Thursday, April 30, 2009

In the Gap

I mentioned in a previous post that I went on a women's retreat with my church this past weekend. Our speaker on Saturday was Paula Rinehart--look her up on Amazon; she is an amazing writer. I have been pondering her words.

She proposed that we all live with various "gaps"--gaps between our ideal and our real. Maybe it is a gap in your job--between what you hoped you would always be doing and where you find yourself every day. Maybe it is a gap in your marriage--when those desires for intimacy seem foreign and misplaced. Maybe it is a gap in some other relationship--a relationship that begs your patience and tries your spirit. And a simplistic one I discovered yesterday--a gap between how I ideally would like my home to look and the reality of living with three kids under age 5. Preach it!

So we all live with gaps in our days. Rinehart challenged that it is what we do in those gaps that really has the potential of leading us in victory or setting us up for defeat. This morning I was reading Acts 16. Paul and Silas find themselves in a rather large gap--they were imprisoned for preaching Jesus. "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." (Acts 16:25) In the midst of their gap they reached for their heavenly Daddy--they sought Him through prayer and praised Him with song. And others were watching. That is the challenge to us.

This life will not be perfect. People will disappoint, sickness will come, jobs will be lost, and hurts will linger--are you encouraged yet? Sorry. But God does protect His children. We can trust that He will only allow those circumstances to enter our lives which have the potential of strengthening our faith and bringing Him glory. Unfortunately no one is promised a trouble-free life--we all will have gaps. But our victory will come as we lift our eyes to the One who gives life, even in the midst of the prison. In fact, I am beginning to understand that it is our response in the gaps that has the greatest power to deepen our faith and trust in this holy God.

He is worth it. He is good. He enables us to overcome. Trust His heart.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Really Real

Let's just be real. I was reminded recently of the importance of being real with people.

Because of Facebook--shout out!--I have gotten back in contact with a childhood friend. She and I have started conversing over email. She told me something a while back that really made me stop in my tracks. She said that when we were in fourth grade--I think--she remembers running away from home and sitting across the street from my house, staring for hours at my family's supposed perfection. Ouch. Perfection? Wow.

I quickly cleared that false impression in an emailed response, but it left me pondering the power of people just being real. We all have weaknesses. We all battle insecurities. We all long for a life that matters. We all "fall short of God's glory." (Romans 3:10, 23) But it is a believer's response to those challenges that has the power to strengthen and encourage a watching world.

Acting like we are free from struggle does not point people to a God who heals, redeems, provides, and forgives. This world needs to see our raw humanity and the ability of God to bring victory over our circumstance. Let us humble ourselves and allow God to sow His great seeds of power in and through our lives. Trust Him with your most tender of battles. He is able to bring joy from the ashes and life from the carnage of poor choices.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where am I?

There are some days where my brain cells seem to be leaving by the droves--in fact one of my log in names to an infamous mommy website is "BrainCellsJumpingShip." Does anyone else feel this way? When you cannot remember, even for just a moment...or a day, where you went on your honeymoon or your children's birth weights. When you are driving, and for the life of you, you cannot come up with your destination. When you get to the store, only coming for three things, but it is like someone stripped them from your memory. What in the world?

Thankfully God knows we are but dust.

I think everyone tends toward a memory problem--especially when faced with a life test or trial. I am learning that as I walk these days with God, He proves His faithfulness one step at a time. And the key to walking that next trial in peace and trust is remembering His faithfulness in previous trials. It is the reason He continually instructs His people to "remember." Over and over we see the Israelites building altars or memorials to document God's faithfulness. Do you know why? Because we humans too easily forget.

The proverbs say that our hearts are deceitful and utterly wicked. Our emotions can so quickly turn our minds to our circumstance rather than to our Lord. It is human-nature. Paul says to fight the fight of faith. Believing God in the midst of the storm is a fight--a fight against feelings and vision. But it is those moments--the moments where we have a choice to believe He is faithful or not--that have the potential to strengthen or steal away our victory.

Let us remember this day, in this trial, that this God we serve is faithful, abundant in love and mercy, the ultimate provision, and overflowing with grace. Remember and then preach it to your spirit.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Faces in the Crowd

I returned yesterday from a beach trip. I had gone down to South Carolina with some girlfriends for a women's retreat. It was great--no responsibilities, perfect weather, lots of laughs, late nights, chocolate, and time to just think upon my Lord.

We closed our weekend on Sunday morning with a worship service. Something hit me deep in my spirit as I scanned the room. I saw faces with tears, faces with smiles, faces looking up to the sky, faces singing praise, praying in intercession, and resting quietly in the moment. Just as when I had sat on the beach one last time that morning, the truth of God's amazing love and knowledge of each and every one of His creations weighed down upon me.

At times--many times--it can be easy to live so egocentrically--my problems, my fears, my victories, my walk with God, my life. But at that very moment, in the midst of corporate worship, I was reminded again of God's infinite care for each and every one of us. He knows both you and me perfectly. He wants to use both you and me in creative, eternally-effective, ways. He is both completely other-than and intimately involved. If we will just lay aside the things and ways that entangle, and lift our eyes, mind, and soul to Him then He will pour Himself out and lead us in victory.

"In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." (Philippians 2:3b) Life begins when we realize it is not all about me, it is all about Him. And as Jesus instructed, this world will know we are His followers by the love we have one for another. (John 13:34-35) Let us love today with abandonment to Him.


P.S. It was wonderful to see the eyes and smiles of my three little kids and husband yesterday. And I must say how proud I am of my man--he gave me the gift of time away and he did it with grace...and with keeping the house fairly clean. Thanks Babe!

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Your Son Revealed

In a world that feels chaotic, like it is spinning out of control.
A moment by Your ocean says, You're sitting on Your throne.

The sky fills up with pink and orange as I anticipate its rise.
Peaking over the water blue, obeying You...

Every day, through every turn, this light faithfully lifts
Over the horizon, so my eyes will see my steps.

Just a moment more, I wait, anticipation building;
I wonder if anyone else sits still--Your canvas quickly filling.

There it is. I see the top, deep orange gracing my sight.
Your love lavished upon me with the revelation of glorious Light.

Tears blur my vision--another day anew.
What a sight--the view amazing--You are Creator true.

Though this world may feel chaotic, like it is spinning out of control,
We have a God waiting to reveal His Son deep in our souls.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Arise and Go

This is where I want to be: I want to sense God's leading in a moment and in the next obey. I know by the power of His Spirit it is able to be done. A number of times in scripture we read of individuals who were instructed by God to do something or go somewhere and without a fight they simply obeyed.

Take Philip for instance. One minute he is in one city. God tells him through an angel to arise and go south along the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26). Do you know what he did? "So he arose and went." Five simple words--he got up off the couch and started moving. Granted an angel told him what to do--which I hope that if I experienced an actual appearance from an angel I would also obey. Hello! But he just obeyed. That is the sensitivity I long to have.

I want to know His voice even more personally. I desire to be in such communion with Him that regardless of my feelings--which are ever-changing and unstable at best--I would simply obey. (Which, coincidentally, is the mantra of my church right now--simple obedience.) But if we want to know His voice then we have to seek His heart.

Maybe you are thinking, "Why would I want to be at the beckon call of God? I have my life to live. Things to do. People to see. Adventures to take." Friend, I am telling you from my heart, there is no life more fulfilling, more abundantly rich, than a life in submission to your Creator. He knows you better than you know yourself. He designed you with intricate detail and purposeful precision. He can be trusted with your deepest fears and most tender desires.

I have said it before--I am just like you. Though the details of our lives are different, I face the same basic challenges. I have to work to forgive. I have to wrestle through self to show unconditional love. I have to preach to my spirit so I do not fall prey to fear. And I have tasted and seen the goodness of God. He is worthy. His plans for you, in spite of circumstance, are good. He can make you an overcomer.

In the wise words of Christian rap artist Lecrae (yes, I'm addicted to his rhymes), "I've never seen a lazy boy grow." It is the moments that ultimately count. Fight for the life He has promised. Arise and go.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The days quickly begin with running to and fro.
Schedules fill, emotions spill, the pace is far from slow.
Food, school, rides, time, arguments, love, laugh, cry, "ah-choo"
Full throttle through three stores today, know the way to each bathroom.

But in these quiet moments, my time alone with You,
I gain needed perspective, Your Word to guide me through.
You are so very gracious, speaking Truths that touch the core.
My heart, mind, soul, and body weigh, "You're the One I do adore."

Praise You, Lord.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moment by Moment

It is the day to day "stuff", the moment by moment happenings, that ultimately test our faith and our faithfulness. It is that moment in the check-out line when the cashier is obviously having a bad day. It is the relationship you have with your neighbor and how you handle conflict. It is the disagreement you have with your spouse and whether or not you reflect unconditional love and respect. It is the moments that ultimately matter.

I can sit here early in the morning, communing with God, writing thoughts that (hopefully) inspire, but if the truth does not seep down deep into the very moments of our lives then we have missed it. We've missed it. It is why Paul says to pray continually because moments happen. Opportunities continually arise for us to reflect the Lord and His great love...or not.

I always say, "If I am faithful with my moments then I will be faithful with my life." If we allow God to invade and conform our every thought, then our every moment interacting with others potentially has eternal effects.

It is the moments that make me think, "Wow, Lord, I have a lot to learn." It is the moments that reveal our heart's devotion. It is the moments that draw others to Him. I want to be faithful with my moments.

How? How do we remain faithful when the moments come? It has to be from the overflow of our love for God. As we turn our attention, our fulfillment, and our pleasure towards our heavenly Daddy, He will fill us full. As we come to understand more of His truth and more of His character, nothing this world can offer will be able to hold our attention. Push into Him.

I may have said it before, but it is one of my most favorite passages of scripture. After Jesus had ascended into heaven and the Spirit of God had fallen upon man, the church began to grow because of the passionate testimony of Christ's followers. In Acts 4 Peter and John were arrested for healing a man and preaching Jesus' redemption. When the religious elite asked by what name they had healed, they replied, "Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised...for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (vv. 10b, 12b)

When the leaders saw their boldness, they realized they had truly been with Jesus. They commanded them not to speak in Christ's name but Peter and John humbly yet boldly answered, "we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." (v. 20)

When we spend time with our Lord, when we get to know His face--His heart--then "witnessing" will naturally come. We will not be able to stop speaking of the things we have seen and heard. The moments will carry eternal value simply because we love our Lord and He loves this world. Though some might call us Jesus freaks (it's OK, you are not alone), it is good and right for Him to invade everything we touch. That's the point. That is life. Let's make the moments count.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Spilled Forth

I love reading the book of Acts. Periodically throughout the year I will turn to its pages and become inspired. This morning I read when God poured His Spirit upon the apostles. Wow. The word pour itself brings powerful images to mind--the essence of God, His Spirit, spilling forth onto man. Amazing. Amazing.

A few things happened when His Spirit went forth:
  1. With His Spirit came power. The apostles began speaking in other tongues--which is, other languages. It says that everyone heard them speak in his own language (2:6, 2:11). God overcomes obstacles. Where we see hindrances (as in various languages), He sees opportunity to show His great power.
  2. With His Spirit came unity. Back in Genesis chapter 11 God confused the languages at the Tower of Babel because of the pride of man--man's pursuit to be his own god. Here in Acts we see Him uniting mankind under His Spirit--bringing oneness and community in spite of race or background.
  3. With His Spirit came praise. When His Spirit fell, the apostles began speaking the wonderful works of God in these various languages. His Spirit brings glory to His name.
  4. With His Spirit came repentance. As these wonderful works of God were declared--the gospel of Jesus Christ and His redemption--about three thousand repented that day and humbly came to God (2:11). His truth will not return void. His truth moves people to repentance.

If you are a believer, calling yourself a child of God, Peter declares in this chapter that you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by faith in Jesus and repentance of your sins (2:38-39). So our question becomes, am I submitting to the leading of God's Spirit in my life or am I grieving Him? Am I walking by faith, in love, and with power or do I lead a life fulfilling fleshly lusts and nursing unrighteous thoughts?

With His Spirit comes power, unity, praise, and repentance. Run this race with endurance, friend. Fight this fight of faith. The precious gift of His Spirit enables.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Don't Waste Your Life

Yet another rap tune streaming through my brain this morning. Again, if rap isn't your thing then you might not want to push play. Worship and enjoy!

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Peter. This is the man to whom I can truly relate. He had such passion streaming through his blood, yet he denied His Lord three times. He was the type that dove into the water with his clothes on to reach His Jesus first, yet when the pressure was on he said he didn't know Him. In his younger years he battled pleasing men vs. pleasing God. Yet his letter, written thirty years into his ministry for Christ to Christians dispersed because of persecution, bears the marks of a mature man remaining faithful to the end.

I almost feel insufficient to even read, much less relate to his circumstance. As he wrote this letter, the infamous Nero was instigating some of the most heinous government persecutions in the history of Christendom. A brief history lesson, Nero came to see deadly torture of Christians as a game--wild dogs hunting and brutally killing men who had been covered with a dead animal carcass; men nailed to crosses then set aflame, even used as lanterns when the sun had set. It was the beginnings of this kind of suffering for the name of Christ that set the stage for Peter's words.

And he instructs, "when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example...who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously." (1 Peter 2:20b-23) Peter would be martyred for his faith later that year, crucified upside down, as tradition says he did not feel worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.

As his death was drawing near, Peter beseeches the reader to love fervently, obey wholeheartedly, and submit willingly to the will of the Father. This remains our challenge today. Though we as Americans comprehend little of physical persecution for our faith, we will suffer. And it may even be for our faith as persecution from the spiritual realm (see the book of Job on that one!). But in Christ, in setting our eyes upon that which is incorruptible, we are given the power and strength to rise above. Keep preaching His truth to your spirit, friend. He cares for you.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Trust His Heart

I can't see Your hand,
Everything crashing.
Pain, fear, and sickness,
My soul feels a thrashing.

You promise Your presence,
Faithful and true.
I will stand on Your Word,
Trust and vision anew.

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Something about the name

Why do I write? I am compelled. I have lived a life in rebellion to the Lord and then tasted how beautiful He truly is. I have experienced heartbreak that only His Spirit could mend. I have seen His provision when there was seemingly no way. I have been touched by His healing hand with miraculous precision and care. He is amazing and I am compelled.

In reading from the book of John this morning one verse struck me to the point that I kept repeating it in my mind, "these (accounts) are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

It is what we all want: life. But life is more than what we see, more than this air we breath, more than our days on this dusty earth. True life is peace in the storm, joy in the desolate, and love to the unlovely. This is the life that satisfies the depths of our souls.

This life can only be found in Jesus because that is how we were designed. God created us with the freedom to choose, moment by moment, where our devotions will lie. We inevitably choose self rather than submitting to His will. That is why we need a savior. One who can make us righteous before a holy God, cleansing us from our selfish desires, and empowering us to walk in victory.

John tells us to believe two things: Jesus is the Christ and Jesus is the Son of God. The first truth points to the fulfillment of prophecy. Hundreds and even thousands of years before Jesus was born as a baby in Bethlehem, it is estimated that over 300 prophecies were spoken about both his life and death. He is the fulfillment of promise. He is the Christ, the promised Redeemer. Believe.

Jesus is also the Son of God. Though our minds have trouble fully digesting this truth, Jesus is God in the flesh. He is the God-man. This is why the Jews wanted him dead--he claimed to be divine. He fully submitted to the Father's will even to the point of death for the sin of mankind. He was a perfect sacrifice. His name is above all names, His power greater than all principalities, and His rights are to everything. He can be trusted. Believe.

I am compelled. This Jesus has given me life. When everything surrounding you seems confusing, our God is not confused. Our Father has provided a way to be made whole--His name is Jesus. Believe and have life.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mommy Moments

Some of you have commented about how early I post my entries at times. But if you step back and take a bird's eye view then you should easily understand. The vast majority of my morning posts are responses to my alone time with God. (Yes, I do awake early and it is absolutely priceless to me.) Now think to my posts from later in the day--the vast majority feature my kids as the stars. Without my early morning quiet with my Lord I might seriously lose my mind by the end of the day. So you see it is a simple coping mechanism.

This morning I am heavy hearted for my little ones. Last night at bath I was just watching my boys play in the tub. Then, to be very honest, the littlest grabbed my middle son in his "private area." They both started giggling. Though I explained that we do not touch each other there--that is your private, special area--inwardly my heart began to ache for all they will have to learn in this life.

"Oh Father," I silently began praying, "these precious boys have so much to learn. They are going to be tempted in their lives, especially sexually. Oh God give them wisdom from an early age and protect them from the enemy." Right then my daughter bounced into the bathroom, awaiting her turn to get clean. My spirit interceded, "Lord, help me to rightly teach this daughter of Yours about modesty and the influence of her actions upon boys. Protect her, Father. Keep her pure by Your great grace."

Oh they have so much to learn.

You could not pay me to go back to my childish days--I include college in this time period. So many life lessons needed a brick to get through to my hard head. Thankfully God is longsuffering, abundant in mercy, and abounding in love.

As a parent it is easy to get bogged down in the day to day happenings, blind to the forest for the trees. But we need to teach the big picture--the basics of this life:
  • obey God because He loves us and instructs us in ways that will bring the greatest blessing to our lives
  • love each other with our thoughts, hands, and words

As my pastor's wife says, "The days are long, but the years are short." I want to be faithful with my mommy moments and praise God that even when I am not, He remains true.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

El Caballo

I have such good intentions. Today after visiting the pet store I promised to take the kids to our local library--a positive experience, right? It is almost like I forget that I have a 15 month old and 2 1/2 year old, along with the almost 5 year old (who is library broken).

We had been there for approximately 3 minutes when the baby had already discovered and dumped 3 puzzles across the children's room floor. He then quickly made his way over to a floor puzzle, pulled it apart and chucked those pieces across the room. My phone rang and for some crazy reason I actually answered it. While politely trying to close the phone conversation, my middle son starts doing the "pee-pee dance" begging for the potty. My daughter is now asking in a very loud voice if she can get 3 videos instead of just one. All the while my littlest is still on a demolition rampage. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

So I get off of the phone, take them downstairs to the bathroom then make our way back upstairs once again to the kid's area. Did a tornado hit?

Ready to leave, I encouraged everyone to quickly make their choices while helping my 2 year old put the puzzles together and corralling my little guy. After checking-out all of our treasures, we finally got to the car. Breath.

My 2 year old asked if he could have his horse book at which point I was written in Spanish. Oh yes. Oh yes.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trials Hurt

Yesterday morning at this time I was witnessing the birth of my nephew. This 10 lb. 2 oz. boy was born at my sister's home with a midwife attended water-birth at 9:06 a.m. It was a truly miraculous experience and thankfully God graciously protected my sister and this precious baby--healthy, huge, and whole. Love you, Les!

As we were in the wee hours of the morning, still in fairly quiet labor, I picked up her Bible and began silently reading the first letter from Peter's hand. Juxtaposed next to my circumstance, his words struck me in an interesting way. He says,"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ..." (1 Peter 1:6-7)
  • "In this you greatly rejoice" - What is this? He tells us in the few preceding verses: God's abundant mercy that gives us a living hope in Christ, an inheritance incorruptible, and a power that keeps us victorious by faith (vv. 3-5). We rejoice in the promises of God given to those who believe--Promises that cannot be hindered by the happenings of this present world.
  • "though now for a little while" - Even though we have to suffer in this life, in spite of our circumstance, He has given us the power to rise above and to walk in peace. It is only for a little while. This world is not our everlasting home. Our home as a child of God is with the Father. We are sojourners here, travelers through a land corruptible.
  • "if need be" - If you are His child, your heavenly Father will only allow trials to come your way that have greater purpose than just your suffering. What the enemy intends for evil, God uses for good. Believe.
  • "you have been grieved by various trials" - Trials grieve our spirits! Even though we are instructed to rejoice, it does not mean we are happy. Rejoicing and happiness live on totally different realms. Happiness depends upon your happenings. Rejoicing rests upon the promises of God--declaring His truth and believing in spite of your feelings. Trials will grieve our spirits. There is a reason why they are described as "fiery" rather than "fun." God remembers that we are but dust.
  • "that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes" - Faith has far greater value than anything this material world can offer. Everything material is perishable; everything born of God is eternal. This portion of the passage also begins to explain why we have to suffer those fiery trials--it shapes, strengthens, and purifies our faith.
  • "though tested by fire" - Again, there will be various kinds of trials you will have to face in your life; it is the nature of this world. And in the midst of the trial it can be very hot and very painful. But these sufferings are not arbitrary.
  • "(the genuineness of your faith) may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" - It is all about Him. To His name be the glory, honor, and praise. John Piper says, "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." He has created us with a need for Him. It is only when we come to His fount and drink of His fullness that our lives will glorify His name. But when we do, we will live in victory no matter the trial.

My sister literally pushed through the pain yesterday (you are my hero!), but she did it with grace and strength. Similarly, as we walk these days through the fiery trials that will come, through faith in Him and His promises incorruptible, we are empowered to do it victoriously. And on the other side of the pain comes joy unspeakable. Keep fighting, friend. Joy is to come.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rising Son

The sun is about to rise as I type. It is Easter Sunday. I remember as a child waking up to a basket full of goodies that a supposed huge bunny had left on our doorstep. We would tear off the tags to our new dress and put it on trying not to touch the lacy trim with chocolate fingers. And though that was fun, there is so much more to this day.

Today we celebrate that the grave could not hold Jesus Christ. He was torn, beaten, and killed as the final sacrifice for my sin and yours. He submitted to the will of the Father and then conquered death. It could not keep Him down. But how should that truth affect our day to day? How should that truth change my moments, my fears, my hurts, and even my joys?

Nothing in this world--no evil, no sickness, no need--is greater or stronger than He. The Father set Jesus Christ above all . But what does that mean? It does not mean we won't go through trials as children of God. In fact James reminds us that we will fall into various trials on this earth--they will come (1:2). But if you have received the sacrifice of Christ as your own--believing the scriptures and confessing your own sin--then you are said to be "in Christ." Your life has been covered in His righteousness and you can now approach the Father with boldness. He has sent His Spirit to indwell you, giving you power to walk these days with courage, wisdom, and strength.


We will go through trials of various kinds. My dad used to say that either you are coming out of a trial, in the midst of a trial, or one is coming your way. It is just life. But in Christ we can be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).

I have a dear friend walking an excruciating road in these very moments--her almost 3 year old has been diagnosed with cancer. My body aches for her. I cannot even imagine. The pain is so deep and real. The questions continual. But in spite of her feelings I am watching her stand on Truth. I am witnessing her preach to her spirit when her mind wants to surrender. She understands that God is sovereign over all and motivated by love. She knows that this was not a surprise to Him as it was to her a couple of weeks ago. He is still Lord. And He is able to carry this family through these raging waters and even bring glory to His name.

Our Savior is risen. He has conquered death, the last great enemy. He will come again. In a world unstable, there is a Rock--firm for building your life upon. Get to know Him, friend. He died for you.

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Friday, April 10, 2009


I am just like you. I love a good cup of coffee, perfect Spring weather, walks on the beach, shopping for a new outfit, vacationing with friends, having a clean home, seeing my kids happy, pursuing my dreams, eating a fine meal, and laughing until it hurts. But this world is not my home.

Whenever I read the words of Jesus, in almost every instance I understand that He was only a visitor to this earth. His home was and is with the Father. That truth permeated every teaching and underscored every motive.

We hear words throughout the pages of scripture like "sojourner" and "ambassador" but does this describe our own heart and devotion? How comfortable are we here in this broken world? How much do we depend on this temporary life for fulfillment? Don't get me wrong. When God created He said that it was very good. He does bring blessing here in this physical place. And we should enjoy the gift we have been given--laugh a little...laugh a lot.

But honestly, the closer I get to God, the more I taste of His sweet Spirit, then the greater longing I have to see His precious face one day. This is not our home. If you call the Creator of this universe, "Daddy," then your true home is with Him. Rejoice in the hope, my friend. Rejoice.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Once was Blind

"This is all I know: I once was blind and now I see." These words were uttered by the man who was blind from birth and healed by Jesus that God's name would be glorified. When the religious leaders asked what happened, for what reason, who did this, when did it happen, where were you, the man simply replied with all he knew, "I was blind and now I see." (see John 9:1-41)

This world cannot argue with your own testimony. Even if you do not have all of the apologetic defenses lined up in your mind or the Hebrew and Greek words memorized, if you call yourself a child of God then at one time you were spiritually blind and now you see. That is it. Rest in that. Rejoice in that. Live in that. Know the One who gave you site. Sit at His feet and drink of His Truth.

In a world that questions, dwell in the only answer that satisfies the deepest longings: Jesus.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Last night, I had a funny conversation with Hailey, my 4 1/2 year old. It began at dinner.

I was getting something for her and she said, "Mommy, that says 'Food Lions' on it."
"You are very close," I encouraged, "It actually says 'Food Lion' without the s."
"That's not right. It is supposed to say 'Food Lions'," she insisted.
"Well, the store is just called 'Food Lion' like there is just one lion-of-the-food." (By the way who thought of this name?!)
"Well, I call it 'Food Lions'."
"OK," I said while thinking "and of course you are 4 and always right."

We progressed through our evening routine. After bath is when the conversation got really good.
"Mommy, why did God give us nickels?" she asked looking in the mirror at her nipples.
Once I cleared up the actual name of the body part I said, "Well, when you have a baby one day that is where the milk will come from," hoping we could just drop it at that.
After pondering and staring at herself for a moment she said, "So why do we make milk for our babies?"
"God is so amazing that He made mommies special so we could feed our babies," I offered.
Then another silent moment as I again hoped no more information was required.
"So God made girls special. Like I am special because I say 'Food Lions' and you are special because you say 'Food Lion,'" she asserted with authority.
"Yes, well...sort of, I guess."

Sometimes you just have to go with it knowing that as she grows she will have greater wisdom.

Now, you know this just wouldn't be a completed post if I didn't relate this to our own lives as adults. Have you ever been so certain of something then later found out that you were incorrect? This is especially humbling if you were bold in your stance for the original position. Two things we can learn:
  • Be slow to speak! If you aren't sure of something, don't assert it as truth. It is OK to say you don't know. Remember, we have been created with two ears and only one mouth. James 1:19, "let every man (or woman) be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."
  • Live at peace with others. Keep short accounts in your relationships. If we find we are wrong (it has happened to me once or twice) then we should clear the air with that other person. Paul says in Romans 12:18, "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men (and women)." As much as depends on you live at peace with others.

So maybe the next time we see a Food Lions we will remember to be certain with our words.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Choosing Better

Have you ever had to make a choice between something that is good and something that is better? I think God sometimes allows us to be in situations where the decision isn't between evil and good; it is a choice between good and better.

Maybe God wants us to trust Him with the unknown of the better rather than resting in the comfort of the good. Maybe one choice might bring greater rewards. Either way it seems that this better choice often requires sacrifice. For example, a better choice for your family’s income might mean a smaller house, having to sacrifice material things you enjoy. Or staying home with your kids, having to sacrifice a career you have worked hard to achieve. Or even buying organic food, having to sacrifice electricity for your home (OK organic is not that expensive.)

My point is that life just isn't always black and white. There are shades of grey. I really think there can be good and better with neither being necessarily sinful. I pray God would give us both wisdom and strength in our decisions this day, especially those choices between good and better.

Keep at it, friend.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Seduction of Chocolate

I have been seduced by Cadbury chocolate and cute little bunnies. A friend and I were talking last night as to how we have dropped the ball in preparing our kids with the true meaning of Easter this year. We were on top of Christmas with an advent calendar, daily crafts, analogy of gifts--all pointing to the real reason for the season. But Easter, well, I have not been as faithful.

I realized my lacking the other day after visiting the mall. You know, the place of greed and covetousness. My kids had caught a view of the Easter bunny and were enamored. As soon as they saw their Mimi that evening, one of their first topics of conversation was the big, fluffy rabbit who gave out prizes. "That was the Easter Bunny," my mom explained, "But do you know the real meaning of Easter?" My mind began to race, "Have I explained that yet?" I thought, "Oh no, I haven't. How awful! Who am I Ms. Seminarian?" So after my daughter confidently asserted that Easter was about Spring, I jumped in trying to redeem myself, "Easter is in the Springtime, you are right, but that is not the real reason we celebrate Easter."

Easter should be something we prepare our kids to understand. They will see the baskets full of candy and toys in almost every store. They will be asked by the checkout lady at Harris Teeter, "What do you want the Easter bunny to bring you?" To which my kids get a glazed look of confusion as I have also never talked about this to them.

This week I am determined to teach my kids why we celebrate Easter (also reminding myself in this world of yummy chocolate eggs). Our Lord is risen. He has conquered sin and death. He has brought hope to the hopeless and life to the lifeless. In teaching my kids this lesson I am going to use the activity of coloring eggs. As we dye both the eggs and our fingers I will probably say something like this:
  • Easter is coming up. Do you know what Easter really means? It is the day we celebrate that Jesus came back to life. He died on the cross for our sins one day and then three days later He came back to life, meaning that He is stronger and more powerful than anything. (Show me your muscles.)
  • So we are going to color these eggs. And just like these eggs are putting on color, God wants us to put on Jesus. He wants us to put down things that don't honor Him like hitting, pushing, lying, arguing, whining (I could go on...) and put on the things that do honor Him like using our words and hands to love each other. He says that we are made into a new creation when we believe in Him, just like these eggs are becoming a new color.

OK, so maybe that is a stretch but I am going to give it a shot. We should be celebrating. Our entire faith as Christians rests on this one truth: He is risen. He is risen, indeed. Rejoice.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Messy Monster

Life is messy. Kids, relationships, houses--they all get messy. And I don't like messes. It makes me cringe to watch my 2 year old eat a bowl of ice cream--dripping, licking, smearing. But he enjoys it. The mess doesn't even phase him. Is he my child? The truth is I could learn something from him.

If you have read my past posts then you probably know by now that I can tend toward perfectionism. OK, I am a complete perfectionist junkie who is trying to chill out. Kids have been my natural healer in this area--they have forced me out of my neat little box into the world of mess. In the past I have assumed life would be like a sitcom--happy, slight conflict or drama, resolution, then back to happy. All within 30 minutes. But this isn't reality, this is fantasy.

Life is messy but I think God desires us to rise up inside the mess, amidst the broken, and find joy unspeakable. From sitting in a disheveled room enjoying my kids to reflecting His love to someone who has broken your heart. He can enable us to rise above the muck. We can do more than just survive.

So join me in seeking Him today even among the mess you find yourself in. He is able to provide for the most tender of needs and strengthen the faintest of hearts.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

To my fellow mommies

Things I thought I would never do, and especially never admit (but we all need a good laugh):
  • Smell my child's bottom (through the diaper--I do have limits!), and then talk about it over dinner with friends
  • Pick up stray goldfish crackers from various places in my vehicle and eat them
  • Let my son pee-pee outside in a public area (desperate times call for desperate measures with a 2 year old!)
  • Say, "Because I told you so" and "I'm not their mommy."
  • And my ultimate low point: use the portable potty I leave in the car (I really can explain this one!)

Now come on, I know you have some to add so please let me have a witness.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Walk on Water

Do you remember when Peter walked on water? You can read about it in Matthew 14:22-33. Basically the disciples, at the command of Jesus, were all in a boat, traveling to the other side of the sea. As evening approached and Jesus' time in solitary prayer was coming to an end, He noticed that the boat was in the middle of the sea struggling against the wind. So He went to them, walking on the water--defying all natural laws because as creator He is above all natural laws.

Once the fear of seeing a man walk on water had subsided, Peter "told" Jesus, in essence, to prove Himself, "If it is You then command me to come to you on the water." So Jesus said, "Come." As Peter's eyes were focused upon Jesus, he also defied the laws of this world. But in a moment, as his eyes looked to the tossing winds and unstable waters, Peter's fear arose and he began to sink. Why? He started to gaze upon his circumstances rather than the One who would enable him to overcome.

No one likes to go through the wind and waves of life. We wouldn't choose it, I suppose. But trials will come simply because our world is fallen. So what is the hope in the midst of the fire? If we learn from Peter then we see that setting our gaze upon our Lord, rather than our circumstance, enables us to defy our world's expectations--enables us to walk on water. Fear will come; it is a natural response to the unknown. But as we abide in the love of God, trusting Him to never leave or forsake His own, preaching to our own spirit His promises, then fear is cast aside. As John declares in 1 John 4:18, "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..."

Though it is much easier typed here in this blog entry than lived out in the everyday moments of life, the truth from scripture remains: we will be victorious, in spite of our circumstance, as we set our gaze upon Him. Keep at it, friend; slip into the armor of God and fight the fight of faith.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Innocence Stolen

Our world is broken, look all around.
Despair and destruction, only One can be found
With hope in the valley and love as His guide,
To His name be the glory, no matter the tide.

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Learning from Kids

We can learn a lot from kids. One ability of a child that never ceases to amaze me is that they do not hold a grudge; forgiveness flows almost uninhibited.

It is weekly, and at times daily, that I have to ask my kids to forgive me for something I have said or an attitude I have portrayed. Just the other morning after a really rough prior evening, I got down on my knees in front of my 4 year old, held her sweet hand, looked into her eyes, and poured out my heart, "Baby, I just want to say I am sorry that I got easily frustrated last night. I did not reflect the patience of God. I have asked Him to forgive me and help me in those trying moments to make good choices. Remember that He always forgives when we ask and He is able to help you overcome any weakness you may be struggling with. So will you forgive me too?" I waited with anticipation of her words, wondering what her precious heart was pondering, and after a brief moment of reflection she said, "OK I forgive you. Mommy, when did you say we are going to Shelby's birthday party?" Just like that the moment was gone.

How do kids do that? No grudges. No attitude that insists upon penance. They simply forgive and move on. I think this is one reflection of the heart that Jesus desires in us when He said, "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) Someone once said to me, "Forgiveness is choosing to remember no more." I love this. When we live in unforgiveness towards someone we are the one who actually suffers. We are the one who lives bound and bitter. Forgiveness does not mean you are condoning some one's wrong behavior as right; forgiveness is freedom to your soul. Not only that, who are we not to forgive someone? Look at all God has forgiven of us. It was my own sin and your own sin that put Jesus on that cross. He died a brutal death as the perfect sacrifice for my sin before a holy God.

We can be free from the chains of unforgiveness. In order to drop that heavy weight we must be like a little child and let God be the judge.

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