Category Archives: a quick word

on starting the God-conversation

 

A few things occur to me this morning while reading Luke’s account of “Jesus sending out the seventy-two” (Luke 10:1-24). In particular, I’m focusing on two sentiments/phrases that Jesus instructed his disciples to use in their evangelism campaigns. What strikes me is their simplicity, while at the same time their capacity for profound, kingdom results. Those phrases …

1 – “Peace to this house.”
2 – “The kingdom of God is near you.”

And here’s my thought as it pertains to my evangelism campaign, maybe even yours. Wherever your feet take you today, whatever group you wander into (either by accident on through intention), whether he or she is a stranger or friend, why not start the God-conversation with a little, “Peace to this house” followed up by a little, “The kingdom of God is near you.” It might flow a little differently than that. Maybe something along the lines of:

1 – “Peace; God is near.” or
2 – “Peace out, peace in. Peace here, peace near. Peace everywhere.” or
3 – “Peace. God. Now.”

Words like that. Words that are reliable. Words that are true. Peace is here, because God is near. And wherever God is, his kingdom follows alongside. How do I know? Because he said so.

Once having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” –Luke 17:10 (emphasis mine)

If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, then you carry the kingdom of God with you wherever you go. Why not speak a little peace and a little kingdom into the hearts of those within arm’s reach today? It certainly would be an interesting way to start the God-conversation. It might even be effective.

Peace out, peace in. Peace here, peace near. Blessed Peace in and for our journeys, everywhere. I’ll meet you on the road!


when God drops diamonds . . .

“Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.” –Rev. 4:6

Every now and again, God drops diamonds from the sky, dressing his earth with a glimpse of heaven. He did so today, right around dinner time.

I wonder if anyone else noticed the brilliance as they dashed past me on their way home after work. Likely, they didn’t. Busy days make for tired evenings, and when a soul is worn out—overexposed to the duty and function of everyday living—diamonds often go undetected.

Oh the many ways the Father adorns his earth! The heavenly dressing room is overflowing with enough baubles to accessorize an entire world without duplication. Today, he adorned the neck of my neighborhood in diamonds. Tomorrow, perhaps rubies or sapphires. The possibilities are endless because the Artist is endless, and he likes nothing more than to surprise his children with jewels from his heavenly treasure chest.

I pray that God awakens your spirit and opens your eyes to catch a glimpse of eternity today. Push duty and function aside (if only for a few minutes) and pull up a chair to watch his show. God has something more for you than currently meets the eye.

Diamonds really are a girl’s best friends, especially the ones God drops from his heart into ours. May you find yourself so lavishly adorned, friends. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

See and Believe

“Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.” –John 20:6-8

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He saw and believed.

Saw what? Strips of linen and a neatly folded head wrap.

Believed what? That Jesus was no longer there. Scripture is unclear as to exactly what John believed, but it’s safe to say that he, at least, believed the earlier report from Mary that Christ was missing from the tomb. Maybe he believed more deeply, that, in fact, Jesus had been resurrected. Regardless of the depth of his belief, one thing was for certain–

Jesus was no longer in the tomb. This fact remains.

Jesus is no longer in the tomb.

Why, then, do we so often treat him as if he were still there . . . assign him to his grave, keep him locked up behind stone as the voiceless, immovable Jesus? Hesitantly, quietly we whisper our unbelief: If only he’d been the one.

I know it sounds harsh. Who of us as Christians would ever admit to keeping Christ in the tomb? I’ll admit it. Sometimes I don’t give the resurrection the respect it’s due. Every time my unbelief gets the best of me, instead of making my way to the tomb to behold Christ’s resurrection, I often make my way to the cross to take hold of his death. Certainly, both truths—the death and resurrection of my Lord—are equally important to any story of faith. But when my journey of grace stops short of the empty tomb, I’ve missed the rest of the story.

That rest of the story? Resurrected life. Life beyond the cross. Life beyond death. Life lived most radiantly and confidently because of the empty tomb.

Let us not stop short of the tomb this Lenten season. Instead, let us run alongside Peter and John, and let us behold what they beheld; let us believe what they believed.

Jesus is no longer in the tomb. Instead,

  • Jesus is alive and well and sitting at the right hand of his Father.
  • Jesus is alive in us through the power and indwelling of his precious, Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus is here.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

Believe and be blessed, friends. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,


choosing where to stand …

“You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming themselves. –John 18:17-18

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Standing with them. Near the fire. Warming himself with the temporal.

Why? Because Peter was cold. The chill in his heart permeated through to his bones, necessitating this human longing for warmth. The fire was dimming in his soul, and his flesh began to shake in recognition.

Peter had moved away from Jesus. And whenever a soul begins to move away from Jesus, the flesh takes over. The flesh compromises. The flesh warms itself next to a fire that will never satiate the chill within, only temporarily abate the chill without.

We should not warm our souls next to others who are only interested in warming their flesh. There’s not enough fire in that kind of fire to comfort the coldness growing within us. We should, however, warm our souls next to Jesus whose primary interest is our “within”—those attitudes, cravings, and behaviors of the heart that fix us to our eternal.

Let us be careful when choosing our fires this week. Whatever warms us … fills us. Whatever fills us … shapes us. And whatever shapes us spills out and over into the lives of those who stand next to us.

It only takes a spark to get a fire going. So choose wisely, friends. If your soul’s grown cold and your heart is losing ground, don’t stand next to “them.” Stand next to Jesus. His warmth, his fire, and his flame will never grow dim and will keep your soul ablaze with the truth and witness of his presence.

Won’t you come and warm your heart next to mine?

Standing with Jesus. Near his fire. Warming ourselves with the Eternal.

I’d like nothing more than to link arms with you as we make our stand with our Savior.

Peace for the journey,

when God paints pink …

A Cherry Blossom in full bloom greeted me on my way into Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center this afternoon. Fitting that it should be there, waiting on me. I think God knew I needed its witness. Just two weeks ago, an ice storm wreaked havoc on our community. The only colors that afternoon were white and gray, still beautiful in their own right.

I am grateful for the limitless color palette of our Creator. He paints the witness of his presence into every scene of our lives. Whether we’re in the midst of the brittle bite of winter, the extravagant blossom of spring, the sun and shade of summer, or the earthy harvest of fall, no matter the season of our lives …

God is there. God is near. God is here. With me; with you.

Look around. Look up. Look beyond. Just start looking. You will see him, even as I have seen him. Today, God wrapped himself up in pink and reminded me that I am not forgotten, that I am his daughter, and that a tree from his garden would be his preference to remind me of his great love for me.

Considering the recent weather conditions in our area, some would say that spring has arrived a little early to eastern North Carolina. The Father would say that it has arrived right on time … in blossom and wearing pink.

‘Tis a grace unspeakable and filled with glory. My heart sings the refrain, and my knee bows humbly to drink it in.

There is still time to secure a copy of Beyond Cancer’s Scars or Peace for the Journey; click here to learn more. I greatly appreciate your support as I walk through this transition in my writing ministry.

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