Sunday, February 9, 2014


"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

The last few years, God has given me words repeatedly about where He would be inwardly focusing me for a set period of time.  Last year's theme was foundation; very fittingly, at CBS, we studied the Gospel of John in great detail and my small group at church studied some great foundational books on who we are in Christ.   As a somewhat new Christian in the grand scheme of my life, I had taken the little that I knew and had built upon it my own extensive, all encompassing works based theology.  And I spent my first few years as a believer in condemnation and despair; feeling like I was failing the God and Jesus I had created in my mind.  Slowly, meticulously, and lovingly throughout last year (and even into this year), He has replaced the sandy, decaying foundation I had been clinging to with His own, perfect Stone.  The words He gave me this year "were to understand the breadth and length and height and depth of His love for me".  I had read those words somewhere last year and they just stuck there in me, being repeated over and over and over again in my mind.  And truly, was I shocked when I realized that was part of what we were studying this year at CBS in Ephesians.  See, at times, I still suffer from honoring my own theology, especially when it is in regards to God's love.  I have had a hard time distinguishing between the love of my earthly father and the love of my heavenly Father.   And so I have unknowingly and sometimes quite severely limited the love I felt I deserved.  And He has been slowly and methodically breaking down that barrier I have established in my heart, little by little.  Through our study in Deuteronomy this year, I recently came to the realization that although we have believed and accepted the Lord's Word, we have painted our doorposts with His blood, and His judgement has passed over us, we have somehow neglected to leave Egypt!  We have been unknowingly hanging around in Egypt for years now, because Egypt is comfortable, Egypt is what we innately know, and leaving Egypt means walking out into the deep, dark unknown.  This was a shocking revelation to me!  And yet through prayer last month, He also revealed to me that all this time, while we have stubbornly clung to Egypt and its false gods, He still has not left or forsaken us.  We deserve to be cut off…yet He hasn't cut us off.  He has been ready and willing to take us out of Egypt  for YEARS now, yet he has patiently sat there living alongside us, simply pouring His love and provision and favor out over us and our bondage filled lives.  He hasn't just been waiting there though; He has also been perfectly and patiently preparing our journey out of Egypt, knowing we would come to this day of full realization.  He stands before us, looking at us not with contempt or condemnation, but with these gentle eyes that pour out the depths and brilliance of His love and mercy and grace into our souls.  He is holding out His hands, not to wipe His hands clean of us, but instead ready and willing (STILL) to gently clasp ours, and walk every step out of Egypt with us.  This realization has astounded me.   Afterall, if I were Jesus, I would have left me in the dust of Egypt a long time ago.  I certainly don't deserve His love.  I still disobey Him more times then I obey Him.  I live by the flesh more times than I live by the Spirit.   Sometimes I even let my other gods control my life for periods of time.  I am truly a mess and I have proved my unworthiness of His love to the hundredth power.  And yet He still loves me.  It doesn't make earthly sense.  His light continues to shine in those still dark places of my heart, and that darkness has not overcome His pure and perfect light.  Truthfully, I still don't completely understand His love, and maybe I never will, but I gotta say, I truly LOVE and appreciate His Love.  His love takes the pressure off of me to perfectly perform;  His love covers my blatantly obvious imperfectness.  In His love, He knows of my imperfections better then I know of them myself!  We are ready to leave Egypt now, but I know I will continue to stumble along the path and fall, again and again; simply because that is what I do.  And yet the truth of the depth and height and length and width of His love has shown me that He will always pick me back up, dust off my knees, gingerly take my hand back into His, and continue to lead me towards His perfect destination.     

Saturday, January 4, 2014

His heartbeat

"And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God],"  Ezekiel 11:19 Amplified

Valentine's Day crams the shelves of stores today, as heart shaped chocolate boxes, teddy bears, jewelry, and delicate wood roses promise to win the heart of the one you love.  February is known by all as the month of hearts, as seen by copious amounts of pink and red heart themed everything sold just about everywhere, from jewelry to candy, clothing to toys, cards to mugs, and everything else in between.  The world promises we can buy these hearts to show our hearts to the hearts of those we love.  It's known as THE love holiday of the world.  And it loads many with expectations, burdens others with great pressure, while still others are left sadly longing for Valentine's love of their own. All the time though, the One and Only True Heart, filled with an overflowing measure of unconditional love is free and beating for us all.  Rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old, good or bad; this is the One and Only Heart any and all will ever need.  This is the Heart that never stops flowing, or giving, or loving, and is consistently beating away to any and all willing to receive it.  The rhythmic heart within us that drums "lub dub... lub dub...lub dub" 93,000 times a day gives us physical life, while also being a constant reminder to us of the life-giving Spirit of God flowing into those of us who have received Jesus as our Savior.  Substitute "lub dub... lub dub...lub dub" for "Je-sus"..."Je-sus"..."Je-sus",  because it is His sacrificial blood that gives eternal life to your own.  Once He resides in your heart, He IS your heart.  Feel the whisper of His name in every pulse of your own heart.  "Je-sus"..."Je-sus"..."Je-sus".  Expectations too high?  Pressures too great?  Longings too deep?  His life giving, life saving Spirit flows through you with every thump.  "Je-sus"..."Je-sus"..."Je-sus".  God took on a human heart, so that He could be your heart.  A constant reminder that He is always with each and every one of us, no matter where we are in our journey.  "Je-sus"..."Je-sus"..."Je-sus"  His name and Spirit pounds through your veins minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day.  Your life is out of control?  You feel unloved?  You don't possibly have the strength left to face the next challenge or even the next minute?  Close your eyes, put your hand on your chest, and feel His heart surging everlasting life into your tired, weary, broken body.  Filling you up with exactly what you need: His love and His strength and His victory.  "Je-sus"..."Je-sus"..."Je-sus".  Our heart is His.  His heart is ours.  A perfect exchange.  Not sure if you are doing enough with your life?  Feeling entrapped by sin?  Confused as to where to head next?  March to the beat of His Perfect Rhythm and Perfect Will and let Him lead the way.  "Je-sus"..."Je-sus"..."Je-sus".  Feeling too old?  Too broken?  All used up?   Has your heart stopped beating; has His Spirit stopped flowing?  "Je-sus"..."Je-sus"..."Je-sus".  The world offers us counterfeits of love, momentarily pleasing to the eye; hearts that are here today and gone tomorrow.  Don't look for a sign of love on the outside, but FEEL His steady, persistent mark of love within us.   "Je-sus"..."Je-sus"..."Je-sus".   This regular rhythmic whisper of His name and His love and His grace flowing within us is a gift we could never earn; pouring through us, at every Divine heartbeat, is His power, a power we will never deserve.   Let us never forget, especially during this season of hearts, that the One who loved us so much to freely offer up His own life and heart, is only ever a heartbeat away.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

For to us a child is born, 
to us a child is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.  
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6

For most of us, December is a month of frenzied holiday hustle and bustle.  And all too often, December 26th arrives, and we are suddenly hit with the sinking reality that the Christmas season has passed us by, yet again, in the blink of an eye.  One moment we are joyfully celebrating the season with all our hearts, souls, and minds; only a moment later, Christmas is clearanced, as Valentines Day fills those void shelves.  If we put our hopes solely in this season, we will be let down every time.  Instead, this Christmas season, let us reflect on the reason for the season; the arrival of the Prince of Peace.  I know peace well, because I have been on the hunt for it for years.  Once upon a time, I greatly cherished my quiet, peaceful hours after work; they were a great treasure to me.  And then we decided to have a child or six.  When the kids were young, there were still a few peaceful hours to be had, at a glorious time also known as naptime.  But as the children grew, my dismay grew as naptime all but disappeared and I seemingly kissed any and all quiet, peaceful moments goodbye indefinately in a house of 6 very busy children, 4 of them all noise and dirt, also known as boys.  For many years, I was on this fruitless hunt for a peaceful and quiet moment that I couldn't will to exist, no matter how hard I tried; I couldn't wake up earlier then them, since they woke up at the first ray of sun in the sky, and by their bedtime, I was collapsing from exhaustion myself.  I was beaten; I realized my hunt for peace was futile.  And then mercifully, the Prince of Peace intervened and turned my thinking rightside up, as he taught me the truth about peace.  The peace He brings is not that in the midst of the most perfect of circumstances.  When news of the Messiah being born reached the people, a future of peace was celebrated.  When our King and Savior was revealed, most believed that chaos and strife would cease forever under His sovereign rule.  And what shock and disappointment followed when he died on the cross instead; it appeared that their chance of peace had slipped right out of their hands and died on that cross with Jesus.  But what no doubt was great commotion and grief actually became a finished work, as Jesus overcame death and the world.  The peace He has gifted us with is not the feeling we have on those Christmases of our lives; on the contrary, it is the peace we can and will find on those despairing clearanced-Christmas days that too quickly follow suit.  Life's troubles may take a holiday hiatus, but when they come back-and they a freight train, He promises us a peace that surpasses all understanding.   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."  John 16:33  This season and all seasons, praise God for sending us the Prince of Peace!  And praise Jesus for the gift of peace he has made complete; a  peace that coexists in the craziest of chaos; a peace found in even the most lowly of places; the peace of our hearts as they rest permanantly in the quiet place with Him.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Number One

(This is something God has been working on me in regards to my very busy schedule the last few years.  I want to do it all, and I love to somehow{madly} cram a ton of activities into a tight schedule.  The last few years have been a whirlwind-where I have felt like I was either coming or going.  And I found myself expressing to God my daily excuse of "I am just so busy and don't have time for Bible and is not my fault though"  Thankfully, God has given me a few swift kicks in the seat of my pants, as He has convicted me of some of these truths, while also helping me weed my schedule.)

Young adults are leaving Christianity, and not looking back, at an alarming rate.  One such article in Christianity today ( stated "Imagine a group photo of all the students who come to your church (or live within your community of believers) in a typical year. Take a big fat marker and cross out three out of every four faces. That's the probable toll of spiritual disengagement as students navigate through their faith during the next two decades."  Why is Christianity being hit so hard?  And what is the reason for it?  Perhaps a better question though may be where have these young adults put their faith?   Might they not be abandoning their faith, but instead following a faith that was much more faithfully taught in their homes?

Many Christians dutifully attend a weekly service at church.  Many others add a Wednesday Bible study to the mix.  God's glory is proudly proclaimed and Jesus' gift to us is highly revered. We pray prayers, we sing songs, and we listen as our pastor extrapolates easily digestible portions of scripture to us.  And an hour later, we leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling, sure that God loves us.  But what god are we truly following once we walk out those doors, the other 111 awake hours we have a week?  Who or what is true king in our lives?  Who or what gets the majority of our time and energy?

These days, kids' schedules are not just busy, they are absolutely crammed with every experience/activity to be had.  First, at an early age, it is assumed that we need to enroll our children in a smattering of this and that, until we can find their key interests and strengths.  And once our child excels at a sport or activity, it is assumed that we, as the parents, must now be willing to sacrifice anything and everything in order for our child to graduate to the next level of experiences.  Practices and games and classes and camps and recitals and lessons and scouts and clubs take a key place in our overwhelming schedules.  We do not want to deny our children; we want to give our children the very best the world has to offer for them.  And so we run from here to there, squeezing in every experience we possibly can into the times we have available.   It slowly but surely takes over our lives.  Our world revolves around these experiences.  Our childrens' world revolves around these experiences. 

Where does our Christianity fit into this hyperactive, overscheduled life of ours?  Where does Jesus get squeezed in?  Suddenly, without even knowing it, we are worshipping these activities instead of He who we owe our very lives to.  We are giving those 111 other awake hours to the created world instead of the Creator.  And ultimately, we are instilling in our childrens' hearts the only truth they might ever know; that we come first.  Our dreams.  Our goals.  Our aspirations.  Our experiences.  They are of the utmost of priorities; they are at the top tier.  And then God comes second...or third...or fourth....or fifth; basically wherever He can be snuck in.

Why are young adults fleeing from the church in droves?  Because they are chasing the after the only faith they really understand and appreciate--their faith in wordliness.  The one and true faith that has been stamped upon their hearts; the only faith that has brought them to times of pain, blood, sweat and tears; the faith that has called for great sacrifice in their lives; the faith that is their sole focus; the faith that they would lay down their lives for.

When we make it our life mission to give our children the very best of every opportunity, all the time hoping we are setting our children up for great worldly success, we are in retrospect setting them up for great spiritual failure.  They very plainly see that our words about God are merely lip service; for our faith is not what we say, but how we live.  And our lives certainly do not showcase God.  They are about success and winning and pride and goals and awards and achievement.   For one hour a week, we proclaim God's number one spot in our lives, to promptly run out the door and spend the rest of the week chasing the best of what the world has to offer us and our children.  Our children witness how we spend each and every one of those awake hours and where our loyalty falls, and their hearts align accordingly.  They begin to pursue the lived faith of their family.  And when all is said and done, an hour a week at church is not going to point them towards God, save them, nor will it transform them, and it certainly will not convince them they need to attend once they are out on their own.

Christianity is not an insurance policy we say yes to-to then be tucked safely away until its needed. Christianity is not a weekly check mark given for attending church service.  Christianity is not a daily Our Father and a blessing given at dinner time.  Christianity is a life changing, live giving, transformational, daily relationship with the One who created us.  But like all relationships, we need to dedicate time and work and effort to it.  It's a relationship that requires the kind of dedication we give to sports and dance and scouts and music.  A relationship we should be willing to sacrifice for.  A relationship that comes first and not last in our day to day priorities.  A relationship that Jesus was willing to shed blood for.

It is time to clear our schedules of the clutter and teach our kids Who has first place in our hearts; Who rightly sits in the throne of our lives.  We don't need to give up everything (our Father is not one who demands we sit home 24/7 with Bibles glued to our hands), but He does rightly desire the firstfruits of our day to day and not the leftovers.  He yearns for us to spend daily time in His word and in prayer, so that He can chip away at our worldliness, impart His true wisdom, and then send us off to walk the daily walk.  It is time to show our children that when we saunter out those church doors, our hearts and minds faithfully remain in Him the other 111 awake hours of the week and that we faithfully display to our children that nothing can take His place as the foundation of our lives.  Let us instill to our children that although their activities may be fun, they are not our number one priority, nor should they be theirs. Lord, let us live in a way that our thoughts, actions and words always showcase to our children, as well as the rest of the world, that You, and You alone, rightfully and reverently hold the Number One spot in our lives.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

12 New Living Translation (NLT)

Proverbs 14:12

12There is a path before each person that seems right,  but it ends in death.


Amplified Bible (AMP)

Colossians 3:2

And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.


New Living Translation (NLT)

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.    

New blog

I am starting this blog as a way to organize my thoughts as to all the new things God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is teaching me day by day!   These are convictions about my life (and my weaknesses); God's work in my daily life.  I am flawed.  I am weak.  I am sinful.  I am a royal mess.    Yet He continues His great work in transforming me.   Slowly, painstakingly, he chips away at all my ugliness, replacing it with a life-giving beauty.  And slowly, but surely, it is out with the old and in with the new.  As He shines His light on the ugly little bits of my life, I will blog about it and hopefully these little bits of His wisdom can transform others as well.