Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Maybe this year will be different

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)

Each year we promise ourselves a new start. We step away from the past and toward the hopeful future. If only it were so easy.

It turns out that the habits are hard to build, the vices hard to break.

Yet each year the glimmer of optimism still shines. “Maybe this year will be different.”

This year can be different, though not for the reasons you may think.

Jesus promised to make his followers radically new. Like “new-born-baby” new. “Made-from-scratch” new.

For one minute, let’s forget new skills, habits and goals. Let’s talk new life.

Freedom from your past is not forgiving yourself, it is being forgiven. A hopeful future does not spring from trusting in yourself, rather, it flows out of trusting in Him.

He offers to make you new. He offers to make your soul a masterpiece of His grace. He offers to transform you from who you are to who He calls you to be.

Don’t mistake this for some watered-down promise of riches and success, as if eternity could be measured out in dollars and lifetime achievement awards.

Let the old things fade away. Let your hands cling to them no more.

Fill your new year with new hope—true hope.

This year can be different.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Longing for more than Christmas

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5–6, ESV)

The morning is coldest when the sun first rises.

Part of it is just temperature, the morning hasn't yet been able to soak up the warmth of the sun. But the other part must be deeper than that.

Our longing for the sun’s warmth reaches its peak when the light is glimpsed, but not yet felt. There's the hint of warmth, but the absence of its touch.

Two thousand years ago the sun peaked over the horizon. Rays of hope pierced death’s dark dominion.

Perhaps the chill is most pronounced right now. We've glimpsed the Son but still we wait. Like watchmen for the morning, we long for more than Christmas.

We long for more than the past, we long for the future that He promised.

With groaning hearts, we long for the One who is coming again.

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When I finished writing this, I couldn't help but realize that I had been unconsciously inspired by a blog from my sister-in-law, +Erin Ching. You can read her blessing of a post here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reluctant beggars

“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,” (Psalm 119:2, ESV)

The Lord says He blesses those who seek him with their whole heart.

We respond, “What can I get for half?”

Like reluctant beggars, we hold out one hand to the Lord, doubting that even this small request will be answered.

But the Lord is inclined to bless us with more than half a blessing.

Be sure of this, there is no “half salvation.” Have no fear for the eternity that Christ has secured for you.

But don’t our doubting hearts rob us of His blessings in this life? Don’t we still reserve our divided heart for fleeting things and then mourn their fleeting satisfaction? Don’t we lack the peace and conviction of the faith because we glance wistfully over our shoulders?

His whole blessing lies before you. Stretch out your hands and see.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

God of the mundane [Quotes]

Here's some conviction for you:
"If you reject God in the mundane moments, you will reject him in the "big moments" of your life. If God doesn't rule your mundane moments, he doesn't rule you at all." 
-Paul Tripp

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Worth trusting

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19, ESV)

People are fallible. People aren’t perfect. That’s just people being people.

But the complications come when we fill our lives with those people.

Important things hinge on those people. Families depend on those people. Bills get paid by those people. Duties are shared with those people.

All the important things can completely unravel when people are just being people.

All the important things except one.

The hope we have in Christ can never unravel, it can never be undone.

Every molecule of the universe can depend on him. There is no detail, large or small, that slips through His grasp.

The peace and confidence come when we fill our lives with Him.

God never fails. God actually is perfect. That’s just God being God.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What was it I was thankful for again?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2, ESV)

Personally, I think gratitude is hard.

If you could read my thoughts on a random day at a random moment, the odds that I’m thinking grateful thoughts aren’t high.

More likely than gratitude is stress, to-do lists and how I can take care of myself.

On Thanksgiving, we devoted a day to gratitude. Even assuming your day wasn’t just eating and watching TV, a day can’t possibly do it justice.

On any random day at any random moment, His blessings are all around us. His loves bears us up, His patience endures, His faithfulness encircles us and His grace pours abundantly out.

For the soul that remembers, gratitude is not a special day and it’s not even a recurring act.

Gratitude is a way of life.

Look at any blessing in your life. We deserve none of it. Every blessing is undeserved and the blessings are uncountable.

So let us give thanks.