God Will Never Give Up On Me!

IMG_1075Resurrection Sunday comes to me in tidal waves of mercy. Even though it’s almost impossible for me to reflect on the Crucifixion without feeling the shame and sorrow of what all my sin did to the Sunrise From On High (Luke 1:78 NASB), I canNOT help but rejoice when I reflect on the glorious light that poured forth from the tomb early in the morning on the day Jesus defeated sin and death once and for all.

Oh Sweet Jesus…how I absolutely need to remember that YOU are my Dayspring!

“And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways;

To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, 

Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us,

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79 KJV

Dayspring; i.e. a rising light, dawn; by implication, the east; a.k.a daybreak, sunrise, dawn, morning. A. New. Day.

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.

The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22 & 23

Who doesn’t love a sunrise? Who doesn’t experience a flutter in the heart when looking to the east at the break of dawn? Who doesn’t take a pause to marvel at the wonder of God’s infinite beauty and to appreciate His unlimited creativity?

For no two sunrises are ever the same.

Only the Sunrise From On High knows that from within this heart of mine is the potential for something more. Something new. Something worth resurrecting.

I’ve been pondering John 21 this morning. I never get tired of reading how Jesus appeared to His disciples at the Sea of Galilee after His resurrection.

I don’t know…maybe I just have all the feels for this band of fishermen. Just about every single one of them, except for John, had failed Jesus miserably at the moment when He needed them the most. They ran. They deserted Him. Peter even denied Him.

And, yet, even though they failed, Jesus still came to them.

Please take note of this: The Resurrected Jesus came to them.

Oh Yes! He came to resurrect their hopes. Their dreams. Their need for restoration.

The tears are welling up in my eyes as I type this because I know in my heart there have been times when I, too, have failed my Savior. And, if I’m to be completely honest here, there’ve been times when I’ve felt just like the disciples…that my failures have disqualified me from ever being used by God again.

But, hallelujah, Jesus is all about “out with old, in with the new!”

Those times when I messed up pretty bad, I honestly thought the only thing I could do was go back to what I’d always done before because I wouldn’t be good enough for anything else. I honestly thought I just needed to go back to what was comfortable.

Maybe I thought by “going back” I could recapture some sense of dignity, some sense of purpose, some sense of usefulness.

But, if I believe that resurrection is all about new,then I have to believe God can take all my messes, all my mistakes, all my failures and redeem them. He can restore dignity, renew purpose, and reshape usefulness.  And it’s most likely not going to look anything like the “before” picture.

Because God is in the business of making all things new.

That’s why I love reading how Jesus came to this motley crew of men, who didn’t know what to do with themselves after their “Big F” (failure with a capital F) but go back to the only thing they knew…fishing, and get them out of the boat and out of the water once and for all.

And you’ll never guess…Jesus came to them in all their doubts, all their insecurities, and all their uncertainties At. The. Break. Of. A. New. Day.

He came to them while they were in the boat in the middle of the water after a night of unproductive fishing and He stood on the shore “when the day was now breaking…”

How absolutely beautiful….the Sunrise From On High stood on the beach at sunrise…He came to them and He called to them.

To Jesus, they would never be failures and He was going to prove it to them. He told them to cast their nets on the opposite side of the boat and empty nets were filled to overflowing with the catch of their lives.

At the break of day, something new…something wonderful…something only Jesus could do…happened. Their eyes were opened when their nets were filled. These men who tried to replace the “F for failure” with an “F for fisherman” could not get to Jesus fast enough.

Peter, the one who needed assurance the most, jumped in the water and swam to shore. He stood before the One he’d pledged to die for dripping wet, failure on his mind, but hope in his heart. He saw the coals already hot waiting on the sandy beach and when Jesus issued the invitation to “Come and have breakfast…” Not. One. Of. Them. Refused.

OMGoodness…only Jesus can set a table that fills not only our stomachs but our empty souls, as well. Jesus had blessed their nets, but it wasn’t until He blessed their hearts that their thirst was truly quenched.

Jesus restored them. Every. Single. One. He gave them back the promise that with each new day there was the hope of living out a resurrected life. At the dawn of each new day He…Jesus, the Sunrise From On High…would always be waiting for them on the shoreline of their emptiness. He would always meet with them.

He would always come to them.

He would always call to them.

He would always fill them up.

And He would never give up on them. No matter what.

No two sunrises are ever the same. And thank the Lord for that!!

Because I don’t want to focus on my failures.

I want to focus on the hope that is mine in Christ Jesus and the dreams He has for me, whatever they may be. In His eyes, I will never be a failure. He will never give up on me.

And I don’t ever…EVER…want to forget my need for restoration. Or my need for a fresh new filling.

I AM a new creation and I’m so thankful that the Dayspring will always rise in my heart…

At. The. Break. Of. Each. New. Day.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Surprise In The Sunrise

IMG_0210God is full of surprises.

The first thing I do when I walk downstairs every morning is take my dogs outside. They’re all over me. Whining. Jumping. Running to the door. If I’m not fully awake before they greet me, I quickly come to life, grab the leash and get their little doggie buns out the door before their bladders explode. Forget the coffee. Who needs a shot of caffeine when you have a burst of canine?

Lucky for me…or should I say, blessed am I…when the first thing I see as I open my front door is the sunrise. No two are ever the same. The horizon may not altar much, but every sunrise is a beautiful, glorious surprise. The tree line may have the same irregular bumps and ragged edges. The deserted country road may boast the same straight lines and winding turn. The fields may still spread their wide expanse with rows of crops across the landscape, but the sky? I can never count on the same blues, or the same pinks or oranges. I can never expect to see the same greens or yellows. I can never predict the presence of clouds or the color of the sun and, yet, somehow I think God enjoys stirring my heart by twirling the heavens with His watercolors. Even those who don’t acknowledge Him appreciate the wonder of an early morning sky beholden to the Beholder…He’s the only One who gets to decide how to paint each new dawn.

Oh, I know not all surprises are pleasant. Some are framed with painful horizons, marred by bumps and ragged edges, they seem to pierce the sun and repel the light. Some lead us down roads with one winding turn after another. Some have planted rows and rows of unwanted growth. Maybe that’s why God prepares such beautiful sunrises. He knows how much we need good surprises. The kind that stir our hearts to awaken a thankful response. The kind that brings color to our world and paints beautiful pictures on the great expanse of our memory. Reminders that He is good. He is faithful. He is true.

Every sunrise has a horizon. I have one, too. According to my online dictionary, my horizon is the limit of my mental perception, experience or interest. I can’t remember the last time I heard someone say, “I need to broaden my horizons,” but I’m thinking I might need to give it a shout out myself! It means it’s time to get out of my comfort zone. It’s time to expand my knowledge. It’s time to move on. It’s time to do something else. Sometimes I get stuck so God helps me out. He shakes me up a bit. He surprises me. He gives me a proper sunrise by pushing past the tree line, revealing what’s around the bend, or planting something new. Perspective is everything.

When I wake up in the morning I don’t know what the day is going to hold. Anything could happen. When I open the door every morning I don’t know what I’ll see. Anything could appear. If I don’t treat each day as a gift from God I risk missing out on the surprise in the sunrise. With my weathered eye on the horizon and a proper perspective, I see the tree line reaches to heaven, the road leads to grace, and the field produces a harvest. And I can’t tell you how glad I am that no two sunrises are the same.

Sometimes I need a little help in appreciating each new day. I need a reminder that some surprises are good for the soul. I need a burst of color, an explosion of light. I need God’s perspective. I need the brush of His fingers to paint pictures on the canvas of my heart and when He does…I become beholden to my Beholder. He’s the only One who gets to decide how to paint my dawns. He’s the only One who knows how to mix just the right amount of color to give my heart a proper twirl.

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True…” Revelation 19:11