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no better place- a repost

21 Oct

Can you hear the call?

Come to me my people, come

Perhaps you feel like the Prodigal Son…

longing for home but, afraid of the reception you’ll receive if you dare to show your face?

There’s no need to be afraid of your Father

will He frown, cross His arms and turn away?

When I see you I will run

What’s this? He’s running to meet you?!

I will be there, I will be there

What comfort is found in His embrace!

Before you call, I will answer you

He quiets you with His love and sings a soothing song to your soul.

While you still speak, I will hear

He hears the longings and intentions of your heart,

listens in rapt attention while you pour out your soul.

My ears are turned to the cry of my chosen ones

He hears the cry and listens with compassion,

ready to offer the Love that will banish all fears.

In my love you can rest in me

Contentment, peace, calm, rest … all found in the arms of your Savior.

Will you trust Him enough to rest there?

For you are my very own

Despite your rebellion and stubbornness, He has an everlasting love for you.

A love that fights for, protects and is jealous over you.

So hold on to the hope you have

The hope birthed out of the love that’s been lavished on you.

Hope that knows no limits, no restrictions, no “If you do ‘….’, He’ll love you more.”

That I would draw you to myself

With a love that keeps pursuing and never gives up on you.

That pulls you in and captivates you.

For I will never leave you alone

Even in the dark, lonely places He is there.

When you are blinded and disillusioned, defeated and filled with regret, He is there.

You are never alone.

I will not forget you, I gather my lambs in my arms

Even though you wander and stray, looking to greener pastures.

You are always on His mind.

He will search you out and bring you back.

He will tend to the wounds and bruises, gently nursing you back to health.

So I will comfort you and carry you close to my heart

Carried by the strong arms of the Good Shepherd.

Held close and secure. Comforted by His presence.

There is no better place to be.

lyrics by Daphne Rademaker

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more than i can handle

5 Jun

I’ve said it.

I’m pretty sure you’ve said it too.

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  

Really?

Really?

Pretty much every minute of the day, I have more than I can handle.

Not in an I’m-so-overwhelmed-that-I-can’t-function kind of way {well, sometimes!}

but in an I-need-the-power-of-Jesus-to-live-the-Christian-life kind of way.

The longer I’m a Christian, the more I see my complete and total need for him in every area of my life. There is not one moment of my day that I don’t need His strength and grace to get through.

Love my husband and kids? Need Him.

Be content? Need Him.

Homeschool effectively? Need Him.

Manage my time well? Need Him.

The list goes on and on…but you get the picture.

God does give me more than I can handle so that I am propelled to be totally dependant on Him.

Totally.

Because even in pulling off a “successful” day week without His help, my self-satisfaction rises up and I pat myself on the back for a job well done…apart from Him.

“For apart from me you can do nothing.”

Nothing.

So why do we think that self-sufficiency is so great?

Why is an independent attitude applauded?

No where in the Bible does it say, “My power is made perfect in independence” or “the Spirit helps us in our self-sufficiency.” As Christians, it is through our dependence on God that we are strengthened and equipped to live a life that pleases Him. And yet, I still want to do everything on my own.

Why?

Because of PRIDE.

Pride stops me from admitting my need for help.

Pride hinders me from being vulnerable.

Pride recoils at the thought of submitting to Someone Else’s authority.

Because what it all comes down to is this:

To be dependant on God requires admitting that I am weak and imperfect. That apart from Him, I have no goodness of my own. And, that to be a follower of Christ, I must daily die to myself and fully rely on the Holy Spirit to live through me.

And the pride in me hates that.

The solution?

Humble myself before God.

Admit that I am weak and needy.

Receive the strength I need to tackle everything that comes my way.

It’s the only way to truly handle it all.

for you

9 Jul

A prayer for you today:

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

{Ephesians 3:16-21}

here’s the thing…

10 Jun

I’ve stopped trying to figure out why God does things the way He does.

I’ve just concluded that He does everything for a purpose…and for my good. Maybe this should’ve been my first clue.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

But he doesn’t just cause everything to work together, like some puppet master who only has a limited number of strings to pull. He made all the strings in the first place…and can make a new string if the existing ones don’t do the trick. Ok, maybe that’s a bad example..and getting off of the subject a little.

My point is this:

There are many times in my life that things happen that I do not like or understand. But I’ve come to realize that the Lord really does know what He’s doing when He brings or allows these situations to come about. He is working everything for my good. Maybe not “my good” as I see it, but that’s not what the verse says. The key is “according to his purpose for them.”

And what is that purpose?

To form me into His image. To produce in me the very character that He possesses.

For my good…

He has given me children, to teach me patience (and unselfishness, and compassion, and gentleness, and…).

He has placed hard-to-love people in my life, to teach me how to love.

He has placed trials in my life, to teach me to rely on His strength.

For. my. good.

And for His glory…which is really the point of it all anyways.

I mean honestly. If I’m all (or ANY) of these things, it’s because the power of God is at work in my life. I don’t have a compassionate bone in my body. Or a patient one, either. These characteristics are purely an act of God. And what better way to glorify Jesus than to show the world that the only “good” I have comes from Him?

If that is accomplished by Him working in ways that I don’t always understand, so be it.

Because He is Good. And everything He does is good.

 

 

 

don’t be surprised

4 Jun

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.

1 Peter 4:12

I don’t know why, but I’m always surprised at the spiritual war that wages inside of me. I forget so easily that the struggle is not just between my flesh and my wish to do good, but that there is a supernatural dynamic going on as well. The enemy of my soul has one goal in mind. To kill, steal and destroy the relationship that I have with Jesus.

To bring death where there should be Life.

To lie so convincingly that I forget the Truth.

To beat me down and discourage me so that I cannot find Hope.

And then I read this scripture and I’m reminded.

Don’t be surprised.

Oh.

Right.

There is more going on than meets the eye. I need to return my focus to Christ and fill my mind with His truth. Stick my fingers in my ears and say, “Lalalala” when the liar’s voice gets too loud. Stand strong in the power of His might and fight like my life depends on it. Because it does.

amazing

4 May

Lately I’ve been thinking about how amazing it is that God chose to love me, redeem me with the blood of His own perfect Son, and continues to faithfully pursue me.

Me…

The one who is selfish.

 The one who is filled with pride.

 The one who judges too harshly and shows compassion too seldom.

And yet…

He forgives.

And gently corrects.

And delights in me.

Amazing.

 

sucking my thumb

28 Mar

Right now we are in the throes of a thumb sucking intervention.

My son, Sam, has sucked his thumb since he was a baby. And the habit has become part of who he is. To say that it is hard for him to stop, is the understatement of the year. In large part, it is because he doesn’t want to stop. Our warnings about dental problems and being too old to continue this habit, fall on deaf ears. Our constant “Take your thumb out.” are met with sly smiles or a turned head to try to hide his “transgression.” Sometimes, when he thinks I’m not watching, he slips his thumb in his mouth. When I tell him to take it out he exclaims, “How did you know?!”

The other day as the battle raged on, the Lord spoke to my heart,

“You’re like Sam. You too, have habits sin that you don’t want to give up. When I try to show you that they are harmful to you, you don’t really believe Me. Or, the consequences don’t seem serious enough for you to stop. What will it take for you to give them up?”

Sobering words.

True words.

Words that I understand from a parent’s view point, because I know the struggle of trying to help my child overcome a practice that doesn’t benefit him.

I am humbled.

And convicted.

And brought to repentance by His simple words.

“Take your thumb out.”

How true it is, that I ignore the Lord’s warning about the “insignificant” sins in my life. The things I’m in such a habit of doing, that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing them.  Or worse, I turn my head and try to hide my sin. They are comfortable and comforting.

Until the Lord reminds me again.

“Take your thumb out.”

Oh Lord! Help me to believe You and turn from the sins that I hold onto. I don’t want to be a “thumb sucker” anymore.

 

one year ago today

25 Mar

…I wrote this post. How ironic that it is a timely reminder for me once again.

The other night at church, my father-in-law was speaking about how the Lord meets us where we are…
no “getting cleaned up to take a bath” so to speak. 
He was talking about how Peter professed his undying devotion to Jesus and then turned around and denied Him.
Three times.
After the resurrection, Jesus and Peter meet again on the beach.
Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. 
Each time Peter says “yes.” 
The third time Peter says,
“Lord! You know I love you!”
And he was right.
The Lord did know that Peter loved Him.
In spite of his denials, Jesus knew that Peter really did love Him. 
Here’s the incredible part…
Despite my weakness and denials and sin, 
the Lord knows that I love him.
He knows that I will fall,
And fail,
and think that I’ve let Him down one time too many.
But He can see my heart.
He knows that I love Him.
And that makes me love Him even more. 

do as I say…

7 Feb

Yesterday Marko and I talked to Sam, laying ground rules for the privilege of playing video games. One of the rules we made was no playing on Saturday. Our church happens to meet on Saturday night and we feel that the day should be set aside to focus on the Lord and prepare ourselves to receive what he has for us during the service.

As we talked to Sam, Marko and I looked at each other with conviction in our eyes.

We need to heed our own advice.

Too many times we spend countless hours on Saturday mindlessly surfing the web, watching movies or doing activities that do nothing to get us into the presence of God. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think these things are bad in and of themselves. But they can definitely serve to distract us from tuning in to the voice of the Lord.

How can I concentrate on the greatness of God, while I’m absorbed in Facebook?

How can I prepare my heart to receive correction or instruction, if I’m watching a movie filled with pride and vanity?

It just doesn’t work.

And it definitely doesn’t set a good example for Sam.

How can we expect him to cultivate eyes that see, and ears that hear the Lord, if we aren’t modeling it for him?

We want to raise our kids so they delight in spending time with Jesus above all else.

“I delight in your decrees;
   I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16

So that seeking Him is their highest aim.

“One thing I ask from the LORD,
   this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
   all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
   and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

So my prayer today?

 Lord, please make it my delight to seek You each and every day. That I would know You and love You more, because of the time I spend in Your presence. Please help me express to my children the joy and satisfaction that comes from seeking Your face and walking in Your ways.  

 

 

in the midst of the storm

30 Dec
Today I received some hard news.
My dad (who was diagnosed with cancer in October) went in for his second surgery
to remove tumors under his collarbone and on his neck. 
The doctors were not successful.
The tumor is larger than expected and embedded in a major artery.
They will not attempt another surgery.
Radiation and chemo are not viable options.
Reality is setting in,
my Dad will not be around forever.
I wonder how long he’ll get to enjoy his new granddaughter.
I wonder if he’ll be here for Sam or Ava’s next birthdays.
I wonder if he’ll enjoy another Christmas with the family.
So many thoughts are swirling through my head.
So many questions that there are no answers to.
But one thing I do know.
My Jesus is in control.
He is my Comfort and Peace,
the Arms That Will Carry Me,
my Assurance and Hope.
So in this moment
I will look to Him and take refuge in His strength.
Tomorrow (or the next hour) has it’s own troubles.
But right now I will choose to rest in the soothing embrace of my Savior.