Just reading the words “let down” can automatically sink ones heart. What if I showed you two passages of scripture that might change your reaction? The first is found in the book of Luke and is the response of a fisherman named Simon, who had an unsuccessful night of fishing. Jesus tells him to try again. “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” (5:5). The obedience of this man, who would later be renamed Peter, was a net full of fish and a career change. The other is found in the same chapter, when a few friends found a creative way to get their paralyzed friend, who was laying on a mat, in front of Jesus. “When they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus.” (5:18). Because of the friends faith, the man was healed.
Both of these stories give me hope because in the presence of Jesus everything can change. When we get to the end of ourselves, when we are tired and empty, perhaps this is where Jesus is best seen. We might even be in a place were we need some friends to physically carry us to the feet of Jesus and borrow some of their faith. If that is your case, please let me know and I will gladly come to your side. I have been in both places myself.
Our days are unsure and being let down can turn into despair. Do not let that happen, for your Savior awaits with healing, fullness and purpose. Who knows? Maybe this pandemic will change our hearts and turn us towards people instead of what we can catch on our own. Then we will be better equipped to serve those in need of carrying. Because the last time I checked, there are many people hurting and in need all around us.
“The people I formed for myself will declare my praise.” Isaiah 43:21
Our purpose is clear, we were made to praise God. Praise is what can unify, revive, lead to repentance and restore. “I am the Lord. That is my name, and I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” (Isaiah 42:8). So the question would be, what is stealing our praise?
We all have areas of sin that lead our hearts to praise another. Sometimes it is ourselves, other times it is our possessions or maybe it is our opinion. It may be acceptable, but that does not make it right.
Imagine if we gathered to praise instead of protest. Would this have a greater impact on the hope of unity in our country? Much is wrong and has been wrong in our country, change is definitely needed. Praise of our God, our Creator would put us all on the same page. Maybe this is were we should start. “Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard…” (Psalm 66:8). He is worthy of our praise today!
I had the most interesting experience yesterday. I needed a haircut and met a sweet local girl that recommended a no frills hair dresser. I was sold when she said the cost was $25! Walking into the shop was odd because of the whole mask thing, but it is part of it right now. The stylist was kind and did a great job, but that was just a bonus.
He told me my hair was a bit damaged and lacking nutrients. Whatever products I used on them were fine, but the need was not being met. Products were actually sticking to my hair, trying to meet the need of missing nutrients. He warned me of his sales pitch and gave great examples. I countered with how applicable this was to so many things. We discussed relationships and the presence of need in each one. Often people reach for others to meet their needs, but that is far too much pressure to put on a person or created thing. I loved talking with him about my husband and kids, but did not talk about my relationship with Christ. Instead I lived it, but today I will return with written words. For I need to give back the clip he left on my mask.
While he was selling a hair product, I am not. I can hardly wait to tell him about the One who knows each need and meets them in His perfect way. Oh we sure can get into quite a mess when we take matters into our own hands, but when we trust them to Him each is met for our good and His glory. So may I ask that you pray for a kind man in Colorado named Norman? May he come to know the One who will meet his ultimate need of life and salvation.
“My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock. My refuge is in God.” Psalm 62:7
Our family is in Colorado this week and we can hardly take in the beauty. The mountains are huge and the sky seems so close. It has been years since we have been here and never as a family. All the kids are enjoying the outdoors and we have discovered some are serious hikers. The common thread I see in each one is a strength that is exciting to witness.
We spend our days outside and it is good after months of being at home. I have noticed as we go exploring I feel small. Up against the mountains I am reminded of the enormity of the One who created them. His artistic side is on display and it is amazing! Who is like our God?
When I saw this rock today it made me think of God being called our rock. He is strong, mighty and dependable. He holds all things together and so much more. He is the source of our salvation and it is His glory that shines through those that know Him as Savior. When all else seems to be shaking, He is our refuge. Such a good reminder for these days. May we all find ourselves clinging to the Rock.
“See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children – and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him.” 1 John 3:1
I watched one of our younger boys often today as we explored a new town. He greeted many strangers and seemed totally unaffected by their response. Some smiled, engaged and others ignored him. He is like any 8 year old that is still growing into his emotions but I like how he sees people, even when they do not see him.
What I am observing is a kid that is totally confident in his identity as a child of God. He knows he is loved at home, but even more importantly by God. He has fully accepted the gift of the cross and the unique way he is made. While some kids do not really get him, he does not let that change him. How did he get this way at such a young age?
I thought about the responses of people today and wondered if maybe they had forgotten what it was like to be a child. There is an innocence, openness and lightness when it comes to kids. They can be counted on to tell the truth. The cares of this world have yet to capture their thoughts. Judgement seems lost on them and so does race. What matters is if they are your friend. I wonder how we can get back to that place?
“The cross is the most beautiful gift we can give our children.” Ravi Zacharias
Today we celebrate the father’s in our lives. We give them cards and gifts, try to make them feel special. It was fun to watch my husband open homemade things and gifts bought with the kids own money. A kite made out of construction paper was just as valuable as a watch from a newly working son today. All brought tears to my eyes. Generosity tends to do that.
When I remember my days of being the age of the kite maker and think about my own dad, one important memory sticks out. He always made sure we had the opportunity to hear the gospel, to hear truth. We grew up in church and that is something I often have taken for granted. My dad gave my sister and I the chance to hear about the gift of the cross. Thanks dad, I am passing it on.
Now as I watch my husband be a father, I see how his dad did the same thing. The gift of the cross was presented. Both of us have well understood that it is up to us to accept the gift. He presents our kids with the same gift and almost all of them have said yes. They know the eternal decision of the cross. They also see the daily impact it has on us as well. This is the legacy that matters and I am thankful. It is a good day to remember and be grateful.
Happy Father’s Day!
“LORD, bring us back to yourself so we may return; renew our days as in former times…” Lamentations 5:21
This is the first time I am hearing about what a huge day this was in our country back in 1865. People were declared free in Texas over two years after the President had already freed them. People were still owned by another after slavery was legally abolished. Is this sounding familiar to anyone?
Jesus Christ died over two thousand years ago for our freedom and yet so many are still living owned by another. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). The death of Jesus was for everyone and we are free if only we believe. Have we the church not spoken up or lived lives that cause others to question our freedom? Perhaps we have been in bondage to this world, yet saved, and we look no different. Lord please forgive us.
May we live so close to the Lord that others recognize our freedom and ask questions. May we be given an enormous amount of opportunities to share Him. May we remember that we are loved and therefore live love out everywhere we go. Lord, renew our days especially the ones we lived in bondage. None of us want to go back to days of slavery, nor do we have too. The only going back we want to do is back into the safe arms of our Father. Are you truly free today?
“Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8
Do you like to be on the receiving side or the giving side? I have been on both and each one is a humbling experience. As the giver, there is this sense of gratitude that the Lord would use you to bless someone. Only God truly knows a persons heart and what they need. A word of encouragement freely given can wash refreshment on a tired soul. A smile can give someone the gift of being seen. A thoughtful gift can remind a person that they are loved. An offer to pray for someone can help lift the heavy burden they are carrying and they leave lighter.
As the receiver you are reminded that God has plans for you and He provides for those whom belong to Him. It also strengthens your faith when you have a need with no solution, but the Lord provides. I can give so many examples of this and how the Lord came through above and beyond anything I could have come up with on my own. One look at my husband and children is an example of a desire fulfilled and far more than I dreamed. Also, remembering God’s faithfulness teaches your heart to be dependent on the One who made it.
I think the key is to be available and others focused. This was the training the disciples received watching Jesus before He sent them out. He gave them instructions and reminded them of their source. He is the one who gives every good gift and the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His kingdom work. May we follow His example as we move throughout our days. May the Lord bless you.
“Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature; the eternal love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us.” Andrew Murray, Humility
Do you ever get offended? It is hard not to these days with all that is being shouted. So often when I look a bit deeper at what has offended me, I find it has hit a wound that hasn’t quite healed yet. When I am hurt a wall automatically goes up, but I like to call it more of a protective covering. Oh sure I will give people several chances, but after awhile the covering goes around my heart and I stop engaging. What would have happened if Jesus had done the same thing?
As followers of Christ we want to have His heart towards people. I see Him acting in gentleness, compassion, love and strength. Can we do the same? Can we take our hurts to Jesus and let Him heal us? As healed followers we can stop being so offended and start engaging in the cries of hurting people with empathy. Also, when anger is on display there is a wound. Whatever gives some release becomes the megaphone from which they yell. Maybe we can see the hurt behind the shout and not be so easily offended.
In my desire for healing I talked with a wise friend today and confessed my spirit of offense and lack of humility. She knew exactly what I was talking about and helped guide me to truth. Letting go of being so easily offended/hurt felt like a weight removed from my shoulders. It freed me up to love more. What flows out of love is humility, meekness, gentleness and a willingness to serve. You know what’s funny? We were sitting in a coffee shop whose name is Serve. What a perfect place to start!
“His mother’s name was Abidjan daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done.” 2 Kings 18:2-3
Some ladies and I meet on Monday mornings to study the trustworthiness of God, specially in the books of 1 and 2 Kings. I read these verses this morning and noticed the mention of King Hezekiah’s mother and father. It encouraged me because they must have influenced their son. This man trusted the Lord and no king of Judah was like him, which means he was different. “He held fast to the LORD and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” (18:6-7). Now we see why.
Do you want to see this next generation different? I sure do and as parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, friends, influencers, we can help show a different way. We can speak and live a life that follows Christ. We can trust the Lord and follow His commandments. It is not popular, but I think we are old enough to move past wanting to be popular. Honestly, it is living life to the full and knowing there is so much more to come.
If our country is going to change, we must all do our part. We read about this king and it gives me hope. He led well and we can do the same. Start with your own heart and I will start with mine and we will go from there. Who knows, maybe someone we have the privilege of speaking life into will rise like Hezekiah; but regardless I want them to witness then live a life of trusting and following the Lord. It is worth it.