Rejection

 “For the LORD will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance.” Psalm 94:14

Only the Lord truly knows us. He alone knows exactly what we need and orchestrates our lives accordingly. He knows the brokenness and the goodness we encounter. He knows the choices we make, the good and the bad, and how it can all work together for our good and His glory. The One who made us wrote our story before our day of birth. Why He allows some parts, I do not know, but we can trust Him. Some days of the story are overwhelming good and some are equally as bad. Each part of the story He knows, but what we do with it is up to us.

B9D78CEA-F423-4860-85BB-9A459E52BEC2Doing some Bible study homework today, brought back a memory I had not thought of in years. It was early in elementary school and I went to a meeting to join a club. Moms and daughters were there and we separated into the two groups. The daughter of the mom in charge did not like me and pulled my pony tails. She said some mean things in front of everyone. A few sentences of rejection were apart of my story that day. Just a small event I know, but it left a mark. What makes kids do mean things?

Sometimes the painful parts, even the small lines of our story stay hidden and never brought out. We let those build up and damage is done. As the Lord would have it, I read the verse today about the Lord not rejecting those who belong to Him. It reminded me of the truth and that small wound was healed.

If you feel rejected or hurt in anyway, I pray the Lord lets His word write over the lines of hard parts of your story that were allowed. It might be a small sentence like the one I remembered today or it might be pages long, but let Him do what only He can do. He knows how to take care of what belongs to Him.

Responding

“Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard…” 2 Kings 22:19

The Bible is so full of hope and instruction. As I read certain passages, it could have easily been written today. There is so much to learn from how people responded when they were confronted with truth. Some responded in humility and others responded in arrogance. We tend to do one or the other don’t we?

263E03C7-5862-4DE9-B653-86F94B81239BDuring King Josiah’s reign of Judah, the Book of the Law was found and read to him. When he heard the words his first response was heartbreak, he tore his robes and then sent someone to pray for him and the people. He heard enough to know the consequences of not following God’s word and he wasted no time. The Lord spoke through a woman and her message was honest. The Lord saw Josiah’s heart filled with humility and how he responded. He was spared seeing the disaster of the people.

Perhaps during this pandemic we have also been warned. May we all respond like Josiah with humility, repentance over our sin, heartbreak and turn to the One true God. He is the only One who can save us.

Leaving Better

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Mother Teresa

While we may not be spending time in large groups of people right now, perhaps the smaller gatherings give us wonderful opportunities to listen. With less voices we can hear the one who needs to be heard. We are having to be creative with socializing, but we seem to be figuring it out. We are not running short of chances to love others.

868F0541-AD91-42A4-9D25-F165084D3F10Yesterday I spent time with a precious lady and arrived with fruit salad and a few cookies. I left having had scripture read, prayers said on our families behalf and a bag of books. I came with little and left with much. Isn’t this a wonderful example to copy?

Today our neighbor came to share a story with our family on the back porch. We listened to her heart and she left us with a tangible gift to remember the time and invited us to be apart. We were left better from her visit.

In a short amount of time I saw this quote from Mother Teresa in action. When we read stories of Jesus, we see time and time again He did the same thing; the ultimate act being the cross. We are eternally grateful for His great act of love. May we follow His example.

Dependence

Our oldest and her dad came home this morning from their weekly breakfast date with wide eyes. Apparently, on their way home the driver of a van swerved off the road and slammed into a deep ditch. They pulled over and the driver was okay. Another person had already called 911. My husband told me our daughters first response was to pray out loud for the driver. Her dependence and trust on her Heavenly Father was made evident.

1838721B-6F07-46EA-9271-9F0A0A72CF23This might not seem like a big deal to anyone, but she is the one going off to college in a matter of weeks. There will be many situations that are bigger than her and this dependence will be necessary. One could argue that independence is best, but I will have to disagree. For I have tried that stubborn approach and can tell you it is riddled with fear and insecurity. There is a better way and that is the way of the cross. I will warn you, some will think you foolish, but love does that to people doesn’t it?

*Photo by Anna Kate

 

Recalling Hope

“This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed…” Lamentations 3:21-22

Want to recall hope together? Then let us recall to mind, as the writer of Lamentations did, the mercies of our God. Perhaps we might need a reminder of what mercy even is because this word seems to be in great decline. It is an amazing exchange of compassion or forgiveness in place of a rightful punishment.  According to John 3:16, the whole world is the object of God’s mercy. Some have accepted this exchange and some have not. Those who have accepted should be leading in hope these days. How are we doing?

7DA6B22F-78D0-4F75-AD1C-E3BAA847C159Because of the Lord’s mercies we do not have to be consumed because we have hope. Because of the guaranteed hope of eternal life, we remind ourselves that this world is not our home. Since we are just journeying through, we do not have to be constantly swayed by the latest reports, stuck in the old way of doing things and withholding love from those we do not agree with. We can march on towards home loving others in our path. We can lend hope where others are running short and share with them our source of hope.

Our smiles might be covered, but we can still communicate hope just fine. Send a note of encouragement, a text reminding others that you love them, meet a need if you get word and be gracious to those closest to you. My husband had to remind me of that last one because today was a day! So keep hanging on to hope because a better day is coming.

Another Way

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Who is the “everyone else” this verse is referring? The earlier verses reference brothers and sisters, those who belong to Christ, and that would make “everyone else” those who do not yet know Christ as Savior. How do you think we are doing?

A9A2414C-26B3-4ECC-A035-DEE762F021C3Goodness, so often I cannot even get things right in my own home, much less “strive to do what is good” to those on the outside. The pattern I notice is when I am choosing to worry or be overwhelmed, the good I want to do gets thrown by the wayside. Add in these strange times and this mama does not stand a chance.

However, if we keep reading this chapter, I see a clue to help us all. “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (5:16-18). And there we have it. There is much to rejoice over, much to pray for and an enormous about to be thankful for. In doing so, we will be abiding in God’s will for us. The easy thing, the normal response is to worry, complain and choose sides.  I say we go another way. You with me?

Hospitality

“Praise Jesus for a house that’s worn because it’s been hospitable.” Paul Tripp

Paul Tripp posted a short video that I caught today addressing hospitality and it was excellent! He reminded the viewer to see our homes with an eternal perspective. I know I get caught up on what others will think when they walk into our home. Will our home pass some imaginary test of being found worthy and therefore seeing our family as worthy? It is impossible to pass and has nothing to do with eternity. What will matter is how people were made to feel loved and the truth that was lived within our walls.

E7269579-92F1-4F5F-BFB7-FCB97532C46ETripp gave the reminder that hospitality “targets a deep desire in the heart of every human being.” Everyone wants to be welcomed, known, to be loved and to belong. Our homes can be a great place for us to share the heart of Jesus just by how we treat all who come through the door. Granted right now we are not inviting many people in, but we can be practicing for when the day comes. Sometimes the people that sit at our table everyday need to be shown hospitality first before we ever swing wide our front door.

May we all have much to praise Jesus for during these days and beyond.

Living Free

“There was a day when I died; died to self, my opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to blame even of my brethren or friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.” George Muller

I might have shared this quote by one of my hero’s before, but it seemed fitting today for it simplifies freedom. Imagine what Muller’s life was like when he was not easily offended, chose not to point a finger in blame and lived fully committed to Christ. In living free, he was able to actually see who needed help because of where his eyes were focused. He actually came along side orphans and provide homes for them and built 117 schools. Incredible!

64A9F26F-2A99-4D48-B8BA-AF06C192B364Another secret to this mans life was prayer and he expected each prayer answered. Makes sense when a heart is completely surrendered to the One who made it. Why would his prayers not be answered? A wonderful example happened on a ship when they had encountered fog that would delay their arrival. Muller prayed about the fog and then said, “Captain, I have known my Lord for more than fifty years and there is not one instance that I have failed to have an audience with the King. Get up, Captain, for you will find that the fog has gone.” And it was and the captain became a Christian very soon. How incredible that God used an obstacle of fog and the prayer of a faithful man to draw another person to Himself.

So today as fireworks light the sky, may we consider true freedom. Who knows who or what God will use to draw others to Himself. It is quite possible He might use you if your life dances free in the wind like our American flag. For you can be a symbol of freedom for many.

*Picture from 2014. My how they have grown!

 

Oxygen

 “Encouragement is oxygen for the discouraged soul.” Jennifer Rothschild

The most amazing thing happened while we were in Colorado, my lungs expanded. I am not medically minded at all, so I had to google this to make sure what I felt had indeed happened. The increased elevation required more than I had and my body adapted. Since we have come down from the mountains, I have practiced breathing deep because I do not want to lose what was gained.

C39A9371-7FF5-48EC-B287-3E723198835DAnytime we go through things that require more from us than we have, the Lord can use it for good and glory. Sometimes what feels like a never ending climb up a mountain, can serve as an instrument to shape us more into His image. In His likeness we are better equipped to walk beside others who are starting their own mountain experience or are in a really discouraging place. With our increased capacity, we have extra oxygen to share, to encourage if we are willing. Pretty soon encouraging will come as naturally as breathing. What a beautiful way to live, friends.

 

 

Control

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

One summer I volunteered at a camp and my job was to help run the go-carts. It was a lot of fun and completely different from my normal. One thing I learned about was something called a governor that kept the cars from going a dangerous speed for the designed track. It was not set to reduce fun, but to optimize the ride for everyone. Reading this verse brought that concept to mind.

DC5D89A8-4AF0-466D-AD3B-E5B9F24C64B8We are seeing what governs us during these days, aren’t we? I have been shown places in my heart that were not under the control of the Spirit and I have the fruit to prove it. It is not something to stay stuck over, but to repent and keep going. For us to live as we were made is to be completely controlled by the Holy Spirit, the helper Jesus promised, and to bear much fruit for His kingdom. It is to enjoy being in the presence of our God, unashamed and honest. We need to remember as Christians, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20).

So what do you say, want to let Him take over and truly come alive?