Publishing: Fair Trade Global Songs / AustinFrenchMusic / Foundational Songs (BMI) (admin. at essentialmsuicpublishing.com); Fairtrade Tunes / From The Void (SESAC) (admin. at essentialmsuicpublishing.com); Lost Slipper Music / Prize Pig Music (SESAC). All rights reserved.
Writer(s): Austin French, Kayliann Lowe, Douglas Lowe, Kyle Lee and Jacob Harrison
Listen. Be still. Be present. Be aware. (This is not an easy task in today’s world filled with these little screens in our hands).
And…. Don’t limit the way He speaks to a sermon, Bible verse, or some seemingly theological insight. He may speak to you through a friend, a movie, the top 40 on the radio, or -most often- a quiet whisper to your own soul.
Remain consistent. Sync your every step with the Maker of your soul.
And notice…. I didn’t say (nor did the Bible) that this is a two-step plan to happiness or to the Westernized world’s version of success.
God’s best may not feel good in the moment. It may not look good or smell right or put you in the limelight.
But it will create a stronger connection to our Creator and to His most favorite creation, other people.
And… in the end, isn’t that all that matters?
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Jesus, Matthew 22:37-39
Never ever stop living out of love or giving out of love. Loving itself is not unhealthy, or codependent, or approval addiction or such. But please, please STOP hinging your own well-being on how well your love is received. Yes That, my friends, is the road to a very dark place. Please don’t go there. Take it as a gentle warning from one who has been there and almost didn’t make it back. ♥️
Quote source: “The Thriver Model of Unconditional Love” by Melanie Tonia Evans
I have loved the book, Abide in Christ, since discovering it twenty-something years ago in Bible College. Andrew Murray’s writing and expounding on scripture is simple and profound at the same time.
I am glad I am re-reading the book now and came across this quote. I so needed this reminder of the fact that it’s God’s job to hold tomorrow and not mine. How often have I neglected what is right in front of me that I CAN do today because I am trying to figure out so many tomorrows that Father has already promised to handle?
(I originally posted this last fall – but I again find myself in a place where I very much need to focus on the very Names and Nature of my amazing Maker).
The thoughts below from Names of God (a 14 Day Devotional Reading from Rose Publishing) on the YouVersion Bible App was a much needed perspective reset for me! May your soul also be uplifted today as you wrap yourself up in the “foreverness” of your Maker!
Alpha and Omega
The First and the Last
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote that God was there in the beginning—“with the first”—and He will be here “with the last” (41:4). In other words, God serves as bookends for history. What a comforting thought in a world where nothing lasts and everything constantly changes! The One supervising when the world began will be the superintendent at the consummation of all things.
The Bible emphatically states that nothing happens outside the purview of God’s sovereignty and power. Nothing happens without His permission or without His authorization. Nothing can thwart His eternal plan to restore all things to perfection. Saying the Lord is the Alpha and Omega is essentially saying this: If human existence were a movie, and we got to watch the credits, God would be listed as creator, writer, producer, director, and star. As the author, He’s the ultimate authority.
In the final book of the Bible, at the conclusion of history, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega . . . who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. With that phrase, Jesus is essentially saying, “I am the whole story. I am the God of creation, the God of the Old Testament, the God that Isaiah wrote about, the God who has been here since the beginning and will be here evermore.”
Whatever is going on in your life today, here’s a fact you can cling to: The One who is the Alpha and Omega controls the outcome of this world as well as the details of your life. He knows where your story and His story are going, and nothing can alter His good intentions or perfect will.
The Alpha and Omega isn’t bothered by the past or worried about the future.
How does the idea of God having “the whole world in His hands” affect your mood and actions today?
God, You are before all things and You are the end of all things. You are found in the person of Jesus Christ, from the first verses of Genesis to the very last verse of Revelation. I praise You, for You are uncreated, infinite, and eternal! Amen.
“And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” – Revelation 21:6
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” -Isaiah 44:6
“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am He; I am the first, and I am the last.” –Isaiah 48:12
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”” -Revelation 22:13
There’s been debate in “Christiandom” for years about whether or not good Christian parents should tell their children stories of Easter Bunnies and send them off on adventures to find hidden eggs.
Some would argue that the remembrances and celebrations of the Easter Holiday weekend should all focus on our Risen Savior and the empty tomb He left behind. “Behead the bunnies and burn the baskets!” might be their mantra.
But I would argue that a single day – or even an entire Lenten season – cannot adequately celebrate our Risen Redeemer – whether filled with chocolate bunnies or fervent fasting. You see, the whole point of that ancient crucifixion and resurrection of our Serving Savior was not for focus to be fixed on an empty tomb or for feasting on baskets full of candy.
The point of the God becoming man, dying, and rising was not to create an empty tomb for generations of faithful pilgrims to gaze into – as awe-inspiring as that may be. The beauty of what these over-crowded Easter Sunday services are trying to Celebrate is so much more than one day and a family dinner. Rather, the true Resurrection Celebration is the sudden and sustained appearance of the light of hope and life in the eyes of a person who had previously been daily trudging through a living death of hopelessness.
So eat that Easter Candy if you want to. Go to church and slice the ham. But you are only witnessing a true Resurrection Celebration when you can daily look into eyes and see a changed life.
For me, this Easter weekend was one of my best yet. I shared the weekend with a dear friend who has navigated through very similar life struggles as me. As we hiked some beautiful West Virginia trails and spoke of strong and confident personal and professional steps we would have never taken in prior years, we realized the very lives we are leading are a beautiful resurrection story.
And the weekend was summed up with a beautiful reminder of this at the close of the service of a little church we visited in West Virginia today. Unlike the larger highly-produced church services many of us experience these days, this one was small and intimate – opening with the pastor querying the entire congregation for any prayer requests and closing by asking if there was anything else on their hearts. It wasn’t focused on a celebrity-style preacher but on the simplicity of God’s love poured out on all the people as they ministered to one another. And it was that sweet atmosphere that provided the freedom for a woman near the back of the church to stand at the close of service and say, “I know He’s alive because He Lives in me!“.
And that – the unending and uninhibited passionate spark of a changed life – is way better than an Easter basket or a sunrise service.
So, not just happy Easter to you. Our Father designed us for more than just an occasional celebratory day.
God speaks and gives lessons in lots of ways. Cats even.
And it’s a good thing that although He ultimately speaks through His written word, the Bible – He uses a variety of methods to get through to our sometimes stubborn hearts.
You see, lately, even when I did read the Bible or hear teaching at church, it was filtered through a heart beginning to feel that God really didn’t give a dern about her. (And if you know me – that’s some strong language right there. My Momma taught me that even darn and dern are curse words not to be used by “proper” young ladies).
Anyway, all that to say – I’m recently coming out of a season where I had pretty much closed myself off from hearing God through what most would consider traditional methods (a.k.a. church and stuff). You see, I felt like those methods had failed me. So even even though I sat in church and listened to all the right words – even parroted back those words out of my own mouth – it was all being filtered through a dark screen of disappointment.
So my good, kind, and perfect Father (a.k.a. God) spoke to me through something right under my nose. Well, right under my feet actually (I trip over her in all of her large and glorious “fluffiness” sometimes) – one of our cats, Grace, who we affectionately call, Gracie-cat. (We call her “Grace” because she needed a great deal of it when we first adopted her. We quickly learned why her first adoptive “cat parents” returned her to the rescue when she was just a year old. You see, some “think outside the box”. Gracie did a whole lot of stuff outside the box. I think her motto was “litter is for losers”. I mean, why limit your going to a litter box when there is this whole big house?!…… But that is another blog for another day!).
Anyway…. Gracie-cat and her “BFF”, Mr. Medly, love to sit in the sunbeam that shines through the door to our back porch in the morning.
But what caught my attention and helped communicate something God has been trying to get through to me lately is this/. Even on mornings when it is overcast or the cats’ humans forget to open the blinds, they still sit in the position for the light to hit them. So in their little feline way, they are demonstrating a pure and persistent faith. Even when the light is not there , they sit there expectantly so as not to miss the healing warmth when it hits.
May I learn to trust like that, faithfully positioning myself to receive God’s blessing and presence – even when I don’t feel the warmth of it yet.
“I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the LORD.” – Psalm 27:13-14 (AMP – Amplified Translation)