NOW

 

My heart is so full

So full of gratitude

Excitement for what is to come

And for what has already been

Help me to enjoy the Now

You are here with me Now

I want to see you Now

I want to be near you Now

I seek after you Now

You are my Master

        My Fortress

                  My King

                         My Protection

                                   My Savior

                                            My King

I don’t have to wait for you because you’re with me Now.

I don’t have to be afraid because you’re with me Now.

In The Great Commission,  Jesus commands the eleven disciples to go out into the world, “…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always , even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)      Whatever it is that God has assigned you to do, trust that He is with you Now.                

CAN I GET A DO-OVER?

At some point (at many points), we all fall short. We all misstep. We all make foolish and sometimes defiant choices. Some of those poor choices land us in a world of trouble. Fortunately, God is merciful. He gives us new mercies each day.

Israel Houghton sang, “you have given me a second chance”

There is nothing we can do that God can’t forgive. (1 John 1:9) That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences. Remember, CONSEQUENCES DON’T ALWAYS MEAN DESTRUCTION. Many times, the Israelites went off track and turned from God. Each account in the Bible shows God chastening them, warning them of consequences and carrying out what He promised. What’s beautiful is that each warning of punishment included a message of hope and mercy. Each punishment was temporary and there was opportunity to start over.

Don’t believe me? Here are some amazing stories of mess ups and do-overs laced in God’s mercy:
• David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11,12:1-24)
• Jonah and the big fish (Jonah 1,2)
• Throughout the book of Jeremiah (you have read the whole think to make sure you don’t miss it)

We can’t forget about Peter. The same one who denied Jesus three times repented and later spewed out a dissertation that has been credited for winning 3000 souls . (Luke 22:54-62, Acts 2:14-41)

I have a friend who was often asked to sing the sermonic selection at church. Many times, she started singing and would stop if she wasn’t pleased with the way she started. she wasn’t afraid to say “I’m sorry, can I start over?”. The congregation would smile and nod. We were never disappointed with the do-over.

Do you need a do-over? Well, today is the first day of the rest of your life. Don’t be afraid to pray to God for forgiveness. He’s waiting to hear from you, and even has directions to get you back on track. That map being the Word of God.

A HAND FULL OF FRAGMENTS DOESN’T MAKE A WHOLE

What if I took a whole apple, cut it into pieces, placed it in a sandwich bag and nibbled on the contents of that bag until it was empty? Once I finished, how many apples would I have eaten? One, of course. What if I only ate half of the contents of that bag and dumped the rest in the trash? The bag is empty; did I eat the whole apple?

When my daughter was three, she heard the voice on the radio say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Her response was, “That’s right Mommy! I can do whatever I want through Jesus!”. Being fairly new at reading and studying the Bible, I thought it was amazing how well she understood that scripture. After all, that’s what I was being taught in Sunday School and Bible study.

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”, is a staple in my bag of  “words of encouragement”. Unfortunately, it’s only a fragment of God’s message. At some point in my life, I added Philippians 4:8 to my bag.”Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things”. A little later, I added Philippians 4:11. “…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” More fragments. Eventually, I had a handful of fragments:

  • Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (v 4)
  • And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (v7)
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (v6)

Just like only eating pieces of an apple only gives us a portion of its nutritional value, we can miss out on God’s revelation to us when we only partake of portions of His message. Each of these verses are encouraging, but the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church of Phillipi was intended to relay a different message than that of my daughter’s, and many of our own, perception. When we put Philippians 4:1-13 together, the “words of encouragement” become encouragement and direction. Paul was encouraging his brothers and sisters to continue to praise God, while they wait for their prayers to be answered. He then told them that they will have peace in spite of the struggles if they meditate on those things that are good and pure (ie. the Word of God).  Through this excercise of meditation, prayer and praise Paul is able to be content in whatever is going on in his life. He was able to be just as content in hunger as he was in abundance.  Paul could endure all circumstances because he relied on the Word of God (Christ) as his source of strength.

When God commissioned Ezekiel to deliver His message, He commanded him to “eat this scroll”.(Ezekiel 3) Ezekiel didn’t nibble on it. He opened his mouth and God fed it to him – the whole thing. I am encouraged, and I encourage all, to EAT THE WHOLE.