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 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.
February 4, 2011 § 13 Comments
The tears started to flow. I felt terrible. I had forgotten. The full parking lot told the story.
TODAY WAS MOMS AND MUFFINS!
The day when I am supposed to get up early and get the kids to school early so we can eat muffins or donuts and hang out together. I had completely forgotten.
I had excuses…Ranging from it was originally scheduled for Thursday, it is always on a Thursday – the snow and ice earlier this week had caused it to be rescheduled – to I have too much to do today – drivers license renewed, police report to get from the fence incident earlier this week, and and and. The the excuses rang hollow when I saw the tears in my girls’ eyes. We HAD to go.
So I swallowed my mommy pride, tucked my tail and made a mad dash for the building while avoiding icy patches so we wouldn’t fall. I felt terrible as morning assembly had just started and instead of sending my girls to their teachers to take part in the assembly we ran to the lunch tables to eat together. The thing is that I did make it. We got to eat muffins and donuts. It was brief, but it was also God’s perfect timing…WHY?
One of L’s little friends came in to school. Neither of her parents realized it was Moms and Muffins and so she was in tears because she didn’t get a muffin. So I got to add a “pretend” daughter to my brood today. In fact, in order to make it more special for R, we decided she and L could be pretend sisters all day at school. With the muffin in her tummy and the idea of a pretend sister in her head she had a BIG SMILE! No more tears.
So my near fail was another example of God’s perfect timing. He knows. He knew I would nearly fail today, He knew R would need a “pretend Mommy” and “pretend sister” for the day. He knows. He is weaving time into a magnificent masterpiece all pointing to His glory and honor!
He uses our imperfections to reach others for His glory. We only have to let Him use them instead of trying to hide them away. His glory shines all the more brightly when housed in our cracked earthen vessels. We “mud people” make Him more glorious when we allow our flaws to point to His glory!
May His name be praised in my near fail, in the smile of my two girls, and in the dried tears of sweet R.
How has God used your failures or imperfections to bring Himself glory? I would love to hear how you are allowing God to redeem what is broken.
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January 27, 2011 § 2 Comments
So God has been working on me about grace. I am slow to learn, but yesterday something came to me…
When I remember that I am in desperate need of grace, I am free to extravagantly extend grace to others.
It frees me up to love God for He is the giver of all grace and to love others for love covers a multitude of sins.
Giving of grace doesn’t negate the sin or its consequences. No, it stands in the ashes of the home burnt by sin and cries, loves, encourages, and goes about the painful work of restoration and reconciliation.
It is in knowing that I need the grace, that I am hopeless and helpless without it, it is in that state of mind that I can better understand God’s love for me. When I am in a wild love affair with my Heavenly Father, I want to live a life holy to Him. It is then that holy life is a spiritual act of worship.
So Grace is the beginning of it all. Loving God and loving others. It is what draws us to God.
I would like to know what your thoughts are on God’s amazing, painful, radical, wild grace. Share a comment with me.
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!
December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
I love the apostle Paul and the words God gave Him to write. He doesn’t beat about the bush. He gets to the heart of the matter and tells you exactly what is going on.
“Foolish Galatians…” he wrote in Galatians 3:1.
That comment makes me sit up a listen. I love to hear others chastised.
I mean I have to be smarter than the Galatians.
I have the whole Bible.
I have been a Christ follower for 27 years.
A few verses later I don’t feel so confident.
Paul continues his comments by saying,“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit,are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3)
Ouch. Yes, I enjoy my flesh. I like to think I can do something for God.
I like to think I am smart enough to know God exists and to figure out I need Jesus as my savior.
I’m not so bad really. I’m not a murderer or an adulterer. I don’t curse (mostly). I do good things. Right?
Jesus really didn’t need to go to the cross for me.
Oh, but the truth, the ugly truth is that I am a murderer.
“Anyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer…” 1 John 3:15
I am guilty of breaking all God’s perfect laws.
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10
The bottom line is that I am in desperate need of Jesus.
Apart from Him, I am selfish and a seeker of my own glory.
I may do things that look good, but I am doing them for me, not for His glory.
Oh foolish me.
Why would I put the weight of doing
it right and being good on my shoulders,
when Christ already won the victory for me? (Colossians 2:13-15)
Are you working to please God? Are you carrying a burden He never intended you to carry? Are you, like me, puffed up with your knowledge of Christ instead of humbled by your dependence on Him? If so join me as I pray:
Father God, I am amazed and humbled by Your sacrifice. That You sent Your son to die for my sins. Forgive me O Lord for thinking I can make myself worthy of Your gift. Forgive me for thinking I somehow was intelligent enough to figure out my need for a savior. Father I admit I am desperately in need of a savior. I confess I cannot do anything good apart from You. Help me to remember I am but a lame, blind, beggar in need of someone to carry me through the journey of life. Thank You for Jesus who died so that I could be healed of my sin disease and whom I desire to depend upon more and more every day. In His precious and Holy Name I pray. Amen.
I would love to hear from you. Are you amazed at His sacrifice? Are you in awe of His sufficiency? Is it hard to believe that God accomplished it without your help? Drop me a comment. I would love to hear from you.