Up, Up, and Away

Most of you know I am a journal keeper, since journal entries have made their way into an occasional blog post.  Aside from the regular journal, I also keep one specifically for my international adventures.  In it, I pray and prepare for upcoming trips, as well as using it to jot down a few thoughts while actually traveling.

jet in flightWhile preparing for at least two trips, the Lord helped me envision myself in a luxurious jumbo jet – in the comfort of first class seating, no less – while He piloted the craft.  Sometimes, the lesson was in the flight itself.  At other times, we “landed” in places needing intercession before our return flight.  The following journal entry turned out to be preparation and perspective change for far more than a physical trip. Please fasten your seat belts, sit back, and join me on this journey.

Why don’t you climb up here in the cockpit with Me?  You’ll see it differently here than from the side windows.  You might see the why for the what. 

You’ve been graced.  Now you realize the reason things are the way they are is because I have already poured forth My grace so that what was deserved – what should have been – is not what is received.  It doesn’t seem fair because it isn’t – not in the natural world.  But aren’t you glad I do the same with you? 

Now look carefully and you’ll see it’s Jesus I see when I look out these windows – no matter where I look. So, why would I fret about anyone or anything?  It’s not possible, for one thing.  In seeing Jesus, I see the fullness of My justice enacted.  And, I see the fullness of glorious eternity.  All in One. 

Kay, Jesus never was upset by facts, for though He lived among facts, He resided (dwelt) in a higher realm than facts.  He resided in Me.  Yes, He had to suffer agony beyond agony that you will never know.  Yet, He was completely at peace because He was in Me.

That is the life I have for you, Kay, for you are in Me by Christ Jesus.  You dwell in me regardless of facts.  Let Me do the leading – always – and you cannot go astray . . . even if it looks for a time as if you “missed” Me.  Didn’t Jesus look like He messed up when He arrived four days after Lazarus died?

In Me, Kay.  It’s about dwelling in Me.  Yes, this is for your trip, but it’s for so much more.  It’s for your living, real living.


Enough Already!

“This is how it is for the believer when the gospel of righteousness takes root in their heart.  The first reaction is one of sweet relief.  “Really?  Jesus did it all?  I don’t have to work to impress him?  I can stop studying for the exam?  Oh happy day!”  Many are dreading the final exam.  The good news is there is no exam.  Jesus already took it on your behalf, and guess what?  He passed.  School’s out forever!1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had spent so much of my Christian life trying to do more for God, to prove how much I loved Him, because that’s what I thought Christians were supposed to do.  No matter what or how much I did, I knew it was never enough.  I was always frustrated and felt guilty.

I have become one of the believers described above.  One who realized I had been trying to do for God what I never could, and that Jesus had already achieved it all at the cross for me.  His blood not only paid for my sins, but for my self-efforts, too.  Every righteous requirement of God’s law He fulfilled.

To put this good news into the language of the quote: Jesus not only passed the final exam, but He gave me His grade!  In Him I am now completely righteous.  I graduated simply by receiving Christ and the work He finished for me so long ago, and His righteousness is my diploma.

Jesus is enough – already and forever!

1  Paul Ellis, The Gospel in Ten Words (KingsPress, 2012 version 1.0), Kindle edition, chapter titled Righteousness

Happy New Day!

Isn’t the title wrong?  Shouldn’t it be Happy New Year?  Sometimes it seems like I’m the only one who doesn’t think so.  It’s not that I don’t want people to have a happy 2012.  But I think there is something people forget as they leave 2011 behind as a good riddance, while welcoming 2012 with declarations of how much better it will be.  Wasn’t it the same last year, and the year before that, and the year before that?  This 2011 we are so glad to leave is the very one we were so anxious to welcome only a year ago.

What we fail to consider in the midst of the excitement of a new year beginning is life continuing to happen in the new year, much as it did in the old.  Maybe not the exact same things, but we can be sure there will be challenges of many different kinds over the course of a year.  We tend to let those difficulties and challenges color our recollection of the old year.  We miss so much living this way, but we don’t have to.  While Jesus assured us we would have troubles in this world, He also gave us a different way to live in the midst of those troubles.  Take heart, I have overcome the world!1

It’s called a new mindset, with a focus not of this world.  It’s called living in God’s daily grace.  Many years ago, while caring for my aging father, I began to learn the only way to stay above being overwhelmed with all I had to do, for however many days upon days, months upon months, or years upon years it would continue.  Though my self-pitying prayer always concerned how much longer I would have to live this way, He guided me lovingly back to living in His grace for me . . . today.  That was all I needed for the situation and the day – His daily grace.

You see, our Jesus is always with us – present tense – and His grace is always with us in the present, not the future.  So, regarding this calendar year, listen to the prophetic voices if you want.  Let Holy Spirit stir your hope and give you direction in the midst of it.  Just remember, He won’t show you everything you will face this year because He knows it’s more than you can handle.2  But He will walk with you through every hour of every day, and His grace will be sufficient.

It’s amazing how much less power the negative stuff of life has over you when you choose to live with this daily grace mindset.  You will find yourself looking up to Jesus and His grace in that peace that passes all natural understanding, even in the midst of unforeseen and severe troubles.

Because of the daily grace of our God in Christ Jesus, we can daily declare Psalm 118:24, regardless of what we face:  This is the day the Lord has made; that’s why I will rejoice and be glad in it. (KPV – Kay’s personal version)

Happy New Day! 

1 John 16:33 
2 John 16:12

Be Careful Little Ears

The title’s few simple words of a children’s Sunday School song have been sounding over and over in my head lately.  It stems from stopping to consider one key word of our Christian existence – gospel.  After all, it’s what Jesus told His disciples to share with the whole world, just before He ascended to heaven.

Mark 16:15 NIV  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Just what is this gospel we are to share with the whole world?  In brief, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says the English word gospel denotes the good tidings of the kingdom of God and salvation through Christ and what He did, which is to be received by faith alone.  We don’t have to work to receive or keep salvation.  It is in Jesus Christ and His finished work alone.  This truly is good news!  But, do the messages we hear always sound forth the simplicity of this truly good news?

If the gospel is good news, then it is always totally good news.  The completed gospel of Jesus Christ will stir our faith and bring us into deeper revelation of freedom from condemnation and guilt, with its post-salvation lie of working to make ourselves righteous.  It will always exalt the finished work of Jesus on the cross and expand our understanding of the perfect and unconditional love of our Father for us, which removes all fear.  When what we hear from our pulpits, our fellowship with one another, Bible studies, online ministry, etc., produces anything contrary to these things, we are not hearing the gospel.1  Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly2 – because He paid the price for our sin and unrighteousness already, not because He would help us work to become righteous.

The reality of the gospel needs to be the filter for every message we hear, in whatever form the message takes.  Then we can receive only that which Jesus came to give, and discard that which would draw us back into the place from which we were saved.  Confusion will be greatly diminished, and that peace that passes understanding will be greatly increased.

What are you listening to and receiving?  Be careful, little ears, what you hear!

1 Galatians
2 John 10:10

The Spark For My Party

I was in the middle of a big party.  Actually, it was a party gone too far – from pity-party to temper tantrum – all because of some physical issues in my body.  Right in the midst of all the tears and rants toward my Daddy, I was shown an old, yet vivid, snapshot of a precious dog named Sparky.  Why was the Lord reminding me of him now?  If I share the specifics, maybe it will make sense to both of us.

Sparky was a full-grown cock-a-poo (more cock than poo) when I rescued him from the side of a busy thoroughfare.  With a long, barrel-shaped chest and short legs, he was never a swimmer (too much body and too little legs).  As a healthy younger dog, that was not an issue, since he avoided the pool unless he sat on the float with me – one of our favorite pastimes.  With aging, however, came blindness from cataracts and strokes that left him unbalanced in his walk.  Because he usually confined himself to a small area in the fenced backyard, though, we continued to let him out on his own for short periods of time.

One morning, we got busy with other things and forgot about Sparky after we let him out.  When we remembered, we panicked when he wasn’t waiting at the door.  Though fearing the worst, we were greatly relieved to find him sitting on the top step of the pool.  Thankful, though filled with thoughts of what could have happened, we rushed to retrieve, dry, and reassure Sparky, but we were really the ones who needed the reassuring.

Sparky wasn’t frantically trying to get out of the pool by that step, a useless endeavor with his short legs.  He wasn’t trying everything else he could think of to save himself.  Nor was he even barking to attract our attention.  No, with complete peace, he simply sat on that step enjoying the morning sun, waiting patiently, fully assured that we would be there for him.

Ephesians 3:19 AMP  [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience];

Right now, I needed to think about why Sparky had such peace in what should have been a frightening situation.  It was the love we had shown in his previous trials.  How much greater is my heavenly Father’s love for me in the trial I face right now!  How much greater can my peace be!  I will only wear myself out trying to fix my situation.  But God!  From previous experience with His love and His Word, I am assured that He is always with me and is my rest!

2 Timothy 1:12 KJV . . . for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

I’d love to say the struggle is over, but it’s not.  It’s an ongoing process as He gently leads me from a head understanding to a heart revelation, without being troubled by my slowness.  I even asked why I’m not yet in that rest, even though I see what He’s revealed.  Lovingly, He pointed out that Sparky wasn’t staring at the step he couldn’t climb, nor the water in which he could have drowned.  His gaze was above the circumstances.  How simple.  My focus needs to be on Jesus, regardless of symptoms.  When I look for His face, I find His all-sufficient grace for my time of need.

Thank You, Lord, for Your all-sufficient grace and unconditional love for me!  Thank You, also, for sending Sparky to my party!