This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! (Romans 8:15-17 MSG)
There were mixed reactions when Queen Elizabeth II firstborn son and heir to the throne became King Charles III. Whether you’re pro-monarchy or anti-monarchy, you would agree that regardless of general opinion, an heir is entitled to their rights and privileges simply because they inherited them. The heir assumes their new roles and responsibilities with anticipation and excitement. God save the king and long may he reign.
I often think about the “unbelievable inheritance” we have as children of God, His heirs, and co-heirs with Christ not just in heaven, but right here on earth. Sadly, not many Christians are claiming the blessings and privileges that come from their association with Christ, and I’m not just talking about material blessings because, yes, God can and does bless us in those areas too when we depend on Him and are good stewards of the resources He has given us. I’m talking about the more important blessings that money can’t buy, such as love, joy, peace, perseverance, etc. Because without peace and perseverance in our lives, we won’t be able to cope with the hardships in life and won’t have joy while we go through them. I’m unapologetic about my blessings because they are my right as a child of God and co-heir with Christ. I encourage you to claim your inheritance too. It’s your right!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)
I’ve been a royal enthusiast ever since I was a little girl, and in the wake of the Queen’s death, that enthusiasm has only grown stronger. As beautiful as the crown and palaces may be, my fascination with royalty goes much deeper than that, and I admired Queen Elizabeth II for pointing it out. In the book, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves, the Queen made it clear that she was serving a Sovereign. God was her King and she was His subject. It was her faith and trust in God, as well as, her service to others that I admired and will treasure. Her role pointed me to God and that’s the kind of life that I celebrate and honor along with many others that she has inspired over the years.
A life that honors God is a life worth honoring.
1 Samuel 2:30
Royalty is something that is embedded in every one of us. As sons and daughters of the Heavenly King, we’re “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Until we realize who we truly are, we will never act like it. The Bible says that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). When we begin to look at life from that position of authority and privilege, we will live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us and be more than conquerors through Him (John 10:10; Romans 8:37). It’s then that we will point others to Him! So keep calm and stay royal. Never complain, never explain. Always take the high road. Remember who you are and Whose you are. As sons and daughters of the King, let’s always walk in a manner worthy of our calling.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14 NIV)
I’m amazed at how life can take a different turn in the twinkling of an eye. When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away just last week, quick changes happened that many of us had a hard time keeping up with. Some of them being her oldest son becoming King Charles III and his oldest son the Prince of Wales. And although most of us saw it coming, a few of of us expected it so soon. For many years, people wondered when it was going to happen until it finally did.
In the Bible, we’re often encouraged to wait for God to act, something that I’ve come to appreciate as I’ve continued to walk with Him over the years. Just when people least expect it, God begins to fulfill His promises for their lives. “Wait and see,” is a true and tried phrase. Listen to today’s verse in The Message translation, “Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.” Just when we’re ready to quit, we’re reminded that God will come through for us in some amazing way, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT). Good things do come to those who wait, especially those who wait on God. So “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
The man went into the Temple with them, walking back and forth, dancing and praising God. Everybody there saw him walking around and praising God. They recognized him as the one who sat begging at the Temple’s Gate Beautiful and rubbed their eyes, astonished, scarcely believing what they were seeing. The man threw his arms around Peter and John, ecstatic. All the people ran up to where they were at Solomon’s Porch to see it for themselves. (Acts 3:8-11 MSG)
He spent most of his life watching people go to the Temple to pray while he remained outside its gates to beg. And as people passed him by every day at three o’clock in the afternoon to pray, only two of them stopped and took real pity on him. Peter, with John at his side, said to the crippled man, “I don’t have a nickel to my name, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” (Acts 3:6). And it was this kind of prayer that God was willing to answer!
I wonder how many of us go through our Christian duties while neglecting the needs of those around us. Isn’t it ironic how everyone went up to the Temple to pray – probably about their own needs because let’s face it, that’s what the majority of us do anyway – while overlooking the man who sat there in need of not just money but healing! It’s obvious from the story that only Peter and John said a prayer for him. We know this man was eager to go in the Temple and praise God because that’s exactly what he did right after he was healed. The people only recognized him after seeing him inside the Temple.
The crippled man reminds us that the things we often take for granted are often the things that others are praying for. He couldn’t walk since birth, but they could. But while being carried to the Temple gate where he sat to beg every day, he prayed for his miracle until it eventually came. And when it did, he did what we don’t hear many of the people inside the Temple doing: being full of joy, dancing and praising God. It was this reaction that got their attention. It doesn’t matter if we have eyes to see, ears to hear, mouth to talk and feet to walk, if we’re not willing to use them to see the need and meet the need of the people around us.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29 ESV)
It’s Labor Day long weekend here in Canada; a time to rest and rejuvenate. But physical rest is simply not enough because as spiritual beings, spiritual rest is just as important. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,“ Jesus promised His hearers who were carrying the heavy burdens of laws and traditions imposed by the religious institution of the time. Listen to the same scripture passage in The Message paraphrase: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (vv.28-30). Jesus assured them – and us – of His rest.
We’re still seeking that same kind of rest, but try to find it anywhere and in anyone other than Jesus. But what was true thousands of years ago is still true today: we won’t find real rest without Him. He is the only one who promised a rest that no one else can give, just like He promised an inner peace that only He can give (John 14:27). Take His word and come. Let your soul find its rest in Jesus.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16 NIV)
The prophet Elisha could see what his own servant couldn’t see: God was for them, not against them. When the army of the king of Aram surrounded the city in order to capture Elisha (because the prophet was disclosing his war plans to the king of Israel), the servant panicked, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked” (2 Kings 6:15). Meanwhile, Elisha was praying that his servant would see what he could see. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (vv.16-17). While the servant saw an army of the king of Aram surrounding them, Elisha saw the army of the heavenly King surrounding them. God answered the prayer of His prophet and opened the eyes of the servant so he could see that reality.
As God’s children, most of us struggle to see that God is for us, a truth that could actually set us free from fear and anxiety. It’s no wonder the devil wants to hide it from us. He wants us to see a God who is against us, but that’s a lie. God is on your side, fighting for you. I pray that your eyes will be opened to this truth today because it will change your life forever. No matter what you’re facing, may you see that God is for you, not against you.
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21 NIV)
I’m a firm believer in God’s power to resurrect anything and anyone (just read Rise Again!). But for Him to do that He often allows us to experience a death of sorts. There are probably relationships that He has allowed to end because they don’t serve His plan and purpose for your life anymore. Perhaps you were let go of a job you had for years because God has something better in store for you and it’s time to let go of the old to make way for the new. But what I have learned is that we can still have peace and joy in the midst of our grief.
My favorite season is fast approaching. Fall is a beautiful reminder of what it means to let go. Please don’t miss the point. The difficult times only last for a season. New things will eventually spring up in due season. It’s okay to grief the things God has chosen to take away, but remember that He never takes anything without replacing it with something better. That’s enough reason to fall on our knees and praise Him, as Job did in today’s passage. Although Job lost much, God gave him double for his trouble, “the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12 NKJV). Job is such an extraordinary figure in Scripture because he learned to get back up after getting knocked down. We can do the same.
“Life is not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how many times you get back up.”
He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)
When England’s handsome Prince William didn’t propose sooner to his then long time girlfriend, Kate Middleton, she was ungraciously nicknamed “Waity Kaitie.” On their engagement interview, however, William explained that his decision to wait was an opportunity for Kate to see if that’s the kind of life she wanted to be a part of. People eventually praised William for his choice of wife, and Kate for being wise enough to wait for her prince charming.
I don’t know what you’ve been taught about time, but if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years is that time is not the enemy. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes, I learned that truth from God Himself. The One who doesn’t measure time the way we do and isn’t bound by it. Unlike us, God isn’t in a hurry to make things happen. Therefore, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Beautiful things take time to manifest. That is why everything God makes is beautiful. Our enemy, the devil, wants us to believe that time is the enemy, but it isn’t. Remember that it was Satan who tempted Adam and Eve to believe in instant gratification, and it’s also he who tempted Jesus to believe the same. Thankfully, Jesus knew that there were no shortcuts around God’s plan of redemption. No matter how long it takes, we will eventually arrive to where we need to be. Let’s keep calm and wait.
I’ve been thinking a lot about those “God moments” lately. The countless times that I’ve seen God come through for me and others, turning things around for our good and His glory. Those moments when we knew for certain that it couldn’t have been anyone else “but God!” We can all agree that the only time we can hear the word “but” in a sentence and not fret is when God is involved. Here are a few of them:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
There are many other “but God” verses in the Bible that carry positive connotation. Isn’t that good news?
“I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25 NIV)
There’s a common theme in every resurrection story we read about in the Bible. After funeral arrangements were made and some of the dead were ready to be buried (or were already buried), Jesus came along and disrupted the funeral progression. The son of the widow of Nain was about to be buried but Jesus brought him back to life (see Luke 7:11-17). Then there’s Lazarus who was already buried and Jesus resurrected him (see John 11:1-44).
Jesus is still in the business of restoring lives. When people write us off as dead, giving up on us, deeming us a lost cause, He comes along and brings us back to life, proving to them who He is! While the devil is planning our death and burial, Jesus thwarts his plans. Because Jesus has been there. The devil once planned the Savior’s death and burial, but Jesus triumphed over it all and it is He who promises to resurrect us as well. We can count on Him because He is the Lord of life!