The Rock

“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.

D97035D3-4C4F-4041-9237-CC98D0CBFDD5We 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.

Confidence

“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.

0E7E6540-BFDE-4417-B803-087386855474What 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?

A Father’s Gift

“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.

C20D7476-88C7-4A8E-B634-4463451B3BFDWhen 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!

 

Truly Free

“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?

7236168A-38BD-400B-9895-7E353EF06F58Jesus 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 Give

“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.

7C09C3F7-5315-4033-B2A3-443214A2A666As 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.

 

Offended

“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?

DAED785B-28CA-4378-BCB8-4B387ECA45F4As 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!

Influence

“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.

2B10EBB2-37F0-4201-877B-65DF2893C0E3Do 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.

 

Harvest

“He told them, ‘The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. Go!”    Luke 10:2-3

Look around and you will see many who need Jesus. What are we going to do? May I suggest we start with praying as this passage teaches us. It might be we also get to share the gospel, but it might be we get to plant a seed. We may plant the seed with a word of kindness, encouragement or share something tangible like food, water, clothing or an invitation to be apart of a community. When I look at Jesus on the pages of scripture, I see such a heart for meeting needs both spiritually and physically. He truly is a provider and we can reflect Him by doing the same thing with whatever He has given you to share.

84BF5226-8E58-483B-A70E-44EE2F159544One thing He gives during difficult times is the seed of tears. Look at these verses, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” (Psalm 126:5-6). Could it be that when we sow in tears, they can later be used to show others the heart of Jesus who have just been given tears? So often people have gone through hard things and come out with joy because they became totally dependent on the Lord to carry them through the days of sorrow, a much deeper love story. I know this is true for me.

May the Lord use our tears to bring many to Himself. The harvest is looking very ripe for there are many tears.

 

Tremble

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”  Isaiah 66:2

Do you think we are in need of God’s favor? In my opinion, it will take supernatural intervention to right what is wrong within our country. Only God can create the desire in us to want to become who He created each of us to be. Only He can bring a heart to the place of humility and remorse over our sin. Only He can actually make us desire to live according to His word. Only He can make us fear Him and tremble at the words written by Him in our Bible. We obey because disobedience would damage our relationship. A child well loved and able to trust their parent does not disobey very often, for they do not desire breaking fellowship.

61B9A931-764E-40AC-AFD7-3E3C91BAB9E1Lord, may we be people who you look on with favor. May you look at our hearts and see true humility like the tax collector who said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13). The seriousness of our sin is very real and on display. The lack of respect is crossing every line. People yelling in the faces of police officers, an area of town taken over, riots and stealing are daily occurrences. What are we doing? Have we lost our minds? And do not get me started on the government. Our only hope is God.

What can we do? We can start with ourselves asking the Lord, who created our hearts, to search them. Is there unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, jealousy, anything that does not belong? All children mess up and should be able to come to their parents for help. Jesus said, “let the little children come to me” and He meant it. Will you come today? We are in desperate need of His favor. Do not wait another day. He is showing me so much sin that needs to be dealt with and I love Him even more. Friend, He is trustworthy.

 

Refuse

“No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” Rosa Parks

Some years ago one of the boys was reading a book about the life of Rosa Parks. We had some great conversations during that time. I have always liked this lady of courage that refused to give up her seat. The shouts of our day had me thinking about her this morning. I did a little research and connected her brave stance to one that we can apply anytime.

A4073BF9-F856-4AAE-8B3D-C0E3D8CFF217When chaos and unrest come at us from every side, we can refuse to give up our peace. When fear roars we can refuse to give in and stand firm in faith. When pride rears it’s ugly head, we can refuse our old ways and choose humility. When conversations are convicting, refuse to argue and listen instead, repent if necessary. When being silent about sin would be safer, refuse and speak up. When hopelessness tempts you to give in and stop trying, refuse and keep going another day. May we live with the determination to refuse to give in to the enemy.