Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Flourishing Tree


A Life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
Proverbs 11:28

Oh that I may be a flourishing tree! Jesus, take my life and shape it according to your will. Take my steps today. Take my words. Be my thoughts.
Let every branch grow fruitful, and hang on to the shape of it's nourishing provider. 
Oh Jesus, keep me a tender shoot, looking up towards the heavens.  Grow my roots deep beneath the dirt, solid in your foundation.  Let me sway easily, but never compromise my shape, and always open to the warmth of more Son.
Keep my branches open to welcome many weary visitors. Water my roots, as I share with others the water you so lovingly have provided for me.
Jesus, it has been said: 'A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree." 
Say That Again!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Empty Tomb

Our Father who is in heaven,
hallowed be Your name
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:9-10


The Easter service I went to today was thick with the Spirit of God. I worshiped fully in the presence of Jesus, humbled by his glorious light, and the words of his Spirit rich upon my lips. 
I loved the pastors words about the Lord's Prayer.
He explained that when Jesus spoke this prayer, he was speaking a prayer of war! He was making a declaration as the One that will conquer!
When I pray "your Kingdom come, your will be done" I am making a strong stand. I am saying that I want a Kingdom heart. I want to be selfless. I want Jesus to transplant his nature into me and conquer me. His will, not mine. 
When I do this I am asking his Kingdom to come into my being and his will to be done in my life while I am here on earth.  I am declaring that I am ready to claim the power of the empty tomb and live in his resurrected life. I am saying that I believe he has seated me in heavenly places and the enemy does not have power over me.
He has said:
Blessed are the poor in spirit
Blessed are those who mourn
Blessed are the gentle
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Blessed are the merciful
Blessed are the pure in heart
Blessed are the peacemakers
Blessed are those that are persecuted
for theirs is the kingdom of God
To conquer, I will be humble, loose myself,  be gentle in spirit, and know it is only the righteousness of Jesus that enfolds me.
To conquer, I will be merciful to others, my heart will be pure, and I will be a peacemaker.
To conquer, I will rejoice, even when others persecute me, for God has given me his Kingdom.
He is not in the tomb, he is risen, he is risen, indeed! He conquered death, oh death, where is your sting? And, now he lives, he lives in me, and the power of the resurrection rises within me and flows through my veins. 
Oh to Say That Again, every day of the week! He is risen, he is risen, indeed! The tomb is empty!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday



This is how much God loved the world; He gave his Son, his one and only Son.
And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, 
anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
John 3:16 (message)

Today is Good Friday. Thousands of years ago, my Savior carried a heavy cross on his back to Calvary. He did it for me, and for you.
He took all my sins, past, present, and future, into himself, so I could live. He suffered the rejection of his Father, so I could live. 
He died, so I could live.
He did all of this for you too!
They mocked him. 
They turned away from him.
All of it is far beyond anything I can imagine. He endured it all, 
because he loved me, and you.

We are going to a church service tonight that will remind us of how much Jesus sacrificed for each one of us. The gift of freedom he gave to me, no condemnation, shame, and his forgiveness. I want to be reminded of his love, the depth, width, and the breadth. I know it can't be measured, for it is endless. The gift of his Spirit that surges within me and leads my daily life, and brings me power.  The gift of Jesus ever present and alive.
Good Friday was oh so Good, because of his love and the life that came from his tomb and into my heart! 
Say That Again, Sweet Jesus, you are Love, and you live!

Monday, April 14, 2014

In Humble Service

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of
the disciples, drying them with his apron.
John 13:5

My husband and I visited a local church yesterday. I was in need of God, both my husband and I desperately needed worship and time in the presence of God. His Spirit was sweet there.
The praise of song was full upon the lips of his people, and I could feel my heart lift. Children praised, with their arms lifted to the heavens, and the prayers of many were ringing throughout the walls.
God's Spirit spoke through the pastor reminding me that nothing is possible without the power of God. Nothing. It all comes from God. 
And then, in love the pastor and his wife offered to wash the feet of anyone in his congregation. Three chairs were set up on the stage with basins of water. Two more chairs were set on the sides for anyone else that might want to wash each others feet. It was truly beautiful.
My husband and I went to the side chair and I washed his feet. Then he washed mine. We found it to be an incredible act of humility and a beautiful reminder that God has given us to each other to serve.
The Spirit of God dwells within me so I can serve in humble obedience to my God. More of him, less of me.
Oh Jesus, may all that I do, be in humble service to you!  I so much need to remember everyday who I am serving. It is Jesus!  Why do I do what I do? Why do I write this blog? Why do I go to work? What's the purpose of serving my family? 
To see Jesus.
What are you doing today to see Jesus? 
Jesus, use me today in humble service for you. 
More of you, less of me.
Say That Again! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Budding Spring

Yesterday I went to the park with a friend. It was beautiful. Spring is just starting here, and we both enjoyed scouting around in search of little buds on the trees and hidden flowers popping up out of the dirt.



Spring treasures. We saw a lot of them everywhere, and each bud and flower offered me some hope and some promise. The promise and hope of life. The gift of resurrection.
I am thankful for the gift of new life and the power of the Resurrection given to me. Jesus , I know You will Say That Again to me with each new day, because You have risen and Your power is budding within me!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Time

It's Spring break. My children have been staying up late at night and sleeping in late. Yesterday we celebrated my daughters ninth birthday. Her favorite gift was the air soft gun she received. She did not receive anything pink or frilly; that's not the way she rolls. She's all about dirt bikes, soccer, guns, juggling, and Lego.


I took the week off of work so I could be with them. Our week has consisted of getting misplaced in the woods, a service project, a zip line adventure, errands, movies, x-box, go-carts, laser tag, mini-golf, parties, pizza, more pizza, lasagna again and again, and candy.
Tomorrow, we will wrap up our Spring break adventure with a trip to Seattle.
Did I mention we keep eating pizza and lasagna?  I like to make lasagna with spinach, mushrooms, and onions. But, today, I skipped all that and simply made it with all the cheeses---my kids thought they were in heaven. Not as healthy, but I didn't feel bad about it at all, since they get a healthy scoop of spinach everyday in their smoothie.
My daughter collected all kinds of candy at her birthday party, and before I could gather myself she had eaten it all. I lectured her on brushing her teeth, so hopefully that turns out okay!
My kids are growing up really fast. My son, now twelve and my daughter now nine. The passing of time is a fascinating thing. Sometimes I feel like there is so much of it, then the next moment I realize there's so little. In just five short years my daughter will be fourteen years old, in ten years she will be nineteen! The passing of time.
As I look at my life in terms of time, there are many things I could have managed better. How much time do I waste? I'm not saying that it's necessary to be busy all the time, I don't think that's true. Maybe I wasted time being busy.  Maybe I missed out on a friendship because I chose to get something done rather than sit with a friend. Or, maybe I chose to isolate. How have I used my time? How have you used your time?
When I think of my values, how does time factor into that? How important is the to do list, really?  In my life experience, the people that have impacted me the most are the ones that have consistently valued my time above the list.and used their time to invest in my life. Friends that take the time to call, instead of text, or send a note in the mail. Loved ones that step out of their busy lives long enough to have a meal and talk, or take a walk. Friends that pray for me when I reach out in need. This all takes precious time.
We live in a country that values the to do list above the relationship. I've been to many other countries where it is opposite, they live life at a much slower pace. They enjoy time. What is the rush all about anyway? Why must we get so much done? Who says I can't take a siesta every day?
When I arrive at the feet of Jesus, time will still be at my side; time with Him and time with the ones I love. The only gift I will bring into heaven with me is relationship and the investment of time I have made on earth. The scurry of stuff that needed to get done will be erased, the beauty of time will last.
Jesus, I want to use my time to serve you and bring you glory, be the perfecter of my time. Each day as I awake I will continue to Say That Again!

  

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Missing Children

My children love to play outside. They both were riding their dirt bikes today while I was getting dressed, I could hear the buzz of the motors going though the forest.  Our bedroom windows face the main area they were bombing around in, so every now and then I'd check on them. After being in the basement for a few minutes, I came back upstairs and realized it was eerily quiet. I couldn't hear their bikes. I couldn't hear them talking. I couldn't hear anything at all.
I hurried outside, looked around, nothing. I started to call their names, nothing. I ran to the back of the house, still calling, nothing. By this time, panic was starting to set in a little bit. I went up to the main road, still nothing. I sent a text to my husband, then called him. I was feeling afraid. I haven't lost my children before, and never in the forest. I had all kinds of thoughts rush through my mind of what may have happened. It was impossible to settle them down, I just kept calling out to God and to my husband to please do something! It felt like an eternity as I scanned the forest, talked to my husband, plead with God. I witnessed flashes of fear, and felt a million feelings. Just as I was thinking of gathering a posse; I turned to see my daughter run towards me.
I ran towards her and grabbed her with exuberance, and held her tightly, she may not have been able to breathe. I was so happy and relieved to see her. Still, I could not stop crying. I asked her where her brother was and she explained that he was in the barbed wire. We ran into the forest.
My husband in the meantime was on his way home. He clearly recognized my panic, and dropped everything at work to come home. I had stayed on the phone with him until we reached my son, who was not actually caught in the barbed wire, but was working to get his bike out of the wire. I pulled my son into my arms as well and vehemently expressed my love for him and how pleased I was to see him safe.
I've thought a lot about my experience today. It was very emotional and scary. But, this was really small compared to what some mothers have experienced. Sometimes, their children do not come back, they are truly lost. Many children never come home. The heart wrenching pain that this must cause is unthinkable.
When I was in the depth of my experience I kept calling out to God. I was saying "Oh God, Oh God!"  I didn't know what else to say, I just needed Him to hear my plea and find my children. "Oh, God!"  I thought of a verse that I have often read in 1 Peter 1:2

Not one is missing, not one forgotten.
God the Father has His eye on each of you, and has
determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you 
obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.
May everything good from God be yours!

God knows where every child is. He knew today where my children were the entire time. He heard my frantic cry "Oh God, oh God!"  His eye never left them or me, not once. Sometimes it feels different. Sometimes it feels forgotten. I think for the children that do not come back, it would be very hard to believe that no one is missing or forgotten. My heart is crying for those mothers, I am calling out, "Oh God, oh God! You have said not one is missing, not one is forgotten. Your eye is on each one and Your Spirit will keep them. Jesus Say it Again to all the mothers with the missing children!"