February 8, 2011 § 10 Comments
My eyes pricked with tears – tears seem to come frequently – as I choked out the words to the song. Grateful, humbling, overwhelming tears. The kind that come from deep joy, deep sorrow, and the awe of amazing grace. The joy that God would save me, the sorrow that my sin would cost Him so much, and the awe that He gave it all for me. How Deep the Father’s Love for Us we sang while taking the bread and the cup. Reminders of what He did for us. His body broken, His blood shed, to make “a wretch His treasure.”
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
As we sang, my sweet E, not yet eight-years-old, leaned in close.
“Mommy,” she whispered, her face bright and smile snaggletoothed, “my heart is on fire with joy.”
Through the tears I manage my own smile, my heart full as if God Himself had overfilled it, “Me too,” I barely choke. “Me too.”
Again I am humbled by the profound words my sweet girl utters. My heart on fire with joy…Joy that ignites my heart. Fire that burns away the pain of longing, regret. As Nehemiah says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Neh. 8:10) We often forget that our strength lies in finding joy in God. Finding joy in the Lord leads us to live according to His word. Finding joy in the Lord leads us to live a life of love and grace. Finding joy in the Lord means our joy is not based on human experience, capricious feelings, or others’ choices. No our joy is found in Him who “does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1: 17)
Is your joy founded in the Lord today? Is your heart on fire with joy that He alone brings? Share the joy that has your heart right now. I can’t wait to hear about it.
August 20, 2010 § 2 Comments
I am weird. No really I am. I like Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings. I enjoy basketball, football, and reading. I love Jane Austen books and have read some of them 3 times or more. I appreciate the movies based on the books. I am a kindred spirit of Anne of Green Gables, but I also dig the Matrix. The human body awes and amazes me. I feel God’s smile when I sing, speak, and write all about God. I hunger and thirst after God’s word. The things I enjoy do not seem like they should fit into one person. I can’t help myself. Diversity is good right? However diversity in the things I enjoy can result in me being a scatter-brained mess. I struggle pinpointing my Spiritual gifts or my personality. What does God want to do with a crazy, Trekie who loves Jayhawk Basketball, enjoys a great Jane Austen novel, and studying her Bible? How do you figure that out?
Well, I cam across something AMAZING last night in my Bible reading. Judah is under siege by the Babylonians. Most of Judah has already been taken into captivity and the final hold outs are still in Jerusalem, still refusing to obey God by surrendering to the Babylonians. However, God in His amazing patience tells them what is going to happen after He banishes them. Jeremiah 32:37-39 says, “I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in My furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.” So God, dealing with these crazy sin-loving Israelites – these people he likens to prostitutes – relents. He doesn’t punish beyond measure or out of the ordinary. No, God calls them His people, but even more He gives them Singleness of Heart and Action. Oh that I would allow God’s Holy Spirit to give me singleness of Heart and Action. This singleness doesn’t mean that I have to only like football and stop reading Jane Austen. I don’t have to give up singing to speak or speaking to write. No! It means that God is going to make my purpose and direction into something that brings me more in love and in awe of God. Then I can make an impact on the next generation. God doesn’t only want me to draw near to Him for my sake, but for the sake of those coming after me. He also says this fear will also result in good for both me and those who are coming after me.
God’s singleness of heart and action results in my fearing, loving, being in right relationship with Him AND it results is good for me. It also affects those around me. O Father God, I pray that I would have the kind of singleness of heart and action that draws me closer to You and draws others closer as well. Father I desire, through all the crazy things I enjoy, to honor and fear You. May my relationship with You draw others to fear You and find Your goodness. Thank You Father God that You use a sinner, football loving, Jayhawk cheering, girl like me. Amen.
If God can use a crazy woman like me, I bet He can use you too. What is it He is calling you to do to draw others nearer to Him? I’d love to know so I can pray for you!
April 24, 2010 § 1 Comment
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” How painfully true this statement often is in my life. Have you ever known in your head something to be true or logical, but your heart kept telling you different. It is like when you were a kid and you started singing, “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m going to eat some worms.” When something happened that you didn’t like at home or at school. Your brain was telling you, “look you are liked, your parents like you, your friends like you, even your sister likes you (most of the time), and God, well, He loves you ALL of the time.” However your heart kept saying, “Nobody likes me.” Oh or “Nobody understands me.” When we let our hearts have free reign our minds lose the battle for control.
We spiral down the woe is me slide until we come face to face with depression or something like it. The world tells us to listen to our hearts, but God says they are SICK. They can’t make up their minds, they are deceitful…They lie. Our emotions sometimes lie to us. They tell us that what feels good is good. They convince us that we deserve better or we are entitled to something that isn’t in God’s plan for us. We often put our minds in neutral and give our hearts the reign. The problem?! Well, God says our hearts are deceitful. So when hard times come, if we consult our hearts they often tell us to run when God tells us to stay. Our hearts may even tell us that God doesn’t care or listen when our minds tell us that God loves us proved it by sending His Son. Our hearts may twist God’s word to confuse us.
So what do we do with our lying deceitful hearts? We tell them the truth and cling to it no matter what. You heart is telling you that you can’t trust God? Tell it, “God’s lovingkindness is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.” Ps 103:17 Your heart says this marriage is too hard, I don’t love him/her any more. Tell it, “Love is patient, love is kind…” 1Cor 13 Your heart says God doesn’t love you! Tell it, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
You see our mind can win the battle over our deceitful hearts, if we fill our minds with God’s word. What are you filling your mind with? Is it junk that is wasting your space? Is it listening to the lies our hearts try to tell us? Or are you filling your minds with God’s word? Are you arming yourself with the “sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God?” Or are you coming to the battlefield without a weapon? Oh Father, that I would be prepared for the battles within me. That I would know and LOVE Your word so much that I would feast on it. That Your word would be the air I breathe in and the words I speak out. Father, through Your Spirit, and by Your word may I struggle against the lies from my heart so that I may please You in all I do.