It really comes down to a choice. You do nothing or you do something.
One of the realities after close to 30 years of ordained ministry is just how many people are hesitant in revealing that they witnessed God or experienced a miracle. What I hear is that many are so afraid of others thinking that they are strange or a little wacko.
I imagine what it might be like to be in a room with 25 other folks where (for whatever reason) we are given the gift of the freedom to share our God stories. I imagine it would be abundant and grace filled.
In the midst of the doom and gloom of the 24-hour news cycle. In the midst of political rhetoric whose message is to exclude and deny human dignity. In the midst of life seeming so overpowering that one wonders if tomorrow is even coming. In the midst of all of this ... God is constantly knocking on our doors, attempting to interject in our lives, hoping to show that love really matters.
So here is the challenge. Let's agree to open the possibility of God's love one person at a time. Think of three times you felt closest to God. (Don't be afraid — be truthful to yourself.) Then set apart some time with someone you love. Make the time a little special — a nice dinner or even a real good cookie. Then share your stories — offer them as a gift — offer the stories in love.
God's love does matter. God's love is always an option. God's love changes life to the good. Blessings.
In Paul's letter to the people of Corinth he wrote: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known."
Remember how frustrating it is to drive when the windshield is fogged up? Have you bristled at waiting for the bathroom mirror to clear after a hot shower? On Tuesday, I was shoveling snow and my warm breath escaped through my scarf and fogged my glasses, and I could not see where I was shoveling. Have you ever been in the Majestic theater and have the movie start, only to realize it is out of focus? We want to see the world around us clearly and in focus, so we wear prescription glasses or contacts, have tinted windows to prevent glare and wear dark glasses protect our eyes from the sun.
Paul was saying that although there are things in this world and about God we cannot understand, or see clearly, one day we will be face to face with God and know all things as God knows all things now.
Elders tell young people to be patient, because one day when they are older they will understand. We all have a little 2-year-old in us that asks why of everything. Why is there war? Why do animals suffer? Why do babies die? Why is there pain? Scripture assures us that someday all things will be made clear and will finally make sense. There is an old gospel hymn that says "trials dark on every hand, and we cannot understand ... we will understand it better by and by." Until then, Paul also reminds us that we walk by faith and not by sight.
Sunday's Super Bowl is expected to draw more than 115 million television viewers. This game is known for bringing instant fame to clutch performers.
Jesus knew fame. His fame spread quickly throughout Galilee because of His mighty deeds. The people in the villages wherever Jesus went flocked to Him. Time and again He healed. He healed people not only of their physical maladies but healed their wounded hearts and wearied souls. Inner healing interested Him the most. It was in those inner hearts and souls that He accomplished His greatest miracles.
Jesus did not require an audience of 115 million people in order to exert His healing power; He was just as prepared to heal in the little circle of a cottage as in the great crowd of a synagogue.
The crowds came, but they came because they wanted something out of Jesus. For every prayer that goes up to God in days of prosperity, 10,000 go up in time of adversity. Many who have never prayed when the sun was shining begin to pray when the cold winds come. It is only when life is a mess, or when life deals them some knockout blow, that they begin to remember God and go to Him in prayer.
Jesus is not someone to use only in the day of misfortune; He is someone to love and remember every day of our lives. He longs for you. Jesus wants you to grasp His hand — during the good times and the notso-good times. And when you do grasp His hand, you will be renewed. People will notice. You will be recognized, not by a massive television audience, but those closest to you will notice. And you will lead those closest to you to grasp Jesus' hand. They will be renewed and recognized. And they will lead others to grasp Jesus' hand. As this repeats itself, maybe — hopefully in time — 115 million people — or more — will come to Jesus.
Few things in life are so difficult and so wonderful at the same time as adoption. Hopes and dreams, disappointments and heartbreak, and other powerful emotions all come crashing together at once. Adoption is a great joy, but it begins with something wrong. It does not happen without first having brokenness and pain. Life is not how it should be.
Well, in the New Testament, adoption is one of the images used to teach us about God's saving work. But for us to understand this spiritual image, we must also first begin with the brokenness and pain. In all our lives there are wounds and hurts. We have in our minds some sort of an idea of what a perfect life or perfect family is supposed to look like, but we keep missing it. There are always problems that hold us back. Some of it is not even our fault, but it's still there.
Also, at times, we all feel rejected. We all feel left out. We all feel unlovable. We are hurt by the ones we love. We hope for something more. Maybe we have a sense that we are not yet truly home, that something important is still missing.
Well, the Bible talks about a spiritual adoption that connects us to our heavenly Father. We can become children of God through Jesus. He is the one our hearts are longing for. And in this process of adoption, hurt turns to hope. Adoption is about renewal and redemption. It is another chance. It is a way forward. It is the start of a brand new life. Jesus says, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."