Always time for John 3:16

Lauren's verse

Lauren’s verse

Right in the middle of Sunday’s sermon, Lauren leaned over to me and loudly whispered, “How do you spell ‘world’?”

I glanced down ready to shush her, and saw what she was diligently working on.

Normally, Lauren likes to copy the sermon notes from the screen, because now that she’s in Kindergarten, words (especially ones she recognizes) are very interesting! But, she had abandoned her notes for a new, more important, endeavor.

On her little notebook paper, Lauren had written:

“For God so loved the”

And so, I whispered back to her: “W-O-R-L-D”.

I am sure the rest of the sermon was convicting and edifying, but God was giving me a lesson of my own and I watched Lauren sound out words and write out the most beautiful of verses, John 3:16.

On Lauren’s prompting, I spelled out a few more words, like “begotten” and “everlasting”. She was determined to etch out on paper what was already imprinted in her heart.

John 3:16 is always worth the time.

So this morning when Lauren came to me crying right in the middle of her devotions (the Bible App for Kids), I stopped what I was doing. We went to a private place and talked about what was going on. She was experiencing conviction. She had a dream last night that she had died and that scared her. She had been thinking about that and others she knew that were no longer here with us, and not knowing what would happen after death worried her tremendously. This scenario has occurred several times in the last few months. Each time I have shared with her how she can have peace and know she would be with Jesus, but she wasn’t ready to pray and begin her personal relationship with Jesus (and I did NOT want to push her).

This morning was different. Jesus has been part of her life from the beginning, loving her and gently drawing her to Himself. Lauren knew how she could have hope and be with Jesus forever. And so, before I could even begin to share the Gospel again with her, she burst out in prayer! She asked Jesus, with all sincerity and love, to come into her heart. As we continued to talk, she asked God to forgive her sins, she told Him that she believed in Jesus and His death on the cross, and in her own precious words committed her life to God.

When she opened her eyes, the only tears that remained were mine. Her eyes lit up as she smiled, because her fear had been replaced with God’s peace.

After a few joyous announcements to Daddy and her big brother, we had to make a few phone calls, too. That put us behind on the morning to get the kids to school.

And, none of us were concerned about that. Because there’s always time for John 3:16.

Bigger Man

The most hateful, vindictive, spoiled, frustrating people were on the heart of Christ as He suffered on the cross. Thank goodness, too, because I am one of them. So often I don’t want to be the bigger man. I want to say exactly what I’m thinking, act on my anger, force my own form of justice. Yet when Jesus helps me see others the way He does, and catch a glimpse of His absolute love for them, and for me, I am compelled to respond differently, in repentance and grace.

I don’t want to be the bigger man
I wish mercy would run away
But it keeps flooding over me,
Beckoning my heart to obey

I am tired of your two-faced smile,
The way your words slice my soul.
Can I just give up and cut you out
Instead of pretending it’s under control?

My anger has melted into apathy
until it becomes impossible to hide
The brokenness of our bond on full display
Through unkind words and stubborn pride.

I don’t want to be the bigger man
I wish mercy would run away
But it keeps flooding over me,
Beckoning my heart to obey

No matter what you’ve done
My Jesus decided He would love you.
When I could not forgive, He did
No wrong exists that He can’t undo.

Trading my version of justice for Jesus
and surrendering my need to be right
Gives me peace from worthless fighting,
Keeping me dependent on God’s might.

Because when grace
Allows me to really see
My heart breaks
For your reality.
The darkness, the shame,
Not knowing the power of Jesus’ name
The insecurity, the guilt
The walls you have built
You don’t see
The love waiting to set you free

No matter what you’ve done
My Jesus decided He would love you.
God, help me do that too.