Did you feel that?!

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Everything is shakable, except one—the Kingdom of God, the one and only unshakeable Kingdom. — E. Stanley Jones

Our family had recently moved from our comfortable home in Idaho to an unfamiliar and populous city in South Korea. It was the beginning of a grand adventure for us, as well as a season of stretching, growth and learning to trust the Lord more. On a lazy evening during our first month in that new place, things got exciting. I was gazing out the window taking pictures of the urban skyline, Dina was reading a book, and my daughters were putting together a puzzle in the tiny living room of our 1000 square foot 14th floor apartment, when suddenly, the building began to shake. 

Wide-eyed, Dina and I both looked at each other and said, “Did you feel that?!”

The shaking didn’t last long, but it was enough to rattle us. Our minds and emotions raced. “What do we do?!” “Where do we go?!” “What are we doing here?!” 

Thankfully, within minutes we got a call from some friends informing us that according to the local news station there had been a small earthquake many miles off the Eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula. They assured us, “There is no reason to worry, all is fine.”

Whew! 

But I still remember the feelings: the panic, the questions, the sense of helplessness, the fear and . . . the shaking. 

Things are shaking today. Globally, nationally, politically, economically, socially, morally and personally—nothing in and of this world is stable, nothing is unmoved. Capitalism is shakable, the economy is shakable, democracy is shakable, governments are shakable, our jobs are shakable, our pensions (if we have one) are shakable, even our health is shakable. It’s all trembling, shuddering, shaking and quaking just like it has for the past two thousand years. But there is one thing that stands solid—the Kingdom of God. 

To all who follow Christ in this shaken and shaking world, the author of Hebrews writes, 

“We are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

The Kingdom of God is the only “unshakable” thing in existence. Its constitution is the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and its King is Jesus who died upon the cross for our sins, rose again defeating death and the grave, and who resides at the right hand of the Father as our advocate. His Spirit abides in our hearts, ever saving us, helping us and securing us on “solid ground” as we walk with Him. 

And yet, the shaking continues. All it takes is a news report on the TV, a notification on our phone, a call from the doctor, an email from our bank, or a knock on the door and we are a mess. Our minds race, our hearts stir and we are all shook up. 

When this happens, don’t fret. Instead, call out to Jesus. Ask Him, “Did you feel that?!” 

And hear Him say:

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)

“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, NLT)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3, NLT)

Or, as my friends said, “There is no reason to worry, all is fine.” 

“We are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

Whew!


Look

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Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2, KJV)
 
He does not say See; He says only, Look. —Alexander Whyte
 
The Son of Man [Jesus] has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. (John 3:13-15, NLT)
 
The snake-bitten Israelite, far to the rear in the multitude, may not have been able to make out clearly the outline of the serpent, but he looked that way. What matters most is not how clearly we can perceive Jesus but the utter dependence of our look. — Vance Havner
 
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
So merciful, this God of ours! (Psalm 116:4-5, NLT)

 


Believing

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Only three saw the glory on the transfiguration mount. But all the disciples walked with our Lord in the valley. The others were not disqualified by missing the vision. It is not lack of sight, but lack of faith that rules us out.

                                                                            —Vance Havner

Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. (Habakkuk 2:4, NLT)

Then Jesus told him [Thomas], “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:29, NLT)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15;13, ESV)

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9, NLT)

We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV)


Bought

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NLT)

God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. (1 Corinthians 7:23, NLT)

Live in reverent fear of him [God] during your time here as “temporary residents.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began. (1 Peter 1:17-20, NLT)

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow. (Elvina Hall)


Confident

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The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock. ...
I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. (Psalm 27:4-5, 13-14, NLT)


Eager

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Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish. (Joel 2:13, NLT)


Where is another God like you,
who pardons the guilt of the remnant,
overlooking the sins of his special people?
You will not stay angry with your people forever,
because you delight in showing unfailing love.
Once again you will have compassion on us.
You will trample our sins under your feet
and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love. (Micah 7:18-20, NLT)


You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14, NLT)


Loveliest

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When the mind is too weary to do hard thinking or praying, the loveliest word we can allow to float through our thoughts is “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Sweetest name on mortal tongue, sweetest name by angels sung, Jesus, precious Jesus.

                                                                                    — Frank C. Laubach


More Important

DSCF2175This morning God used three seemingly unrelated things—a passage of Scripture, the Google home page, and a poem to communicate this message to me:

“Your physical health is important, but your spiritual health is more important.”

First, I read 2 Corinthians 4 where Paul says,

“God ... made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (vs. 6-7, NIV)

And I heard:

This body of ours, that consumes so much of our time, money, attention and concern is but a clay jar—made from dust and returning to dust, no matter what we do. We are so consumed with our jar and how it compares to the jars of those around us. We find identity in our jars. We think our jar is who we are. But Paul says there’s more to us than our jar—we are our heart.

Next, I opened the Google homepage to find the day’s Google doodle featuring a picture of Christopher Reeve—honoring him on his birthday. In my mind, when I think of Christopher Reeve I think of Superman. As an actor he played the Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 10.35.25 AM
character(s) of Clark Kent and Superman and he looked the part—handsome, stately, healthy, muscular and strong. But sadly, in 1995 Reeve’s clay pot broke. He fell off a horse, crushed his spinal cord and was paralyzed for the rest of his life. After his accident he lived on for a few years serving as a great humanitarian and an inspiration to many.

And I heard:

This vessel (body) of ours is fragile—like pottery. We may appear great (like Superman or a supermodel) and we may think we are great, but in reality, we are fragile, frail and easily destroyed. A fall off a horse, a drop of contaminated water or a virus-laden micro-particle can be our end. But, we are more than our bodies.

Then I read Robert Frost’s poem, “Leaves Compared with Flowers” and this stanza jumped out at me:

A tree’s leaves may be ever so good,

So may its bark, so may its wood;

But unless you put the right thing to its root

It never will show much flower or fruit.

And I heard:

We are so much more than our bark or our leaves. It doesn’t matter how good our vessel if it is bereft of flowers and fruit. They resonate from the root and when the leaves have fallen and trunk lies rotting, the fruit lives on. We must pay attention to our root (hearts).

And God said:

My son, pay attention to what I say;
    turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
    keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
    and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:20-23, NIV)

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes ... on Jesus.  

(2 Corinthians 4:16-18, & Hebrews 12:2, NIV)

“Your physical health is important, but your spiritual health is more important.”


Happy

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I don’t know how you can be happy without Christ. Can the railway train be happy without the rails, the eye without light, the lungs without air, the heart without love? — E. Stanley Jones

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee. ― Augustine of Hippo

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8, NLT)


One More Day

Harold Hill: You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering. ― Meredith Willson, The Music Man


Thankful for today, one more day. Here's a great song I came across this morning. So good, so fun.