Monday, October 31, 2011

His Personal Concern

"You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, 
for you are his personal concern." 1Peter 5
Many mornings I have to fight for the faith 
to own one line of His word.
I argued with this verse today. 
Surely my being His personal concern is too small. 
There are people hungry, lost, sick.
He gently asked, "Is it in My word?"
"Yes, but..."
"Then today, I ask that you stay right here. 
Cast it all on Me. You are My personal concern."
But, there is so much to fight for...
"Yes. But sometimes, you need to renew your faith 
in My personal concern so that you can 
cast everything that concerns you onto Me. 
When you know that you are covered, 
and that I can handle the weight of your anxieties, 
you are free."
Lord, thank You for the way You put up with me. 
You take my low, earth bound thoughts and give me
Your thoughts, thoughts that are high 
and from another dimension. 
Every one of Your thoughts is good. 
Every word adds life and strength to my soul. 
That I might live free. 
To represent You and Your ways accurately to others. 
It is so what I want. 
For You to be glorified in my life.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

He Makes Me

"Whatever I have, wherever I am, 
I can make it through anything in the One 
who makes me who I am." 
Phil 4
I love the way it says, 
"the One who makes me what I am."
If I can be reminded each moment 
that He is making me what I am, 
then each moment is precious:  
the moments that seem 
too empty to find any meaning;
the moments that seem 
too full to grasp any meaning;
the moments that seem 
too chaortic to sort out any meaning.
And all the other moments in between.
He is making me what I am.
"...a life renewed from the inside 
and working itself into your conduct 
as God accurately reproduces 
His character in you." 
Eph 4
Today, Lord, I look into Your face 
and ask that my conduct 
accurately reproduces Your character.
That it is You doing the making, 
not me.
Your thoughts are higher than mine,
Your ways deeper than mine.
May I be kept by Your love 
as You make me what I am.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Strength

Some mornings I can't get out of the psalms.
And I am so grateful for them.
I find the words that lift up my soul like, 
strength, refuge, shepherd, rest, trust.
I was thinking about yesterday's "Turn to Me."
After writing that, which I believe and cry out for
with everything that I am, the day began.
Game on.
It involved people. And stuff that happened. 
Not everything happens exactly the way 
I would have scripted it.
Yea, sometimes, just a little different.
Those moments become weights in my hands.
Sometimes I push through 
and eek out the last rep.
Thank You Jesus!
Other times, not so much.
Next time.
Lord Jesus, this morning I come to You.
I repent for those moments 
I didn't turn to You by reflex.
You are my refuge and my fortress.
My God in whom I trust.
My desire is that my heart would be
continually turned in Your direction,
no matter what my hands are doing and 
no matter what direction my feet are going.
Today I ask for Your grace that
when those moments come, 
I look at the weights in my hand.
And I say then, "You are my strength."
All the way to the last rep.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Turn to Me

"Whenever one turns to the Lord, 
the veil is removed. 
And we, with unveiled faces, 
reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,  
are being changed into the same image." 
2Cor 3
The antidote for the weariness 
that comes from daily life:
"Come to Me."
The antidote for the weariness 
that comes from self-reliance:
"Turn to Me."

The veil that blocks us from 
His face is the same veil
that keeps us focused on our own.
"Whenever" is an all-inclusive word.
All the time.  Every time.
We have no clue how to continually: 
forgive our friends, 
finish our assignments, 
train up our children, 
love our husbands,
change our attitudes.
But the answer every time:
Turn to the Lord.
Henry Drummond, the great preacher 
whose sermons were published in 1891, said:
"The glory of the Lord is His character.
When we turn to Him, 
we reflect the character of Christ."

To be changed into Christ's image is our life's charge...
"til Christ be formed in me."
His delight and ours.
Lord, by your grace, I turn to You 
so that I might reflect,
as in a mirror, Your character--
that others may see You, 
as You really are, in this world.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Have I Loved?

I can't seem to get away from this theme of love--
Christ's love, expressed through my life.
The greatest question not being
What have I done? or
How have I believed? 
How have I loved?

If the Word tells us that 
He must judge me by how much I have
 become like Him relative to love.
Does He inspire my thoughts 
to think first of others?
Does He affect the way 
I relate with others?
Does He cause me to be seized 
with compassion for others?

Love is defined by common words:
kindness, gentleness, patient, trusting.
I want to continually love and affirm people--
like Abileen in one of my favorite books, The Help.
"You is kind, you is smart,
you is important."
I think God tries to speak to us 
in that kind of language 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Living Flame of Love

"O Living Flame of Love...
How gently and how lovingly
Thou wakest in my bosom,
Where alone Thou secretly dwellest;
And in They sweet breathing
Full of grace and glory,
How tenderly Thou fillest me with Thy love."
St. John of the Cross
Being chosen is our heart's deepest desire.
To be loved just because we are.
Ephesians tells us that God has an expanse of love
bigger than the space we can define,
deeper than this dimension we know as time--
and Paul cries out that we may know 
this unknowable love He has for for us.
A most glorious paradox.
We can know His love that isn't knowable.
This morning, I have been touched by the 
crazy, unfathomable love of God.
And I am so grateful for this 
wild grace that He pours out.
"You did not choose Me;
I chose you."

Chosen by the One who knows the 
deepest level of my being.
And chose me anyway.
O Living Flame of Love,
tenderly fill me with Thy love
all this day long.
"I am my beloved's and 
He is mine...
And His desire is for me."

Monday, October 24, 2011

How Great Thou Art

"God can do anything, you know—
far more than you could ever imagine
or guess or request in your wildest dreams! 
Working within us, his Spirit deeply 
and gently within us." 
Eph 3:20
This life is about the moment we are in.
Right now, at this moment, 
I am asking God to help me see His greatness.
God, what's the biggest thing 
I can think about You?

I can feel like it is not worthy of Him 
to to give me big thoughts
about the day in front of me. 
I don't have any looming circumstance
which feels impossible.
I am not in the midst of some great trial.
I just want to live today well, 
pleasing Him and loving people.
That at the end of the day, 
My life would glorify His name.

God, You see every detail of this day as I sit here.
You know what challenges I will face, 
and You know what I will get to help others face.
I don't want any circumstance 
to dwarf Your greatness.
Thank You for the opportunity to live this day
through Your Son, through Whom ALL was created.
May Your spirit work deeply within me,
that I may grasp how great Thou art!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Gifts God Gives

"What happens when we live God's way? 
He brings gifts into our lives, 
things like affection for others, 
exuberance about life, serenity. 
We develop a willingness to stick with things, 
a sense of compassion in the heart, 
and a conviction that a basic holiness 
permeates things and people...
Faith expressed in love."  
Gal. 5 
I have to live God's way.
When I do, He promises to give me gifts.
If I lack affection, exuberance, serenity,
perseverance, compassion,
if I don't see holiness permeating those around me--
perhaps He is not giving me gifts,
perhaps my way is off.
His way is the way of the Spirit,
not the way of the selfish self.
The glorious, generous Giver of gifts
wants to lavish me with treasures.
It is "what happens 
when I live God's way."
Lord, help me see more clearly
what that looks like in every area of my life.
To live according to the life of Your Spirit,
wasting no time leading on my own, 
giving way to what I think is good--
usually for myself.
The gifts I desire are the gifts that You give.
You are so good.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Extravagant Love

"And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. 
It's your basic, all-purpose garment. 
Never be without it.
Col. 3

Sometimes it has to get so simple.
The primary, foundational, 
strip-all-the-extra, simple.
Love. Deeply. From the heart.

"Observe how Christ loved us. 
The extravagant love of Christ.
Love like that." 
Eph. 5

If we are not ruled by love--  
for Christ and for each other-- 
we clang, banging cymbals,
and we creak, rusty gates.
We misrepresent.
We show the world another picture
of self-focused, out-of-touch religion.
Lord, help my heart to love like You do.
You "stand with those who have no standing."
"For Christ so loved the world that He gave..."
The darkness around us must see something that
changes it, makes it more beautiful.
Faith, hope, love.
The greatest is love.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Take That and Run!

Whatever I have, wherever I am, 
I can make it through anything 
in the One who makes me who I am. 
Phil 4
On these kinds of mornings, 
where the week has been long 
and the day ahead full, 
and I want to give in to being just a little weary,
the words of Scripture infuse me with simple truth.
He makes me what I am.
He is continually making me,
and He is more than enough for me.
I get a sense of how David felt 
when he spoke to his soul.
"Why are you so downcast oh my soul?
The Lord has been good to you, so rejoice."

I say to myself this morning,
Why would you give in to weariness?
The Lord has been strength to you so far.
And His strength is enough for you today.
The Lord makes you who you are.
Take that and run with it.
My soul needs a good 
talking to sometimes.
Lord, thank You for Your
faithful encouragement
and meeting me
every day! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Places of Pleasure and Purpose

"If there is any situation from which 
you are not prepared to step back,
 in recognition of the total adequacy of God, 
of Christ in you, 
then you are out of the will of God. 
The office of the Holy Spirit is to 
make known to you all that Christ is in you."
The Saving Life of Christ

I want to be able to submit everything 
that comes today--through faith--
to the all sufficiency of Christ, who lives in me.
This day looks big to me right now, 
not big because of big things, 
but big in terms of so many things. 
How I wanted to pull those covers over my head 
and just stay there a lot longer. 
Not gonna happen today.

"Christ works in me, both to will and act 
according to His good pleasure and purpose."
He works in me, whether I am aware or not, 
to set my will in alignment with His purpose. 
I have access to His strength and grace 
every moment of my day, 
resting my whole self on His sufficiency, 
banking all my trust on His love for me.
Jesus, Your adequacy is my promise.
I walk into this day wanting to follow You 
to Your places of pleasure and purpose.
I trust You.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Carried Along

"As obedient children, let yourselves 
be pulled into a way of life 
shaped by God's life, 
a life energetic and blazing with holiness. 
God said, I am holy; you be holy."  
1Peter 1:16
I love the implication that  
we get ourselves in His way.
Like those whirlpools we all created
in our backyard swimming pools.
Carried along, so enjoying the ride.
This isn't a life of drudgery, do's and dont's.
It is a life energetic and blazing,
holy because He is holy.
His word pulls us into His way of life--
His eternal, creative, life-giving,
life-changing Word.
We allow His energy to overtake us 
so that we are shaped by His life.

Lord, help me take Your word today
and stand in Your way.
I want Your life to shape me
that I may represent 
Who You are--accurately.
Energized by Your 
abundant life. 
Among those all over 
blazing with holiness
for Your glory.

You made me for nothing less.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Want to See

"What do you want Me to do for you?" 
Jesus asked. 
The blind man said, "I want to see."
Immediately he received his sight.  
Mark 10:51
This Scripture has impacted me this morning
in both the simplicity of the man's request
and the immediacy of Jesus' response.
Lord, I need to see today.
Not just the day as it unfolds before me, 
but You in this day.
I want to see you as I talk with Dave, with my kids, 
my students, as I teach my classes, 
as I meet with people, 
as I move through the doors that you will open-- 
the moments I am planning for 
and those that right now only You know. 
Help me value the moments, 
refusing the veil of familiarity
that blinds me to what You might want 
to do and say through my life today.
I pray that Your invisible realm
is the realm that I see most clearly today.
I want to see You.

Monday, October 17, 2011

You are My Branch

"I am the Vine, you are the branches. 
When you're joined with Me and I with you, 
the relation intimate and organic, 
the harvest is sure to be abundant.
If you make yourselves at home with Me 
and My words are at home in you, 
you can be sure that whatever you ask 
will be listened to and acted upon. 
Make yourselves at home in My love."  
John 15
A friend sent me this picture 
one day after a morning walk.  
She didn't know that I had been 
reading in John 15 that morning, 
(as I have again this morning).
My life verse:
"You are My branch." 
I have a giant picture in my dining room 
of a huge tree with many branches.
It is a constant reminder of both 
who I am and Who He is.
The stronger my connection to Him, 
the stronger the branch.
I don't strive to produce fruit; 
He is responsible for that.
If we make ourselves at home with Him, 
we can BE SURE that He listens
and acts upon what we ask for.
Because if we are at home in His love, 
we are not self-centered, entitled kids.
We are promise holders, 
His sons and daughters,
hearing His words of love to us
and believing that He is true to His word.
Jesus, help me be at home in Your love today.
A branch.
My true identity.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Overwhelmed by Mercy

"She saw that God had 
overwhelmed her with mercy..."

This morning, I read that about Elizabeth 
and am filled with a sense of that presence.
This morning I am so grateful that the Lord  
continually overwhelms me with His mercy.
When I am sensitive to His presence, 
I can see Him and hear Him all day long, 
in the little surprises that wait around each corner.
"Here I am," He says with a wink.
In big and small ways, He meets me like that.
Today I am reminded, 
"If you forget about yourself and look to Me, 
you'll find both yourself and Me...
I have called you into work with Me.
It is best to start small.
Give a cool cup of water 
to someone who is thirsty.
By doing the smallest act of giving,
you won't lose out on a thing." 
Matthew 10
Lord, I ask that You would give me words
that would bless and encourage everyone that
I get to be with and all who read these pages.
Your life going forth--living water.
Overwhelmed by Your mercy that,
 although You know every detail of my being,
You choose to make 
Your home in my heart.
Waves of mercy 
overwhelming me once again.
I pray Your mercy floods all who read 
these words today.
Your goodness is 
so NOW!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ascending and Descending

"The Lord’s home reaches up to the heavens
while its foundation is on the earth."  
Amos 9
This is the reality of our life.
Not a God who is unreachable and far off, 
or a common god like the earth idols.
But a God of infinite power, might and love
who invites us to live in 
His 4th dimension world of 
"They Kingdom come here on earth
like it already is in heaven."
Ascending and descending, 
our feet planted in the temporal,
our eyes set on the eternal.
Because we are sons and daughters, 
because He loves us,
because He wants to use us 
here in this earth realm to express
His love, His mercy, His justice, His kindness 
to people who never see those demonstrated.

Lord, help me today live in both realms,
ascending and descending, to accurately
carry your life to anyone who needs You.
I want to care more about 
what You care about, 
my heart lining up with Yours.
This I know:
You want that too!