The Naked Truth

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

If we play it safe, no one gets saved. If He played it safe, we would not have been saved.

Scripture of the Day:

John 7:3

“So Jesus’ brothers advised him, “Leave here and go to Judea so your disciples may see your miracles that you are performing. 4 For no one who seeks to make a reputation for himself does anything in secret. If you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”

Provocative title, I know. So was the lavish demonstration of love shown by our God who came. Naked. To a people who would reject Him. Truth incarnate, the Word became flesh.

Why would He choose to reveal Himself in such a vulnerable way? He left Heaven and crossed every barrier to show Himself in such a raw, transparent way.

It’s tough to be transparent, much less to offer ourselves for others to potentially reject. When He was on the cusp of His ministry, He had to choose again to show Himself to the world. The world. Harsh, judgmental, sinful – why show Himself to an ungrateful people? To strangers?

The LORD asked me this question as I pondered how open I am supposed to be to the world – do I friend complete strangers on social media? What about enemies? Jesus did. He knew they were trying to kill Him and knew they spoke against Him. Still He went.

He gave Himself away, radically, dangerously – on a cross so that His people would be saved. How do we, too, radically demonstrate such a zeal for the lost to know this salvation?

The world does not want us to just tell them about Jesus. It wants – it needs – real people who share their real weaknesses of their flesh, and who demonstrate a radical love for their God and His people. But sometimes the rhythm of life itself or our fears keep us from the mission Christ started and asks us to finish.

We tend to create an environment of safety, impenetrable by those who would harm us. Christ chases such people. Safety is one of those things we need to be cognizant of in this crazy, sin-sick world, but safety can be an excuse that keeps us from the hurting. Sure, we need to walk in wisdom, but with so many people needing hope, do we cherish our comfort zone more than their souls? If we play it safe, no one gets saved. If He played it safe, we would not have been saved.

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 11 – Veterans

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Thank you, veterans, for being such an example of what it means to live a selfless life.

Scripture of the Day:

John 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

It is perhaps the most fitting in this month of expressing gratitude that we pause and thank those who have given up so much to serve their country.

The gratitude for the sacrifice given for strangers and a country that has often not expressed enough thanks cannot adequately be conveyed.

Like Christ, veterans willingly choose to forgo their personal concerns and safety. They give up their comforts and leave loved ones to place themselves in harm’s way in an environment that is often intolerable. In extreme heat, cold, a wall of noise or a tentative silence, our veterans face it all nobly with no regret.

Thank you, veterans, for being such an example of what it means to live a selfless life. We applaud you and pray you would be rewarded abundantly for your sacrifice!

Lord, thank you for our soldiers and veterans who have given so freely of their time and lives. Bless them and encourage them that it is not in vain.

 

Fear and Illusive Safety

Proverbs 16:17

“The highway of the upright is to turn from evil; the one who guards his way safeguards his life.”

Proverbs 3:24
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.”

Proverbs 18:10
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”

Job 5:22
“You shall laugh at destruction and famine, And you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth.”

Psalms 112:7
“He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”

Psalms 91:9,10
“Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;”

Isaiah 43:1,2
“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

In an uncertain world, it is amazing anyone of us feels safe.  Just yesterday I heard of a friend who was making funnel cakes in a tent when all of a sudden a tree fell out of nowhere upon him and he was hospitalized.  Crazy.  It was not even raining outside.  Evil villains slaughter innocent children and blame their radical so-called faith for their actions, people loot stores and threaten violence because of a perceived injustice; yes friends, fear is still a tool used by the enemy daily, seeking to rob us of security.  Even if it is not crazed people terrorizing the general public, earthquakes, hurricanes, natural disasters and accidents happen daily.  So what is a Christian to do?  Be afraid?  Maybe.  Give in to fear?  Never.

Fear of flying can keep you from venturing through the sky, fear of water can keep you from exploring the sea, fear of criminals can keep you in at night, fear of well almost anything can steal your joy and make you feel unsafe.  But isn’t it so wonderful that as Christians we do not need to fear ANYTHING except for only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).  You may say, “bad things happen to Christians, too”.  Yes, the rain falls on the good and the bad, but perfect love casts out fear.

What is this perfect love?  Amazing grace to uphold you when the fire is hot and the waters are deep.  Strength beyond what you ever thought you were capable of when you felt weak.  The will to endure when trials are long and arduous.  And more . . . much more.  Until you have walked through the pain and sting of real fear and threats, one cannot contemplate how very real the presence of God is in those moments.  His promise to be with us during those moments is the singular most significant difference we have when compared with unbelievers walking through the same trials.

My hope is that in this very difficult time with so much tumult throughout the world, that whoever reads this blog will find comfort in the midst.  He is our refuge, our dwelling place, our strong tower.  We are safe when we run to Him.  Shadrach and his pals saw God’s amazing intervention and deliverance from the fire; Daniel did, too, in the lion’s Den.  The Israelites saw God part the Red Sea then swallow up their enemies.  God can do that for you, too.  But even if He in His perfect sovereignty does not choose to deliver you FROM the fear or hardship, He very well might deliver you THROUGH it.

Fear not – rely on God and His mighty arm today!  He is able to strengthen us and will accomplish His purposes all for His glory and our good.  What an amazing God.

Lord, help us to trust in You and that You will not give us more than we can bear, but will grant us strength to bear through it.  You are good, Lord, and we want to shine genuine faith to a world that suffers alongside us.  Thank you for being our refuge and very real ever-present help in times of trouble.