Have you ever noticed that someone who has faced death either first hand (as in cancer, or war, or some kind of near death experience) or personally (like losing a child or loved one too soon) have a different attitude when it comes to life and living for eternity. They view eternity in a different light. They have been on the cusp of the eternal and realize how precious every moment of every minute is. They see the potential in every conversation and interaction with others. They cherish the love of family and friends at a deeper level bc they feel what it is like to be without that love (loss of someone unexpectedly). 2020 was like that for a lot of us. Life has thrown us not just a curve ball or wrench, but a dump truck full of broken glass and dynamite. 2020 went from a decade of new vision and beginning to a global pandemic we haven’t experienced in over 100 years. Even in all this chaos, GOD was still working. He has never left you or forsaken you. He has given you strength in the hospital rooms and the assisted living facilities. He has given you wisdom as you have homeschooled your children after working an 8 hour day. He has blanketed you in peace when the news yelled the words, “surge” and “uncontrollable.” And He’s graciously given you today so that you can give Him all the glory. As we step into 2021 let’s take with us the lessons of 2020 and remember the faithfulness of our GOD.
Over 20 years ago I had a dramatic experience that would change my life forever. On a hot day in August, I found myself lying in a hospital bed getting my football uniform cut off in preparation for my first of three X-rays. What happened over the next few hours, days and weeks would define my perspective of GOD and His healing power for the rest of my life. I want to tell you that story. I want to bring hope to you no matter where you are today. In our COVID-19 world where infection rates and death rates are read like the back of a cereal box, I want to show you that GOD is the ultimate Healer and He is still in the business of healing His children.
Have you even been invited to a party but couldn’t go? Maybe you had something else scheduled only to find out through social media or from friends how much fun the party actually was. How did that make you feel? For me, usually the first emotion is regret. Then I try and justify in my mind why it’s ok that I missed out on all that fun. And finally, I’m just sorry that I didn’t make the right decision by accepting the invite. All those emotions because I simply missed an invitation do something fun.
In Romans 1 verse 6, the apostle Paul is writing his opening remarks to the churches in Rome and he tells them that GOD has called each one of them to belong to Jesus Christ. If you look up the word “called” in the original Greek it’s the word kletos which means “to be called or invited.” What I love about this word kletos that Paul uses is that we are not forced into a relationship with Jesus, but we are invited. Invitations are normally not sent out to unwanted guests, but to people we love, cherish, and want to celebrate with. That is the same motivation that Jesus has when He invited us to have a relationship with Him. Jesus is wanting to spend time with people He loves and cares for. If you are a Christian today, then that’s the love you are sharing in with Jesus. A love that invited you even when you didn’t deserve an invitation. A love that the apostle John describes like this:
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. -1 John 3:16 NLT
Invited to experience real love. And that invitation is still being sent out today. Maybe you find yourself reading this and you want to experience that love. Maybe you’ve seen the invitation, but haven’t RSVP’d to the party. Let me help you with that. Today is your day to come in and celebrate with the King. Let’s pray a simple prayer together:
Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me. I realize that I have sinned and I need a savior. Thank you for inviting me to come into your love. I accept your invitation today.
We have all been invited. Nobody is left out and since we’ve been invited let’s go out and tell others about this great invitation. The love of Jesus is for everyone. Your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, everyone is invited. Let’s not keep this invitation to ourselves, but let’s share it with the community around us. It’s time to party!
Maybe it’s the lack lately of collective worship, political upheaval, social injustices, or just the ups and downs of this ever wavering life that have made me feel helpless at times. As much as I may want to fix things, I have to listen, pray and take (what seems like tiny) steps to do what I can to improve situations.
Stability is what most of us want. To know that everything is going to be ok & that if we see it through it will eventually work out. We hope we eventually will see a victory, feel complete, be accomplished or find some sense of comfort in our situations.
Sometimes our faith walk feels uncertain because the situations surrounding us seem out of our control but that doesn’t mean God isn’t working on our behalf. Recently, @philwickham song “Battle Belongs” has shook me! Take a listen if you haven’t.
The visual of fighting on my knees in prayer, with arms held high, leaving my fears at His feet instead of carrying ALL them on my own- amazing!
“When we see the cross he sees the empty tomb”. Wow! Sometimes it’s like you’re staring at the “cross”, but little did we know 3-days later would be the victory of the empty tomb! Stand firm in your faith, leave your fears with Him, and keep pushing forward. ❤️ The battle belongs to the Lord. You already have the Victory!