key Verse: “And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” Exodus 3:2

It was burning but wasn’t burned up. Intrigued Moses got closer. But stopped short when God – the one and only, Maker of Heaven and earth – called to him out of the bush.

“Moses, Moses!” said the LORD. Or the angel of the LORD as it says in verse 2. Not “an angel” but “the angel.” Identified as none other than the LORD by Hagar, Abraham, Jacob, and a few others.

Including Zechariah who saw a vision of Joshua the High Priest standing before the angel of the LORD while Satan stood close by to accuse him. Do you know what the angel of the LORD did in that vision? He looked at Joshua clothed in his filthy garments and said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments” (Zech. 3:4).

I could read Zechariah 3 all day and never tire of it. The picture it draws. The reminder it gives. The comfort it brings. But the point today – it’s Jesus that takes away our iniquities and Jesus that clothes us with garments of righteousness.

Thus, it’s my humble opinion, along with some certainly smart scholars, that THE angel of the LORD spoken of in the Old Testament is none other than the preincarnate Jesus Christ. Who we know, without the slightest bit of doubt, is God himself. (Jn. 1:1; Jn. 10:30)

So let’s recap the scene before us. There alone, on a mountain perhaps six or seven thousand feet in elevation, with who knows how many sheep nearby, stood Moses at eighty years young. Staff in hand, before a bush burning with the radiance of God’s glory, Christ Jesus himself.

Yet little did he know it. Until God introduced himself. “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (v. 6). “Well hey there God, how’s it goin’?” No, he hid his face in fear.

Because this God of ours is not a cute grandpa somewhere up in the sky. He’s not close kin with Santa. He’s not hanging out at the end of a rainbow or stuffed inside a bottle ready to grant our wishes. Nor is he a tyrant, club in hand, waiting for us to mess up.

He’s a consuming fire. A just and holy God. Righteous in all his ways. Appropriately jealous for the affections of his people. Unwilling to share his well-deserved glory. Requiring heart, unbending, unyielding allegiance.

So he appears to Moses as fire. Just as he did perhaps a year later or so, at the very same mountain, to a consecrated Israel awaiting a word from the LORD at the bottom. Only that time it wasn’t a bush God consumed with his all-encompassing presence, but an entire mountain.

“The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly” (Ex. 20:18). The scene so frightening the next time God wanted to speak to Israel they told Moses to just go and meet with him alone. “No thanks Moses, you take care of it for us.”

Fire often representative of God’s wrath in Scripture it not only warned Israel of the judgment that would come on them, if they did not accept and obey the law of the LORD, but it also gave them a visual of God’s powerful protection over the righteous. And his judgment on their enemies. His willingness to consume without resignation the evil, the vile, the enemies of His goodness.

As he did on Sodom and Gomorrah when sulfur and fire rained down from heaven on the ungodly. And will yet do again when fire consumes heaven and earth on “the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (2 Peter 3:7). (Scripture is no bed of roses.)

But in between those two events, God’s wrath was fully, unequivocally poured out on Christ; every bit of it. Yet he was not consumed, just as the bush before Moses was not consumed. A “root out of dry ground” as Christ is called in Isaiah 53. Scarred by our sin, but unscathed in nature, as was the bush.

A root that grew into nothing more than a simple shrub mind you. Not a tall, stately tree. Not a majestic sapling. Just an ordinary, run of the mill, nothing special about it bush. Unnoticed by the typical passerby. Unawares in beauty. As was Christ, who “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Is. 53:2).

Furthermore, the Hebrew word used for bush in this passage is seneh believed to be representative of a thorny bush. And if so, it’s no less perfectly fitting, for thorns are a direct result of a curse upon the ground (Gen. 3:18). A brutal consequence of sin. Sin that eventually placed a crown of thorns upon our Savior’s head as he so graciously “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).

All of it – so we would not be consumed. So we could not only dwell in the presence of the all-consuming, holy God forever and ever but BE the dwelling of the holy God forever and ever.

Ordinary in our existence, yet extraordinary through his existence. He’s indwelt us. He’s remade us into a temple, a sanctuary for His very presence – just as he did the ordinary, run of the mill, thorny, unimpressive bush was those many years ago.

But are we on fire? Or have we squelched his igniting presence, his undeniable radiance, with our wants and lack thereof’s? Our busy and wishes for not so much busy. Our worries, our disappointments, our readily available entertainment and knee jerk reaction to go to our phones in the fading quiet moments – instead of the one who has the power to actually refill every bit of our empty cup?

He’s still a consuming fire and he’s consumed us. So let’s be the light and radiance of glory he’s intended for us to be, that others may see something different in us, and come and seek as Moses did. And in the end, see Jesus.

“In the same say, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Would you consider yourself on fire for God? Why or why not? Do you view God as an all-consuming fire or more like a good buddy that just winks at our sin?
How can you bear witness to God’s holy and mighty presence today?

Dear Mary, Did You Know?

Dear Mary,

You don’t know me, but I know your Son. Your firstborn. Son of the Most High God and LORD of all the earth. Or maybe I should say he knows me. I think that might be better. For it’s He who searches hearts and minds (Rev. 2:23). He who made me and holds me together. He’s my rock, my refuge, my shield.

What was it like Mary, to raise him? To have the radiance of God’s glory call you mother; the author of life (Acts 3:15) and salvation (Heb. 2:10) play on your living room floor; the Son of the living God eat at your table. Indeed Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42).

Did you know Mary? Did you know you held the source of eternal salvation in your arms? (Heb. 5:9) Did you know you were rocking the Shepherd and Overseer of souls (1 Peter 2:25); tickling the toes of the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8); playing peekaboo with the Savior of the world? What went through your mind as you tucked in bed the Ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5) and kissed goodnight the face of God?

Were you taught as a little girl of the virgin birth to come? “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Could you even fathom you were the one Isaiah spoke of seven hundred years before; the one to bring forth the Redeemer? (Is. 47:4).

Who would have thought, the Author of Life, would put on flesh to be the Author of salvation. It leaves me undone every single time I think about it. “Taking the form of a servant…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8). What a story! A story you got to be a part of.

I’m challenged by your immediate willingness to surrender your life to His service. Were you scared (Luke 1:29)? I would have been terrified. To be with child and yet not married – they could have stoned you. I would have hid.

And you did for a while – escaping to be with Elizabeth. Whose greeting must have welcomed you like the fullness of spring. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42) She knew! She already knew!

Knit by love and wonder and the greatest of men growing in your wombs, how sweet were your conversations in the still of each day’s light? Did you sit hot tea in hand, while Zachariah played his part, silently mouthing the Scripture bombarding his eager heart? Or maybe he wrote them word for word, the verses he’d hidden deep inside, while his two favorite ladies treasured each one with unhindered delight.

Then empowered by God’s grace in the arms of your dear friend, you went home to face the future, no matter how it would end.

How nervous were you to tell Joseph? I would have pleaded with God to tell him instead. Yet left with no choice, you forged ahead. Did you beg him to listen; did you beg him to stay? And then sit in confusion when the conversation didn’t go your way? Or did God step in and save you, as he’d soon do for us all, before the brokenness of rejection crept in to make you fall.

Though relief kindly met you the day of Joseph’s dream, I’m willing to bet misjudgment didn’t make you beam. Pregnant out of wedlock, how many painted you an immoral girl? Did your parents believe you? Did Joseph’s understand? Or was it a whore of a daughter-in-law they thought they got instead.

Then the decree to register, did it take you by surprise? Or fit like a piece in the bigger than you puzzle of your life? (Micah 5:2) Yet knowing time was near, you had no choice but to go south ninety miles on a donkey or perhaps a cart. Ankles swollen, baby ready, you rode the rough terrain with a man you called your husband to the town we all know by name.

How scared were you Mary when the first contraction came? When it seized you with determination, did you hide it at all the same? Counting and recounting until you couldn’t hide it anymore. What went through your mind when no one would open their door?

Wake up Bethlehem your time in history has come, yet there was no place for you to have God’s sweet and precious son. Was Joseph mad with urgency? Could you hear it in his voice? Did you plead with him to hurry? Did you plead with him to help? Until he finally found a stable or perhaps a room off to the side, to welcome the King of Glory in a manger on his first night.

Where was the fanfare? Where was the fun? For the birth anticipated since the garden had come undone.  It was reserved for a few meager shepherds tending their flocks not far. Who heard the angels call and followed a special star.

I’d say it’s not what you pictured when Gabriel first made mention of the plan. But I have a feeling it didn’t matter once you held his tiny hand. Could you sense the magnitude of the moment? Could you sense heaven standing by? As they watched Immanuel invade the world with a simple little cry.

Did you know time stopped counting down at his arrival and began counting up until his next? Could you fathom the baby you were holding was deity at it’s best? Diminished in his glory so the world would know him not. How did you later let go? For it’s my freedom that he bought.

Nestled in your arms for only a short time, you knew the birth of this child would change your life forever (Luke 1:48), but did you know it would also change mine? Thank you for your example. Your willingness to say yes, when God called you and put you to the test.

Mother of the great I AM your new normal, I have no idea how you did it so informal. One day at a time that’s how we mothers roll. In hopes of raising great kids, because that’s always the goal.

But yours was great from before time began. Perfect in every way he still holds my hand. Faithful until the end I’ve received him as my King, thank you Mary he makes my heart sing.

You may have carried him then, but it’s he who now carries me. I’d be lost without him for all eternity. Bruised for my transgressions and crushed for my iniquities, he’s my Savior, my God, but it all started with him bouncing gleefully on your knees.

It happened didn’t it? It’s all true. He came, he died, and came back, and reigns over me and you. I look forward to meeting you someday and talking as only mothers can. But until then Mary, I’m holding tight to the precious boy your raised up to be a man.

In Christ Alone,

The Miracle that Can Happen When We’re Tired

Married to a farmer, fall is an exhausting time for me. It doesn’t just mean brisk beautiful mornings at our house, it means long 18 hour days in the field for my man and even longer 18 hour days at home for me.

Devotional Scripture: Mark 6:30-44
Key Verse: “And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Mark 6:31

Doing all the things, from forcing my four year old to please eat two more bites of chicken,  to explaining why it’s really NOT OK to eat boogers, teaching spelling words that won’t stick, and killing ferocious spiders.

Basically while the world is happily posting pictures of pumpkins, I’m just trying to keep from sticking my head inside one. Maybe you can relate. Exhausted from a spouse required to work more than you’d like and the constant needy-ness of small children, you’re overwhelmed. Tired. Or perhaps just overloaded with responsibilities and problems that just won’t go away.

There’s no disputing life is busy and at times downright draining. The concept of rest plays hide-and-seek with us way more than fair, while we sputter along on empty, thinking we’re the only ones with this problem. But even the disciples needed a break and didn’t get one. Mark 6:31 tells us Jesus and his crew were so busy, they had no time to eat! (Can I get an amen?) People were in and out and coming and going and life was crazy!

So Jesus says to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Ahhhh, ok Jesus, that sounds lovely. So they got in a boat to make haste but when the people saw them leaving “they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them” (v. 33).

“Sheesh would you people just please give us a little space!” If I were the disciples, I would have been sittin’ in that boat displaying my best pout face. And promptly requesting he make them all GO AWAY. This is MY time to regroup and relax and I deserve it. Have you seen all the work I’ve been doing?

But Jesus didn’t make anyone leave. Instead he taught the crowd right there on the shore, smack dab in the middle of their hopeful moment of reprieve.

When it got late and the disciples saw their chance, they said to Jesus, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat” (v. 35-36).

But again Jesus didn’t make them leave. Instead, he told the disciples to feed the crowd themselves. (Um, excuse me?) Knowing they were a bit taken back he offered a little guidance. “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

They returned with five loaves and two fish and the rest is history. Jesus fed the massive bunch of them right then and there with just a small amount of provision, until every last one of them was satisfied.

It was a miracle we’re still perplexed by today. A miracle clearly displaying the power of our sovereign Savior. Yet just think what the disciples would have missed out on if Jesus had said to the crowd, “Hey ya’ll need to leave. I’ve promised these guys some rest.”

Because there’s no doubt they needed rest. They had just returned from a ministry trip, walking two by two, from town to town, with merely a walking stick in their hand. (Mark 6:7-13) They had been in homes of strangers for who knows how long, proclaiming the hard to hear message of repentance, casting out demons, and healing the sick. They were tired. They were overworked. They were hungry.

And they were more than likely a little scared. It was while they were out and about that John the Baptist’s head got served up on a pretty little platter. I can only imagine the questions this strange turn of events raised in their minds. They needed to regroup. They needed to think and rest and be with their LORD. But first, first, Jesus wanted to show them a miracle.

Because it’s only when we trust in the sovereignty of our Creator that rest will truly come.

So if peace and quiet doesn’t seem to be on the docket today. If it gets pushed further into the depths of chaos and kids and laundry and dinner and unexpected phone calls or fevers or tantrums or wishful thinking, maybe it’s because instead, what God really wants to do, is give you a miracle.

The miracle of His Spirit at work within us. Giving us patience when we didn’t think we had any left. Overflowing us with love when we don’t think we can love. Soothing us with peace when we don’t have any peace. Restraining us with self-control when we are way beyond self-control. Or helping us respond with gentleness or kindness, when it’s not even a little deserved.

None of that is a work we can do in and of ourselves. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are a supernatural work – a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). And when we’re tired, when we’re really really tired, that’s when we see it best – the work of God in us and through us. Because his power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)

So if rest doesn’t come right away. If it gets interrupted and tossed out the window by little people or little problems (or big ones at that), don’t worry. God knows we need rest. He knows it’s hard and stressful. But he also knows more than anything else we need to learn to trust Him.

Therefore, before the ease, the miracle.

Contemplate and Evaluate
When have you experienced the miraculous work of the Spirit in your everyday life? How can you experience it even more?



5 Benefits to Keeping an Eternal Perspective

Everyday we have a choice to make. A choice to either view life through an earthly lens or an eternal one. And I’ve noticed the days I choose to peek through heaven’s window instead of my own, it’s beneficial to not only my head but my heart and mind and relationships.

1. It keeps me upright in an upside down world. Have you ever noticed the world is often backwards? Babies are born to families who could care less, while godly women weep with empty wombs. Success meets the wicked at every corner, while the righteous deal with endless frustration. Prosperity throws itself at the worldly, while the one who adheres to God’s commands struggles to make ends meet.

There are days life just doesn’t make any sense. Yet in view of eternity, all is right as it should be and even more so. The blessings in store for those following Christ are nothing short of A-mazing. Redeemed, forgiven, and lavished with grace we’ve been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). Already! As in it’s already happened! Let alone adopted as God’s own children, named co-heirs with Christ, and guaranteed an inheritance that would knock the socks off most anyone. 

Beloved, whatever appears to be lacking now will be filled to overflowing when we’re face to face with Jesus Christ. And when I’m able to keep that perspective, it’s much easier to stay on my feet and not trip over the world’s continuous need to turn everything topsy-turvy.  

2. It sheds light in darkness. Consider Job. An upright and godly fella who lost everything – servants, flocks, herds, sons, daughters, and was struck with boils from head to toe. Things were bleak to say the least. While describing his situation to his friends Job explained, “My relatives stay far away, and my friends have turned against me. My family is gone, and my close friends have forgotten me. Even young children despise me. When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me. My close friends detest me. Those I loved have turned against me. I have been reduced to skin and bones and have escaped death by the skin of my teeth” (Job 19: 13-14, 18-20 NLT).

Yet just a few breaths after that nauseating description Job had the audacity to declare hope! “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skins has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26, ESV).

My friend, it’s the light of eternity that makes life bearable. I honestly don’t know where I’d be (nor what I’d be for that matter) if I did not have the hope of heaven. But in light of heaven, I can walk any path, if it’s my duty to do so. Because the light of heaven can permeate even the darkest of days. 

3. It doesn’t answer my questions, but it does answer my doubt. We aren’t always going to know why things happen the way they do. In fact, most of the time we aren’t going to have any clue as to WHY. Even Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, admitted he didn’t understand why God allows certain things and not others (Ecc. 8:17).

But there’s one thing we can be sure of when nothing else makes sense: eternity. By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we’re signed, sealed, and delivered from this aching world unto a perfect one. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).

Eternity is a done deal. And when I think on it, instead of parking on the uncertainty of my current situation, I can calm my quivering heart with the things I know to be true. Like the fact that Jesus has gone to prepare a place just for me. Why would he do that if he didn’t care about me? (And you for that matter…don’t forget you.)

We may not know why things have to be the way they are today, but we do know  who holds tomorrow. And He is faithful and kind. 

4. It helps me fight the appropriate battles (Most of the time). Because in light of eternity, is it worth it? Will I gain any reward by taking up this fight? No, the answer is no. (This is so convicting.) In light of eternity, more often than not I’m engaging in the wrong battle or at least fighting it the wrong way.

Scripture is quite clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Am I saying the struggle you’re having at work isn’t real or the fight you had with your spouse last night was an illusion. Um, no. It was real. So real in fact, I know a piece of you is still there – at the scene – begging your mind to come back and replay the entire episode again and again.

But I believe wholeheartedly behind every misunderstanding, every argument, every hurt, every divisive word, is a scheme of the devil. To uproot our marriages, tear apart our families, and get us so sidetracked  and steeped in sin we’re useless for kingdom work. Satan may not be able to pluck us from the nest but he can certainly ruffle our feathers. And the only way we’re going to win is through whispered words of prayer that proceed from the mind set solely on Him.  

5. It keeps me ready.  When eternity is on the horizon of my soul, I’m much more apt to interpret the unexpected knock on my door as an opportunity instead of an intrusion. Or view the unwelcome disruption of my to-do list as a God sent invitation instead of an outright irritation. Giving me opportunity to store up  treasure in heaven. Because I know when I get there – I’m going to realize there’s nothing better.  

But when my mind is everywhere else but there, I tend to miss the God sent invitations, especially with my kids. And I want to be ready. Ready to speak of God’s attributes when the sunrise sings of his beauty. Ready to give him praise when I see his tender touch on my day. Ready when he counsels. Ready when he calls. And ready when he comes.  

Therefore, I make the choice to move beyond my own convenient window, to peek out heaven’s – no matter the effort it might take. Because eternity doesn’t just impact the destination – it improves the view along the way. So climb on up and take a peek with me – the view is gorgeous from up here.



Photo provided by Pixabay

Is Your Faith Genuine? A Comprehensive Look at Biblical Faith

Today the word faith gets tossed around Christian circles like a hot potato. You just gotta have faith. We say it regularly and we say it often. And there’s nothing wrong with encouraging one another to have faith. We should!

But with so many uses of the word faith today, I fear we’ve lost the foundation of what genuine biblical faith really is and what it looks like. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it’s impossible to please God. So obviously faith is key.

Faith in Jesus as God and Savior, the only way, the righteous and perfect Lamb of God, who paid the price of my sin on a cross, conquered death, and rose again. Who is King today and forever. Who holds all things together. Who created all things and knows all things and is before all things. And deserves my allegiance.

Therefore, it looks like obedience.

Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word” (John 14:23). “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me” (John 14:21). “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words” (John 14:24).

Out of a thankful heart, out of gratitude, out of love – genuine faith says yes. It doesn’t mind the boundaries given by God because it knows they are best, understands they are life giving, and has a desire to please God.

Genuine faith doesn’t proclaim the name of Jesus and then run off and live however it wants to, because genuine faith is produced out of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Who convicts and brings us to a place of repentance. Not only sealing us for the day of redemption, but guiding us until we get there. Teaching and reminding us of God’s word.

Producing within the believer the fruit of righteousness (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control). Not “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Gal. 5:19-21).

Because genuine faith does not walk in darkness. It cannot because God is light and his light indwells those who profess His name by way of the Holy Spirit. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7).

It doesn’t shove God’s commands aside or ignore them or disregard them or make up it’s own way. Neither does it defy God, or chide God, or disrespect God by purposely practicing sin day in and day out. Because it respects grace as the space by which God grants us eternal life, not an open invitation to sin, or a way out of responsibility, but a way into relationship.

Does genuine faith walk this life perfectly? No, absolutely no. Faith knows it will mess up, but believes in a God who forgives when we humble ourselves and confess and seek Him. And genuine faith will confess because genuine faith desires fellowship with God.

Breathing trust in hard places, faith does the hard work fear is unable to do. It stops to listen. It trusts. It looks to the Bible for strength and hope and peace. Convinced God is greater than the enemy, it surrenders to the will of God. And seeks for God’s glory.

Pouring forth prayers, it remains steadfast. Even when the answer isn’t what we thought it would be. Even when we don’t like it. Even when we’re confused. Even when it hurts – genuine faith holds tightly to Jesus.

When the world leans into luck, genuine faith leans into Jesus. When the world has no answers, genuine faith finds answers in Jesus. When the world says you can’t, genuine faith says you can if it’s the will of Jesus.

Genuine faith doesn’t just desire God’s presence later, after all life has been lived, but desires it now, while life is being lived. It responds to the love of Christ in such a way that it’s evident who you believe in.

Confident in the promises of God, confident in the eternal blessings, confident in the work of Christ – genuine biblical faith lives a God honoring life.

So today I ask only one question, is your faith in Christ genuine?


*Featured Image provided by Pixabay


5 Things Jesus Didn’t Do For You

It’s Easter. The time of year we set aside to remember what Jesus did for us. His sacrifice. His love. But have you ever paused to consider what Jesus didn’t do for you?

1. He didn’t stay in Heaven. Now I can understand going from earth to heaven. I’m looking forward to it. But Heaven to earth? No thanks. Yet Jesus didn’t hesitate. Leaving behind the blessed sound of seraphim calling “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts” (Is. 6:3). In exchange for “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” (John 19:15).

Abandoning the throne room of heaven glistening of crystal and sapphire for nothing. No place to lay his head. His appearance reduced to something despised and rejected with “no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Is. 53:2). Instead of the glorious appearance of gleaming metal and fire encompassed by the brilliance of a rainbow (Ezekiel 1).

The marvelous presence of the Father replaced with that of fisherman, tax-collectors, self-righteous pharisees, the poor, the needy, and people like us. Downright sinners. Utterly and completely lost. So in need of a Savior He didn’t even consider for a brief moment staying in Heaven. Because…

2. He didn’t consider Himself better. Though he could have. Though He is. He didn’t. “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:15-16) humbled himself in the likeness of man. Counting others as more significant than himself. Though he is God, “he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being” (Phil. 2:6-7; NLT).

He washed the disciples feet. He walked from town to town. He spoke to a Samaritan harlot. He healed. He gave food. And ultimately he gave his body as a ransom for sin. Carrying his own cross as far as he possibly could. Though through Him “the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19). Though “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3) He still never even once considered himself better. Therefore…

3. He didn’t sin. Ever. He died a criminal’s death as a perfectly righteous man. But I dare say it wasn’t easy. In every respect Christ was tempted just as we are. Tempted to lust. Tempted to give up. To get even. To give in. To fall headlong into a pit of despair because life simply isn’t fair. But He didn’t. Not even once. Day after day he remained sinless (Heb. 4:15). Even after forty days in the wilderness and who knows how many temptations from the devil (I don’t think Satan limited himself to just three); Jesus persisted in purity.

Even when they didn’t believe him and called him a liar. Even when they picked up stones to kill him. Even when they testified against him and spit in his face and mocked him as King of the Jews, he clung to holiness. How? Is beyond me. I would have failed miserably from the start. But Jesus didn’t. So he could be the holy and unblemished lamb necessary for our atonement. The once and for all offering given to God on our behalf. If only we’d believe. If only we’d bow in submission to the one who loves us beyond any conceivable measure.

How do I know? Because…

4. He didn’t get off the cross. His body racked with pain so agonizing most could not watch. His lungs compressed. His heart failing. His flesh ripping. The nails, the thorns, the agony of being rejected by God as the sin of man surged upon him. Yet he stayed. Compelled by his love for us. For sinful mankind – he remained. Crying out “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The rulers sneered, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God” (Luke 23:35). Alongside the soldiers who yelled, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” But he wouldn’t. No he wouldn’t. Why? So HE could save them. So He could save us.

So we could spend eternity with him. Blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Made holy and blameless before a God who can accept nothing less. Adopted as sons. Made co-heirs with Christ to an eternal inheritance beyond anything we could possibly imagine. Redeemed by his blood! Forgiven! Freed from the clutches of sin. The riches of grace lavished upon us.

And as if that weren’t enough…

5. He didn’t leave us alone. He gave us the promise of his presence. (Matt. 28:20) Along with the Holy Spirit. Our helper, comforter, and counselor. Sealing us for the day of redemption. And allowing us the opportunity to do even greater works than he did. Sounds wrong doesn’t it? But it’s in there. “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (Jn. 14:12). “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” (Jn. 14:16,17).

But are we doing it? Are we doing the works Jesus did? Let alone something greater? As believers we have the power of God’s Spirit within us. So let’s be bold! Let’s be confident! And let’s tell the world what Jesus didn’t do for them.

Thank you Jesus – My Savior, My God. Thank you for all you did and didn’t do for me.