Blessed is Jesus!

As we are in Holy Week, my heart is alive with this Scripture today:

Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt
.” – John 12:15 (CSB)

Jesus is coming! He comes in unexpected ways.

Let us be among those who say of Jesus …

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

We need covenant relationships

We instinctively long for covenant relationships. What is this? It’s a sacred agreement between two parties. This covenant takes away the fear of abandonment. I wish I would have learned this principle earlier in life. It would have saved me from sin, mistakes, and the destruction of meaningful relationships.

An example of this is Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban. Their poor relationship turned into a covenant relationship.

Genesis 31:44 (CSB)
“Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between the two of us.”

Genesis 31:49 (CSB)
… “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight.”

Covenant requires trust. Both the Lord and the covenant watch over the two parties when they are apart. None of us have been perfect in this, but we can live with this understanding and aspiration from this point forward.

To listen or watch my sermon on this, watch here:

Unity asks – “Can I love you?”

The biggest question about preserving unity we often overlook is, “Can I love you?”

I love you when we disagree.
I love you when you tick me off.
I love you if you are deceived.
I love you if you are immature.
I love you if you understand something I won’t comprehend for years.
I love you if you have had experiences and hold a worldview I’ll never be able to comprehend.
I love you no matter who you voted for.
I love you despite your sin.
I will be friends with you.
I will talk to you before I write you off.
I will give you another chance.
I will turn the other cheek.
I will restore you with gentleness.
I will choose love over the offense.

That is a hard way to live, and I do not always live to this standard. This perspective is Jesus-style living and a goal of our faith.

Your Season is Coming

All of us get discouraged when the fruit of our spiritual seed is not apparent. God designed us to bear much fruit for Him. Trust God is doing His work in you even when you cannot see what is under the soil. If you stay connected to Jesus, you will be fruitful. Jesus promises this in John 15:5.

Psalm 1:3 promises that those who resist wickedness and delight in the Lord will “yield their fruit in its season.”

Your season is coming!

The counsel and help of the Lord

What a week! In addition to national and global concerns, like everyone else, I had personal concerns. Two separate Psalms were timely for me, and I hope they bless you.

The first Psalm came when I felt overwhelmed by the decisions I needed to make. For every choice, there are pros and cons. I went to my daily Scripture reading and received this message:

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

– Psalm 16:7-8 (NRSV)

I am looking for and expecting the counsel of the Lord!

The second Psalm came when I just needed help because I was at a dead end. I remember thinking, “I need help!” Then, I came across a familiar Psalm that the Holy Spirit made fresh to me:

“…from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
. (Psalm 121:1-2)

I am looking for and expecting the help of the Lord!

He is with us During Change

This message is for those of you going through a change – whether desired or imposed. Change can be scary. I typically like change, but I’ve been through some shifts that shook me to my core identity. You’ve been through the same.

In devotions this morning, I came across a familiar Scripture to me, but it had fresh vocabulary in the NRSV translation.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea” – Psalm 46:1-2 (NRSV)

The word “change” jumped out to me and gave this passage more depth. With God’s help, we will not fear the most unimaginable change. He is with us!

Seek Him despite doubt

The first few days of January are a blessed time in the Kingdom of God for many of us. In these early few days, Bible reading plans restart, prayers awaken, church participation increases, and Christian people generally start fresh in their friendship with Jesus. This is good!

If you doubt God and the church, this is also a great time to lean into spiritual practices. You can choose to be led astray by those doubts, or you can honestly approach God in hopes of finding more of Him. Faith does not mean we have every question answered, but we seek Him despite the ambiguities. Pursuing Christian truth during you struggle with doubt is a form of faith. God will honor this faith.

Be encouraged by this truth:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6