“Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.”
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
Luke 1 tells the story of the gospel from the beginning. Luke did a wonderful job describing details of the gospel we don’t see in the other books. As I read chapter one this morning I was captivated by the prophetic words of John’s father, Zacharias, as he spoke about the birth of his son and the events that would follow. Here are his closing words, spoken through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration,
“To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
The whole purpose of Jesus coming is encapsulated in these few words. They are amazing words. Notice the keys to these few sentences- to give, to shine, to guide. Let me use these three keys for my thoughts today.
To give- “To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,”
Everything happens because God is a giver, it all comes from his tender mercy. God is the initiator. God starts it all by giving. His gifts come from his tender mercies. That very phrase captivates me- his tender mercies. Out of his tender mercies he acts, he gives, he provides forgives He gives us knowledge of something we desperately need based entirely on something he does to solve our need. He gives us knowledge of salvation. It’s a salvation based on forgiveness of sins. What does it save us from? The penalty of those same sins. God’s tender mercy brings a solution and provides the knowledge of that solution to us.
To shine- “to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.”
The one thing darkness needs is light. The one thing we needed is light to see, to know, to realize where we were. I love the commercial where they have sprayed a room fragrance in a horrible place and brought blindfolded people in to “smell the air.” They take off the blindfold and cannot believe where they are! This is what happens when the light of Christ shines on our sin soaked lives and worlds. We suddenly see how horrible the place is where we had made home. It’s his light that shows us our need. We have no idea how close we are to death until the lights come on and then, suddenly, we see how horrible this place really is.
To guide- “To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
The one thing we need most is peace, but to find it we need two things- light and a guide. Thankfully God has provided both! How amazing that he has provided all we need; knowledge, light and a guide to the way of peace. There is so much to be written on these simple verses, but for today I just wanted to spend a few moments on these words and invite you to meditate on them for your own walk with God. To know that God has provided all we need to go from ignorance to knowledge, from wrath to mercy, from darkness to light, and from fear to peace is more than I can comprehend. It’s wonderful for me personally to realize that God has made such great provision for us through his great mercy.
To give, to shine, to guide. All we need to know Him. How wonderful!
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
Guest Blog Post: Marie Wikle known as @spreadingJOY on twitter. Full of encouragement and the desire to make a difference everywhere she goes, Marie sneaks away to the beach every single chance she gets. Here is a glimpse of the ocean through her eyes.
My heart is pounding! You’d think I had not been to the ocean in years, but actually, it’s only been a few months. I quickly head to the sandy shores of the Atlantic. I’m giddy with delight! No matter how many times I come here, my heart feels as if it’s the first time I’ve seen it in years. I love the ocean. I love the smell, I love the sound, I love the sights! I simply love it.
The sand feels so cool on my feet. I must remove my shoes to get the full effects. I love walking thru the sand to the water. I reach the edge of the shore, the gentle waves lap up against me, saying “hello my dear friend! Do you know I love having you near me?” I sit in the sand, near the water but not so close as to get soaked.
I keep my feet at the edge, enjoying the cool water washing over my toes as I gaze out over the glorious ocean. I look straight ahead. As far as I can see is water. This mighty ocean is so peaceful, so calming as it rocks back and forth showing the world that God is in control of the waves. The gentle rocking is luring me into its massiveness by it mighty power. So gentle, yet so huge and powerful. It can lull the most troubled heart to sleep easily and, yet, wipe out entire cities by its force. I love the vastness of it. I look to the left and the waters are never ending…just like God’s love for me. I look to the right and the waters go on forever. I love that. I look ahead and imagine how deep the ocean must be. No one can touch the bottom of the ocean. I think how wonderful that is, because my sins are buried just that deep – as the deepest seas. And, better than that, God forgets them! He remembers them no more! Amazing!
I look straight ahead and admire the utter vastness of the ocean and think of how big and mighty God truly is and yet – he takes the time to love me – little ole nobody – me. God is bigger than this ocean, mightier than the wildest waves and wind and yet, for some reason, He draws me to Him. He calls me and HE wants me to spend time with Him. He can have anyone on the face of the earth, and he wants me. I look at the sand and the wonderful treasures that are buried there. I see the normal ole seashells, plain, like me. Millions of them are there. Usually, I never pick them up unless they are shiny and beautiful. I smile and wonder why God picks me up. I’m not shiney and mercy, no where near beautiful. Oh, I adore the cool seashells! I love when they are in whole pieces, but I rarely find them – and yet – I laugh to myself – when mom comes to the ocean, she comes back with oodles of cool shells that she found as gifts from the ocean. I smile and think to myself, she deserves those treasures from the ocean, she is truly a wonderful woman who deserves more than I can ever give her.
I sit beside the ocean for hours, soaking up every sound, every quiet clap of the waves, every gentle swoosh of the the water retreating back into its bed. I love the deep and complete peace I feel as I sit there, beside the majestic ocean. Knowing that as God controls the ocean, he truly controls everything in my life.
I look straight ahead, a beautiful orange glow is emerging off of the horizon! I didn’t realize that God was giving me yet another gift! Another desire of my very own heart! The desire to see the full moon rise up out of the ocean, to light my night, to light my path, to lead the way for me. It creeps up, inch by inch, pouring more and more of its light right down upon me. I smile and think “thank you Lord for the full moon” I have always loved how I feel closer to the Lord when it is shining down. The full moon over the mighty ocean – the greatest gift ever.
I love the glory of it all! So majestic! The huge moon, watching my every step, lighting my way. The ocean that is gentle, peaceful, yet strong enough to violently shatter the earth with its great waves. I sit and dwell on His goodness. I soak up His greatness, His wonder, HIS love for me – thank you Father, that I can always visit the ocean in my minds eye. Your grace is enough, and it truly does amaze me. Your grace and love is sufficient and never ending – just like the ocean.
What do you see when you look at the Ocean? Can you imagine how deep God’s love for you is? Can you look out over the ocean and realize the power it takes to hold the water in place?
My Prayer for you when YOU look at the ocean!
When you see the perfect cute litte treasures of the “neat” shells, may you remember that YOU are that special and that out of all the millions of “shells” that you stand out and God is waiting to pick you up and place you with his prized shells so that you may bless the heart of others everytime someone looks at you.
When you feel the gentle waves lapping at your feet – may you be reminded of how tenderly God holds us in his hands – and how he comforts our hearts when we are troubled.
When you see the waves clapping – know that HE is coming for us one day.
When you see the waves crashing on the shore – remember that this is a tiny portion of how much power God holds and ALL THINGS ARE possible by him – for his children that HE adores.
When you see the never endingness of the ocean, may you be reminded of how HE loves us – truly deep down loves us. and that love is never ending.
When you gaze at the ocean and wonder how deep it is, may you be reminded that it is sooo deep that our deepest sins are buried there and even God himself can not get to them, nor can he remember them.
May you feel the love of the LORD sweep over you and on to your life as you gaze at the majestic ocean, that is nothing short of awesome!
Last Thought: Do you know that with all of the millions of “shells” that surround you, that God chooses YOU too! He draws you. He wants you to dwell with him. Are you spending time with Him. Are you being still beside the ocean and enjoying the view? *patting the sand* come…sit right here, next to me and let’s enjoy how awesome God is – together!