Keep Your Eyes On the Groom

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 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!
    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
 Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.
 Fine linen, bright and clean,
    was given her to wear.”  Revelations 19:6-8

I’ve never seen a bride who wasn’t radiant. Dress her in the raiments of her wedding, and she glows with a joy we all want to capture.

This past weekend, our youngest son married his bride. As I’ve done for years, instead of looking first at the bride, I watched the groom, our son, as she first appeared at the end of the aisle. If you’ve never done that, then try it next time. The bride will remain radiant, don’t worry, you won’t miss a thing. But the groom only catches his first glimpse once. Make sure you see it.

We’ve had three of our children marry, so far. With each one, I watched the groom first.

Our son Chris had a nervous smile on his face that turned to consternation as his bride took longer than expected to step out of the limo that delivered her to their garden wedding. The moment she alighted, his face transformed with relief, joy, and happiness. I’ve never seen his smile as big as I did that day.

When our daughter Terri approached her husband-to-be, I watched tears cloud his eyes. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. When she came close enough, he couldn’t help himself. “Wow,” he whispered as he drank in the sight of her.

This past weekend Nathan stood stiffly at the front of the church, waiting. When they opened the doors to reveal his bride, he grinned, his gaze focused solely on her. I waited. This son is more reserved than the others and I sensed him holding back. Then I saw it, a great big gulp, his Adam’s apple wobbling with the emotion he couldn’t contain.

Each of these lovely daughters of mine caught a glimpse of what awaits us on the day when Christ receives his bride, the church. A wedding is the perfect time to get a hint of the joy we’ll experience on that day, when we are presented in fine linen, bright and clean. I can’t begin to imagine our joy. But I believe the joy on Christ’s face will outshine our joy like the sun blocks out the stars.

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Deadlines: Ours or God’s?

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But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 2 Peter 3:10

Today, I’m battling deadlines. In our world, we have the advantage of knowing the deadlines. Usually, I’m on top of things. I don’t like the rush at the last hour, so I tend to plan well and meet the finish line without adding to my grey hairs. Usually.

Not today. Today, I’m struggling to keep up because this week went off-kilter and never got back on track.

What about your Christian life? Are you off-kilter, trying to get back on track. The verse above might create fear in your heart, but I hope you’ll rest in the truth of His word and find peace instead of fear.

The verses prior to this warning say:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9

The Lord wants all to come to repentance. He’s more forgiving than the deadlines I’m dealing with, but I give my deadlines more attention than the most important one: the day when the Lord returns.

What about you? Are you fighting the world’s deadlines and forgetting His? If so, I hope you pause and focus on the most important one. Seek Him first, find His love, His will, and the others should fall into place.

Strength In Our Weaknesses

DSC_1853 - CopyBut Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent-either in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant-because I am slow and hesitant of speech.”  Exodus 4:10

I hated giving presentations in front of my classmates. In the seventh grade, after one knee-knocking report, a friend told me, “You were as white as a ghost.”

In the ninth grade, a teacher called on me, but first admonished the class, “Now, everyone be quiet because Barbara has a soft voice, and we need to hear her.” I wanted to crawl under my seat.

If you know me now, you’re probably wondering how I could be the child in these two instances. I am, but I’m nothing like that now. In fact, my career involves speaking in front of people ALL. OF. THE. TIME. I’ve spoken to groups ranging in size from 3 people to an entire auditorium filled with standing room only.

I got over my fears.  Not quickly, but I did begin to face and deal with those fears by the time I was twenty.

Sometimes, God calls us to tasks we don’t understand, much less want to do. The Bible is full of people like that. Why does God delight in taking us into the uncomfortable? So, He can demonstrate his power through our weakness. People will not doubt the message came from Him when he uses someone in a powerful way that goes against their nature.

Here are some examples:

  • Moses
  • Simon Peter
  • Sarah
  • Esther
  • Naomi
  • Jonah

Who else can you name who found their calling through God’s power rather than their own?