Tag Archives: bible in a year

For Glory, We Wait

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Romans 8:18, 23-25 – ESV (emphasis added)

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I don’t spend much time thinking about heaven. About how beautiful it will be or about how my relationship with the Lord will be there.

Even when I speak of eternal perspective – of choosing to live in such a way that acknowledges the weight of eternal reality and all that entails – I don’t often consider the fullness of the glory that is to be revealed.

I’m even more embarrassed to admit that (especially recently) I am often much more pre-occupied with the reality of hell … of ensuring it is understood as Scriptural truth that cannot be ignored and how that should affect the way I live as a witness to those around me. And while that’s not necessarily bad, it’s simply not enough.

But as this past week’s Bible Study lesson led me to reflect on the perfection of the Garden of Eden – both the physical perfection and the relational perfection – and as I approached Scripture with the challenge of drawing comparisons between the Garden and Heaven, I couldn’t overlook the beauty and the glory that awaits me.

The beauty and fullness of relationship with Him. The glory and richness of being with Him. In His presence. Fully restored. Perfected. Forever.

So for glory, I wait … eagerly and patiently … hoping for what I cannot see.

Praise Him!

 

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Peace

“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be Still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?'” – Mark 4:39-40 (ESV)

Peace.

A command that the storm be stilled.

A quiet calmness. A steady assurance.

A choice to exhibit faith and trust.

HIS peace.

Not of this world.

Not dependent on circumstances.

Not a place for fear.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14:27 (ESV)

Just Keep Reading…

It’s been one of those weeks where everything has just seemed sort of off. So as I approached my Tuesday/Wednesday deadline of a weekly devotion based on the 20+ chapters of Scripture I’ve read in the previous days without a message that seemed appropriate for this space, all I could tell myself was, “Just keep reading…”

So I did.

Yet still unsure regarding a message from a specific passage, and with my mind still freshly aware of The Story, I stepped back from the details and specifics to observe the big picture of all that I’ve been soaking in over the past few weeks.

And that’s when I saw it.

God’s love woven through each story and each person on the pages of Scriptures.

God’s love throughout the creation account.

God’s love to Noah, who was preserved through the flood because he found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

God’s love to the Israelites as they rebuilt the temple and restored their relationship and identity post exile.

God’s love to the prophet Nehemiah through answered prayer.

God’s love to the church as it spread and multiplied by the power of the Holy Spirit, even as it faced persecution.

God’s love to Paul through his powerful conversion and ministry.

God’s love to the apostles, the chosen twelve, as Christ walked with them, lived with them, and ministered to them.

God’s love to so many people who witnessed and experienced Christ’s wonders and miracles because of their faith.

God’s love in this as spoken in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch by Paul:

“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

– Acts 13:38-39 (NIV)

It all comes back to this, doesn’t it? To Jesus Christ. To his sacrifice on the cross. Out of His perfect love. For us.

“Amazing love, how can it be? That you, my King, would die for me.

Amazing love, I know it’s true. It’s my joy to honor you.

In all I do, let me honor you.”

Sometimes, it’s all we can do to just keep reading, to soak in His love, His faithfulness, His goodness, and to remember all that He’s done.

Just keep reading…

He Told The Story Well

In Acts 7, we encounter Stephen defending himself to the high priest, who along with others intent on silencing the mighty work of the Holy Spirit through Stephen, had accused him {wrongly} of speaking “blasphemous words against Moses and God” (Acts 6:11).

Yet even under the accusation of blasphemy and the threat of imminent death, Stephen told the story. And he told the story well.

Beginning with the promise God had given to Abraham when He called him to the land that God would reveal (Genesis 12), and the covenant God established of giving this land to Abraham’s offspring (of which Abraham had none at the time), to the account of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, to Moses’ encounter with the burning bush where God spoke the message to deliver His people from Egypt, to the account of David and Solomon, who built the dwelling place for the Most High God, to the Righteous One (Christ) and the power of the Holy Spirit, with whom Stephen was filled, after first living it by example, Stephen told the story … their history … of God’s faithfulness and redemption.

Because of his knowledge of and familiarity with the Scriptures {which he quoted significantly} and because of the Holy Spirit’s presence within, Stephen told the redemptive story, which culminated in convicting questions to his audience. Stoned shortly thereafter, he gave his life to tell the story. To challenge those around him who repeatedly resisted the Holy Spirit. Because this story, HIS story, is everything.

Do you know this story? Are you a living example of this story? Do you know the Scriptures? Are you relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to tell the story in unlikely (and often uncomfortable) situations?

Stephen told the story well. Will you?

**ps: have you heard of “The Story” project (CD pictured above)? if not, go here or here for more information. it. is. awesome.**

Astonished by Common

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.”

– Acts 4:13-14 (English Standard Version – emphasis added)

Jesus has been taken up into heaven after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit has come on believers at Pentecost, Peter has preached a powerful and truth-filled sermon to the masses, Peter has healed a lame beggar and then used the opportunity to again proclaim Christ to those around him, and Peter and John have been jailed overnight by the priests and Sadducees because the message of Jesus Christ was found disturbing and threatening to their power.

That’s a lot going on in a rather short amount of time, but Peter is neither beaten down nor deterred by this series of events.

As Peter and John stand before the council of rulers and elders and teachers, a council in a position to determine whether Peter and John should be kept in jail, Peter again speaks boldly of Christ, of “this Jesus” (see Acts 4:11), of salvation. But not because Peter just has a desire to do so or because he has simply determined to be bold or because he has somehow resolved to be strong.

In contrast to such human effort, Peter – a common and uneducated man – was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8).

It is this power, the power that comes from the Holy Spirit alone, that leaves the council astonished. Because even they recognize that the boldness exhibited in these common and uneducated men means that Peter and John had been with Jesus. The power and boldness could come from no other source. And in the wake of this encounter with truth, “they had nothing to say in opposition,” and ultimately release them {at least until the next chapter}.

And as Peter and John share this account, their fellow believers pray this prayer together:

“…now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant, Jesus.”

– Acts 4:29-30 (ESV – emphasis added)

Oh, how I long for that prayer to be granted in my own life as I pray along with them … that others would be astonished … not because of me, but because the power of the Holy Spirit is evident in my common life by the way I live and boldly proclaim the message and truth of Jesus Christ.

Join me in this prayer today?