Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I overheard a conversation in the bathroom yesterday between two ladies from another office.  One was essentially saying that she was bound and determined not to get trampled over.  That people say we should treat others like we want to be treated, but she didn't agree.  She claimed she had to look out for herself, at whatever the cost.

I know this woman isn't alone in her self-serving belief.  I know that even though I know in my head this is not the way God calls me to live, on a daily basis I live to serve myself.

Often times I wonder how I can be a witness to those around me.  I try too hard, sometimes, when really it's simple.  If the world is thinking in the same way of this woman, what a contrast I can be if I'm daily laying down my needs and desires for those around me.  As the world sees this playing out in my life, they won't see me, but the love, wisdom, and power of Almighty God working in me!  This includes my husband, my workplace, my family, people in line with me at the grocery store.

When asked what the greatest commandment of Moses was, Jesus replied Jesus replied (Matthew 22:37-40), “‘You must 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.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fire Trucks

I attended church camp this week. More specifically, family camp. Not many people still participate, or even know about, this kind of thing. The easiest way I know how to describe it is like youth church camp – except the whole family comes! People from all over the state leave their lives for a week, rent out a cabin or bring their RVs to the campground, and take a retreat away from the world – an intentional time to be together as believers and under God's teaching. Of course, they have activities for all ages. The youth are busy every minute of the day, and they have fun children activities as well. 

One such group adventure to which I had planned to take my two-year-old was to the fire station. He loves loves loves all things trucks, tractors and motors. I think I was possibly more excited than him to go – to see his little eyes light up and hear the excitement in his voice. We attended the morning service at the campground and ate lunch there. As two-year-olds do, he was getting very tired and hyper and reluctant to listen. Someone who has a cabin on the campground graciously told us we could use her cabin to let him nap while we waited for the fire station event to ensue. 

It was there that everything went wrong. I told my son that he would need to nap so that we could see the fire trucks. If there was no sleeping, then there would be no fire trucks. This was to incentivize him to sleep, and sleep quickly, so he could enjoy his time as much as possible. He had not slept well the night before, so I was confident this would work out well. A tired baby, the promise of fire trucks…what more reason do you need to sleep?! But he didn't. And he became more and more stubborn about it.

And then, it hit me. We were not going to get to go to the fire station. I had given him instructions about napping, and I had to follow through with them. I was not mad at him; okay, I was frustrated with his stubbornness. But! All of that was masked with a much more dominant feeling. I was really, really sad. I had looked forward to this for him for many weeks, and I was confident that he would have so much fun. I knew that if he would only obey my instructions, he would have a thrill of his two-year-old lifetime. But he didn't. And I was heart-broken for HIM that he had missed out.

How many times have I thought God was mad at me for not following his ways? How many times was I more stubborn than a mule because I did not want God to be authority over my life?….I wanted to make the decisions. But so many times, God was not mad. He was heart-broken for me. He knew that if I would only obey him, around the corner was the BEST for me. And He was sad to see me miss out.

God's love is so much greater than even my love for my son. I hope that I will remember this poignant illustration the next time I feel that God is frowning down at me. He is not. He just loves me and knows what is best for me. And for all of us!

Does anyone else have parent/child illustrations from your own experience that have helped you know God better? We would love to hear about them!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

For those who are struggling today.  For those who don't know how you will find the strength to get through another day.  Day after day God gave the wandering Israelites provision one day at a time.  And for you he will do the same.

"The Lord will not give you 40 years of grace.  But he will give you enough grace for the day - for 40 years."

Praying you can trust him with each step today and that you will see God's provision for you in this day!


Friday, July 18, 2014

I was reading along in 1 Chronicles this past week.  Reading - name...after name...after unpronounceable name.  And, then, a story of David, in which he took a census of the people of Israel.  Apparently, this was a direct violation of God's instructions.  Joab, an advisor of David, warned against it.  Do you really want to do this, King?  But David did not head the warning.  David knew he was disobeying God, but he continued with his plans.  As a result of David's willful disobedience, seventy thousand Israelites died, And, that wasn't all.  God then sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem.  "But just as the angel was preparing to destroy it, the Lord relented and said to the death angel, 'Stop!  That is enough!'  (1 Chronicles 21:15).

 As my eyes read on in this story, I can just imagine that they were getting bigger and bigger.  I was so struck by this story.  First, because it shows the seriousness of God, the life-or-death need for us to obey Him.  It displays the consequences of our sin on other people.  Our sin is a big deal to God.  What an understatement!

But, then, God's mercy comes bursting through.  He was so offended by the census that he was going to destroy Jerusalem!  And then His GRACE comes as swift as His anger had. 

May God sweep into your life this weekend with His mighty and swift grace!



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pardon & Power

I really struggle with the concept of grace.  I know that it is only by God's grace that I no longer have to be separated from him.  He's the one extending the grace, and nothing I do or don't do can change how he loves me or whether or not I'm "good enough".  The fact is, I'm not good enough!  No way, no how!

Yet often I still find myself working, striving, and comparing.  Did I do enough today?  The answer is always: no!  Thankfully for me (and the rest of the world!) there's God's grace.  His pardon.

I appreciate so much this reminder from John Piper that as a daughter of Christ, even though I do sin and will sin until my very last breath, I have hope to overcome sin.  That I don't have to be a slave to it forever, but if I submit my will to the Lord, he gives me the power to overcome it!  Grace is both pardon and power.

I no longer have to strive in my own strength to be better or do more, because in my strength I will fail each time.  But in Christ's power I can have victory & freedom!

Go, today, and be free in the power of Christ!


Monday, July 14, 2014

God's Grace Is Sufficient for Mom's

I'm not a mom, but hope to some day be.  I know that even now I have many fears about what it will take to be a good mom and how to manage life once those sweet babies are here.  I have lots of young mom and mom-to-be friends and so today I want to share with you a one week radio broadcast I listened to last week on Revive Our Hearts.

Erin Davis wrote a book called "Beyond Bath Time" and she spoke on it with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  The whole series was so helpful to me! She speaks on why motherhood matters, what it means in our culture today, how motherhood is a ministry in itself, God's grace and provision for weary moms, and the vital importance of community.  Even if you're not a mom, this series helps you gain insight on how you can prepare your heart for motherhood, as well as how to be hope & support for young moms around you.

Today I'm linking you to God's Grace Is Sufficient for Mom's.  It's in the middle of the whole series, so I definately encourage you to listen to the whole thing. Turn it on and listen to it at work or as you're working around the house.  But if you just can't manage all five days, this is the one to hit for you weary moms out there!