Nobody Like Him!

Today I am continuing with my most popular posts….

” To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:25

There’s nobody like Him! To whom are you gonna compare Him? Anything you line up next to Him is ridiculous. He’s in a class all. by. Himself.

He makes claims nobody else can, and He backs up every one of them. EVERY one! No one else can claim to never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 11:25b) and then have the omnipresence to keep that promise. (Psalm 139:7-10)

All others say “Work your way up to me, appease me.”

Our wonderful God says, ” You don’t have what it takes to make it to Me. How about I come to you instead? You don’t have enough good in inventory to appease Me. Let me provide that too. Let me grant the very righteousness I require so we can be together.” (Romans 8:3-4) Who does that!? Our merciful God, that’s Who! Nobody like Him!

Then He has the glorious nerve to provide this to everyone. No special license, background, education, pedigree, skin color, or credit check required. Whosoever will may come. ( Romans 10:13) Nobody like Him!

Then there’s the love. He’s more than a God Who’s bigger than you, requiring whatever tribute the King of the Universe has every right to demand. He is relational, personal, compassionate, and intimately acquainted with all your ways…not a dry, mute statue to bring incense to, but a living, concerned, and conversational God. (1John 3:1; Psalm 145:8; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 138:3) Nobody like Him.

I wouldn’t dare leave out the resurrection. Nobody else has the patent on that but our God. Death was a snarling, ferocious, and carnivorous beast whose dungeon was the grave. Our Mighty God defeated that beast and turned that very dark dungeon into a doorway to Heaven.

Can anyone be silent about such a God as He? Let the idols of the earth be satisfied with incense and fearful appeasement. A God as mighty and unique as ours deserves so much better. Reserve your worship, best love, and service for Him precisely because there is nobody like Him. (Romans 12:1)

I’m Trying Something Different

Hello Friends,

Many of you are new to my blog and I am thrilled to have you! This blog is only a couple of months old, but I want to share some entries from another blog I did for about 4 years. For the next week or so, I will share the top 5 most popular posts from that wonderful season of writing. I hope you enjoy them. Please let me know if they speak to you in a certain way. Feedback is important to a writer to let her know she is writing in the right direction of your needs.

Without further ado, here is the all-time most visited blog post in all my years of ministering through blogging.

While You Are Hurting

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2

It had been lurking in the shadows of my heart: a hurt I had incurred about a week prior. Busyness made it shy, but when the quiet came, the hurt limped back to center stage.

Then one night, I was in a noisy place, a place of worship. Most of the songs were unfamiliar; therefore singing while gleaning the truth made an awkward dance.

Enter the beautiful blindsiding.

The Spirit prompted the worship leader to break the cadence of the service with an invitation to lift up a burden. Without my permission, my hurt came to the forefront. I tried to stifle it’s bruised hand reaching for the altar. It complied, but manifested itself in tears instead. No! No! I didn’t want to cry in this unfamiliar place, but the woo to lay that burden down had an irresistible seduction. It was as though Jesus came to me, held my uplifted face between His hands and said, “Tell me all about it.” Everything and everyone around me seemed excused from this private time with my Saviour. I didn’t say anything I hadn’t said to Him before about this matter, and I knew this hurt wasn’t going to heal overnight, but this time my keen awareness of His tender listening was enough.

Sometimes listening to someone is the most Christ-like thing you can do. No solutions…no rescue…just the loan of your time, attention, and ears. Though you say no words, a healing exchange transacts. A burden is cut in half, and it’s weight redistributes. A lightness blows the fragrance of hope through the place once packed with heaviness. What a beautiful gift!

Know this! Jesus is an ever-present help in time of trouble. Sometimes His presence speaks and dead hopes arise. Sometimes He answers before You even ask. Other times His still, small voice says nothing, but the comfort comes in knowing He cares enough to listen while you are hurting.

Before You Decide To Quit

“… knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint….” Romans 5:3-5

I’ve never been so close to quitting as I was in that terrifying moment. I had been stretched all week, each day a little more. Then came a challenge I felt so unready for that I began packing my belongings and drafting my excuse to the leader. In my mind, I was already headed for my car, but in real-time, the first team was up doing the assignment. “They seem to be doing alright, but I’m sure they are better prepared than I am,” I thought. This was a lie because it was an assignment the instructor sprang on all of us, and I could see the nervousness hiding behind the jokes of the first team. I was next. It felt rude to walk out with everyone looking at me, so I walked to the front of the class with my partner. The fear was so strong it stood in my eyes in the form of tears. My partner began, and my response was to take an option allowing me to come back to the question later. To my surprise, I got the answer to the next question right. Still nervous, but no longer terrified, I worked through the rest of the assignment, and it was over sooner than I expected.

It’s going to be the same for you if you don’t quit, My Friend. Fear is a master storyteller who writes vivid lies designed to make you abdicate your destiny. He camps around the doorway of your breakthrough, exerting exaggerated motions for you to turn back. Your haters are hoping you will, but those who’ve invested in you are waiting to see a return of a different kind. Quitting is never a solitary thing.

I’ve done the quitting thing and even years later, it stings every time I recall it. Before you decide to give up, know that quitting wastes time because you’ll have to do the task again anyway. Know that some opportunities won’t wait around that long.

The better “you”is waiting at the finish line. Determine to get there even if it means tear stains on your cheeks and blood on your knees from falling and getting back up. The wounds of a fighter hurt better than the gut-level gashes of a quitter.

You wouldn’t have started this journey if there wasn’t something you thought was worth whatever it took. You have a life to live and the better part waits on the other side of what has you wanting to run away.

That terrifying moment I described turned out to be a turning point in my life. It forged a courage in me that I nearly robbed myself of, but thank God, it serves me well for my next terrifying assignment. I am still shaking, but I’m not backing down. I want whatever awaits the other side. I know you want yours too.

Find an encourager, pray, cry it out if you have to, but….Please. Don’t. Quit.

Got Burdens?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

I must have looked a sight, a 20-year-old weighing 120 pounds dragging a 100-pound suitcase onto the streets of New York City. Having traveled several hours on a bus overnight, I had a layover before heading for Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The years have smudged the details, but I do recall a strange man asking if he could carry the mammoth piece of luggage up several flights of stairs for me. I agreed, and halfway up what seemed fifty flights in that dark stairwell, I realized this man could have killed me or worse, and my family, over a thousand miles away in Memphis, would never have known what happened. Reaching the desired floor, he dropped the bag, and I paid him handsomely, as much from gratitude for not murdering me as for saving my young back and shoulders.

Some of you are carrying a mammoth load of baggage from your past, and Jesus wants to carry it for you. The offer sounds wonderful, but either you’re not sure you can trust Him with it, or you’re not sure how to let Him relieve you. My friend, it’s hard to trust someone you don’t know, even Jesus. Get to know Him by reading the Bible. I suggest reading Luke because you’ll see how much compassion He has for hurting people like you. Then consider reading John which comes right after Luke. The love in those chapters can soften your hardest spots and coax your anger, hurt, and confusion into His healing light without shame. I dare you to try it!

If your spirit has been burdened a long time, the thought of releasing it may seem more frightening than the familiar misery of holding onto it. Jesus loves you and wants so much better for you than the life you’re living. He wants you to experience ongoing joy and a lightness that frees you, not just to survive, but also to dance.

Healing can feel like a surgery at first, but then it brings new life. Let Him do what He does best (besides protecting naive, 20-year-old commuters); let Him carry all your burdens.

Better Than a Valentine

Valentine’s Day carries the fragrance of romance and biblical romance should be celebrated; however, like Christmas, this holiday doesn’t make everyone happy. Unless…

Unless you want to reflect on the love of God. Hear Him saying…

If you’ll be my baby, I’ll love to call you mine. (John 1:12; 1John 3:1; Isaiah 43:1)

My love for you will last beyond the end of time. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Let me list all the things that can’t ever come between us. Nothing in this world or the one to come can drive a wedge between you and the love I have for you. (Romans 8:35-39)

Even when you weren’t mine yet, I showed my love for you in a way no one else has. (Romans 5:8)

My love makes you beautiful in all the ways that matter ( 1Corinthians 13:4-7).

Out of love, I gave you the best I had. Why would I keep any lesser thing from you? (Romans 8:32)

Who could resist a love like this? If you’ve been running from it, let it catch you today.

Whether you have a sweetheart or not, I think you’ll agree a love like His is better than a Valentine!

Quit Stalling, Get Moving, and Do the Impossible!

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As as for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it….'” Exodus 14:15-16

Sometimes we use stall tactics because we are scared to get moving. With the Red Sea splashing the front of him, the dust of Pharaoh’s approaching army behind him, and the frightened cries of almost a million people all around him, Moses stalled by praying in that riveting moment. God responded by telling him to quit crying, get the people moving, and to divide the sea (Exodus 14:15-16).  It sounds a bit harsh, but  when you consider God had already provided a promise to be with him, a staff pregnant with power, and an impressive ten-plague  display of His ability to deliver, what else was God to say? Maybe you need the same push.

Quit stalling– Prayer has its place, but it never substitutes obedience once God tells you what to do. Fear is no excuse, go scared. Complaining may be a different shade of stalling but is just as unproductive. God’s heart is tender to your expressions of discomfort, but He desires to walk with you, holding your quivering hand while you move toward obedience.

Get moving– Maybe you don’t have people you need to get moving, but you do have a direction in which you need to move. If you don’t know which direction, pick one and God will guide you from there. Your spiritual ears develop clearer hearing from God when you are active!

Do the impossible– This is the most frightening and thrilling part. God has a habit of calling us to do impossible things. Jesus told the disciples to feed more than 5,000 people when they only had five loaves and two fish (Mark 6:37). Remember when He commanded them  to throw their net on the right side of the boat when they’d caught nothing after fishing all night (John 21:3,6)? Each time you get a call to do the impossible, God is inviting you to be a part of what He wants to do through you. Don’t miss it because you looked too long at your own weak and low power inventory. Don’t dawdle in your prayer closet and let the opportunity bypass you.

God is out to be glorified through your life and the more you recognize His part in the story, the more excited you will become. Often, our part is to take the next step. God caused the wind to blow all night to divide the Red Sea, but it only started with the small movement of Moses’s arm as he stretched out his staff (Exodus 14:21).

What simple act is God calling you to perform?  Do it, and see what God will do in response. Quit stalling, My Friend. The impossible awaits your signal of obedience.

This Business of Forgiveness

“…forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Unforgiveness is not your friend. It does not empower you, it weakens and blocks blessing. It has the stench of pride on it because it tries to take God’s place in dealing with your offender. It also takes up valuable  real estate in your mind and heart, incubating anger and playing constant reruns of what’s been done to you. Unforgiveness makes your offender the center of things, and this amounts to idolatry because  that spot belongs only to God. He is jealous to be the center, but your unforgiving heart leases that space to your villain at great cost to your own well-being.

Forgiveness does the opposite: It leaves the heavy duty of vengeance to God, freeing your  strength to be used in fulfilling your purpose of glorifying Him. Forgiveness dances on the beach by the sea of forgiveness in which the Father drowned your own sin, offering you the opportunity to cast the sin of your offender there too so it won’t weigh you down. Forgiveness is humility which recognizes that its hand has received so much grace it cannot raise  fighting fists; only palms in praise.

Having cleared the space where anger and bitterness once occupied, you make room for God’s blessing of peace, joy, and purpose. The air is cleared of negative soundtracks to horror stories of injustice done to you and is filled with the sweet song of deliverance from the cage where unforgiveness kept you.  In such a clear space, you can hear the voice of God and His words of truth are music to your soul.

Why would you wait so long to get here?

Forgiveness is not about deserving, it’s all about grace. Don’t try to reason with it, it doesn’t make sense because love defies reason. You may not love your offender and what they did, but your love for Jesus and what He’s done for you provides enough power to scale the mountain of offense.

You have a life to live, a purpose to fulfill, and a God to glorify. Your offenders have taken up enough of your time and mental space. It’s time to get on with the business of abundant living, so the business of bitterness has to go! God is not mocked, no one ever gets away with anything. Vengeance is His business; forgiveness is yours.

Click here  to view a short video for further reflection on this topic!