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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

Apr 16, 2017

The Cross

Some years ago I attended an event put on by a friend to sell her mom's handmade jewelry. There were many, many pieces to choose from. Each was arranged and on display on various holders throughout the dining, living and family rooms. There were pieces with various beautiful gem stones, some silver and other items. 

It happened that a neighbor's child was over playing with my friend's children. They were about 8 years old at the time. The children were all looking at the jewelry. The neighbor child had been given some money by her mother to select and purchase a piece that she wanted. The girl looked carefully throughout the rooms inspecting various items she thought she might like that were in the price range she could afford. She kept coming back to a particular piece. It was a cross.

Soon she said to my friend's mom, "I know which one I want to buy. I want to buy the plus sign please." My friend's mom looked over and saw the cross and explained that this was not a plus sign but rather a cross that was a symbol for the love and hope of Jesus Christ. "He died for you and this cross represent His promise for you to be with Him and God the Father in Heaven." the little girl was told. We were all in awe to see this child drawn to the cross even with all the pieces she could have selected.

Well, she was just fine with the Jesus story but knew nothing about him. She just thought that the plus sign was the most beautiful piece of jewelry and she wanted it. It seemed the power of the cross had moved her soul. The girl bought the cross went home. 

It wasn't very long when she returned saying that her mom sent her to give back the cross and get her money back. The girl's mom was Muslim and did not approve as she understood the symbol to be the cross of Jesus Christ. Her money was returned and off she went. We all were quite amazed. It was unfortunate that the child could not keep the plus sign she desired, however, at least she heard about Jesus. Maybe later in life she will make a choice to add Jesus to her life and follow him as her Lord and Savior. 

Jesus is a positive addition to any life and the cross symbolizes His sacrifice for you. With Him in your life you have all you need. You need not do anything to gain His love. He has done it all. It is finished. Paid in full. That is the real plus and you are blessed to have received Him.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18