Jesus Is Coming Soon

Hope Stands —  July 27, 2014 — 1 Comment
Emily Danielle Photography

Emily Danielle Photography

In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote to the people of Rome, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20). Paul said that the destruction of Satan, and the return of Jesus Christ, would happen soon. If Paul wrote these words nearly two thousand years ago, then how “soon” could it be? Was Paul deceived? Wrong? Did the Bible make a mistake?

These events are imminent. But what does the Bible mean by imminent? Let me give you three ways to understand this word.

First, the events are certain, though the timing is unknown. While we cannot figure out when Jesus will return in order to crush Satan, this event is certain. It will happen. Just because we don’t know the time, doesn’t mean we don’t know the level of certainty. Think about it like this: I will “soon” be hungry. Though I don’t know when, I know it for certain.

Second, these events are the next in God’s plan. Nothing else needs to happen first. Returning for his people and crushing Satan are next on God’s “to-do” list. There is no other item on his agenda before this. “Soon,” to borrow a term from baseball, means “on deck.”

Third, the destruction of Satan will happen sooner than your ability to wait will fail. In other words, sooner than Satan will crush you, you will crush him. Before your life flies apart, his will. We might want to give up, but God knows us better than even we know ourselves. He knows how long we can wait. He looks at our weary souls and says, “Your complete deliverance from your enemy will be soon. I know how I’ve made you. I know how strong you are, especially when you rely on me. Let’s wait together, relief will be soon.”

Jesus is coming soon. It’s certain, it’s next on God’s agenda, and it won’t be a second longer than your ability to persevere. Now take a look at your feet. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” How are you walking today? Where are your feet carrying you? Those who truly long for evil to come to an end, will not just talk the talk, but will walk the walk.

God put on our boots and is forcefully advancing in our steps. On the cross, Jesus crushed Satan’s power; through his church, Jesus will soon crush Satan’s presence.

This means that you and I can help.

hopestandsradiobloglogoHave you ever walked into a room full of people and thought to yourself, “Nobody wants me here.”?  When we’re physically sick, we have symptoms.  We get a pain in our side or something isn’t quite right.  Recently, I had a toothache, so that was my “clue” to go see a dentist.  But did you know that we get symptoms when our hearts get sick?  I’m not talking physical, but spiritual.  Just as we have physical symptoms that are crucial for us to recognize and treat, so do we have spiritual symptoms that are crucial to recognize and treat.  “Nobody wants me” is one of them.

This was first heard nationwide on the Moody Radio Network.  Click the player below to listen.  And thanks.

4 Promises to Cutters

Hope Stands —  July 15, 2014 — 1 Comment

I will be with youI was at a conference recently, working at a Hope Stands booth. We were drawing henna designs on people’s arms. Henna ink is from India. These temporary tattoos are quite popular. A crew of four artists was giving out henna tattoos for free.

We came up with four designs, each based on a verse from Isaiah 43:1-7. Since this is the chapter that my new book is about, we were trying to spread the word. The promises from these verses are: You are mine (Isaiah 43:1); I will be with you (verse 2); I love you (verse 4); and I created you for my glory (verse 7).

But as we were drawing these henna designs on people’s arms, I was struck by something that I saw, again and again. Typically this happened when a high school girl sat in the chair. Extending her arm to me, it would be filled with scars. The kind that are intentional. The sign of a cutter. Horizontal, raised skin, railroad tracks, going right up the arm.

And most of these were church kids. Nice kids. Clean cut. From athletes to artists. It didn’t matter. About 1-2 out of every 10 had these scars.

Why do kids cut themselves? Most often, they feel the pressures of life and need to find a way to deal with it. They just need a release. When they cut, as they see the blood flow out, they get their release and feel alive. In a sense, they’re trying to atone for their own shortcomings.

Those who cut often see life as black-and-white, with little room for gray. They don’t have a lot of grace in their lives. They’re trying to be perfect, and punish themselves when they’re not. One of the worst things you can do if you find out that someone you love is cutting, is to overreact. Overreacting just intensifies what they’re already feeling: inadequacy, pressure, and anger towards themselves.

Cutters have high standards and they need to know that they don’t have to be perfect. Most of all, they need to know about the One who was cut for them, our Lord Jesus Christ. He was punished for our sins, so that we don’t have to punish ourselves.

Picture me and the other artists at the conference, as a girl hesitantly places her scarred arm on the table for henna. Picture us writing these promises from God right over her scarred skin: You are mine. I will be with you. I love you. I created you for my glory. Right over those scars.

God meets us where we’re at. He inscribes his promises and his grace directly on our wounds. He covers over our scars with his love, for by his stripes we are healed.

If you’re one of those who we put henna on this past week in Kansas City, I want you to know that God’s promises to us run deeper than our scars and are even more permanent.

(Pictures courtesy of Emily Danielle Photography)

I created you for my gloryI love youYou are mine

 

 

life as music

Emily Danielle Photography

Don’t just label today as “bad” or “good.”  That’s too simplistic.  God is doing a billion of other things in your life right now that you don’t even realize.  So learn to see your life as music.  And know that you are not alone in the great symphony of life.  Each day of your life contributes to the score that God is composing.  In today’s radioblog, Sam helps us to understand our parts in God’s music.

This was first heard on the Moody Radio Network.  Click the player below to listen, and thanks.