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 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.
January 5, 2011 § 7 Comments
Nearly three years my quiet time was revolutionized when I was introduced to the Chronological Bible at a ladies retreat. It is a Bible that puts the Biblical account into chronological order and then into daily readings for each day of the year. For example January 1 the reading is Genesis 1:1-3:24.
Since the Biblical account is given in chronological order, when I read yesterday about Noah from Genesis, I also read some of the verses in 1 Chronicles that mention Noah’s genealogy. When I read about David hiding from Saul in a cave, I also read the Psalms he likely wrote in that cave.
This allows me to read through the Bible every year and I get such a great perspective of what and when God did things. I am seeing His hand and His story in more detail. I am more in love with His word than ever because reading this Bible helps me put the pieces together. Also Iva May does blog full of daily questions and commentary to consider over each of these readings. Her blog site is: http://www.ivamaystories.blogspot.com/
All that to say I HIGHLY recommend the Chronological Bible. It comes in different versions, so look around to find your favorite one.
Also I am throwing out a challenge. I have not been the best at memorizing scripture until I found someone in the last year or so to hold me accountable. Now that I have that person, I want to help others by being that person. I am also feeling compelled to memorize longer portions of scripture. Again, not because I am so cool, but because I am so needy of the word! Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (NAS) Without His word treasured or hidden in my heart I am certainly going to sin. I need more of Him and more of His grace. As I have been memorizing I am able to breathe grace in and out. I am able to accept grace for myself and give grace to others. Oh, but without His word, I am desperate.
So I am memorizing the book of James. I have finished the first chapter. I would like to have the whole book done by June. Can you help keep me accountable? If you tell me what you are memorizing, I will help keep you accountable.
I can’t wait to see where God is going to take us this year! May God bless the time you spend with Him. Praying, Reading, and Memorizing!
August 18, 2010 § 2 Comments
Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”
I am in a season of change. I often feel like nothing will be the same and I honestly am not sure I like it. Do not getme wrong, most of my changes are good ones. Some however are not so good. All change for me is scary. I prefer to keep things the same. I am comfortable there, I even find comfort in the slimy, miry pit that God has rescued me from. Sometimes I start making my pit homey. I add my pictures to the walls as I cling to the things of this earth for my comfort. I get satisfied with life that is less than victorious. LIfe that is not full of purpose or meaning for eternity, but life that is comfortable.
I am thankful that God doesn’t leave me like that, in the miry pit decorating muddy walls. Instead He rescues me from myself. There are times He shakes my world. He changes the road I pictured long and straight takes a sudden bend. I call out to Him and He rescues me from my pit. However life outside the pit is now on a firm rock. I love it, but I also fear it. On this rock I do not have my comfortable sin. I have firm places to set me feet sure, but the sun is also brighter out here. It hurts my eyes. I have to be willing to let go of that past. Let go of the sin or just the way things used to be, so I can cling to the Rock. Jesus.
The amazing thing to me is that once I truly let go and accept the change God is doing in my life or circumstances, He does put a new song in my mouth. Can you see the psalmist and me? We are in the pit we are crying to get out, but once change occurs I struggle at first. God puts me on a rock, then gives me firm places to step. The journey isn’t over from the pit to the rock. It has just begun. As I walk in that change and accept the change from the pit to the rock, God changes my heart. He puts this song of praise in my mouth. Why a song of praise? First because God deserves the credit for rescuing me, changing me, bringing me a firm purpose and direction. Second because I need Him to remind me He deserves the praise. Honestly, it is easy for me to claim the praise for myself. I want to think I pulled myself from that pit, I figured out which rock to stand one, and I have discovered the firm paths. In reality it is God. God rescues me from the pit of my sin, my circumstances that are holding me back, and even myself. Finally God puts this song of praise in my mouth so others hear.
Yes I said others hear. I realize not everyone sings on key. The song is a metaphor for the praises God deserves from us. Did God work out circumstances so that you got the job you currently have? Praise Him. Has God freed you from addiction? Praise Jesus. Has God worked in ways only He could to provide you with money and groceries. Thank God. However the next line in Psalm 40:3 is quite important. God isn’t asking us to praise Him in the shower or in our hearts, He is asking us to do it out loud so others can hear. He is asking that we tell our stories. The stories where God did amazing things like rescuing us from the pit of ourselves, from the pit of addiction, from the pit of complacency. When we do share those stories the end of Psalm 40:3 says, “Many will see, and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” Our stories of change, of pit rescues, of redemption, even of victory through painful times, can help others put their trust in God.
Father, help me to sing a song of praise to You that others will put their trust in You. Amen
July 20, 2010 § 3 Comments
Envision a bright, sunny, winter day. Snow is on the ground, and the sun creates a magnificently brilliant, and blinding glare. That is the day this idea came to me. I was walking between classes at college, without my sunglasses on, and God seemed to tell me. “The reason you can’t look at My holiness, and My glory is that you are not wearing your Son-glasses. That is why the world didn’t recognize Jesus as God when He came to earth. They weren’t wearing their shades” Only through the lenses of God’s Son, Jesus, can we hope to “see” God. Ezekiel 1:27 mentions a vision of Jesus on his throne, and says that “brilliant light surrounded him.” God is that amazing! God’s glory is brilliant, too brilliant for our human eyes to see. That is why Moses only got to see God’s back. (Exodus 33:12-27). Only through the redeeming blood of our Savior, Jesus; only through the Son-glasses of salvation can we see God.
The thing is that we often think we are smart enough to put on our “Son-glasses.” That somehow, we had something to do with finding salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” The first “that” in the verse is referring to our faith, not God’s grace. So our faith is THE gift of God. If our faith itself comes from God, then how can we say, I am better or smarter than those who don’t choose God? No we are all in need of grace. At some point we are all deceived by sin. We are blessed to accept Jesus, not smart enough. Yes, God in His sovereignty allows choice some how, don’t ask me how. The point is that we need to be gracious to those who don’t know God. We need to show them how salvation affects our daily lives; how we live out our salvation in all we say and do. They don’t need condemnation. They don’t need a watered down version of the truth. They need to see God’s kindness which leads them to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
Oh, that I would live a life full of God’s kindness. That I would live a life viewed through the Son-glasses of salvation so I can be intimate with God. As I view life through those wonderful, grace given, Son-glasses, I pray my heart and my perspective will change to be more like God’s.
Now are you wearing your shades?
March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
Here is a poem I wrote dated 6-20-2002
You cried for me that day.
You cried for my waywardness.
You cried for my pain.
You thought of me and You cried.
You prayed for me that day.
You prayed for strength.
You prayed against temptation.
You thought of me and You prayed.
You died for me that day.
You died for my sins.
You died for my freedom.
You thought of me and You died.
You rose for me that day.
You rose for victory.
You rose for reconciliation.
You thought of me and You rose.
You ascended for me that day.
You ascended to prepare for me.
You ascended to send Your Spirit.
You thought of me and You ascended.