Thursday, August 25, 2011


How do I begin to write, when I'm at a loss for words?

Sometimes in life, things happen... unexpected encounters, ironic circumstances, breath-taking exchanges, that literally leave you speechless. And I'm not referring to the very trendy kind of "OMG" moments and expressions.
I'm talking about those very rare humbling experiences that lead you to wonder, "How did I ever think I knew all I needed to know prior to this?"
And it has nothing to do with age, or determination and accomplishments, or anything else that would reflect my own glory. Yet, it has everything to do with how God lines things up at the very perfect moment and time. He leaves us speechless...

I know some of you by now are wondering where I'm going with this, but I will do my best to be clear from this point on. (Now keep in mind, my best sometimes falters.)

You see, I'm talking about moments like when you first see your newborn baby.
And moments like when you're standing at your friend's burial site, (your legs trying their best to hold you up) full of grief; and suddenly you feel a breeze, as if caressing your face, and a dove flies by, and a yellow flower stands out in the crowd. And somehow, though the tears roll down, you experience peace.

And then there was the moment when I received a letter from a dear friend telling me that she was diagnosed with a terminal disease, and doctors could not make any promises for her well-being. And how I traveled miles to meet up with her, only to find that the beautiful young and vibrant woman I once knew, was stricken so that she could barely move. But what a moment it was to see her smile, regardless...

And when I hear the story from an orphan who has lived his entire life without a home, without a family of his own. And yet, he tells me about how he wants to help others, and how he has found hope in God...I am left speechless.

And I wonder... "who am I, Lord?" Who am I that you should highlight my insignificant life with such meaningful moments?! That I may bring you glory? That I may praise your name? That I may claim your power? or that I may be left in surrendered humility... Speechless.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lord, is it okay if I mess up Today?

Some days, as much as I try, I still manage to make a mess of things.
Many mornings I spend time in prayer, asking God to help me live a Godly life, only to find at the end of the day, I've come so short of the goal.
Discouragement puts me to sleep.

There are days,however, when I know exactly what to do. I know exactly how to act and what to say... and then I must choose. Not always making the right choice.

It is on those days, that I am most grateful for the scripture reference that says, "His mercies are new every morning".
For if it wasn't for God's mercies... I'd still be trying but failing.

And then there's that other saying, or is it scripture?... "the heart is willing but the flesh is weak". Sounds like scripture...

Okay, so the point is that many of us have very good intentions and want to follow God's will for our lives, but we fail to do see it through. And we all have our reasons. Or are they excuses? I don't know, but regardless, we fall short.

So this was the topic of discussion last night for my husband and me. And if you are married, you know that topics of discussion usually mean that "we see things differently". It was an awesome discussion, nevertheless.

I was on the side of "God's grace covers all of our mistakes, and so it's okay if we mess up". My loving husband was on the other side with, "We must stop being lukewarm for Christ, and we need to give God our all--- not sitting back with the "God's grace has Me" card--- and limiting our faith from growth because we won't step out or speak out for the Lord."

I told you it was awesome!

And then there's God's word. God's word... which cuts like a knife. It is as powerful as it is soothing. God's word meets our needs, and it meets us right where we are.
It's like Jesus-- Jesus met people where they were. At times, He was just walking by. Other times, he sat with them. And there were times, when He went out to find them.

Okay so going back to how I should live today. Here is my conclusion... I was reading the book of Hosea in the Bible. If you've never read it, you should. It is confusing a bit, but the message of God's love could not be more clear. You see Hosea was a prophet that God called to marry a prostitute. And it describes her (Gomer) as a very lowly person. She was someone that none of us would wish to relate with. And yet, she was Hosea's mission. And not only did He have to marry her, but when she left him and continued with her promiscuous ways, Hosea had to sought her out. He actually paid to have her back. She was being "auctioned" off, and Hosea bought her back.

Hosea represented God, and so you know who we are, right? We are, or were, Gomer the prostitute. You see we are, in our human nature, very lowly people. And we are capable of all inhumane sins. Yet, God sent His son to come and rescue us and give us eternal life in heaven. Yet, He paid a very big price for us. He died for us. And when we mess up, because we will, He buys us back. He brings us back to Him.

And so, as Christians when we go about our day, trying to meet our goals, this we should have in mind:
God gave it all for me---for all of me--present, past, and future. And He loves me anyway. That is not to be taken lightly.
Now, out of gratitude and love for Him, I will give my all in return. I will step out of my comfort zone-- although the zone may be very large-- but I will do it for Christ. Not because He needs it, but because He deserves it.

What exactly shall I do out of my comfort zone? (one may ask) I will love the unlovable. I will serve the ones in need. I will tell others about His love. I will obey His word, when I don't want to. I will ask for forgiveness, when I offend. I will drive away from the place that leads me into temptation. I will not befriend the person that lures me. I will change the radio station... and so on and so on... Can you add to the list of things that we can do to live for Christ? (if so, add it on the comments box below)

And though I may fall short, like I have many times, I will continue to strive to be just like Him, who loved me first.

Hosea 11:9-11
9 I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the LORD;
he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come from Egypt,
trembling like sparrows,
from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,”
declares the LORD.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's in Your Heart?

The heart can hold a lot things. In fact, the heart is like a treasure box. And what you cherish most, resides in it. Some things can take up a lot of room in our hearts, even though they are small. For example, some people's hearts are full of envy. And some people's hearts are full of greed. Some people are full of fear. And then again, some are full of pride. Some carry in it, lust, and others store hate.

Oh how heavy must a heart be, when it's holding such things!
And woe to the person who bears things such as these.
So much to hold in such little space.

The Bible goes on to say that the heart is what determines how a man/woman shall live. And that, which shows through our words and actions, also tells of what is in our hearts. In essence, the heart, and whatever resides in it, demonstrate what we are all about.

So the question is, what's in my heart? And how shall I know? Who would know? If we survey our friends, what would their descriptions of us be? Better yet, let's ask our enemies or strangers. What would they say?

You see, our lifestyle should be one that reflects who we are to all people. And even strangers should sense what's inside our hearts.
Inevitably, it is what is most important to us that will fill our hearts the most. What matters most, will reside most.

And that's when the conviction takes place. You see, if I call myself a Christian, my heart should be full of God's love. And His love should be what determines how I live. For it is His love that saves us and leads us.
It determines how I treat others, friends and strangers.
It determines how I will spend my time. And whom I will spend it with.
It determines my decisions and my plans and every detail of my life.

And so if that is the case, others will know whom God is because of what is in my heart.

And now I ask you, what's in your heart?

Matthew 6:19-21
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Have You Looked at Yourself in the Mirror Today?

Have you looked in the mirror today?
What did you see?... besides your reflection, that is.

I know when I looked at my reflection this morning, I was not at all impressed. In fact, I often do not like what I see. I think about all of the things I'd like to change. And yet, as I walk away from the mirror, I slowly begin to forget what it was that caught my attention in the first place and what it is that needs change.

Last month I tried the "weight watcher" diet. I'd go on the scale every morning and watch my weight and record it. Every time I did, I'd tell myself what it was I needed to do to bring down my weight some. After a week or so of doing this, I realized that just watching my weight on the scale and thinking "happy thoughts" was not bringing down the pounds.

And so it is with the word of God. James 1 says the following: 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

If all I do is listen to the word but I do not make an effort to apply it in my life, then I'm deceiving myself. This is hard for me to admit, since I've claimed Christianity my entire life. I remember when, at the age of seven, I boldly informed my Catholic classmate and neighbor that she should come to my church because all Catholics would be going to hell!

And I remember when at the age of twelve, I was baptized in a beautiful river with some of my church friends. Early on, I knew that I wanted to follow Jesus. And early on, I knew that God had a plan for my life.

And yet, even with that awesome knowledge and that radical desire for Christ, I walked away from it so many times. I've known the truth, and I've chosen lies. I've known the right thing to do, and I've done wrong. I've known how to show love, and I've looked away.

I've looked away from the opportunities... to love, to care, to forgive, to share. I've done this way too many times.

And even now in my adulthood, I have to consider what exactly does my life reflect? When I look at myself in the mirror, do I see the goodness of Christ in my smile? Do I see His grace in my words? Do I see His forgiveness in my heart? Do I see His wisdom in my mind? Do I see his plan being worked out in me?
You see, it goes deeper than nice words and a pretty smile. It goes way deeper than "saying all the right things". It goes as deep as where my heart is.

And in order for me to rightfully say that my heart is in the right place and that I am a reflection of Christ, I must do more than read the word or listen to it. I must do what it says.

Lord, as I look at my reflection today,
with its flaws and mistakes
Lord, let me not forget
As I walk away

For it is You who leads the way
It is You whom I must obey
Let your word penetrate
And Lord, let me not forget
As I walk away

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Help My Unbelief

Psalm 77:19, "Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen." (referring to how God lead the Israelites through the Red Sea)

Ever felt certain that God was there... although you did not see Him?
I've felt that way many times. In fact, I feel that way right now.
We don't always see God working. We don't always know what it is that He is doing, but we can certainly be sure that He is doing something special just for us.

You know He is working things out in your favor, somehow. You can see the evidence of His doing. And you can almost trace back all of the clues... right back to Him.... but you don't actually see Him. You don't really see His face or hands or feet, but you know He is there for you.

And yet, it is so easy to not believe what we cannot see. It is easy to lack faith in a God that seems far. We may falter in our faith... we may stumble along the way due to lack of faith. We may even turn our backs to Him because we no longer believe.
Yet regardless of what we believe, God still remains.

You see, we don't define God. Instead, knowing Him brings true definition to whom we are. God doesn't need our faith. We need Him. And we need faith in Him. The more we learn to trust Him, although we don't always see Him, the stronger our faith will become.

There is a scripture reference in the gospels that talks about having faith enough to move a mountain. I don't think I've ever had that much faith. And I don't think that it is something that we can just learn to have instantly. However, I do believe if we can trust Him with the little things. If we can have enough faith to move a mo hill, eventually we will believe in moving that mountain.

Faith grows. It develops. So if you are feeling like you don't trust Him enough, or just don't have faith enough, know that: 1st of all, that doesn't change God's character and His willingness to be there for us; and 2nd of all, although you may not actually see Him, God is there.

I don't know what you might be going through today, but I know that He does.
I'm not sure how strong you are feeling in your faith, but I know that He cares for you.
I am unaware of any losses or troubles that you may be facing today, but I believe He is attentive.

If you are suffering from unbelief, pray to Him. And ask for just a bit of faith. Enough to help you... just for today. And do the same tomorrow, and the next day. Before you know it, you will have gained great faith!

-This morning, the kids and I dropped off several bags of clothing at the fire company. Thirty-one families lost their homes in a massive fire last week, and there is this collection taking place in their honor. The kids and I prayed for them in the car, as we drove away. We prayed that the things being donated would be a blessing to the families.

Still I know that those families might not see God's hand in all of this. In fact, they may only see despair right now. However, I believe that God is not inattentive to them and He is using many different ways to bless them.

Lastly, I pray that God would help them to believe even when there seems to be no evidence of good or God. I pray that their faith may grow just a little bit today. And I pray that the little girl who ends us wearing the pretty little shoes and warm snow boots we donated, may believe in her heart that God has provided for her. Those shoes are just a little clue... a little piece of evidence that God is faithful. We only need to believe!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dear Mary

Dear Mary,

I missed your called today. I pray you're well today.
It's been a long time since we've talked.
Distance has kept us apart.
And so much has happened so far.

Dear Mary, I hear you've been through a lot. I hear you're down and out. I hear you've lost your way.
Life can be tricky that way.

Dear Mary, it seems you got caught up with glamour and fame. I heard you've gone and changed your name.

You've been searching with no findings. Looking in the wrong places.
Putting on different faces.
And still at night, your child whispers your name.
He calls for you to change. He longs to see you smile again.
He recalls the Bible stories and the songs of praise. The ones you taught him way back when.
And still today they lie within.

Dear Mary, they say you walk alone today. They say you're no one's friend, and you're the only one to blame.

I remember when in our younger days, it was Jesus you proclaimed.
I remember when you called on Him and with faith you professed.
You said you'd give your life to Him. You said you'd love Him til the end.

Something went wrong... and you were strayed away. From the one who loves you most.
Dear Mary, I hope you call again.
I've got so much to say.
You see although you've gone your own way, His love for you remains the same.

And the words that He once spoke to you, are still true today. In fact, if you just listen for a moment at the words you once believed, you will know that you are loved regardless of where you've been.

His words of love for you remain...

Dear Mary, I heard you stopped by today. I hope I'm not too late.

Isaiah 59