How do I get to heaven?
It’s a question that has been asked since Biblical times. How many people asked Jesus how they could get to heaven? If you saw Jesus, you either asked Him that question or you asked about healing. In some ways, they are the same.
Now, there are several standard expressions of faith, but it’s one thing to say that you have to believe in Jesus to get to heaven and quite another to live that out in your daily life.
“Heaven is not the cash payment for walking with God, it is where the road goes.” – Austin Farrer
I have a pretty close relationship with God. I feel Him present in my heart, I hear His leadings and callings, and I see Him working in the people around me all the time.
Even so, I’ve had times when I couldn’t hear, feel, and sure couldn’t see Him. It’s disconcerting at the least, and when it happens during a challenging time, it can be downright maddening.
I’ve learned through the years, though, that this silence or absence is rarely as silent or absent as it feels. When I have a bad cold, I can hardly hear for the stuffiness in my ears. When I am underwater, any sound is completely distorted.
Most times, when I feel like God is gone, it is because Continue reading
Posted in Faith, hope, prayer
Tagged God is gone, God is silent, hard to hear, hear, Listening, listening for God, noise, overcommitted, silence, Where is God
I have a peaceful, beautiful song for you today. Such a gentle reminder that every day is a new day. Every morning, the sun rises, and we begin again.
We are made new, if we will let ourselves. We are continually being created, re-created, formed, and re-formed. All in His image.
We are given life. New life. Abundant life. Eternal life. Redeemed life.
Every day, we are beckoned to come closer. Closer to our Savior. Closer to our Creator. Closer to the cross. Closer to who we were made to be.
Come. Be filled with mercy, grace, and everlasting love.
Posted in Faith, forgiveness, hope, Love, Year of Mercy
Tagged abundant life, Audrey Assad, begin, begin again, come closer, eternal life, God, good morning, in His image, Jesus, Lord, Music Monday, new beginning, new day, New Every Morning, savior
It’s funny that the Mother of Jesus is such a sensitive topic. I mean, if God thought she was good enough to carry the Savior of the world, how could she be controversial?
But, controversial she is.
I think a lot of the problem comes from misunderstanding. Misunderstanding of Mary’s role in our salvation. Misunderstanding of the meaning of devotion. Misunderstanding of actions. Misunderstanding of confusing and sometimes, frankly, misleading language.
I’ll start with Mary’s role in our salvation. Throughout the Gospels, Mary has a role in Jesus’ life. Not the least part is her being the person who carried Him in her womb. Can you even imagine the grace involved in that? I can’t even begin to fathom. “Let it be done unto me according to your word” means nothing in our lives compared to what those words meant for Mary.
As a result of the understanding of her role, devotion to her is something that is accepted and encouraged in the Catholic church. Unfortunately, devotion to Mary is often seen Continue reading
Posted in Faith, prayer, saints
Tagged adoration, Cana, devotion to Mary, Do as He tells you, imitation, inspiration, Mary, Mother of God, Mother of Jesus, pray for us, prayer, savior, spiritual leader, Therese of Liseaux, Wedding at Cana, worship
As I wrote my first Bible study, Be Not Afraid: Living with Faith in the Midst of a Fearful World, I knew that there were so many people who needed to hear the words “Be Not Afraid” from their loving God.
However, it’s one thing not to be afraid, and quite another to be brave and courageous. That’s why I love this song. In faith, both of these things are closely connected.
When we can get past our fears, when we can really hear God calling our name, then we will step out. We will go where we are called, not because we have to, but because there is nothing that we would rather do. Not because it’s what we’re supposed to do, but because doing so will bring us even closer to our Lord, and anything less could never be enough.
Feel it. Own it. Live it. Be brave.
I have heard you call my name, I have heard the song of love that you sing.
So, I will let you draw me out beyond the shore into your grace.
As your love, in wave after wave, crashes over me, crashes over me… You make me brave.
Posted in Be Not Afraid, Faith, hope, prayer
Tagged Amanda Cook, be brave, Be Not Afraid, Bethel Music, beyond the shore, courage, crashing waves, faith, grace, love, Music Monday, no more fear, wave after wave, You Make Me Brave
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who stands on the edge of a cliff and thinks, “No way.” Granted, sometimes the cliff is very high, and sometimes it is only a couple feet down, but more often than I care to admit, I stand on the edge of what I am called to do, wondering what I was thinking when I said, “Yes.”
God is funny that way. He may call us into areas where He has prepared us, but that doesn’t always mean we feel prepared. Or, maybe we are stepping into something that feels right, but goes against what makes sense to the world outside. Either way, when you are called to something, there is a peace that goes beyond any of that trepidation that we feel.
Posted in Be Not Afraid, Faith, hope
Tagged be prepared, calling, cliff, faith, God, Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, jump, live your calling, Matthew, no mean no, prepared, step out, step out in faith, test the waters, trust, walk on water, yes mean yes
Facing the Future
Last Sunday, my daughter asked me if she could stay home from the camp she is attending this week. She’s actually been there before, and she absolutely loved it. She came home every day full of stories, laughter, and excitement. What was suddenly so different?
This year, her older sister wasn’t going to be there. She hadn’t ever been to something like this without her, and now this familiar place looked very different, and the future was a bit scary.
Fear of the future is generally a fear of the unknown. Even when we think we know what is going to happen, we really don’t, and it can be very intimidating. In my daughter’s case, camp has turned out to be just as fun this year as last year. In other cases, the future may not turn out to be so bright.
So, how do we get to a place of peace and faith when we are looking at an uncertain future?
I have a couple thoughts:
We may not know what the future holds, but we do know that God is there. Remember that.
Look to the past to remind ourselves of how we have made it through before, and how God was present in it.
Keep connected with God through prayer. Most of our ideas about the future aren’t actually the future that God has planned for us.
Take each day at a time. We have no idea the strength or skills we will have in the future. God can provide them when we need. (refer to #3)
What are some things that have helped you? I’d love to hear them.
Posted in Be Not Afraid, Faith, hope, prayer
Tagged anxiety, camp, excitement, facing the future, facing the unknown, Fear, fear of the future, fear of the unkown, fun, God is there, laughter, look to the past, one day at a time, prayer, scary, sister, unknown, what the future holds
We are surrounded by angels. Some we can see, some we can only detect by a brush of a wing, and some come to us completely undetected. It’s hard to see them sometimes, when our world doesn’t look quite the way we want it to. Continue reading
Posted in Be Not Afraid, Faith, hope, Love, Music Monday, prayer
Tagged angels, are we alone, Calling all Angels, challenges, grace, moments of grace, Music Monday, never alone, Train
There’s an interesting story in the Bible that I just rediscovered.
It’s a pretty well-known story about a man who was possessed by many demons, and is cured when Jesus comes to his town. The demons beg Jesus not to destroy them, so instead, He send them into a herd of swine, who then go mad and drown themselves in the river.
The people of the town are a bit freaked out and tell Jesus and His followers to leave. Of course, the man who was cured would really like to join this man who cured Him, but this is one of the rare cases when Jesus says, “No.”
It’s hard to imagine having such a powerful experience, but any powerful God moment leaves us wanting to stay in it. It leaves us wanting to be as close as we can to our Lord. Instead, we may hear the words that were said to the demoniac:
“Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy He has shown you.” (Mark 6:11)
We can leave our world behind, or we can go back to it, bringing our experience with us. We can keep these moments to ourselves, or we can share them to help others discover those God moments for themselves. It’s not hard. The command isn’t to go and instruct the masses. It is simply to tell our story. God will do the rest.
Posted in evangelization, Faith, prayer
Tagged Bible, cure, evangelization, faith, God moment, Jesus, Mark 6:11, prayer, tell your friends
Do you have that friend who has known you forever? Someone who can finish the story you tell about “That time when…,” or someone who knows something
is wrong just by the tone of your voice? They haven’t just known you, they know you. There’s a big difference.
When someone knows you that deeply, there is a level of trust and comfort there that allows you to let down all the roles and barriers that stand between you and the world. When they know you that deeply, there is space for joy, knowing that it will be shared and celebrated.
I have a verse I read recently that made me think of this kind of friendship: Continue reading
Posted in Faith, Love
Tagged friend, friendship, fully known, God, good friend, hiding, I am fully known, joy, love, relationship, true friend