Monday, April 07, 2008

"Hope For Banged-Up Lives."

Maybe you're one of those "banged-up lives." You've been treated poorly, you've been made to feel that you never measure up, that you're a loser, people have undervalued you, passed you by, and maybe you've ended up pretty hard and angry inside. But there is someone who has never thrown away a banged up life, who sees beyond what's on the outside to the wounds on the inside and the potential He built into you when He made you. Jesus is your hope of a new beginning where the future doesn't have to be just an extension of a broken past. In Isaiah 61:1, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says of Jesus, "The Lord ... has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners ... to provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes - a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Jesus has done that for millions of banged up people for two thousand years. He can do it for you because He died on the cross for every sin ever done by you or against you. The Bible says of His death on the cross: "He carried our sorrows...He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities...and by His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5). With someone who loves you so unconditionally, so completely, you don't have to ever again trash yourself, trash other people, or trash your future. You can tear up that name tag that identifies you as "victim" and replace it with the new identity Jesus gives you, "child of the King." If you'll surrender the steering wheel of your life and put the rest of your life in the hands of the man who died for you. Jesus, who's God's one and only Son, sacrificed Himself to become the ultimate banged-up life for you. However much you have been betrayed, you can trust Him. However much you have been hurt and rejected, you can count on His "never leave you" love. And your new beginning can start this very day.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Waiting for the Sunrise!

You know, we can learn an awful lot about the ways of God in our lives by just watching how He starts each new day. That's especially important if it's been dark in your life for a while. It's been a long night; you've been waiting a long time for light to break through. But remember how God operates - a long wait, maybe a few signs of a little brightening, and then a sudden, dramatic breakthrough.
This divine modus operandi is vividly illustrated in our word for today from the Word of God in Exodus 12:11. God's ancient people have been waiting for God to come through with their promised deliverance from their slavery in Egypt. But before it gets better, it gets worse. The request to Pharaoh only leads to them being oppressed more. Then there's a series of ten plagues, nine of which do not change their lives. It's been a long, long night. Like you maybe, they've been waiting for the sunrise for a long time.

Then comes the night of the first Passover, the night God will change Pharaoh's heart with the last plague. Here are the Lord's instructions to His people about the Passover: "This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. Eat in haste." After all this waiting, God says, "Hey, be ready to go at a moment's notice."

Here's what happened: "During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, 'Up! Leave My people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you requested. Take your flocks and herds ... and go.' The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country." Pharaoh and his people are literally urging their labor force, the Jews, to leave their country! And the Egyptians even give the Jews silver and gold and clothes - they finance the Exodus!

It was a long wait, and then a sudden and blazing sunrise, and a dramatic difference. God may have you right in the middle of that kind of impending miracle at this moment. Except right now it looks like it's going to be dark forever. Don't let the length of the wait make you give up on the sunrise. Don't ever assume there's not enough time left for the answer to come.

Have you ever seen a sunrise?

You're going to see one in your life - when God has everything ready.

And when it comes, it may very well come very fast.

And that sunrise will illuminate and change everything!
The sunrise is worth waiting for.

Be Blessed.

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