Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
As I ponder life this past year, and losing you to cancer, I've thought of your influence in my life. Who knew that 10 years ago when you gifted me with the black leather journal, that my heart would find solace in the pages it held. That my mind would find the space to be calm. That my hand would record mistakes and lessons learned. Or that I would begin to find my identity in Christ. Your simple gift may not have seemed so profound then, but over the last 10 years it has propelled me on a journey closer towards my Savior.
And as I celebrate this first birthday without you, I can't help but ask "Did I show you Christ's love? Did you see Him in me?" And..."do you see me now...are you watching my life unfold as you sit near Him?"
I miss you and long to share my heart with you. But all I have to do is look around and I see the things your hands have crafted for me over the years. And I can look at who I am and see the legacy you've left behind in me. Parts of you are within me...my character, the way I love. I pray that that part of me never dies, that I can pass on those parts of you to my children one day. Thank you Grams for your influence upon my life. I love you and miss you today.
Love Your eldest grandchild,
P.S. A card just arrived when I got home. Grandpa lovingly sent me a card that you had made. Tears have come...I do miss you so very much! And I can still hear you say, just a few days before you passed "Your eyes are sparkling. You are so beautiful". Yes grams...what you hopefully saw was Christ in me...and now may you be seeing Him face-to-face.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Questions. Doubts. Thoughts. All tumble through my mind. Wondering when and where I lost sight of all that's important.
Struggling. Just like Peter, who had the faith to step out of the boat - because his eyes were on Jesus. And who sunk the moment he looked at the sights around him.
I've stopped looking at Jesus and have let others dictate my relationship with Him. Allowed them to measure if my faith was strong. Looked at the world for confirmation that I was doing alright. And as I did, my God-confidence faltered. I have been allowing others to determine my worth and have let their opinions of things to determine my security.
I know how wrong this is. And yet, instead of stopping it, I reverted to my old self and continued until I felt beaten down and broken.
And at the end of this brokenness, there He is. Arms open wide. Waiting with love.
As I settle into His loving embrace and turn my eyes back to THE Prize, peace envelops me. My faith rises and I desire only Him once again.
If I covet any place n earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Hebrews 11 is called the faith chapter. The Hall of Fame of Faith. And for good reasons. People like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah (had to look that one up on Judges 11), David, Samuel, and the prophets are all mentioned in this particular chapter. Quite the list! And as I was reading I began to wonder...what was it about each of them that caused their name to be associated with faith?
And then I cam across Hebrews 11:10 and the answer seemed to leap off the page and to my heart.
The key is their foundation!
Now I've heard it said, and yes I've even sung the song...mind you this is my summary of it...and I'm singing it as I write it...
The wise man built his house upon the rock; the foolish man built his house upon the sand, and when the winds came his house went SPLAT! (Based on Matthew 7:24-27)
I'll admit it though, I've thought "Yea ok, I'll build my house upon Christ." Got it. Check...just like I was checking it off my grocery list. I don't think I've ever let the truth and weight of it sink into my heart.
In viewing this truth in such a flippant way, I've caused serious damage to myself. When the storms came, I've fallen apart under their weight. My foundation was built by my own human hands and they were not strong enough to withstand the pressures of this world. And here I was thinking I my faith was so strong!
As the truth of real faith cut open my heart, God in His love has been disciplining me and redirecting me to just Who the author of a foundation of faith really is. Him! When He is the architect and builder, the pressures of this world fade away. Yes they try to tear apart the foundation but God's Sovereign hands hold it together and nothing, NOTHING, of this world can tear apart His handiwork.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. ~Hebrews 11:13
These people of faith stood strong even in the face of unfulfilled promises! They still trusted, believed, hoped and chose to put their faith in God. Their foundation was solid. Their lives were built by and upon Christ! Can I say the same?
As God tears down the foundation I built and builds His foundation in me, my questions is, in the end when faced with the possiblity of unfulfilled promises...will I still choose to trust and believe Him? I hope I can say yes, but really, if I'm honest with myself...will I really be able to say that?
God has placed promises in my heart, written them upon His foundation in my soul. If I never see them fulfilled, will I still have faith and hope as I take my last breath?
As I've been pondering this, God brought the answer.
And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth...they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. ~Hebrews 11:13-16
Since the people of faith in Hebrews 11 built their foundation upon Christ and not this world, their focus was not on the world, but on eternity. Instead of dwelling on the unfulfilled promises, their eyes were on the promises that God had awaiting them in heaven.
My eyes, instead of looking at the unfulfilled promises, need to be on eternity. Faith and hope are built up by Christ so that I may worship Him, not only here on earth, but for eternity. God does not build my life upon His foundation just so that I may have a wonderful, happy life on earth but so that I may praise, worship and glorify Him...now and forever. My life should not be lived for just the worldly promises. Yes, experiencing them is wonderful...but not my goal. The people listed in Hebrews 11 were marked for their faith and trust in God...no matter what, no matter the cost. I wish and hope that in the end, my life will be marked by a desire and faith to do what God asked of me...no matter the cost, even if it means leaving this world with unfulfilled promises. Let my eyes be fixed upon Him and what He has awaiting me in eternity, and let my foundation be marked by a faith in Him.
Monday, August 22, 2011
The empty storage unit that God provided within a half-hour of me asking for confirmation about whether this move was of Him or of me...yea...be careful what you pray/ask for...you just might get it...
And this is what a 2 bedroom apartment looks like in a 10x12 storage unit...yes...Tetris was my game when I was younger!
So here's to the beginning of a new adventure!
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
For some reason, these last couple of days I've been reminded of all the different seasons I've walked through. As I've pondered it all, I see God's hand in every single detail. From the times I lashed out at Him in anger to the times of sweet fellowship in His Presence. And I've been reminded that there is a season for everything...
Now I am in the middle of my physical summertime and it seems like a spiritual one as well. It's been a time where He is tearing down strongholds in my heart and mending them to suit His needs. He is lovingly teaching me what it means to be open and vulnerable, yet to hide behind His protective covering. He has also begun to show me even more His heart for people and has challenged me to actually act out that love rather than just go through the motions. This means the continual laying down of my own life for His sake. My eyes have to be upon Him. It is not easy...and it hurts. But there is such joy and peace as I do what He asks and as I bask in His Presence.
With each season is a lesson, and with each lesson a desire for more of Him (yes...even when I was angry at Him). I don't know what lies ahead...nor do I really desire to. My heart's desire is to obey Him, right now, in this moment, with the day He's given me. Seasons will come and go, but I can stand strong knowing that my God never changes. The seasons are for my benefit as they are meant to draw me closer to Him, to set eternity in my heart. May it be His glory that shines from my heart and my life all of my days.
Saturday, July 02, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Thursday, April 07, 2011
"Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness." Malachi 3:3
Everyone has an altar. It can be visible or invisible, holy or profane, elaborate or ordinary, but it's always there. It can be based on ideologies, dreams, or simple pleasures, but we can always find a foundation. We have to; everyone's life needs to revolve around something.
Because everyone has an altar, everyone brings offerings. Some people offer their bodies to people and pleasure. Others offer their minds to areas of study. Still others offer their emotions to a trend of the day or a relationship of the month. We can offer finances to gods of materialism and exploitation, time to gods of entertainment and apathy, and talents to gods of fame and fortune. We have no shortage of gifts to bring to our altars, because the world has no shortage of altars. All human beings are drawn to a cause, even if the cause is themselves.
Part of the Refiner's purpose is to get to the bottom of those causes and burn all of them away except one. That's why people often come to Christ when they're in the midst of a crisis or when they've lost everything they once thought mattered to them. In a world of false altars, the only way God can establish true praise in His people is to break down His rivals. His Word calls that 'refining'. We call it pain.
Yes, it's painful to live in this crucible. But before you despair, try this exercise: Offer your pain on the true altar. Bring all of your trials, your temptations, and your disappointments to God; place them on the altar and worship. Ask God to use every hard thing in your life to display something of His glory - in your sin, mercy; in your impossibilities, miracles; in your sickness, healing; in your turmoil, peace. Realize that every situation in your life is a platform for God to show something of Himself. In the end, the beauty of the metal will demonstrate the beauty of the Refiner.
"All along the Christian course, there must be set up altars to God on which you sacrifice yourself" - Alexander Maclaren
Friday, February 25, 2011
"Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds." -Thomas Benton Brooks
My devotional this morning was on Psalm 71 and it spoke of praising in the midst of trials. Some trials seem small...others overwhelming. Right now, I'm just struggling with insecurity and overcoming my need to please people. Work has been stressful (to say the least) and the demands have been high...more than I feel like I have the strength for. But thankfully it's not my strength I need to rely upon but His. And in the midst of all these demands and character trials...I WILL find ways to praise Him just as the devotional mentioned...
The psalmist is in the midst of a crisis. He needs rescuing. We don't know the exact trial he is going through, and it doesn't really matter. We know his response. Though he has enemies who conspire against him (v.10), he knows where to find help. His problem leads to praise.
God is looking for those who will worship Him not only in spirit and in truth - as Jesus says in John 4:23 - but also in crisis. He seeks those who can look beyond the clouds that threaten and hover over them to His radiance that thoroughly surrounds them. And when He finds them, He blesses them.
That's a difficult maturity for most Christians to learn. Our natural reaction in a trial is to flee, or to beg for relief. And we have plenty of biblical examples; asking God for deliverance is thoroughly recommended throughout the Word. But is there panic in the asking? Our weak souls are easily unnerved, but there's a better pose: We can praise God, knowing that when we call, He will answer. He may not answer exactly the way we expect - though often He does - but He will answer, and His answer will be good. We can count on that. Those who do will pray for deliverance not in a panic, but in a rock-solid trust. God will save. It's His nature.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, and He has commanded us to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6). The apostle who penned those instructions would know. He went through all sorts of trials and tribulations, and he always found God faithful. He and Silas were able to sing praises from the depths of a Philippian prison. We should be able to do the same.
God went to great lengths to redeem us and call us His children. He did not intend for us to live in anxiety, wondering where each new threat will drive us. He gave us eyes for His glory; we are to see Him in every circumstance. After all, seeing the resurrection beyond the shroud is what our faith is all about.