Wednesday, June 15, 2011

one final shout-out

Just in case any of my sweet email subscribers missed it, my new blog launched a couple of weeks ago.

If you have not yet stopped by, then today is a great day to come check it out. I am starting a new series on the thought life. More specifically, how to have victory in our thought lives. Praying the Lord speaks mightily.

Click here to come on over.

To Overflowing

And if you would like to subscribe by email, just click here and enter your email address. After verifying your address, my new blog posts will come straight to your inbox.

Blessings, friend.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

it's blog-moving day!

(If you are having trouble viewing the video, click here to watch it on Vimeo.)

So here it is, the link to my new blog website Come on over and check it out. We are having a launch party and you are invited! It just wouldn't be the same without you.

To Overflowing

(Click here to subscribe to my new blog posts from "To Overflowing". They will come straight to your email inbox.)

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Monday, May 30, 2011

sit quiet and wait

I ask him for a word. A word of hope to lift any burdens. A word to stir his promised joy. I sit quiet. Waiting. Because he does indeed speak.

I don't actually hear his voice, but I am learning to know his whisper. I don't actually see his hands, but I am learning to know where they are pointing. So I sit quiet and wait. Expecting, with his Word laid open on my lap.

True things fill my mind if I let them. And they change me. If I lay down the grocery list swirling around up there and push aside the ticking clock that beckons I run ragged. If I just sit quiet and wait. Listening. Gleaning.

If I. He will.

He so faithfully guides. He just did. Sit quiet. And wait.

Bringing it home...

What true things lift your spirit today as you sit quiet and wait on him?

{Oh and...}

Tomorrow's the big day. And I'm so excited! We are taking the leap {sooner than expected!}. So grab your shoes.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

it meets me in unexpected places

The gospel meets me in the toy-strewn playroom. The grabbing and fussing flares between my young ones and it meets me, in the midst of a competitive Hi Ho Cherry-o game.

On good days, when I am sensitive to His Spirit, I remember that they are flesh. I see them as he sees them, a little soul in need of a Savior. I use the moment as a picture, illustrating again their ultimate longing. Freedom from self. Freedom to love.

On not-so-good days I react in my own flesh, reminded again of my desperation. Thankful for his persistent grace.

The gospel. A holy God bending down and redeeming mankind out of his extravagant love. Innocent blood shed for my rebellious soul. And for theirs. Undeserved. Beyond comprehension.

Seeing others through the gospel changes me. It softens me. It frees me to love.

Bringing it home...

How does looking at others through the lens of the gospel change you?

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

we are in our "now" on purpose

My sister said it the other day and it spoke to me--deep down. And if it's true then nearly every thought is affected.

"He has us exactly where he wants us."

On purpose. With precision. According to his sovereign plan.

"Not (even one sparrow) falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

Matthew 10:29-31

In this now of ours he is working. In this season he is refining and building our faith. Whatever today looks like--with all its seeming complications and hindrances--he is moving about, orchestrating and reigning, transforming and mending.

If it's not so then he is not the God revealed in scripture. The revealed God means things; he doesn't just use things. He loves to the point of death and restores the broken.

He has us where he wants us. On purpose. With precision. According to his sovereign plan. Believing it so changes...everything.

Bringing it home...

Do you believe that he has you where he wants you?

What does believing him sovereign over the daily happenings do to our hope and faith?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the main thing

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." My daddy used to say that.

I've addressed it before, but it bears repeating. We live in a loud world. So much calls our name begging we look and then sit for a while. The enemy has an agenda. Distraction!

Last week I was lured. I felt it heavy on my spirit. Outwardly I did all the same things, but my mind wandered. Even my time alone with the Lord felt distracted. Then only as a faithful Father can do, I heard the words of Jesus whispered in my ear, "You are distracted by many things. But only one thing is needed." (Luke 10:38-42)

Don't you love the chastening of the Lord. {wink} Truly, he loves those he disciplines. So I thank him.

The world will holler for you and for me. Things entice. Stuff draws us in. But only one thing is needed. The main thing.

Bringing it home...

How do you keep the main thing the main thing in such a loud world?

Is there something you need to lay down in order to focus on the one needed thing? No better time than now.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

He's on love's side

During a recent "discussion" with my man, I realized something about God. You see, I have this tendency to think I am right when I argue. But not only that, in those not-so-lovely moments, I can even think that God must think I'm right. And he must be on my side. Cause he's gotta be choosin'.

But, that's pretty much wrong thinking. In fact I don't think He is on any one person's "side." Yes, he is for us as his children. And yes he loves beyond human reason. But ultimately, he's on love's side. Unity's side. His side.

We are the wayward, selfish ones. We are the ones who misunderstand and misrepresent His amazing-ness. So He's not choosin'. He simply is. Love.

When the thought hit me the other night, it shut my mouth. Mostly. It gave me a different perspective. It caused me to pause and reconsider. Because if he is not choosing my side, then I want to get back in line with his side. The love side.


He's on love's side. He is love.

Bringing it home...

How would thinking of him this way change how we argue and fuss with others?

(Or maybe I am the only one who finds myself in these types of "discussions.")

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Friday, May 20, 2011

an adoption story

New life begins to grow inside her, along with strangling fears. Another mouth to feed. Another child to raise from girl to woman. The future seems complicated. Uncontrolled. Worries wake her as an unfamiliar pain grips her mama-heart.

The stars outside fall into place as usual. The sun sets and the moon lights, bright on that African plain. In the quiet she does all she knows to do. She whispers a prayer to Him. Her God. The listening One. The able One. The willing One.

She asks for a family who seeks Him--one who knows Him and loves Him and teaches Him. A family who will carve out a space for this precious one soon to be birthed oceans away. Tears and hope begin to mix together on that warm night. Tears with the thought of letting go. Hope with the thought of love lavished on her new one.

As her faith prayer is breathed, He answers. Miles away He begins planting seeds of desire in the chosen family. Seeds that He confirms and confirms, over and over. Seeds that soon sprout above the soil, green and tender. And a little uncertain.

Months go by. The desires grows strong and sure. The path lays straight before them. Until that day when this new one unites with those chosen for her. Chosen by Him. Joy erupts with first touches.

That mama may never know. That mama may never hear. But that mama's prayer was answered. Faithfully. Her victory will come in the believing.

This post written in awe as I have watched our God work adoption into a family I hold dear. Love. Love.

Bringing it home...

How does the thought of this mama's answered prayer encourage you?

Do you have an adoption story to share?

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the day His word came to life

I'm hanging out today over at Do Not Depart, talking about the day His word came to life. Like the freak-you-out kind of alive. I would love for you to stop by.

Oh, I was on-fire for Jesus. The kind of on-fire that calls old friends to make amends and weeps with joy over a forgiven past. He redeemed me from so many pits. He lifted me out of myself and opened my eyes. Then like only our wild God can do, he led this prodigal to seminary.

I craved him deep. I wanted...

Bringing it home...

How has the word come alive in your own life?

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

(finally!) vloggin' Philippians 3

Here it is (finally!), Philippians chapter 3...and what the heaviness on my heart reinforced in my spirit.

Click here if you have trouble viewing.

If you missed my first two Philippians vlogs (and would like to see my secret love for dancing), click here to watch chapters 1 and 2.

Linking up with my sweet friend, Katie Orr, over at Do Not Depart. I just love that precious sister.

Bringing it home...

How have you seen the Word meet you in the moments?

(Come on, friends. I want to hear from you!)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

infusing hope: four things to remember {4}

I sometimes have to preach to myself. I have to make the words come out of my mouth so my doubting heart can hear. And then believe.

{number 4}

Remember his faithfulness and declare it. Out-loud.

Say it. Sing it. Proclaim it. However you want to declare it. Just let the words meet with the air. Let his praises grace our space. Let his past faithful acts mingle with the present. Here. And now.

Let those beside us partake of the blessing. Let those who share our moments hear, that they too may be stirred. And spurred towards faith in the faithful One.

Remember. Then declare. Out-loud.

Bringing it home...

OK, friend, it's your turn. Declare his faithfulness.

For those who have more time, read Joshua 4:1-7. How did Joshua lead the Israelites to remember? Why?

If you missed the first three of "infusing hope: four things to remember," here are the links: {number 1}, {number 2}, {number 3}

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

taking the leap

Blogger was down for a couple of days due to "technical difficulty." Poor thing. It was so confused. It even sent out one of my older posts yesterday. But, God was and is in control...even over technology.

In fact, the little system glitch was the final nudge I needed. I have started the process of creating a new blog website. And I am so excited.

The content will be the same. But the blog title will be easier to remember. And the platform will be more reliable. Plus...sometimes a fresh start is just fun. Hopefully the changes will be made by the end of June. But I will keep you posted because I can't imagine "moving" without you going with me!

So grab some good jumping shoes and we will take the leap together. And yes, they can still be cute.

Bringing it home...

Do you like change? Why or why not?

I'll be back on Monday with {number four} of the short series "infusing hope: four things to remember."

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

infusing hope: four things to remember {3}

The rains will fall. The waters will rise. This side of Jesus' return, the trials will come. But they are not without purpose. They do not define our God.

{number 3}

Remember. His promises remain even when the waters ahead seem impossible to cross. We just have to be wild enough to believe him in spite of what our eyes may see.

As our toes dip into that water's edge--believing that he goes before us into the deep--the rushing ceases. The waters flee from him. The seas turn away into a heap. He makes a path for our feet, often straight through the seeming impossible. And what should have been our demise, becomes a place of rejoicing.

His promises stand.

Our gaze will be tested on this life-journey. But faith is the victory. Believing him to do what he promises he will do--regardless of the momentary waters--causes hope to rise.

Remember. If he said it, then it will come to pass.

Bringing it home...

Are there some deep waters ahead?

What promises are you clinging to as you step into what seems impossible to cross?

For those who have more time, read Joshua 3:9-17. What stirs up hope in your spirit from Joshua's example?

Click here to read {number 1} and click here to read {number 2} from this short series, "infusing hope: four things to remember."

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

dreamin' and believin'

He puts them there–these seeds of desire that will one day birth into living color. He does that in us and he does that in our kids. He has plans and works set aside just for us. And just for them.

I'm hanging out over at the MODsquad today, talking about dreaming and believing. Click here to read my post.

I'll be back tomorrow with {number 3} in the short series "infusing hope: four things to remember." If you have missed it, click here to read {number 1} and click here to read {number 2}.

Love to each of you today. Praying you are encouraged in Him.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

infusing hope: four things to remember {2}

There exists a space between his promises and their fulfillment. More often than not this gap marks our trail of life. And we have a call in this meantime.

{number 2}

We remember. Walk forward by faith.

We keep our eyes set firm on his promises. Whether overarching or an intimately spoken promise, if he said it then it will come to pass.

The trail may get rocky or thick with brush. The path may seem dark at times. But our call is this walk of faith--putting one foot in front of the other, moving towards that "promised land."

In doing so, we are sanctified.

We may not know what's around the next bend, but we know where we are heading--towards his promises fulfilled. So keep walking, my friend. Keep walking.

Bringing it home...

What promises of God do you hang onto as you walk your own life journey?

How do you purposefully keep walking towards those promises?

For those who have more time, read Joshua 1:10-11, 16. How does Joshua's response to God's speaking infuse hope and courage to your own heart?

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Monday, May 9, 2011

infusing hope: four things to remember {1}

We are forgetful. Life happens and we forget the Rock upon which we stand. The enemy tempts us towards defeat and our emotions latch on as if his whispered lies define us and our tomorrow.

So we desperately need to remember the true things.

{number 1}

Noise. Everywhere there is noise. People talk. Media declares. Thoughts analyze. Yet, He is speaking to his children.

Am I listening?

The God of the universe--in all his glory and splendor and eternality--bends down and speaks to us. He speaks. To us.

He speaks promise, command, and direction. He speaks out of love to give life and joy and victory to those who seek. He speaks through his word.

Am I listening?

Remember. The sovereign one speaks. And he will speak to you and me if we have ears to hear.

Bringing it home...

Are you needing a word of promise or direction from him?

Practically speaking, how can we hear from God?

For those who have more time, read Joshua 1:1-9. What does God promise, command, and direct Joshua to do? How does that infuse hope?

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

from rejoicing to weeping: a mother's day post

I’m not sure there is anything more joyful than holding your child for the first time. Tracing the lines of their hands. Memorizing the sound of their cry. Overwhelmed by the love that--in a moment—-redefines your existence.

I’m also not sure there is anything more painful than mother-desires left unfulfilled. From broken bodies scorned by disease, infertility, and death to broken lives of children running in rebellion, a mother’s heart can bleed in excruciating pain.

Motherhood. From shouts of joy to cries of despair and everything in between.

So I find myself in that torn place today, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. All the while pointing to the One who holds time and life in his faithful hands. He is looking at you, sweet one.

Happy mother's day, mama. I love you.

Bringing it home...

How goes your heart this mother's day weekend?

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

am I THAT thankful for anything

Remember those ponderings from the courtroom? I'm going back there today. Praying for a merciful judge with a tender heart towards me who will have ears to hear. Oh, and, that it will go quickly. Your prayers are appreciated.

In the meantime, if you haven't seen this video yet, it is an absolute MUST watch.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Bringing it home...

I would love to hear your response to that precious video.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

we are all asking the same question

It seems we're all asking the same questions. Am I loved? Lovely? Love-able?

We want to know that we hold the attention of another. That someone notices our nuances and then smiles tender with interested eyes. We want to be fully known and loved regardless. The reckless love that pursues and stays and sacrifices.

And. We are.

We are perfectly known--from our rising up to our sitting down. Every intent behind every word on our lips is known. His gaze is set firm on his own. His thoughts innumerable and precious. His plans prosperous.

That craving to be known subsides in his glorious presence. For we are known with an eternal, love-knowing. His gaze locked. Cling there.

"God demonstrates his own love towards us,
in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

"And my God shall supply all your need
according to His riches in glory
by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Bringing it home...

Read Psalm 139

How has he proven the sufficiency of his love in your own life?

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

rest for the weary

"Come to Me." To him. All who are weary and he will give us rest. (Matthew 11:28)

This is good, my friends. I try to avoid using too much Hebrew as to bore your socks off, but this is so very good.

Rest signifies to give intermission from labor, to give rest, to refresh so to recover strength.

"Intermission from labor." I love that. Who needs an intermission from the toil? Who needs a refreshing in order to recover some strength?

He says to come to him.

Coming to him looks like me, bowing down in my living room and laying it all before him. Again. It sounds like my voice, declaring his revealed character and speaking the raw. He never flinches. It feels like the weight slowly lifting and his peace faithfully falling.

Rest given. Strength recovered.

Bringing it home...

How do you come to him when you are wearied?

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Monday, May 2, 2011

birds and mice and snakes {oh my}

Spring has definitely sprung around our house.

A couple of weeks ago my kids discovered a nest in one of their sand buckets with six baby bird eggs lying expectantly at the bottom. The mama wren flew in and out, guarding and waiting. Then last Friday, they hatched. They are teeny-tiny, ugly and precious. And I just can't stop myself from peeking in on them throughout the day.

Then on Friday afternoon my man calls to tell me that he found a baby mouse in the garage. A mouse?! Mice are icky and I run from them. So I wasn't thrilled at the thought of having one as a temporary "pet."

But when I got home, this little mouse sucked me in with its cuteness. It is less than two weeks old with its eyes still shut and when it's all curled up it's about the size of a little bouncy ball. The thought of releasing it caused my mother instinct to rise.

Something then possessed me and I decided to pick up the little guy and feed it with a dropper. {I don't even know who I am anymore.} This God of ours, making baby-everything too cute.

For the record, I draw the line at baby snakes.

Spring. The time when new life births.

Our God is a God of newness. Beginning with salvation and continuing with transformation. He does not remain static. Just after that winter freeze comes the warm breeze beckoning new life. Flowers bud from once frozen ground. Color bursts from the dim brown.

Someone needs to remember the newness today.

"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind
Isaiah 65:17

Bringing it home...

How has he shown you personally that he is a God of newness?

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

for those needing hope

We crave it. A happy ending with pretty people. Something bright in a world that often feels dark.

Yet images of royalty flash across the screen followed by the cry of cities devastated and families separated. It's hard for a mind to comprehend.

When full, we rarely seek. But when empty and broken, desperation forces us to look at him. Look for him--questioning him.

It's in those times of soul-fatigue that we have a choice. Either we reject Him as unfaithful and deny Him as sovereign, choosing to define him based upon what our eyes momentarily see.

Or we choose to believe him to be who he has revealed himself to be. Beginning with him and then resting in his Father hands.

Only one choice stirs the hope. Praying hope to rise in him for those facing great loss today.

"Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust."
Psalm 16:1

Bringing it home...

What word from the Word can you give to someone needing hope?

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

uncovering the smile when life gets tense

My daddy used to say that either we are in a trial, we just got out of a trial, or a trial is on the horizon. Not too comforting at first glance, but reality none-the-less.

On this side of heaven, trials will come. Some are the big, life-stamping trials. The ones that end up defining us. But many are the small, minute-by-minute frustrations of life that aim to steal the smile.

The pressures of the everyday come...every day. If I'm not diligent, then all the stuff that needs my tending can wipe away the grin. And I'm left standing there slicing apples with a frown.

But I want my kids to remember their younger years with me having engaged eyes and a joyful face. As the daily demands increase and the mental list grows, he is teaching me how to rejoice in my soul so that it comes out on my face. So here are some practical ways that I choose the smile.

  1. When life gets tense, I lay down the list.

    Literally. Figuratively. I set it down. I remind myself that I have enough time to do what he has for me to do. And loving those beside me is what fulfills his ultimate call.

  2. I pause to gain perspective.

    I sometimes escape to the laundry room and close the door; or go for a long the mailbox. Alone. Or just close my eyes and slip away in my mind while the wildness grabs onto my legs. The point is in the pause.

  3. I ask for his vision for that moment, or for that person.

    The only life-giving perspective is his perspective. When I have stepped away, I commune with him. This is especially vital when one of my little ones is acting particularly irrational or excessively whiny. {One of my flesh triggers.} To see as he sees spurs love.

  4. I choose to engage the now and the one standing before me.

    As I commune with him, he often reminds me of the blessings in the moment or the gifts within the other person. The ways he designed them with precision and purpose. They too are a work in progress, just like me. The smile slowly creeps out.

I fail at times. The stuff coming at me occasionally wins. But he is either the God reigning over every single circumstance--big and small--or he is not the God revealed in the scriptures. Believing him sovereign and love mingled together changes me. It changes my face.

Bringing it home...

What brings a smile to your face even when life comes with fierce persistence?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

spandex alone (for goodness sake) does not a 6-pack make

I (periodically) go to the gym. It's what Kat would call one of my weekly retreats. I get a little exercise while having a little church with Lecrae streaming through my ear buds. It rejuvenates this mama-soul.

After a brief round with lunges yesterday, I glanced up and saw a gentleman wearing spandex shorts with a sweat-band around his head. (I'm just sayin'.) But he wasn't exercising. He had on the "right" workout clothes. He had paid the membership fees. He even made it to the gym. But he spent his time leaning and chatting and drinking a smoothie, while those 6-pack abs lingered in the dark abyss of future workouts.

What a warning for us in living spandex color.

We could wear all the right "Christian" clothes, pay our tithes and give to the needy. We could wake up early and be at the church every time the doors opened. But if we stand passive on the sidelines, we miss the point.

This Christian life is meant to be active, because passive living leads to bondage.

Our call is to fight the fight of faith.

Take every thought captive to obedience.

Run with endurance the race set before us.

Wrestle against principalities of darkness.

Meditate on true things.

Pursue love.

Die daily to self.


We cannot coast through these brief days and expect to stay spiritually fit. Faith is active. It works itself out through our choices.

So let's get that spandex on--or not--and then move about our minutes with purpose. Victory awaits.

Bringing it home...

How do you build your "faith muscles"?

What other action verbs to you see in the scriptures?

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Monday, April 25, 2011

wanting sunday's "He is risen" to affect my monday livin'

I know me too well. I know my desperation for his invasion. Minute-ly. My heart craves things that oppose him. My sin rises from the dead as if it still has a place in this earth-suit. The dailiness can pull at my patience bringing out the unlovely--the attitudes I thought were buried.

Yesterday was Easter--in case you were wondering. With shouts of praise I declared, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! My Lord is risen." But one of the most amazing things about that awe-evoking truth is that it is so personal. That truth is meant to seep into my individual moments and change things. Change me.

No longer do I fall before my Maker condemned. I am declared righteous. No longer am I a slave to sin. I have been set free from the chains. No longer does my tomorrow have to look like my yesterday. He rose to bring newness of life.

Easter affects things in my now...if I believe. If I fight the fight of faith.

With Paul I desire, "if by any means, (that) I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:11) Eyes set firm on eternal things. Promises from the mouth of my God as stepping stones guiding my path. Reckoning myself "dead indeed to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:11) Because of Easter this is our rightful inheritance.

We shouted, "He is risen." We sang. We danced. We worshipped. We remembered. But may that truth invade our moments of today when life happens and self demands its supposed rights.

He rose to free us. On Monday.

Bringing it home...

What does it mean that Christ freed us?

How is that meant to affect our daily living?

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

two angels now sat instead of hovered

Two now sat instead of hovered. For nearly one thousand years two cherubim of gold hovered over the ends of the mercy seat. Facing one another with wings touching, covering that seat of sacrifice while looking on the yearly blood. (see Exodus 25:17-22) But now their wings rested.

When Mary peered into the tomb, two angels sat--one where Jesus' head had been, the other his feet. No longer were the cherubim covering that bloody sin sacrifice. They too declared with their posture, "It is finished."

The final sacrifice had been made. The debt paid with Jesus' unblemished body and blood. Redemption purchased. For me. For you.

Then He defeated death--that final foe.

He overcame. He arose. He looked death in the eye and crushed its power. In full supremacy. He. is. alive!

And He will come again.

One of these days the Father will look to his son and declare to the heavenlies with holy authority, "It. Is. Time." The feast will be ready. The trumpets will shout. The angels will gather in rejoicing. And those who knew him as Lord will meet him in the sky.

The story is not over. In some ways, it is just beginning. He is risen. And He will come again. Hallelujah.

Bringing it home...

One question. Do you know Him?

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Friday, April 22, 2011

he took the cup to his bloody lips and drank

The image of the cross has become so culturally trite, adorned with rhinestones and lying glittery on bare breasts. How far we have come from that rugged wood of old and its sobering reminder of souls purchased with unblemished blood.

He stepped out of splendor, away from the continual shouts of "HOLY HOLY HOLY," where the train of the King's robe fills the heavenly throne room. A room heavy with majestic perfection. In His complete divinity the son of God humbled himself and veiled his glory in man-skin, placing his two feet on this broken earth...

motivated by incomprehensible love.

Then he drank it. The cup filled full of the Father's holy wrath. Every ill-word, every hate thought, every selfish intent, every lustful yearning, every child molested, every prideful bent, every declaration of my glory rather than Yours. Every single sin needed covering. His holiness, by its very nature, demanded.

So he drank it. He took the cup and willingly put it to his bloody, beaten lips. The wrath that we deserved.

He heard the scorn hurled. He saw the faces twisted in contempt. He knew the very veins on the hands of the fingers pointing accusations. He could have called each man, each woman, by name. For in the beginning was the Word...and the Word became life and dwelt among us. Jesus. And he came to die.

Remembering Good Friday and the penalty imposed with overwhelming thanksgiving.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

he washed his betrayer's feet

The betrayer looked down at the Messiah.
Hate churning in his soul.
Deception being plotted in his mind.
With toes dripping wet.

Yet love washed away the day's dirt roads.




In full knowledge.

While willing to die.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
who being in the form--essence--of God, did not consider it
robbery to be equal with God, yet made himself of no
reputation, taking on the form of a bondservant,
and coming in the likeness--the outward appearance--as a man."

Philippians 2:5-7

Let this mind be in you--in me--willing to wash the betrayer's feet, as our eyes are set on the Lover of our souls.

It is Maundy Thursday. We remember him.

Bringing it home...

How is he calling you to follow in his footsteps?

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

lingering that leads to bold obedience

I imagine her eyes stayed on her Lord as his words spilled out in teaching. Her heart stirred to life as she sat quiet near his feet. Submissive. Gleaning. She heard with open ears of the death soon to come. His death. And the prompting overwhelmed her.

She slipped away, purposeful, heart-beating fast with the thought. Once home she pulled her alabaster jar out of its waiting, then glanced upward in humble thanksgiving. Breathing deep. She placed it around her neck and walked those dirt roads quick to find him. To anoint him. *

It seems she may have grasped it more firmly than the others. Jesus had told them of his coming crucifixion. But as she anointed him with her costly oil, his disciples grumbled at her choice of seeming extravagance. He responded to their indignation, "She did it for my burial." (Matthew 26: 6-13)

She laid it all down. She took all of her earthly treasure, all of her future desires, all of herself, and poured it on her Lord. And it pleased him. He then esteemed her.

I want that to be me. To sit low at his feet hanging on his word. To have ears to hear his radical promptings. To boldly obey even if others are grumbling. Father, purge my heart of that which hinders.

Bringing it home...

In the midst of this holy week, join me in taking time to get real with him. Linger before him. Tell him the things he already knows--those things that cause the anxious in your soul. Then meditate on him, his promises, his faithfulness, allowing his peace to calm those wild places. Tamed with the truth of his word.

Then tell me, how does this woman inspire you?

*The first two paragraphs are written with my own creative license. These happenings are not in God's word, only in my imagination.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

my writings will one day end up on a free table

Our church library has a "free book" table. Two words I love. "Free" because I am always looking to win in my purchases. And "book" because expression through the written language opens my soul.

Though I must admit that I am more of a book hoarder rather than a book reader these days. I enjoy knowing they are on my shelf yet rarely get to glean from their last pages, unless you count the Sesame Street series or the latest from Veggie Tales.

The other day I perused the free table and totally scored with books by Francis Schaeffer and J.I. Packer, and a third on the life of C.S. Lewis. I don't read light. But as I balanced these three gems in my arms I had a strange--somewhat depressing--thought.

"These books are on the free table. These books are on the free table." These pain-stakingly chosen words of theological genius now sit--somewhat discarded--on the free table. And I was reminded again of my place in the universe.

There is only One worthy of glory. Only One.

A couple of years ago John Piper's words encouraged me as a writer. He said--and I do not quote because I cannot remember the reference--that every generation needs writers.

We as speakers and writers, who long to lift God's name and point others to His throne, have a place. He gifts with purpose. But we tread dangerous waters when we slip into the tempting desire of self-exaltation.

As we enter into holy week, may we all lay our hearts bare before Him. May we ask the hard question of our soul, "Whose glory do I seek? Yours? or mine?"

Only One deserves the eternal praise. Only One humbled Himself from the heavenly shouts of "Holy!" into flesh clothing, then down to the gruesome death of Roman crucifixion. Only One conquered sin. Only One sits on the throne worthy of honor, forever. And ever.

For we will all end up on the free table.

Bringing it home...

How do you keep from falling into the devastation of self-glorification, especially in your gifts?

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

He scans the earth to show Himself mighty for the loyal

Feeling wild. Doing a Saturday post.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro
throughout the whole earth,
to show Himself strong on behalf
of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9

Our God does this. He responds to the heart who believes Him. He reigns on high yet searches, ready to bend low. As we turn to Him by faith--even the faith as small as a mustard seed--He will reveal His might.

You may be one who is waiting--desperate--to see His strength. Know this. He is working. He remains faithful. He promised. He is bound by His word.

Bringing it home...

How do we show our hearts loyal to Him in a culture that denies Him loud?

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

believing the true thing

"MAMA, HE SAID I WASN'T FOUR YEARS OLD!" cries my middle son, obviously upset at the insistence of my youngest.

"Well, sweet boy, you are four. So believe the true thing."

(And no, this is not my son. Though the expression is all too familiar)
photo credit

We have these types of conversations often. One says one thing. The other knows a different thing to be true. Yet agitation and tears flow as "the other" ponders the lie.

But is this not me?

I know the true thing. He loves me, actively and deeply. He is always good. He reigns over this particular situation. He has me here with purpose.

Yet I get agitated and tears flow as I explore the lie. As I turn it round and round in my hands, believing its every crevice. But if He loved me then this. If He was good then not this.

The answer to the emotional madness lies in the focus. If I set my eyes and mind on the untruths, then that which Christ died to give me is stolen--love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

But if I choose to believe the true thing, Spirit-rest fills my lungs. And I breathe. And I smile.

"Oh. Yeah. I am four."

What He declares about me is true. What He reveals about Himself will always be. What He promises for tomorrow will come to pass. Plain. Simple. Truth. The choice is in the believing.

Bringing it home...

How do you choose to believe the true thing?

What true thing are you actively choosing to believe these days

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

do not awaken love too soon, my child

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.”
Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, and 8:4

I have scars from my love-past. Tender-to-the-touch places that my sweet Lord has graciously healed, yet marks that will always describe my history. Memories periodically arise reminding of that rough terrain of old, places I walked to learn life’s lessons the hard way. And the memories leave me burdened for my own sweet children.

I'm sharing over at the MODsquad today. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Bringing it home...

How has your own past driven your prayers of intercession for your children or grandchildren?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

seeing the valley as a gift

The sufferings, the thorn, the excruciating, and the valley can be a gift. Dare we believe Him, that He is cultivating the ground for great faith and great love. And great joy's eruption.

Oh to use caution in our insistence that He take the "gift" away when true life is found in intimacy with the Lover of our souls. He quenches the thirst of the weary. He revives again and again and again.

He proves Himself sufficient.

Take heart. Stand tall. Run into Him. Our refuge. He is worth the deep.

Words of the precious Martha Snell Nicholson. I have posted this poem before but bears repeating. It bears memorizing...

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out his hand, but as I would depart
I cried, "But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me."
He said, "My child, I give good gifts and gave my best to thee."
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned he never gives a thorn without the added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides his face."

Ms. Nicholson was an invalid.

Bringing it home...

Have you ever thought that even the valley might be a "gift"?
How does that perspective affect our stance?

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Monday, April 11, 2011

it happened there on the soccer field. unexpected.

One particular boy caught my attention. He wandered onto the field during my son's soccer practice and stood in the line-up, a head taller than the rest. And a bit aimless. The coach quickly shuffled him across the grass towards the correct team--the older team. But he stopped at the edge confused.

All around him boys chased and kicked and laughed. Purposed. Playful. But he stood staring, rubbing his hands nervous with his posture uncertain.

I sat on my blanket, with my other two kids squealing and rolling in the grass beside me. My eyes stayed locked on this boy. This wandering soul lost in the midst of soccer madness. Lord, help him find his place. Lord?

Just as I was about to run over and guide his feet, one of his teammates tapped his shoulder and motioned, "over here." And my heart sunk. That this other boy would notice and stop and intervene--it blessed me something deep. In fact, I wanted to hug him. Or call his mama to brag on her son.

Then His words rose up in my spirit, "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phil. 2:4) And right there on the soccer fields, scripture took on the form of real life.

Do I do that? Do I notice and stop and intervene? Do I look out for the interests of others, or am I consumed with me? Forgive me, Father.

Give me Your eyes that I may see.

Fill me full of You that I might intervene.

For Your great glory, o Lord.

Bringing it home...

How can we "look out for the interests of others" in the daily moments of life?

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Friday, April 8, 2011

stricken with a deadly disease

Convince us of our grievous state.

Overwhelm us with Your abounding grace.

"Once let him see his sin, and he must see his Savior. He feels stricken with a deadly disease, and nothing will satisfy him but the great Physician. He hungers and thirsts, and he must have nothing less than the bread of life." J.C. Ryle, Holiness


Bringing it home...

Practically speaking, how do you feast on Him in the dailiness?

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

my ponderings from a courtroom

I went to court a couple of weeks ago. Yes. Humbling. Back in January, a delightful police officer *wink* gave me a traffic ticket on my way out of town for a conference. A conference in which I was the speaker. About the Bible. And God. And holiness. *sigh*

Anyway, my court date finally arrived in which I had the chance to explain "my side of the story." I pictured myself going before a huge man in a black robe, with shackles clanking at my ankles. It ended up being much less dramatic.

As I sat on a hard bench in a mostly brown courtroom with 200ish other traffic offenders, I started thinking. And then I started writing. So here they are, my ponderings from a courtroom...

clouds above the skyline--

floating quiet,

while I sit in a stale room

with faces looking forward.

waiting. waiting. waiting.

but He's here--

knowing each and every soul,

every tear that fell last night,

every fear that steals the peace.

I wonder how many know.

how many see?

how many look to You for life--

the Maker of the skyline?

I wish I could tell you that revival broke out amongst my fellow violators and we had church. But the magistrate was firm in her no-talking policy. So I settled for quiet musings with Him, praying that those beside me might be blessed by my conference notes laid open on my lap. The word does not return void.

And I know you are just dying to know the verdict. Well. I have to go back to court. Again. One day before another conference. Apparently the magistrate cannot hear defense. Though, I might add, she thinks I have a good one. So I'm on the books, still without shackles.

Bringing it home...

How has God shown up in the most unexpected of places?

OR, how have you been humbled lately? Oh, come on. We're all friends.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

is He leading you to do something radical?

My oldest drew this picture and she only wanted one thing, "for daddy to see it when he gets home."

(I admittedly didn't have to put this picture in the post, but I think it's adorable.)

My man was in Haiti last week on a medical mission trip. Doesn't he look handsome in his scrubs? And no. He's not a doctor. He's a firefighter.

He and a dear friend spent most of the week serving at a Cholera clinic with Samaritan's Purse. And they have many stories to tell from their time in this place-that-still-suffers.

But instead of speaking the details in this space, I want to encourage you with two truths by which God has encouraged me.

  1. God calls. He prompts. He pricks. He leads. As we delight in Him, He places desires upon our hearts. He sets His will in motion.

  2. He blesses obedience. When we follow His lead, stepping out in faith, He equips us in the call. He carries and sustains. He fills. He flows.

My man was called which began as a seed of desire. And then he was blessed last week as he "put his feet in the water" by faith. I was blessed in the watching.

In the end our God brought full circle that initial desire that He had laid upon my husband's heart, to His ultimate glory. And something about that amazes me.

Bringing it home...

Is He calling you to step out in radical faith? Oh, I would love to hear!

Let's follow His wild lead and come up under His blessing.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

being freed from the comparison rut

I can fall into a comparison rut if I'm not careful. If I do not diligently guard my heart ponderings, then my mind will entertains lies. And it can happen so quickly.

A click here, a post there, and before long I'm believing myself to be a horrible mom, an ungrateful wife, a bad dresser, with a frumpy house. Then I just want to eat. Chips or chocolate. Or both.

But that is not what He has for His children. If we set our gaze down here in search of our identity, then we will be left wanting. We will be left comparing.

If we look at those beside us to determine our worth, then the abundance He intended for our daily moments is stolen. And we bow out, surrendering to lies.

When I find myself in that place--holding me up next to another fallen person--there is only one way to freedom. I have to go back to what I know is true.

You, o Lord, are true. You have created me wonderfully unique, with meticulous purpose. You have good things for my today...and my tomorrow. Your love is a banner over my life. Your plans include blessing, even through the hard. Give me your vision. Forgive my discontent. I choose praise. I choose thanks. I choose to believe.

The winds then slowly change. A smile creeps onto my face. A song is churned. And I take His hand's invitation to dance.

Bringing it home...

How have you wrestled with the comparison?

How do you choose Truth rather than believe the lies?

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Friday, April 1, 2011

sometimes we need to do some shoutin'

I'm just a girl on the other side of your screen. Most likely we have never sat across from one another over a cup of tea, shared a good cry, or laughed until it turned to cackling. Though that would be AWESOME!

But I call you "friend" out of the overflow.

This crazy big God has put a love in my depths for you. He has placed this desire in me, that you and I would simultaneously look up and believe Him, adore Him, & praise Him.

Let's just have a little church in this space.

But there is an enemy. I know. It sounds like Sunday talk. But he is the father of lies. And if we are pursuing our Maker, then he knows our names. He knows our weaknesses. And he wants us bound to disbelief with a mind set on temporal things.

So this girl--on the other side of the screen--calls us forth today. Sometimes our soul's need a good talking to. We need to preach some Truth to ourselves and dare to take Him at His word.

Friend. He has that thing under His sovereign control. Peace is rightfully ours in Christ. Sometimes we need to do a little holy shoutin'.

Bringing it home...

Tell me. What promise from His Word are you standing on today?

Me? I'm believing that He is the "God who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did." (Romans 4:17)

And as Abraham, I want to be "fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." (Romans 4:21) If He said it, then it will indeed come to pass.

Sweet Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience is offering a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference.

This gathering is meant to inspire daughters of the King to seek Him first and then spill Him out onto other sister-friends, as He leads. Lord willing, I would love to attend. Would you?

She Speaks Conference

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

standing in front of the near-naked woman

We finished our trip to the grocery store in record time, without any potty breaks. Which, by the way, is a pure miracle. I wrestled the over sized, impossible-to-turn, racecar-cart into the check-out aisle, and there she stood.

Gorgeous. Curvy. Seductive. Near-naked. Air-brushed. Right at eye-level with my two young boys and my one impressionable girl--all three actively working-out "beauty" in their hearts and minds.

I had a mental moment imagining myself in slow motion diving over the cart obstrocity into the magazine stand speaking in a deep, slow voice, "nooooooo," in efforts to protect their precious eyes from images too mature.

I quickly snapped back into reality. And I breathed prayer to Him, "Father, guard their hearts. Blind their eyes to unnecessary things." Then I repositioned myself in front of her voluptuousness.

I think that's part of our call as parents. To be a buffer. To stand in the gap. To pray for their protection from falsity.

But then our call is to rest in the love of our great God.

Faith will be our place of victory. Trusting Him to be moving on behalf of His own, forever reigning over the details. Even in the grocery store check-out.

He is greater than any magazine cover. He is greater than any perversion that enters their sweet lives. He is worthy of our trust.

Bringing it home...

How have you seen the battle to keep your children "innocent" play out in your own life?

How goes your trust in your sovereign God?

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I let them color on the floor.

I let them color on the subfloor.

Cause sometimes I just need to play.

Rather than put out "fires," trying to control the fold.

And maybe, just maybe...

something I say...

is starting to stick.

To all you mamas and papas: keep on. Keep teaching. Keep sowing the seeds of faith--passing that baton to the next generation. Eventually, the seeds take root.

"These words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
when you walk by the way,
when you lie down, and when you rise up."

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Bringing it home...

Like me, do you have days where you wonder if anything is sinking in?

Will you share a time when you saw the "fruit of your labor" reflecting in your kids?

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