Walking the Line

IMG_8986

My wonderful grandpa’s birthday is today. Much of my stubbornness and compassion came from him. I talked to him on the phone earlier and shared with him the name we have chosen for our second son, Jonathan Eli. At Thanksgiving he had announced to the family, pretty much out of the blue, that he had been thinking of that name. Today when I told him that we had in fact chosen that name for our son he said, “I know. I just told my sister Ruby on the phone.” He was touched but not surprised.

Apparently he really did know. It was one of those inexplicable knowing by faith kinds of things. A measure of the movement closer to God I have seen in my grandpa’s life in very recent years. The power of God’s love has been hard at work in the lives of my mom’s family. Prayers that were prayed for decades have been coming to pass in the wonderful work of God’s mercy and grace. The culmination of a passage from the Psalms that has been really moving to me lately…

I’m finding my way down the road of right living, but how long before you show up? I’m doing the very best I can, and I’m doing it at home, where it counts. Psalm 101:2-3 MSG

My Papa has been an incredible example to me in my life. Not because of his perfection, because I have never been under such a false assumption where he was concerned. In fact, I have long since felt that his many flaws were so well known as I grew up that they always pushed me in an authentic direction. I struggled to actually be authentic much of the time, but the example was there. I never felt that he tried to be someone he wasn’t. I never felt that he pretended. He was never fake. He was always himself. And he never apologized for it, perhaps another series of traits I inherited.

Like the classic country ballad his nephew Bob helped to make famous my Papa Wootton has always Walked the Line. Not perfect, but dedicated. Dedicated to his family. Dedicated to the things that matter. When I grow up I hope I can be just like him.

Happy Birthday Papa & Happy Valentine’s Day to the rest of you.

Thanks for reading,
Nate

Advertisements

The 3rd Lament: God’s Great Faithfulness

When I think of Lamentations it’s not usually a go-to source for encouraging scripture. But Lamentations 3:19-24 paints an incredible word picture of the beauty of God’s love for us. I want to visit this wonderful passage over the next few days in hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.

IMG_9237

… there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: GOD ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭19-24‬ MSG Emphasis Added)

How great is the faithfulness of God? Have you ever considered that question? I mean, after all, what is faithfulness? It is the condition of being full of faith. An ongoing permeation of belief in something.

God has great faithfulness. God permeates faith.

After all it is by him that we believe in him. It is by his words that we have faith. It his because of his great limitless love that we are adopted in.

God’s faithfulness is not measured by moments, actions, or attempts. It is not defined by works, not even those wondrous things by which we come to him. God’s great faithfulness is measured only by him. That is to say, God is inseparable from his great faithfulness.

He will always believe. He will always be the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of the unseen. (See Hebrews 11:1) Or as one translation puts it, he is our confidence.

God’s great faithfulness is as reliable as he is. Always. He has great faith. Both in himself, and in his love for you. Yes, God’s great faithfulness means something for you. It means God always believes in the you that you could be. Because the blueprint for your potential rests in the grace of God alone.

God’s great faithfulness is pointed right at you.

The 3rd Lament: New Every Morning

When I think of Lamentations it’s not usually a go-to source for encouraging scripture. But Lamentations 3:19-24 paints an incredible word picture of the beauty of God’s love for us. I want to visit this wonderful passage over the next few days in hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.

IMG_9237

… there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: GOD ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭19-24‬ MSG Emphasis Added)

Every morning. That’s how often the prophet Jeremiah realized that God’s mercy rolls back around. God’s willingness to extend his love and kindness is in step with the dawn; and its always dawn somewhere.

Every morning the mercy of God is hand crafted. The creator of the periodic table preempts every element of grace you find yourself needing with the passing of each day. It’s custom. For you. For everyone. For every situation.

In the face of such terribly compassionate love and mercy, how can anyone think themselves unworthy of God’s affection. Forgiven much. Love much. (See Luke 7:36-50) That is the opportunity. That is the reality.

Custom grace. A love tailored for all humanity. That fits every individual. It’s not a bandaid for your burdens. His is a lifeline for your soul. A legendary leg up.

Maybe that’s exactly what you are needing right now? Failure has gotten old. The same tired patterns of behavior may have left you feeling a little more than broken. Well, the sun is always sweetest at dawn. Move out from the darkness of our own designs and embrace the caring nature of the Father.

Every day is a new day. A new dawn. A new chance to walk the path God has for you.

The 3rd Lament: Loyal Love

When I think of Lamentations it’s not usually a go-to source for encouraging scripture. But Lamentations 3:19-24 paints an incredible word picture of the beauty of God’s love for us. I want to visit this wonderful passage over the next few days in hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.

IMG_9237

… there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: GOD ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭19-24‬ MSG Emphasis Added)

Jeremiah went through a pretty horrible time. He is often called The Weeping Prophet. And his writings portray much of the anguish he must have experienced.

Like Jeremiah we ourselves face difficult things from time to time. The thing that gives me incredible hope in the love of God is the great opportunity we have in those hard moments. In difficulty we find a fight or flight scenario. We can run. Forget. Abandon. Or we can step up (or be lifted up) to be seized by the kind of certainty that can only come through a faith that has been tested and tried. Faith isn’t easy. I would submit to you that anyone saying total faith in God is easy has probably never had to live where the rubber meets the road.

This kind of fighting faith was Jeremiah’s every waking moment. Instead of throwing in the towel he went round for round. He stood toe to toe with all of the craziness happening around him. Stuff like death threats, starvation, imprisonment, and assassins. He never quit. He didn’t give up on God. Why? Why did he keep his grip on hope?

Because Jeremiah remembered the inexhaustible love of God.

Jeremiah knew that God’s love is loyal. Even when we quit God will never leave us or forsake us. (Read Dueteronomy 31:6)

Jeremiah knew that God’s love has an endless source, namely God himself. This Loyal Love is rooted in the very nature of the one who wields it. There is always more for those who go looking to find it.

Jeremiah knew that God’s love is merciful. The love of God is full of undeserved grace. That unending, unmerited, supply of affection comes to those who certainly do not deserve it. Yet it comes. God’s love is the merciful product of the God of mercy.

Jeremiah knew that God’s love couldn’t have dried up. It may have felt that way, looked that way, or seemed that way—but the prophet knew. Deep down in the Well of Living Water is an unquenchable source. The love that does not run dry is the love that defies all apparent circumstances.

Jeremiah knew this. I believe it kept him going through the most difficult times. You can be sure that God’s loyal and merciful love is in full supply for you. Today. Wherever you are. Whatever you’ve done. No matter your circumstance. Ask him for some and watch the floodgates open.

The 3rd Lament: Hold On To Hope

When I think of Lamentations it’s not usually a go-to source for encouraging scripture. But Lamentations 3:19-24 paints an incredible word picture of the beauty of God’s love for us. I want to visit this wonderful passage over the next few days in hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.

IMG_9237

… there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope… (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭19‬ MSG)

Remember this, there is one constant, God loves you. It helped Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet credited for penning the Book of Laments. He went through some really crazy stuff. But he held on to hope.

We go through some crazy stuff too sometimes. To others it might not seem so bad, but for the person experiencing the turmoil it’s never a fun to place to be. The wildness of the ride this life throws our way can catch us off guard. It can blast the wind from our lungs, the strength from our hearts, and the opportunity from our fingertips—but it can not change the way God feels about us.

Even our own reckless personal choices can cause tremendous pain and heartache, but they don’t affect the way God feels about us. He loves us deeply. And for those of us who choose to recognize that love for what it is, and abide in it, it is our constant.

When life gets shaky we can hold onto Him. We can hold on to hope.