Friday, December 23, 2011

Tracking Time

I find it hard to guard my time when I end up giving it all away. The minutes just get swallowed up by grande ideas or grande demands, both competing for all I've got. So I stand empty handed before my open-handed God, and he blesses me. For just as I give my time away, I feel so thankful for the time I have been given.

"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes...'"
-James 4:13-15

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Called

I wore a coat of many colors before stepping out to rub elbows with the world. For some crowds I wore the perfect color, for others I wore a color less conventional. But dressing like a chameleon did not leave me feeling colorful, it only left me feeling empty. So I started flirting with the darkness in hopes that no one would see me at all. Still, I don't know which is worse-to have an identity crisis or to feel invisible? Until one day, Christ answered my question when he called me by name.

Has he called you by name?

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
-Isaiah 43:1-3

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tradition

Tradition speaks volumes to generations, like a language living on year after year. But just as tradition has taught us the right ways to live, it has also robbed some us from a relationship with Christ. So even though tradition has been our teacher, in some ways it has been our deceiver.

Don't allow yourself to be deceived. Are you pursuing a relationship with Christ, or are you allowing tradition to pursue a relationship with you?

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose." -Philippians 2:12,13

Monday, December 12, 2011

An Authentic Life

I feel a desperate need to live a more authentic life-one far from perfection, but close to a perfect God. One humbled by the light of the Truth, but hidden in the shadow of his wings. I feel a desperate need to peel off any layers of someone I have pretended to be, only to reveal who God made me to be.

How do you feel about living a more authentic life?

"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." -Ephesians 4:1

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Always

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.

"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

Monday, December 5, 2011

Knocking

As God listens, he beckons us to come and sit with Him, to hoist ourselves up in his lap and just stay for a while. Like a dear friend, He invites us to talk about what we need and want to talk about. Sometimes we laugh. Other times we cry. Sometimes we feel vulnerable. Other times we feel bold. And still there are times when we simply come with a child like faith.

He speaks to us in return with poetic Psalms. He sometimes greets us with similes and metaphors and parables found in his Word. Then he speaks to us through a friend or even a stranger, through a mentor or spiritual leader. He speaks to us through circumstances as some doors slam shut, and still other doors swing wide open. He speaks gently to our hearts.

What is the condition of your heart today? Is it wide open to the things of God or have you slammed all the doors shut?

Jesus says in Revelation 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Awakening

Winter came without warning
on Wednesday morning
while time slipped through my hands.
Like a north wind I could not hold,
I welcomed December in the cold
before hearing the word on the street.
"Fall is gone,"
or so I was told by leaves that went skipping by
like children running through the grass past Christmas lights,
boasting,"Tis the season to be jolly!" and awakening
in my heart the celebration of a new born King.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Welcome

The cold night air confirms it is Christmas time as little twinkling lights compete with the stars. Inside a hearth burns brightly while frosted windows glow.

And I cannot imagine the first Christmas when my Savior breathed in the night air from an old dusty stable. Did he shiver when he stepped out among humanity as God clothed in an infant's frame? He left the comforts of heaven for the sake of me and all of humanity. Yet, on the night he came to earth, they pushed him to the outskirts of town. Would I have done the same?

Lord, I pray that we will welcome you today, not pushing you to the outskirts of our lives, even on our darkest and coldest nights.

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel'-which means, 'God with us.'" -Matthew 1:22,23

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anticipation

My heart swells in anticipation of what this holiday season will bring.

And I look forward to spending quality time with family and friends in the midst of all the festivities that deck the halls of our lives with beauty and busyness.

But even when the demands of this holiday season come knocking at my door, I will remember that most of all, my heart swells in anticipation of celebrating the birth of our King.

"'Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'" -Luke 2:11

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Nativity

The nativity is more than painted ceramic figurines adorning a table, or plastic dolls dressed as lawn decor. And while this Christmas symbol serves as a good reminder of the very first Christmas, how many times do we merely unpack the pieces from boxes stored in the attic without giving it a second thought?

Do we dare decorate on a whim without reflecting on the depth of the nativity's meaning? I have to ask myself that question.

"So they (the shepherds) hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." -Luke 2:16-19

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Following

He was born in a stable, not in a hospital. He grew up the son of a carpenter, not the son of a prominent leader. He sometimes gravitated toward quiet places-He didn't always hold public forums.

I think we ought to learn from his example.

When our society values overnight success, our Savior values humble beginnings. When our society tells us to pursue success at all costs, our Savior reminds us of the cost of discipleship. When our society points us toward praying to God knows what, our Savior points us toward praying only to God.

Whose example are you following?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Footsteps of Faith

It’s difficult to discover a life more fulfilling than the life that follows in the footsteps of faith.

Do we dare to live like Abraham who had the faith to choose obedience and sacrifice? Or do we merely desire to reap the blessing of counting stars?

Do we fight our own battles with the faith David held onto as he faced Goliath? Or do we simply close our eyes and make a wish for victory?

Do we cling to a faith that commands mountains to move? Or do we live with the kind of faith that keeps mountains standing still?

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” –Jesus Christ (Matthew 17:20,21)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Living

Some of us live life on the edge, while others have a fear of falling off. But God does not call us to feel comfortable. He calls us to be courageous. And while there is excitement in adventure, there is not always a safety net.

How do you live? By holding on to what seems safe this side of heaven? Or by holding on to the hand that holds heaven?

"This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
-Joshua 1:9

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Ride Home

Jesus met me one day as I sat on a curbside with my hair disheveled, my clothes stained and my shoes worn. Meanwhile the world left me on the side of the road without a ride home: stranded. But Jesus came walking by and extended his hand. I accepted his invitation. I received his love.

Has the world left you stranded? Maybe it's time to take Jesus' hand . . . to let him pick you up and take you home . . . but not to the home you've always known.

"He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God."-Psalm 40:2,3

Friday, November 11, 2011

Love at First Sight

When I met Jesus for the first time, face to face, I was surprised that my previous ideas of him were so far from the truth. I had always pictured him to be powerless, glazed over in a stained glass window. But it was not He who stood powerless and void of life. It was me.

I thought of God in his holiest of holies, as one who could not be approached by me because my place of worship did not land me in a Sunday morning pew, but in a Friday night bar stool. But God was not unapproachable. I was.

So it came as a complete shock when He approached me, penetrating my heart in such a powerful way.

It was love at first sight.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."
-Deuteronomy 6:5

Monday, November 7, 2011

Patient

Perhaps I was not actively seeking you, but still you found me. Perhaps I did not pursue you, and yet you never stopped calling. Surely I never acknowledged you, even though you never stopped saying my name . . .

But when I realized I was an orphan, you adopted me. And when I realized I was a stranger, you welcomed me.

When I realized I was wrong, you forgave me.

"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 3:9

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trading

When I first met Jesus, I traded in my sarcasm for sincerity.
I traded in my disappointments for dreams.
I traded in my fears for faith.
I traded in my blues for blessings.

What do you need to trade today?

Or better yet, who do you still need to meet?

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." -Jesus (John 10:10)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Perspective

The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. But today do you find yourself standing on your tiptoes, trying to get a better view of the landscape? Do the shrubs appear neatly arranged among decorative pavers with a patio furniture set from Pottery Barn?

We tend to imagine our lives looking like they are staged and ready for a catalogue photo shoot. But as we go through life, we realize that suddenly we may not feel so photogenic.

How is your perspective today?

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
-Philippians 4:12

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pressing On

Time caught me by the hand and pulled me along, begging me to leave yesterday behind. But I couldn't keep yesterday hidden away in the closet, so I tucked it in my pocket to still keep it close. And I put on my shoes only to follow time out the door, chasing after tomorrow.

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 3:13-14

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Becoming

There is an advantage to blooming later in life. Late bloomers don't run the risk of sprouting too soon. Somehow, they have an innate understanding of saving the best for last, or for later. They realize that life is not about the science of blooming, it is about the art of becoming.

Who are you in process of becoming?

Or who have you already become?

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Growth

If I had only known then the things I know now, I would have lived in a place of perfect peace when reality reared its ugly head. I would have counted the cost of sacrifice before catering to my own comforts. And I would have fiercely stared fear in the face before backing down.

If I had only known then the things I know now, I would have been able to leap without knowing where I would land. But back then I could not even get my feet off the ground, much less sprint through life with confidence.

Still, I take comfort today in resting with a relaxed understanding of who I have become.

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
-Philippians 1:6

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dreaming

Sometimes dreams disappear while plans fade into the background. So I wave goodbye as darkness settles in. At one point the future seemed bright, now it only seems invisible. But then, just as twilight surrounds me, a fog rolls in, bringing with it a change called morning. And my hope reappears with the sun, reminding me not to give up on those dreams that disappeared in the night.

Have you stopped dreaming? If so, wait for a new day.

"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning."
-Psalm 30:5

Monday, October 24, 2011

Focused

Life is a tightrope. A fine line on which to balance. Lean a little too far to the right or to the left and you may fall off. So you concentrate. And you give. And you take. So let me ask you this: What is your focus? We all need a focal point, don't we?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . . " -Hebrews 12:1,2

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Reflection on Womanhood

When I wanted to hang up my hat and go home, I remembered I was still just a woman-to-be wrapped in the heart of a girl. So I packed up my gypsy ways, tightened my grip on commitment, and walked the road most traveled: the road to womanhood. Day after day I walked until eventually I disappeared. Maybe I was lost. Maybe I was found. Either way, the girl I once was is not the same as the woman I have become.

How would you describe your journey?

"When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things."
-1 Corinthians 13:11

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Statement

Leaves fall in a cascading shower of red, yellow and brown. At this time of year a jacket is a necessity for some. But for this Floridian a jacket is a novelty. It almost becomes a fashion statement.

And I wonder if it's the same with Christianity? Do we sometimes wear religion as a necessity or a novelty, depending on what kind of statement we want to make?

What kind of statement are you making?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Moving

I came to a place that seemed like a fork in the road. But a fork in the road indicates a split in direction or a place of decision. And I don't know if that is truly where I stood. So I weighed my options, but more than that, I let God weigh my heart. And I trusted him to see my motives before I even made a move.

Which direction are you trusting God to move you toward today?

"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." -Proverbs 16:9

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thirsty

What does it mean to thirst? How many times a day do you think, I’m thirsty then seek to fulfill that basic physical need. What do you drink when you feel thirsty?

What does it look like to spiritually thirst? Jesus makes several references to a spiritual thirst during his ministry; “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6), “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). On most occasions, I think of spiritual thirst as a need I take to Christ because he satisfies, he gives, he quenches, he provides.

When I think of God, I try to comprehend His union of the physical with the spiritual so that we might better relate to Him. In doing so, He relates to us in such a basic way that God himself, so holy, so perfect, so divine, would thirst. In John 19:28 Jesus says, “I am thirsty” just before He dies on the cross.

I try to wrap my brain around the fact that the God of the universe sent His son Jesus to this earth as a man, that He would thirst, so that I may thirst no more.

Are you thirsty today?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Time

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).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Heroes

Prayer Warriors serve as silent soldiers in unseen battles. They combat the captains of dark armies. They devastate dark horses with their powerful weapons of war. Their prayers light up the night sky like bombs bursting in air.

Praying for love tucked cozy into bed across the hall or across the world. Praying the prayers of faith for babies grown or babies not yet born. Praying for leaders whose decisions affect where we are today, and where we are headed tomorrow. Praying for peace. Praying for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Praying for the sick, the poor and the brokenhearted. Praying for shifting shadows to be brought into the light.

These are my heroes. They travel through this life, sometimes radiant with the Spirit, sometimes incognito, touching our lives in ways only heaven can see. Meanwhile the rest of us slumber across the hall or across the world . . .

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the saints." -Ephesians 6:18

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

From Troubles to Triumphs

Life seems to have a way of giving us a handful, then leaving us empty-handed...or so the world would say. But I have found a new life. One that gives without taking. It enables me to see the troubles of this life, not for what they are worth, but for what they have the potential to become: triumphs! But it is more than a matter of seeing the glass half empty or half full. It is a matter of placing my trust in Jesus Christ.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
-Jesus (John 10:10)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Praise-Worthy

Faith gets fueled when God moves behind the scenes. Even though we may only be left with an empty stage, that same stage can still be filled with expectation. It is not until we are stripped of our costumes and our masks, when our self-confidence dwindles, that God shows up. But if our business is just for show, then our egos leave no room for the only One truly deserving of our applause. He alone is praise-worthy.

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor."
-James 4:10

Monday, October 10, 2011

Take Heart

Hard times can produce hard hearts. And dreams can wilt like flowers scorned by the sun. The pressures of this life can drive us to extremes; the loss of a life, the loss of a career, the loss of a hope and a future.

But what if the Author of all life pens that there is still more to the story? Even though there is conflict, there can still be resolution.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ (John 16:33)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Too Casual

Sometimes he seems familiar. Other times he seems foreign. Sometimes he seems as close as a lover. Other times he seems as distant as a loner. But a walk with God is to be taken much more seriously than just a walk in the park. So when God seems foreign and I feel alone, I have to ask,"Why have I been so casual in my pursuit of this holy God?"

"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'”
-1 Peter 1:13-16

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Anxiety

She walks a fine line between the broad and the narrow. But walking a tight rope or sitting on a fence's edge is not a comfortable place to stay. Still, her comfort zone is hard to find when comfort is a feeling she's barely known. Instead, she clings to familiar feelings far from comfort. And you think, "maybe it's time to talk her down", but how can you talk her down when she finds shelter in your very own mind?

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
-1 Peter 5:6,7

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Reflection on Motherhood

She tugs and she pulls, needing to take from the strength I don't have. So I tug and I pull, asking him for the strength I know he has. And he gives me what I need so that I can give her what she needs. Then as the end of the day falls into night, she calls me a good mom, and I call him an even better God.

"Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
-2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Security

Financial security does not equate with eternal security. Still, sometimes I think we believe the more creature comforts we acquire, the more smoothly paved the path toward heaven will seem. But if we are honest with ourselves, we know can neither buy our happiness nor our salvation.

So does that leave us feeling empty handed? Or does it move us to place our trust in the Lord, the only one who can truly offer security?

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
-Philippians 4:12-13

Monday, October 3, 2011

No Regrets

Jesus came to save the world, so when I realized I couldn't even save the day, I knew I needed him. Still, the world wanted me to sell out, but I knew I needed to buy in, regardless. Now the days when I sang songs of sorrow are gone. Instead, I cry tears of joy for the years I have not lost and for the regrets I have not made.

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
-Matthew 19:10

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Consuming Fire

The God of the Bible who appears as a burning bush now burns passionately and personally today. He kindles a fire in the souls of men and women that may start out reminiscent of the tune "This little light of mine...", but it grows and burns brightly. You see, we have the luxury of experiencing God, not as a burning bush from a distant desert in the middle east, but in the closest confines of our own hearts.

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'"
-Hebrews 12:28,29

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Love of God

He is the picture of perfection and his picture hangs on every wall of my heart. But even while I am not picture perfect, my picture still hangs on every wall of his heart.

Do you know where your picture hangs?

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
-Romans 8:37-39

Friday, September 30, 2011

Overflowing

I want to sing a song so that it fills the air, but the air cannot possibly hold what I treasure in my heart. So I slowly release the gratitude overflowing from a place deep inside. A place where he speaks tenderly, offering wholeness to everything broken. And he calls me his own.

Do you know this God I love? Do you know Jesus? My heart is overwhelmed by his goodness.

"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 the LORD
and put their trust in him."
-Psalm 40:1-3

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Truth

He carries loads of metaphors in his hands, all heavy like suitcases. Still, he delivers each one with ease when they flow from his pen, all smooth and fluid. And he writes the truth the way no other can.

Have you read his story?

"I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ."
-Galatians 1:11,12

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Overwhelmed

I get caught in the thick of things where life grows tall like grass in summer. So when time sinks low in the sky, I wonder how I end up so far away from everything I know to be familiar. Still, the hand of heaven gently leads me back day after day.

"Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."
-Lamentations 3:23

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Enter In

I tried to let go of control, but control would not let go of me. I then tried to check my need for perfection at the door, but perfection seemed to still need me. So when I entered into a relationship with Christ, I was surprised to discover both perfection and control laying on the floor behind me.

"... he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory."
-Isaiah 61:3

Monday, September 26, 2011

Digging Deeper

We do not have to dread the details of the day when we know the details are determined by God...But we still ought to submit to his plan. So I seek his will in places where I know it can be found. And I feel so thankful to know that God does not play games of hide and seek, but leads me to a place of understanding as I dig deeper in his Word.

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
-Romans 12:1,2

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Steel Train

My life is a steel train rushing full steam ahead. Sometimes I feel as though I am a passenger en route to a clear destination, and life is full of meaning and purpose. Other times I feel like a box car child, running alongside the train, trying to hitch a ride. And then there are times when I sit in the comfort of my seat from the confines of the train station, watching my life go by.

I love the days when I am traveling on to a place where mountain tops collide with the sky instead of running to catch up or sitting in a lonely, stale room.

Where are you today? Are you on board this train called life?

Jesus says in John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

God Speaks

I travel on a dusty road. Some days the sun shines its warmth on my face. And other days I just know the sun shines even though I cannot see it beyond the clouds.

I travel on a broken road. Some days the voice of God whispers in my ear. And other days I just know God speaks even though I cannot hear him this side of heaven.

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." -Jesus (John 10:27)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Goodness

I thought the opportunity to receive the goodness of God arrived on my doorstep an hour too late. But then I realized the goodness of God never arrives late. I just happened to be looking in the wrong place. So instead of finding it in a package on my front porch, I discovered it perched in a tree, singing sweetly. Then I discovered it setting in the sky, all fiery and orange.
And as I looked even further, I found the goodness of God wrapped tightly around my heart.

Have you discovered the goodness of God?

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
-Romans 1:20

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Holding Steady

Finding a common ground when no common ground exists is like discovering a level place to stand in the midst of soggy ground. But the place that holds steady is not always the place we call familiar. Still, new territories can lend themselves to new horizons, depending on the point of view.

How are things from where you stand?

"He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm."
-Psalm 40:2

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Overgrown

It was late in the day before I realized how overgrown my life had become with plans strewn across the afternoon and people crowded around. Life suddenly flooded with activity. Then conversations rose as dense as fog, dulling my senses to my surroundings. So it should have come as no surprise when fatigue set in, hanging low in the sky, lingering until dusk discovered the night. Then darkness set in. And yet I still found my way home thanks to a well lit path.

"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."
-Psalm 119:105

Monday, September 19, 2011

Planting

If patience grew as plentiful as grapes growing like clusters of jewels on a vine, then I would pick a plethora. But the heat of summer has left everything dry, so I find patience to be lacking. Still, I wait in hopes that a new vineyard will sprout, only not in the soil of a fertile field, but somewhere in the soil of my heart.

"Don't be misled--you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant."
-Galatians 6:7

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Climb

At first I only planned to walk a mile, but ended up walking for what seemed like a lifetime. That's probably because I thought the road would be flat and smoothly paved, but I mostly climbed along a steep, narrow road. And as I climbed, I began to shed layer after layer of myself. The sun grew warmer, and more and more of me melted out of my pores, falling onto the very same dirt my feet then trampled. So that as I reached the top, I saw only a mere shadow of who I was at the bottom.

"That's why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within me."
-Colossians 1:29

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Refusing

Indulgence peeks around the corner, trying to catch my eye. She shimmers and sparkles, tempting me to draw her near to myself. Part of me wants to, but I mostly know that nothing she offers will last. So I turn away, refusing to entertain her.

"And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?" -Mark 8:36

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting Creative

Once again I stare at a blank page, but this time the blank page seems to stare back at me. So I rummage through my mind, anxious to see what kind of creativity I will discover. Will I pull out some words to weave a novel, or poetry to create a symphony of sound? Either way, I cannot find anything like this to call my own, no matter how hard I try. So I turn to the One who holds creativity in the palm of his hand, only to realize that his hand is holding mine.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
-Psalm 19:1

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Whole

I carried pieces of me in my pocket until God asked me to hold out my hands. But like a child refusing to let something precious go, I kept my fists tightly clenched...until he opened his hands to show me he has so much more.

"But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed."
-Isaiah 53:5

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Traveler

I weathered travel the way a traveler weathers a storm. And as I dealt with delays, I found the delays also dealt with me. They slowed me down as I moved along this road called life. And my baggage grew heavy while my strength began to fail until I found another traveler walking my very same road. Then he offered to carry my burdens as his own.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
-Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sinking

I thought I knew how to feel comfortable in my own skin, like an old pair of jeans all worn and familiar. But those kind of comforts leave me sitting at the surface and the surface won't let me stay. So I sink deeply into somewhere unknown only to discover more layers of me.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."
-Psalm 139:14

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Bleeding Heart

When I write I don't like to bleed on paper, but sometimes my heart spills out, then overflows. And it catches me by surprise because I always forget my heart can bleed. Still, the paper doesn't mind, even when the words start to smear. And I ask my heart why it can't just ache instead.

"Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy."
-Proverbs 14:10

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blue

For years I shared my life, but hid my heart and held my breath. And instead of someone checking my pulse, I simply got a pat on the back before I discovered I wasn't even breathing. So by the time I realized I was in trouble, my heart had already turned blue.

How is your heart doing?

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
-Proverbs 4:23

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blended

Some claim to carry an old soul in their youth, but not me. I have a blended soul-one that is slightly broken, yet slightly mended from the years when life invited me to live out loud...until God quieted me with his love.

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
-Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Aiming

I don't want perfection, but I still aim for it. And my mind gets flighty. So I aim for wisdom instead of perfection in hopes of landing in a better place.

"For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it."
-Proverbs 8:11

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Higher Ground

I took a walk down a street flooded with demands; demands for my time, demands for my energy, demands for pieces of me. So I tip-toed around those demands until they rose so high that my feet got wet. And I doubted I would ever find dry ground again. But then the sun came out and dried up a path for me to walk.

Are you drowning in the demands of your day? Perhaps it is time to find a higher ground.


"Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust."
-Proverbs 4:26,27 (The Message)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Pursuit

Freedom found me in a place where legalism left me choking on my religion. So I let go of the ones holding my hand, and held onto the one holding my heart. Now I can darken the doorway of a place in life where I haven't been in a long, long time.

How about you? Are you pursuing a religion or a relationship?

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
-2 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, August 26, 2011

Unknown

The fear of not being known drove me to find ways to become known. But sometimes the quest to be known can be exhausting. So I tell my need for community to come calling another day. And I find satisfaction in just being unknown.

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens...
a time to plant and a time to uproot"
-Ecclesiastes 3:1,2

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Holes

Loneliness leaves all the bare places in my heart exposed, the way potholes lay open in a worn road. On most days, my heart feels worn and widely traveled, but not today. Today there are cracks that lead to open spaces with no one here to fill them. But when the people have come and gone, the Lord reminds me that he is always here to fill in the holes left behind.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified...for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
-Deuteronomy 31:6

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Pledge

Sin carved its name deep in my tree. It seemed for a moment as innocent as two different initials pledged to each other in the center of a hand-carved heart. But nothing really is very simple when it involves any matter of the heart. So I took my love to another. I took my love to the One who carved his initials on another tree, pledging his life for mine.

"...For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
-Jesus (Matthew 20:28)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Discovery

Regret turns my stomach sour so much so that I feel like doubling over. And I walk around, wounded for a while until I can gather the strength to tuck the past away in my pocket. And when I finally try to stand up straight again, I reach for help only to discover the cross.

Have you found forgiveness and healing in the cross?

"Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins."
-Psalm 51:1

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Story

It is important for us to live life not only for the sake of ministry, but also for the sake of story. And in doing so, we see that ministry emerges in the midst of story. In fact, the best ministry surfaces.

What is the story your life tells? Have you allowed God to enter into it, or do you keep him at a distance?

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."
-Hebrews 12:2

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Thief

Busyness is a thief that stole from me, leaving me empty handed. It reached deep into my pockets, pulling nothing but sweet time and leaving me less than whole. The trouble is that time is something I cannot replace, so now I refuse to let busyness steal from me again.

What is a thief in your life?

"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory."
-Isaiah 61:3

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wellness

I found wellness today in the familiarity of the four walls I call home. And as I take a deep breath in, contentment swirls around in my lungs. For a season, I breathed an air of discontentment as these four walls wore me down with their demands. But after some time away, I feel a call to greater concern; a call to caring more deeply. To manage my home is not enough. I must invest my time, my energy, my resources and my heart, regardless of the cost.

"Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
-Isaiah 40:30,31

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Revelation

I am trying to find a place where I belong. Some call it a niche, but I call it a place that is well with my soul. Still, wellness is hard to define, much less discover. So I pick up a pen to put on paper the place where I believe God created me to be. Because in the end, I don't want to look back only to realize I lived a life intended for someone else. A niche never found would be the same as a life filled with a false identity. And that, to me, is simply tragic.

Then the LORD replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay."
-Habakkuk 2:2-3

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Traveling Necessities

I packed my suitcase and thought I would travel light. But as I got farther into my journey, I realized that lighter may not always be better. So I stopped momentarily to add to my bags things like faith, hope and love. Now when opportunity knocks I am ready to hop on board this train called life.

"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13

Monday, August 1, 2011

Something Solid

Every once in a while, when life seems stale, God opens a window to let in a breath of fresh air. In doing so, he reminds me to live by the Spirit and not by man. For when man tells me to trade something solid for something that shines, I remember that though things may sparkle, they may not always fulfill. And as God opens the windows of my life a little further, his Spirit reminds me that my treasure cannot be traded.

"...but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
-Matthew 6:20-21

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Coming Home

Sometimes we must leave the ordinary things of our routine in order for our routine to seem less ordinary. But it may not be until we go away for a season only to return to the familiar fragrances of home, that we come back to our senses...and find what we never should have lost in the first place.

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."
-Isaiah 43:19

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Remembering

The birds perch, filling up the morning sky with their song, while I sit in the grass below. My voice scrapes the sky, waiting for an answer from heaven. Meanwhile the birds request what they need and their needs get fulfilled. So I request only what I think I need and wonder why my prayers go unanswered. Until I remember... "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine (Isaiah 55:8)."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Broken

I snapped in the same way a branch breaks off a tall, tall tree. But it was not the kind of break created quickly by a gusty storm. It was the kind of break caused slowly by the weight of winter snow. Either the weight grew to be too much, or I was never strong enough in the first place.

Now I lay broken.

What does brokenness feel like to you?


"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
-Psalm 51:17

Saturday, July 23, 2011

He Speaks

His whisper sounds like a quiet rain falling against the trees, as each drop creates a chorus of conversation. But I cannot find anyone in the forest who will listen. And as I walk along a winding path, I begin to wonder if I myself can even hear him. So I stop. And in the thick of it all, He speaks.

"As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?"
-Psalm 42:1,2

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brightly Burning

I like to ease into the morning, slow and steady, the way the sun slowly rises with the dawn. But there are other things I don't just ease into. Like my faith. I can't slip on my faith like an old pair of jeans. I can't ease into my faith the way I ease into the morning. No, my faith is like a brightly burning flame. And although I carry a broken torch, the source of that flame does not flicker.

"Do not put out the Spirit's fire..."
-1 Thessalonians 5:19

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Gatherer

I am a gatherer clenching stones in my hands, cradling them along the crook of my arm until they are too much for me to carry. So I drop them in a place marked only for me. And I continue to gather them until all the stones are collected. Sometimes they feel round, smooth and small. Other times they feel large, heavy and awkward. But each one bears my name, and though they have been scattered, I am discovering them one by one. Separately they seemed distant and small, but put together they form a place of worship; an altar for my King.

"There is a time for everything... a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1,5

Monday, July 18, 2011

Placing Trust

I carried an ace in my pocket and a dollar in my hand before ever holding Jesus in my heart. And I once looked for any way to label myself lucky, but now I call myself loved. The time just came when the things I wanted to carry could not carry me. Either time ran out or promises fell short. So when I lost the things this world had to offer, I found the one who could offer me more than just the world.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."
-Psalm 20:7

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Great Congregation

A great crowd gathers, standing shoulder to shoulder, while a gentle, rhythmic chorus rises from the stream in the valley below. Theirs is a song of praise, for each one of them stands firmly planted by their maker. These tall pines nestle together like families gathering to experience community, while their tall, needled branches point toward heaven.

And as they remain cradled in the mountainous rocky crags behind them, I cannot help but picture the body of Christ gathered to worship the rock of our salvation.

"My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the LORD."
-Psalm 26:12

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Heart

He nursed my heart back to health after finding it bruised and weary. Maybe I played too hard or left it out in the cold. Either way, he found it, cradling it in his hand. Then he smoothed out the rough, dry places until it became soft and smooth once again.

"Yet you, LORD, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand."
-Isaiah 64:8

Monday, July 11, 2011

This New Day

A gust of faith blows in, so I slide the window of my heart open a little further until a steady flow comes streaming through. And suddenly I feel brave. So I pack my dreams full of ambition and commit this new day to the Lord.

"I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible."
-Jesus (Matthew 17:20)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Cup

I like to carry a perfect cup of happiness blended with joy. But sometimes I take a sip of insecurities mixed with fear. And I wonder who served it to me. Was it a phantom from my past? Was it the unknown from my future? Either way, I dump it out only to wash it down the drain and fill my cup again.

What's in your cup?

"You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings."
-Psalm 23:5

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lingering

Perfection is a place I like to call home. But I don't fit in there, as much as I would like to stay. Sometimes my words get too loud or my heart gets too wrinkled. I'm afraid I might say the wrong thing or make the wrong choice. So I linger on the front porch, waiting to see if I will be invited in. But perfection does not come calling.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:7

Friday, July 8, 2011

Giving

She carries a fragile faith in the palm of her hand. But it feels like a small, simple offering for a big, holy God. Until He gently reminds her that all she has is all He wants. So she gives it all only to discover that He gives her so much back in return.

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind."
-Jesus (Matthew 22:37)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Under Control

She likes to live in black and white, never allowing herself the freedom to experience what it means to live in color. And she prefers the lines to remain clear cut, never muddled or blurred into shades of grey. But while she thinks she has control over all that she needs, she doesn't know how much she is really missing.

"...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
-2 Corinthians 3:17

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dragging

I get tired of dragging the weight of my sin, so I shoulder the load while wearing reluctance on my sleeve. And whether it's something I refuse to change or an area where I just want to indulge, the weight still feels the same: heavy.

Do you sometimes carry things that leave you feeling less than fulfilled?

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."
-Romans 6:23

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Proverb

A proverb of my own:

Don't sell your soul to the future.
You will probably lose interest.

Don't give your heart to the past.
You will need it today.

Don't waste your strength on just anything,
but give your strength to something worthwhile.

Don't lose your mind over minor challenges,
but let your mind be challenged by worthy things.

Inspired by Philippians 4:8;
"...whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finding Rest

She silently resigned when she fell asleep in the shadow of yesterday, as if she truly found shelter from the scorching sun. But shadows only last for so long before they move, changing shape, leaving her to be burned by the realities of today. And she wakes up, feeling exhausted before finding rest in a new place.

"...but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
-Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting

I serve a loving God who patiently waits for me. He does not demand I move faster when I slowly process his direction. He does not snap at me when I act or react based on the desires of my flesh. He does not give me the silent treatment when I say things I should not.

I serve a loving God who waits patiently for me to be more like him, and I know he waits for you too. So my question is, what are we waiting for?

"The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love."
-Psalm 103:8

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Foolishness

I chase perfection like a dog chases its tail. And at the end of the day I end up running in circles. I forget I am chasing something I can never catch when it always seems to be within reach. But it never stays still long enough for me to wrap my fingers around it.

How about you? What are you trying to get your hands on?

"As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness."
-Proverbs 26:11

Monday, June 20, 2011

Collapsing

I take a step forward and find myself in a place that is strangely familiar. And everything I once considered necessary now seems like extra baggage. So I drop it all as my strength grows weary and my heart grows faint. My feet begin to drag and I realize I have nothing left... nothing in my hands, nothing hanging on my shoulder, nothing to pull, I don't even have anyone to bring. So I collapse. And it is in this moment that I wonder why it took me so long to get here.

"But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there."
-Hosea 2:14

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Faith Journeys

A ship travels over seas. Its captain knows the journey is long and the waters are deep. He plans the course carefully through squalls and storms so as not to threaten the mission. He calculates the routes the ship will take; where it will sail and where it will dock.

Is your faith like that ship? Is the Lord Jesus your Captain?

"I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith."
-1 Timothy 1:18-19

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stepping Stones

My life feels like a series of leaps of faith surrounded by shallow pools of hope, like I am a kid stepping from stone to stone in a steady stream with my eyes closed. Sometimes I pray I won't slip and fall. Other times I don't even give it a second thought....and then I seem to leap a little further.

"For we live by faith, not by sight."
-2 Corinthians 5:7

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Timing

Time stands still and I get restless. So I find ways to pass the time. Then time gets restless while I stand still, so I find ways to savor each minute. Until it dawns on me that my timing can be off, so I thank God that his timing is perfect.


"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ambitious

I nearly tossed my ambition in the trash after it sat around collecting dust. I passed it by several times without any desire to pick it back up.

Perhaps I felt too tired or too busy. Perhaps it felt too heavy. Or maybe I feared it would slip through my fingers.

So when I finally decided to pick it up and throw it away, I suddenly felt compelled to not let it go.

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
-1 Corinthians 15:58

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Racing

I race to the finish line marked with perfection while apathy sweats from my pores. So I grab a rag to wipe it away but it keeps dripping down my face. And it seems the harder I try, the faster it falls. Until I realize there is no way I can reach the finish line on my own.

"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
-Philippians 3:14

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Truth & Grace

I cannot run from reality, but if I stand still long enough I fall through the cracks. So I slip into something anonymous in hopes that the truth won't find me. But she does. She backs me into a corner until I have no other choice but to remove my disguise. And when I do, I find myself standing in a fragile place.

And it's hard to be alone when truth is staring you right in the eye. So I call on my friend, grace.

"Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church."
-Ephesians 4:14,15

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Treasured

We treasure a sense of adventure but fail to leave the comfort of all things familiar. So we strap on a parachute called safety before leaping headfirst, only to land in a place called faith. And we discover that faith is filled with everything we already treasured, while fear offers nothing at all.

What is holding you back?

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Religious

What once held her accountable now holds her captive. And those who stood beside her in worship now stand beside her in judgement. So she tip toes around feeling very religious. But what good is religion when she seeks the praise of people instead of she herself praising God?

And yet the same thing can happen to anyone of us.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
-James 1:27

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weakness

Sometimes the very thing that propels us forward is the same thing that keeps us from reaching our full potential.

Maybe it's an independent streak, or a tendency toward perfectionism, or that we are great listeners but we don't speak up when we should.

Do you sometimes find that your strength can also be your weakness?

Perhaps it is time to trade in your weakness for his strength.

"Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
-2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sick

Sometimes she comes on too strong. And suddenly all of her is all that's left in a room filled with people.

She feels alone.

But the tragedy is that she's not sitting in a bar at closing time. She is in a place filled with the people who should be reaching her the most.

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
-Jesus (Mark 2:17)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blessings

Eight years ago I came to a new place. It is not a place of comfort, but a place of blessings. It seems odd to me that in the midst of my greatest discomfort, whether in weariness or in thin places, my heart longs for blessings. But these blessings do not come in the form of a dollar or a day to myself. They come with a kiss on the cheek or a squeeze around my waist or a bedtime prayer. These blessings come from a place I first came to eight years ago. A place called motherhood.

"He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young."
-Isaiah 40:11

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Trader

She grew tired of walking the straight and narrow when she felt the straight and narrow had walked all over her. So she traded in the "right way" for her own right of way and has kept going in that direction ever since.

Could it be that we are headed down the same path? Perhaps it's time to stop and figure out where we stand.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
-Hebrews 10:23-25

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Glory

It was sewn into your subconscious. It was built into your brain. It was hard wired into your heart. It's the desire to do something great. But this desire was not first planted by your parents. Neither was it first sewn in by society. It was made by the one who made you. And his design was for your greatness to shine under his light for his name. But something dark called sin has twisted this design and traded the glory of God for the glory of you and me. We dressed it up and called it fame. But God calls it fallen. We adapted it by naming it ambition, but God calls it amiss.

Whose glory are you living for?

"... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
-Romans 3:23,24

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Winning

She feels inspired to lay it all on the table when she comes back to her senses. But coming back to her senses means coming back to reality after having been a million miles away. So she plays the honesty card after hiding it under her sleeve. She is now playing to win. And she discovers that the winner takes all.

Are you winning today or are you holding back?

"If you hold on to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
-Jesus (John 8:32)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Breathless

Sometimes it seems as though sanity is just an illusion I am chasing as I run around, breathless. But on the days when I am so busy I cannot catch my breath, you are always there to catch me. So instead of running head first into my crazy schedule, I run head first into the arms that can carry me through.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
-Jesus (Matthew 11:28-29)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Beautiful

She is an old soul born into a youthful frame. Her laughter is contagious. Her words are full of wisdom. And her hands reach far to touch the lives of others, while her feet travel to new places so that she can bring good news.

Do you know her? Perhaps she is the woman God is molding you to be?

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!"
-Isaiah 52:7

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Weathered

The years she wasted now leave her feeling weathered. So she tries to hide her leathery heart but she covers up what she cannot hide. And she allows the things that happened years ago to have a lasting impression.

Could it be that we have done the same?

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on 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. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity."
-Jeremiah 29:11-14

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Glance Back

I started out this past school year looking to score some goals. Not the kind of goals an athlete scores on the field, but the kind of goals a missionary scores for the Kingdom. So I picked up my Bible and activated my prayer life. But when I glance back I was not nearly as prepared as I thought I was.

This year the Lord showed me even more what it means to love and serve sacrificially. When the thoughts running through my head told me, “I don’t have the strength to do this,” I countered it with the truth found in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And I saw that when my strength ended, whether in the midst of a Bible study that ran too close to midnight or in the midst of comforting a tear-stained heart, the Lord showed up and moved in ways I could not have orchestrated.

And that’s the beauty of serving the Lord. We offer all that we have and he makes up all that we don’t have.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Complacency

She does not like to let her bare feet leave the pavement but on a hot sunny day the grass feels more forgiving. She likes to gamble with inspiration because she never plays with predictability. So she banks on someone else's stability without giving a second thought to her own. And as she wanders through this life with holes in her heart and gaps in her soul, she never really knows whose life she will drift into next.

Could it be that she has drifted into yours?

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
-Philippians 4:12,13

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Visionary

She is a forward thinker who can cast vision for the future. But today she looks through a different lens-one that allows her to see the structure of her vision in light of its foundation. And when she sets her sight on the horizon she discovers what it means to come full circle. As the memories of the past connect with the realities of the present, she gives glory to the One who gave her the vision in the first place.

“And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days."
-Joel 2:28,29

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Light of the World

He tames the darkness. He erases the night. He fills a room with his presence like the golden glow of a table lamp. The question is, does he sit at your table? Does he light up your life? If not, he wants to...

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." -Jesus (John 8:12)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Faith

Sometimes I am not sure if I stand in the gap or stand in the way. So I offer up a prayer asking you to help me make sense of it all. But the lines determining where I should stand still remain blurred. Until I realize I should not be looking with my eyes....I should be looking with my heart.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for."
-Hebrews 11:1,2

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Forgiven

Sin seared her conscience like scarlet letters branding every transgression on her soul. But redemption dawns with the morning as the troubles of yesterday lay sleeping with the night. And the words, "HE IS RISEN. MY SINS ARE FORGIVEN." are now tattooed in scarlet on the deepest layers of her conscience and on every fiber of her soul.

"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.'"
-Matthew 28:5,6

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mask

Perfectionism is a mask I wear to hide the woman I have become behind the woman I want to be. So I take my mask off and try to feel comfortable with the process of just becoming...even if that does not look perfect.

What kind of mask do you wear?

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
-Philippians 1:6

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Narrow Road

Loneliness marks the narrow road traveled by those who count the cost, and abandoned by those who cater only to themselves. It is a road less traveled. But somewhere along the journey, the pathway deepens and loneliness becomes just an illusion.

Which road are you walking?

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."
-Matthew 7:13

Monday, April 18, 2011

Be the One

Her life has been sprinkled with very little opportunity. But she dreams in color. She longs for more. And a heart that dreams in color cannot live in black and white.

Will you be the one to change her world?

"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"
-Jesus (Matthew 25:40)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sinking

Every morning she waits for her ship to set sail. But every morning the winds of change refuse to blow. So her ship remains docked on the banks of reality without any hope of leaving the harbor. And as evening approaches, her heart sinks with the sun.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life."
-Proverbs 13:12

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rescued

She's a worn out party girl with washed up dreams and a weathered heart. She carries more experiences than she dares to admit and more baggage than she cares to claim. And she is the woman I would have become had Jesus Christ not rescued me.

"Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire..."
-Jude 1:22-23

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

At a Crossroad

Do I step with my right foot or my left? Both directions call my name. Both directions call my heart. And still my heart remains divided. So I serve it up on a silver platter, waiting for you to show me which side should take it all. If I choose one over the other will you still walk with me? There are certain roads we were never meant to walk alone. This is one of them.

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"
-Isaiah 30:18-21

Unbroken

She pours his coffee while he reads the paper. He opens his Bible while she prays aloud. He sits on the couch and waits for her to join him. Their relationship hinges on a supernatural kind of love.

But the foundations of these relationships can still crumble under the pressures of this life.
Relationships like these are eroding at their very core if their core does not keep Christ.

How is your relationship doing?

"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
-Ecclesiastes 4:12

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Like Grass

Nostalgia pumps through my veins with every beat of my heart. While my photographic memory keeps pictures hanging in my head they way they used to hang in the hall. But the footsteps of the past no longer echo through the halls of the present. And people who once darkened doorways in my life now remain in the dark corners of my memory. Still, life goes on...

"'All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.'"
-1 Peter 1:24,25

Monday, April 11, 2011

Find Your Voice

She stands in silence seeking out someone who will listen. But the audience she seeks already listens anonymously. Their seemingly invisible presence is deafening as they sit silently waiting for her to find her voice. Still, the irony remains as the one who longs to speak believes she has no audience while her audience believes she has no voice.

Is their a message you have been waiting to deliver? Perhaps your audience is ready to listen.

"... speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
-Ephesians 4:15-16

Monday, April 4, 2011

Counterfeit Love

We all know love is something we cannot buy. Love is also something we cannot sell. And selfishness tells us it is something we can never have enough of. While our memories tell us love is something we can sometimes lose.

But do we know that love generated from ourselves is a mere counterfeit of God's love?

"...for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned."
-Song of Solomon 8:6,7

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Picture Perfect

She lives in a crooked world on a crooked lane where the weeds grow tall, except for at her address. Her garden remains well-tended. Her door mat welcomes the wounded, the weary, and those bound by sin and suffering. The world may look at her home and not call it picture perfect, but all those welcomed here call it a picture of Christ.

"She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land."
-Proverbs 31:20-23

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taking Authority

Sometimes reluctance sneaks up from behind and taps me on the shoulder, reminding me of all the things I do not feel like doing. Then complacency whispers in my ear. Until I firmly remind them both that they are messing with the wrong person. And they back off apologetically before cowering in the corner.

"...the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
-1 John 4:4

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Prayer

"'Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die;
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say,
'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.'"
-Proverbs 30:7-9

How long has it been since we have prayed a prayer like this one?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Telling

The lines on my face tell the stories my mouth rarely tells. They tell of the apathy running through my veins when I come to the place where enough is really too much. They tell of the nights when I anxiously wait for the morning, like the darkness nipping at the heels of the dawn. They tell of my heart-felt desire to be a reflection of my Savior. Not a marred image, but a mirrored image. The lines on my face tell the stories my mouth rarely tells, but what my heart really feels.

"As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person."
-Proverbs 27:19

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Need

I need a holy perspective. In one moment, I feel like I have nothing but time on my hands. In other moments, time evaporates, leaving me so spread thin that there is not enough of "me" to go around. And I fall short. It is in those moments that I need God to do more than just fill in the gaps. I need him to fill me with his presence.

"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"
-1 Peter 1:15,16

Friday, March 18, 2011

Feelings

Sometimes she feels like a piece of paper saturated by the rain. Other times she feels like a strip of paint fading in the sun. Most times the cares of this life leave her feeling either soggy or weathered depending on the day...until he comes along and lets in a breath of fresh air.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -Jesus (John 16:33)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Traveling Girl

She thought she would have to travel half way across the world to still the restlessness that stirred inside her heart. Until she realized the peace she was seeking could not be found by crossing land or sea, but in a foreign place unlike any she had ever known. A place called surrender.

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus Christ. For he himself is our peace..." -Ephesians 2:13,14

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Simply Trust

Sometimes God likes to work behind the scenes. So we live by faith. We pray prayers that sometimes seem to go unanswered. We dig deeper in our pursuit of the Holy of Holies. But other times, God seems to show up in big ways. He defies death. He feeds the multitudes. He parts the sea. And whether in seemingly small ways or in obviously big ways, we simply trust he is faithful to work on our behalf.

"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Directions

How to make a flame:
Step 1. Gather talents, gifts and abilities.
Step 2. Assemble together in one cohesive bunch.
Step 3. Ignite passion and hold it up against assembled talents, gifts and abilities.
Step 4. Fan flame.
Step 5. Shine.

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you..."
-2 Timothy 1:6

Monday, March 14, 2011

Devoured

Her lips are painted on. Her eyes are made up. Her hair is colored and teased. At one point in her life she was taught to never talk to strangers. But when she looks in the mirror, that's all she sees. It is a case of identity theft. But the thief is not lurking on the Internet or hiding in a dark corner. The thief is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."
-1 Peter 5:8

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reality

Reality chases after me like a wolf on the prowl, nipping at my heals with sharp reminders of its presence. So I run faster in order to escape, but the wolf remains hot on my trail ... until I find sanctuary in a place called acceptance.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
-Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rise & Shine

She was never meant to blend in the background. She was made to shine. But instead of dancing in the sun, she merely dreams in the dark. And it could be that she sleeps under your watch. Isn't it time to wake her?

"But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
'Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.'
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."
-Ephesians 5:13-16

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Scripture

I am not a time-traveler. But Scripture is. It weaves through time speaking determination to the discouraged, offering hope to the hopeless, gleaning wisdom to the discerning of heart. And I am forever changed because of it.

"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." -Hebrews 4:12

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Sabbath

It comes as quietly as a morning prayer. It stays long enough to refresh my spirit. It invites me to engage in worship. It encourages me to find rest. It is called the Sabbath and I do not just observe it, I embrace it.

"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul."
-Psalm 23:1-3

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Community

Community keeps us connected like a sturdy fabric, knitting hearts together. Sometimes that fabric binds up the broken hearted. Other times it creates the kind of family that grows as our relationships grow. But community will not just come into our lives on its own. In order to experience authentic community, we must be intentional.

What kind of community are you experiencing?

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." -Acts 2:42-47

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Dream

I thought I had to hang it up for a while. Like it did not fit anymore. Maybe it got too small or maybe I had changed. But still I refused to let it out of my sight as it lay draped across a little corner of my life. I just could not let it fade into the background.

So I got the courage to pick it back up again only to discover that it still is a perfect fit.

Is there a dream you have set aside?

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."
-2 Timothy 1:6,7

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Runaway

She felt driven to run far, far away, but not to any particular place and not from any one person. She just felt compelled to go. Until one day she looked in the mirror and realized she was only running from herself. All along her phantom foe was nothing more than a familiar face: her own.

"Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." -Luke 15:3-7

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

His Will

I come humbly before the Lord asking for his will. Nothing more, nothing less. And I find myself scrambling for anything that might look something like it...an open door, a nugget of truth. Like a scavenger I scurry around in search of an answer. But there are lots of times when God doesn't give us an answer just for the sake of satisfying our demands. So I wait.

"For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry." -Psalm 40:1

Monday, February 28, 2011

Fickle Love

I used to love with the only love I knew how to give. Not the kind that could overcome evil with good, but the kind that could only give out of what I had already received. My love never was the kind that could move mountains. It was the fickle kind that could turn on and off...until he came along.

"We love because he first loved us." -1 John 4:19

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Creation

When her world collapsed she reached down to collect the pieces that shattered across the floor like a broken mirror no longer capable of reflecting her image. But as she fashioned the pieces back together she did not see a broken version of herself. Instead she stood back to gain perspective only to discover a beautiful mosaic of the cross.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" -2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Grace

She carries courage as a staple she must have in order to scale the monumental challenges in this life. But sometimes her courage is not enough to help her muster through the journey. So she packs grace for the long road ahead.

"Each time Jesus said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." -2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shine

We carry the torch so as not to extinguish the flame. But we are not Olympians nor are we competitors. We are ordinary people running in this race called life...and we shine.

"Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever."
-Daniel 12:3

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Dream

She picks her dream up off the shelf and remembers the way it used to feel: comfortable and familiar. Like a photograph she has seen everyday of her life or an old familiar song or a book she has read a hundred times, she knows this dream is hers. Even though she got distracted, or maybe discouraged, or even lost, she has found her way back to where she started so many years ago.

Is there a dream you have left behind?

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
-2 Timothy 1:6,7

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Belated Valentine

She reads poetry. He reads the paper. She presents herself quietly in a room full of people. He fills a room with his presence. She enjoys hosting parties. He is the life of the party. She dreamed of a happily ever after. He offered her one. Theirs is a match made in heaven.

"Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away."
-Song of Songs 8:6,7

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Little Valentine

She hands me a home made valentine. I give her a hug in return, knowing her valentine is mine to keep, but she is just on loan from heaven. For her life today is a glimpse of the woman she will one day become.

"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father..." -James 1:17

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sacrifice

When most people hear the word sacrifice, they immediately think of an ancient tradition belonging to an even more ancient civilization. At one point that was true for me too. Until one day, events in my life stamped the word sacrifice with an entirely new meaning on my heart.

"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 the LORD
and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened—"

-Psalm 40:1-6

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fulfillment

Some girls wear pretty dresses. She just wears a pretty smile. Some girls laugh louder than others. She just laughs out loud. Some girls seek fulfillment from earthly treasures. She just seeks fulfillment from her Savior.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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." -1 Peter 3:3,4

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Daughters

Our daughters long to know that they are celebrated. But how often do we silence them instead? They want to know who they are capable of becoming tomorrow as they stand before the mirror today.

It is our privilege as mothers to capture their curiosity and cast vision. If we don't, then someone else will.

"A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands." -Proverbs 14:1

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chasing a Dream

I feel like I am chasing after a dream that is chasing someone else when that dream will not stay still long enough for me to claim it as my own. And still I check my heart from day to day to make sure the dream I chase has not become so American that it is no longer eternal.

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Monday, February 7, 2011

Loneliness

Loneliness peeks around the corner like an impatient child in a game of hide and seek. But loneliness plays a far more sophisticated game for my heart who constantly craves community.

"God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." -Psalm 68:6

Tight Rope Walker

On most days she walks a fine line between fantasy and reality. On the other days that fine line feels more like a tight rope suspending her between sanity and a straight jacket. So she waits for someone to talk her off the ledge. Then life can start moving in the right direction once again.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:2

Friday, February 4, 2011

Complacency

Complacency sits in my stomach like a rock as I pass the plate, refusing to eat from it once again. For as difficult as complacency is to digest, I find it even more difficult to swallow.

What is it that you are consuming today? Or perhaps more importantly, what is consuming you?

"For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm." -Proverbs 1:32, 33

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shedding Skins

She wears a thick skin to protect herself from the elements. Her heart wears a leathery surface weathered by loss. Meanwhile she tells her story without scraping the surface of a band aid she cannot remove. When she checks the mirror she sees a girl she once knew hiding behind the face of the woman she has become. And she prays that maybe someday she will have the courage to shed that thick skin.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Praying without Ceasing

For me, to pray without ceasing means to constantly have a dialogue with God. Like a long list of movie credits scrolling across the silver screen are the words that light up the tablet of my heart. For me, praying constantly is almost like praying obsessively.

But there are two parts to prayer that we sometimes miss. The first is our side of the conversation. The second is God's. For me, to pray without ceasing also means to pray while listening.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Own Worst Critic

Her voice sounds smooth but her words cannot be trusted. Her lips only whisper lies in my ear....and her voice is none other than my very own. I am my own worst critic. But negative self-talk held in the light of scripture is just a bunch of lies.

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." -Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Your Beauty

She seeks beauty where beauty cannot be found. But beauty is not meant for her to define when she already holds beauty in her heart. Yet she works to create beauty with the strength of her own hands.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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." -1 Peter 3:3,4

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Stories

Landmarks in our lives become the pillars that shape the structure of our stories. The time you met your best friend, the moment you came to faith in Christ, the day you met your spouse, the birth of your children, the time you landed that dream job. These are moments of great significance. But among moments of significance also exist moments of tragedy. The time you lost your parent, the day the business collapsed, the month you foreclosed on your home, the day your disease was diagnosed. These are the deeper, darker places in our lives that build the sturdy places that contribute to the foundation and the structure of our stories. But together, between moments of glory and moments of tragedy, our stories take shape. And I am confident that when their foundations are built on Christ, they will be shaped well.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
-Romans 8:28

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blogging

I pull up my own page on the web much like I pull up a chair in my favorite coffee shop. And as I pour my heart out into a new post, I realize the beauty of blogging. My blog is my very own podium from which I speak. So when I click on the publish button I feel thankful for the freedom to offer a little bit of me to a whole lot of you.

"Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies." -Psalm 107:2

Friday, January 21, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Life is always a work in progress. If we say we have arrived then we probably have only made it half way. The reality is if life does not keep us on our toes, then it's worth asking if we are even on our feet.

"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 1:6

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Praying

Heaven holds answers I cannot find while I hold prayers in the palm of my hand. And as I search the velvet canvas called night I wonder how Abraham felt when he stood under the same sky, counting the same stars...waiting on a promise.

As I hold these prayers in my hand, I remember the faith I hold in my heart. And I decide to keep praying no matter how heaven answers.

"By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-and Sarah herself was barren-was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore." -Hebrews 11:11,12

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Great Physician

My life without Christ would merely be a dull, flat shadow of what it is today. And so I walk in the light.

My life without Christ would only be a sickly, anemic version of what it is today. And so I offer up a toast to good health.

But the irony is that I once walked in shadows and I lived among the sick. It was not until Christ came and put his hand in mine that I knew any different.

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'" -Jesus (Matthew 9:12,13)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reusing

We all know the importance of reusing and recycling the products we consume, but how often do we apply the same concept to our relationships? Sometimes we take only what we need from a friend or a spouse before setting that relationship aside until later. And when we need to reuse that relationship, we take what we need without giving anything in return.

How often do we do that with God? Do we try to pull the most we need down from heaven as though God is some great cosmic genie in the sky?

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" -Luke 10:27

Monday, January 17, 2011

Telling Time

Some say time is of the essence. Others say time flies. I say time is a precious commodity that should not be wasted. It is also a precious commodity that cannot be controlled or manipulated.

The Bible says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

How are you telling time?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Fortress

A fortress defending against darkness can look like an ancient castle with impermeable stone walls and a fortified drawbridge that allow armies to fight off their enemies.

But a fortress defending against darkness can also look like a home covered in prayer with strong boundaries in place to not let anything destructive take root in the lives of those living there.

And a fortress defending against darkness is a heart bound up with truth, cradled by love, and filled with the Holy Spirit so that the enemy cannot gain a foothold.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."
-Ephesians 6:10-18