What a Wonderful Life

He takes it all in. All the different colors…red, blue, purple, green and yellow, as I stand holding his tiny body close to mine and he stares at this new wonder called a Christmas tree, with all its lights and decorations. I speak softly in his ear and point to all the different colors by name. Colors that one day he will know on his own. And I think to myself…

I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. King Solomon

1 Kings 3:7c

King Solomon was an adult when he said these words in 1 Kings 3:7 but he knew he could not be a successful leader without God. He set aside his will and any agendas or idiosyncrasies that were a part of his life. He chose and allowed himself to become teachable like a child.

As we grow and mature in our faith our goal is to set aside spiritual milk and feast on the spiritual food of God’s word. Choosing and allowing Holy Spirit to drop into our hearts his truth. At the same time we ought to also remain like a child. Teachable.

Many times our actions and attitudes can take away the simplicity of our relationship with Jesus. We have the opportunity to choose Him everyday over all that our day may contain.

As I think about our precious grandson I pray that he will always be in wonder of who God is to him. That he will always have a teachable heart. I pray that for you and for me.

Because regardless of life’s challenges and struggles, a life in Jesus is

…a wonderful life.

For His Glory

Have you had a situation where your heart and mind perceived that Jesus didn’t show up at the right time or at all? Maybe you are walking through a season right now wondering where He is.

Next month will be 13 years since my then 17 year old nephew was killed in a senseless and tragic auto accident. Remarkably drugs and alcohol were not involved but speed and rain were and the driver of the car lost control. The driver, who was expecting to attend college on a basketball scholarship after graduation in a few months, had to be extricated from the car and lost both his legs. Miraculously my niece and her friend, who were thrown from the backseat of the car and suffered broken backs, survived.

Three separate occasions I asked God why. Three times He dropped into my heart, for My glory.

My brother’s marriage couldn’t withstand the strain of the loss of a child and ended in divorce shortly after the accident. Last year my brother went home to Jesus after years of chronic illness and a broken heart.

In my humanness I would say that I have yet to see God’s glory in this particular situation over the last 13 years but the truth is I have seen His glory. The year before my brother passed he was hospitalized with some very serious issues that caused us to think he wouldn’t live through the night. I reached out to many praying friends and the next day we found almost every issue had disappeared overnight. God’s glory. During this same hospital visit God sent me in to pray with my brother. He was ready and we said a simple prayer of salvation. God’s glory.

In our verse above Martha makes a simple statement to the Lord, if He had been there her brother wouldn’t have died. At the same time she knew that God would give Jesus whatever he asked. Jesus brought Lazarus back to life.

There is a poignant sentiment Martha coneys. On the surface the story is about the loss of her brother and how Jesus could have saved him were He there while he was ill. But a few layers down…deeper we see Martha’s complete trust in the sovereignty of God. She knew regardless of how the situation looked on the outside Jesus was in control and His love for her and her family would never waver.

Through the generations Martha seems to have gotten a bad rap. She was the sister more concerned with preparing a meal for 13 men rather than sitting at the feet of Jesus as her sister Mary did. But Martha knew something to her very core.

She knew Jesus was the awaited Messiah and she trusted Him.

Have you put your trust in Jesus? When you do I can’t nor I won’t promise everything will be perfect in your life but I can promise His love for you will never falter. And if you allow Him the space Holy Spirit will fill you with His peace and comfort in the midst of adversity.

Shalom.

There’s Something About Grandchildren

Grandchildren truly are the best!

Before our little lion chaser was born I explained to my daughter that it will be all about the baby. Not because people are uncaring but because babies simply do something joyous to our souls. Even with my mother-in-law, my husband and I are one rung lower on the children ladder!

For me the blessing of a grandchild is a second chance to be the relaxed and unhurried parent I wanted to be when my children were young. Being a grandparent is another opportunity to pour into our grandson from the growth and maturity of my relationship with Jesus.

If I knew then what I know now I would have said yes to Jesus years before our first child was born!

Tuesday Thoughts

Fully Convinced

Locks. Maybe you’ve seen them. They seem to show up on bridges almost everywhere. In fact, on the Brooklyn Bridge it is against the law to secure them to the bridge, but the posted signs, stating as much, do little to deter people. They appear in assorted sizes and colors quietly proclaiming the promise of the ones who locked them to the bridge of their love for one another. To trust each other with their heart.

Over the past several weeks God has reminded me of His promises in His word. Below I share a few that have resonated with me once again.

In that day– “Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. Isaiah 27:2,3.

I have prayed Isaiah 27:2,3 for my children often throughout the years. It is comforting to picture my children as that fruitful vineyard with God watching over them and watering them continually with His presence and guarding them day and night so no one may harm them.

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. Joel 2:25.

Several years ago I was in the middle of a health crisis that seemed like it would become and remain chronic. Then…then God. He had given me the word restore for that year and shortly after I heard a sermon on Joel 2:25. THEN I went to a writers conference and saw this.

But this is what the LORD says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. Isaiah 49:25.

The following year God gave me Isaiah 49:25. Not only does God promise to set captives free and return the plunder the enemy stole, He contends with those who contend with me and saves my children. Contention in my childrens lives trickles into my life and I love how I can rest in this promise that God contends on our behalf.

Placing a love lock on a bridge won’t guarantee forever love or trust between the ones who locked them there but when we allow the truth of God’s promises to settle in our heart He teaches us of His love and trustworthiness and we can be fully convinced that God is able to do what he has promised because of His unconditional and lavish love.

Bread of the World

Bread of the world in mercy broken,
wine of the soul in mercy shed,
by whom the words of life were spoken,
and in whose death our sins are dead.

Look on the heart by sorrow broken,
look on the tears by sinners shed;
and be thy feast to us the token
that by thy grace our souls are fed.

Author-Reginald Heber, The Presbyterian Hymnal.

There is no time like the present to ask Jesus into your heart. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, what you’ve said, how you think or what habits you have. If you confess and repent and call to Jesus, He is faithful to answer and forgive your sins. Holy Spirit swoops in for the save and begins to transform your life. A life that is filled with joy, peace and comfort regardless of situations or experiences. A life He came to give you. A life He died for you.

Shalom!

Opulence

Sitting at my desk looking out the second story window of my home office to the tree lined street I am struck by the plethora of color. Bright orange, deep maroon and rusty red. I am praising God for Who He Is and the word opulent comes to mind.

Opulent, such a beautiful word. I imagine light hitting a chandelier and producing fragments of multicolored sparkles on all that it touches.

I’m led to explore the definition of opulent; not satisfied I look up opulence. From one online source the definition is abundance, an opulence of fruit. Still not completely satisfied I search for the Biblical definition which is riches.

In this moment I sense the Spirit’s abundance as He richly shares His fruit with me to be shared with others.

As you journey with Him may He lavish you in His opulence as you touch those around you and your sphere of influence.

Counting Sheep

She stood just outside the make believe perimeter. A part of, yet not. She longed for their companionship, their understanding, their love and their acceptance. She doesn’t remember, really, how she came to be where she currently found herself—on the outside.

She had known this group for years. Her children grew up with their children. They had shared graduations, children getting married, the birth of grandchildren along with close calls and the grief of losing loved ones.

These were her people, her community, her tribe. Yet somehow she felt so disconnected from them. Did anyone notice? Did anyone care? Was anyone praying for her? Would anyone reach out to her?

In this moment she felt like the one lost sheep that unknowingly wandered away from the flock and couldn’t find her way home. She needed help, yearned for it, for someone in her tribe to help her find her way back into the fold.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, comes home, and calls together his friends and neighbors to tell them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is addressing the lost sheep as a sinner that is found and saved. But what about those within the Body of Christ? The ones that aren’t lost physically or spiritually rather emotionally. The ones that once were included but now feel disconnected not sure why nor how to reconnect.

Surely Jesus wants us to go after those within our believing communities that have lost their way, to ‘find’ them and carry them back to the fold.

Jesus wants us to be inclusive not exclusive.

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:20.

Who is Jesus asking you to include in your circle of friends/influence? More importantly, what will you do?

Eternal Accountability

For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.

2Timothy 1:11,12.

Trust me. You’ve probably heard this phrase so many times you’ve lost count. Or perhaps you, like me, have used these two words in the past.

When we decide to trust someone we are relying on their character or putting our confidence in them to follow through on what they’ve promised to do for us.

Jesus left us with specific directions to go and make disciples of all the nations. Like Paul we are heralds and it is our responsibility to share the good news of the gospel message with everyone!

Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and my sin. When we choose Jesus we are cleansed of the sin that once plagued us and while sin will still tempt us, sinner is no longer our identity. We are righteous in the Righteous One.

When you place your trust in Jesus he safeguards your salvation until He comes again or calls you home. You can trust the character of Jesus and place your confidence in Him to follow through on all the promises you find in His word.

As heralds of the good news of salvation through Jesus we also bring with this message an eternal accountability to all who hear The Message. If you haven’t placed your trust in Jesus, what will you do with this message of salvation? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready to make the choice for Him! If you already believe, what will you do with this message? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready or continue to nurture a deep and intimate relationship with Him walking in His will in complete surrender! We all have room to continue to grow.

Of all the things I could ask you to trust me with, this one thing, salvation in Jesus, is the only thing that will stand up against the test of time.