The Prisoner Exchange

The American prisoners have been released from captivity in Iran. For this we praise God and offer gratitude for His grace and power. We also continue to pray for the one soul that has not yet been freed and ask God to sustain his family in their waiting. A Bible verse comes to mind as I think of this prisoner’s beloved: I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; I will wait for him.’ Lamentations 3:24

For several days three thoughts have been circling in my mind about the good news of the freedom of these Americans. I share them with you to encourage your faith and inspire worship and thankfulness in your own heart.

+  Once upon a time I, too, was held in captivity by my sin. God so wanted to have a relationship with me that He exchanged the death of His Son for my freedom. I did not earn or deserve such a gift from God. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

+  The Iran/American prisoner exchange was unjust at its core. The guiltless were ransomed for the guilty. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. 1 Peter 3:18

+   It would be unfathomable to think that one of the prisoners whose release had been arranged would have chosen to remain in captivity. How must it grieve God when one of those He sent His Son to die for rejects their freedom in Christ? Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

I earnestly pray that the former American captives will truly live to the fullest in their new found freedom. Likewise, I pray that you and I can do the same…that the Jesus Prisoner Exchange will not be in vain in our own lives. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed from death to life. John 5:24

It is for your freedom that Jesus died. Go then and live freely in the Good News of the Gospel.

OPP(opportunity for action): Mothers, Grandmothers and all others of faith influence: As we close out January 2016 let us purpose to help our children live in the presence of God (12 Things I Desire for our Children #1). Find ways to bring God into the moment in your home. I encourage you to establish a daily habit of doing a devotion with your child. It will serve to secure their faith conscience and remind them of God’s love for them. Heaven knows they will need these things as God’s presence is diminished in the world around them. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on           on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Don’t Look Now…

Don’t look now, but your car is being towed!

Don’t look now, but God is on the move. He will not be stopped by parking barricades or security perimeters. He will not mind the plans of officials and well-meaning leaders. He will not be thwarted by failed religious practices, false shepherds or criminal acts against children. He will not be deterred by feeble efforts of the masses to deny Him or turn from Him. God is on the move in the humble heart of His servant.

Don’t look now, but God is shining His light on the Family. Eighteen thousand pilgrims have journeyed to the City of Brotherly Love to seek His favor on their own beloved. There is no dusk in God. His light will not be dimmed by falsehood, philosophies, crime or terror. Nor will it flicker in light of social trends or those who would undermine the heritage of faith that has prevailed in God’s people since the days of Father Abraham. God is shining His light on this generation and those that follow for the purpose of blessing the world through the family of God.

Don’t look now, but God is feeding the poor. He is exalting the humble. He is breaking down the strongholds of greed and materialism that deny daily bread to the hungry and disadvantaged. He is stirring the hearts of His faith community to deny themselves for the sake of their near neighbors. He is calling for us to radically extend God’s grace to others. God is dispensing His compassion and provision to the poor, the homeless, the frail and the weak.

Don’t look now, but God is appealing to the seat of our government. He is in the midst of our elected officials and circulating among our leaders. He is invading our airspace and our airwaves. He is challenging our logic, our laws, and our lack of integrity. He is exposing the plight of untruthful representation of our people. He is revealing personal agendas and ungodly practices. God is beckoning us to rule in the fear of God for the good of the people.

Don’t look now, but God is calling His Church to unity. He is sending us into the world with a message of love of God and love of others. He is consecrating us as ambassadors and peacemakers to impart His justice and His loving-kindness to all we meet. He is demanding our attention to the persecuted and the powerless. God is calling us to Oneness in His Name.

Don’t look now, but the Bible says that Jesus is coming again! And He won’t break through the clouds on Air Alitalia. He will come with His own heavenly beings and his own fanfare of trumpets and clashes of cymbals. There will be no formal announcement of His arrival or a set number of days of preparation. Yes, Jesus is coming again and there will a worship service as the world has never known.

Don’t look now, but God has sent His servant Francis to our shores. Welcome to America, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:27

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8