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Oct 1, 2017

The Very Best


You know it when you see it. When it happens you can identify it and remember it forever. It is "the very best". It may be the very best vacation, apple pie, pair of comfy jeans, frothy cup of coffee, or slice of authentic NY pizza. Whatever it is, you know it when you experience it. It could be the very best relationship with a friend or group of friends, team, colleagues or church group. 

Everything about the very best is, well, perfect. Everything gels, suits your fancy, makes you feel great and leads you to desiring another dose of the best whatever it is. Often, you may not know that what you are experiencing is "the best" until later when it is compared to another version of the same thing. Then you realize that you had the "best" and you may even say, "oh wow, this is not as great as xxxxx. That was way better. It was the best I ever had." Best can be taken for granted. Best friends, best relationships, best organizations, best teachers, best jobs, best neighborhoods, etc. 

No matter what it is, the best can never be replaced and should always be treasured.
Jesus Christ is the BEST. Nothing compares or even comes close to His greatness. 

Jesus is....

Joy
Love
Hope
Peace
Friend
Messiah
High Priest
Prince of Peace
Light of the World
Beginning and End
Name Above All Names
Lord of Heaven and Earth
Quencher of Darkness
Author of Salvation
Good Shepard
First and Last 
King of Kings
Morning Star
Wisdom
Strength
Grace
Truth
Best
God


I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Psalm 63:1-3

Sep 22, 2017

Unannounced Return


Photo Credit Donna Tuso

Seasons. They are as predictable as day turning to night. One follows the other like a scripted march of passing time. You know when they are changing. There are subtle hints and then a full blown expression of the uniqueness of the time. Spring to summer to autumn to winter. Each parades through and delivers with it the landscape only that season can own and claim. 

Life is the same way. You travel through seasons of infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adult, middle age and elderly. Sometimes you notice the subtle announcements on the next page turning, while others arrive unannounced. Often catch up in busyness and daily activities you miss the wonder of it all until it's gone. "Ah, the good old days.", you lament. "If only they could return". 

You tell yourself that you will pay closer attention, be less distracted and more mindful. Least you miss a precious moment, life milestone or loved ones cherished heart. Still, time passes and you are catch off guard by the calendar's announcement of reality. How in the world did you miss the signs? What have you been so focused on that you didn't even stop to embrace and relish the moment? 

Scripture warns you to be alert and aware. You are told not to slumber and lose focus. Jesus is returning and no one except the Father knows that day or hour. Yes, there will be signs but His return will be unannounced. It will be like a flash of lightening across the sky. Will you be ready or catch off guard? Will He find you doing his work or off being distracted with the world? Ready or not, Jesus is coming! Let your heart be glad, ready and rejoice.

"Just as a man can prevent trouble from thieves by keeping watch for them, so you can avoid trouble by always being ready for my unannounced return." 
Matthew 24:43-44

Jun 25, 2017

Finish Line


It's been quite a week. So much going on. Every step of the way on the journey seems to lead to unexpected and challenging circumstances. It's a bumpy road sometimes, but Christ is right there leading the way. Sure, you may feel alone and wonder if things will work out. Never lose sight of the fact that God is with you all the way. Yes, there are days when you may want to quit or just stop where you are. Know that with Jesus as your guide you can never lose and will always have a travel partner.

The finish line lies ahead. It is not a destination but rather the point where your reward in Christ resides. Don't let the enemy steal that from you. Call on the Lord for strength, direction, and intervention. He knows exactly what you need and has perfect timing. He will provide ample supply, wisdom and yes, miracles. Keep your eyes on Him. Be ready for the divine in the ordinary. Stay focused and be in the Word. There you will find the insight you need to travel on with boldness and confidence. God has his eye on you and is protecting you every step of the way.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

May 26, 2017

God's Love Never Fails

There is no greater example of love than Jesus. He set the example in so many ways, but none as powerful as giving His life so that you may live in eternity with God. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you are expected to love others as God loves you. That is intended to mean that you treat others with respect and kindness, care and grace. You are  to have sacred encounters and help the dear neighbor. This may be easier said than done, but still that is what God has said. 

Can you imagine loving that much? To love like you really mean it no matter the cost? A great way to check in on how you are doing with this is to review Corinthians 13:4-7 inserting your name in the place of the word "love". Try it reading the verses below placing your name in XXXX:

XXXX is very patient and kind.
XXXX is never jealous or envious.
XXXX is never boastful or proud.
XXXX is never haughty or selfish or rude. 
XXXX does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when other do them wrong.
XXXX is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. 
When XXXX loves someone XXXX is loyal to them no matter the cost. XXXX always believe in them, always expect the best of them and always stands ground in defending them.

How did you do? If you are like me, you noticed more than a couple places where love is losing. It's ok.You have time to continue striving to be all we can be in Jesus. His example, words, and love are more than adequate springboards for your heart and soul to move forward. The first step is recognizing the gap and then allowing the love of Christ to fill up and close the gap more and more every day.

May you be filled up with and overflow with the love of Jesus Christ.

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing." Corinthians 13:1-3

May 21, 2017

Seeing Jesus


Have you seen Him? I mean Jesus. Are you looking for Him? Would you even know Him if he presented himself to you? Jesus is alive. He moves and weaves the strands of your life like a majestic tapestry. Sure He may be silent, or is He? When you buzz around through life as busy and distracted as you are Jesus can seem and feel missing. 

Don't be so focused on your circumstances that you can't see Jesus. Stop looking around and cast your sights on the things above. You have become myopic and well, blinded to His glory and presence. You likely missed Him in the sunset, a fragile flitting butterfly and even behind the smile of the kind server or cashier helping you the last time you went shopping. 
You likely didn't see Him when his mighty hand protected you from an impending danger or provided you with the blessing of a friend, your child or even your sweet and lovable pet. 

Jesus wants to be close to you. He longs to spend time in quiet reflection where he can speak to your soul and share his love with you. In order for you to see and hear Him you need to to commit the time and focus on Him. When was the last time you heard or saw Jesus in your life? Open your eyes, your ears and your heart. Jesus is here.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8