Nudgings Feed

Nudgings #28 - In His Hands

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Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. (Psalm 31:5, NIV)

When I was a kid, silver dollars were a big deal. They were large, shiny coins that were cool to look at—and they were money! I always wanted one and my eighty-year-old great-granddad knew this, so at family gatherings he would teasingly play a game with me. He would show me a brand new silver dollar, then grip the coin in his fist and say, “You can have it if you can get it out of my hand.” Easy-peasy, all I had to do was open up his hand and the silver dollar was mine.

I would then spend the next ten minutes trying to tug, pull, pound, twist and pry my great-granddad’s fingers apart and hand open. But it was to no avail. I would sweat, strain and struggle, and all the while my great-granddad would watch with a delighted grin on his face. I could not get that coin out of his gnarled fist. It was like iron! His strength was amazing.

He would finally say, “Ya give?” and I would eventually relent and accept defeat. And then to my surprise and delight my great-granddad would open up his hand and give me the silver dollar. It was mine!

“Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

King David wrote those words when he was in a tight spot and needed God’s help, and a thousand years later Jesus quoted them on the cross just before leaving his earthly body and going to the Lord.

Jesus died upon the cross so that we might live. We are his treasure (his “silver dollar”) and when Jesus committed his life into the strong and mighty hands of God, He took us with Him—holding us tightly in His nail-pierced hands.

Nothing in all creation is greater than the loving hand of Jesus. He delights in you, holds you in His iron fist and says, “You are mine!”

Commit your life to Him. He will not let you go.


Nudgings #27 - No Words

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The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27, NIV)

I know I must pray, but O God, how can I pray at a time like this?
I have no words.
My heart aches for the innocent, and the not so innocent, for without regard—war is hell. I grieve for others and for myself. The disruption, the pain, the fear, are real. My mind rages against the evil, the injustice and the enemy.
I have no words.
But Jesus you are the Word and my help, and when I look upon your cross I know that you know my struggle and You understand (Heb. 4:16). So I trust in You and call upon Your mercy and Your grace—available when I need it most.
I know I must pray.
I have no words, but one—Jesus.


Nudgings #26 - The Next Step

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What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage [to God]. (Psalm 84:5, NLT)

All of life for the Christian is a pilgrimage. It is a journey with Jesus whose destination is the Kingdom of God. Every journey is realized one step at a time, and although one step seems small and insignificant, it is all that matters as we live and move and have our being in Jesus.

We can carry the title of Christian and attend church faithfully, but to progress on our pilgrimage we must walk the talk. When push comes to shove, we have to trust Jesus—and it all starts with one step—leave your nets (Mark 1), let the dead bury their dead (Matthew 8), burn the plow (1 Kings 19), call upon Me (Psalm 50:15), take up your cross (Luke 9), come follow Me (Matthew 4).

A life for Christ is realized one step at a time. Stepping out in faith is hard. We don’t see clearly and we don’t know the way. But that’s OK. We don’t need all the answers right now, we just need to take the next step, and with every step the view changes, new paths reveal themselves and we find that we are on the Way.

Jesus is the Way. Take the next step—trust Him.


Nudgings #25 - Cling to Jesus

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“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17, NLT)

When I think of clinging, my mind goes to Bangalore, India. It was my privilege to work at an international school in South Korea for eight years, and a part of the school’s educational program included service to others. During Spring Break each year the school would send students out on service trips throughout Asia, and for four of those years it was my pleasure to lead a team of high school students to an orphanage in Bangalore.

What a joy it was for me and my family to spend time with the precious children there in that place. It was a week filled with talking, playing, teaching, singing, laughing, loving and making new friends. From those times and experiences I carry a myriad of rich memories, but the one that stands out the most is the way the little ones would cling to me when I was holding them. There were scores of little children in that place and they all wanted to be picked up, held and carried around—and they didn’t want to be put down. They held on tightly as I held them in my arms. They loved the time and attention—and I loved them.

When Mary saw Jesus alive near the empty tomb, she grabbed ahold of him and held on tightly. She was clinging to him and He said to her, “Don’t cling to me for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father.” But now, Jesus has ascended to heaven and He has sent His Spirit to live in and among us. Jesus is available to you, me and the entire world, and he wants us to cling to Him:

Cling tightly to the Lord your God. (Joshua 23:8, NLT)

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. (1 Timothy 1:19, NLT)

[O God] my soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:8, ESV)

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, NLT)

Jesus is alive and he is as close as the mention of his name. He has you in His arms and He won’t put you down. He loves you.

It’s OK—cling to Jesus.


Nudgings #24 - Don't

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Have you noticed all the “don’ts” in Ephesians 4?

Don't be rebellious,
don't lie,
don't pretend to be something you're not,
don't seek revenge,
don't stay angry,
don't drive angry,
(sorry, that's not from Eph. 4, it's from the movie, “Groundhog Day”)
don't steal,
don't use foul language,
don't talk bad about people,
and don't hold a grudge.

All of those "don'ts" are good advice, but they pale in comparison to the "don'ts" in Ephesians 4:30:

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. (MSG)

Wow, maybe you should read that again . . .

God is not a cosmic killjoy, He is joy. Jesus came to give us life—His life—moving, breathing and living in us. We were made to have the Spirit of God filling and empowering our lives, and anything less simply breaks the heart of God.

The “don’ts” of Ephesians 4 aren’t there to keep us in line, they are there to keep us in Him. His Holy Spirit is a precious gift.

So, as we walk into another day full of challenges, trials and temptations, and we are faced with the choice to dabble in or do something that will be detrimental to the most intimate part of our life, let’s all take Paul's advice—don’t.


Nudgings #23 - The Whole House

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Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts. 2:2, NIV)

𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 . . .

Jesus, give me your holiness.
I open up to You my eyes, my ears, my mind,
my soul.
Come in and have Your way.
Make my heart Your home.
Blow through my life and fill it completely.
Every room belongs to You.

Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ. (Hebrews 3:6, NLT)

𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 . . .


Nudgings #22 - Perfection?

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I am weary, O God;
I am weary and worn out, O God.
I am too stupid to be human,
and I lack common sense.
I have not mastered human wisdom,
nor do I know the Holy One. (Proverbs 30:1-3, NLT)

Have you read Proverbs 30 lately? It was written by a guy named Agur and it is full of ramblings and reflections about snakes, adulterers, leeches, lizards, ants, kings, fools and bloody noses. It’s perfectly random—but I like his honesty.

In the first three verses of his contribution to the most famous book of wisdom literature in the world, Agur doesn’t try to impress with profundity, but rather, he’s real. He says he’s “weary and worn out,” and with that, . . . he has my attention. Because ALL of us are exhausted these days as we navigate this pre/post/current pandemic world.

Then he says, “he lacks common sense,” and is “too stupid to be human.” Although that seems a bit harsh, it’s not too far from how I feel just about every day, especially today, as I try to figure out how to flush the hard water deposits out of my water heater. Life is hard—in the most humbling ways—and so is my self-talk.

And finally, Agur gets painfully honest and says, “nor do I know the Holy One.” 𝑶𝒖𝒄𝒉. In the midst of the mess of this world and the messiness of my heart, I too at times feel far from God—because I am.

So, where does all this honesty and self-deprecation leave Agur, me, (and you)? Surprisingly, it leaves us in the perfect place to find God, for Agur’s list perfectly describes the qualifications and credentials of those who can come to Jesus.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT)

Jesus doesn’t want perfection, He just wants us to come to Him.


Nudgings #21 - A Living "Skipping" Stone

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As you come to [Jesus], the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house. (1 Peter 2:3-5, NIV)

As I read today about being a “living stone,” built into a spiritual house for God’s glory, my boyhood mind went in another direction.

I began thinking about the perfect “skipping” stone. It is flat, smooth, and an ideal fit for the hand that is doing the throwing. And when it is thrown correctly, it glides along, just above the surface of the water, inciting ripples of ever-widening beauty everywhere it touches.
And I found myself praying:

Jesus, I want to be a living, “skipping” stone, for You.
Find me, make me, empower me and use me for your Glory.
Get ahold of me and fling me furiously.
May I alight gently and joyously upon the surface of the world,
and bless others with the kindness, goodness and beauty You instill.
May my life give you delight, and may the places where I "skip" today
ripple outward with your love, mercy and amazing grace.
Amen


Nudgings #20 - All That Mattered

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Though he was God,
[Jesus] did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8, NLT)

I have two daughters and during their growing up years I was a lot of things: a teacher, a minister, an adjunct professor, an assistant principal and a principal, and within those various contexts people referred to me as pastor, leader, supervisor, professor, administrator and boss. Each role I served and title I held were an aspect of who I was and what I did professionally, and they were the means by which I was able to provide for my family.

But all that meant nothing to my little girls. When I came home to them at the end of the day I was one thing—their Daddy, who cared for them and loved them—and that was all that mattered.

God is love, and Jesus was and is God, and over the eons He has been many things: omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, the Alpha and the Omega, and the Creator of the universe (to name a few), and His titles include—Son of God, the Word, King of Kings, Immanuel, Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

But all that meant nothing to Him when He saw his little children—you and me—in need of rescue. Jesus left his home, humbled himself, came as a baby, became a servant, and died a criminal’s death on a cruel Roman cross to save us from our sins. Out of kindness and care for you and me, Jesus abandoned all titles and positions except for one—Love—and that was all that mattered.


Nudgings #19 - There Are No Words

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Have you ever been left speechless after seeing something of great beauty? I have. I can’t even begin to describe that golden sunset at the Oregon Coast, the kaleidoscope of life and color housed in the coral reef of Thailand, or the smiles on the faces of orphans in India as they laugh and play with a brand new soccer ball. There are no words.
 
But all that pales in comparison to the profound beauty of my daughters and my memories of them as precious newborn babies, cute and comical toddlers, smiling schoolchildren, laughing teenagers, adventurous and determined college students, and committed followers of God. I can’t get over their hugs, and their love for each other, for their mother, and for me. There are no words.
 
And yet, all that beauty—and even the most beautiful thing you and I can think of— is but a shadow of the radiant grandeur of the heart of God:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:6-8, NLT)
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. … [And] those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” (John 6:35, 37 NLT)
Jesus will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. … He says, “Look, I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:4-5, NLT)
O the beauty . . . there are no words.
Except one—Jesus.