Lavish, Darling

Lavish, Darling

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)

Lavish. Extravagant.

Where did we get the idea God is chintzy? Stingy? Withholding? Actually the idea came from the enemy (see Genesis 3), but that’s a different blog post.

If ever a big spender existed, it’s God:

  • The Promised Land flowed with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:8)
  • Jesus turned water into wine—and it was the good stuff. (John 2:1-11)
  • “‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.’” (Matthew 6:28-29)
  • In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

Why do some of us live as paupers? Today, we train at the spiritual Neiman-Marcus. Look at Ephesians 3:17-19:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that   you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Training Tip 1: Rooted in Love. Are we root bound? Twisted around ourselves like plants left in their pots too long? We’ve been transplanted. Let’s stretch out our roots and anchor ourselves in Him. He is our Source.          

Training Tip 2: Grasp. Grab. Grip. Take hold of the

width,

length,

height, and

depth

of the infinite love of Christ. Think of the visuals He has given to help us: prairies, rivers, mountains, oceans.

Training Tip 3: Know. Know about through study and know personally through experience.

The end result? We will be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Filled to the measure? Fullness? Doesn’t sound stingy to me.

Nail your spiritual workouts this week and change your corner of the gym.

Workout of the Week: Lavish, Darling

Memory Verse: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 1:3 NIV)

Meditation Passage: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Just Do It: Receive what He lavishes.

Tweetables:

Don’t live as spiritual paupers. Today, we train at the spiritual Neiman-Marcus. Click to tweet.

God’s Plan: It’s Bigger Than the Vote

God's Plan: It's Bigger Than the Vote

Election Day. Finally.

Regardless of the results, let’s focus on two things:

  • God is sovereign, and
  • He can use ungodly people to accomplish His purposes.

Though Hebrews 11 is filled with Hall of Faith heroes, Scripture is filled with outside–the-box, even outside-the-faith people used to accomplish God’s plan. Check out this line-up:

  • Egyptian pharaohs. Joseph’s pharaoh fed Jacob and his family (Genesis 41-50). The Israelites multiplied and flourished in Egypt for many years. Moses’ pharaoh created a backdrop for God’s wonders and set His people free (Exodus 5-14).
  • The pagan nation of Babylon brought God’s judgment in the book of Habakkuk (Hab. 1:6). In the book of Daniel, we see dreams and miracles as God demonstrates His sovereignty to the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar proclaims that truth through his entire empire—several times (Daniel 2:47; 3:29; 4).
  • Cyrus the Persian returned God’s people to their homeland and supported the rebuilding of the temple (Isaiah 44:28-45:13).
  • Rome and its string of Caesars and officials put into motion events that set up Christ’s birth and death (Luke 2:1-3; John 19:12-16).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m deeply concerned for our country, but God’s plan far surpasses Donald’s or Hillary’s. And His will not be thwarted.

Not by opposing members of Congress.

Not by a liberal media.

Not by a skewed Supreme Court.

Check out Psalm 33:10-22 (NIV).

“The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

Our job? To demonstrate His light and love by loving unconditionally, by showing compassion and mercy, and by living in holiness, submitted to our Savior.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So, take heart. Vote. And when the results roll in tomorrow night, remember, God is bigger.

Questions:

Why did God use unbelievers for His work?

Do you believe God’s sovereignty will bear out?

Do you trust His ability to care for you and your family?

Is your hope in America or in God?

Tweetables:

Scripture is filled with outside–the-box, even outside-the-faith people used to accomplish God’s plan. Click to tweet.

God’s plan far surpasses Donald’s or Hillary’s. Click to tweet.

God’s plan cannot be thwarted-not by Congress, the media, or the Supreme Court. Click to tweet.

Jesus says it is in Him we have peace. Click to tweet.

Encouragement: Setting the Thermostat

Encouragement: Setting the Thermostat

The sun came out today. First time in forever and I couldn’t get enough of it. (Hence the sunburn.) I felt like I’d had a double shot of espresso. Other friends said the same. Turned out we’d suffered from the same condition.

The blues.

The grumps.

The down in the dumps.

But as the sun reappeared after days of clouds and rain, the gloom cleared, and my spirit soared.

What was interesting was none of us noticed the heaviness—until it lifted. The sunshine sharpened our senses and left us with encouragement, energy, and a fresh outlook on life.

The same thing happens spiritually. Our climate affects us more than we think. The secular climate clouds our spiritual senses, and when we get a shot of Son-shine, it’s a big deal. Enlightening.

So how do we get our daily dose of Son-shine when the spiritual climate smothers us in gray clouds and humidity? We set the thermostat for encouragement. What happens outside stays outside. Philippians 4:8 (NIV) reads, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” What we see, read, and listen to affects us. While we should never lose an awareness of what’s going on in the world around us, we can keep it from dictating our mood by keeping God’s perspective front and center.

Silver Linings

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

God brings good from the fiercest storms.

Weather Watch 24/7

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Nothing can separate us from God and His love. Nothing. Not tornados, not hurricanes, drought or flood. He is unaffected by climate and is always on call.

Hope, Not Heaviness

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

No matter the secular climate, we have hope, encouragement, and answers. As God’s joy and peace lifts your spirits in the face of secular bad weather, share your Son-shine and His presence with you, today and every day.

Questions:

Does weather affect you?

What elements of daily life cloud your spiritual senses?

How do you change your mood in foul weather?

How can you encourage someone?

Family Application:

Talk about the weather and how it affects your moods. Talk about spiritual climates. How can you keep a spiritual focus in bad secular weather?

Tweetables:

What was interesting was none of us noticed the heaviness—until it lifted. Click to tweet.

The secular climate clouds our spiritual senses, and when we get a shot of Son-shine, it’s a big deal. Click to tweet.

We set the thermostat for encouragement. What happens outside stays outside. Click to tweet.