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His Kingdom is Forever

February 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863

I was reminded in a devotional from John Piper this morning that Abraham Lincoln was born on this day 206 years ago. He was areligious well into his 50′s until suffering drove him into an encounter with Jesus that ultimately resulted in his conversion.

After witnessing the horror of war and the death of a child, he said of suffering “I’ve been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.” Peter, speaking for the disciples, said almost the same thing to Jesus in John 6:68: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

I was burdened yesterday by some people in my circles who are hurting deeply, mainly with illnesses where the prognosis is not encouraging or even hopeful. The world is broken. May the hurt here remind us that our hope is not in anything here on earth. It is in Him alone. As the old hymn says, “The body they may kill; His Truth abideth still. His Kingdom is forever.” God, may that deep, rich, hopeful truth marinate deep into my heart.

Julia is singing this song at church on Sunday. It’s been in our heads for the last couple of days. It’s a very different kind of Christmas song, and I really like it.

“If you told me all about your sorrows, I’d tell you about a cure,

If you told me you can’t fight the battle, there’s a baby boy who won the war,

The war was won by a baby boy.

Alleluia, we can sing it,

Alleluia, Heaven’s ringing

Alleluia!

Endless hope and relentless joy started with a baby boy”

I’d just sat down to begin my workday this morning when my phone rang. It was one of my spiritual mentors. I’m blessed enough to have a few spiritual mentors, but this man is the one God has used repeatedly throughout the last decade, plus. He’s a dear brother with a deep love for Jesus. When he serves up his godly wisdom, I listen because when he speaks, it’s often the voice of Jesus I hear.

I picked up the phone, greeting him by name.

“Hey man, I was just thinking about you and wanted to call you and tell you that I love you and that God is using you in big ways,” he began. He went on to encourage me in my career and ask how I was doing and to remind me that he was praying for me.

Photo Credit: » Zitona « via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: » Zitona « via Compfight cc

I was so encouraged by that. What an amazing way to begin a week.

I’m so blessed to have incredibly godly men like this man in my life. They challenge me, they push me spiritually, and they never settle for seeing less than Christ in me, yet they are quick to give grace and a loving hand of correction when I need it. It’s an honor to call them brothers.

That type of care is a debt I can never repay, and they would thump my ears for even calling it a debt. They know they’ve been forgiven greatly, and it is their pleasure to labor in my life and spur me on to settle for nothing less than more of Jesus, more of Jesus, more of Jesus. And it is my pleasure to pay that forward in the lives of other men as the Great Commission calls me to.

It’s the benefit of choosing to live in community with other believers.

That simple phone call was a great reminder for me this morning, and so I wanted to challenge you, too. Men, do you allow yourself to be known spiritually by other men? Women, do allow other women the opportunity to know you and labor in your life? Conversely, are there people in your sphere of influence that may look up to you? How can you encourage them to believe the truth and want more of Jesus?

I love this quote from the movie, Gladiator:

What we do in life echoes in eternity.

This life is your opportunity to speak into others’ lives in ways that create eternal echoes. But before this can happen, you have to be in community with others. Where is your community? Are you a part of a group of other believers that can encourage you and spur you on to love and good deeds? Are you placing yourself in spheres that allow you to love and encourage others to do the same?

Once you’ve immersed yourself in community with others, God will use you to impact lives in amazing ways.

And sometimes, all it takes is a simple phone call.

Dear Jesus, thank you for this wonderful day and thank you for Nani and Pops and The Polar Express. And thank you for our ears and all the noses and all the eyes. And thank you for our bunk bed and fan. And I pray that you would put a baby in Mommy’s tummy. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

My 3 Year Old Son’s Prayer Last Night

Our dog, Sandy, turned eight years old last week. She is one of the best, most obedient, well-trained dogs I have ever known. But despite all her great qualities, our sweet Sandy has an addiction.

Many times, Julia and I have returned home to discover trash bags torn open and scattered across the floor, looking as though wild animals have attacked. Sharing details would turn your stomach. The dog has a sickness. We’ll leave it at that. She just can’t help herself. Her little garbage-loving Mr. Hyde comes out and does awful things.

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