It's amazing how many times we utter this phrase and in how many ways we use it. Think about it, sports, relationships, things that look miraculous, prices in the super market, or maybe about a son or daughter who have used us all up in their addictive behavior. Or maybe somebody said that about us - no way!
Truth is there is always a way. Think of all the miraculous results in sports, Russia vs. USA in the Olympics they call The Miracle on Ice, the longshot that wins the Kentucky Derby, the 2021 Braves winning the World Series and sad to admit the 28-3 Super Bowl our Falcons lost. No Way! Of course there is always Cinderella, Snow White, Peter Pan or any Rocky movie you want to pick. Or how can eggs go so high then get so low? No Way!
Or how can someone die on a cross and come back to life? How can we live and not be affected by that event? There's just no way that can happen right? A couple thousand years later and thousands of pieces of evidence as well say that he made a way when there was no way.
Faith does not have limits though in our humanity we become impatient with it. Here's a couple things to think about: God is a Waymaker (Isaiah 43:15-16), he's a Miracle Worker (Psalm 77:14), and he's a Promise Keeper (2 Corinthians 1:20). And he is the way, the truth and the light in the darkness that brings a ray of hope into all hopeless situations. Faith in him has no limit and no end, and in each situation it is just beginning.
Just a little inspiration entering a weekend that may have impossibility written all over it, especially when someone says that about you. Come to think of it, they said it about me and ATB when we went out on our own.
When no way became His Way, he always makes a way!
What makes you happy, what really brings joy to your life? Those are two valuable questions because if we don't have good answers we could be lost in a continual dead end search for it.
Many years ago my answers would be totally different than those of today. But I know for sure that one major thing has changed and that is understanding how much joy is in the little things of life, the every day interactions, rather than experiencing that major boom of an event. A simple phone call from a friend, a smile of a grandchild, a compliment of how someone sees the God in us, the little things that build our joy bank.
Jesus had joy in the little children that came to him, Paul learned how to be content no matter what the situation and David danced for joy as the Ark of the Lord came to town. But what of that addicted and conflicted soul that cut himself to find relief in the Bible, or that heroin addict that experiences just a few short moments of glee from that needle? What do they have to be happy about?
Truth is that if we can't answer those original questions we will keep searching for something we may never find unless we find the true source of joy. In the Bible joy or a derivative of the word shows up 430 times while happiness or something like that only shows up ten times.
Happiness is fickle, and requires happy circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, sticks around. It doesn't get chased off by trouble. A key is in this scripture rarely quoted: You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. Psalm 4:7.
The source of our joy makes our heart happy or brings us emptiness. For many years my joy bank was empty because my life was filled with chasing the fantasies of an alcoholic lifestyle.
Today the You who fills me with joy is Him, and he helps me see the joy in everything!
Stone cold reality hit me hard Tuesday night, I don't like to lose. Not sure but I believe most people might feel the same. Despite accepting that God might have a different plan for me when there is something I really want, it hurts when it doesn't happen. And then, we either bounce back or we wallow in sorrow and miss the future blessing.
There are many sports analogies that would make this point, and we could certainly use the life of Job to illustrate it, but I take solace in the Apostle Paul's adventures in the Book of Acts. Traveling through what is now Turkey, these words come out from Chapter 16, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
But Paul pressed on trying to enter Asia Minor and again these words, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. Eventually God spoke to Paul in a dream and he headed to Macedonia, concluding that God had called him to preach the gospel to them. He didn't wallow, he didn't let that stop him from spreading the good news, he just changed the directions of those he was speaking it to at the direction of the director.
That's the spot ATB is in right now after we were unable to expand into a retail oriented area in Buford, Ga that we felt would have maximum impact. Instead we will wait for the director to show us our next move and go to the places where he wants us to be. We took a shot, we gained a potential partner (more later on that) and now with more resolve than ever we look to expand at His direction.
Thank you sincerely for your prayers and support, we press on to continue to run the race He has called us to run!
Think of how you felt when you awoke Christmas morning and tore apart those beautifully wrapped gifts finding the exact one you asked for. Or when you came to the tree and saw that shining new bike or that great big doll staring at you just like you stared at in amazement hoping one day it would be yours.
I remember waking one Christmas Eve late, going out to the tree to see if Santa had come only to find my mom putting together that American Flyer bike I had so coveted. I was a little confused but rationalized that Santa had left it for her to assemble. I was so excited that it took me hours to fall asleep, then I acted like I had never seen it when she awoke me in the morning. What a joyful memory!
And I remember studying the gospel with my new friend Wayne for several weeks, and though I had grown up as a catholic going to catholic school for nine years, I had never grasped the words I was reading until that day in December of 1984 when I realized I was learning about the greatest gift one could ever receive. It changed my life forever in such a way that it has impacted so many others.
The phrase "the gift that keeps on giving" certainly applies to what Jesus did for us and what this time of year reminds me of. The Easter egg hunts and baskets are fun (not sure where that came from) but what lingers is the price that was paid to bring us salvation through forgiveness and redemption.
When my mom got me that bike we were poor living in what was considered then a ghetto. She was a single mom working two jobs to make ends meet. I am sure getting me that beautiful gift cost her a lot, but the love she gave it with has always been remembered as I pass that on to my own children and grandchildren.
That reminds me of the love that God had for me and how absolutely incredible it is that he would send his own son to die for a sinner like me. Not only is it a gift but it is an implantation of a permanent seed of love that flows through all of us who have come to know him.
This Easter let us pass on that love as a gift, especially to those whose tanks are empty, whose lives are bleak, and whose days are spent searching for a gift they have never received through the broken pieces of their lives.
Thank God for Jesus, Mom and Wayne, they helped me assemble mine back together again!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.