6 days ago
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Anytime a person helps someone else in a great time of need a bond is formed, a bridge is built, a connection is made. Initially, that is how I established my personal relationship with Christ. I saw my great need and no longer felt self-sufficient. Instead, I found myself breathing an air of desperation rather than sophistication. Then I experienced his hands reaching down from heaven to pick me up from the place where I felt so fallen. Before that moment I might have seen this hand up as more of a handout, but instead I let him pull me close and whisper tenderly to my broken heart, "Remain in my love". Then a bond was formed, a bridge was built, and an eternal connection was made. In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus says, "'...love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" I recently put these commands into practice when my mother in law needed emergency medical care. God gave me the opportunity to love her as myself by serving her through a time of sickness and recovery. Our relationship over the past thirteen years has been one that has pushed me and challenged me over and over again to love the way Christ loves. And today I experienced redemption when she hugged me and whispered, "Thank you so much for all you have done for me." In that moment, I believe a bond was formed, a bridge was built, a connection was made-not just between my mother in law and me, but between my mother in law and Christ in me. Have you experienced the kind of love that rescues and redeems, either with Jesus himself or through Jesus's love surfacing in another way?
Monday, August 27, 2012
I feel so much freedom in writing, especially when I wear my heart on my sleeve. My life just feels more lived in and less for show. But the more lived in my life becomes, the more distractions demand my time. So I try putting on a shelf the things that pull me away from putting my pen to the page. The words just seem to flow more freely when they are not forced, but inspired. Still, inspiration grows slowly in the absence of time and time tends to disappear in the midst of a life lived to the fullest. As a mom in ministry, I try to make the most of the time I am given, but at the end of each day I simply trust God for the things that I cannot get to. As a busy mom, how do you find ways to make time for the things God puts on your heart?
Saturday, August 25, 2012
When my strategies become distractions, or my plans keep me from hearing the Holy Spirit, then I have become too ministry minded. When what I preach sounds more like the way I ought to live than the way I actually live, then I have lost my way. I don't ever want my strategies, plans, or way of life to take away from the gospel. And I don't want to become so ministry minded that I am no heavenly good. So I resign from the strategies and plans to simply let my story be my ministry. After all, my story has God's redemption woven all throughout each and every line. And I pray that each day both my story and my ministry will reflect Revelation 12:10,11; "Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,'It has come at last-salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony...'"
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I recently found myself standing in a waiting sort of room where a window of opportunity opened, allowing the winds of change to blow. And as they began to blow, they filled that waiting room with fresh ideas. Then part of me felt scared when the ideas smelled a little too fresh, but another part of me just wanted to breathe deeply. So I stayed until the air settled a little and the idea of change soaked into my lungs. And now I'm glad I stayed and refused to let my fear move me to close that window, because this room now feels more like a living room and less like a waiting room. In Isaiah 43:19 I read,"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?" Is there something new God wants to do in your life? Try opening a window of opportunity and see what happens next!
Monday, August 20, 2012
Hospitality hangs her hat in my home, while my husband holds the door open to welcome her inside, and my children cheer upon her arrival. After spending several summer months making my way across many, many miles on the map, I feel refreshed to not only call her a frequent guest, but to also call her a familiar friend. Has hospitality darkened your door lately to open her heart to you? Have you opened your home to her? Did you know that "... those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." -Proverbs 11:25
Sunday, August 19, 2012
If we fail to get want we want in life, I don't think we have failed to find favor with God, but I believe it's possible we have found something we want that God views as less than favorable. Whether it be a matter of timing, or a matter of envisioning something separate from what God has planned, behind it all, He has a purpose. That purpose may be to stretch our faith so that we can grow in the grace and knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18). Or perhaps His purpose could be to cultivate within us over time a Godly character that bears with greater intensity the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). So before we get caught up in what we may or may not have, let's get caught up in an adventurous, head over heels pursuit of the One whose love and affection we already do have. And in the process, I believe we'll find what we thought we were looking for all along: His perfect will.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Some days we feel so faded that we start to blend into the backgrounds of our own lives. If we are not careful, our skin gets thick and our hearts grow hard if they become too blistered by the things of this world. But each day we can ask God to renew us. His strength settles on our skin, sinks into our pores, and drips into our souls. In Isaiah 28-31 we read, "Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God,the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
Sunday, August 12, 2012
In the midst of returning to Florida in the thickest part of summer, I cannot help but feel inspired by tropical temperatures and tropical storms. No matter what part of the world we call home, we all experience storms at one time or another. But it's the way we respond to these storms that seems to say a lot about who we are. There are some who chase storms. They anticipate when a storm could threat, and when a monster of a storm builds, they grab their cameras to hunt this natural phenomenon. These storm chasers anxiously seek opportunities to capture the glory of untamed elements. Then there are some who shrink away from storms. If they do not evacuate, they go to great lengths to take the right precautions by installing hurricane-proof windows on their homes, and by stocking their pantries with enough food, water and batteries to carry them through to safety. But altogether different from these two types of people are those who do not chase and those who do not prepare. They believe that storms are too temperamental to predict who will experience harm and who will go untouched, so they do nothing. Where do you stand? Do you chase storms or do you let them chase you? In Matthew 8:23-27 we read about how Jesus can not only calm such storms, but he can also calm the storms that brew inside our hearts; "Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, 'Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!' Jesus responded, 'Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!' Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. 'Who is this man?' they asked. 'Even the winds and waves obey him!'”
Friday, August 10, 2012
A Godly passion pulls me in directions I never dreamed possible. So when I sleep under the same stars in Lutz that I slept under in London, I cannot help but marvel at the journey I made across the pond. But more importantly, I cannot help but stand in awe of my God who sent me there. Is there a passion for a particular place that God has put on your heart? Perhaps it is time to pray about taking a journey of your own? Isaiah must have felt a similar sentiment when he penned, "Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?' I said, 'Here I am. Send me.'"
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Many of us fear the unknown. There is just something about the unfamiliar that makes our hearts shy away. You may be a first time Olympian competing for the gold. You may be planning to enter into a covenant relationship when you say "I do". You may be about to enter parenthood for the first time. Or perhaps you are moving across the globe or starting a new job. From Olympic athletes with extraordinary talent to ordinary people with extraordinary faith, the fear of the unknown still grips each of our hearts. But God already knows the unknown we fear. He promises in his word that He "has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7). What are the fears you need to trust Him with today?
Monday, August 6, 2012
Greatness gets displayed in a showcase history calls the Olympics. It is a place in time where men and women compete with seemingly superhuman strength. And while some claim their success springs from man-made ability, others claim their success springs from God-given opportunity. Meanwhile, we stand as spectators who may never compete on this world's stage, but who will experience our own degree of greatness from time to time. And as we move from one great moment to the next, we too are faced with crediting our success as either man-made or God-given. How will each of us credit our own moments of greatness? In John 15:5, Jesus says, "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."
Saturday, August 4, 2012
The British pound is stronger than the dollar, meaning our American money does not stretch as far in London as it does in Tampa. That idea alone gets me thinking about a different kind of exchange I make everyday. I have a terrible habit of picking up the currency of this world and carrying it around in my heart; things that weigh me down, like stress, fatigue, even worry. I have bought the lie that these things will make me rich or happy. But if the world tells us its currency can make us rich, my question is, rich in what? Instead, the prayer of my heart is found in Proverbs 30:8,9; "give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name."
Thursday, August 2, 2012
"Mind the Gap" calls through the crowded Underground instructing passengers to watch their step before boarding. It seems to be London's most official charge for passengers to take note of their own personal safety when traveling along the city's underground train, also known as "the tube". But even beyond the city's command for safety, the phrase has made its way into the hearts of nearly every tourist passing through. Still, I cannot help but wonder if this phrase, with all its purpose and popularity, would be different if it took on a more spiritual meaning? Would we be so bold as to encourage each other to mind the gap where temptations tend to hide? Or would we encourage each other to mind the gap where lies live so loudly that they drown out the truth? I am not exactly sure, but I think the British are onto something. In what ways do each of us need to mind the gap? 1 Corinthians 10:4,5 says,"We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ."
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
From Olympic athletes to famous celebrities, we all admire someone whose hard work, character and achievements command our respect. And although they deserve our respect, it is important to remember that our heroes are still human. They have hang ups and heartaches. They experience failure as well as success. So let's keep flesh and bone on the people we admire, otherwise we run the risk of putting unrealistic expectations on who they are as people. A fine line falls between admiring them and idolizing them. To admire them is to hold them in high esteem, but to idolize them is to hold them in a position so powerful that we start worshipping them. So let's let our heroes be human. Instead of praising them, let's pray for them instead. In Ephesians 6:18 we read, "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 all the saints."