You are qualified, and you have the resources

20130115-071443.jpgMany have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)

Luke wasn’t an apostle. He didn’t have his own first hand account of Christ, yet he pens a Gospel that declares Jesus Christ as the Messiah. How many times have we talked ourselves out of being a witness for the Lord because we didn’t feel qualified? Luke shows us that if we use the resources we do have, we can proclaim Christ effectively too. And besides, it’s God who qualifies the called! He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

We have so many resources, and chief among them would be our Lord who gives wisdom to those who ask for it and seek hungrily after it. We have the Bible….the Word….His Word. We have people around us, commentaries, everything literally at our fingertips in this day and age. I wonder if any one of the New Testament Christ followers were here today, how amazed they would be that we have the ability and resources to lean into teachings from great leaders from around the world within seconds. At our fingertips we have the resources to reach people everywhere around the globe with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Luke was a “beloved physician” and a Gentile. He came to know Jesus, and went out to give Him away. He fell in love with the Great Physician and knew the world around Him needed Him too. God had placed within him a need to pass along a healing, and now he knew the Great Healer Himself. His skills of observation and analysis helped him come to the greatest diagnosis in his life: the Good News of Jesus Christ is true!

Our spiritual growth has to involve our digging into God’s Word so that we can understand who He is and what His will is for us. If you’re struggling with knowing what Gods will is for your life, how much time do you spend with Him, talking with Him, in His Word? How much do I really love Him if I don’t want to spend time with Him? I will have a faithful devotional life or I will be a backslider

Let’s follow Luke’s example and dig in…go deep….into the Word. Begin where you are. Both baby steps and big steps are still a beginning. Learn. Grow. But, also tell. We can’t be selfish with what God gives us. If we want more, we have to give more. If He can give it through you, He will give it to you.

I plan to do a post on my go-to favorites in resources. What are some resources you love and use?

Advertisement

When the answer comes, don’t run from the giants…

20130113-063632.jpg


A few days ago I was in my favorite spot and talking with God. As we chatted, I asked Him for a breakthrough on a certain thing that was very close to my heart. That very afternoon it came. Praise God! With this breakthrough, came lots and lots of things for me to do. As I was getting bogged down by the mountain, I thought about the Israelites. I always think of them when I pray for something to happen, it happens, and then inside my head I am tempted to complain for various reasons. It always sends a jolt through my body. Praying for a blessing, and then complaining when it gets here?! Crazy!

We have a dream. We pray for a new position at our jobs….with that position comes new responsibilities, and more work. We complain. We pray to open that business, and yet, we complain about the long hours. We pray for that relationship, and then complain about the work it takes. Aren’t we a bunch of fickle people? We think that just because we are blessed with something, it means we can shift into cruise control and do nothing. I mean, God gave it to us, doesn’t that mean it should be easy? This is the point when a lot of people quit and miss out on God’s best for them.

The Israelites dreamt of the promised land. I believe God gives each of us a dream. A dream especially tailored for our talents and purposes…..a dream we were destined to fulfill.

But just as they were promised a land flowing with milk and honey only if they had the faith to move ahead and take the promised land, so too does everyone with a dream face obstacles that would keep us from God’s best for us. Those giants they had to overcome struck fear in the hearts of those to whom the promise was given. Some drew back as a result. Discouragement, fatigue, impatience, and unbelief set in. All of these were common to those men and women who spent 40 years in the desert because they simply could not walk in faith toward the destiny God called them to.

You know in your heart that God has great things for you. But, with every advancing step, you meet obstacles. Yes, giants are in the promised land, but God is too. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. There are times in our lives when it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or in over our heads. When the Israelites had that sea in front of them, and Pharaoh’s army behind them, it was okay to feel overwhelmed. We just can’t let our circumstances circumvent seeing God move. Had they not moved forward with God, that sea would not have parted and they would have missed the miracle. And so would we.

God does huge things in our lives. Take the remnants of that into our next thing.

Focus on these truths:

  • God has a plan for you. They are good. Jeremiah 29:11
  • Emmanuel, God is with you
  • He will make a way
  • God is never surprised or caught off guard. There are no emergency meetings in Heaven. He’s got this
  • God is an expert at resurrections. He brings dreams to life
  • In a way only God can do, He will bring you through. Only then do you understand that that the real joy isn’t in the dream itself, but rather in the richer faith you’ve acquired along the way.

    “If He calls us to slay giants. He will make us into giant slayers.” -Christine Caine

    What We See As Only A Process, God Sees As The Goal Itself….

    20130111-062843.jpgImmediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side…….(Matthew 14:22)


    We often think that if Jesus compels us to do something, and we are obedient, that He will bring great (and quick) success. We think everything God has us do is leading us to a specific end, but that’s not always the case. What we see only as a process of reaching a goal, God sees as the goal itself. God’s purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future.

    God’s purpose is for me to depend on Him. To have faith in Him. To depend on Him and His power now. We often say patience isn’t the ability to wait, it’s how you wait. The same concept applies here. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused in the storms of life, the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. His purpose is the process itself.

    What He desires for me is that I see Him walking on the water with no shore, no success, no goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see Him walking on the water. (see Matthew 14:22-33)

    It is the process that is glorifying God.

    God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. God is in charge of what comes from our obedience, and we shouldn’t concern ourselves with it. He is running the show. What we call preparation, God sees as a goal itself. This is where we grow and change.

    God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life now. If I keep looking at the shore, I am not paying close enough attention to the present time and I miss the miracle of the walk. If I realize that the moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

    Don’t miss the miracle of the walk.

    2012: A Year Filled With Attitude

    20121231-064420.jpgHAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Can you believe that 2013 is here?! Wow! I have whiplash from 2012!

    As God woke me this morning and took me to our scripture, I smiled. I smiled because of all this brought me through in the last year.

    giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20)

    Does this mean my 2012 was entirely filled with all positive things as I skipped and twirled through my days? No. Absolutely no.

    And, yes. Always and in everything there is something to run to Daddy about. Keeping this practice keeps us communicating with Him….which is precisely where we should be.

    A person that is filled with the Spirit is mindful of and grateful to the Source of all things good. And, when things aren’t so good we can thank the Source of strength that got us through.

    Keeping my heart and mind in praise and thanksgiving keeps me on the right path….whatever the attitude I have that has me face to face with Him is ok. The point is the face to face part.

    New Year’s Eve 2012 was spent gathering in my home filled with friends old and new celebrating, thanking God in prayer and praise for all the victories won. All of them. Everything. All things good, and all things that were for our good. 2012 started out in a very painful neck surgery that blessed me with time to be still, learning and growing closer to Jesus. Lost loved ones….some through death….some through betrayal and choices of their own. A drawing closer, skin-to-skin with God. A calling. Another calling. Another calling. Another calling. A child. That blessed child! New relationships. All life changing. All woven while sitting, serving, speaking, loving with my Jesus.

    Whatever 2012 was for you…whatever 2013 will be for you….speak the name Jesus over it/ for it/ to it. There’s power in your words. Your tongue can have a Lazarus effect on your life.

    Give thanks always, and for everything because we serve a God who does not sit high on a hill and bid us to climb out of the valley. No. He bungees down and carries us out. He doesn’t build a bridge and command us to cross it. No. He crosses the bridge and shoulders us over. Grace. This is the gift that God gives. A grace that changes us and leads us to a life that is eternally altered. A life that gives thanks always and for everything in that sweet, Holy name: Jesus.

    No Matter How Crazy It Sounds, It’s Happening….

    20121220-054616.jpg

    I woke up at 3:30 this morning….which is quite normal for me….and my first thoughts were about how crazy God is. Not crazy insane, but crazy fantastic. Crazy outrageous. Crazy about us. Crazy like a fox. Crazy impractical. Crazy excellent. Crazy unusual. Crazy ironic. Crazy excellent. Crazy wow, ridiculous and unusual!

    My heart woke to Philippians 4:13 where it says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This means, no matter how crazy it sounds, if it’s His will, it’s happening! I think about all the crazy, fantastic things God has done in my life. What He’s doing right now. I used to say God rocks my world, but now I say, God flips me out and blows my mind!

    God specializes in crazy things, doesn’t He? Outrageous, unusual, and miraculous things happen when He’s working. Dead rise! Seas part! Blind see! Deaf hear! Old women give birth to prophets! Men don’t die….EVER, but go straight to heaven! A man walks in water! 5,000 men….not including women and children….are fed with 5 laoves and 2 fish! 4,000 men….plus women and children….fed with 7 loaves and 2 fish! Fire comes down from heaven! The lame walk! Savior born of a virgin! He came and died so that we could live! He rose again and is alive right now! When I listed the first few things I had a period after each one, but they all deserve and exclamation point! These crazy things happening!

    God loves doing the impossible, the crazy, and the out of the ordinary–the fact that He uses any of us might just be the craziest of all! He’s crazy about us!

    Or….is it really crazy? Is it all unordinary because we measure the ordinary/unordinary by what we know to be ordinary? Are the workings of God unusual because of us, not because of Him? Not being used of God this way, or seeing God move this way, sadly, is normal for most. What if it was normal to be used of God this way? It is normal….for God! It’s perfectly normal for all these miracles to be happening. The heavenly hosts aren’t up there saying, Wow! That’s so cool! Didn’t expect that to happen! They expect what we call the unexpected. Elijah is a great example of a flipped out, mind blown life that was normal for him. When the fire from Heaven came down, He didn’t stop and say, ” WOW, that was so CRAZY!”

    Elijah was bold, and He believed His God to do amazing things, and that was His normal. And believing, having, seeing God….and being used by God to….do the miraculous can be normal for us too

    Every time I see God do the impossible, I fall more and more in love. Not because of what He does, but because of who He is. A God that is so crazy about us that He’ll part seas, raise the dead, walk on water, make the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, become a lowly baby, born of a virgin, in a lowly manger…..heal the sick…..raise your marriage from death to life…..bring your child home….deliver you from addictions……make sense of the senseless…..renew and use a prostitute for His Glory (there was a prostitute in the blood line of Jesus Himself! Don’t count yourself out sister, He loves you and will use you too! You’re not used up trash! You’re a BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS!!! Rise up and walk for your Prince has come to rescue you!)…..turn that hard heart into a soft, open heart…..come into your heart and save you to live all eternity with Him…..transform your LIFE to walk anew….cast out those strongholds….turn a worrier into a worshipper…..give peace to the panicked…..peace to the chaos…..a financial breakthrough…..a home to the homeless……be a Father to the fatherless…..turn that man’s heart back to you…..deliver a child to the barren…..give a new family to the orphan…..set the captive free…..set fire to the tongues…..give you a crazy love for Him and His people…..make a leader out of a follower…..place a fire in you that doesn’t go out….a boldness to walk wherever He leads, and say whatever He tells you to say, and do whatever He tells you to do…..Why? For you. For me. For love.

    Why not let God use you? Let your new normal be a fantastic, crazy-to-this-world life watching…..expecting…..seeing God do the crazy, the unusual, and the miraculous! Let your new normal be a life being used by God in fantastic ways!

    Is God doing a crazy thing in your life? Is God calling you to do crazy things for Him and His people? Of course He is! That’s God, and that’s perfectly normal for God 🙂

    The Same Jesus Of The Past Approaches You Now

    20121209-063504.jpg

    Kids just love to twirl and spin. They giggle and twirl, and laugh so hard they can scarcely catch their breath.

    They begin twirling and go faster until they are so dizzy they fall down. What starts out in control, ends up out of control. The body gets dizzy as the world keeps spinning and our bodies soon take us to the ground without our say so.

    I used to get vertigo. That sudden spin and the nausea that came with it did not make me giggle.

    Ann Voskamp said something on twitter a while back that is so true:

    “If my life isn’t cross-centered, my life is off-centered….and the warping spin leaves me sick”

    Things start out fun, then quickly spin on, and before we catch our breath, there we are on the floor and our eyes continually try to grab site of something to make the spinning stop. We sit there until things seem settled, get up and do it again. Sitting there, knocked down, we are in the perfect position to pray.

    There is someone this message is for today. Peace be with you. Like the parent who sees the child has had enough and knowing that if she doesn’t intervene the child will continue, God’s hand of peace is extended to you. Enough. If you feel like you’re sinking, call out to Jesus and He will quickly take your hand and escort you out of the storm. Jesus is there. Although you’ve known and walked with Jesus before, and don’t recognize Him right away in your need, He is approaching your situation. The disciples did the same thing. They had just left Jesus as He miraculously fed the 5,000 but didn’t recognize Him right away in their storm.

    That same Jesus that has done so much in your life in the past is the same Jesus that approaches you now

    Step out in faith and you will walk on the water too. Keep your eyes on Him, not those circumstances, no matter how loud, out of control and spinning they are. Jesus can calm your storm

    When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I, don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it is you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:26-32 (emphasis mine)

    God Sings and Shouts With Joy

    20121206-073836.jpg

    When I think of the Lord God of the universe…..the Creator of EVERYTHING finding delight in me it seems so surreal. He has loved us so much and I am in awe that He sent His son to die for my sins….me personally an individually…..and you too….personally and individually.

    The Lord Himself exults over us with gladness and sings, resting in quiet ecstasy over us in whom is all His delight. Wow. WOW! Do you feel worthy of that? I don’t! But, it’s true! This awesome and undeserved love stirs within my heart a need to rise up and praise Him.

    The mighty God is with us…walks with us, speaks to us and quiets all the loud stirrings within us with His complete and perfect love. His patient, forgiving love. His peaceful love. His faithful, unending love. His joyous love. His kind love. His gentle love. Alllll of His love……. this awesome, huge love is given to you….brought and introduced first to this world in the form of a baby. Born to die…given to you. And all because he loves you!

    God is with you, mighty to save. He sent His Son to die on the cross for your sins. Giving your life to Him quiets and brings rest to your soul. You’ll find confidence in your future for you know He is with you in this life, and in the life to come. He is victorious….therefore those who belong to Him are victorious. Giving your life to Him causes Him great rejoicing. Yes, rejoicing no matter what you’ve done, and who you are, and where you are….He rejoices over you. And you too rejoice with gladness for you know what He rescued you from and forgave you for

    Giving ourselves to Him to love and care for us delights Him and causes Him to break out in a song and shout with joy (rejoicing!). This very day, as the great big mighty God of the universe thinks about us, He is glad, He is delighted, He loves us and it causes Him to sing.

    The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)

    Directions For What Path To Go On, And The Steps To Take To Get There

    20121205-064119.jpg
    Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. (Psalm 119:105,106)

    God’s word both directs us on which path to go on, and what steps to take to get there.

    I love thorough planning. I like to have a plan in place but then be very fluid within that plan; allowing for His divine appointments and His Spirit to move. When working with a team I like to be thorough and simple in my instructions….here’s what I want you to do, and here’s how I want you to do it.

    The light of His word exposes truth and righteousness…..sheds some light on the subject for seeing ahead to what’s coming down my path, and what I’m doing in the right now

    His word exposes the right direction, while keeping us sure footed, preventing us from stumbling or stepping into a trap…..or entangled in false values (sound familiar? Been there? Done that? Me too…and I didn’t like it and I’m not doing that again!). On such a path there is no danger but a heritage and joy. The guidance of the Lord’s instructions allow us to rightly divide right and wrong.

    God loves us. He’s safe and we can trust Him. Firmly vowing to follow His word and plan for our lives is definitely a step in the right direction. If we love Him, we will want to obey Him (John 14:15). We have a powerful tool to guide us in obedience–His word.

    Here it is:

    If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll keep getting what we’re getting………..

    …………If we don’t like what we’ve been getting, then we need to stop doing what we’ve been doing


    There’s a new day dawning. Firmly…..I said, firmly this time……vow to trust God for a change and follow Him.

    It’s Simple

    20121204-070413.jpg
    One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

    God’s laws are not burdensome. They can be reduced down to two simple principles:

    Love God and love others

    Love is the primary affection with which we are to relate to God–and do it with our total being…everything…..no holds barred….ALL……

    ……All is a keyword here. Life is so busy and sometimes we are partially focused on God. He wants all of us, not just our leftovers……

    …….There are no “ors” in this, it’s all “ands”…..grouped together with no room for partial pieces. All always means all!

    Love Him with all your heart (affections) and with all your soul (spirit) and with all your mind (intelligence) and with all your strength (will).

    This Christmas season, give Him your heart and let your spirit dance a love song with Him. Allow Him to refresh and renew your mind into right thinking and focus on Him. Say to Him, not my will but Your will be done.

    Making A List and Checking It Twice

    20121203-055910.jpg
    Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1John 4:7-8)

    As much as I try or even want to love on my own strength, I cannot love well and completely unless I am connected to God. Believe me, I’ve done that, and it ain’t pretty.

    When we first know Who God is and experience His love, grace, and forgiveness in our own lives, we are then filled up with a supernatural love that overflows to others…..even those who are hard to love.

    It’s this same supernatural love that God pursues us with. His tender passion is not found in this world, oh, no. This world is full of fragile loves–love that abandons, love that fades, love that divorces, love that is self-seeking, self-pleasing, and plain out selfish….me, me, me, it’s all about me, and right now. This isn’t love….these are “feelings”. God is not that kind of love. Real love is like God who is holy, just, giving, kind, patient, seeking others needs first, never gives up, never looses faith, always hopeful, and endures forever.

    He’s personal and intimate with us in our hearts, in our prayers, and in our lives. His love is everlasting.

    Who Christ is and what He’s done should cause us to act. His generous love and compassion is not to stop with us. We should find ways to show compassion to those who are suffering (even if it is at their own hands) because Christ is compassionate towards us. (Believe me when I tell you that there are days when that alone keeps me going. I could start another blog on that alone….these aren’t empty words here). His love for me is my fuel and lights me up…keeps me fired me up and overflows to others.

    “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving….great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves and in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo

    Here’s your list….check it twice 😉:

  • Love for God can be seen only in love for other people. (4:11-13,16-21,5:2)
  • Love and fear are opposites. (v18)
  • Love is a gift, not a possession. (v10,13,19)
  • Confession of Christ and love of others cannot be separated (vv19-21)
  • God’s love is certain. Christ showed that on the cross. (4:10,14; 5:6)
  • Because He first loved us….

    What’s In A Name?

    20121127-063614.jpg

    The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God. (John 1:9-12)

    Jesus, the only true light….the only path to eternity….came. Though offered to everyone, not everyone recognizes Him for who He is as Savior. Those who do become children of God.

    Through every situation, Jesus is offered as my hope daily…..minute by minute….and no matter the situation. Do I recognize Him? Do I recognize His work on my behalf?

    He’s my Savior! Do I really think He’s going to love me enough to die for me, and then leave me to stumble through? No, He’s not a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy! He said He’d never leave me and I believe Him.

    He’s my hope and my salvation and there’s power in that name

    Call out to Him. Try it. There’s power in that name.

    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

    Lord, thank You for the hope and salvation we have in you! I sit at the edge of my seat watching for You in my life. May it ever be so! Thank You that You came and that You keep coming every day in every thing.

    When Division = Multiplication

    20121120-090110.jpg
    “Bring them here to me,” (Matthew 14:18)

    I love this story in Matthew 14:14-21. Jesus had spent hours teaching and ministering to the people. It was around 3:00 pm and well passed lunch time. The disciples were concerned that they were out in a remote place with nowhere for the people to go and get food. The Bible says 5,000 men. Traditional calculations say around 15,000 when you include women and children (How would you like that kind of crowd popping in unannounced this Thanksgiving?).

    The people just couldn’t leave. They were surely hungry, but it was another kind of appetite they needed satisfied.

    The disciples saw things as getting desperate and were worried about the outcome. Jesus said, “they don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

    God wants to do the supernatural, and He wants us believe for it too


    They were still thinking too small…..all we have are these five loaves of bread, and two measly fish.

    We do that too!

    Daddy says, I’m here….cast your cares on Me….I go before you…..I go behind you….no weapon formed against you will prosper….I have plans to prosper you…..I give you the Comforter….I give you my Son….you’re in the palm of my hand….I divide the seas…..I raise people from the dead….bring fire from heaven……create something out of nothing….and I’ve got this too

    Sometimes things seem impossible. We’ve tried in our own strength and we’re still not seeing the big picture.

    Daddy says, “Bring them to me.”


    When a child has a broken toy, and tinkers away for a while trying to fix it, Daddy says, “Bring that to me.” What the child has put so much effort into attempting to do seems so effortless now as Daddy fixes it with ease.

    Jesus says, “Bring them here to me”

    “Them”

    those issues
    that mess…
    your brokenness…
    that marriage…
    that potential man/woman…or lack thereof…
    that job…or lack thereof…
    your family…
    that past…
    that child that has stepped away from the church…
    that situation you just can’t seem to forgive…
    that situation you just can’t seem to get forgiveness for…
    all…..them ALL
    Bring them all to Him

    And don’t hesitate at the multiple problems….”them” is plural….take it ALL

    Jesus told them to sit down. Bring them to me and sit down—-I’ve got this…..sit down and rest while I do my thing.

    Then…..and don’t miss this….Jesus broke the bread, and then it multiplied!

    Did you catch it? Multiplication happens out of brokenness!

    It’s when that thing breaks me–when I let it go–take it to Him–and sit it out–and let Him work–that His blessing multiplies

    Whatever measly things we have….whatever seems hopeless, or too big…..take it to your Daddy first. He’s reaching for you and asking you to Bring them to Him. Obey. Take it to Him and sit down and watch Him do His thing.

    Happy Thanksgiving from all the gang here! We love you all and pray abundant blessings for you, your family, your calling, your church, your work. This office will be closed through Monday. Give everyone great big hugs as you celebrate and enjoy Thanksgiving together.

    Walk closely with the King!
    Love,
    Christy

    Full Tank: He Holds No Good Thing

    20121119-065226.jpg

    This is our “Thank Tank”

    20121119-065419.jpg

    It’s a wonderful container that I got as a gift and turned into a thank tank years ago when my children, who are now 23 (next week) and 18, were very young. The card I placed in the top says,

    “Thank Tank”
    That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever (Psalm 30:12)

    And this poem:
    Consider what the Lord has done for you and those you love; then give Him thanks with hearts of praise for blessings from above

    20121119-065820.jpg

    It’s been filled with lots and lots of notes. Personal ones that are only for God. These notes are written by my family and countless other people who have been in our home over the years. Small groups. Teenagers spending the weekend for a youth group function. Traveling choirs filled with strangers that come and fill my home to the brim. Grown ups as we talk and praise God for His goodness.

    20121119-070125.jpg

    So many memories of year round teaching groups of girls, and guys and seeing them grab the empty pages and write their hearts on them

    20121119-070435.jpg

    This tank is full of thanks to Him for blessings passed, and blessings coming. Hopes confirmed by seeing His hand, and hopes confirmed by the promise of His hand.

    This year finds me in the same place. I look back over the years and see His victorious hand through many, many, MANY hard things. The joy in the many, many, MANY wonderful things. And just like in Matthew 14:20, when the disciples took the remnants of the blessed miracle of feeding the 5,000 men into their future, I take mine and give thanks for all He has done, is doing, and will do.

    God is the same God that has done all He’s done. God is the same God that is doing all He is doing. God is the same God that will do all He’s going to do. His hands are capable. I trust His hands. No matter what, He knows me better than I know myself and His bountiful love will always fill my life full and over flowing into my future too. He loves us and holds no good thing from His children.

    That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever (Psalm 30:12)

    Forever

    How Do You Live Out Your Love For God?

    20121118-075500.jpg

    I read this story online somewhere(?) and wrote it down:

    A tired father came home from work, grabbed his newspaper, and settled into his favorite chair with a sigh of relief. All he wanted was a little peace and quiet. All that his young son wanted was his daddy. The little boy raced into the room and asked, “Dad, can I get you something to drink?” The man lowered his newspaper, smiled and replied, “No, thanks. I’m not thirsty. I just want to read the paper.” He then raised his newspaper and resumed reading. The little boy thought for a moment and then said a little louder, “Dad, can I get you something to eat?” The slightly exasperated father lowered his paper and said, “No son, I just want to read the paper!” As the father resumed his reading, the little boy tried again. “Dad, can I get you……..” but before the little boy could finish his question, the now irritated father lowered his paper and demanded, “What is it that you want son?” The little boy sighed and gazed into his father’s eyes as he explained,

    “I don’t want anything, Dad.”

    “I just love you so much that I have to do something about it.”


    How do you live out your love for God?

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deut 6:5)

    Jesus: All Access Pass

    20121116-064610.jpg

    In Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus is teaching us about prayer.

    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:9-13)

    The Lord’s prayer is a model for our prayers. There’s no “formula” to it, no ritual or secret way to better channel the strongest waves of communication to or from God. We have all access to Him.

    20121116-060634.jpg

    The Message version puts it this way:

    The world is full of so called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
    Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best–as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the devil. You’re in charge! Yes. Yes. Yes.

    God loves us, and has done all He’s done for a relationship with us. Talk to Him. That’s the point, talk to Him. Communication draws us into more knowledge of, and closer to the people around us. If we want to know more about this mighty God, we need to get to know Him. To get to know Him is to talk with Him. To talk with Him is to get to know Him. A conversation. Just start talking.

    .

    God + Nothing = Everything

    I love the feeling I get when I see a box of things from our past. I smile just walking in the direction of the box. Opening them and talking about what each thing represents. The laughter, and love that flow as we remember. Things my kids made, holiday decorations, funny and sweet notes my children wrote, things sweet friends gave me, mementos of my Dad and other loved ones no longer with us. We’re all transported back. It’s cozy there in the kisses from our Heavenly Father.

      20121115-092217.jpg

    What a blessing it is to cuddle with each kiss! It’s like getting blessed all over again. Passing to the next generation the moments of joy we have in raising our children, growing and loving in marriage, the awe, fear, wonder, and victories in God. I was talking with a friend the other day who said we don’t remember days, we remember moments. I agree.

      20121115-092203.jpg

    I give thanks for remembering. For the remembering brings joy. Joy in giving God the glory and thanks in a life lived well. I add quickly not a life lived perfectly, but with honest passion, desire, love and compassion authored by God Himself. A passionate desire to follow, glorify and honor God. This story of love is authored by Him. A life together made on our own would not have been so great. In our own weak attempts we fail. For we are nothing and have nothing without Him

    For you see, God + nothing = everything

    .

    Everyday (Not-so) Ordinary Gifts

    To pause and give thanks for every gift God blesses is a good thing. It’s a great thing.

    “This giving thanks–this is what we are made for: To give Him more glory. More thanks. This is more joy!”

    Not only do I want to thank Him for all the huge ways He shows up in my life, but also the little ways….the “kisses from Daddy” as I like to call them. All blessings no matter the “size” are kisses from Daddy!

    For that favorite bird that flies in my path, that favorite flower I see, that encouraging phone call or text from a dear friend, that Bible verse at just the right time, that hug from one of our sweet darlings, that pleasant greeting and smile, that…….

    “God’s presence is always present. And He is the gift, the One I can’t stop giving thanks to.”

    The world is full of reminders of how cruel things can be. I want to off set that every day by listing the gifts of grace He brings. Ann Voscamp has inspired me to do just that.

    In her book she introduces a way of seeing that opens your eyes to the ordinary amazing grace, a way of living that is fully alive, and a way of becoming present to God that brings deep and lasting joy.

    I plan everyday to tell about a gift in whatever form I’ve received it….A verse, a kind word, a gift, a smile, a show of kindness, whatever. Won’t you join me? Let’s hastag them #1000Gifts and spread the joy.

    Let’s sling open our arms, and throw back our heads and dance in praise to the Giver of the ultimate Gift and say……..Thank You! Thank You! Thank You and tell others of His great goodness!

    To know God Better and Better: Colossians Study

    20121101-072659.jpg

    “For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God
    Colossians 1:9-10

    Today’s reading from Colossians speaks about a great desire I have and something I seek daily. I too pray continuously for spiritual wisdom and understanding.

    To have great spiritual wisdom and understanding is worth far more than any earthly riches! Because with this comes full and complete knowledge of God’s will, and who doesn’t want to know God’s will?

    Then, because we know HIS will and do it, the way we live will always honor and please the Lord, and our lives will produce every kind of good fruit. I deeply desire to bring a smile to Daddy’s face!

    All the while we will be growing as we learn to know God better and better……oh, what sweet words!

      “To know God better and better”

    Doesn’t that sound just heavenly? To get closer and closer to HIM. To get cheek to cheek with HIM. Beautiful.

    So, if we take our cue from Paul (and we definitely should) here’s what we need to pray for ourselves and each other:

  • We understand what God wants us to do. Then do it.
  • Gain spiritual wisdom
  • Honor and please God
  • Produce every kind of good fruit
  • learn to know God better and better
  • I’m praying this right now