Not Forgotten

She forgot to pick me up.

I stood on my pink ballet shoe tip-toes squinting through the rain that ran squiggly rivers down the front lobby window. Panic slowly rising up in my chest as tutus and hair-bows disappeared behind car doors and the carpool line shrunk to zero, zilch. And still she wasn’t there.

She forgot me.

And just as my throat squeezed tight and the tears threatened to spill over, that old silvery-blue Mazda pulled to a stop in front of me. And her brown eyes met mine with a huge smile and exaggerated wave.

Mom!

Dance Recital circa 1994

I stand on my grown-up tip-toes. Scanning the path I’m on. Searching through confusion. Sorting through my mind. Wondering at the plan.

Where is He?

I wonder if God’s people in the Old Testament felt the same way. Those 400 years between Old Testament and New Testament. I wonder if they thought, “He forgot us!”

But He hadn’t forgotten. He was still working. Matthew 1 shows the genealogy from Abraham to Jesus, including those 400 years! God was moving the whole time, preparing the way for Christ to come.

Just like my mother hadn’t forgotten. Just like she was moving forward through the storm, coming for me at the exact moment I was sure she was a million miles away. He is not still. He has not abandoned. He’s moving. Working towards making His name great. Working for my good and, if you are in Christ, for yours too. Accomplishing HIS perfect plan that was written before the world ever existed.

And just as I start to panic. His kind compassionate eyes meet mine. His warmth and safety engulf me. I remember His covenant to never leave me. His urge for me to trust Him echoes in my ears. His promise to perfect my weak, weak faith rushes to the forefront of my mind.

Father!


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Gates of Hades

Part 3 in The Austin Stone’s “From Israel” series (see Part 1 here and Part 2 here). Matt Carter delivers a sermon from Caesarea Philippi.

The Gates of Hades at Caesarea Philippi: This was the center of pagan worship in the first century. The pagan gods here were loved and worship and honored. The people of this time dedicated their lives to gods they though would endure forever. Yet, how familiar are you with Echo the Mountain Nymph? or Nemesis? or Pan?

This is the place Jesus took his disciples in Matthew 16 where he asked “Who do people say that I am?”

psst… click the four arrows-facing-out button on the bottom right of the video to make it full screen.

The Gates of Hades from The Austin Stone on Vimeo.

Garden of Gethsemane

Part 2 in The Austin Stone’s “From Israel” series. Matt Carter delivers a sermon from The Garden of Gethsemane.

Holy cow… if you like the first video (seen here) you will be BLOWN away by this one. Garden of Gethsemane: the place Jesus prayed hours before he was crucified. He was right there! Right there! Can you even comprehend that?!? This is where our Savior spent his remaining time before dying for the sins of the entire world! I’m blown away.

psst… click the four arrows-facing-out button on the bottom right of the video to make it full screen

The Garden of Gethsemane from The Austin Stone on Vimeo.

Sermon on the Mount

Austin Stone is doing a 4 week video series, “From Israel” All of the videos are shot entirely on site from Israel. It’s incredible to see the words of scripture come to life in the places they happened 2000 years ago!

Here is part one. Matt Carter reads the words of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. Take a few minutes to watch this video. I promise it will bless you.

psst… click the four arrows-facing-out button on the bottom right of the video to make it full screen 

Sermon on the Mount from The Austin Stone on Vimeo.

New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. “

Isaiah 43:18

So encouraged by this today. So humbled that MY God makes things new. So amazed that HE can make water spring up in the desert. He can make a path where there was none before.

Keep looking forward, keep pressing on.

HE makes all things new!

Blind

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

John 9:1-3

I wish I knew more of the blind man’s background. What was he like growing up? Was he shunned? Did he have friends? Were his parents ousted from their society because of the perceived sin that made their child blind? Were they angry? Hurt? Were they confused?

I wish I knew the blind man’s heart. Wish I knew if he wondered, like I often do in hard times, “Why did this happen to me?” “Where did I go wrong?” “What did I do to bring this upon myself?” “Why am I going through this pain???”

Yet, Jesus said that this had come upon him, not because of sin, but because God might be glorified through him. I wonder if he had known growing up that his story would be retold for forever, I wonder if it would have made a difference, made his suffering easier. I wonder if he had known what God’s plan for him was… if the pain would have been less. His pain was not wasted. Yet the story of this man who lived two thousand years ago is used to glorify the Lord today.

His plan is perfect.

Lord, help me to not be blind in my circumstances.