The Day is Coming

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There are things I wish I could change in my life and in my friends’ and family’s lives, things that, barring a miracle, will not change. My son has a disability. He has come so far and yet I ache to see what he still struggles with, and how down he gets on himself when he just can’t do better, when other kids are downright awful to him or even physically abusive. It would be too much except for this incredible promise God has made…

 

“Behold, I am making all things new…” (Is 43:19, Rev 21:5)

 

When Jesus rose from the dead, He was our first glimpse of the renewal of everything. His body could no longer suffer or even be constrained by walls or gravity. And yet he could touch and be touched, he could eat. God is going to swallow up death and decay and autism and cancer and depression and loneliness and even stubbed toes in glory and peace. There will be no more suffering. The lion will lay down with the lamb – there will be no more bullies. The malicious will have no place in the new creation, when Jesus returns and puts an end to darkness.

The Day is coming! It may even be today!

Hallelujah! He is risen! He is risen indeed! And death’s days are numbered. Take a moment today to dwell on the promise, to drink it in, to praise Him in hope of what is to come!

Thank You Lord for this incredible, unassailable hope! Today, transform each of us by it, cause us to pause and lay down our aches and burdens at your feet and rejoice that You will not leave things as they are. That renewal is coming. Strengthen our faith as we wait on You. And Lord, please lighten our loads of grief even now. In Jesus Name,

AMEN!

A Daughter, Not a Beggar

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“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

This morning during my time of prayer I was longing for something to give to my friends – a word of encouragement or a prayer- to help them along in their day. Over the years I have learned that when I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in how to pray, there is power; my own advice or encouragement toward others may be nice enough, but it’s nothing compared to that BOOM of when God speaks just what someone else needs to hear at the moment they need it. And there are so many I know who need that BOOM right now.

But as I came to Him in prayer today, something interesting happened. In my mind’s eye I saw myself as a beggar, a slave before Him. I was face down, shabbily dressed, hands out, asking for something to give to others for His sake and trembling as though He might just as likely chase me away as give me a crumb. In that moment I realized that something was wrong with my understanding of Him, and of who I am in Jesus. Almost in interruption to this first picture, the Spirit seemed to break into my mind, into my heart, and give me a new picture: I was a daughter, not dressed in rags but in a beautiful dress, running happily to my Father and jumping up on His knee, excitedly asking Him for something of His to share with the world that He loves so much. And He gladly gives it.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

How do you see yourself before God? Are you His child? A slave? A friend, distant acquaintance, an outcast? Do you see Him as far away and untouchable or intimately close? How would you like to see Him? Take some time and ask the Lord to guide you today into a true understanding of Who He is and who you are in His eyes!

Lord, lead us into a fuller understanding of Your love and intimate care toward us, so that we can walk as your sons and daughters in full confidence of Your love and nearness and acceptance of us!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Come Together…

 

Come together.jpg
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“’Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’”
Mark 3:33-34

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

 

In case you missed this post, I’ve taken up the challenge of praying for my church every day for 30 days. Today is day 25, and the change this discipline has made in my attitude is dramatic. It renews my love every day as a necessary kind of maintenance. We live (in the well-written words of a friend of mine) “in the land of shiny things” where a myriad of things grab at our attention and our affection. To continue in love for a person, or a church, or Jesus Himself seems to require this daily discipline of concentrated love and focus.

A great, and I suppose not surprising side effect of this discipline has been the insights that the Lord sometimes gives during prayer – this isn’t a one-way street. Today He made me aware of the depth and value and power of a church community. Jesus said that those who do God’s will are His family. And in the days and culture where He walked the earth, family was everything. A person’s entire financial, physical and social well being were dependent on belonging to a family, so for Him to make such a statement would have meant much more to his contemporary hearers than it may to us today.

It made me think. When I look around the building on Sunday morning, do I see people with that same deep affinity and affection, with a sense of mutual reliance? Do I see them as integral to my spiritual life? Or are they just acquaintances and a few friends? Today it was impressed on my heart that we need each other, and that the presence of His Spirit in each of us ties us together with a bond even deeper than blood.

In Mark chapter 3 Jesus called some of His followers to be apostles, and remarkably some, to all appearances, had nothing to do with each other: Levi was a tax collector – a Jew that worked for the Roman government (and was therefore considered a vile traitor by his people), and Simon the Zealot who was among those calling Israel to violently overthrow the Roman rulers! Imagine them sitting in a room together. And yet Jesus called each of them to not only follow Him, but be among His closest companions and those entrusted with spreading the Gospel.

Man looks on the outward, but God looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Not only are we called to simply be kind to each other, we are called to serve the Lord side by side with our whole hearts, knowing that His work to redeem and renew, to bring the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven is the greatest value of all and that anyone laboring with us toward God’s ends is our “brother and mother and sister.”

Ask the Lord today – who have you ignored, overlooked, or refused to interact with that He has accepted and called His son or daughter?

 

 

 

 

It’s Supernatural

Photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash

 

You don’t know how much you love peace and quiet until it’s a limited commodity. Or just how cranky you can be without it.

We’ve come to the end of the summer break, and while the kids and I had a great time together, there was also the Bickering. The she-put-her-toe-on-my-bed and he-won’t-stop-telling-me-a-story-even-though-I-was-ignoring-him (yes, that happened).

One of my offspring has also entered a phase where every infraction and offense MUST BE YELLED ABOUT SO EVEN THE NEIGHBORS KNOW HOW ANGRY AND OFFENDED s/he is.

😱😱😱

God help me, I hate the grouch I have become!

After lunchtime one particularly taxing day, I gave the kids some books, sequestered myself in my room, and aired all of my frustration and grief to the Lord. And in the silence that followed, I was reminded of a verse.

 

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Gal 5:16

 

I am not a slave to my tired, cranky flesh. I have the Spirit of God in me, the Spirit whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience (yes please!), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (oh, that…), and self control. (Galatians 5:22) I don’t have to rummage around in my tired soul to muster those qualities – He displays them through me. All I have to do is surrender my anger (the hard part) and invite Him into all of my moments, knowing and trusting that He is enough where I am not. Just spending moments in His presence, being still, He transforms my heart to be like His. It’s really amazing – I walk out of that time with Him gracious, patient, genuinely interested in others and no longer burdened by my mood. No longer IN a bad mood.

It’s supernatural. It’s His life in me. And it’s the only way!

What’s your mood right now? What do you need to surrender to Him? Spend a couple of minutes in prayer and invite Him to do that transformation in your heart too.

 

Where There is Water…

 

I noticed this old spigot in my driveway and it made me laugh. But then it got me thinking how life grows wherever there is water. Seeds are out there just waiting to sprout wherever they find moisture.

It made me think of how the enemy tries to make a desert in our souls, lying to us, distracting us and others from seeking God and His truth. No water, no life. But through prayer his efforts are blocked and the Spirit can bring flourishing. New growth can happen in those around us and in us — in the whole world!

God doesn’t need our help to bring about His good will on earth, and yet He has commanded us, called us, to pray. He’s entrusted us with the prayer “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10) and for some reason – by His design – it matters that we are praying it. It is His way of bringing the rain.

Join me in praying today:

Lord, use us in prayer to bring Your flourishing, to bring water to the spiritual desert around us so that life might grow even in the unlikely places! Show us where You are at work around us in hearts and circumstances and move us to bring the “Amen” to Your plans and purposes! Your ways are good and we’re so glad to be part of Your work.

In Jesus Name, Amen!