Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

He is Risen!

Thank you to those of you that have read this blog during Lent.  I will continue, of course, to blog.  However, I will most likely not be posting a blog daily.

Happy Easter!  Worship our Risen King today.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Here's a post from this time last year.  I hope you enjoy.


Yesterday was Good Friday and tomorrow is Easter.  Today is Saturday.  "Duh, Matt."  But let's think about that a bit today.

On my Good Friday post I wrote about Jesus' victory cry of "It is finished!"  Tomorrow we will celebrate Easter which is the experience that the victory cry is truth.  Saturday we are left unsure.  If Jesus just dies for us He is just one of the most loving people in history, but He is not Savior.  Good Friday is great but it is only a neat story without Easter.  But what about Saturday?

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in Saturday.  What I mean is I know the victory is mine to claim with Christ, but I haven't seen its completion.

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6  I know that He will completely perfect me, but it hasn't been completed yet.  I'm stuck in Saturday.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or morning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4  I know this is true but I see cancer and heartache every day.  I'm stuck in Saturday.

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." Romans 16:20  I know I will crush Satan's head but right now he's tormenting me.  I'm stuck in Saturday.

We live much of our life in Saturday.  The victory has been declared but we can't realize or see it fully yet.  That is why we must hold on to the promise of victory in faith.  Easter will come into its fulness in everything that was promised.  Until then believe the truth of Good Friday, "It is finished!"  Saturday will pass and the sun will come up tomorrow.  The Son will return and we will see that "It is finished!"

Hold fast to the promises of Christ because they will come to pass.  Look forward to tomorrow and in doing so endure today.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Today I'm reminded of how much I need a Savior.  I've been much less than what I've been called to be.  I'm a dirty, rotten sinner. 

I hate feeling like this, but I need to feel this way.  I have times when I think I'm pretty good, and people tell me I'm pretty good.  Then there are times when I screw up.  I use people.  I ignore God's Word.  I am prideful.  It's these times this feeling overwhelms me. 

I hate this feeling, but I should thank God for it.  I should thank God for reminders of my need for Him.  And Good Friday is a fantastic day (if the reminder of my extreme depravity is ever fantastic) to get this feeling.

My sins deserve the wrath of God.  My sin and your sin is why Jesus hung on the cross.

I'm a dirty rotten sinner, but thank God that He loves me in spite of that. 

Here's a great song.  Please, take time to worship God at the cross with me today.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday.  This is a day on the church calendar that remembers the Last Supper and the Maundy.  The Maundy is the foot washing that Jesus did for His disciples.  This what we are celebrating today.

In fact, Pope Francis (whom I am really admiring so far) is celebrating Maundy Thursday for the first time as Pope. Though I'm not a Catholic, I feel Francis is celebrating Maundy Thursday in a truly appropriate way.  The Pope is holding service in a juvenile jail.  In the jail he will was the feet of twelve young people who are incarcerated in that facility.  The Pope hopes this will demonstrate Christ's love for the twelve and His invitation to the twelve for renewal in Christ.

What an awesome act!  This mirrors for us what Christ did the night of His betrayal:

"It was just before the Passover Feast.  Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father.  Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?'

Jesus replied, 'You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'

'No,' said Peter, 'you shall never wash my feet.'

Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.'

'Then Lord,' Simon Peter replied, 'not just my feet but my hands and head as well!'

Jesus answered, 'A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.  And you are clean, though not every one of you.'  For he knew who was going to betray Him, and that was why He said not every one was clean.

When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place.  'Do you understand what I have done for you?' he asked them.  'You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
John 13:1-17

Follow Jesus' example.  Humbly serve, even when you are greater than the one you are serving.  Do this and be blessed today.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homosexual Marriage

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the United States Supreme Court is presiding over a couple of cases that will have a massive impact on the issue of homosexual marriage in this country.  The internet, coffee shops and kitchen tables alike are abuzz about these cases.  The debate about whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to legally marry is alive and well.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that both sides of this debate are very passionate.  This passion, while neat to see in many cases, has made the internet, coffee shops and kitchen tables alike a minefield of rude and unintelligent discussion.  Rude and unintelligent from both sides.

I enjoy the dialogue and discussion that's occurring across the country, but I think there needs to be some ground rules before a Christian enters this debate.  So, if you want to play this game, here are the guidelines to consider before a Christian enters a debate about homosexual marriage.

1) You should know a homosexual and love them.  If you don't know a homosexual this discussion is very difficult to have because it's impersonal and doesn't affect you directly.  If you know homosexuals and hate them, you are unqualified to enter this discussion.  Jesus would ask you to remove the log from your eye before you enter the debate ring.  But, if you know homosexuals and are able to love them in a manner that Christ loves them, then, and only then, can you participate in the debate.

2) You must use the Bible as the basis for your discussion.  A Christian shouldn't enter a discussion about homosexual marriage unless the Bible is the basis of the discussion.  Don't say, "let's leave religion out of this", as a Christian your life should be radically altered in every way because of the Word of God.  Also, don't pick and choose what parts of the Bible you use.  You have to try to base your discussion from a view of the Bible as a whole while using specific references.  Don't pick a go to verse and go from there.

If a Christian follows the above guidelines, I believe a good, healthy debate can be had.  Without those two, only name calling and personal opinions will surface.

You may ask, "Hey Matt, what do you think about this debate?"

I'll be happy to have a discussion with you in person about this.  But I will not have a discussion about this online.  I made that mistake once and nothing good came from it, even though I tried to be civil because other people entered the discussion on both sides and were rude and/or stupid with their arguments.

Finally, no matter what side of the debate you fall on, I ask that you pray for God's will to be done through the Supreme Court's decision.  I'm sure His purposes will be accomplished, but nonetheless pray for God's will to be done today.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jesus Has Overcome

This is Holy Week.  Take time to reflect on Jesus' last few days leading up to His murder on the cross.

I've spent time in the book of John with a group of guys.  On Sunday we read John 16 which records some of Jesus' last words to His disciples on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane.  These words are precious because these are Jesus' last words to His friends before He was killed.

In John chapters 15 and 16 Jesus taught the disciples as they walked to the Garden of Gethsemane.  In the previous chapter He taught them at the table of the Last Supper.  In these chapters He highlighted the following:  believing that He is the only way to the Father; abiding in Him, as the true vine; persevering in the face of the world's hatred for Christ and Christians; understanding the role of the Holy Spirit; and understanding what it means to pray in His name.  Take time to read these three chapters so you too can be taught by Jesus.  Take time to understand what was obviously of immense importance to our Savior and friend.

Jesus ended His teaching of the disciples with this verse that sums up His teaching.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

The last thing Jesus wanted to let His friends know before He was murdered is captured in this verse.  So, this verse must still be important to us today.

We see in this verse that knowing the truths taught previously will give us peace.  If you want peace you can believe in Jesus as the only way to the Father, abide in Him, persevere in faith, utilize the Holy Spirit and pray in Jesus' name.

We also see that being a Christian means that we will have trouble.  This is a guarantee.  Jesus did not say, "you may have trouble" He said, "you will have trouble".  Don't be shocked by trouble.  Don't let anyone tell you that trouble in your life means God screwed up, or necessarily that you screwed up.

Finally, remember that Jesus won.  Not that He will win, but that He was already won.  Look at the tense of the verb in this sentence: "I have overcome the world."  Jesus has already won!  So, "take heart!"  As the Chris Tomlin song says, "Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed.  The victory is won.  He is risen from the dead."

That is one thing that we celebrate this Holy Week.  Jesus has overcome.  Jesus has won.  Take heart!  Remember and celebrate Jesus' victory today.

Monday, March 25, 2013

God Meets My Needs

I'm going to use a verse, and I might use it a little out of context.  I'm going to use a verse that Paul wrote while in jail to talk about how God has blessed me in a way He didn't for the saint that wrote the verse.  Still I think it's a great promise and one that was fulfilled in my life.

As many of you know, my fiance and I have been searching for a place to live once we get married in August.  Here was our ideal wish list:

A place available on August 1st because Christine's lease ends on July 31st.
A place with low rent.
A place with a decently sized kitchen.
A place in Waverly.
A place with a good, respectable landlord.

So, we and many others, have been praying for a place like this; but we realized that we would likely not find a place like this.  We figured that I would have to move into a place way before August 1st and we figured we'd have to settle for a small kitchen or something else that we didn't fit our wish list.

Settling was not in God's plan.

God gave us everything on our wish list.  He connected us with a landlord that several of our friends suggested.  He set us up with a place that was $100 cheaper than the next cheapest place we found.  He gave us a place with a big kitchen.  He gave us a place in Waverly.  And on top of all that He gave us a place that was available exactly on August 1st.

God provided for all of our needs and even all of our wants as well.  The place we found has a yard, a deck, a basement, big rooms and more.  God decided to bless us beyond what we'd hoped or expected He would.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

I'm taking this verse slightly out of context, but it explains what God did for Christine and I.

Thank you everyone who prayed for our future home.  We're excited!

I'll end with Paul's benediction from Philippians 4:20:  "To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever.  Amen."

Trust Jesus to meet your needs today.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

Today was a full day.  I went to church service this morning.  We heard a good word from Acts 17:1-15.  After church service we all had a meal together for our pastor's 50th birthday.  Following that I met with some boys and studied John 16.  Finally, we had another presentation of The Great Saga that went well and the pews were packed with people.

I say all that because I need an excuse for reusing another blog post.  The post below is from two years ago.  I hope you enjoy it.

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday.  When I think of Palm Sunday, I think of confusion.  Folks didn't understand what Jesus was coming into Jerusalem to do.  He was coming to die and here's why.

1) Jesus came to die to give us a clear conscience.

Hebrews 9:14 "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God."

2) Jesus came to die to obtain for us all things that are good for us.

Romans 8:32 "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?"

3) Jesus came to die to heal us from moral and physical sickness.

Isaiah 53:5 "Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed."

4) Jesus came to die to give eternal live to all who believe on Him.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

5) Jesus came to die to deliver us from the present evil age.

Galatians 1:4 "He gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father."

Today, Palm Sunday, celebrate the real reason Jesus paraded into Jerusalem.  Love Him more today.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Do the Rightest Thing

Rightest isn't a word, but ignore that.

In 1989 Spike Lee released a movie called Do the Right Thing.  This post is not about that movie.

I rarely have trouble doing the right thing.  What I do have trouble doing is the rightest thing.

As a person who grew up being taught right from wrong I know where right and wrong are in a given situation.  Unfortunately, I find my self doing things that are right but not much more than that.  I often choose the right instead of wrong, but I often don't choose the best.

If I'm given a choice between two things that are both technically right things to do, I often choose the easier of the two rather than the better of the two.

Also, I know where the line is between right and wrong and choose to hang out on the edge of the right side.  I know that I can move further into the right, but I get selfish and lazy.  I do things that aren't wrong, but aren't the rightest.

Please pray that I desire to choose the rightest option.  Please pray that I follow through with my own desire and actually choose the rightest option.  Join me and try to do the rightest thing today.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Great Saga 2013

I'm not going to write much here.  I want to take today's Lent post to invite you to attend The Great Saga 2013.  I've been a part of this production for several years now and, once again, this year's show is very good.

Click here for details and show times.

The performances are free.

Tonight's show is at Wartburg at 8:30.  I hope to see you at The Great Saga today.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March Madness

The post below is something I wrote at this time last year.  I hope you enjoy it.

March Madness

Today marks the true beginning of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  I know they tell us that those play-in games are the first round, but the round of 64 is the true beginning of the tournament.  As a sports fan I love today and Friday.  Today and Friday are my favorite two sporting days; I think they way surpass Super Bowl Sunday or anything barring the day when my Cubbies play in the World Series.

Today 64 teams are trying to become champion.  So, I looked up the word 'champion' today for some inspiration for today's post.

1 Samuel 17:4-7 says, "A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp.  He was over nine feet tall.  He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels (roughly 125-194 lbs); on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back.  His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels (about 15 lbs).  His shield bearer went ahead of him."

Goliath fits the mold of a one seed.  He is big.  He's undefeated and the prognosticators see no way of beating him.

Let's meet his opponent.

David was "only a boy, ruddy and handsome."  He had, "his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in hand, approached the Philistine."

David clearly fits the mold of a sixteen seed.  In fact he wouldn't have made it passed Selection Sunday.  I wouldn't chose him to play in the NIT.

But we all know the story, David beats Goliath and cuts his head off after hitting him in the head with a stone.  This story is so familiar.  In fact, if you watch basketball today I can guarantee that an announcer will use the story of David and Goliath in his work.

I know this story is familiar and we all know that David beats Goliath.  But don't miss this.  David didn't know that he'd beat Goliath.  He had all faith in his God, but no where in the story does God promise David that he will win.  David said, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"  David believed that God was greater than Goliath, but he was never promised victory.

That is faith and courage.  This sixteen seed was eager to fight to the death with the one seed who also happened to be a giant professional killer.

Where should you show this kind of faith and courage?  Where is God asking you to step into a desperate situation where victory isn't promised?  Do you believe, like David did, that our God is greater?

Think about this.  Enjoy watching basketball.  Have faith in our God and take courage today.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Facebook and Sharing Jesus

One reason Facebook is great is because you can see how people react to what you put out there.  You can see if your post was liked.  You get a check mark if your message was seen.  People can either friend you or not friend you.  You can see everyone's relationship status.  Facebook allows you to see a lot of how people react to what's out there.  In fact, you can see how people you haven't seen in person in years react to things online.

"Jessica likes your comment: 'Go Hawkeyes!  Beat Indiana St.'"

When you share Jesus many times you want get that.  You wont see:

"Jessica likes your comment: 'Jesus died for your sins.'"

You won't always get a checkmark by a message you shared with a teen to prove that they got your message.  You won't always know for sure that glazed look on their eyes means they're not listening.

"Jessica is in a relationship with Paul"

On Facebook you can see when someone is in a relationship.  Sometimes I see a relationship status change in someone I have as a Facebook friend but haven't really seen in years.  Sometimes I see a relationship status change in someone I haven't seen or even thought about in a long time.

"Jessica is in a relationship with Jesus Christ"

We don't always get this update when we share Jesus.  Many times when you share Jesus you don't get the privilege of finding out how their life turned out.  Many times we plant a seed of truth never knowing if they ever enter a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Don't let that discourage you from sharing your hope in Jesus with the world.  Lives are changed when we shared the Gospel; unfortunately we won't always see the fruit of our efforts, but in heaven we will.

Share the Gospel.  Pray for the soul of someone you wish to have a relationship status change with the Savior.  Who knows maybe the status change for that person will be:

"___________ is in a relationship with Jesus Christ." today. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sermons Online

I'm not going to give any input of my own today in this post.  Rather, I invite you to check out a great source for sermons online.  This is a link to Grace Church's sermons.  I attend Grace and find that Pastor Jim's teaching to be outstanding.  By clicking that link you can choose for a number of sermons to listen to today.

Monday, March 18, 2013

When Eternity Hits Home

I've been able to witness tragedy and joy in the last couple of days.  This, alongside a simple Gospel message from Pastor David Orr, reminded me of the significance of our call to be a part of God's mission.

I'll start with the tragedy.

Thursday tragedy struck Waverly.  Two men were in a grain bin and were overcome by gasses and they died.  The men were a father and son who owned Schneider's Milling.  This freak accident stole two men from their family.  One was the patriarch of the family.  The other was a young father with one child and one more on the way.  What a tragedy.

This morning I found out that a loyal listener of our station, who also worked part-time for us, died on Saturday.  Thomas was an extremely active listener.  He request a song from me every day and would frequently call me at the station.  In fact, I was in contact with him Friday morning.  Friday night this 43 year-old man had a stroke and was dead in a day leaving behind a wife.  What a tragedy.

These tragedies remind me that, as the King Solomon said and Pastor David reminded me last night, that life is a vapor.  We are all here today and gone tomorrow.  We all need to think of eternity often, but in times of tragedy eternity hits home.

Now the joy.

Last night I got the opportunity to, alongside Brian Miller, Colton Wagner and Ryan Lee, lead worship at my dad's church for their Spring Evangelism Rally.  At the rally Pastor David Orr gave a simple Gospel message asking us to consider the costs of following Christ.  The message was simple and true. Last night three young people counted the cost and put their trust in Jesus.  These three considered eternity with Jesus as a joy that could be theirs.  What a joy to witness!

Eternity will hit home in your life.  I guarantee it.  Our lives are a vapor.  You can be here today and gone tomorrow.  Is your eternal soul in the hands of Jesus Christ?  Is He your Lord and Savior?  Are you a child of God?  You can be.  Admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.  Believe that Jesus is who He claims to be.  Then give God your life to control.  If you do that I won't promise an easy life, but I will promise, because God promises, that you will be with Him in paradise.

In tragedy and in joy trust your eternity to God.  Spread your hope in Jesus.  Live for Jesus today.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

When you think of St. Patrick's Day you probably think of Shamrock Shakes, Guinness beer, corn beef and cabbage, and kissing an Irishman.  What we don't think about is St. Patrick.

St. Patrick did many cool things in his life, but I am struck this morning by his example of Christian love.

St. Patrick was the son of a wealthy Welshman.  At age 16 he was kidnapped by Irishmen and taken to Ireland.  In Ireland he was forced into slavery where he cared for sheep.  Six years into his slavery he had a vision from God.  This vision lead him to the coast where he caught a ship and escaped to home.

Patrick would dream again.  While safe in Britain he got another vision from God.  In this vision, God told him to return to Ireland with the Gospel.  So, Patrick went back to the people who kidnapped and enslaved him.  He went back with good news, not a sword.

St. Patrick is credited with taking a pagan nation and turning it into an entirely Catholic nation.  St. Patrick's willingness to extravagantly love his enemies changed the course of history and made heaven a little more crowded.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  Wear green.  Listen to Irish music.  Eat an Irish stew.  Drink a Guinness or Shamrock Shake.  But don't forget that this holiday is really a tribute to a man who demonstrated extravagant love and a heart for evangelism.  Don't forget to honor the legacy of St. Patrick by copying him a bit.

Also, today is my little brother's 20th birthday!  Please take time to wish him "Happy Birthday" by commenting on his blog today.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Printer and a Jail Cell

In Acts chapter 16 we read about Paul and Silas getting beat, placed in stocks and locked in a jail cell.  Many of you are familiar with this passage.  As you may know, while Paul and Silas were in the jail they were praying and singing hymns.  Paul and Silas were in the prison praying and singing hymns rather than being irate.  Paul and Silas praised in the midst of the storm.

This story invites me to place myself in the story.  What if I were Paul or Silas?  Could I praise God in jail after being beat for no good reason?  Could I, as Casting Crowns sings,  "Praise you in this storm?"

I hope I could.

But then a printer doesn't work.

Thursday at work the printer went haywire.  It wouldn't print anything.  I did everything I knew how to do and it still wouldn't print!  At 5:15 in the morning with a deadline approaching this is the last thing I could handle.  I needed that information to print so Mark and I could on the air with information to share.  I was irate, but I figured out a way to make things work without that printer working.

But after the printer incident my whole day was thrown off.  Everything bugged me.  I came home from work tense and stressed.

I hope I could praise God in a jail cell, yet I couldn't praise Him when a printer didn't work.  How silly is that?!  What on earth makes me believe I could rise to the occasion in tragedy when a printer ruined my day?

If I want an Acts 16 moment I need to be able to have a Thursday morning moment.  I need to be able to perform in the "little" things before I graduate to "bigger" things or I'll fail miserably.  If I can't practice trust with a printer, can I trust in the midst of death and disease or incarceration 

Don't be discouraged.  Rather, I want you to grow from my little story.  We must be faithful, obedient, joyful lovers of Jesus in the "little" things before we start boasting about how we could be faithful, obedient and joyful in the "big" things.

Be aware of occasions to grow up in Christ through the "little" things today.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pope Francis and Your Pastor

I'm not Catholic.  My Grandma Ray was a Roman Catholic, but I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and now attend a Baptist General Conference church.  While I'm not a Roman Catholic, I was intrigued again by the selection process that brought Pope Francis to the Papacy.  I also am interested in the many traditions of the church and the significance of these traditions that so many hold dear.

In reading about Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) I am very impressed by his character.  I see great promise in where he will lead the Roman Catholic Church.  But what caught my eye the most is what he did in his first address to the crowd standing in Vatican Square.  Rather than giving a blessing to the people, he asked them to pray for him.  I found this to be incredibly humble and wise.

Pope Francis has accepted the burden of leading the Roman Catholic Church and he wisely sensed the weight of the burden and his desperate need for the prayers of the people.

Paul wrote about this burden in 2 Corinthians chapter 11.  He wrote about being whipped, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, constantly on the move, suffering sleepless nights, hunger pains, and nakedness.  He wrote about all these sufferings, but then he wrote this:

"Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches."  2 Corinthians 11:28

Paul had all sorts of burdens but the most heavy was his concern for the churches.  Pope Francis has that same concern today and wisely asked for prayer.

"But I'm not Catholic, Matt."

Being in pastoral ministry is hard.  It is a joy and a burden simultaneously.  Pastors feel the pain and concerns of those under their care, and some times that burden weighs them down into fits of depression and extreme anxiety.  The man who says on Sunday, "Cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares for you" is the same man who feels like he's drowning in worry on Monday.

I write this to inspire you to pray for your pastor(s).  These men, and sometimes women, have a heavy burden and like Pope Francis they need your prayers.  Pray for your pastor today.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

God's Sovereign Judgement

I finally finished Knowing God by J. I. Packer.  Again, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know God more fully and accurately.

In the final chapter Packer breaks down Romans chapter 8.  Packer believes that Romans chapter 8 is the climax of all Scripture.  I don't know whether or not that is true, but it's easy to argue that point.  Romans 8 is so rich (although it can only be understood in light of Romans 1-7) so take time to read through this wonderful chapter now.

Packer makes many beautiful points in his final chapter of this book, but I want to look at just one of them.

Paul, in Romans 8, reminds us of God's sovereignty in judgement.  "It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?"  What Paul is saying is that God justified us and that's the end of our trial.  There is no higher court to appeal to; God has the final say and He says we are justified because of Christ's propitiatory sacrifice.  No one, not Satan or anything in all creation, can overturn God's decision.  God is sovereign in His judgement.

What this means is that no one can uncover more depravity and sinfulness to make God change His mind.  God has already rendered His final verdict.

Beyond that, Packer writes an amazing truth... "He (God) knew the worst about you at the time when He accepted you for Jesus' sake; and the verdict which He passed then was, and is, final."



God's judgement is final, but there is still more to this truth.  God, as the king judge, is the champion and protector of the justified.  In Paul's day, and ours, the king/government had to protect a person that was justified so that he/she wouldn't be lynched.  God does the same for us.  Packer writes... "The sovereign Lord who justified you will take active steps to see that the status He has given you is maintained and enjoyed to the full."

Often times we see God's sovereignty in judgement as something to be scared of; and if you're on the wrong side of this judgement it is terrifying.  But if you are among the justified, the sovereign judgement of God is very good news.  It is Gospel.  So, celebrate the fact that God's sovereign judgement is truth.  Rest assured in His sovereign judgement today.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Marcus Mumford and Christianity

Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons recently gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine.  In it he has a complex, or rather confusing, answer about his personal faith.  Before I write about his answer to that question I want to tell you that I enjoy his music and find some opportunities to worship in the lyrics of his songs.

Let's take Awake My Soul.  Lyrics like, "In these bodies we live, in these bodies we die.  Where you invest your love, you invest your life.  Awake my soul, for you were made to meet your maker."

Or I Will Wait.  Lyrics like, "But I kneel down; wait for now.  I kneel down; know my ground.  Raise my hands; paint my spirit gold.  Bow my head; keep my heart slow.  I will wait for you."

Many of his lyrics invite us to worship; some don't.  I'm not writing about whether or not his lyrics are good or Christian.

In an interview with Rolling Stone he said, "I wouldn't call myself a Christian.  I think the word conjures up all those religious images that I don't really like.  I have my personal views about the person of Jesus and who he was.  Like you ask a Muslim and they'll say, 'Jesus was awesome'... they're not Christians, but they still love Jesus.  I've kind of separated myself from the culture of Christianity."  He said his spiritual journey is a work and progress and he doesn't doubt the existence of God.

Again, before I dissect this quote a bit I must add one more thing.  Marcus' parents are the leaders of the Vineyard church in the United Kingdom and Ireland.  Mr. Mumford is a young man like me, we're both 26, who grew up in the knowledge of Jesus.  That is clearly evident in the lyrics he writes.

Now about the quote.  I'm not going to say Marcus is a Christian or he isn't a Christian.  He knows the answer to that.  I understand why he might say he doesn't want to use the term Christian.  Many of you do the same thing by saying "Jesus Lover" instead of "Christian".  What I'm worried about is my generation's understanding of what it means to love Jesus.

"Like you ask a Muslim and they'll say, 'Jesus was awesome'... they're not Christians, but they still love Jesus."

What does it mean to love Jesus?  Well, for one: "If you love me, you will obey what I command."  John 14:15  Love is a big word.  I don't think I can say that a Muslim loves Jesus; at least not yet.

Why are we so scared to say that liking Jesus and loving Jesus is different?  Why are we scared to say that many people who like Jesus will be in Hell and only people who love Jesus will enter the Kingdom?  I hope I love Jesus in a different way than a non-Christian does.

I hope you and I can love a Muslim, or any non-Christian, in the same way that Jesus loves them; but I hope we love Jesus in a radically different way than a non-Christian says he/she does.  I don't care if you prefer the term "Jesus Lover" or "Christ Follower" to "Christian", but we need not be afraid of being radically different in our love for our Savior.

Marcus Mumford may be a committed Jesus Lover, and I hope he is, but I want to stress that isn't necessarily the point of this blog.  I want us Christians to realize that we are called to be holy, separate from, the rest of the world in the way we love Jesus.

Love Jesus in a radical, not luke-warm, manner today.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hope in Tough Times

Some of you may feel like you're being crushed under the weight of a tough time.  Some of you are in a pinch because of something you've done.  Some of you are in trouble for no wrong doing of your own. Regardless of your situation the Bible offers a lot of hope for you.

Here is one passage of hope I found today.

"Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning:
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him.'

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
to the one who seeks Him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord."
Jeremiah 3:21-26

Right now you might not be able to see it, but God is good.  As the old call and response goes, "God is good... all the time.  All the time... God is good."  His compassions never fail.  It is good to hope in God.

As the song says, "Your love never fails, it never gives up, never runs out on me."

I know this is easier said than done, but wait on the Lord.  Trust in Him today.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Diamond

Today is my fiance's birthday.  Christine is such a great gift to me and I'm so excited that she's in my life.  I love Christine for many reasons but there is one reason I want to focus on today because I think it's something many young women can learn from.  I love Christine for her exceptional purity of character.

Honey, I hope you're okay with me sharing this story (and it's too late if you're not, this internet thing is pretty permanent).

The night I proposed to Christine we went out to dinner.  At dinner we talked about how lucky and blessed we both felt.  At one point she said this, and I'm paraphrasing: "I always felt so weird.  I never dated anyone, never kissed anyone, never loved anyone before you."

She thought all the above was weird.  I think it's amazing.  It made me feel even more lucky and blessed that night.  But she thought it all was weird before we started dating.

So, I told her this...

"A diamond amongst pebbles may feel weird, but it's not.  A diamond is beautiful, pure, special and valuable.  It is definitely different from the pebbles around it but it isn't weird.  A diamond amongst pebbles isn't weird, it's precious.  God gave me the grace to look amongst the pebbles and spot a pure, precious diamond.  You're my diamond."

I don't think Christine's unique in feeling weird about this.  I felt like this, too.  We feel weird when we don't follow the social norms about dating.  But when we value our purity and beauty someone will look at us and see a diamond.  When I found out that Christine saved everything for me I felt so special and found her to look even more beautiful.  Why was I so lucky to be the one who gets to be her first and only everything?  Wow, I'm lucky and blessed.

Ladies, not exclusively ladies but especially ladies, avoid the enemy's lies.  Don't believe the lie that you're weird unless you profess love to that boy in study hall or if you don't kiss someone by age 20 or lose your virginity before graduating college.  Some man will look at your purity of character and see a beautiful diamond; and isn't that the man you want to gently hold your heart?

Christine, you are my diamond.  I thank God for you every day.  And ladies, hold on to hope.  Don't listen to the enemy's lies.  Respect and value your purity as much as you want your husband to.

Shine like a diamond today.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pre-Fatherhood Musing

I'm a few years away from being a father (at least that's the plan), but I am getting married in August.  This, along with the lesson I taught this morning for discipleship class, has me thinking about fatherhood.  In fact, just last night Christine and I talked over a few things regarding how we plan on teaching our children.  Right now, all of this is just a distant dream, but soon it won't be a dream.

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Instructing my children to follow God and do right will be one of my highest callings in life.  The passage above is sobering because I feel so unprepared to do it.

The reason I feel so unprepared to follow through with the command above, to teach my children, is that I will be teaching beyond scheduled lessons.  Teaching my children will not look like me pulling out a lesson plan and presenting information to them.  I prepared myself for that in college, but teaching my children will be much more than that.  My children will take lessons from me when I sit at home, when I walk along the road, when I lie down and when I get up.  My children will learn from me about how to live by the way I conduct myself more than by the words I say.  That is sobering.  In order to teach my children to live well, I have to live well.

Did you get that?  In order to teach my children to follow God I must follow God.  In order to teach them to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" I have to do that myself.  My children will learn more from my actions and words spoken to others than they will from lessons I will present to them.

So what?  How does this affect my life today?  I'm not yet a father, so what do I do today?  Here's the 'so what?': I can't afford to wait to practice being the man I want my children to be.  I need to become now the lesson I want to teach later.

To those of you who are parents I pray that you teach your children to live well and follow God.  To those of you, like me, that want to have children someday: be the lesson you want to teach later, today.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The First Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time begins in just a few hours from when I'm writing this.  Daylight Saving Time is a man-made time change of one hour.  In just a few hours millions will spring their clocks forward in affect changing time, and having one more useful hour of sunlight in their day.

This time change reminded me about the time God actually gave His people more sunlight in a day.

In book of Joshua the Israelites were fighting an important battle against the Amorites and God did this:

"On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

O sun, stand still over Gibeon,
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.'
So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nations avenged itself on its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.  There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man.  Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!"  Joshua 10:12-14

Reflect on this amazing story of God's power and remember to set your clocks forward today.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Everybody Gets Cut

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1-2

Some people wonder why life hurts.  Some wonder why if they are a Christian things can at times be rough.  Some feel that when tough times come they have been abandoned by God.

Look at the two verses up above.  In these verses we see part of the metaphor of the vines and the branches.  This is likely a familiar passage of Scripture.  In this passage we can see a couple of things about tough times, or rather times when God seems to cut us.

The first is that God cuts branches off of Jesus that bear no fruit.  If you are a worthless branch, a branch that is not abiding in the vine, God will cut you off.  Some times when we feel tough times it's because we're a branch that hasn't produced fruit and God has cut us off from the life-giving power of Jesus.  Is this form of cutting final in this life?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I want nothing to do with this kind of cutting.  I'll stay connected to the vine if you don't mind.

The second group of times when God cuts us is when He is pruning.  A master gardener prunes high producing branches because he/she knows how to make that branch even more effective.  God is the same way.  Some times He cuts us to make us more productive.  Gardeners cut back branches to promote growth.  God does, too.  You may be a healthy, fruit producing branch and God will still cut you.  You may be a rock star Christian in many aspects but you're too busy to maximize your fruit production, and God may cut something away from you.  In pruning cutting is only done for the purpose of maximizing growth.  If you are on the vine and yet still being cut, know that the Gardener is doing what's best for you.  Know that the Gardener is cutting you because He sees a potential in you that you'll have to see to believe.

Everybody gets cut.  The Christian walk is not a cake-walk.  God will do what's best for your good and His glory.  Above all make sure you're in a position to be pruned, not cut off, today.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Good News- Hebrews 6

Yesterday's post may have seemed like a downer; it may have seemed like I was saying that we can never have confidence in our faith.  Well, today we get to look at the good news in Hebrews chapter 6.

"Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case... things that accompany salvation."  Hebrews 6:9

See, one can be confident in their salvation.  One cannot lose his/her salvation.  If you have a saving faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord you can be confident to the end.

Why can we be confident?  Is it because of what we do?  No, absolutely not.

"... it is impossible for God to lie."  Hebrews 6:18

God is Truth so when He promises to do something He will come through.  If you have a saving faith you have a promise from God that He will grant you salvation.  "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..." Romans 1:16

God can't lie.  God promises salvation to everyone who believes.  This is good news.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:19

If you have a saving faith in Jesus you have an anchor for your soul.  As I wrote yesterday, work out your salvation with fear and trembling but also let God's promise be an anchor for your soul.  When your life seems like a ship in choppy water remember that God's promise of salvation is an anchor for your soul.

If you were questioning your faith after yesterday's post I encourage you to evaluate yourself to see if you have a saving faith.  If you looked at your faith and found it to be true then take heart because Jesus has promised you salvation.  God can't lie and His promises are always yes and amen.

Remember the good news that the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes today.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Saving Faith- Hebrews 6

I wish I could skip over this passage but I won't.

"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age, if the fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace."  Hebrews 6:4-6

Read that again without filling in your Christianese "once saved always saved" line.  Read what it says and you'll see this is a hard, hard passage.

It says it is impossible for someone to be brought to repentance if they turn away from Christ.  Those are scary words.  The writer of Hebrews is talking about apostasy.

You may ask, "What about the old line 'once saved always saved'?"  This passage seems to refute that old line.  Let me first say that the phrase "once saved always saved" is found nowhere in Scripture.  However, the promise of a blessed assurance is written all over Scripture; in fact Hebrews 6 talks about a believer's assurance.

So, why does this passage seem to contradict "once saved always saved"?

I'll argue that this passage does not refute the promise of assurance.  I'll argue that the old line should be amended to "once truly saved always saved".  Here's what I mean, saying the believers prayer does not necessarily make you a Christian.  Knowledge of our Savior does not necessarily save you.  Being a church member does not necessarily mean you'll be saved.  There can be faith that doesn't lead to salvation, and then there is saving faith.

What's the difference?  Well, I don't know if I can answer that perfectly.  But here's one thing I know:  If you believe that you need Jesus and His saving work, do you think you could turn your back on Him?  Seriously, if you believe that Jesus is the only way to avoid eternal damnation wouldn't you be certifiably insane to commit apostasy?  I can't perfectly define saving faith, but I do know that saving faith is one that recognizes 1) a need for a savior and 2) that Jesus Christ alone is that savior.

So, what do we do with this tough passage?  "We want each of you to show... diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure."  Hebrews 6:11  As Paul said, "... work out your salvation with fear and trembling."  Philippians 2:12

Again, I wish I could skip over this passage and I guarantee that the next passage from Hebrews 6 will be much more encouraging.  But a mature Christian faith doesn't skip over tough passages.  This is some of the solid food I wrote about yesterday.

Check yourself.  Do you have a saving faith?  If not, ask Jesus to give you saving faith today.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Solid Food and Baseball- Hebrews 6

Please take time to read Hebrews chapter 6.

"... solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement.  And God permitting we will do so."  Hebrews 5:14-6:3

Some of you may remember that I wrote about solid food last week.  Hebrews chapter 5 spoke about solid food and chapter 6 continues that topic.

In the above passage some of you may be taken off guard by this phrase: "let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ."  What does this mean?  Are we to stop teaching the basics of the Gospel once we've understood them?  I don't think so.  Let me explain.

The writer of Hebrews seems to be frustrated that the Jewish Christians wouldn't accept the elementary teachings.  They continued to bicker about Christian basics and sit comfortably in the shallow end of the pool.  I don't believe that the writer of Hebrews was asking the saints to abandon Christianity's basics in order to pursue more difficult learning.  I believe what was being requested was that the saints moved beyond the basics not from the basics.

Just after my junior year at Wartburg I got the opportunity to coach baseball at my alma mater.  I was the JV coach and assistant varsity coach.  Before the first practice I was pumped.  I had a host of intricate drills that the boys were going to run... I mean this was upper level baseball I had in mind.  However, when I got to practice I realized that the boys needed to be working on the basics.  They were having trouble hitting the cutoff man and fielding grounders.  So, I abandoned the intricate drills and hammered the basics.

Now, in baseball you need the basics all the time.  You need to be able to hit the cutoff man, square up in front of a ground ball and keep your eye on the ball when you hit even in the Majors.  You never abandon the basics and often times you go back and work on the basics.  That being said, higher level baseball practices shouldn't be filled with drills to help you hit the cutoff man.

My frustration (and boys if you're reading this, this was a minor frustration mostly due to unrealistic expectations on my part) and the writer of Hebrews frustration mirror one another.  We wanted to lead people into maturity.  The Jewish Christians should have been coaching the basics, but instead they were being taught the basics.  So, the writer of Hebrews was not saying abandon the basics; he was urging the readers to move beyond the basics without ever forgetting them.

So, what's the key to moving beyond the elementary teaching?  There are many but here are a few: 1) Accept the basics as truth.  2) Don't shy away from difficult sections of Scripture (in fact Hebrews 6 continues with some difficult stuff) 3) Rely on God because "God permitting we will do so (move beyond the basics."

Never abandon the basics but don't be afraid of moving beyond the basics.  Don't shy away from difficult Scripture because these sections of God's Word will expand your mind like nothing else.  Accept the basics of our faith and put them into practice until they become your new nature.  And rely on God because He is the vine and He will grow you; you can't move on to solid food on your own.

Chew on the solid food found in the Word today.

Monday, March 4, 2013

So Abram Left

"The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

'I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.'

So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.  Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran."  Genesis 12:1-4

Most of you are very familiar with this story.  Abram, who would later be called Abraham, was told by God to leave his home in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia to go to a more desert-like land he had never even seen.  Abram, with heavenly promise in hand, packed up and went.  Or did he?

The Bible doesn't tell us how much time lapsed between verse 1 and verse 4.  Between God's call for Abram to "Leave your country" and the words "So Abram left" how much time past?  Maybe God spoke and Abram shot up instantly and said, "Sarai, Lot, pack up we're going to go to a land God will show us!"  That may have been how the scene went down, but I have a hard time stomaching that.

I'd be willing to bet (although I can't prove it) that Abram was tentative on leaving.  Perhaps, Abram wrestled with this decision for weeks, months or years.  Maybe, he didn't pop out of his chair and start packing.

In Hebrews 11 Abram/Abraham is credited for his faith.  I'm not sure that faith is always popping out of your chair and jumping right to the task.  Rather, I think faith is often eventually submitting to God's will.  I have to believe that is what happened to Abram.  In fact, Abraham would screw up God's promise by trying to help God out when He was being "slow".  Even considering this Abraham is credited for his faith.

I write this not to encourage you to resist God longer.  Instead, I write this to encourage you that it's never to late to submit to God's call.  If God has been calling you to serve or move jobs or get out of your comfort zone and you have resisted, it's not too late to follow God and be credited for your faith.

It's not too late.  Exercise your faith.  Do what God has been urging you to do today.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Church Membership

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Why does my church talk about church membership?"

I mean, is this a club or organization that is driven by numbers and boasting about how many members it has?  Do the local pastors beat their chests at breakfast with one another bragging about the number of church members they have?

While some pastors may brag about the number of members their church has and some churches are driven by the pursuit of numbers; I doubt that is why your church talks about church membership.

So, why does your church talk about church membership?

I hope there are a couple reasons why your church hopes that you'll become or remain a member.

First, churches are concerned about membership because we need one another.  John 15:12 says, "My command to you is this: Love each other as I have loved you."  I believe this command is not for us to love every person in the world (although there are other commands to be loving toward all mankind).  I believe this command is for us to love other Christians.  As a universal Church family we should love each other as Christ has loved us.  But how well can I love my Christian brothers in Chechnya?  I mean, I've never met a single person from Chechnya.

The local church is how we can begin to love each other as Christ has loved us.  In order to love each other fully we have to be living amongst one another.  So, we stress church membership because it allows us to more fully follow Christ's command to love one another.

"But can't I love people in a church without becoming a member?"  Yes you can.  "Well then, why should I be a member?"

This brings me to my second reason for church membership.  Church membership is making a commitment to love and serve with the people of that local church.  Church membership is a public declaration of devotion to a body of believers.  While this pledge isn't necessarily covenantal, I believe it to be important.  I don't know about you, but when I make a commitment public it holds me accountable to that commitment.

Church membership is not a ploy by your local church to win some sort of numbers game.  Church membership is an effective and powerful tool to help us better follow the commands of Christ; namely, the command to love one another.  Being a member of a church allows you to better love your brothers and sisters and to be loved by your brothers and sisters.

Now, have you ever thought to yourself, "Should I become a member of my local church?  Should I commit to loving them and serving God with them?  Should I move beyond being just an attender to being a member?"  I encourage you to discover the joy of pledging to love a local body of believers.  If you're not a member of your church, pray about becoming one today.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Good and Sovereign

I want to meditate on two attributes of God.  God is sovereign and He is good.  I think an appropriate understanding of these two holy attributes can change our entire view of our lives.

God is sovereign.  This mean God rules the universe.  There is nothing that happens in all of the universe that God doesn't control.  Whether this means God controls everything or whether He has final say on everything, I don't know; but I do know that He is in control.  This means that God's plan happens.  There is no Plan B; God's Plan A always happens because He has sovereign rule over everything.

God is good.  This does not mean that God is nice.  Rather, this refers to God's moral qualities that prompt us to call Him perfect.  When we say that God is good we mean that everything He does is perfect.  God is good.  God is only good.  He can't do anything that is not good.

Put those two together.  God is sovereign.  God is good.  That means that His Plan A, which will happen, is good.

So, why do we doubt God?  (I'm writing this as a man who doubts God often)  Why do we doubt that God's plan will occur the way He planned it?  If we truly believe He's sovereign we won't doubt this.  Why do we think our circumstances will ruin our lives?  If we truly believe that God is good we will know that good will be done for those who trust in Him.

As your world shakes and seems to crumble it is easy to doubt that God is sovereign and good.  But God is sovereign and good.  Trust in that.  Lean on that.  Build your life on that truth.  I know this is easier said than done, but this is hope for us.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

"I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32:27

God is sovereign and He is good.  When life shakes, hold on to these truths.  Sometimes the promises and attributes of God are all we have.  Meditate on His sovereignty and goodness today.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Love Notes

Today is the first day of March, but I want to look back at February.  February is a short month but a month filled with love.  There's Valentine's Day and the expectation of expensive gifts and romantic gestures.  I'm writing to brag about my fiance's romantic gesture.

My fiance Christine wrote a reason she loved me on a note card for every day of February.  She wrote a reason she loved me on the front and then dated the note on the back and often times left an explanation of the reason on the back.  She left these notes for me to find every day this month.

I can't begin to tell you what that means to me.  Her notes are filled with love and encouragement and they didn't cost a dime, but I wouldn't trade this amazing gift for any amount of money.  These notes strengthen my resolve to love her.

God does this for us, too.  God has love notes strewn across the pages of the Bible.  The Bible speaks of God's unfailing love.  It writes how God formed us in our mother's womb.  It is clear that God loves you and I.  "For God so loved the world the He gave His only begotten Son."  God wrote love notes to you and I.

God even writes love notes in the sky.  Ever wonder why a sunset is beautiful?  Because God wants it to be beautiful.  In a way, a sunset is a love note that can strengthen our resolve to love God.

I love Christine's love notes.  They are such a perfect gift.  That being said, the love notes God left for us in His Word are 100% better.  I'm ecstatic that Christine loves me and tells me so.  But it's beyond amazing that "Jesus loves me.  This I know 'cause the Bible tells me so."  Mediate on God's love notes to you today.