Some things just can’t be half baked.

The word “almost” doesn’t fit into certain boxes. It’s a square peg that just won’t work in a round hole.

It’s not possible to be “almost” pregnant. Either a person is pregnant, or they’re not.

In a similar way, we can’t be “almost” Christians. We might straddle the fence for a time, but there has to be a definitive landing on the side of Christ.

Jesus didn’t almost die on the cross, as some would like us to believe. God didn’t almost save us from our sins. That sin you committed yesterday? If you’re a believer in Jesus, you aren’t almost forgiven — you are forgiven. Totally and completely. Full stop.

Praise God, we don’t serve a Master who is almost able to save us. Jesus wasn’t almost resurrected. He rose again, and He is coming back.

The Bible urges us to stand firm in the faith, not to be wishy-washy, or blown about by every wind of doctrine.

Thank God for His complete, sufficient work in Christ.

It’s not almost done — it is finished.

***

Speaking of work being finished — WE DID IT!

31 Days logo - 2015We made it to the end of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes! Fistbumps for everyone!

THANK YOU to all who stayed the course, who wrote with us, and who kept coming back to read and comment! We appreciate you!!

If you’re looking for a summary of posts in this series, click here — and be sure to visit the blogs of other fabulous writers who took the challenge and linked up!

 

 

 

Whew! We are in the HOME STRETCH!

It’s Day 29 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes, and I’m SO proud of all of you for hanging in there for the long haul!

I hope you’ve enjoyed and benefited from this series as much as I have.

Today’s prompt is: 

 

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Setting the timer for five minutes, and … GO.

 

There’s a song called Oceans by Ten Shekel Shirt. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood on a salty shoreline and this song has welled up within my chest. The chorus goes like this:

There’s something about the ocean
Makes me rise up and praise
There’s something about the heavens
Makes me stand in awe again
There’s something about the sunrise
Reminds me of Your faithfulness
There’s something about the ocean
And I’m lost in love again

 

It’s true, isn’t it? There’s just something about the ocean that demands praise. The sea’s beauty and magnitude command a reverence and an awe for its Creator.

On those days when I’m feeling emotionally dry or vexed by God’s providence, those days when I’m cheeky enough to think I have a better plan than His, I open my Bible to the book of Job.

I flip to chapter 38, and I let these words put me back in my place:

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

                                           ~ Job 38:1-4, 8-11

Then I remember that He is God, and I am not. He is so much in control, He even tells the sea how far it can come, and no further.

Can I really doubt His ability to control the events of my life?

So I stand before the sea, or maybe I just close my eyes in my house and imagine the salty spray of crashing waves — and I remember the greatness of God.

I realise this post has the potential to spark a measure of controversy, though that’s certainly not my intention.

Here are some questions for you:

What makes Christians different from those who don’t love Jesus?

What do they have that non-Christians don’t possess?

What marks them and sets them apart from the rest of mankind?

You might be thinking of the word, “forgiveness.” Amen, and thank God for it.

Forgiveness is a huge aspect that sets Christians apart from those who are not.

The presence of the Holy Spirit is another major component we shouldn’t ignore.

There’s another significant difference that always strikes me whenever a non-Christian person has died:

It’s the element of hope. Its absence is deafening in a funeral home.

 

hope

 

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Paul writes to the believers, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (emphasis mine).

“The rest of mankind, who have no hope.”

Isn’t that just so sad?

Doesn’t it make you want to reach out and offer hope to those who don’t have it? 

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

As believers in Christ’s death and resurrection, we have confidence. We have assurance. We have hope.

Let’s rejoice today in this gift of hope. Let’s hold unswervingly to the anchor of our souls.

 

Anchor Hope

And let’s do everything in our power and in God’s to be a beacon of hope to those in the darkness.

 

***

Letters to Grief - Final cover

Part of the reason I wrote my e-book, Letters to Grief, was to offer hope.

If you know someone who might be in need of hope today, consider sending them a copy of this short book. It’s only 20 pages long, and it’s only $0.99, so you really can’t go wrong.

Maybe it’s the first step that God is nudging you to take in offering hope today. Or maybe you’re the one in desperate need of an anchor.

Either way, I pray this book is a blessing. 

Perhaps is a loaded word.

A powerful word.

Not powerful in its punch, but rather its quiet presence. Powerful in the way it is trailed by an invisible ellipsis and a lingering question mark.

Perhaps is powerful in the way it commands attention from the future.

It’s powerful in the infinite possibilities that could come after it. What follows could be absolutely anything.

 

leaves 5

 

Perhaps you’ll be a movie star one day. Perhaps you’ll live on the street.

Perhaps you’ll have children. Perhaps you’ll spend your life in a longing unfulfilled.

Perhaps you’ll get married and live happily ever after. Perhaps you’ll endure unthinkable tragedy and heartache.

Perhaps makes me feel small.

It makes me realize how very little I actually know. It makes me wonder. It fills me with unanswered questions.

There is only one who isn’t bothered by perhaps. I doubt it even exists in His vocabulary.

He is a God who knows all. He never wonders. He never questions Himself, His purposes, or the future.

He is a God of order, of absolutes, of foreknowledge.

For Him, there are no ellipses, no question marks. Only full stops and exclamation points.

He hears our perhaps and He smiles, because He knows exactly how the story ends.

31 Days logo - 2015

This is Day 27 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. Click here for other posts in this series

I lean in close as I tuck him into his bed at night.

Cupping my hand to his ear, I whisper into the darkness, “I have a secret.”

I feel his eight-year-old frame perk up with interest. “What?” he whispers back.

“I love you.”

“Mo-ommm! That’s not a secret!” he complains loudly, the holy hush now broken.

We both laugh as I feign surprise. “It’s not?!”

“No! Everybody knows that!”

I know he’s smiling, even though I can’t see his lips.

And I think about God, and how in His infinite mercy and kindness, He leans into me in the darkest of nights and whispers into my ear, “I love you.”

 

Jesus loves me, this I know

 

I know it, but sometimes I forget. Or maybe it’s not that I forget, it’s just that I choose to ignore it.

I turn up the music and drown out His voice, and choose to ignore His love.

His precious, undying, sacrificial love.

I’m a rebellious, ungrateful child — but He doesn’t give up.

He keeps on pursuing, keeps on knocking, keeps on leaning down and whispering, night after night.

I hear His whispers in the shadows of the afternoon, I feel them in the evening breeze. I see them written across the sky with each sunrise and sunset.

He loves me.

And He loves you, too. He’s cupping His hand to your ear, and maybe you’re brushing Him off because you already know it.

But maybe He wants us to just lay still and let Him hold us in His love for a while. Right there in the dark.

Related post: I Have a Secret

We’re on Day 26 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. Check out other posts in this series by clicking here.