“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
There’s a word that describes this kind of love – lavish. The father in Jesus’ story of the lost son doesn’t hold back his happiness about his son’s return. Excitement to see the young man compels him to rush down the road! The son must have been astonished – he’d been ready to beg for his father’s forgiveness and for a job. Instead, he is swept up in a warm embrace and welcomed home with a kiss. Jesus paints this picture of our Heavenly Father to teach us what His love for us is like. The more I experience of this lavish love, the more I want!
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
1 Peter 5:10
Strong, firm, steadfast – not descriptions I would normally use for myself in the midst of trouble. But that is how I react in my own power. God offers me a better option. To rely on Him means not only to be delivered through a storm, but to experience more of His presence, and to grow in faith. That is where true strength comes from!
“Dishonest money dwindles away,
but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
Question To Ponder: How patient are you when it comes to saving money?
“The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
This verse is very meaningful for me – I often add it to cards I send out. Strength and peace may not seem like two characteristics that naturally go together. But verses like this are describing more of an emotional than physical strength. Said another way, it’s to be “renewed in heart.” And as I go through challenging times, it brings me peace to know God will provide me with strength beyond my own.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.”
For me, the ideal start to my morning is to have some quiet time with God. I also love a mug full of coffee, but that’s another story! I might pray, read His Word or simply sit in His presence. Sometimes I might even sing a hymn or chorus to Him. It can be a challenge to find the time, but those moments always leave me with a calmer spirit, more ready to face my day.
Check out these resources about worship!
“If you can’t fly, then run, If you can’t run, then walk, If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.“
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
In my work as a substitute teacher, I sometimes end up in Kindergarten rooms. Lots of things about that age group are fun, but all the tattling between students about poking, pushing, or unkind words can drive me crazy! It occurred to me today, though, that in their own way each of those kids are looking for justice for some perceived wrong that was done to them. And I realized that when I feel wronged, I can end up behaving the same way as my young friends. But I’ve found that seeking my own vengence, either by confrontation or complaining, never really satisfies – it can actually do more damage. Thankfully, God is willing to hear about all my hurts and to stand up for me. His justice will bring much better results than mine ever could.
Question To Ponder: What’s your response when you’ve been wronged? Do you try to get justice for yourself, or do you trust God to take care of it for you?
“On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, either from discomfort or stress. Whatever the cause, once I’m awake it’s hard to keep my mind from revving up. All sorts of wonderings and worries can fill my mind, and before I know it I’m lying on my bed having an anxiety fit at 2:00 am. Thankfully, King David offers a different approach to those restless kind of nights. Deciding to think about God in those dark pre-dawn hours has led to some intimate times of prayer and praise.
Question To Ponder: Do you ever find yourself awake when you’d rather be sleeping? Those stretches of time can seem endless! If you invite God to join you, He’ll bring a calm quietness to your night.
God desires our worship. But what does that mean?
Look for my newest book, “Glimpses of God” coming soon!
“God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises, leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me.” Psalm 5:8
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8
I don’t know about you, but handling change gracefully is not one of my strengths. It’s turned out, though, that this season of my life has been full of shifts and adjustments, all of which are out of my control. When I find myself getting unsettled with so many new and unexpected things happening around me, this verse provides just the comfort I need. It’s a reminder of God’s steadiness and a promise of His faithfulness. It’s also an invitation for me to look beyond my circumstances towards Him. The peace He offers is just a prayer away!
God desires our worship. But what does that mean?