Nudgings Feed

Nudgings #19 - There Are No Words

IMG_1902

 
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.

Nudgings #18 - That Simple

IMG_2114

The other day I unexpectedly ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time and we only had about five minutes to chat. We talked briefly about work and family and then the topic of faith came up. My friend said that his relationship with God had become a bit cold and distant of late and he seemed forlorn and disheartened about it.

I felt bad for him. I’ve been there. That is a tough and discouraging place to be. You feel like a failure, and the way back to God seems too complex and too costly.

I wanted to help my friend, and my mind immediately went to James 4:8,
𝑫𝒓𝒂𝒘 𝒏𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝑮𝒐𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑯𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒅𝒓𝒂𝒘 𝒏𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖. (ESV)

I shared the verse with him and he paused a moment and then asked, “Is it really that simple?”

And suddenly our five minutes were up.

If there had been more time I would have shared with him about the loving Father that eagerly stands on the road waiting and watching for the prodigal’s return. (Luke 15) I would have reminded him that God is faithful, even when we aren’t. (2 Tim. 2:13) And I would have assured him that Jesus doesn’t ever give up on us—He is ever knocking at our heart’s door. (Rev. 3:20)

As we parted, I told my friend that I would be praying for him and I encouraged him to read his Bible and call upon the Lord in prayer. I said, “Start there—draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Thanks to Jesus, it really is that simple.


Nudgings #17 - The First and Last Word

IMG_2066

“𝑭𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒊𝒓 𝒅𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓: 𝑨 𝒑𝒔𝒂𝒍𝒎 𝒐𝒇 𝑫𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒅, 𝒓𝒆𝒈𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆 𝑵𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒆𝒕 𝒄𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒉𝒊𝒎 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝑫𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒅 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒅𝒖𝒍𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝑩𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒃𝒂.”

The above superscription is found at the outset of Psalm 51. It doesn’t even merit a verse number, but it sure packs a punch. It’s the “back story” for David’s prayer recorded in the psalm. Anyone who has read the whole story in 2 Samuel 12 knows that this pithy introduction to Psalm 51 is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to David’s offenses—teeming with lust, adultery, deception, manipulation and murder.

However, as I point the finger at David, I can’t help but notice three more fingers pointing back at me. I don’t know about you, but an honest superscription of my life, although different from David’s, would be just as tarnished. The Apostle Paul sums it up well, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)

Sin may have the first word in this psalm of David, but sin didn’t have the last word in David’s story—and sin doesn’t have the final word in my life either.
Jesus does.
He paid the price for my sins upon the cross and God doesn’t want a blood sacrifice from me. But He does want something—my heart.

Take a look at David’s words near the end of Psalm 51:

𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒄𝒓𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒃𝒓𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒏 𝒔𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒊𝒕.
𝒀𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒋𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝒂 𝒃𝒓𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒏 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕, 𝑶 𝑮𝒐𝒅. (vs. 17, NLT)

(Wow, now that merits a verse number!!)

Give God your heart. Let Jesus be the first and last word in your life.


Nudgings #16 - The Life In Our Hours

IMG_2061

The hours of our lives—they are a precious commodity.
We don’t want to lose a single one.
So we say to ourselves and to others:
don’t smoke,
stay away from fried foods,
exercise regularly,
cut the sugar,
manage your stress,
get regular check ups,
avoid the lines at the DMV,
and, . . . be careful!
We all want to live. We want every hour of life we can get.
Why? So we can watch more Netflix? Football? and Fixer Upper?
Maybe, but too much cotton candy leaves us sick and unsatisfied.
Time flies as the hours congeal into days.
Is it time spent or invested?
Do our minutes have meaning?
We give great attention to the hours of our life;
but what about the life in our hours?

Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! … And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do! (Psalm 90:12, 17 MSG)


Nudgings #15 - Jesus is Enough

IMG_2117 2

It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. (John 2:13-15, NLT)

The Passover celebration . . . a remembering of the days of Moses, when the blood over the doorframe of your home meant rescue, deliverance and salvation. And now the people were coming to the Temple yearly, religiously paying the price for the blood of animals to cover their sins. They were being charged an extravagant amount of money for something . . . that wasn’t enough.

And then Jesus came. He flipped the tables, flipped the Scriptures and said enough is enough. He drove the religious, the swindlers and the sin offerings from the Temple. He chased them all out. The birds flew, the cattle ran and the sheep scattered. There were no more sacrifices left in the building.

None, except One.

The Lamb of God stood alone in the Temple court like a tree on a hill, foreshadowing His cross on Calvary, where he paid the ultimate, extravagant price—once and for all—for the religious, the swindlers, and for you and for me. Where He proclaimed, “It is finished!”

Jesus is enough.


Nudgings #14 - New

IMG_1912

New . . .
A new car, new house, new pickup, new job, new furniture, new RV, new bike, new jewelry, new TV, . . . new . . . new . . . new.
You fill in the blank.
“New” is advertised everywhere, but often only realized in the lives of the rich, successful and lucky.
“New” is uncommon, . . . except in Jesus. Take a look:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)

I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:4-5, NLT)

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5, ESV)

In Jesus, “new” is the norm.


Nudgings #13 - Look!

IMG_2008

John [the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29, NLT)

Look! It’s Jesus!
Look! You are rescued!
Look! There is hope!
Look! You’re forgiven!
Look! There’s joy.
Look! You are loved.
Look!

(Psalm 105:4, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Revelation 5)


Nudgings #12 - The Word is Jesus

IMG_2020 3

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! (John 5:39, NLT)

Words, knowledge, talk, information . . . eternal life? Nope.

The good news of eternal life is not found in words, but in the living Word. It is not based on principles, but established in a Person. It is not attained through religion, but realized in relationship. It is not proved by history, but provided for in His Story. It is not earned by good works, but given by God’s grace.

The Scriptures point to Jesus, the only Way to eternal life.

(John 1:14, John 15:4-11, Isaiah 44:21–23, John 14:6, John 3:16-17)


Nudgings #11 - Frustrating

IMG_1874

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. … Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:14, 23 NLT)

When it comes to Christmas, Father’s Day and my birthday I am a blessed man. My wife and kids are great, they always give me thoughtful and wonderful gifts and I so appreciate their generosity and care for me. But every time a gift giving celebration rolls around I always tell my family that I don’t want or need a gift—"they" are the gift. This frustrates them, but honestly, my joy comes from our relationship together—our conversations, shared experiences, laughter, trust and love that spans time and distance. Those are the things that capture my heart.

In Psalm 50 I see that I might be frustrating God too.

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and all of creation to boot, and I come to Him with my “gifts” of effort, striving, trying and doing and all He wants is for me to be thankful and obedient. In every season, celebration, and in all the moments of my life, God wants one thing—my heart.

(read Psalm 50:1-23)


Nudgings #10 - God Gives, I Steward

DSC01455

John the Baptist said, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.” (Jn. 3:27, NLT)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. (James 1:17, NIV)

Today I pray:

Dear Father,
Thank you for loving me and giving me the gift of another day.
Help me to remember that it isn’t about me, it’s about Jesus in me.
God gives, I steward. May it be so in my life.
Jesus, give me your holiness. Use me for your glory.
Amen.