He Hears

You and I live in a loud world.  To get someone’s attention is no easy task.  He must be willing to set everything aside to listen:  turn down the radio, turn away from the monitor, turn that corner of the page and set down the book.  When someone is willing to silence everything else so he can hear us clearly, it is a privilege.  A rare privilege indeed.

You can talk to God because God listens.  Your voice matters in heaven.  He takes you very seriously.  When you enter His presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice.  No need to fear that you will be ignored.  Even if you stammer of stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God – and He listens.  He listens to the painful plea of the elderly in the rest home.  He listens to the gruff confession of the death-row inmate.  When the alcoholic begs for mercy, when the spouse seeks guidance, when the businessman steps off the street into the chapel, God listens.

Intently.  Carefully.  The prayers are honored as precious jewels.  Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord.  “The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God.”  Incredible.  Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.

…your prayers move God to change the world.  You may not understand the mystery of prayer.  You don’t need to.  But this much is clear:  Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth.  What an amazing thought!

– Max Lucado

 

Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

– Revelation 8:3-5 (NIV)

 

For the eyes of the Lord are [looking favorably] upon the righteous (the upright), And His ears are attentive to their prayer (eager to answer), But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil.

– 1 Peter 3:12 (AMP)

 

Photo by Wade Callison

 

Adopted

It would be enough if God just cleansed your name, but He does more.  He give you His name.  It would be enough if God just set you free, but He does more.  He takes you home…

Adoptive parents understand this more than anyone.  I certainly don’t mean to offend ny biological parents – I’m one myself.  We biological parents know well the earnest longing to have a child.  But in many cases our cribs were filled easily.  We decided to have a child and a child came.  In fact, sometimes the child came with no decision.  I’ve heard of unplanned pregnancies, but I’ve never heard of an unplanned adoption.

That’s why adoptive parents understand God’s passion to adopt us.  They know what it means to feel an empty space inside.  They know what it means to hunt, to set out on a mission, and take responsibility for a child with a spotted past and a dubious future.  If anybody understands God’s ardor for His children, it’s someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us.

God has adopted you.  God sought you, found you, signed the papers and took you home.

– Max Lucado

 

Long ago, before God made the world, God chose us to be His very own, through what Christ would do for us;  He decided then to make us holy in His eyes, without a single fault we who stand before Him covered in His love.  His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us.  And He did this because He wanted to.

– Ephesians 1:3-5 (TLB)

 

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out “Abba!  Father!”  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

– Romans 8:15-16 (NASB)

 

But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

– Galatians 4:4-5 (NASB)

 

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Photos by Susie Stewart & Andy Stewart

Love Is Kind

Love is kind…

– 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)

 

I shall pass this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

– Henry Drummond

 

God, You are all-powerful, yet You are humble of heart and kind – something that will always, always amaze me and continually cause me to be grateful that I am a recipient of Your Divine love and relationship.

– Susie Stewart

 

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

– Matthew 11:29 (NLT)

 

I choose kindness…I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God treated them.

– Max Lucado

 

Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning.

– Frederick W. Faber

 

The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay upon the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him is not to believe that He loves you.

– John Owen

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

God-Man

Jesus was touchable, approachable, reachable. And, what’s more, He was ordinary. If He were here today you probably wouldn’t notice Him as He walked through a shopping mall. He wouldn’t turn heads by the clothes He wore or the jewelry He flashed. ‘Just call me Jesus,’ you can almost hear Him say. He was the kind of fellow you’d invite to watch the Rams – Giants game at your house. He’d wrestle on the floor with your kids, doze on your couch, and cook steaks on your grill. He’d laugh at your jokes and tell a few of His own. And when you spoke, He’d listen to you as if He had all the time in eternity. And one thing’s for sure, you’d invite Him back.
– Max Lucado

 

Christ Jesus… being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
– Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)

 

Jesus is like us in every respect—human body, heart, mind, and will—except for sin.

How amazing that the divine Son of God would not just take on part of our humanity but all of it—and then take that true humanity all the way to the cross for us.

Jesus took a human body to save our bodies. And he took a human mind to save our minds. Without becoming man in his emotions, he could not have saved our emotions. And without taking a human will, he could not save our will. In the words of Gregory of Nazianzus, “That which he has not assumed he has not healed.”

He became man in full so that he might save us in full. Hallelujah! What a marvelous Savior!

– David Mathis

 

For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.

– Hebrews 2:17 (NIV)

 

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin.

– Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)

 

Photo taken by Susie Stewart