Favorite Verses

31 07 2015

I took an informal poll among my Facebook friends. I asked them to share their favorite Bible verse with me. Verses poured in, and my smile grew. It is such an encouragement to read a verse and picture the face of my friend. These verses are the ones that have deeply shaped their hearts, providing courage and comfort as they make life’s journey.

The Bible is a gift. It contains the voice of God speaking to us from His heart. In its words, we find direction, grace, peace, healing, teaching, prodding, warning, comfort, encouragement, and a constant invitation. His Word holds precious promises, tantalizing glimpses of heaven, and an intimate portrait of God’s heart. It warns us about the heartbreaking consequences of sin, and spotlights Jesus on the cross as the answer to our deepest need.

As we walk through the next several weeks, I want to share some of these favorites with you. Some are very familiar, well-read words that speak gently and powerfully to our hearts. Others are gems tucked quietly in the Bible’s pages waiting for the moment when God speaks them into our souls. Some will be your favorites; others will become new favorites. All of them will offer our hearts a chance to be touched by God and His Word.

My Jesus Resolution today is to thank God for His Word. Too often, I take my Bible for granted. I forget that each time I open its pages, I am entering the presence of God. He wants to meet me among its words, challenge me to surrender more deeply, love me unconditionally, and transform me into the image of Jesus. Opening His Word is always a privilege and a responsibility. I want to accept His gift with thanksgiving, allowing it to touch me and change me to look more like Jesus.

I would love to know your favorite verse! Let me know what it is in the comment section below!!





The Jesus Habit

29 07 2015

In the happy moments, praise God.

In the difficult moments, seek God.

In the quiet moments, trust God.

In every moment, thank God.

These words hang in my house, right by the front door. I can see them from my desk where they gently remind me to keep my focus on God. We have so many things pulling at our attention, demanding our time, and clamoring for a piece of us that it is easy to get side-tracked. Our hearts get troubled, our eyes get distracted, and our peace gets drained from our souls.

Here is the truth. The future will be filled with many different kinds of moments – some wonderful and amazing, others difficult and heart-breaking. Here is the good news – God has already seen each one. He stands ready with provision, grace, power, and hope to walk with you, no matter what the moment holds. Our choice comes in how we will choose to respond to both our circumstances and His presence. We can get caught up in the circumstance or let His almighty presence carry you through.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be deliberate about allowing God’s presence to define each moment. I don’t know what today holds, but I do know God is going to be there be with me. Most days follow a routine. Other days hold surprises. Either way, I have a choice. I can choose to praise God or I can let the moment twist my focus and make me feel alone. Every time I choose God, the world loses a little bit of its hold on me. Let’s make choosing Jesus the habit of our hearts.





Weekly Routines

27 07 2015

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote in her beloved books about a routine that the pioneer women followed in order to get their weekly chores done.  Laura wrote, “Ma used to say,

Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday.”

They used this little list as a reminder to create a habit that would get done the tasks that were needed to support their families, and to teach their children how to take care of necessary responsibilities.

Her little list gave me an idea. I decided to make my own weekly reminder that would help me meet God throughout the week.

Meditate on Monday.

Talk to God on Tuesday.

Dig into the Word on Wednesday.

Thanksgiving on Thursday.

Build friendships on Friday.

Sing on Saturday.

Surrender in worship on Sunday.

Of course, we can do any of these things on any day, but building good spiritual habits strengthens my faith and helps me be more aware of God’s presence. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, this list focuses my heart on deliberately dedicating one day a week to walking a pathway that will shape my soul. It also allows me to make sure that I include a variety of spiritual disciplines into my routine. Good, consistent spiritual habits help me look more like Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to spend time in God’s presence every day this week. I want to soak in His Word, spend concentrated time in prayer, open my Bible and hear His voice, focus my heart on His blessings, raise my voice in praise, and meet Christ in worship with His people. I want to use this routine to teach my heart to hunger for God, and to look forward to meeting Him each day.





Fleas

24 07 2015

My daughter got a new dog. She is a rescued dog, adopted from a shelter. It took about two minutes for them to fall in love with each other. Her new pup is a black and white mutt who is just as cute as she can be. We don’t know what she went through before her adoption, but she is slowly learning what it means to live a safe, loved (somewhat spoiled) life with my daughter.

One day, while loving on her new dog, my daughter discovered that her pet had fleas. Fleas are tiny, but have the power to spread disease and make life miserable. The battle began. The pesky bugs were buried deep in the dog’s soft fur. A trip to the groomers, flea medicine, a flea bath, a flea collar, and a flea comb later find my daughter with a lighter wallet and a protocol to follow to combat her dog’s invaders. It takes vigilance and deliberate attention to defeat the fleas, but my daughter is determined to win.

My son reminded me that dealing with fleas is a lot like dealing with sin. Small and pesky, one sin doesn’t seem like it can do much harm, but, just like fleas, sin can rapidly grow and multiply, making us miserable and infecting us with its poison. The only way to deal with sin is through vigilance and deliberate attention. Every day we have to be thankful for the price Jesus paid to make us clean, and use the tools He gives us to keep sin at bay.

My Jesus Resolution today is to deal head-on with my “fleas.” My fleas are real, invasive, and sometimes buried very deep. I am thankful that Jesus rescued and adopted me. As His child, He is willing and able to deal with my flea problem. The antidotes to sin require a complete transformation of my heart. Bible study, prayer, and rich fellowship with other Christians help me watch for the pesky sins that creep into my life. Repentance keeps bringing me back to the blood that makes me clean and whole. Fleas are a nuisance. Sin is dangerous. Jesus is the cure.





More

22 07 2015

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

Today I am praying that you have more – more joy, more love, more confidence, more grace, more laughter, more peace, more gratitude, more contentment, and more awareness of His presence. God designed you to experience more – immeasurably more! He is ready to fill this day with all of the mores that He has in mind for you.

Push away the clutter the world wants to dump into your life. The world has its own set of ‘mores’ with which it wants you to fill your life. Its ‘mores’ are temporary, bringing with it baggage that will weigh you down.  Stress, doubt, fear, discontent, pain and shame are the quiet ‘mores’ that slip into our hearts when we get distracted and focus on the ‘mores’ of the world.

Instead, God wants you to set your heart on Him. Take a moment today to count all of the ‘mores’ that God brings into your day. I can promise that you will be amazed!

My Jesus Resolution today is to soak in the ‘mores’ that God has in store for me. I miss so many of the blessings He pours into my day because I think I need the ‘mores’ of the world. Today I want to be overwhelmed by the gifts God gives me. He is more than able to do immeasurably more in my life. Faith is the key to seeing His immeasurably more touch every piece of who I am.





Sowing Light

20 07 2015

“Light is sown for the righteous,

And joy for the upright in heart.

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,

And give thanks to His holy name!”

  • Psalm 97:11-12

I love this picture. God is sowing light for the righteous. Can you imagine the fruit that springs from the seeds of light God plants in our lives? He wants us to live lives of abundant grace, overwhelming peace, dazzling joy, and confident contentment. His light will illuminate our paths, give new vision to our eyes, and dispel the shadows from our hearts.

It takes time and care for the light that is sown into our hearts to fully bloom and take shape. Rejoicing and thanksgiving are ways that we can keep our hearts soft to His movement in our lives. When we choose to rejoice, we choose to celebrate the presence of God in this moment. The circumstances may be dark, but Light is always with us. Gratitude keeps our eyes open and our hearts humble. It empowers us to see His hand on our days and His activity in our lives.

My Jesus Resolution today is to look for the harvest of light. God is sowing His light in me. It is slowly dispelling the darkness that has a hold of my soul. Light is mightier than darkness. It reveals the truth about who I am and who I can be in Christ. With light comes joy. This is the work God is doing in my life. My job is to rejoice and give thanks. Both of those things are rooted in surrender. When we keep our eyes on the Light, we begin to see the new possibilities and the deep blessings that are ours because of Jesus.





The Garden

17 07 2015

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” – John 15:1

I have a neighbor around the corner who has a thriving garden. He tends to it with great care. His yard overflows with all kinds of beautiful flowers, green shrubs, and fruit trees. It is a delight to walk past his house every day. It seems like each morning brings a new delight. Some flowers bloom while others are fading. He seems to know just when to prune, water, feed, and weed his plants. Even in the heat of summer, his garden has flourished under his care.  One thing that is a constant amidst all of the flowers, plants, and blossoms is his presence. He works in his garden every day. Evidence of his daily care is seen in the tender way he watches over each plant. He loves his garden, and his garden prospers because it is an expression of his heart.

Faith is like a garden. Beautiful gardens don’t happen by accident. It requires a deliberate investment of time, resources, energy, and vision to allow faith to bloom and thrive. People with beautiful faith gardens spend time every day doing the things that help faith to grow – Bible study, prayer, praise, and connection with spiritual friends. Each of these gardening tools help us do the most important thing – spend time with the Gardener. They focus our hearts on His presence and help us surrender to His work in our lives. He longs to help your faith grow in beautiful, bountiful ways as you give Him access to your heart.

My Jesus Resolution today is to let a garden help me see the Gardener. It doesn’t matter if it is my garden or someone else’s, the beauty of the garden speaks to the Gardener’s love for His garden. The warm soil reminds me to stay soft and pliable under His touch. The seeds speak to the potential He sees in me, and my need to surrender to dying in order to bloom. The weeds speak of the necessity for diligence against the world’s desire to invade my garden. The beauty of the garden helps me see the way Jesus is growing in me.








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