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!
'At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.' Matthew 27:51-53
The resurrection power of GOD has a ripple effect. Just like when Jesus was raised from the grave and the power had a ripple effect across the rest of the graveyard, when GOD resurrects something in your life, there is a ripple effect.
When GOD restores a relationship, the ripple effect is seen. Other relationships are restored because of the example of your resurrection. When your body is miraculously healed, there is a ripple effect. Your story and your example have a ripple effect on others that are hurting or going through something. When GOD provides financially for you in a way only He can, there is a ripple effect. Others see the way GOD provided in your life and begin to believe He can do the same in theirs. Our entire life is one big ripple effect of the grace of GOD. Just like in water you can’t stop a ripple, our lives should constantly be testifying of the ripples of GOD.
Make an effort today to be a ripple in your home, neighborhood, community, and city. Let your light shine because of the light that He first shined on you. Allow the ripples of GOD to resurrect the lives of those you come into contact with. You never know who GOD might bring into your life who needs a "resurrection."
I love living in Florida near the water. One of my favorite things to do is to walk along the marina’s and listen to all the boats tied to their docks. If you get there early in the morning you can hear the waves splashing against the hull of the boats, the seagulls chirping for breakfast, and the rubbing of the ropes and clanging of anchors as they hit against each other in the wind. For me, that is the perfect start to the day. I love how GOD’s word is ripe with illustrations of water, oceans, fishing, and boats. Jesus even began his ministry on the lakeshore in the boat of Simon Peter. If you’ve ever been on a boat you understand the importance of moving in the direction of your destination. If you drift too far off course, you’ll end up somewhere totally unexpected. Hebrews 2:1 illustrates this for us:
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard or we may drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NLT
The writer of Hebrews is contrasting the direction of our lives with what we are listening to. What struck me about this verse is that what we hear or listen to is what actually determines the direction of our lives. You would think that making decisions or working in a certain career would determine our path in life, but it’s actually the words that we hear. Who would have thought that what goes in your ears directs the destiny of your life? Well, Jesus actually. In Mark 4 Jesus is teaching in a boat (my kinda day) when he shares one of the secrets to the Kingdom of GOD:
“And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept GOD’s Word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” Mark 4:20 NLT
What you hear is the seed to your future. Your ears and heart are the dirt in which your seed gets planted. What you put in the ground of your life, will grow and bear fruit. That is why it is so important to make sure that what we are listening to is feeding our faith, not fear. Whether that’s the things we watch on TV, or the music we listen to in the car, or even the people we follow on social media—it is so important to guard the seeds that are planted in your soil. How can we make sure the seeds we are planting are leading to a good harvest? Take some time today to evaluate everything that you hear and read. Does it bring you encouragement or build your faith? If not, it’s time to trash that seed. It’s much easier to throw away small seeds than to try and dig up weeds that have been rooted and embedded for years.
Our prayer for you today is that you will continue to listen to the truth found in GOD’s word. His seed will bring a harvest of joy, peace, and blessings not only throughout your day, but throughout your life. Make a commitment each week to watch online or attend a faith building church service. If you want to carry around the seed of GOD’s word in your pocket, download the Bible app for your phone. Whatever you do, make sure that the seed going in is bringing a harvest that will push you towards your GOD designed destiny.
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Oftentimes we miss the gifts that GOD has given because we are too focused on our problems or circumstance. In this podcast, Drew & Valerie look at the little ways GOD has blessed them and how we can be more aware of all the gifts GOD is trying to give us.