Thursday, April 25, 2019

A Promise Cannot Escape

Once God makes a promise to you that promise will never be able to escape even when it seems to have disappeared from your sight. God has a plan to reconnect you with His promise and experience the joy of its fulfillment.

I watched a YouTube video showing a police pursuit. When the pursuit reached high speeds through a residential neighborhood the officer deployed something called StarChase and backed off the pursuit. StarChase is a GPS tagging system that shoots a projectile from the police unit at the vehicle being pursued. A sticky substance on the end of the projectile adheres the projectile to the trunk area of the fleeing vehicle. StarChase allows the pursuing officers to back off a dangerous pursuit and safely track, monitor, and eventually locate the suspect vehicle. 

If you are reading this and you feel like a promise has eluded you, don’t let worry fill your thoughts. There are times when a promise will move beyond our reach for a variety of reasons – some of those reasons are out of our control. When this happens it is important to know that God has tagged the promise with your name. It cannot get away because in Jesus all of God’s promises are “Yes!”. Every promise made by God has been tagged with that "Yes!" label and your name. God will be faithful to reconnect you with an elusive promise.  It will be found awaiting your arrival for its time of fulfillment. You can back off from worry and rest in the faithfulness of God to deliver what He promised.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Prominence and Obscurity

We live in a world where prominence is seen as a promotion. We are told the trajectory of our lives must always move upward and outward toward a place of greater visibility. In the Kingdom of God, the opposite can actually take place when the hand of God is on a person’s life. God’s promotion may lead us into a place of obscurity. In obscurity, lessons are learned that are not always encountered in a place of prominence.  Don’t seek a place, either prominence or obscurity. Only follow the leading of the Spirit. Allow God to provide the destination for your obedience. A destination is not your goal. Obedience to the voice of God is your goal no matter where that obedience may lead.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Lesson Revisited


The lessons you learned in past transitions will help guide you in your future transition. Revisit those lessons and learn from them again. 
Just like professional athletes revisit the basics of their sport with their coach, so the followers of Christ revisit the early truths God deposited in them. 
Your current understanding of life has been constructed from those foundational truths, so if you neglected or discarded them, revisiting them will help you reconnect and finish well. 
Early truths are not inferior truths. Basic training for soldiers establishes cohesiveness in the military unit. Those basic disciplines help keep casualties to a minimum and provide a commander with soldiers who have learned to obey his commands. 
Any time we have success, we are susceptible to the illusion that our success birthed itself. Success does not birth success. Love and faithfulness in all areas of life are what births the fruit of success. This kind of success— sourced in God’s Kingdom—is not always large and visible in a natural sense. It is a success that can be traced back to those early lessons we learned through love, faith, and obedience. 

(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Chain Reaction Resurrection Life

The day after celebrating the resurrection of Jesus it is important to realize His death and resurrection were not single, isolated events.  The life and death of Jesus are so powerful they created a spiritual chain reaction that continues to confront death and despair throughout all the realms of human existence. Consider the relationships and situations in your life you now see as dead and gone forever. The graves holding these things have the potential to open and release their contents to the voice of the Risen One. 

This morning, I read Matthew’s account of Jesus’ death that took place three days before His resurrection. Imagine the power released when Jesus rose from the grave and defeated death! 

Matthew wrote,  “Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people” (Matthew 27:50-53).

What we once considered dead and lost forever has the potential to walk back into our lives more alive than at any time before. What happened on the day of Jesus' death has the same potential in our day. Imagine the scene in Jerusalem when dead and departed loved ones knocked at the front door of their homes where those inside were still mourning their passing.  

The death and resurrection of Jesus are not events lost in history. These are eternal events free from the constraints of time and space - free from the grip of death. The announcement of the death and resurrection of Jesus traveled through the known creation past the farthest border of outer space to the edge of nothingness and declared His victory. 

The evidence of Jesus' death and resurrection will be walking toward you today. Ask the Lord to help you see the evidence of this approaching resurrection life. It is all around us if we choose to see this life with the eyes of faith.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Undone

This morning at Living Waters Church in Medford, Oregon, I was undone emotionally. The worship team took us to the heights of worship with the passion of their hearts and the excellence of their musical skill. As the worship team sang about Jesus taking His first breath after His resurrection, I could not contain my emotions. I actually heard Him taking that first breath. I was undone knowing that someday I will also draw the same breath after my own resurrection. "He is alive" is not a slogan. Jesus is real and tangible to all who seek Him.

While It Was Still Dark

This morning, I walked outside and stood on our front porch while it was still dark. I wanted to experience the predawn environment of the first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene came to visit the Lord’s tomb. Scripture says, “Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.”  Mary’s first thought was to think someone had stolen the body of Jesus. 

We are no different than Mary. When the evidence of the life of Jesus stares us in the face we must first process our disbelief. That is the purpose of evidence. It is presented to help us displace our doubt. Only when Mary Magdalene had a personal encounter with Jesus later in the morning did it all begin to make sense. Jesus became her evidence. The empty tomb did not at first persuade Mary and neither will just the facts about the Lord and His resurrection persuade us. It was an encounter with Jesus that birthed the words of her testimony, “I have seen the Lord!” 

As you walk into your place of worship this morning, ask God to help you encounter the risen Lord, not an Easter program. That encounter will change everything. All the historical facts about Jesus’ resurrection and the gauzy, stylized social media Easter images cannot give us the faith we need to press on when we want to give up. Only an encounter with the Resurrected One can give us that kind of faith.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Our Easter Destination

The cross and the tomb are both empty, but the throne is forever occupied. That is God’s Easter message to the Church – Jesus has risen to His place of honor! He was raised from death to occupy a place of enthronement where all powers and authorities contrary to the love and will of God are in submission under His feet and as a result of His victory, under our feet as well. 

The suffering of the cross and the darkness of the tomb were only temporary stops along the way toward the ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s mission - enthronement.

As you worship the Lord this Easter, take time to contemplate your place in Jesus seated with Him upon His throne. This is not a future event. It is your present reality. That understanding has the potential to change everything.

“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). 

Have a blessed Easter!