Tuesday, September 28, 2021


 "...through Him [Jesus] we...have our access in one Spirit to the Father." (Ephesians 2:18)

From where I sit in my home office in podunk America, I have a hard time imagining myself walking into a high rise office of a powerful CEO. Thoughts of metal detectors, armed men and women in suits, click-clacking shoes on marble floors, elevator banks with escorts, and lots of glass come to mind.

Walking into a corner office for an appointment seems ludicrous. Being invited or welcomed--feeling comfortable in such--beyond comprehension. I don't wear heels or a suit on a special day, let alone a normal one.

But the Bible says that through Jesus, we have access to God the Father. And we don't go alone. We have the Holy Spirit to accompany us. We are in our element--and we are welcomed!

God, the Creator of the Universe, calls us children. He has chosen to be our Father. Our good, perfect, generous, giving, kind, giving of Himself, Father. And He wants us to to come. He wants us to realize our access to His face, His throne, His hand, His kingdom, His eternity. 

What does that mean? It  means I don't have to live life on my own. I don't have to accomplish or prove myself  by myself. I have access to God! I have access to His armory, His banquet table, His hallways, His lap. He wants to be part of my decisions. He wants to meet my needs. He wants to show Himself faithful through my circumstances and responses. He made Himself accessible for a reason. He has given me supernatural, open access that I might live with the resources and gifts only He can give--through Jesus.

So, then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross by which he put the hostility to death. He came and proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22 CSB)

Friday, September 10, 2021

True Satisfaction

We are dissatisfied creatures. Of all the things I struggle with regularly, this is probably the most constant, persistent--the gnawing of my soul. The unrest. The striving, chasing, wasting. The sunkenness and flatness of spiritual eyes. The lack of appetite and discernment for what is good, pleasing, and right in exchange for the fatty, sexy morsels that deceive and leave me more hungry than before. Or continuing to shove dry crusts of bread down my throat without living water; choking on every bite, self-righteous but envious of those who refuse to choke beside me.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven...." (John 6:32)

This morning as I read my Bible and answered several simple questions, I was reminded of how easy it is to see myself, not God, at the center. How quickly I fall into discontent.

God is a Father who wants to fill and satisfy His children. He is a Father who provides true bread--generously and freely. He is a good Father who feeds His children only the best. But we, like children, turn our nose up in distaste. We would rather go hungry than feed on His Word. We want to choose a diet of our liking instead of His. We are, and always will be, rebellious, defiant children throwing fits or folding our arms in silence in an effort to outwait our good Father. 

By His grace, He outlasts us. Loves us. Provides and cares for us, even in our wicked, destructive stance of refusing His provision. 

The painful truth is that I want to be acceptable on my terms, not His. I want to be holy, perfect, and complete without suffering. Without Jesus. I seek satisfaction and fulfillment in my children, job, home, church, ministry, spouse, an unknown future object or event of my preference. 

God says, "Come to Me. Eat the good bread I offer. Take Jesus. Trust Him instead of yourself. Believe His work is sufficient and yours never will be. Partake of Jesus. He will fill your soul. He will brighten your eyes. The bread of God--Jesus--comes to free you of guilt, effort, striving, and destruction."

Jesus continued, "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Friday, May 21, 2021

Fixing What's Wrong

 I'll just put this out there--sometimes the sovereignty of God stinks. Sometimes what happens--what is out of my control, what others plan, purpose or manipulate--is wrong. It ruins everything I've tried to accomplish, months or years of effort, praying and dreaming. I see the wrong behind it and want to change it. "Surely this isn't God's plan!"

Living by faith, however, sits back, reflects, and moves with it. How do I know?

Here is Scripture to help--because I doubt I'm the only one who struggles when this happens.

I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it. And God has so worked, that people will fear Him. That which is, is what has already been, and that which will be has already been; and God seeks what has passed by. (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15)

What is crooked cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted. (Ecclesiastes 1:15)

Really? Ok. Yes, what God does or doesn't do, but what about what people do? What about their wickedness or wrong choices? I'm just supposed to roll with it?

Look at what happened to Isaac at the end of his life. He was miraculously born to senior citizens. The promised son. The wonder baby. He grew up in a godly family--both of his parents are listed in the hall of faith. Not just one, both. God supernaturally provided a beautiful wife from the home country even though he lived off in the desert. They raised 2 sons and, were, by all accounts, well off.

Then, in the end, one brother betrayed the other. The younger disguised himself, took advantage of his father's frailty and blindness, and received the blessing. How did Isaac respond? Here's the story again:

So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said,

“See, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed; Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you.”

Now it came about, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of his father Isaac, that his brother Esau came in from his hunting. Then he also made a delicious meal, and brought it to his father; and he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” And he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who then was he who hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate from all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, me as well, my father!” And he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing.” Then Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has betrayed me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” But Isaac replied to Esau, “Behold, I have made him your master, and I have given to him all his relatives as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, me as well, my father.” So Esau raised his voice and wept.

Then his father Isaac answered and said to him, “Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. And by your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck.” (Genesis 27:27-40)

What a heart-wrenching end to Isaac's life! What a stink! Crook! Deceiver! It doesn't make sense to us. It doesn't seem right. But how does God interpret the situation? This is what the writer of Hebrews pens in relation to Isaac and his faith:

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. (Hebrews 11:20)

It doesn't say what happened was fair, right or just. The Bible doesn't say that Isaac liked it or agreed. It doesn't share the agony of his soul in blessing the wrong son and giving left-overs to his favorite (and isn't there a lot that can be said to parents--that will remain unsaid for now).

Why and how was this an act of faith? 

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country which they left, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Because it isn't about here and now. Life isn't going to be fair. I'm not going to understand it. I cannot change what God has done, but I can respond in faith, moving forward from here. I can live for that eternal kingdom instead of this earthly one. I can set my heart and mind on what is coming. I don't have to fix what's wrong. I don't have to cover, change or make it right. I simply roll with it and keep my eyes on what is greater, better, higher--Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-3)

And, as the writer of Hebrews will conclude:

Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-4)