Mar 31

Life in the Exclamation Points

There is a Facebook feed going around posted by my favorite author Len Sweet about how we grow and develop through life. Life begins as a tiny dot, a period, and grows into a comma, a small curve opening up and spreading out from the dot. As we continue to develop and grow, we become more vertical and straight up like an exclamation point. We continue as that exclamation point for years until we begin to curve around again into a question mark shape during our older years.

How are we living our exclamation point years? Are we living straight up, living life standing tall and strong? Or are we trying to curl up back into that comma position?

Life was meant to be lived and loved. May we show God how proud we are to be His child and live life to the fullest during those years we have the strength to stand tall. The more we stand tall, the longer we will likely stand tall and strong.

God, may we live and love life in the exclamation points.

 

Mar 28

Hold on to God

In my career these days I am given some pretty big tasks. I am a leader and must balance many people on the staff at work and juggle schedules to meet many needs and time schedules. Some days it is tough. And certain parts of the day are even tougher. We have time demands and needs of others to uphold and make it work for all on the staff and the public with whom we interact.

I am a planner and like to know in advance what is happening. With other people, knowing in advance does not always work. Things happen. Schedules change. For the most part I am a flexible person, but when I must meet schedule demands and maintain positive customer service, it is difficult to meet everyone’s needs and wants while maintaining company policies and time schedules.

I must remember Proverbs 3:7. Do not be wise in your own eyes. 

Yikes! I don’t always know best, but God does! God knows how those schedules will work out. He knows how each person on staff will get what they need when they need it. It becomes my job to communicate to everyone that company policies, time schedules, work demands, and customer service must become priority while we all work together to meet our individual needs and schedules.

When I know my weaknesses and know that I am helpless and hopeless without God, that’s when He steps in to show off and make everything work out for the best of all involved. I must be strong and stand strong on policies and meeting needs the best way God sees to do it.

Mar 26

A Hammer and Nails

As Easter is approaching, we begin to think further about Jesus’ death on the cross. We think about His suffering. We think about the forgiveness He offers to us. We messed up. We sinned. Jesus was perfect and did no wrong, but He took our place on the cross. He offered us forgiveness for our sins and wrongdoings.

When we hammer nails into the wall, we hear the clink clink clang clang of the hammer on the nails. That’s the sound Jesus heard as they were nailing his hands and feet to the cross. He was human so he felt the pain and torture. But he didn’t try to get out of the punishment … our punishment. He did it for us. He endured the pain for us.

When we think about forgiveness, the forgiveness Jesus offers to us is free to us. It cost Jesus His life.

When we need to forgive others, what are the costs? Do we offer forgiveness to others are readily as Jesus did for us?

The Scriptures say: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'”(Matthew 18:21-22)

Fill a small cup about half full of water. Drop an Alka-Seltzer tablet in the water. Watch the tablet fizzle and dissolve in the water. It takes about 77 seconds for it to dissolve. That is about as long as it should take us to forgive others for something they say or do to us. We should be able to forgive others in about 77 seconds. Can you forgive that quickly? Can you let things go in 77 seconds?

It may depend on the offense or what someone said or did to you, but 77 seconds comes nowhere near how Jesus forgave us and took our place for our sins. He endured way more than 77 seconds of pain and torture on the cross for us. The least we can do is talk to others and give them a chance. Whatever we think they did or said to us is nowhere near as bad as what Jesus had to go through on our behalf.

The next time you hear a hammer on nails think about Jesus and His forgiveness for us. It’s only 77 seconds.

Mar 24

Do overs

We are always thankful for second chances… and even third and fourth chances. We always mess up and do and say the wrong things. It happens. We often call those second chances and do over times as grace. We see grace as being pardoned for our wrong doings.

Jesus and the New Testament shows grace as much more than this. Grace releases us from sin and teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions. Grace is how the Holy Spirit counsels and teaches us on a daily basis.

Grace isn’t just a treatment for sin; it’s actually the cure for sin. Grace wins every time.

 

Mar 23

Sit down and relax

In my job we are not allowed to sit down so when I get on break or go home for the day, I am so ready to take off my shoes and sit down. I love my job and the interaction with people on a daily basis, but I work hard and long hours.

I am reminded of Jesus taking our place on the cross for our sins. We can now sit and relax. Before Jesus, the priests would make animal sacrifices in the Temple and the Tabernacle by standing up and rising on the job. They never sat down. Jesus wiped out all of our sins, and He took a seat to relax at God’s right hand.

What position are we in regarding our sins? Are we standing or running around trying to make up for our bad deeds? Are we seated with Jesus, relaxing with our Savior?

Go ahead and let Jesus take our sins and sit down and relax with the Father.

Mar 22

How excited are we?

Have you ever been so excited about something that you hoped and wished it would last forever? You get a promotion. You plan your dream vacation and make the final reservations and preparations to leave. Whatever you have been waiting for and planning for weeks, months, or even years is finally going to happen and you can hardly wait for it. You want to tell everyone.

When John announced the perfect Lamb sacrifice in the person of Jesus, he may have been just as excited as we are about what we have been waiting and planning. In reality, we should be more excited about Jesus than our wants and wishes. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice and gift to us all. We have no reason to wait for anything else now that Jesus has been given to us. Jesus is all we need and should be all we want.

We have to work for and save up for our vacation plans or that special something we want to purchase. With Jesus, He is free and forgiveness is given to us with no strings attached.

“Christ died for our sins once and for all to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

How excited are we to receive Jesus and His gift of forgiveness? Do we show that Jesus is our greatest gift or are we more excited about our worldly possessions and happenings?

 

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