4.06.2015

Back to the Grind

All the pomp has passed.

No more horrific images of the bloody cross, or the glowing empty tomb, no more "He is Risen!" signs. Gone are the chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and spiral ham (well, maybe just one more sandwich tonight...).

And, honestly, most people went back to work today and forgot all about Him.

But He hasn't forgotten.

He Remembers. You.

Praise His never-failing name.

4.02.2015

For Us

Here's what happened...


He is the Perfect Sacrifice.

It's all so backward. Perfect Him. Sinful us...me.

And, it's true. He let Himself be abused, spit on, insulted, mocked, and whipped so violently that He wasn't even recognizable. 

For us. You. Me.

And then...in a move that seems even more backward...


He is Always Forgiving.

As they were mocking, spitting, insulting, violating Him. In the very moments that they were doing that, as His perfect life was fading from this earth. He forgave. And still does, today.

It's hard to comprehend. But try. 
Because it's real and it's the most important event of human history.

He was on that cross for you. And for me.

Praise His name.


3.10.2015

Seeking

They sit on my desk, catching light. Seeking light, leaning toward it. 

He is Light







So can we, seek the Light. 

He makes all things beautiful. Even us. 
 

3.05.2015

He Knows...

This one's pretty simple.

Wherever you are...He knows.

Whatever you're dealing with (or not)...He knows.

Whatever you're facing...He knows.

How do I know this? Two reasons.


First, one of His names is El Roi, "the God who sees."

He Sees.

So she [Hagar, who had been mistreated by her boss, so she ran away, while pregnant, into the desert] called the Lord who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the One who sees me?” That is why she named the spring, “A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.” It is located between Kadesh and Bered.
Genesis 16:13-14

He doesn't see some people and not others. That would be absurd! He's God - He sees everything!

If He saw her, He sees you. Wherever you are. In whatever condition you're in.

Second, He has a history of knowing where to find people. 

He comes toward us. 

Immediately He [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. 23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already over a mile from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. 25 Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.” 29 “Come!” He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!”
Matthew 14: 22-33

So, Jesus sent his disciples off in a boat, and that boat ran into a violent storm that freaked them out. And without them asking, "He came toward them". He knew where they were. He's the one who sent them on that boat. He knew the storm was coming. And at the right time, before they could even call out His name, He approached them. 

Because He knew. 

Take a deep breath. And thank Him for knowing. You're not alone. 
Praise His name!

2.21.2015

Praying for Snow

I hate snow. But I love it. 

What I mean is that I love snow, but hate what it brings with it. I love the white, clean, glittery look of snow, but I could really do without the slush on the roads, salt on my car, and air so cold that my nostrils that stick together when I breathe outside. 

Watching it, from indoors, brings me calm and peace. It falls quietly. Gently. Effortlessly. Gracefully.  It slows me down mentally. Hearing it crunch under my boots is one of the most calming sounds I can think of, next to the voice of God.

He Speaks.

But the problem is that it doesn't snow enough. In my mind. 

My mind is full of so much noise. So. Much. Noise. Noise about colleagues who don't own their responsibilities, departmental silos, daily project 'emergencies'. Noise about dirty counter tops, carpet that needs vacuuming, toilets that need cleaning, an art table that's calling me to create. Noise about a stacks of resumes to review, lists of documents to edit, podcasts to listen to. Noise about food, fat, carbs, sugar, fructose, food allergies, my muffin top waistline, HIIT workouts, strength training, migraines, cortisol, digestive issues... So. Much. Stinkin'. Noise.  

I say I want to hear His voice, I tell Him that each morning. And I mean it.

But I let all that noise in. Hmm...if I'm honest, I bring it in. I invite it in. I let it steal my focus. I make the noise urgent. And He doesn't want that for me. Or for you.

He Speaks. He has things to say.

So, maybe, if you're feeling worn down, exhausted and drained, like me...maybe we need to take a snow day. Maybe we need to pray for a soul-blizzard to cover all the noise, shut the place down, and help us focus on what we know will bring us calm and peace.


2.01.2015

Perspective

There's something really nice about being locked in a barely full plane for twice as long as we should be, during a snowstorm.

Something about that space and silence. Being shut off from all the demands, pulls, pushes, responsibilities, and voices. Floating above all the muck and stuff below, getting a bright, clean view of something bigger than what's normally in front of me.
 


 
Something about not being able to make a phone call, text, IM, or be called out to from another room.

It simplifies things. And allows time and space to uncover the gunk that got me thinking sideways.

It's been a rough few weeks. Work. Health. Marriage. Ministry. All at once. And my mind got very sideways.

Hmm...and it emerges...

Suspended 38,000 feet in the air, locked in a metal tube, I've got nothing but faith to hold on to. Down there, on the ground I can't see through these clouds...down there, I've convinced myself I have control over what's around me. I believe the lies that it's all on me, that in order for things to work out, it's on my shoulders.

He, alone, is in control.

I just heard a preacher say that our thoughts are out of control when they're not aligned with God's word. Man, that resonated.

It's a dangerous thing: me believing I'm in control. Not dangerous like, me-jumping-out-of-this-plane dangerous. But dangerous to my heart, mind and relationship with Him. Because when I think I'm in control, anything goes...words, actions, motives, thoughts, attitudes. And that's probably what creates a lot of the muck and stuff that's on the ground.  

Sigh. This is good to know. I needed this.

So, what about you?

What have you been thinking about? Who do you think is in control of what's going on around you and in you? What does God say about that? Think it through.

We land in 45 minutes. I'm kinda wishing I was on that super long flight to Shanghai out of Gate K13. The view is nice up here.
 
 
 

1.12.2015

Not For The Faint of Heart

A friend of mine just earned her PHD in Biblical counseling. She's a Bible genius. And here's something she wrote:

"We need to understand the problems of our lives 
in light of what we believe about God."

The first time I read it, I didn't stop. Somewhere in the middle of the next sentence or two, my mind did a double-take. Say-what?!?

I have to understand the problems of my life (...check)
in light of what I believe (...check)
about God (...hmm...whoa)


Understanding the problems of my life is not a struggle. I've lived with them most of my life. I think and think and think about them. They're right in front of me most days.

And I believe lots of things about those problems. Where they came from. Why they happened. Who contributed. How I contributed. When things went sideways. What the right solution looks like. How I can/should fix the problem. How I can't fix the problem.

...about God?

Sigh.  Not so easy.

That relationship problem of mine. How does what I believe about God tie to the problem? Again, sigh. 

I believe that if God loved me, He would fix that relationship.
I believe that if God really loved me, He would have spared me that pain and disappointment.
I believe that if God was good, things would have turned out differently.

Hmm. Starting to understand my friend's point. 

All of those beliefs about God are wrong. Every last one.

And that's where we get into trouble. When we start thinking about God in light of our problems (the flip side to what my friend wrote). 

See, I don't want problem relationships. I don't like problem relationships. And, those thoughts about the problems influence my thoughts about God. Focusing my thoughts on the problems cause me to think problematically about God.  Do you see it?

What I need to do is focus my thoughts on God, getting a right view of God and His character. Then, think about the problems.  

He is Love.

He is Gracious.

He is Faithful.

He is Bigger.

He is Good. 

He is Listening. 

He is Purposeful. 

He is Relational.

And all of those truths are what I need to understand before I can understand my problems.

Because knowing all of that, setting the tone with all of that truth about Him, that is what helps me interpret and respond to my problems.

He loves me - He died for me. He is purposeful in allowing those difficult relationships. He is listening when I cry out to Him for help. His grace is what keeps me above water some days; and it's the same grace that keeps the relationships bonded, rather than fall apart. He's bigger than relational challenges. How's that for understanding my problem more accurately?

So, what about you and your problems?

Try it for yourself. Sit down somewhere quiet. Get a piece of paper, and draw a line down the middle of the page. If you're the brave sort who's ready for some powerful "aha!" moments, label the left column "My Problem" (easy enough) and the right column "What I Currently Believe About God" (as it relates to that problem).

If you prefer a more gentle experience, title your two columns "God's Character" (as in, the truth about Him, found in the Bible) and "What That Means For My Problem" (as in, how the truth about God's character re-frames your thinking about your problems).

Please, get at it. You'll be amazed at what He shows you on that page. You will.

And your problems will likely thank you for it.  :-)