Wait for the Lord

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Waiting stinks, let’s just be honest. Waiting is some of the hardest work we do in life and it is rarely fun. Waiting is where faith is most active because we are holding out all hope that what we are desiring for in the future IS going to happen, but we have no guarantee.

The value in waiting, though, is rich and awesome. In waiting, we find strength we didn’t even know we had. How many times while we wait do we say, “I can’t keep doing this…” and yet, we live to wait another moment and another day. In waiting we also find courage. Faith (being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, Heb 11:1) is on its own contrary to common sense and takes courage. In faith, as in waiting, we have placed all of our eggs in one basket and now we can no longer see the eggs or the basket! And in that moment, the moment the dream takes hold and becomes an act of faith, we wait.

I don’t know what you’re waiting for God to do today and all I can say is…keep waiting for the Lord to move. Be strong. Let your heart take courage. Stay faithful in believing and hoping. Wait for the Lord.

Shalom,

KA

Advertisements

Love

I talk about and write about love a lot. Loving people, all people, the way God has directed is how we as followers of Jesus make an impact in the world. It’s how we show the world who God really is and bring light into the darkness.

In the book of Mark, the religious leaders of the day are trying to trip Jesus up. They didn’t understand Him or His message because He pushed the boundaries and shook up their world. They come to Him asking which commandment is the greatest. His answer back doesn’t win Him any friends because He doesn’t choose any of the commandments already given! Instead, He summarizes them all in new language:

* Love God unconditionally with ever fiber of your being AND love everyone around you unconditionally too.

If you make the choice to follow Jesus, you don’t get the choice to not love unconditionally. This love, agape, means things like selfless, sacrificial, unconditional and unreserved. This love seeks to esteem the other person and serve them so that they are able to see God well through you. God will change hearts not us, but He will use us to soften hearts through love.

God wants to reach all people (2 Peter 3:9). God wants all people to experience His love for them so He sends us out. Some He sends to foreign countries and some He sends to small communities in hometowns. There is no call greater than another because there is no person greater than another. No matter where God has placed you or what people group He has placed in your heart to love, He will empower you to do what He has called you to do: love unconditionally, unreservedly and selflessly. You will have opposition from those around who don’t understand and that’s ok, opposition doesn’t mean to stop going and doing what God has called you to do.

Love the people in your part of the world well. God split the Trinity apart, came to Earth as a man, died horrifically and rose again all because He loves us. He loves all of us unconditionally and uses us to love each other. Unconditional love is a universal call of all followers of Jesus.

Shalom,

KA

I have seen the Lord

There were no baskets full of candy, no fluffy dresses and no big celebration lunches on that first Easter morning. As a matter of fact, it was a day full of confusion. Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty and assumed someone stole the body of her beloved, Jesus. The disciples who came to see what she was talking about saw the empty tomb and then simply went home, one believing and one not.

Everything about Jesus was low-key even though the things He did and said were beyond comprehension and true understanding. He showed up as an infant, born just like everybody else. He lived a simple life for thirty years, working as a carpenter. He was a traveling Minister for three years and often asked people to not tell anyone else about the miracles they experienced. He died without resisting, only forgiving. He rose from the dead quietly, folding up the fabric wrapped around His body. Astonishing, and low-key.

I’ll be honest here, I’m having a hard time this year with the fanfare we pull together at church for Easter. Big lights. Big bands. Big songs. Lots of exclamation points. Jesus didn’t live like that, die like that or raise again like that so I’m struggling to understand why we are drowning out the message of today in a show to pack the house at church. The message that Jesus rose from the grave, breaking all of our bondage to death, is enough.

“I have seen the Lord”, that’s how Mary Magdalene began the discussion with her friends after being the first recorded person to see Jesus. Those are powerful words that deserve acknowledgement and repeating. They are story-telling words. They are life-changing words. They are world-changing words.

I have seen the Lord…and that has changed my life forever because now I have hope, love, joy and peace. That’s the Easter message for me. How has seeing the Lord changed you?

Shalom,

KA

Abide to Love

These things I command you, so that you will love each other. John 15:17

In the book of John, chapter 15, verses 1 thru 16, Jesus spends a great deal of time explaining His desire for us to stay connected to Him. He uses a brilliant and easy to understand analogy through branches and a vine. Branches only grow and bear fruit when they are connected to a thriving vine. We are branches, God is the vine and love is the fruit. If we aren’t well connected to God, we cannot love like God.

So what does it mean to love like God? Once again in this passage we see God use a term for love which in the original text means an unconditional, self-sacrificing love for another that seeks to raise the other person up. This isn’t a casual “I love ya” type of love, this is an “I’m with you in the muck” type of love. It’s hard and pain-filled, beautiful and life-giving. It’s the love of Christ who gave up His life.

Jesus’ heart is that we show the love of heaven while we are here in Earth and we do that by being empowered through God. We won’t do this perfectly so don’t make that a goal. Love is sloppy and messy and, it’s real so that’s all ok. Abide in God, and He will guide you and help you.

Abide to love.

Shalom,

KA

Forgive Them

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34 ESV

Forgiveness. Forgiveness is tough for us because many times it means that we have to bestow grace without receiving any justice for pain that has been inflicted on us. Forgiveness says that we are most concerned with connection, not vindication and that’s hard.

In some of His last words before His death, Jesus gives us a great example of forgiveness and shows us yet again how to live connected. He’s just been beaten to a bloody pulp, forced to carry a heavy wooden beam, nailed to a cross and mocked the entire time. All of that pain was poured out on Him because of His identity. He hadn’t hurt anybody, on the contrary He healed people. He hadn’t lied or stolen, He had told the Truth and provided. Jesus was being His most authentic self and that terrified people so they killed Him. If anyone deserves to have righteous indignation and a strong need for vindication it’s Jesus.

But Jesus doesn’t get angry. He doesn’t scream from the cross curses at the Roman executors. He doesn’t pleasd His case on why they should take Him down. Instead, He speaks words of love, asking His Father to forgive them all. I can’t image having that much love in the midst of that much pain and the truth is, that’s our example.

The world can be a harsh place. The darkness can be so thick it’s hard to shine your light. Some situations can feel like there is simply no way you can forgive people and yet, if you follow Jesus your example is just that, forgiveness. No matter how wrong they are, no matter how much pain you’re in, seek forgiveness. Seek to forgive them and seek to do them no harm. It’s hard, sometimes it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and with God it is possible.

Here are a few other verses giving us guidance from Jesus on forgiveness:

* Luke 6:37, Luke 17:3-4

* Matthew 6:14-15, 18:21-22

* Mark 11:25

Shalom,

KA

He Remains Faithful

Here’s the good news for today: God’s faithfulness to you is not impacted by your faithfulness to Him. Did you catch that? Let me say it another way: God will never stop being faithful to you no matter what you do.

Take a deep breath in and release the peace that comes with knowing that God is always for you. At no time in your life has God or will God be petty, it’s not His nature. He cannot deny who He is and who He is is a God who loves His people (you and me) so much that He will remain faithful regardless of how badly we may treat Him. Wow. That’s serious love.

Whatever you’re facing today, whatever feelings of confusion or anger at what’s unfolding in your life, know without a doubt that God is remaining faithful to you. He’s over the moon for you and He is present with you.

Shalom,

KA

May the Lord

Sometimes life gets hard and it can almost feel like God is fighting against us. We don’t see things happening the way we want and we get frustrated. Frustration quickly turns to losing hope and before we know it, we lose sight of what we know about God: He is for us.

Today, in the midst of challenge or ease, let’s remember that God is in our side. Let’s take heart and find peace in Psalm 20:1-5.

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May He send you help and give you support! May He regard you with favor! May He grant you your heart’s desire! May He fulfill your plans! May He answer all your plans!

May the Lord…

Shalom,

KA