the intolerance of tolerance

truthTruth is never afraid of a challenge because it withstands the test, but today’s brand of tolerance has retreated into blatant censure and, paradoxically, intolerance.

For centuries, tolerance meant respect for other people who disagreed with you or vice-versa.  It was an attitude allowing freedom of expression and healthy, truth-seeking discussion.  However, the number of those who prefer to suppress conversation about truth in the name of tolerance is increasing exponentially.  Driven by fear, modern tolerance seeks to destroy disagreement by aggressively mischaracterizing any opposing view as “offensive” and then marginalizing those who hold to it – particularly God’s truth.

Even though our nation was founded on biblical principles and religious tolerance, increasingly and ironically, Christians are being targeted and mislabeled as intolerant bigots by a society intent on systematically silencing anyone and eliminating anything that questions its lifestyle or moral choices.  It grieves me deeply to witness this widespread mistreatment and aggression.

God’s truth is, by nature, offensive as it holds error up to the light and pierces deeply into the heart to convict and reveal.  But if we will allow it to work within us, God’s truth is also powerfully transformative as it rescues, corrects, changes and restores.  In spite of all the craziness we see around us, the firm foundation of the Lord stands.  God’s throne is set in heaven.  His Kingdom is unshakable.  His Word is alive.  His-story is not yet finished.

So what are we to do?  We stand firm on the eternal truth of God’s Word – even when ridiculed or persecuted.  We speak the truth in love – even in the face of hate.  We continue to be salt and light in a world becoming increasingly dark and distasteful.  We show grace and mercy.  We remember what it was like to be trapped in darkness.  We proclaim the Good News.  We love our enemies.  We go the second mile.  We pray for our leaders.  We seek to live in peace with everyone.  We fear God rather than man or the punishment of man.  We never ever forget that Jesus is the answer and, if we remain silent, the Enemy will gladly fill in the blanks.

“Violating God’s Word only ends up proving it, not destroying it; and those who have tried to bury it, find that the Bible always rises up to outlive her pallbearers” (Ravi Zacharias).

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8 NASB).

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stones of Remembrance

StonesThere are some moments in life you can plan and others just take you by surprise.

While my wife was away on a mission trip with Family Legacy in Zambia earlier this month, two of our grandchildren, Noah and McKenzie, spent Saturday night with Poppa.  Noah, who is 5 years old and very observant, is also fascinated with rocks (among many other things).  He wants to search for them or show me some he’s found just about every time we get together.

After they woke up on Sunday morning, Noah asked, “What’s that rock for?”  I thought, “What rock?” as I turned to see what he was talking about.  And there, sitting on the dresser, was a rock my dad, their great grandfather, had given our family almost 20 years ago.  It was to be a stone of remembrance of a time when God had delivered us from great distress.  Now, I was hearing my grandson ask me about something God had obviously planned long before this day.

As I connected the dots, I was deeply moved in my spirit and practically speechless.  It was truly one of those moments that seemed timeless – one in which God gives us a glimpse of what He sees.

As he held the rock in his hand, I silently read the verses my father had written on it: “When your children ask, ’What do these stones mean?’ then you shall tell them…the Lord has helped us” (Joshua 4:6-7; 1 Samuel 7:12).  So I choked back the tears and said, “Your Papa gave us that rock a long time ago to remind us of how good God is and how He is always there to help us.”  They both smiled, nodded their heads in agreement, and said, “Poppa, let’s go get some donuts!”

However small, God planted a seed a faith that morning into the hearts of a 3 and 5-year-old.  That day, our loving heavenly Father called forth a testimony of praise from one generation to the next by taking an old rock and making it a living stone.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts (Psalm 145:4 NASB).

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Generations

GenerationsAs my wife and I watch our children have children, we are even more aware of the impact we have on our family – the ripple that moves across one generation to the next. We look upstream and see great faithfulness to one another and to the Lord – in my parents, who celebrate their 60th anniversary this year, and in my wife’s parents had been married 55 years when the Lord called her mother home. I look around and see my godly wife, and wonderful mother of three, who has been faithfully by my side throughout many blessings and trials for 35 years (as of June 6th). We glance downstream and see God’s plan unfolding in the lives of our three children, the blessing of an amazing son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and the incredible potential and promise in the eyes of our three grandchildren (with hopefully more on the way).

But as a father and grandfather, this verse forces me to look again at the ripple of my life with even a greater sense of accountability and urgency:

All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel (Judges 2:10 NASB).

How could that be?!  This was Joshua’s generation. This generation was borne out of the exodus whom God resurrected from the ashes of unbelief to enter the Land of Promise. This generation watched their parents die in the wilderness even as they ate miraculous manna from heaven. This generation walked through the waters of the Jordan River as God parted them at flood stage, saw the walls of Jericho fall, and rejoiced in the Lord giving them the land of milk and honey by the power of His hand. This was the generation that Joshua challenged to “choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 ESV). How could this generation fail to speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord to their own sons and daughters and fail to proclaim His incredible love for His people?

Here is another sobering quote: “To our forefathers, their Christianity was an experience; to our fathers, it was an inheritance; if to us, it is a convenience; then to our children, it will be a nuisance.”

We must not remain silent! Though complacency begets contempt, it is not too late. As parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, we must boldly turn directly into the fierce headwind of a hostile culture that seeks to destroy the very definition of family as well as obliterate any remnant of godly legacy. We must, by the power of the Spirit, reject the love of self, the love of money and the love of pleasure and be lovers of God.

Oh yes, thankfully, God can redeem even those borne out of faithless generations, but that is not His calling on our lives. We are called to faithfulness. We are called to obedience. We are called to truth. We are called to embrace this promise, “From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children (Psalm 103:17 NIV).

Each of us has passed through some form of the Red Sea and been rescued by His mighty hand of deliverance. We have been supernaturally fed with His manna from heaven and seen walls fall. We have experienced wandering, unbelief, heartache and despair, but we also have seen the power of forgiveness, the splendor of hope, and given thanks as joy came in the morning. We have rejoiced in God’s faithfulness, seen His promises fulfilled, and been sustained day after day by His amazing grace in Jesus. We have been hidden in the cleft of the rock and seen His glory revealed so many times in our lives. Why would we – how could we remain silent?

Generations are in our hands. Go and tell.

But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come (Psalm 71:14-18 NASB).

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poiema

Poiema“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them” (Psalm 139:13-16 NASB).

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB).

I cannot think about one of these passages without being drawn to the other. The first speaks of creation – the first birth; the second, re-creation – the new birth. The first begins the Potter’s work; the second completes it in Christ Jesus. The days are inscribed in the first, but unfold in the second. But both proclaim the amazing truth that we are His masterpiece.

How beautifully this psalm of David describes the precious mystery of life as our Creator gently knits us together like a fine, colorful tapestry. Our souls should sing, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17 NASB).

All our translations fall incredibly short of describing the indescribable – of attempting to put such vast wonders to words. Perhaps the Greek word used here for “workmanship” captures it best: we are His “poiema” – in English, His “poem.”

We are all unique creations of God – handcrafted works of art – individual masterpieces. Like a beautifully written poem, we are not just casually thrown together, but something arising from deep within the heart of God – intimate and intricate; overflowing with purpose and brimming with promise.

We know that God’s Word always accomplishes its purposes. And since God never wastes words, then surely He has something significant to say in and through our lives. As living letters penned by God’s own hand, we are strategically composed to convey a message – His message. And when people read us, they should read a great poetic work to God’s glory and long to know more about our Author.

But what if you’re questioning your purpose, struggling with identity, living in regret or wondering if you are truly loved? Read over the letter of your life – start from the very beginning – remember what it says about you and about your Savior – refocus on why He created you and what He re-created you for — and rejoice.

You should find it to be a beautifully authentic work of how the threads of God’s amazing grace are tenderly woven into the fabric of a life that’s far from perfect, yet perfectly being perfected in Jesus. You are His Poiema. Now walk in the Spirit as He writes the next verse.

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dare to hope

Dare to hopeAs the stone rolled over the tomb of Jesus, a deafening silence also rolled over Scripture. We are left to retreat into hiding with the disciples to only imagine the horror, grief and anguish they were experiencing. They had literally walked away from everything and followed this amazing man for the past three years. Although Jesus told them many times, the disciples did not understand that He would rise again (Luke 18:34; John 20:9).  Now, He was truly dead and so was their seemingly misplaced hope. Sunday was coming, but they did not see it. The fullness of life with Jesus suddenly collapsed around them into a dark, empty cavern. What now?

Most of us are familiar with this cavern, and some of us are in one right now. That in which you had placed your full weight has caved into despair. Your hopes have been crushed and you cannot see beyond the walls of disappointment surrounding you. It’s pretty dark down there and your earthly vision is incredibly restricted. What now?

The interesting thing about caverns is that while you are in them, there’s only one way out – there’s only one exit strategy – upward toward the light. The tricky part is to remember to look up.

Jeremiah knows something about these caverns. He was called by God to preach an urgent message of impending judgment to a nation immersed in sin, and yet a simultaneous word of hope of future restoration by God’s grace. He spoke over 40 years to a nation that ultimately would not listen and was greatly persecuted by those he came to save. He is known as the “weeping prophet” because of the tears he shed as he sought to remain true to his calling.

But like lowering a strong rope down to us, listen to the voice of experience and cling to these words, “I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this…” (Lam 3:20-21 NLT). Clearly, he is in a desolate cavern and yet his eye is somehow attracted upward toward the light. On one hand he feels as though he will never forget his pain and loss while on the other hand, he is strangely moved to “dare to hope.” Don’t you love that phrase?  In the Hebrew, it literally reads “make to return my heart to hope.”

Trust me, I realize how difficult it can be to “make your heart return to hope.” It’s way easier to allow your heart to be swiftly carried downstream by the prevailing current of disappointment and despair. It’s a struggle to resist the flow and turn back upstream toward hope. But it can be done – it must be done. Otherwise, where will your current course carry you? That journey does not end well. So what’s the secret? Surely, this is not an arbitrary “come on, you can do it” kind of hope?

Let’s read on: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lam 3:22-23 NLT).

Perhaps we are being asked to see just where our hope really lies – in what we want or in God? You and I can and should hope again by trusting in God’s heart for us and the faithfulness of His Word. In fact, Jeremiah likens His unending love, His compassion, and His mercies to the morning dew which falls anew every day. Yes, “weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

If you believe that Life itself sprang forth from a sealed tomb as the angel of the Lord rolled away the stone to show us what was not there, then surely you can believe that God can resurrect your hope in Him? Search the Scriptures for fresh dew, recall what He has promised, and dare to hope. Then believe in His Word and cling to it. For it is strong and He is faithful. Everyday with Jesus is Sunday.

After Jesus was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled what He had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken (John 2:22 NIV).

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scars

When you cut yourself, you bleed.  But in that same blood, there are antibodies and rebuilding materials already on location.  Sticky blood cells called platelets begin to clump together to form a clot and later a scab – the body’s built-in Band-Aid.  Bleeding is controlled and a fibrous framework of collagen is laid down in the wound.  Then, repair and rebuilding can begin around this miraculous scaffolding.  Once the wound is sealed by a scab, the actual healing occurs from the inside out.  That’s why a scab eventually falls off to reveal a new layer of skin beneath it.  Sometimes if a wound is deep enough or if the site keeps getting disturbed or reinjured, then a scar will form.

We all have scars.  Some are visible and some are not, but they all tell a story. The visible ones – particularly for men – are more like glorious medals of honor about the time when I….  You can look at any scar on your body right now and instantly talk about when whatever happened happened.  It’s the not so visible ones that seem to convey a different story.

Think about the scars you have in your spirit.  Perhaps some deep wounds of the past.  Painful memories that somehow can still seem so fresh.  If the body can quiet our cries, soothe our pain, close ours wounds, and rebuild the broken, why not the spirit?

“Heal me, Jesus!” is the physical cry He hears so often, but the Great Physician also sees the deeper wounds in us – the wounds of sin – both your sin and the sin of others inflicted on you.  Jesus bore your griefs and He carried your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).  He was wounded so that our wounds might be healed (1 Peter 2:24).  He came to bind up the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit (Isaiah 61:1; Psalm 34:18).

Like the skin, spiritual wounds are healed from the inside out.  Your spiritual scars should not be sorrowful tales of self-woe, but powerful reminders about the time when God….  Not everlasting memorials to our pain, but declarations of His amazing grace.  Not tombstones for our failures, but stones of remembrance of His forgiveness.  Not the dirge of casualties, but the song of conquerors.

Since the Word assures us “by His wounds we are healed” (1 Peter 2:24), we must not allow the Enemy to repeatedly reopen our wounds.  Jesus died to bring complete healing – mind, body, and spirit – so we can get our eyes off ourselves and our bodies and our wounds and onto Him and His Body and His wounds – off our scars and onto His.  Otherwise, we remain spiritually bedridden when we should be on the battlefield.

Should there not be more of us who testify to the wholeness Jesus brought to our lives and less of us who are content just to talk about our wounds?  Jesus raises up victors, not victims.  And since God created your blood to be so inherently powerful, imagine the power of the blood of Jesus!

We need a holy transfusion – the power of His blood at work in our innermost being.  The joy of healing is truly far greater than the pain of the injury.  Bring your wounds to Jesus and let Him restore you from the inside out.

The Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3 NASB).

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jubilee

JubileeFrom the very beginning, God claimed the number 7 as His own – a number of completion and perfection – His number.  Creation, as detailed in Genesis, is not only the account of how God spoke everything into existence, but also how He created an entity called a “day” and packaged 7 of them into a week.  Interestingly, both of these are measurements of time by which all people on earth continue to shape their lives and mark their existence.

God set apart the 7th day as a holy day called the “Shabbath” (Sabbath) – a day “to cease and rest” and focus on the Lord.  Similarly, every 7 years, God decreed that there would be a Sabbath Year – a “shemitah” or “release” in which the land would be given rest and all outstanding debts would be forgiven (Deuteronomy 15:1-2; Leviticus 25:3-6).  Our very own Liberty Bell bears the words from Leviticus 25:5.  And up until 2005 when it was modified, our modern bankruptcy code was based on this principle and 7-year pattern.

Then God decreed after 7 cycles of 7 Sabbath Years (49 years), the very next year, the 50th year, would be called the “Yovel” or “Jubal” (also known as “The Favorable Year of the Lord”).  On the Day of Atonement, trumpets would blow and usher in the Year of Jubilee – a year when not only the land would be given rest and debts forgiven, but also in which any land or property offered as collateral would be returned to the original owner and all slaves would be set free (Leviticus 25:8-13).  A release.  A rest.  A return.  A restoration.

Keeping this in mind, let’s fast forward to a day, early in His ministry, when Jesus stood up in the temple to read from the Scriptures.  The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, and He read these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19 NASB).

Then Jesus made a most remarkable declaration: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21 NABS).

The Year of Jubilee was celebrated every 50 years, and according to the Jewish calendar, it was not even time for this event.  You can’t just stand up and declare it, but Jesus did.  For the words of Isaiah looked to a time when this good news would not be fixed to the calendar, but to the Messiah (“Me”).  Jesus came as God’s only Son who was anointed to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, to set people free, and to open blind eyes to the Truth.  “This is the Year of Jubilee because I have come.”  “Every year is the Year of Jubilee because I have come – even 2016.”

And if you took a look at what Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2, you would note that He stopped short of reading the last part of verse 2: “…and the day of vengeance of our God.”  Why?  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17 NASB).  Oh, that last part of Isaiah 61:2 is very true and one day Jesus will come again as Judge – as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but today He comes as Savior – your Savior.

Right now, hear His voice speaking these words from Isaiah over you.  Cling to the knowledge that He alone has the power to fulfill them.  Listen to His good news, His words of hope and His promises of rest, release, return, and restoration.  How can He open your eyes?  What is holding you captive?  How are you living in oppression?  From what can He set you free?!

This is the Favorable Year of the Lord.  This is His Year.  And according to Jesus, it’s your Year of Jubilee in Him.  Rest in Him, receive, and rejoice.

Spread the Word!

© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Way Out

The Way OutAt his birth, a king tried to kill him, but he was hidden and protected by God. Though raised in Egypt for a season, he always knew his identity. He appeared as the long-awaited deliverer proclaiming, “Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me” (Exodus 8:1). After the final atoning act of God through the blood of the Passover lamb, he led God’s people out of slavery to freedom to know and serve Him, and then destroyed their enemies in the waters of the Red Sea. He was the instrument for the Law of God, talked face to face to God, reflected the glory of God, and shepherded God’s people to the land of Promise. Are we talking about Moses or Jesus? Yes.

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, Jesus explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24: 27, 44 NASB).

To fully understand Exodus, we must see Jesus. And to fully understand Jesus, we must understand Exodus.

For at His birth, a king tried to kill Him, but He was hidden and protected by God. Though raised in Egypt for a season, He always knew His identity. He appeared as the long-awaited Deliverer proclaiming to the Enemy, “Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me.” As The Passover Lamb, He shed His precious blood as the perfect sacrifice on the cross, He rose from the dead, and He led His people out of slavery to sin, death, and hell to freedom to know and serve God.

For Jesus is our EXODUS, which literally means “the way out.” By His cross and empty tomb, He has parted the waters of judgment to show us the way out, and used those same waters to destroy the Enemy of our souls. He was the complete fulfillment of all the Law, prophecies and promises of God, talked to God face to face, and perfectly reflected the glory of God – a glory, unlike Moses, that will never fade. And as our Good Shepherd, He is leading us to the Land of Promise.

There are so many in our world crying for a way out – for a Deliverer who is already here. His Name is Jesus. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 NASB).

Merry Christmas! Spread the Word!

© 2015 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus love me! This I know?

Jesus loves me! This I know?“Jesus loves me! This I know…” – we’ve sung this simple song since childhood, but if we are honest, many of us are yet to truly believe it. Look around. What does experience teach us? Love is fleeting. Love is a feeling. Love must be earned. Love is conditional. Our résumé must be constantly updated. So we struggle to love ourselves, to love and to be loved.

Consider the prodigal son. After demanding his future inheritance be paid out immediately, he traveled abroad, partied like there was no tomorrow, and ended up destitute, desperate, hungry and alone. “But when he came to his senses…” (Luke 15:17 NASB), he remembered home, headed that direction and rehearsed the apology to his father ending with: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” Sounds reasonable.

But the story takes an unexpected turn: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20 NASB). For this to happen, it meant that the father was waiting at the window…and watching. He ran, embraced a filthy kid, interrupted his son’s speech halfway through, and, as the imperfect tense of the Greek word indicates, he “kept on kissing him.” Then the father called for the best robe, the finest ring, and the fattened calf to celebrate: “For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:24 NASB).

Some of us are moved to tears at this scene, but some of us think – perhaps most of us think, “How can that be?! It doesn’t make any sense. That’s just not the way it works in real life. This guy owed his dad an apology. He was unworthy. He needed to re-earn his father’s trust. He deserved to work it off and repay his debt.”

And you know why we say that? Because we are the older brother. When he learned what just happened, he became angry and rebuked his father, “Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours, but you never gave me…” (Luke 15:29 NASB).

The truth is neither son understood their father’s love. One thought he must earn it, and the other thought he had earned it. One took the father’s goodness and wasted it. The other always had the father’s goodness and wasted it.

If you look up the definition of “prodigal,” it can either mean: 1) spending money or resources freely, recklessly or wastefully or 2) having or giving something on a lavish scale; extravagant.

We see a prodigal son when we are meant to see a Prodigal Father.

We are definition #1 – wasteful and wayward in one way or another, but our Father is #2 – lavish and extravagant in pouring out His love. We are sinful, but we are embraced and covered by the incomparable love of our Father. We may be Gomer, but God is Hosea – pursuing us with a steadfast love in spite of our unworthiness and unfaithfulness. We do not deserve nor could we ever earn His love, but He clothes us in the righteousness of His Son, showers us with His goodness and then celebrates with us.

This Thanksgiving, let’s rejoice and give thanks for God is good! Thank Him for a love so amazing words cannot describe it. Thank Him for a love in which the greatest dimensions of measurement fall woefully short (Ephesians 3:17-19). For His is a love that can only be shown, not spoken – a love that is only accurately measured by Jesus’ outstretched arms on a cross and only truly seen in a Prodigal Father running to embrace his wayward sons.

Yes! Jesus loves me!

In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He LAVISHED on us (Ephesians 1:5-8 NASB).

Spread the Word!

© 2015 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The hand of God

the hand of GodWhen you hear the phrase “the hand of God,” what comes to mind?

Many times people invoke that expression when they are referring to some terrible disaster or devastating turn of events.  There is no doubt that God is powerfully present in His creation, is actively judging the affairs of men, and is strategically orchestrating the movement of history toward the glorious return of His Son.  Still, we must be cautious in what we attribute to God, and yet not be blind either, “O Lord, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it” (Isaiah 26:11 NASB).

Others are unquestionably feeling the weight of God’s hand just like David, “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat” (Psalm 32:3-4 NLT).  We can be certain that the love of God will not leave us alone to hide in our sin.  Unless your conscience has been seared and your heart is hardened against Him, the Spirit will relentlessly pursue you with a heavy and restless conviction until you move toward confession and cleansing.  Been there.

But focus on this aspect of His hands for a minute: “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5 NASB).  I love the way the NLT phrases it, “You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.”  How amazing is this truth?!  Hands that powerfully sculpted the universe, tenderly hold you.  Hands that sovereignly move the very course of history, lovingly encompass the path of your life.  And where the Shepherd leads, goodness and lovingkindness surely follow (Psalm 23).

I believe the New Testament equivalent of this thought is found in Jesus’ words, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30 ESV).  Do you see it?  You are twice blessed.  Encircled by both the hands of the Father and the Son!  What a vivid picture of God’s loving protection and eternal security!

In one of Israel’s darkest times, the Lord spoke these beautiful words of comfort and assurance to Zion (Jerusalem), “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands, your walls are ever before Me.”  Don’t you wish the Lord said that to you?!

Rather than simply saying it, He showed it.  Jesus literally inscribed us on the palms of His hands.  Not with a pen, but a nail.  Not with ink, but with blood.  For the hands that embrace your life, also bear your name.  And because it was written with His precious blood, Jesus will never let you go.

For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands” (Psalm 92:4 NASB).

Spread the Word!

© 2015 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries
www.OnEveryWord.com

Posted in Spread the Word | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment