Daily Bible Reading

A hug a day

“As a belt clings to a person’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me,” says the Lord. “They were to be my people, my pride, my glory—an honor to my name. But they would not listen to me.

Jeremiah 13:11 (NLT)

As I read this verse this morning, what came to mind were the actions of a father and son. On Sunday morning, as a group of volunteers were praying before the church service, one of the kids came running in. He made no sound as he rushed to his father, grabbed him tight and climbed into a position where he could be held. The boy’s arms were wound tight around his father’s neck, his legs wrapped around his waist. The father held on to his son just as tightly. They remained that way for the duration of our prayer time.

I think that’s how God would love for us to be—as innocent children seeking safety and comfort in the arms of the protective Father. It is to the benefit of both parties. We receive our comfort and God receives His glory. But only if we cling to Him.

CLING: To adhere closely and firmly, in interest or affection; to stick to; to hold fast upon.

If you’re at all concerned that this promise was strictly for the Jews, don’t be. God addressed it just a few verses back.

“And if these nations quickly learn the ways of my people, and if they learn to swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’ (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among my people.

Jeremiah 12:16 (NLT)

We’re good. Even long before Paul was sent out to reach the Gentiles, God made a way for all people to be able to come running to Him, to throw our arms around His waist, to hold on to Him, and be held by Him. He made a place in His embrace for all of us.

Studies show that the benefits of being embraced go far beyond that of a simple touch. In a physical sense, those who embrace others with regularity have stronger immune systems, lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and are less likely to become depressed. A hug is an affirmation of love and, according to Stan Tatkin, PsyD, can have measurable neuro-biological consequences.

While a physical embrace with God may not be possible, I have no doubt that, the closer we are to Him, the more we cling to Him, the more we can also reap these benefits along with many others.

Do not forget that you are God’s child. You are His pride and His joy, set apart for His pleasure. And when we pursue him as the boy with his father, we bring honour and glory to His name. Embrace it. Embrace Him.

Have you hugged God yet today?

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 11-13, 1 Timothy 4

Advertisements
Daily Bible Reading

Act like it!

Christians should be the happiest, most joyful people on the plant. There are some who call themselves Christians that may balk at that statement, but it’s the truth. There are no scriptures in the Bible that would indicate that Christians must be a solemn people, prone to frowns and fits of self-deprecation.

So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family—calling him “Father, dear Father.”

Romans 8:15 (NLT)

Everything that I’ve found in scripture that speaks of how we should act as children of God indicates that we should stand out from the crowd—not because we are miserable, but because we have something that everyone else does not. Our faces, our actions, our attitudes, our responses should reflect the Spirit of God that lives on the inside of us.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)

Romans 8:9 (NLT)

2017-08-05 15.17.05
Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver #89, Duron Carter, tossing a pass to my nephew.

I was recently at a CFL football game with my sister and her two boys. We had passes that allowed us down on the field before the game while the players were warming up. Even though our team doesn’t win nearly as often as we would like them to, we’re still big fans and cheer them on. So there we were cheering on some warm-up catches when one of the best receivers in the league tossed a pass to my nephew. My nephew (who plays football) managed to throw back a decent spiral, got a smile and a wave from the player. It was a special moment. We made sure everyone knew he’d caught the only pass from that player that day. Both our words and our actions indicated that this kid was something special.

If a single pass from a professional football player can make our day, how much more should the fact that we have been made heirs with Christ reflect in our lives?

With all the noise and distraction around us, it can get difficult to remember who we really are. That’s why it is so important to take the time to listen to the voice of the Spirit within us.

For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.

Romans 8:16 (NLT)

God hasn’t left us on our own. Just like your last name is a perpetual reminder of who you are, who you belong to, and where you came from, the Holy Spirit within us is there to also remind us of who we are, who we belong to, and where we came from.

Listen to that voice that God put in you. You are a child of God. A child of the King. Brothers and sister of Christ. Heirs of the Promise and so much more. And it’s okay to act like it. Our membership in the Kingdom of God is something to be celebrated and shared.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 78-81, Romans 8:1-18

Daily Bible Reading

My family

My mother has recently taken up our family tree. Through Ancestry.com, she has been able to trace our lineage back to the 16th century, debunking some commonly touted family legend and lore in the process. It’s good to know where you come from. We’re fortunate enough to have come from a line that could boast a modicum of wealth—this has greatly increased the amount of information my mother has been able to uncover the further back she traces.

Other lines of the family tree have not proved as fruitful. It would seem that, the less you have, the less important you are, and the less likely you were to have your name recorded for posterity’s sake.

In 2 Samuel, in David’s final address as king, he speaks of his family.

It is my family God has chosen!
Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me,
His agreement is eternal, final, sealed,
He will constantly look after my safety and success.

2 Samuel 23:5 (NLT)

Did you know that we, the Church, have a share in that agreement? That covenant that is eternal, final, sealed? Our names have been recorded in the Book of Life.

God made a promise to David that, so long as his descendants served Him, his line would be on the throne forever. If you read through the super-exciting genealogy in Matthew 1, you will see that Jesus is a direct descendant of David—on both his mother, Mary, as well as Joseph’s side. When anyone accepts Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are also then accepted into the family of God.

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Romans 8:16-17 (NKJV)

We are a part of the chosen family David spoke of! God has made an everlasting covenant with you. His agreement is eternal, final, sealed.

No you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you.

Galatians 4:7 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: 2 Samuel 23-24, Luke 22:31-53

Uncategorized

When the promise dies

Death is not something most people relish. It is not something we want to be associated with. We don’t want to be near it. But is it as much a part of us as life is. We will all eventually experience physical death. Most of us will have people close to us die. Death is inescapable.

My great-grandmother was an incredible woman of God. As she came close to the end of her years on earth, she said she would often spend her days in the company of angels. At almost 101 years old, her eyesight had faded, but she could still see the outline of an angel sitting in her rocking chair keeping her company as she prayed for her family.

Years before she kept constant company with angels, she birthed a son. She was on in years. In fact, my mother was already on the scene. She had an uncle just a few months younger than her. Wesley was born with Down’s Syndrome in addition to several other serious physical conditions. But he lit up the room.

I never knew Uncle Wesley. He died before he ever really lived. But he had a happy childhood. He loved and was loved. How do I know? I’ve heard the stories. I’ve looked at pictures. I’ve watched him wave to the camera on the old film from a trip to Disneyland. But the promise of life was never fulfilled for him.

The Bible gives an account of another boy who lost his life too early. In 2 Kings 4, we see Elisha forming a bond with a Shunamite woman and her husband. For all the couple did for him and his servant, Elisha gave the promise of a son to the childless couple.

Sure enough, a year later, the woman had a son. The boy grew, but one day in the fields, something went terribly wrong. The boy collapsed and, after being carried home, died in his mother’s arms. The promise was dead.

Did the woman wail and rail against God? Did she run out and slander Elisha for his failed promise? Did she shut herself off from the world? No. She laid the boy on the bed in the room she had prepared for Elisha and set out to find the man of God.

To make a long story short, the woman brought Elisha back with her. Elisha did his thing and the boy woke. The promise was not lost.

I wish I could say that Wesley, too, enjoyed the promise of a long life on earth, but he did not. The promise in his life lives on in the stories that have been told for generations. He lives on in the memories of those who loved him.

So what happens when our promise dies? Do we give up and mourn or, like the Shunamite woman, do we close the door on death and go seek out life? I think we too often give up too easily. We see death as finite. Death was not enough to keep a mother from seeking God. She knew a promise had been made and she was going to be sure that the one who made the promise kept it.

What promises have you lost? What will it take for you to get them back? Instead of giving up so easily, go after it.

For he performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him.

Job 23:14 (NKJV)

If He promised it, He will perform it. Don’t just trust in the promise. Trust in the One who made the promise.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Kings 4-5; John 4:1-30