February 23, 2011 § 4 Comments
Last week I got a call from my sister. She was preparing a devotional talk for the inmates at a woman’s prison. She and several other women go to the jail to play basketball with the inmates and share Christ with them. She had a great idea about what to share, but needed some direction. So we began bouncing ideas around…Here is the general idea of her talk…
Everyone likes heroes. Little boys love super heroes. They are strong and tough. These heroes fight for what is right! Our society has lots of heroes. Sports heroes like A-Rod, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers who just won the Super Bowl. After 9-11 our society realized there are also everyday heroes. Firefighters, police men and women, EMT’s all who willingly laid down their lives for the sake of others.
Do you have a hero? What if someone came into this jail today and told you that he would serve the rest of your sentence? So that you can go free now. Would he be a hero to you?
I have a sentence against me. The Bible says, “the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) eternal separation from God. That is what I have earned for doing things that do not please God. But God sent His son Jesus, my hero. He took my sentence for me so that I can live in heaven with God forever! “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
I have a hero, and His name is Jesus. Do you want to know Him as your hero? Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Powerful stuff isn’t it? Jesus our SUPER HERO, our sentence bearer, God wrapped in flesh, died to make us His adopted children. It still amazes me. I pray I will never get tired of hearing this news and that each time I hear it, I will be more and more amazed by it.
Is Jesus your hero? Tell me what He is doing in your life or how He is amazing you. Have you asked Jesus to be your hero (or Savior)? Please consider praying this prayer:
Dear God, I know that I am a helpless sinner. Your word tells me that I have earned death – eternal separation from You – for the choices I have made that are not pleasing to you. Please forgive me for my sins. I thank You for sending Jesus to take my sentence so that I can live with You forever. I accept His offer to be my Hero, my Savior, my Lord. I give You my life from now on. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
Now tell someone that you made this step of faith. Share it here so I can be praying for and with you.
February 20, 2011 § 9 Comments
My soul feels raw.
As if it had been drug down a carpeted hall at break-neck speed.
that hurts, hints, points and practically begs to be noticed…
Oh, but I am too busy.
Want to read the rest? It is over at (in)courage. I have the honor of being one of their daily guests today. Please hop on over there to read the rest and leave a comment for me…This is a big deal for me. I appreciate your support.
Have a BLESSED day today!
February 16, 2011 § 6 Comments
“EWWWWWWWW…MOOOOOOMMMMMYYYYY, J pooped,” her voice shakes the paintings on the walls as she flees her brother’s presence.
“J we don’t want to play with you when you stink,” his other sister chimes in with the painful truth. I wince to hear her shun her brother. Oh, but I understand why. In fact there is a part of me that wants to shoo the offender and the odor out the door. It is nasty.
The smell permeates the room, paint peels, the smell discolors the carpet (ok I exaggerate, but the smell does stick around for a long time). In fact it hangs in the air long after the diaper has been changed.
As I changed my son today, it hit me. Sin is so nasty, so stinky, so disgusting that God cannot have it in his presence. But it is the sin not the sinner He shuns. God doesn’t say stay away from the sinner with the poopy diaper. No, instead like a mother changing a nasty filthy diaper, God calls us near to Him. He draws us close and uses His Son’s blood to cleanse us. Just as we put a clean diaper on our child, God wraps us with His grace and love.
However the sin smell can linger. We humans don’t like the messiness of it all. We like nice explainable packages and clean good smelling people. So as my daughters did, we point our fingers, shun the sinner, and fail to extend grace.
When we remember that we have stinky poopy diapers and are in desperate need of grace, we are free to offer grace extravagantly to others. We can sit with our friend who has confessed their sin, the smell still hanging in the air, their rears chaffed by the rash it has caused, and we can love them through the pain. We can do this because we are painfully aware that without Christ our sin would still be filling our pants, the smell permeating our skin. Our offer of grace does not remove the consequences of their sin, it only reminds them that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. It only echoes God’s response to us when we run to Him saying, “I pooped again. Change me please.” Amazingly God never runs out of Christ’s blood in which to cleanse us nor does He run out of grace in which to wrap us.
Oh the amazing love of Our Father. That we as cleansed and redeemed sons and daughters would extend His amazing grace to others!
Is grace difficult for you to share with others? What are your thoughts about God’s grace? I can’t wait to hear what you think. Jump in and leave a comment!
Now for your enjoyment a little silliness…This video always makes me smile…
February 11, 2011 § 2 Comments
We open our hearts to one another. Share the hard things. The stuff that we struggle with. The things that leave our souls raw. The things we know are not quite right, but are not sure how to change. Some of the raw places are of our own making and others are wounds caused by the clash of our soul against another. She wonders how? How can I change this? How can this stop being a repeated dissonant chord in her relationship?
Her story reminds me of a similar chord I have longed to stop hearing in my relationships. So I tell her my story of how the dissonant chord was partly of my own making. How changing my reaction to the note he played made the chord harmonious instead. I had a choice to trust God and play the note He called me to play or the note my heart longed to play. My story told of the wrestling in my spirit and working it out the raw painful choosing of His note over mine. Yet choosing His note, changed the melody completely. As I obediently and unwillingly played the note my Father called me to play, his notes began to change too. Suddenly the chaos than ugly tune we were playing through our own raw reactions was transformed by God. As if joined by the Holy trinity itself, the tune began to work, healing and redemption followed. It was how God showed me to stop repeating that dissonant chord.
My story finished, just a story of how God changed me – a hopeless, helpless, rebellious, and sin-diseased woman – and help me make beautiful music in my relationships. She listened to my story, but not sure if my story could work in her story. Uneasy and unready to accept that maybe God was ready to change her that way too. She said thank you and waited. Waited to meditate, pray over, and decide. Is this what God is calling me to do?
Later she called and thanked me. Not because I am some amazing example to follow, but because my story shed light on a way to make the chords in her relationships more harmonious. She was able to see a new way, a new choice that she was unable to see before.
Grace-full accountability. Filled with knowing we all need God’s grace and it is only by His grace any of us are able to choose to play His notes and not our own.
What are your thoughts about this kind of accountability? I would love to hear from you. Grace and Blessings to you all!
August 30, 2010 § 2 Comments
I hate to admit it, but I am ungrateful. Often I do not appreciate how hard my husband works, nor do I thank my children when they are kind to each other or pick up after themselves. No, I expect those behaviors. I expect as part of our marriage contract that my husband works outside the home so that I can work inside the home. I expect my children to do what I tell them, but I do not give them an incentive nor show appreciation when they try hard. I often look over the things done well to the next thing we need to tackle. It is as if I have a check-list in my head, now that we are not bickering, check, lets move on to picking up after ourselves. Instead of basking in the glory that is an hour or two without fighting or arguing among the siblings in my house. When it comes to my husband I may think, “Wow, he is doing a great job taking out the trash. Now if only I could get him to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Check.” I say, to myself, “Yes he did a great job, but there is still work to do.” I miss out on honoring and praising my family, in the midst of my check-list, my schedule, my plans.
I do it to God as well. Sure Jesus died on the cross to save me. Yes, I was a hopeless, helpless sinner and He made a way for me to live forever with God. So He died when I was His enemy and He calls me to draw me near to Him. God made a way for me to have an eternal hope. Yeah, but… It is so crazy that I am not on my face, beating my chest, every day saying, “Thank you for dying for a wretch like me.” Instead I have myself convinced that I am doing God a favor. I am writing this blog to spread His word, I am teaching Sunday School to fifth and sixth graders, I am teaching my kids about God. I pray and read God’s word. Oh, but I miss being grateful that God sent His Son to die for a wretched, blind, bull-headed woman like me.
1 Peter 1:6 says, “In this you greatly rejoice…” The “this” is the living hope we have in Jesus. It includes the “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance” we have in heaven AND the “power of God” that is currently protecting those who know Jesus as their personal Savior. We have a future hope and a present protection even if we are currently facing storms in our lives. So my question is, “Am I GREATLY rejoicing in my hope of heaven and the protection God is giving me?” Or am I ungrateful for the work Jesus did on the cross? Am I satisfied with thinking I can do favors for God or am I rejoicing that He uses me in His eternal plan?
Father God forgive me for being ungrateful. Forgive me for taking the cross for granted. Forgive me for thinking that I can do You a favor. Please fill my heart with wonder and rejoicing at what Jesus did for me on the cross. May my life be an outpouring of humble gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.
April 9, 2010 § 1 Comment
Have you ever thought, “God, You want ME to do THAT?! I mean seriously, God isn’t there something bigger, greater, better for me to do? You really mean for those other people to do that, not me. I’m in management.” How often have you walked away from an opportunity God has placed before you because it wasn’t how you planned it. You deserve better so why should God call you to help clean up trash or wash dishes or mow lawns or sweep floors. You have gifts.
It reminds me of Naaman the commander of King Aram’s army. You can find this story in 2Kings 5. He was a leper and desperate for healing. You know leprosy that skin disease that could eventually get to the point where your skin is literally falling off your muscle and bones. This powerful man couldn’t do anything to heal himself, he was most likely desperate. I am guessing he tried every herbal remedy, diet change, and medicine that was available to him. He was important to King Aram so I am sure he provided him with all the means necessary to try to rid himself of this disease, but it hadn’t worked. He may have even felt hopeless. We don’t know, but wouldn’t you? What we do know is that he was willing to listen to his young Israelite slave girl he had kidnapped during one of the raids on Israel. She told him about Elisha, the prophet in Samaria who could heal him. So he talks to King Aram saddles up with lots of gifts and heads out to find this prophet. When Elisha doesn’t even come to meet him, but sends a servant out with a message, Naaman is offended. In fact in the message he is told to wash seven times in the Jordan River. So know he is more than offended, he is ANGRY! ME, Naaman, commander of King Aram’s army, wash in the dirty stinky old Jordan? You have to be kidding me! However once he submits he is healed!
What are we refusing to do in our lives that may allow healing to flow? What are our Jordans? Are there people we need to forgive? Is it just having that servant spirit like Jesus and meeting peoples needs right where they are? What healing may flow to us if we humble ourselves and submit to God’s direction even when it seems like a little thing? What may God be preparing us for if we are faithful in the little things?
Oh Father God, may I be willing to lay down my best laid plans and be a servant like Jesus. Lord help me to follow Your plans for my life even if it means washing feet. Lord may I walk in humility with You and serve others as You did. May I lay down my pride, and be willing to bathe in my Jordan so that You can fully heal my life from the disease of sin. Father thank You for Your Son’s sacrifice and example. Please, make me more like Him.
March 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
So my seven year old has a new mantra…”I hate sin and I wish I never sinned.” I try to assure her that I feel the same way, but God continues to forgive. Isn’t that amazing? That even though we mess up over and over. Many times in the exact same way, He forgives us!!!
Then there are those Israelites. I hate to admit it, but I am so much like them…They rebel against God, they receive punishment, they cry out for help, God rescues them, they obey for a while, then they rebel again. From my perspective, it is hard to believe that God is patient with these chosen people, these children of God. Seriously the first census at the beginning of Numbers and the second one at the end of Numbers tell us the story clearly…The total number of Israelites after they left Egypt was 603,550. However over 40 years later at the end of Moses’ life and before they enter the promised land there were only 601,730. Why were there fewer Israelites? They rebelled and God punished that rebellion.
Clearly this people was not purposeful in reminding their children much less themselves of what God did for them. Do you really think that if they taught their kids and reminded themselves that God brought them out of Egypt through miraculous plagues that they would rebel? In fact they practically plundered Egypt as the final plague caused the Egyptians to beg the Israelites to leave and “here take whatever you want as long as you go.” What are we thinking when we don’t remind ourselves what God has done for us? What are we thinking when we don’t tell our kids, our friends, our neighbors, our families what God is doing in our lives? Or is it that we just don’t always see God when He moves in our lives? Have we become that spiritually blind that we don’t even acknowledge God when things happen? Honestly, is it just a weird coincidence or was it God? We are so ready to say it just happens that way, but most likely it was/is God!
So bottom line…I am thinking the Israelites in the desert have taught me about God’s forgiveness. He is merciful above and beyond what we deserve! They have also taught me that I need to talk about God in my life. I need to be willing to share my difficulties so that others can glory in what God did/has done for me. All of that talking and living so that God’s name is glorified. I need to talk about God and what He is doing now so that God is relevant to those around me. We so often see God in the Bible, but forget that the same God is working NOW!