“Catch the Wind”

 

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These are strange days. Do you feel it? Do you feel the uncertainty of this season, the cacophony of voices constantly clashing around us? Do you feel the opinions flying fast and furious, fear tightening its grip, discord having its day?

But deeper than all of that – beneath the surface of frenzy and friction – do you see the hearts longing to know that they are seen and safe, that the future is secure, that someone is for them? Do you see hearts looking for hope?

It can be hard to know the right thing to say or the right actions to take because, in a time when it seems like everyone is choosing sides over something, we are still called to be peacemakers. We are called to act justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. We are called to love as we have been loved.

I think this brings one conclusion — we need wisdom greater than our own. We need vision that sees further, deeper, and clearer than our own. We need a love that is wider, deeper, longer, and higher than our emotions or opinions. We need ears to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Over these strange days, our God is still sovereign. His are still the words that are not returned void. His purposes still stand. His heart is still set on kindness that brings repentance. He is still looking for every lost sheep…His love is not wavering, His mercy has not run dry.

We know that His kingdom is unshakeable. We know that our Savior still meets every heart that longs for rescue and calls out to Him. We know that there is love that never fails.

So you and I, we are hope-bearers and we must not be distracted or deterred from this calling.

When we aren’t sure how to proceed, what to say, how to act — this is when we press in to His presence.  We open His Word and let our roots deepen in Truth that endures…we open our hearts in prayer and let Him change us until our lives flourish in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We abide in Him and He abides in us — this Holy Spirit, comforter and teacher, lives within us. And this is what my heart is yearning for, what I know I desperately need – to  walk in step with Him, finding my source of help in His sustaining grace.

In and out of changing times, the victorious light and love of Jesus remain unshaken. Secure in His faithfulness, we are to take this life day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. We lean in and we listen for His voice…we wait on the Lord when we are unsure of our next step. We live interruptible lives, open to changing course and trusting that He will lead us when we ask Him to order our steps, to show us His way.

Maybe it won’t always look logical. Maybe it won’t always make sense. But this is faith — walking in the Spirit instead of our own reasoning.

May our part in these strange days be one of remarkable, bold grace. Let it be our part to share peace that surpasses understanding, compassion that reflects our Jesus who gave Himself to bear the pain and sorrow of all people. Let it be our part to hear the cries of the hurting, not turning away, but drawing close in the power of God that works in us to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, to proclaim liberty for the captives. Let it be our part to act in fearless and unintimidated obedience when God leads us into action. Let it be our part to share unwavering truth in love. Let it be our part to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, to care for those who are forgotten and lonely. Let it be our part to intercede in prayer, knowing that God honors and responds to the prayer of His people. Let it be our part, above all, to never stop sharing the good news of a Savior who gave His life so that we can find forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

Let us be brave. Let us be strong in the power of His might.

We have been given the freedom that comes with redemption, the abundant joy of God’s presence, His strength in our weakness — so let it be that our lives are living epistles of His hope. In these strange days, may it be said of us that we have loved like we were first loved…whole-heartedly, holding nothing back, freely giving what has been given to us.

“…that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”-John 3:6-8

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.-Galatians 5:25

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.-2 Cor. 3:17

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.-2 Timothy 1:7

We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.-1 John 4:6-19

 

In The Storm

Things look a little different around here these days. There are trees, their leaves now golden-brown, bowed low to the ground along the highway. Ditches are deeper, wider. Cracks and widening gullies have appeared on the edges of the woods near our house. Water lines stain buildings in town. Gaps appear where trees used to stand and, in one spot, an entire row of pines has disappeared.

Hurricane Matthew may be long gone, but the evidence of it still remains. Our land is changed. We have been marked by the storm.

I know I’ve been absent here on the site over the past little while. I’ve been watching and waiting as this storm of contention continues to hover over our entire nation. I’ve been wondering what the long-term affects will look like…I’ve been wondering how our land will change…I’ve been wondering how my life will be altered.

We can’t control the storm or the changes time will reveal…but I’ve been thinking a lot about the landscape of my own heart in a time when wildfires of anger are hot and fierce, ignited by careless words…in a time when hatred and fear are raining down…in a time when the ground beneath us seems to be cracking under the pressure of it all.

My instinct is to find shelter, to avoid the storm as much as I can, to keep change at bay.

But I’m reminded, as I watch the constant flow of painful news stories, that Jesus willingly stepped into our storm. He came into the pain, into the sin-filled world, to bring His peace. He didn’t avoid the chaos, but pursued our hearts in the middle of it. He came into the mess of my mistakes so that I could know His life-giving love.

If I am following Him, I cannot pile sand-bags around my heart to maintain my own safety. If I am committed to loving people like He loves people, I have to be okay with exposure to the gales…and I CAN be, because I know that the Peace-Speaker, the One whom the wind and the rains obey, always holds my soul steady in His hands.

We’re all enduring a storm and, one way or another, we’ll be marked by it. But I don’t want to be marked by fear, apathy, anger, or confusion. I want it to be the Holy Spirit teaching and shaping the landscape of my soul as this season continues.

Instead of hardening toward those I disagree with, I want my heart to soften in compassion. I need to strengthen my resolve to become quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, and the first to love. I want to tend even more diligently to these roots so that I am firmly planted in truth, immovable by even the fiercest wind. I want to remain bowed low in prayer. I want a deeper desire to intercede for others who need Him. I want to be more vulnerable, to throw up the windows and open the doors even as the rain pours and the thunder bellows — because I  want to be faithful to go into the world…into the storm…with the good news of Jesus Christ.

We are the children of God, the body of Christ, the citizens of the kingdom of light — so let us live unafraid and undeterred by the schemes of the enemy. Don’t let the cacophony of the storm persuade us to stop singing the song of mercy, grace, and redemption we have been given…it may seem powerful and overwhelming at times, but ‘all authority in heaven and on earth’ belongs to our Savior. His voice cuts through the chaos. His truth does not falter. His power and His love do not fail.

Our world will keep changing – but the One who holds its purpose remains steadfast.

He has entrusted us with the call to shine into the darkness, not just to light up our own safe circle…and we can follow where He leads us, knowing that there is no storm strong enough to extinguish the Light of Jesus Christ within us.

Knowing You are with us, we can boldly declare Your name to this world.  Knowing how You love us, we yield to the changes You make in us…conform us to Your image, Jesus, and let our lives glorify the Father.  Remind us, Lord, of who You are…in our hope in You, we can stand firm through every storm that comes into our lives.  

“Death could not hold You,
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names.”

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…

 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble…

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – from Romans 12

Simple Reminders (For When We Begin to Forget What Matters)

It can be easy to get caught up in details and easy to get tangled in technicalities. We get snagged and tied up in the noise and the pace of life, our vision filling up with this and that and the other until we lose sight of what matters.

Today, my heart is saying: time-out.

I read Luke 10, feeling Jesus’ response to Martha’s distraction and distress (caused by her busy-ness and her sister’s non-busy-ness) to my core — And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.

I want to be like Mary. I want to choose that good, needed thing…His presence.

I want to keep my eyes on Jesus, my Savior whose love is my comfort and peace. I want to lean into His words with no other conversations crowding out His still, small voice.

Will you join me in taking these moments to savor His simple-but-extraordinary truths?

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Jesus came into our world to bring good news and to help us.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. –Luke 4 :18-19

He has compassion for us.

When the widow was weeping over her dead son, when He saw a crowd of confused and helpless people – lost like sheep without a shepherd–, when He saw the sick and the broken…He had compassion on them. (Luke 7:13, Matt.9:36, Matt.14:14) He brought life, He healed sickness, He met the needs of their hearts. This compassionate heart of our Savior has not changed. The love of the Father that sent Him to our rescue has not changed. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground outside of the Father’s care…and so Jesus says to us- Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matt.10:31) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt.11:28)

We can trust Him to provide what we need. The words of Jesus free us from the heavy weight of worry.

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. –Matthew 6:31-33

He is a trust-worthy foundation, in all situations. The whole world can shift, people can change, our situation can turn-upside down…but Jesus does not change. He is steady and sure. We can depend on Him and He will not let us fall.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. -Matthew 7:24-25

He doesn’t condemn you or turn you away – He welcomes you.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. -John 3:17

When Jesus steps in, we become subject to Him, our Lord of mercy and grace – and we are no longer subject to shame, sin, or fear.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. –John 8:36

He does ask us for our everything when we follow Him…but not without giving His everything first.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.–Matt.16:24

 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. –John 10:14-15

At the end of the day, so many things can try to distract and deter us from the point of it all, from the plain and simple truth – God loves us enough that He sent Jesus to die on the cross, so that through Him we can be made righteous – forgiven of all sin.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should not perish but have everlasting life. –John 3:16

And through His death, through His resurrection power – we can come into the presence of God and dwell with Him forever…while here, on this earth, the Holy Spirit within us – we abide in His love. This, friends, is the needed, good part…and it is the peace to our souls when we are troubled and worried about many things.

May we lean in, hear His voice, and live His Words…

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.-John 15:9-17

May we hold our hope steady, no matter the noise and the always-changing world. May God make firm our feet on the foundation of His truth, our hearts overflowing in fullness of His joy and love, our ears open to His Spirit’s leading, our hands open to give as we have received, our mouths obedient in speaking His gospel.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone – Mark 16:15

Bird-Song (Let Us Sing Along)

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I was rushing, something I am often doing these days. But I noticed this bird as I was walking back to my car…he didn’t fly away as I approached, so I stopped to watch him. And after I paused on the sidewalk, this bird began to sing. Up and down the scale, holding out trills, letting loose a vibrato that any vocalist would admire. This was a jazzy solo act, an unhesitant outpouring. For several solid minutes, I stood there in the afternoon sun and listened. It felt like a song of joy, an unafraid anthem.

I think that maybe this bird’s exuberant, unhindered song means something like the lyrics that keep humming in my heart…Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives!

It is reason enough to sing out with all of your heart, isn’t it, little bird?

He lives and our days are all known to Him. He lives and He promises to provide what we need. He lives and He is with us. He lives and the faithfulness of His love is our unfailing hope.

It is reason enough for us to sing out, too.

 

 

 

What to Remember on a Monday (and every other day, too)

Just in case you are having a Monday-ish kind of Monday — a little tiring, a little overwhelming, maybe a little gray — I just want to remind you:

You are loved.

“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”~Ephesians 3:16-19

Against All Hope

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Everything we see, everything we hear, everything we feel – it can all tell us that it’s time to quit trying, to give up our dream and our calling, to give into despair.

And, sometimes, it would be easier to slide right into believing all of these things that are right in front of us. It would be easier to stop expecting better things. It would be less disappointing and less heart-breaking to just accept what is and to throw away that vision of what could be.

If this is where you are right now,  pleasehold on. Don’t give up.

If your heart is breaking, if your faith is fragile, if you are afraid – don’t give up.

It may be an outright battle to keep hope in your hands, but it is a fight you can win through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We have an enemy and he is going to fight you to the finish – John 10:10 tells us plainly that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. He wants to devour your God-given purpose and your calling to speak out the name of Jesus into this world. He wants to take your faith and your hope in the promises of our Father.

When everything seems to be going wrong, when things don’t work out – there’s his voice, bearer of hopelessness. It might sound a little like Job’s wife – why don’t you just curse God and die? It might sound like the voice of the Israelites – did God bring us here to hunger, to thirst, to fall by the sword? We would have been better off as slaves in Egypt! It might sound like the voice of a giant – Are you fighting me with little sticks? Come here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals! It might sound like the voice of a king ready to attack – on what are you basing your confidence, that you remain under siege? Who of all the gods of these nations that my predecessors destroyed has been able to save his people from me? How then can your God deliver you from my hand?

It might sound like the voices of the elders, scornful at the foot of the cross – He saved others, but He can’t save Himself!

It sounds like a stone is rolling into place – like it is pushing your purpose, your relationship, your hope of a life full and free into an airless and dark tomb.

It sounds like all is lost. It sounds like you have failed – maybe it even sounds like God has failed.

But listen –your expectations…your promises…your hope is in “the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. “

Romans 4 goes on to say that “against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead- since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.”

Abraham saw the facts and it looked hopeless. That voice was loud and clear – it was over.

There was no reason to think that he and Sarah could have a child, not when their youth was gone and the spark of life taken from their bodies. There was no reason to think that they’d ever have the joy they’d wanted for so long.

No reason – but God. God had promised. God had spoken to Abraham and said – Yes, this is going to be your blessing and through it all men shall be blessed. Yes, you will be the father of nations and Sarah will be their mother.

Yes- the years, they passed. The perfect timing and the perfect circumstances passed.

But still Abraham in hope believed, against all hope – against all the facts and all the fears – that God had the power to do what He had promised.

When he least expected it, when the odds were fully against it – a baby boy came kicking and laughing into this world. God fulfilled His promise in the better way, in the miraculous way that no other could accomplish.

It’s His way, to bring salvation in the strangest of ways. It’s His way to show up in the can’t-be-done and the it’s-too-late now. It’s His way to leave no doubt that He and He alone is Lord over all – because who else could do what our God has done?

Who else could part a sea to make way for escape from an enemy? Who else could bring down a city with a march and a shout? Who else could knock down a giant with a single stone? Who else could shut the lion’s mouth? Who else could bring men out of a fire, without the slightest singe? Who else could make an army flee from Jerusalem without a single man of Israel lifting a sword against them? Who else could use a giant fish to save a drowning man? Who else could feed thousands with one basket of food?  Who else could speak to the days-dead in their grave and watch life walk out?

Who else could defeat death by sacrificing His own life?

No, your facts might not be what you want them to be. Your situation may be far from the promise for which you’ve been waiting.

But, friend, dig your heels in. Raise your hands in victory. Because your hope is in the God of the impossible. Nothing is too hard for our God and He will not abandon you to that dark tomb. The thief may be trying to steal, kill, and destroy you but here’s the end of that verse in John 10 – Jesus came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.

He knows exactly where you are. He knows exactly what is going on. He knows your need. He knows how long you have waited.

He also knows the best way, the better way – the glory-only-to-the-God-of-the-Impossible way to fulfill His promises for you.

I love what He says in Isaiah 55: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn-bush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

We can’t always understand how He is working. We usually don’t understand why we are in a season of waiting.

But trust in Him because you know who He is: mighty, merciful, faithful to His every Word. He will accomplish what He desires for your life – He will bring you that beautiful place of peace and so much joy that creation itself cannot help but burst into song!

He has saved you and called you because of His unending love for you – and He is not going to leave you alone. Even as you wait, even as you hold onto your hope – His divine power has given us everything we need for a Godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3).

Never, ever give up your hope that is in His name.

When you hear the voice of the enemy telling you to abandon your purpose, that your prayers are pointless – do not be discouraged and do not be afraid. Instead, ‘be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Pick up your sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and stand your ground. ‘Press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus too hold of’ for you. Hope in His promises!

I am confident – because He never changes! – that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. This (all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-gracious!) God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.   (from Phil. 1:6 & Psalm 48:14)

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. –Hebrews 10:23

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. –Romans 5:5

…but He will bind up our wounds…He will revive us, He will restore us that we may live in His presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. -from Hosea 6

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.-Psalm 138:8

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What You Can Count On

We are told that the world is unraveling. We are told that the economy is unstable, diseases are without cure, depression and anxiety more prevalent than ever before. We are told that there is no guarantee of safety, no guarantee of provision, no guarantee that a new disaster won’t befall us when the new day dawns.

We are told all of these things from the media sources that speak into our homes…in the plots of our ‘entertainment’…we can overhear the conversations in restaurants and grocery stores…in our twitter feed…on facebook. We hear the endless sounds of despair and the incessant arguments of political solutions that bring no peace and no optimism. I’m sure that you could add more to the list I made, more worry-planting seeds you’ve heard…and these seeds fall easy into the soil of our broken hearts.

Are the problems real? Yes. And yet this is not the entire truth…because, contrary to what it may seem — the problems are not or never will they be the end of the story.  They are not the whole story. And here’s what is left out of the conversation:

We have a Savior and this is what He says about our earth so undone –

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus Christ is the same today as He was on the day that this world was spoken into existence. He is the same today as He was on the day that saw a sea parted for a way of escape, a sun standing still for the victory to be won, three hundred men defeating an army with nothing but jars to break, torches to light, and trumpets to sound. He is the same today as He was when one stone knocked a giant to the ground, when the captives returned from exile, when the wall was rebuilt no matter the obstacles that came. He is the same today as when one lunch became a feast for thousands, when Lazarus walked from death into life, when the mute and the lame were suddenly shouting and leaping. He is the same today as when He spoke peace to the storm, opened blinded eyes, and He is the same today as when He rose from His grave and ascended in power and glory to the right hand of the Father.

What I am trying to say is this: no matter how many times this world turns, no matter how sin destroys and divides, no matter how much power the enemy thinks is in his hands — there is one King of kings and He is in control. He has always been the Author of this story – He began it, He unfolds it, and the ending is His and His alone.

If trouble arises, we can acknowledge it and then we can say – This, too, is in His hands. When fear or sickness or problems invade our lives, we can say – He is Lord of my life and this, too, is under His authority.

There is nothing — not one thing on earth, in hell, or heaven —  nothing that is not under His reign.

I do not understand the sorrow and tragedies that come into our lives, but I do know that in His power – there is nothing that can’t be redeemed.  I know that this life is not the end. I know that He is sovereign and I know that He is love — so we can face the turmoil without bending beneath the burden of fear. He is the same as He has always been and the same as He will always be – Mighty. Holy. Full of mercy and full of grace. Healer. Exalted above the heavens – all power belongs to Him even while He is loving enough to dwell in our hearts.

Remember! — the Savior who sings in delight over you has overcome the world! All of the sin and the enemy who would destroy everything innocent and good? Defeated. The troubles that plague our days?  Defeated. The death and despair that shout out into our world? Defeated. 

And I know that, sometimes, it doesn’t seem like it. It can feel like things are spiraling and that good is being drowned out – but we must trust Who we know and not our vision of now. The defeat of our enemy isn’t something we can always see in fullness, but one day we will. Our God knows the day and the hour and the second when He will step back into our sight here on earth, bringing eternal peace with Him….and so we trust in Him and we put our faith in His words, in His purpose and the future He has planned.

And in the meantime, we live with hope!  We get to walk in joy and peace because we know who He is — and that in itself is victory over darkness. Satan would have every child of God allowing those worry-seeds to blossom, wilting beneath his plans, but we can stand against him in the power of the Holy Spirit. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (from 2 Corinthians 10)…yes, stand boldly in the victory of our Savior and allow Him to weed out every anxious thought, every fear. Let every single piece of bad news be laid down at His feet…plant seeds of faith and watch His harvest of faithfulness grow wild and beautiful in your life.

In this way, we live rejoicing and free even while troubles increase – because our Savior is here.  He is here and He isn’t leaving us, not ever. He is here and He is good. He is here and He is in control.  So don’t forget to sing! Don’t forget to smile! Don’t forget to see His beauty and to declare His good works! We are tired of hearing bad news – so let us stand up and speak the Good News – the hope of a Savior for every one of us.  Jesus Christ is our portion and this is hope that should not be held close and covered, but radiated in every step we take. He is the Light of the world and it is our honor to shine…our calling to open our hearts, our hands, and our voices to tell the other side of the story in this conversation of our world…the story of  ‘how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.’ Or maybe you know it like this – ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’

Whatever we hear and whatever unfolds — He is the Truth that will not waver, the Love that will not fail.

“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”~Isaiah 54:10

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
The Lord will surely comfort  Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

“Listen to me, my people;
hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
my justice will become a light to the nations.
 My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
and wait in hope for my arm.
 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.” 

~Isaiah 51:1-6