You Are.

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

Hebrews 1:3

 

You uphold everything with a word.  Everything.  With a word.

You are the glory of God.

You are the exact imprint of his nature.

 

You have been appointed the heir of all things.

The world was created by God through you.

You made purification for my sin.

Your name is more excellent than all of the angels.

Your throne is forever and ever.

The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

God has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.

You laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning.

The heavens are the work of your hands.

You will roll up the heavens like a robe.  Change them like a garment.

But you are the same.  Your years have no end.

 

From Hebrews Chapter 1

 

 A sermon that might reignite your prayer life: http://www.fcchudson.com/audio/2013/11/04/1194/

Gifts You’d Rather Not Open, But He’s Waiting…

When someone you love calls to tell you they’ve had 2 scans because of a spot on their chest and are in process of scheduling a third, the air seems to leave your chest and your gut ties itself in a not.

Or maybe that’s just me.  My mind has been a fog since.  One minute I’m reminding myself we don’t know anything definite and the next my chest caves in as I block out the picture of a world without her.  That world seems forever away and nearly impossible.

I just read a chapter in a book about fear of death and my pastor preached a sermon that included the same fear.  But that fear has a different face when the one wearing it doesn’t know Christ.

My quiet time today included these verses:

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Psalm 42:5-6 “Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you…”

Choosing life today, and choosing to remember You…
#74 Being able to love our little one through a messy night
#75 Phone minutes shared with friends
#76 Overage charges on the phone bill
#77  Candlelit worship
#78 The one who comes home to me every evening
#79 Communion
#80 Gray October days
#81 Hard phone calls
#82 Prayer
#83 Hope
#84 The Gospel
#85 The hardest one…that scary spot on her chest
Thank you, Lord, for these.

Mothers and Daughters

I am the mom of an almost 2-year-old daughter.  Have I mentioned that before? :)

This little girl loves to…
say hi to perfect strangers
give “moochies” to her favorite people
be talked to and loved on
wear beautiful dresses (which could be pants, shirts, sweaters, or actual dresses)
splash in the water
eat…especially chocolate
help with dishes and laundry and cooking
visit with friends
make conversation
dance

And I have the potential to squash it all.  To create insecurities in her that quench all of these desires.  One of these could be a gift that leads her to know God’s calling in her life in a deeper way.

In So Long Insecurity another mom makes a comment when she finds out she is going to have a daughter of her own: “A girl.  A girl.  Oh, man.  I’m going to have to deal with some of my stuff.”

When I knew we were having a girl one of the first things that occurred to me was to ask my husband to call me on looking at myself in the mirror or standing in front of my closet complaining about my weight or any other physical aspect of myself.  I don’t want her to grow up with a mom constantly talking about her weight or her dieting plans or her flabby arms or her too-big thighs or too small behind (though I’ve never found myself complaining about that one).  I want her to grow up healthy and to think less about how she looks according to this world and more about the condition of her heart.

I don’t want her to do an art project that receives praise from many people but criticism from few, and cling to the few.

I don’t want her to celebrate every milestone in life by going out to eat and nursing every wound by doing the same.  I don’t want her emotions to be tied to food.

I don’t want to criticize her every time she tries to help me with something so that she learns to despise keeping a home.

And I don’t want her looking for love or acceptance in dark traps because the light wasn’t on here with us.

“We must ask Him to bring forth the women in us that we didn’t even know we were-women of substance and confidence…”
(Beth Moore)
This is what I want.  To be this example for my daughter.  Not of perfection because I want her to learn honesty.  But when I do struggle I want her to know there is only One who can truly meet my needs, and hers.  To know that our confidence, our hope, our help, our security, our significance comes from Christ alone. Because we are both the daughters of the King.

I am so grateful for a husband who gives our child a loving vision of a father.  That his actions inside and outside our home would lead her toward Jesus.   But he isn’t perfect either.  And she’ll know that one day.  And I pray she will turn to the One who is.

I simply want  her to love God and to delight in His Word.  If she does the truth will be hidden in her always and when lies are fired at her she will be able to shield herself in the battle and retreat to safety when she needs rest.

Lord, make me a woman of substance and confidence, strength and dignity.  A woman who sets a good example for her daughter and any other young ladies that I might influence.  And please, may this sweet little girl you have placed in our home find her identity in You.

Where Is My Faith?

In the most recent chapter of What Women Fear I read this:

“We learn a great lesson by considering how Jesus lounged on the ship.  Those around Him knew he could perform miracles, but when it came down to trusting in miracles for their own lives, the trust wavered.  I see this more in my life; if someone is ill or fearful, I am the first one to encourage them to have faith.  But if it is me, I tend to believe He has fallen asleep.
At the heart of my fear is the burning question of whether or not I really matter to Him the way I want to believe I do.
I don’t doubt God created the heavens and the earth, nor do I doubt that he raised men from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father.  These are all big things for a big God.
But I am little in the hand of a big God and I fear He will not be able to make His fingers small enough to hold onto me.”
Angie Smith

I’ve written about this before.  The idea that I can believe that God’s Word is true, that He is who He says He is, but feel like it’s true for everyone but me.
And Angie writes the question Jesus asked the disciples on the boat in the middle of the storm, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25)

Where is my faith?

Is it in what I can accomplish?
Is it in how well I keep my house and play with my daughter?
Is it in how my husband responds to me?
Is it in the role I play at church?
Is it in the acceptance of my family?
Is it in my Bible study technique?
Is it in my friendships?

Often it is in all of these things.  I suppose that’s why I doubt.  I put my faith in people, in things, in appearances, and they always fall short.

“All…fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Somehow this seems to be a truth hard for me to latch onto as well.  I know that people fall short but I find them so much easier to trust at times.

I know the enemy lies.  He says, “Sure God did it for that person, but that doesn’t mean He’ll do it for you.”  So I manipulate and try to work things out in my own way.  Turns out I’m part of the “all who fall short.”

The truth is:
Today there is food on our table.
Today my husband has a job to go to.
Today we can pay the bills in our mailbox.
Today my husband is on his way home to us.
Every day I open His Word and learn something new about who God is, who Jesus is, who the Holy Spirit is, who I am.
Every day I know I belong to Him.
Every day I know I was a sinner who has been redeemed by Jesus.
Every day I know He is doing a new work in me.

These are all acts of God in my life.  Real tangible works that I see every day.  And still I have moments, sometimes days of doubt.  But, the Holy Spirit is working in me, opening my eyes to the truth and closing my ears to the lies.  And I know that if I keep listening His voice will be the one I recognize and the only one I respond to.

Lord, when every fear, every question, every past failure causes me to doubt you, remind me to cling to Your Word and to keep clinging until I see the Truth worked out…

 

 

One Friend…

“I am thankful for her too.  Without her I wouldn’t know Jesus!”

This is what I posted on a friend’s Facebook page today.  For some reason it jarred me.  It even brought tears to my eyes.

One person.  That was all it took to lead me to where I am now.

One person to invite me over after school.  To ask me to stay for dinner with her family.  To invite me to church.  To invite me to camp. To celebrate with me when I accepted Christ.

I remember her dad praying at dinner and thanking God that I was there with them.
I remember her mom singing in the kitchen practicing songs for church.
I remember when her brothers or sister would do something, get disciplined, and then get a hug and an I love you, just like on Full House.
I remember sometimes I couldn’t stay at her house very long because it was family night.

One person becoming my friend and now I have the hope of eternal life.  She introduced me to the One who would lead me through the hardest days of my life, the most joyful days, and the days where I simply had to choose to keep moving forward.

She moved right before middle school.  It was the first time I remember experiencing a loss that shattered my tiny world.  For a while we sent each other letters in the form of tapes as we recorded our voices and sent them back and forth.  We talked on the phone over the years.  We visited each other at times. Life changed.  We both moved forward.

Friendship was never easy for me.  Maybe that’s why it was so hard when she left.  But she left me with the most important and significant gift I’ve ever received.  She introduced me to the One who would always stay with me.  Who would never move and would always welcome me home.

I’m married now to a man who loves Jesus and longs to follow wherever He leads.  I stay at home with my little girl and sing songs that might turn her heart toward God.  I pray that she would be a child who loves others and leads them to Jesus.  That we might be a family that sets a desire for closeness with Christ in the hearts of others.

Whenever I think back on my journey as a believer it begins with her.  I can’t imagine walking through this life apart from my Lord and Savior, and I will be forever grateful.  And I hope that one day I might be that person for someone else.

May peace, blessing, and joy find their way to you today friend…

All You Need to Know You Can Learn From A Kindergartener…

I was talking with some kindergarten kids today about John 3:16.  As we talked about how Jesus died so that we could spend forever with God one little girl said:

“I was telling a kid at school today about Jesus.  He didn’t believe me.  He doesn’t believe in Jesus so I prayed for Him today.”

Oh how I love kindergarteners!  It didn’t matter what this little boy thought of her or what his response was.  She wasn’t caught up in spiritual laws or the right combination of verses or presenting the gospel in a culturally relevant way.  She was simply telling someone about Jesus.  He said no.  So she prayed for him.

Did this little girl fail?  Not at all!  She obeyed.  She did what God asks us all to do and what many of us are afraid to do.  Afraid of offending, afraid of being ill-equipped, afraid they will say no, afraid our relationship will change, afraid we’ll scare them away even more.  So what are we clinging to?  Our hope in Christ, His resurrection, and the promise of salvation and eternal life?  Or fear?

Kids teach me so much.  Maybe their lessons will start to stick one of these days…

Lord, may this little girl be bold enough to share you with anyone who will listen.  And would you allow her to see fruit from her obedience as she grows?  That she might grow up loving you, loving your word, and loving people into your kingdom.  

A Lingering Gift…

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  

So they gave a dinner for him there.  Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.  Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples (he who was about to betray Him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” ‘
John 12:1-5

“Jesus therefore came to Bethany…” He knew there was a plot to kill Him.  He knew He was nearing the end of His life on earth.  Trouble was waiting for Him in Jerusalem and before He walked into it He came here.  To Bethany.  To friends.  To the ones He wept with.  The ones who loved Him.

But the betrayer was there, lurking in this otherwise peaceful picture.  A reminder of what was to come.  Did Judas know yet what he would do as he considered the money being wasted on Jesus’ feet?

“Mary…anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet wit Her hair.”  Before Jesus went to Jerusalem He was able to rest with friends.  To be loved on.  To be well fed.  To be celebrated.  As Mary is bending at His feet, Jesus knows the gift. He wasn’t complaining about what was to come.  He wasn’t stewing in misery.  He wasn’t telling them about what He would have to endure.  He was reclining with Lazarus and being cared for by Mary.  What a precious moment to have before He entered His walk to the cross where He was:

arrested
questioned
beaten
mocked
crucified.

Just before all of this was one moment of

acceptance
belief
care
love
fellowship.

“The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  A lingering gift.  Grace to bask in before the crowds came.  A gift to carry as he entered His last days on earth.

Here is my offering of thanks today.  May it grow as I learn to smell the sweet perfume of daily grace…
#64 “Accidental” dinner date with a couple who can’t help but encourage and give life
#65  Inductive Bible study
#66 Another mom to read and grow with
#67 The delight my little one has with her sweet friend Caleb
#68 A growing husband…like a weed these days
#69 A day in a room filled with four-year-olds
#70 A quiet day after a day in a room filled with four-year-olds
#71 Heated seats in chilly October
#72 The possibility of potty training
#73 Gifts given without expectance
Thank you, Lord, for these…