Raspberry Patch Signs & Junk Barn Girls

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Guess whose excited about this year’s Junk Barn Girls? Me, that’s who! Why? Because this year I get to participate as a vendor! In case you didn’t know, I run a little shop called Raspberry Patch Sings & Designs. Not only do I love to write, I love to paint, too. Furniture, signs, old pallet wood, two-by-fours, mason jars, tin cans… you name, I’ll paint it. And this year I get to bring my little Raspberry Patch to the most amazing antique and craft show ever — Junk Barn Girls!

What is Junk Barn Girls?

Junk Barn Girls is an annual show for gals who love fun, friends and fabulous finds. The event showcases 30+ vendors who bring their talents, along with their vintage collectibles, jewelry, antiques, handmade goods, and repurposed junk for you to drool over. And of course, there is always a food truck or two there to serve up plenty of yummy treats.

If you’ve been following me on social media, then you know that I’ve been pretty consumed with prepping for the show over the last week or so. My garage and patio are full of half-flipped furniture and my dinning room is covered in hand-painted signs I can’t wait to show off.
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Junk Barn Girls is happening September 30th and October 1st in Hermiston, Oregon (more details here). If you are local (or within a reasonable driving distance) you won’t want to miss this event. I promise you won’t be disappointed, nor will you walk away empty handed. You’re bound to find something you’ll love.

Can’t make it? Don’t fret, my dear.

If you can’t make it, well you can still get your hands on a few hand-painted treasures. I have listed a few of my “shippable” items in my Etsy shop. Just restocked today! Click on over to check them out.

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So, just to recap. 1) I’m excited about Junk Barn Girls!!! 2) You need to be there if you can! 3) Check out my Etsy shop if you can’t make it (or if you just want a preview of what I’ll be taking with me to the show). Got it?

Hope to see many friends there!

Only by grace,

Kelli

Raspberry Patch Signs & Designs

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Hope in Jesus is Hope that Purifies

I wrote about hope this week over at Do Not Depart.

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And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just a He is pure. 1 John 3:3

I don’t know about you, but I don’t often feel very pure. I yell at my kids on a nearly daily basis. I want to strangle my husband when he spends more than I deem appropriate. And I kick the dog when he gets in my way. And this just the beginning of everything that makes me feel less than pure. I easily get annoyed with the guy in Sunday school who just seems to enjoy the sound of his own voice and I find myself frustrated when the worship team plays another song I don’t know. These selfish reactions are not the way a pure person would react. Are they?

When I choose to focus on all my imperfections I can get so discouraged, even lose hope that I will ever be like Christ.

But, if I remember to put my eyes back on Jesus, the living and active Word of God, my confidence is restored and I am no longer ashamed of who I am. 

I am loved.

I am a child of God.

Read the full post here: Hope in Jesus is Hope that Purifies writers-button-001

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Joy in Homeschool Trails :: Leaning into Him When You Just Want to Give Up

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This family has just begun it’s second year as a homeschool family. My husband is a public school teacher and I’m a former one myself, so I often get asked how I like homeschooling. My typical response is usually “I really enjoy it, but it’s really hard,” putting an emphasis on the really hard part. This is the truth. I really do find joy in this experience, but I can’t deny that their are days when I wish I could send my kids off to school and go back to the classroom myself.

Homeschooling is no joke. I thought it would be a breeze with my background. And I love my kids so much. So I thought that being their teacher would make me (and them) the happiest person on the planet. But this hasn’t been the case. Homeschooling has challenged and even changed many of my teaching philosophies. Classroom management strategies that I learned for a room full of 20-30 students, don’t seem to always work with the four littles I have sitting at my dining table. And while my children do make me happy, this feeling usually only lasts as long as they are all cooperating with my schedule.

Yes, homeschooling is hard, but I really do enjoy it. Even though it often involves tears (mostly mine), and yelling (again, mostly mine), and lots of patients (uh, mostly from my kids because they need to be far more patient with me than I need to be with them) I still enjoy this incredible struggle to educate my four beautiful children.

Now, at this point you may be expecting me to tell you how rewarding it is to see the “light” come on when one of my kids finally “gets” something. You might expect me to share about all the lovely art projects we do together or even the about amazing time we have studying the Bible. But I’m not. Yes, those things are great (when and if they actually happen), but they are not the reason I find joy in homeschooling.

God is using this amazingly, hard homeschool journey to teach me to rely on Him. I’m learning to lean into Him and turn to Him in prayer when I want to give up on what I know is best for our family right now. James 1:2 tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trails.” Let me tell you friends, this homeschool is a trail for me. But through it God is growing my faith and producing patience in me — patience with my children, patience with myself and patience with Him.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2-3

This growing of faith and producing of patience is where I find my ultimate joy. It comes from walking with the Holy Spirit and only the Holy Spirit. Walking with Him is why I can say  “I really enjoy homeschooling, but it’s really hard” and mean it 100%. It is walking with and being with my Savior that satisfies my soul, brings me cheer, and warms me with calm delight no matter the struggles that homeschooling (or any other situation) may throw at me.

What about you? What various trail have you found yourself in lately? Despite the difficulty of the situation, are you able to count it all joy? Are you looking forward to the faith and patience that is being produced by God alone? Leave me a comment or send me an email. Let’s walk in the Light together, encourage one another, and lift each other up in prayer.

Only by grace,

Kelli

God is using this amazingly, hard #homeschool journey to teach me to rely on Him. Click To Tweet This growing of faith and production of patience is where I find my ultimate joy because it comes… Click To Tweet
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My God and My Coffee :: This Girl’s Struggle with Obedience

My God & My Coffee

I have a confession to make. This girl has been having a serious struggle with obedience. So much so that I’ve been arguing with God. Yes, arguing. With the living God!

Have you ever done that? Known that God was telling you to do something, and you, in all your “infinite” wisdom, attempted to explain to Him why His idea was not the best? Well I hope you haven’t, but I have. And I’ve been doing it a lot lately. Sad. I know. Thank goodness for His mercy!

Anyway, the argument, was (in mind) over something quite silly. Coffee. Yes, coffee. Silly, right? Why does God care about coffee? He probably doesn’t. This whole dialogue going on inside my head was probably a complete figment of my imagination. Coffee. Yeah, right. Like God cares about coffee… Or does He?

You see I drink a lot of it. Probably a few gallons a week. And these gallons of heaven-on-earth often… scratch that… always take the place of the gallons of water I should be drinking. I know all about that eight-glasses-of water-a-day thing, but who wants boring water when they could drink dark, bold, glorious coffee? Not me! Give me coffee!

Do you get the point yet? I really enjoy my coffee.

And then yesterday, the Holy Spirit started telling me to lay off this wonderful morning (and noon and evening) beverage. What!?! Why? I couldn’t figure it out. No, I didn’t want to figure it out. I’d rather stick my head in the sand, ignore all the horrible side effects of dehydration and caffeine overload, and pretend there is not a single thing wrong with my massive intake of this black, liquid gold.

So I argued.

I questioned whether or not I was even really feeling the nudge of the Holy Spirit, I rationalized why I need at least one morning cup, I doubted whether or not this should even be on God’s radar. And I attempted to dismiss this little conversation with my King altogether.

I poured myself a cup, took a sip, and sat down to read my Bible.

(Here’s a tip for you. Never open your Bible when you are trying to win an argument with our God Almighty.)

And do you know what words I read? Do you know what not-so-subtle-sign He gave me to confirm it was actually His Spirit nudging my heart to give up my coffee-idol? “His way is perfect” and “The word of the Lord is proven” (2 Samuel 22:31). Yep, that’s what I read and I was quickly reminded that He knows what He is talking about, no matter how trivial the subject may seem.

As for God, His way is perfect;The word of the Lord is proven;He is a shield to all who trust in Him. 2 Samuel 22_31

Now, if you’re familiar with this passage, you know that David was not writing about any coffee problem he was facing. You may even be about to accuse me of pulling this verse way out of context, and maybe I am but this verse got my attention. It told me that God wants to shield me. No, not necessarily from coffee, but He does want to protect me, even from my own unhealthy nutrition choices.

So who am I to argue with Him!?! His way is perfect. And His word has been proven time and time again. There is no room for my doubt.

Now, despite the frequent mention of the word in this post, I’m not writing about coffee. I’m not writing to point out the evils of coffee or convince you to give it up. My main point isn’t even that God wants me to give it up (though it’s obvious that He does). My main point is this:

God’s ways — not your’s and certainly not mine — are perfect.  His word — not ours — have been proven. And He — not we — is our shield against all enemies.  Foreign, domestic, spiritual, mental, physical, and even ourselves. He desires to protect us from them all. And all He ask from us is that we trust Him.

So, I encourage you to let go of any doubts you have swimming around in that pretty little head of yours. Lay down your argument and believe that whatever He is asking you to do — whether it be to give up coffee, sale your house, put your kids in public school, prayer for your arch nemesis, or become a missionary to India — is the best, most perfect, and proven way for your life right now. Just trust.

What about you? Are you arguing with God? About what? Is He using Scripture to confirm what the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you heart? Which ones? Let me know by leaving a comment or shooting me an email. I’d love to pray with you.a

Only by grace,

Kelli

Here’s a tip for you. Never open your Bible when you are trying to win an argument with our God… Click To Tweet

 

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How Does God Use All Things For Good?

all things work together for good

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

This verse has been on my mind quite a bit lately. A few weeks ago I experienced something not so pleasant, and rather than focusing on the circumstance I asked the Lord to bring to my mind a verse to help me deal. All things work together for good to those who love God immediately showed up in my head.

First, let me just say that I loooove when God answers a pray so quickly and in such an obvious way. Don’t you? But honestly, this wasn’t quite the type of scripture I thought I needed.

I began to repeat the verse to myself but I didn’t quite get it. I wanted a verse that would silence the source of my unpleasant feelings. I wanted a verse that would empower me to stand up to the injustice I believed I was facing. I wanted a verse that would rebuke the enemy and his attack. This verse didn’t seem to fit the bill.

Later in the week as my family and I continued to deal with crummy situation after crummy situation, all of which seemed to stem from the original unpleasantness, Romans 8:28 kept coming to my mind. I didn’t get it.

“Really, God? All this bad stuff is for our good.”

All things work together for good to those who love God.

“Lord, I believe Your word but I don’t understand.”

All things.

I need more, Father! Let me see what I’m not seeing!”

All.

And it was then, when He directed my attention to that one little word, that I finally understood what I had been missing.  

All.

Every single detail, whether seemingly significant or not; every circumstance I face, whether pleasant or painful; all things  the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly — they work together for my good. God uses them all to mold me into who I am becoming. He uses them all to build my character, to shape my beliefs, and to strengthen my dependency on Him.

And this is a good thing. I want Him building, shaping and strengthening me to be the woman He has called me to be. I want to be a woman who is called according to His purposes — whatever those purposes may be! And if it takes pain, discomfort and unpleasant things to get me there, I’ll take them.

Dear friends, I don’t know what kind of things you are facing today. But please be assured that if you love God, He is using all things for your good too. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. Trust Him. Expect good things from Him. Embrace what life brings your way and let God build, shape, and strengthen you into who He has called you to be.

Only by grace,

Kelli

Embrace what life brings your way and let God build, shape, and strengthen you into who He has… Click To Tweet

 

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Is God’s Grace Really Enough?

God's Grace Really Enough

His grace is enough.

I’m sure you have heard this a thousand, maybe even a million. God’s grace — His favor, His long-kindness, His good will — toward us is simply enough. That believing in His grace shown through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will carry you through this life and into eternity far from the demand to live perfectly and sin free. His grace is enough. It paid the debt you owe for your wrong choice, decisions, actions. His grace says “it is finished!” And it is. But…

But I keep adding to this good news.

There isn’t really a “but” there, but I keep trying to insert one into every scripture, sermon, and devotional that speaks of God’s grace. And it is evident in the way I live, in how I think, in the words I pray, in the ridiculous demands I place on myself and the people around me. The but I keep inserting is really just me adding to the gospel. It’s just me changing the most amazing news there is and making it nothing more than strife and struggle. I believe the gospel. But…

But I still want to be sin free.

I believe that Jesus died for my sins – past, present, and future — but I still want to be sin free. I strive and struggle with my flesh. Arguing with it, fighting with it, demanding that it bow to my will — my will to be free of my sin. How arrogant of me. How prideful. How fooled am I. My flesh won’t obey God, why would it obey me!?! Jesus came because I can not be sin free. He came to take my place on that cross. And He came to share His reward for actually being sinless with me. That’s grace. And it should be enough. But…

But I still want a perfect life.

I want a life that is without struggle. I desire a life that is without pain. I lust for a life that is comfortable and pleasant and perfect. All of which I could have — I should have! — I’d deserve to have!! — if I could just get my sinful self under control. Again, how arrogant and prideful of me to believe that I am capable of attaining perfection. I can’t be perfect and that is why Jesus came. Not to live a life free of suffering and hurt, not to live a life of comfort and pleasure, but to reveal that God want us in all our imperfect mess. His grace is enough. But…

But my life’s evidence says that grace is not enough.

Because I will not fully rely on God’s grace… Because I will not fully embrace my weakness… Because will not accept the fact that I am a sinner at the core… Because I will not admit that I can not be perfect I live stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I live in fear of not living up to the standard that I have placed on my own shoulder. I struggle with the guilt and shame associated with every sin and imperfection that I am still striving to correct.

I live denying the power of Christ.

I turn my pack on His strength.

I say Your grace is not enough…

…and I will try to do more to be sufficient on my own.

I live without rest. Without joy. Without peace.

I live weary and done.

If only…

If only I could truly believe every word that God has breathed. If only I could learn to abide in Him, to trust that His grace is enough, and rely on His perfect strength in the midst weakness. If only I could stand still and see the salvation of the Lord (Exodus 14:13). If only…

God in Heaven, I confess my doubt in who You are, my doubt in Your Son, and my doubt in Your grace. I confess my arrogance, pride, and confidence in myself. Here I am, weak and sinful and far from perfect. Break me of thinking that I can be sin free and perfect on my own. Please show me how to rest in your power. Help me to take hold of the peace and joy that comes from knowing Your Son. Please take my life, Lord, and use it to showcase Your perfect strength. Use me to put Your sufficient grace on display for all to see. In Your name I pray, amen.


Friends,

I struggle to move beyond an intellectual knowledge of what Jesus has done for me. I might be able recite and explain the gospel, but applying it — living it out, and truly allowing to it penetrate every part of who I am — that’s where I get stuck. And that’s what the words here in this post are all about. Are you stuck too? Please feel free to share your struggles here. Lets not pretend that faith in Christ is perfectly easy — faith may be simple, but not easy. Lets confess our doubts and take them to Jesus. Lets allow His strength to be perfect in our weakness.

Only by grace,

Kelli

 

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The Simplest – and Best! – Reason for Bible Study

Bible Study

I love Hello Mornings, an online ministry dedicated to encouraging women to spend time with God, plan their day, and make healthy choice first thing in the morning. This encouragement is wonderful and has really changed my life but (and this is a big but), if I start to hold Hello Mornings’ advice up to the same level of God’s word I can find myself discouraged, feeling guilty and wallowing in self-induced shame. Which, I am sure, neither God nor the Hello Morning staff wants.

So why can I end up feeling so low? Because when I focus on a my checklist (even a short God-Plan-Move checklist) instead of my Savior, I begin to base my worth on whether or not I am able put a check next to each item. I turn my simple desire to want to know God more, live my day for Him, and be physically fit to do so into a works-based religion. And true Christianity, my friends, is not works based.

Christianity is fully rooted in grace – the undeserved, never ever earned favor of God. My righteousness, my right standing, before my Heavenly Father is not based on anything I have or haven’t done. Ever! God doesn’t look at me and shake His head when I don’t get up early enough to read my Bible uninterrupted for 15 minutes in the morning. He doesn’t consider my beautifully penned day planner (or may ability to stay on schedule) a thermometer for how “good” I am. And He doesn’t take into consideration how much food I ate or how many miles I ran before He calls me His child.

Instead, He look at me through His Son Jesus Christ. The God-Man who walked the earth, obey the Father perfectly (both outwardly and inwardly) on my behalf, and now sits at the right hand of God, praying for me continually. Why? Because I’m not perfect. I can’t be perfect. I’m a horrible, messy sinner who always will be and am in desperate need of a Savior. Jesus loves me. He saved me. And He shares His reward for being perfectly obedient with me. Even though I don’t deserve it. It’s love! It’s grace!

My righteousness (aka my good standing) before God is not dependent on anything I can do for Him. It’s completely dependent on what Jesus has already done for me. With this knowledge I can have peace. I don’t need to worry about trying harder to be good. I don’t need to work my tail off trying to please my Father. I can rest. Jesus has me.

So, yes, I will God-Plan-Move with Hello Mornings and you should to… if you want… but not out of obligation. Instead, let’s God-Plan-Move with a focus on Jesus, a desire to simply be with Him and to know Him more.


WeSee_Cover-300But We See Jesus is the next Hello Mornings study. It starts Monday, June 20th and covers the first half of the book of Hebrews. I had the privilege of working with a few other authors to bring you the commentary in the study. The focus is on the superiority and work of Christ which enables us to stop striving and rest freely in Him. Perfect, right!?!

Click here to learn more about the study. Also, be sure to look into joining an accountability group to help you stay on task as you move through the study. If you have any questions about Hello Mornings, But We See Jesus, or Bible study in general drop me a line.

Only by grace,

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Go All Out or Don’t Bother :: Is That Right?

Copy of ...nor will I offer burnt offering to the LORD my God with that which cost me nothing.

Once upon a time, long, LONG ago I was a gym rat. It was ridiculous. I spent most of my free time there and when I wasn’t there I was planning my workout for my next visit. Warm-up. Cardio. Abs. Free weights. Stretch. I probably knew a whole lot less about exercise than I thought I did, but I still went all out. All. Out. My philosophy was that if I wasn’t going to workout hard, I might as well not even workout at all.

Then life changed.

I got married and had my first kid. And, well… Getting to the gym wasn’t as easy as it was when I was single, when the only person I had to consider was myself. I no longer had two consecutive hours to myself, let alone 20 minutes to take care of my body. So what did I do?

I quit.

I just gave up.

If I couldn’t go all out, what was the point? If I couldn’t run on the treadmill til I was dripping sweat or crunch til my abs burned or squat until I could no longer walk then I was wasting my time… or so I thought. A 15 minute walk around the neighborhood with a stroller was not my idea of a workout… so why bother?

I’d just wait a few more weeks until the baby started sleeping through the night… or find time in the morning before she woke up… or would run to the gym on my lunch break… or ask the sitter to keep her a bit longer at the end of the day or… Or… Or… The ors never quite happened and thus I gave up the gym life all together.

And guess what? Surprise! My level of physical fitness dropped dramatically.

I often find myself standing before a similar hurdle when it comes to drawing near to the Lord. If I can’t go all out during my quiet time, why bother? If I can’t spend an hour on my knees weeping in prayer, then prayer seems worthless. If I can’t read chapters of my Bible without being interrupted by the kids or the dog, then it’s pointless to even take it off the shelf. If I can’t fill pages in my journal of lovely praises, well, then I won’t praise. If I can’t get myself out of bed at least an hour before the sunrises to spend quiet time with the Lord, then I won’t get up at all.

Ridiculous, yes?

For some reason my gym philosophy — go harder or don’t bother — has made it’s way into my beliefs about who I am as a daughter of the King. The funny thing is, I know this philosophy is wrong.

When it comes to exercise, a little bit is better than nothing. A 20 minute walk around the block is far more beneficial than 20 minutes in front of the TV. And the same goes for spending time with Jesus. Twenty small prayers lifted up throughout the day are better than 20 thoughts of guilt because I didn’t get up early enough for quiet time.

We recently adopted a puppy and because he needs walked (or I find holes in my backyard) I am forced to exercise. No, it’s not sweat-dripping, muscles-burning exercise. But it is exercise and it didn’t take long after I started walking him that I noticed a small change in the way my clothes fit. Not only that, I began to have more energy and getting out of bed in the morning, though not may favorite thing to do, was getting somewhat less taxing. The short “worthless” walk around the block was beginning to make a positive difference on my overall health.

The same is also true about my time with my Lord and Savior. Whether it’s two minutes or two hours, no time in the Word or in prayer or in praise is wasted. Yet so much time can be wasted when I choose to believe that short moments are worthless.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways,

Gracious in all His works,

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,

To all who call upon Him in truth.

He will fulfill the desires of those who fear Him;

He also will hear their cry and save them.

The LORD preserves all who love Him,

But all the wicked He will destroy.

My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD,

And all flesh shall bless His holy name

Forever and ever.

Psalm 145:17-21 (emphasis mine)

The Lord promises to be near to all who call upon Him. There is no asterisk in the passage that says I must create the perfect setting or reserve a set amount of time in order to get Him to draw near. The promise is simply that He is near.

He also promises to fulfill the desires of those who fear Him. And guess what? If you are like me and desire quiet, uninterrupted, near perfect times with Him, I truly believe that in the right season He will provide this for you. In the meantime, however, He will persevere you, reassuring you that He is there. He is near.

Despite the piles of laundry, despite the rowdy children in the next room, despite the dog whining at the front door…

He is there.

So draw near.

What are you — what am I! — wait for?

Only by grace,

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P.S. When I was done writing this post, I walked into the kitchen to wash the dishes and pray. Within moments one of my rowdies came in and gave me hug. “What’s up?” I asked. “Oh, I just heard you praying and thought I’d pop in and pray with you,” he said. My heart melted! Yet, another reason we don’t always need that “perfect” quiet time.

F15-faith-2P.S.S. If you have 15 minutes a day and want to learn more about drawing near to God, consider reading my friend Katie’s study, Everyday Faith (affiliate link). You won’t regret it.

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Expecting In the One Who Promises Good Things

“If you then, being evil, know-2

“Oh, thank you Mommy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Those are the words of my two-year old the moment he sees that I have something he wants. He doesn’t ask for it or stomp his feet and demand it. He just says thank you and waits (not always so patiently) for me to give it to him.

He’s expectant.

Why? Because on some level — whatever level that is for a two-year old — he knows that I will provide for him. He knows, or at least expects that I will give him good things — like the warm, sweet cinnamon toast that I just made for myself and have only taken one bite out of.

Lately, his statements of thanks and expectancy have me quietly thinking about my relationship with my heavenly Parent, the One who has promised me good things.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:11‬

Our Father promises to give good things, but do I ask often enough for the things I want or need? Do I gleefully praise and thank Him for His promises before I receive them? Or do I go on about this life here on earth just getting by, believing in His gift of salvation at some point in future, but not taking hold of His promise here and now?‬

God’s hands have not been shortened and His ears have not grown heavy (Isaiah 59:1). He is capable. He is listening. He is not lazy. He has not forgotten about me. I can trust that He will do as He say He will, including answering me when I ask, being found when I seek Him, and opening the door to me when I knock (Matthew 7:7-8).

And when Jesus does not respond they way I hope or in the way I think He should? I must simply remember and hold fast to the promise that He gives good gifts. That He will provide more abundantly than I can imagine. That He sees my past, present, and future more clearly than I. That He has all the circumstances happening around me under control and that He is working all things together for my (and your!) good.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

So what am I waiting for..?

Thank You Daddy. Thank You, thank You, thank You! Thank You for every good gift You have and will give me. Not gifts that I deserve or will earn, but gifts that You give out the abundance of Your goodness and grace, gifts that You give for Your glory. Amen.

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Hold on Jesus, I Need to Get My iPhone: A Look at Luke 17:20-37

For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you

Read Luke 17:20-37


“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation;

In other words, when the kingdom comes it’s arrival will not be visible to the eye.

nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

I absolutely love the original Greek word for kingdom. When I first learned it’s definition, it blew my mind. The original word is basileia and it means royal power, kingship, dominion, rule. Did you notice that each of the words of the definition do not describe a place? Pretty interesting, right? Instead, the kingdom of God in this passage refers to the authority that Christians submit to — and this submission happens in the heart, making this a heart issue, not a locality issue. In order to come into the kingdom, one must lay down his or her will and submit to the Father’s, which is why Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you.” And the reason this blows my mind? Because we can enter the kingdom of God right now!!! Right here on earth! There is no waiting for admittance through the Pearly Gates, we can be citizens of the His kingdom right now! Pretty amazing stuff, right?

Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.

Life is going to get the point, and for most of us we are already to that point, where we will desperately desire for the return of Jesus Christ. However, we will need to be patient. We don’t always get what we want, right? Not to worry though, God knows what He is doing and He will return in His own perfect timing.

And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them.

Beware, false messiahs will come. In fact, we have already seen a few, haven’t we? Ok, there have actually been quite a lot. David Koresh immediately comes to my mind when I think of people claiming to be Jesus. But did you know there are four different people (at least according to Wikipedia) walking around out there right now claiming to be Jesus? Don’t believe me, just google it.

For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.

There will be no doubt when the real Jesus actually returns. The sky will light up and His glory will be seen in every corner of the earth. So if you are wondering if that guy (or gal) down the street claiming to be Jesus is legit, ask yourself How’s the weather today? Any unexplained lightning phenomenons going on?

But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

Jesus is referring to the cross here. His disciples did not yet understand that He would come twice. First to preach the gospel and set the captives free. Then again to shine light into all dark places (1 Corinthians 4:5) and to judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1).

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Just before the flood, life was moving along as usual. They had no warning. Well… They had the prophet Noah, but they chose not to listen. Other than that, nothing out of the ordinary was going on.

Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.

Once again, business as usual for the citizens of Sodom. Lot tried to warn a few, but no one would listen.

Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

When Jesus returns, we will have no warning. Unless, you’ve been reading your Bible, of course, and have choosen to believe it. But even then, we will not know the exact time or the hour (Matthew 24:36). Life will be moving right along as usual — people will be getting married, having babies, going to work, attending softball games, dinner parties, and movies. And all of a sudden Jesus will be here!

In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away.

And really, who would want to!?! I mean, come on, it’s Jesus we are talking about here! I can’t imagine doing anything but running out to see Him. I promise I won’t be like, “Just a minute Jesus, I need to go grab my iPhone.”

And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

No regrets here, people! No mourning the loss of our earthly things. No mourning how your life will change because Jesus is here to set up a brand new and beautiful heaven and earth. If there is even one possession that you think you’ll miss, even one aspect of your lifestyle that you can’t imagine going without, you need to be praying this verse over and over and over again. I myself pray it often.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:23-24‬

I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.

Why? Because even though life will be business as usual, some will be ready and some will not. Those that are ready and excited for the Lord’s return will be caught up to meet Him in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). And those who are not ready? Those clinging to life here on earth? Well, they will be left for judgement. The judgement that will be due to them (due to all of us really) because they did not accept — they would not believe — that Jesus already took the judgment and the punishment for their sins.

So what do we do with all this information about the kingdom of God and the second coming of Christ? We prepare. We get our hearts ready by simply accepting and believing that the gospel is truth. That we are sinners deserving death and in need of a Savior. That Jesus is that Saviour — He is the only Savior! That He died for our sins and resurrected, conquering sin and death so that we could spend eternity knowing and being known by Him.

But what else? Is there more to be done to prepare for His second coming? Yes! Before I go I on I want to be clear: we do not earn salvation, it a gift freely given and a gift only accepted through faith. That said, there is more to be done. We have been commanded by Jesus Himself to go out and give the good news to those still suffering in darkness.

Freely you have received, freely give. ~Matthew 10:8b

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. ~Mark 16:15

Imagine yourself sitting at a picnic table in the park. You have just eaten your lunching and, because we tend to make extra large portions here in America, you have leftovers sitting in front of you. Now imagine a small child, dirty and alone coming near you. She doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t look you directly in the eye, but she notices that you have something that she needs. You see the hunger in her eyes. Maybe you hear her stomach growl. You know what she needs. You have what she needs. What do you do? Do you pack up the abundance of your lunch and go about your day – business as usual? Or do you offer her what she needs?

We have neighbors and family members and co-workers hungry. You, Christian, have what they need. You have Jesus and there is plenty of Him to go around. Are you going to share? Are you going to tell them about the One who will satisfy their spiritual thirst and hunger completely? Or will you pack Him up in your lunch box and walk away?

One will be taken and the other left.

Don’t let it happen because you wouldn’t share the gospel. Don’t let it because you were too busy to let your daily schedule be interrupted. Don’t let it be because you were too tired, or too shy, or too worried about what others might think of you.

Just go! And preach! Let the Holy Spirit lead! And go!

And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.””

Ok, honestly, when I first read this I was like what? And I’m still a little like what? But I did read one commentary that explained this verse as a well known proverb of the day. The meaning, that all things happen in their proper time. Yeah. I know. I don’t get that meaning from the verse either, but we’ll just go with it for now.

In the meantime, be praying friends. Be praying that the Lord prepare your heart for His return. Be praying that He opens doors for authentic ministry and sharing of the gospel. Pray for your unsaved friends and loved ones. Pray with thanksgiving that God the Father has everything under control and all things will happen according to His timeline. Be praying, friends. Be seeking Him. Be listen to the Holy Spirit and, by His grace, be obedient to His command to go and preach the gospel.


Friends,

Please remember that I am human and flawed and my thoughts on this passage and others may not always be right. Please hold what I write up against the Word of God and listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to you directly.

Only by grace,

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