Word on Wednesday

Love in Action

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 
It’s time we awaken, dear ones.
Prosperity has lulled the western church into a false sense of security. We visit our beautiful buildings on Sundays to hear a message from the pulpit and to thank God for His provision. Then we return to our homes where we work diligently to build our own kingdoms.
And all around us evil surfaces. People are beheaded. Women are sold. Children bear children. It doesn’t touch us personally, so we pause in indignation at the news and then return to what matters in our own lives.
Meanwhile, Jesus’ call rings forth, carried on the breath of His Spirit.
“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
Where is the prevailing church of Jesus Christ?
I fear she has been sleeping. And if she continues to sleep, evil will soon find its way to our own doors.
Jesus calls us to wake, beloved.
“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” Revelation 3:1-2
Will you wake with me before it’s too late, dear one? Will you rise in love that acts?
Today I share Ann Voskamp’s words from a recent post after visiting Iraq. As you read them, I ask you to open your heart and seek God’s face. It’s time we feel what He feels and start doing what He would do.
Blessings, dear one.

What the News Isn’t Telling You and Why We Can’t Afford to Pretend it’s Not Happening

The Marks of Spiritual Thirst

. . . my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13
The people of God are parched. Dry. Thirsty.
But there’s an even bigger problem. I fear we don’t recognize the severity of our condition. The desert has become so familiar we’ve stopped believing God for the Promised Land.
So it sits, just beyond the horizon. The river of life flows within it, but we don’t drink. We’ve stopped believing it exists. Instead, we just keep trying to draw from the same old broken cisterns.
A Samaritan woman experienced a similar thirst. Seeking water from an earthly well, she didn’t recognize her true need. Jesus pursued her, going out of His way to awaken her to her lack.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10
Her response reveals the first mark of spiritual thirst.
The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” John 4:11-12
Spiritually thirsty people don’t believe Jesus can do the impossible.
Jesus offered her living water, and she didn’t see how He could possibly provide it. Her faith had become limited to what she could see and rationalize with her mind.
What about you, dear one? Do you believe Jesus can do the impossible in your life? Or […]

The Seed of Power

Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech . . . you will shudder, you complacent women; for the grape harvest fails, the fruit harvest will not come. Isaiah 32:9-10 ESV
I find it interesting that this passage speaks specifically to women. The warning? If women are complacent, the harvest will fail.
I can’t help thinking of Jesus’ declaration in John 15:5, 8.
I am the vine; you are the branches . . . By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Rise up, complacent daughters, or the fruit harvest will not come.
On Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. We set apart that day to honor women, applauding the influence we have in raising up the next generation.
But I’d like to take this time to speak to all women. And, if you’re willing to listen, to the men who have the potential to either encourage or repress.
You, precious daughter, have a significant role to play in reaping the Kingdom harvest.
The enemy knows it. And he wants to suppress it.
Perhaps you have believed his propaganda declaring that women have a lesser role. Jesus did, after all choose twelve men as His Disciples. And I can’t find anywhere that the names of the women who loved and served Jesus will be inscribed on the foundations of the New Jerusalem.
Yes. Satan easily convinces us that even God Himself holds women in a lesser regard.
This might be a good place to remind us that only together can man and woman fully reveal God’s image.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female […]

The Satisfied Soul

“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”  Exodus 13:21
Did you ever notice how God becomes just what we need from Him in any given moment?
Perhaps you haven’t noticed. Maybe, like the Israelites, you reap the benefit of His presence without ever giving it much thought. They were often so preoccupied by what they lacked, they didn’t appreciate what they were given. Instead of thanking God for His rich provision, they grumbled.
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:2-3
Really? They spent their time in Egypt sitting around pots of meat? Isn’t it amazing how quickly the human mind forgets and distorts. Perhaps you’d like to see what caused God to send Moses to get them out of Egypt in the first place.
The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. Exodus 2:23-25
God added these words when He called Moses from the burning bush.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying […]

Ready to Bloom

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3
I love spring.
And I have to admit, I’m a little more eager for it this year. We’ve had a very long, very cold, very gray winter. I’m ready to feel the warmth of the sun. I think creation would agree.
Yet even now hope emerges with the promise of new life. Green blades have begun to penetrate the brown blanket of lawn. Beautiful red buds have emerged on my maple trees. What has lain dormant and barren stands ready to bloom in full force.
My heart bursts with anticipation. Change is coming.
I sense the same promise looming on the horizon for the church, dear one. What has appeared dormant and lifeless is about to spring to life, bursting with beauty.
Can you sense it? The Spirit of God calls us to awaken from our slumber and rise to release the new life Jesus loosed on the cross.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3
I’m ready to see it. Aren’t you? I long to witness the glory of the Lord evident upon His people. Light will penetrate the darkness, and many will be drawn to the brightness of our rising.
But here’s the catch, beloved. You and I can’t penetrate darkness while our hearts remain […]

The Heart of a Betrayer

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16 NIV
Never forget, dear one. No one took Jesus’ life from Him. He laid it down. Evil men may have plotted and schemed, but they held no power over God’s Son. Everything He suffered, He allowed.
The perfect, sinless, Son endured so much for you and me. He faced rejection, ridicule, beatings and flogging. Nails pierced His hands and feet, fastening Him to the cross of our shame. Jesus became the very curse He would conquer, all for one very specific purpose.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Beloved, Jesus became sin so that you and I could become righteousness.
I hope you haven’t missed that part.
Jesus didn’t surrender Himself to the cross just to keep you out of hell, dear one. He gave up His life so He could get hell out of you. He purposed to redeem your character from the enemy’s influence and recreate you into the image of God.
Do you bear God’s image, dear one? Do you love compassionately, compelled to give of yourself? Or are you more like the prince of this world, driven to take for yourself?
We’d be wise to consider the question carefully. You see, we can do our best to look like God from the outside, but if our heart doesn’t resemble His, eventually we’ll self-destruct.
Judas learned that lesson the hard way. Let’s take a look at the event that sent him to the chief priests to betray Jesus.
And […]

Wealth Without Sorrow

The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22
Have you ever noticed how sorrow seems to attach itself to the riches of this world? If you haven’t noticed, dear one, perhaps you should.
It’s time we get wise to the scheme and stop buying in. The prince of this world would tell us that money buys happiness. It doesn’t. When we look closely at those who have laid claim to the world’s riches, we rarely find the happiness it promises.
Instead, we find sorrow. Brokenness. Heartache. Depression. Addiction. Hatred. Loneliness.
Yet for some reason, we still believe the lie. We still long for the blessing of the world and seek its riches.
What if we just decided to stop believing it? What if, instead, we sought the blessing of the Lord?
Here’s God’s promise, dear one. His blessing will make you rich, and it comes with no sorrow attached.
The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22
Wouldn’t you love a little wealth free from sorrow?
Jesus provides that, dear one. He longs to make us rich. But the wealth of God isn’t limited to dollar signs as the world’s is. It’s all encompassing. He desires to make your relationships rich. He wants to enrich your marriages and overwhelm them with joy. He wants to make singleness rich, and even bring joy from your work.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, dear one, God longs to enrich.
He is the fullness of joy, and He longs to enhance our lives as we experience the blessing of who He is. But His purpose is even greater than that. He wants His blessing to so overtake and fill us that it […]

The Sacred Portion

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! 1 Chronicles 16:29
Last week we looked at God’s desire to be first in our lives. He deserves first place, beloved. After all, you and I wouldn’t even be here without Him. He gives life and provides every good thing.
I think you’ll find that He will never agree to be second.
And He has established by His Word that those who honor Him first will walk in the bounty of His blessing.
Is He first in your life, dear one? Does your life center around Him and His purpose?
Perhaps you’re wondering how to put God first. It’s simple, really. We put God first when we honor and trust His Word.
When you and I seek to know and understand God’s heart through His Word and choose to live by the principles He reveals, we begin to live by faith. And faith, dear one, opens the door to His marvelous grace.
Today we’ll focus on one particular principle woven throughout scripture: the sacred portion.
Let’s begin by establishing a truth I pray you already know.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. Psalm 24:1
As the Creator of all things, everything belongs to God. Yet He chose to do something remarkable.
The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. Psalm 115:16
God created a world by the breath of His mouth, and then gave it to the people He formed from the dust of its surface. He handed us authority (Genesis 1:26), allowing us to choose whether we’d walk with Him and live in His promises, or whether we would discover the hardship of life […]

The First and Only

“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
God has this thing about being first.
You can’t blame Him, really. After all, He is the First. And the Last. And He’s everything in between.
“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last. My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together. Isaiah 48:12-13
The God who IS —who existed before time and created all things—longs for us to recognize His preeminence. And to honor it.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
God created us to live in relationship with Him, fully dependent on Him as our source.
Source of what, you may ask? Of everything.
God gives life and He takes it. He commands the sun and the moon. He spins the earth on its axis. He created and governs time. He is our source of love, joy, peace and security. He gives and maintains health. He causes the rain to fall and the ground to produce so we can have food to eat. He gives us the ability to prosper.
Beloved, God simply asks for us to recognize His role.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:16-17 NIV
Every good thing we long for can only come from God. And He longs to bless us with those perfect gifts. But to receive from God, we must acknowledge […]