Tag Archives: Relationship

Blessed

Are there days when you feel “blessed”?  Days when the sun is shining and all is right with your world?  We all have had that sense that the sun is shining on us and God likes us.  I know that feeling as well as most, but today was a day when you might not use that word to describe my day.
I wonder why we think this word “blessed” only applies when things are going well, when all is right with our lives and world?  If the word “blessing” only applies when things are good then what word would you use to describe your life when things are not so good?  Does “cursed” describe the other pole in this discussion?
Do you consider yourself blessed?  Do you only think that when you win the lottery, when you get that raise, when the tornado misses your house, when you kids get scholarships to college, when you’re in the 50% that didn’t get laid off from work?
Let me frame these questions in a different way- do our circumstances determine whether we are blessed or not?  And, what does “blessed” really mean in a fickle world like this anyway?
This whole discussion was the theme of the book of Job.  It was a hotly debated topic for Job’s friends.  Job must have done something wrong because God is not “blessing him” any longer (their words, not mine), but what if blessing has nothing to do with our situation, our circumstances?  What if it isn’t about good things OR bad?  I’m asking a lot of questions here on purpose.  I’m trying to unpack this myself as I reflect on the day.
No one would look at my day and called me “blessed” but I am, and it had nothing to do with good things OR bad.  It has everything to do with who I am in relationship with.  The idea of being blessed is woven into the very idea of knowing God.  It’s a relationship that generates this word as commentary of a life….even when the tornado does hit my house, the car breaks down, the dog dies, I get laid off and lose everything.
You see being blessed is all about who you know not how the day went or what you have.  I think we miss this too easily, I know I do, but this afternoon as I watched a nurse interact with my wife and I and heard her say (not is these exact words) “Boy are you guys blessed!”  I knew in that commentary from a nurse I didn’t know that she saw in us the blessing of knowing God (and it sure wasn’t because of how the day went!)
Today and every day, good days and bad, I am blessed, and so are you, because we know God.  That’s what “blessed” really means.

Cardboard Testimonies from East 91st St Christian Church

Although you may have seen cardboard testimonies like these before, please take a few moments once again to appreciate just what a blessing it is to have a relationship with Jesus.

Hope you enjoy and are inspired by these testimonies from the people at East 91st Street Christian Church.

If you don’t have a relationship with Him now, learn how you can.

Visit our page Roman Road To Salvation.

Identity

The movie “Toy Story” has some wonderful imagery in it that fascinates both children and adults. One of the key elements of the movie is the idea of identity, belonging. It’s a big deal to the toys that they belong to Andy and are part of his life.

This idea of identity and belonging is big in the bible as well. It’s key to the story of the gospel that because of Christ I now belong. I have found my identity in Christ and my belonging in the family of God. We all want identity and belonging, we all long for it and God knows we need it. The last book of the bible talks about this in an interesting way,

Rev. 3:12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.

Clearly, when Christ is done and we have been claimed by him he will mark us as his own. All will know who is our Lord, what is our Location and who has given us Life. Ownership, identity, belonging will finally be settled once for all. We will eternally be His.

“Who are you?” someone might ask. You can now answer with clarity from Jesus, “I belong to God, my home is in the new Jerusalem and my relationship is with Jesus himself.” If that doesn’t give you an identity, a belonging then nothing will!

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Thirsty

Psalm 42: As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.

Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really thirsty…your mouth dry, lips parched, your tongue clinging to the roof of your mouth. If you have ever been that thirsty you long for just a sip of water. Thirsty….it’s how we describe a need for something that is vital to life. We cannot live without water. If we went without it for even a few days our health would diminish quickly. We must have water to live.

David wrote of another kind of thirst. He wrote in this Psalm of a thirst for God. A craving for that relationship, that presence that could only be equated to a thirsty deer in the wilderness looking for water. We all have this thirst, this need for God, but many try to quench their thirst with other things.

Like water to the body, God is the only thing that will really meet our thirst’s need. Around me I watch a world looking for relief from their thirst in other ways, but the only one, the only water for the soul is God himself. Those who look for relief from other sources will never quench their thirst, they simply sate their thirst for a moment with things that don’t satisfy.

I feel that thirst in my life. I so want some “face time” with God, I so want to satisfy my thirsty soul with his presence. It’s his face I need to seek, it’s his presence in my life that will quench my thirsty soul. Like David, I thirst for God. Lord, would you quench my thirsty?

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Seekers

We all search for something.

We seek happiness, love, peace, companionship, friendship, security.

We are born seekers.

But it’s easy to get confused about what is really important to seek after.  Our search for the things that satisfy the heart and meet our real needs is often unfulfilled.  Our search for meaning and happiness often ends in frustration.

As I read this morning I came to these words in the book of Zephaniah, “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, Seek humility;” I was struck by the invitation to seek and the direction in which way to look.  It’s natural to be a seeker, but we don’t always know where to look.

As children we all played “hide and seek”.  We are seekers by nature. There is a natural thrill in the hunt, the quest, as we seek out that hidden treasure.

It was interesting to notice that God is not only inviting us to seek, but he helps us with where to look.  And so I thought, is this seeker invitation in other places?  Does God invite our search and does he help us with clues to the quest?  If seeking is part of who we are and invited by the God who made us, does he also help us with our quest?  Here are just a few of the clues that I found,

Psalm 53:2
God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

As I went on my own quest for this theme of a seeker it was all through the bible!  To be a seeker is natural, to be invited by God to be a seeker fits well with how we are made, but to help us he gave us clues about what to seek.

We are, by nature, seekers of things.  God invites us to be seekers of relationship.  We search out external happiness.  God invites us to seek internal happiness.  We make our search about US.

God invites us to seek HIM.

Seek Him.  In our quest for happiness, peace, comfort, joy, and a hundred other things we find ourselves exhausted with our quest.  It’s simply not enough to fill our empty hearts, but God invites a much simpler search…a search for him, and in that quest for him we find everything else we were seeking after.  It is, finally and ultimately, all about him.

Seek Him, and in that quest you will find everything else as well.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

A Justified Death Sentence

A guest post from @proverbsnwisdom 

As a Christian for many years, Ashley Ormon is fully conscious of the life-changing impact an individual can have in putting God first and developing a close relationship with Jesus Christ. You are welcomed to visit her website and community, Proverbs & Wisdom, where she writes to encourage you, empower you, and enlighten you on how to become a more successful and wiser individual. Please experience the lovingkindness her Facebook community entails and the encouraging words sent out by her on Twitter!

A JUSTIFIED DEATH SENTENCE 

Imagine this:

You’re in court being trailed. You’ve been accused by many, there are witnesses to your crime, you’ve been proven guilty and there is no escape. So what happens to you? What’s your punishment? Death.

The list of crimes you committed are as follows:

You lied
You cheated
You stole
You murdered
You lusted in your heart
You hated
You gossipped
You cursed
You walked with the ungodly
You were disobedient
You had a prideful attitude

You were selfish

And the list goes on. And on. And on. The end? Never.

You ask for another chance, but you are refused.
They lay you down on to a bed. You’re confined: strapped down and unable to free yourself. You’ve been given the death sentence. A lady comes over with a needle filled with poison that will be injected into your body, killing you slowly. It will be a long, tormented death. They take out your arm, in preparation to inject the needle and then…

A man shouts “WAIT!” Everyone pauses. “Take me instead. I am the guilty one…” he says, “this person has been justified.”

Justified? What does that mean? You’ve been absolved, proven innocent. You aren’t guilty. But if you aren’t, who is? He is. This man.
Quickly and willing this man unstraps you from the bed. He looks at you and says, “May you live in freedom. Go! Live life!”. The man then lies down, straps himself onto the table, holds out his arm, and tells the lady he’s ready, his life may be taken away…

As the needle is injected into this man’s arm you ask him, “Who are you? Why have you done this?” As he slowly dies, he looks into your eyes and says “I love you. I want to save you.”
You and others scream at he dying man, “Why have you given up your life for a guilty person?”
Again he replies, “I love them. I want them to be free.”

You ask this man as he grasp for air, his heart slowing, his mind shutting down, “Sir, is there anything I can do for you? How can I possibly live free and happily when you are here dying for me? What can I do as payment? Is there anything? How is it that I can be innocent?”

The man replies, “To live free from all hurt, all pain, all trouble, you have to love me. Accept me.”

“Is there any thing more?” you ask.

“No.” he says, “Accept me. Love me. And you shall live free.”
He closes his eyes. He’s on his last breath. “But wait,” you say, “how is it possible that I can be free?”

The man breathes in deeply and as he exhales his last breath says, “Because I have asked the One who can forgive all, for you to be forgiven.”

Now, you’re left wondering, who was this man? His name is Jesus. Except He didn’t die on a bed with a needle in His arm. He died on a cross: nails pierced into His hands and feet, thorns placed upon His head. He bleed, was slashed 39 times upon His back. Flesh ripping out, blood gushing out, pain everywhere in His body. He was hung for all to see: they mocked Him, they laughed at Him, they called Him names. And yet, despite it all, though His flesh was torn and others wanted His Spirit weak, with all He had within Him He said, “Father, forgive them.” He said this with you in mind. He said this thinking of every wrong you have ever done. He said, “God, take me instead. Let them live.” God answered Jesus and gave you the chance to have life.

But how can you receive this life He willingly gave you? What can you do? Accept Him. Love Him. And like the person charged guilty in the court, you too, shall be set free.