Sunday, August 30, 2009

Acts 2:17

At what point did your dreams vanish into ghosts? When did you stop chasing after them and start feeling haunted by them? Did you stop listening to the Holy Spirit only to dress Him up in a masquerade called conscience until you could no longer recognize Him? Has the Holy Spirit become a politically correct puppet that suits some selfish ambitions?

Start dreaming God sized dreams again.

"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." Acts 2:17

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

We all crave comfort, don't we? We may have a GPS so we don't get lost or AAA so we don't get stranded. We have drive-thru's for coffee, dining, dry cleaning and banking. We vacation at time shares or make appointments at the salon.

What if we turned on the GPS and brought up an inventory of our favorite places . . . or our recent places? What would it say about you? What would it say about me?

A wise person taught me that there are two things that are eternal: people and the Word of God. It's okay to spend our days comfortably, but let's be careful to also spend our days in light of eternity.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 says, "[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Time for a change?

Change can be good. Sometimes it arrives abruptly. Other times it comes gradually. Are there changes in your life that you know you need to make, but you're afraid to? It could be as drastic as a career change or as simple as a schedule change. At what point do we stop mulling over it and take the step to actually do it? I think that is a question worth asking.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Isaiah 30:18

At one point in my life, there was too much noise in my head. It rang in my ears. Voices echoed from the past of lovers I lost or lovers that lost me, of abandoned dreams, of sound advice that once beckoned me not to go. It was a collection of hauntings that did not allow me to rest, and for this reason, I remained unsure of whether or not I could reach out and find the Great Almighty, or just end up somewhere in the great unknown. Until suddenly I felt a little push, and I lost my balance. Perhaps it is an angel, hoping I would fall into God’s lap, or a demon that devised to tip me ever so slightly into the deep, dark abyss called hell. I think it could have been either, but then maybe it was neither. Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit wooing me unto him the way a mother chases after her wandering child.

Isaiah 30:18 "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2 Peter 3:8,9

We all hear the popular clich├ęs, “Give it time” or “Time heals all wounds”. These phrases bear some truth when set against the truth of God’s Word that says there is “a time to heal” (Ecclesiastes 3:3). But what is time, really? Is it an elusive force that winds in and out of our lives? Is it a thief that steals from us? Is it Father Time who cares for us? Is it something we can manipulate to fall back or spring forward? We all have different perceptions of time, but time only has one perception of us; it moves and travels regardless of where we stand or what we do. We all have moments we wish to preserve, and we all have moments we wish to erase.

So what do we do with time? Shall we carpe diem? Shall we concern ourselves with time since the Bible says, “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8,9). My desire is not to waste time, but to make the most of it. He has carved the truth of his word into the woodwork of my soul and I intend to display the works of his hands.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jeremiah 29:12,13

Have you ever felt like there is a large, invisible glass ceiling separating you from God, leaving you trapped like a little fly futilely bouncing across the surface of a closed window? Did you know that God is the master of opening windows and He longs to listen to what you have to say? It's true! There have been times in my own life when I wanted to pray using a megaphone because I felt like God just couldn't hear me. But God's silence does not equate to God's absence. He is always listening. The question is, are we always talking?

"You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:12,13

2 Corinthians 2:14, 15

What do you think of when you read the word aroma?

When I started dating my husband he wore Aqua Di Gio. To this date the aroma of that cologne always takes me back to the time when I first fell in love with him. It is nostalgic to me.

Earlier this week I baked chocolate chip cookies with my daughters. The sweet aroma of sugar filled our home so richly. It was an aroma I wanted to savor.

Do my experiences trigger any associations you may have with the word, aroma?

If not, perhaps scripture will. 2 Corinthians 2:14,15 says, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

What kind of aroma are you sporting with heaven? Is it nostalgic, sweet, rich? Or is it just the opposite?

Friday, August 21, 2009

1 Peter 3:3,4

What is beauty?

For me, beauty is no longer something I have to prove in the eye of my beholder. Instead, beauty is birthed in the eye of my Maker. He places a rare treasure in my heart that cannot be bought. It does not come in the shape of a Coach bag. It does not look like a new hair color. It does not feel like a new boyfriend. It is an inner confidence of God’s love for me- a sturdy sort of substance that really sticks to the heart and radiates in the eyes of others.

1 Peter 3:3,4 "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Philippians 1:6

I feel a constant tension when it comes to giving into perfectionism. There is a part of me that so anxiously wants to indulge in the ideal, the perfect, the controlled way of life like it's some delicious hot fudge sundae topped with nuts, whipped cream, and a cherry!

Then there is another part of me that says with urgency, "Wait, stop! Don't let yourself go there! RELAX!" So I drop my spoon, and push the sundae away and go for the fresh veggies instead.

We all have hang-ups, don't we? Whether yours is perfection or food or something entirely different, there is hope for us both! Philippians 1:6 says that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I long to be present . . .

I long to be present with those around me, instead of sitting like a stuffed shirt, unaware of my surroundings. I want to listen attentively, love affectionately, and live life with empathy while genuinely caring about others. I want to see my relationships as something to invest in, not just something to manage.

Does anyone relate?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

How is it possible to receive the grace we need to delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions? It seems like a tremendous contradiction and yet it is in so many ways the crux of our daily Christian faith.

I live in a messed up world. Still I find it ironic that my so called reality is not necessarily God's reality.

I wrestle with the fact that hardships are difficult, uncomfortable, challenging, awkward, inevitable, even painful. So I need to learn to better grasp God's grace in order to confidently quote Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

"But he (Jesus) said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Can you wrap your brain around that?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Psalm 46:10

Is quiet time a stranger in our lives? Are we constantly bombarded by media of some sort: music, phone, texting, t.v., Internet? Can we handle the silence when the only interruption is the sound of our own thoughts marching through our heads? And if we have a hard time being still in the silence, then how can we be still before God?

"Be still and know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1 John 4:19

What is love?

For some, love is a rug that constantly gets yanked out from underneath them. Love is a battlefield. For others, love is a language . . . it is a word of affirmation or a gift. Love is an experience. Love is romantic. Love is brotherly.

There are so many ways we package love in our lives. Like a stack of pictures, we store it in bins labeled with different categories-family, friends, spouse, children. We compartmentalize our love, sharing it with some, withholding it from others.

But what happens when we take our hands off love and experience it the way God wants us to? What if we stow away our own limited notions of love to receive God's love, and experience love supernaturally.

Then love becomes unconditional. Love becomes sacrificial. Love becomes eternal.

The Bible says "we love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

What's your take on love?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Snicker doodles

There is a certain nostalgia that erupts in my life when I encounter little parts of my day that trigger sentimental memories. Last night I made snicker doodles with my children. Today, the cookbook still lays open, turned to the snicker doodle page. A smile stretches across my face as I fondly remember not just the fun I had last night, but also the fun I had baking cookies when I was a child.

What are some triggers that bring back nostalgic feelings and memories to your life?

2 Samuel 22:29

Songs of praise rise up like rays of light stealing the night away. And the darkness evaporates.

Hope rises to penetrate the heart, conquering despair, the way a soldier takes on his enemy. And the darkness evaporates.

God’s presence settles around us like a dense fog, so that no matter which way we turn, he is there. And the darkness evaporates.

“You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” 2 Samuel 22:29 from David’s Song of Praise 22:1-51

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Psalm 1

Some say a picture can paint 1,000 words, but is it possible for 1,000 words to paint a picture?

Psalm 1 is merely 121 words but it paints a very clear picture of two very different people. The first is "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither." On the other end of the spectrum, the second person is "like chaff that the wind blows away." If you were to paint a picture of your life today, which portrait would you resemble?

I know I want to bloom where I am planted instead of being blown away by any breeze that comes my way.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Matthew 6:19-21

What defines us? Financial security? Having a significant other? A great career path? A lavish home or car? A sculpted physique? All of these things can be good as long as we own them and they don’t own us . . . as long as we give them over to the Lord and don’t keep them as idols . . . as long as they are not the sole prizes we seek to obtain.

In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures I heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I think the question worth asking is, what is our treasure, or perhaps more importantly, where are our hearts?