Traveling

30 04 2010

I am traveling today. On the road, I am blessed to see new sights, meet new friends, and have new adventures. Traveling opens my eyes and allows me to see God’s hand in fresh ways. It is an opportunity to stand in a new place and witness the fascinating ways that He is working in places I have never been before and in people I am just meeting. Traveling is great, but I will be honest – I miss home.

While I appreciate all the opportunities I have to travel, there is something about home that just pulls at my heart. It is where I am most intimately known and most deeply loved. My heart longs for the familiar voices, the sweet smiles, the warm hugs, and the comfort of knowing this is where I belong.

Traveling highlights the truth that I am just a visitor to this part of the country. Here I take up residence for a few days, enjoy the blessings of experiencing new things and meeting wonderful people, and put my head on the pillow at night counting the hours until it is time to go home.

Sitting in an airport or sleeping on a strange pillow reminds my heart to reorient itself toward home. The ache I feel for my family and to be at home is just an echo of the longing I have to really go home. You see, even when I am at home, I am not yet at home.

My Jesus Resolution today is to set my sights on home. While all the words and songs about mansions, golden streets, and pearly gates are great, those are not what make my heart long for home. I want to be with the One who knows me best, loves me the most, and names me His treasure. I long to hear His voice and see His face. I am just a traveler, a visitor to this place. I want to go home.





Ten Songs to Sing

27 04 2010

Music is amazing. It has the ability to reach deep inside our hearts, leaving its mark in the recesses of our souls. Music is a gift from God. With it, He wants us to soak in the amazing realities of who He is, who He calls us to be, and how He longs to work in our lives. Here is a list of ten songs I will be singing today.

1. Jesus Loves Me – The most profound truths are often found in the simplest melodies

2. God is So Good  –  In a world filled with bad stuff, I need to be reminded that God is SO good

3. I Surrender All – Here is God’s call to my heart. Every day I must decide to surrender it all to Him

4. Tell Me the Story of Jesus – Within the story of Jesus, I find the best of my own story and hope for the pages that will be written today

5. Amazing Grace – I never want to cease being amazed by the grace God pours out on me

6. God Will Make a Way –  This song points me to Jesus when am tempted to fix it myself, solve my own problems, and handle my own struggles

7. Beneath the Cross of Jesus – There is no better place to anchor my heart than beneath the cross of Jesus

8. I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving – I am going to let gratitude and praise direct my movement into His presence today

9. I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart – Can’t sing this song and keep the smile off your face!

10. More Holiness Give Me – Here is the root of The Jesus Resolution and the deepest longing of my heart

My Jesus Resolution today is to sing – in the shower, on the road, in the kitchen, to the dog, with my kids, while going through my day. I am going to let these songs pull my eyes toward Jesus, renew my commitment to being crucified with Christ, share the wonder and joy He plants in my day, and teach my heart to be aware of His presence. Turn off your radio. Set down your iPod. Sing with me.





Balloons

26 04 2010

My daughter celebrated her birthday recently. Never mind how old she is or how old that makes me (mmmm…..). We celebrated – presents, cake, smiles, and our one dollar birthday sign that has become a family tradition. And balloons. One sweet friend brought her a brightly-colored, flies-high, lots-of-streamers balloon. The rest is packed away awaiting the next child who will make me feel older, but the balloon is still floating. The boys run by and knock it down like a punching bag. It just pops back up. Depending on who is walking through the room, it has brought squeals of delight, murmurs of annoyance, “is that still here?” comments, and simple wonder. Simple wonder because I see God in that balloon.

You see, I am like the balloon. Faith is the stuff that makes it float. You can’t see it, but you can’t miss its effects. It lifts the balloon up. It helps it fly above the ordinary. Stuff happens and we get knocked down. Faith helps us back up. For some, seeing faith brings joy and praise. Others see faith and are annoyed or surprised that our faith has stuck around this long. The thing about balloons is that they get noticed. Not everybody likes them, but everybody notices them. Some smile. Some brush them away. Some take a good swing. But balloons draw people’s eyes upward. The saddest balloons are the ones that limp. The faith leaks out of them little by little. Noticing the presence of God helps pump up our faith. It keeps us full and helps us pull toward heaven.

My Jesus Resolution today is to let God’s simple wonders lift my faith. I want to be like that balloon – longing to move upward, straining against the string that binds me to this earth, pulling the eyes of everyone who sees me heavenward. I pray you see a balloon today. Better yet, buy one and give it to someone. Watch their face and follow their eyes. Then remember to let your faith work in the same way.





Waiting in Line

23 04 2010

I am not very patient. Today I was standing in line at the store waiting for customer service. It didn’t take long for me to check the time and start tapping my toe. We tend to view waiting as a waste. We see it as down time that isn’t being used in the most efficient way. Waiting holds little value in our society because it is deemed unproductive. It doesn’t move us forward on the ladder to success, buy us the newest gadget, or contribute to reaching a higher status. In fact, the longer you have to wait in our society, the more of a nobody the world says you really are.

What if I could view my waiting times differently? What if I could see them as God-given moments to touch the circumstance in which I find myself waiting with His power and grace? When I am standing in line, holding on the phone, waiting for my email to download, standing at the bus stop, or waiting for a friend to arrive, I have two choices. My first, and usual, choice is to view those minutes as delays in getting to where I want to go and what I hope to accomplish. Seeing them this way makes me impatient and irritable. The world needs to run on my schedule. It moves me to the center, allowing me to demand that everything run at my pace.

The second option is to fill those waiting moments with God. I could spend my time in line at the store praying for the people in the line with me, the clerk who is working hard to help us, and the blessings of being able to buy what I need. Waiting time could be watching time – watching for God to move, searching for His fingerprints, or soaking in the beauty He plants all around us. At the bus stop, I can pray for my children. In the parking lot, I can ask God to be in the middle of the conversation I will have with my friend. Waiting times can be times of blessing rather than a burden or a bother, if we infuse them with Him.

My Jesus Resolution today is to wait with joy. I will see every line I wait in today as a place to meet God. I will ask the Lord how I can be a blessing to those waiting with me. I resolve to wait with expectation, anticipating that God will cause those minutes to overflow with His presence. I am going to use these waiting minutes to make my heart tender to the truth that God continually waits for me.





Committed

21 04 2010

He took the stage with a flourish. It was my son’s first time to be in character. He tried out for a one act play at school and was blessed to become a part of the cast. They memorized lines, practiced their parts, and rehearsed the play for weeks. Costumes were prepared, stage directions were given, and even make-up was applied to make the character come to life.

He did great. The play was a success, delighting an audience of parents and friends assembled to cheer them on in the school auditorium.

At the end of the play festival, my son received some direction and advice from a seasoned professional. It was neat to hear the gentlemen point out the things my son had done well and outline small steps he could take to improve his performance. The piece of advice that drew my attention was simple – commit to the character. When on stage, completely become the character. Talk like him, react like him, move like him. Don’t do anything outside of the character that you want to become.

Interesting advice. His words hold encouragement beyond teaching a student how to act in a play. Shakespeare is the one who said that “all the world’s a stage.” We live our lives before an audience. Each person we meet watches us to see if we are living in character – if we are committed to living out the character of Jesus.

Of course, we don’t put on a costume and pretend to be Jesus. Rather, we long to actually experience a transformation that changes our character to look like His. We want to show the world a reflection of Christ. We long to imitate the way He moves, talks, acts, and relates to others. In order to do that, we have to commit to living out His character in each moment of our lives.

My Jesus Resolution today is to commit my heart to being His, reflecting Christ in all I do and say. I want others to see a clear picture of Jesus in me. All the world is a stage. My neighbors, family, and friends are watching, looking for Him in my actions and words. Today, I am going to commit to His character, trusting that when I hide myself in Him, He will be in the spotlight.





Ten Promises For You

19 04 2010

Always and never are big words. We temper the promises we make to others, knowing that always and never are out of our reach. They are, however, not too big for our God. He makes us some very big promises, extending His faithfulness into always and never. Here are ten promises God has made to you. Hold on tight. He will always keep His word and will never let you go.

     1. I will always love you.

     2. I will never leave you or give up on you.

     3. I will always work in your life to help you look more like Jesus.

     4. I will always provide a way back into My arms.

     5. I will always give you what is absolutely best for you.

     6. I will never lie to you.

     7. I will always want you to be Mine.

     8. I will always pour out grace sufficient to meet every need.

     9. I will always do more for you than you can ask or imagine.

   10. I will never break My promises to you.

My Jesus Resolution today is to dive deeply into the promises God has made me. They aren’t empty words. Every promise is filled with power and provides hope for my journey. God’s promises point to God’s heart. Each one helps me remember just how much He longs to fill me full of Himself. Today, I am going to believe Him and rejoice in the way His promises make a difference in how I walk, talk, think, and interact with the world.





This is the Day

16 04 2010

I love Psalm 118:24. The psalmist writes, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

This is the day – Today is the day to keep your eyes open and your heart attentive. So often our focus is on the future or the past. Live fully in this moment. Let today’s beauty wash over you. Enjoy the simple gifts strewn along your path. Count every single blessing. Don’t let the unique blessings of today get lost in the quest to get to tomorrow.

The Lord has made – Today has God’s fingerprints all over it. He has filled each moment with Himself. He crafted today so that you could be with Him. There is nothing that is going to happen today that God has not seen or for which He has not prepared.

Let us rejoice – Make a commitment today to be filled with joy. Joy is a decision, not an afterthought. It is the deliberate determination to live fully within the presence of God. Choose joy today – no matter how much traffic there is, no matter how many mountains of laundry you have to climb, no matter how long your to-do lists gets. God is present, and it just doesn’t get better than that.

And be glad in it – We can walk differently through our day because we walk with God. God doesn’t promise us that everything in every day will be good. He does promise that every day He is good, and everything He does for us flows out of His love.

My Jesus Resolution today is to let Psalm 118:24 frame my day. Whatever is painted, written, drawn, or splashed on the canvas of my heart will be surrounded and defined by the truth that God is shaping this day just so I can see Him. I am going to look at the colors of this day and notice His glory. I want to examine the texture of my hours and minutes and discover the rhythm of His grace. I am going to be deliberate about tracing the pattern woven into my day, knowing that it is His fingerprints that give each moment depth and purpose. I am going to move through my day with determination, confidence, and joy because God made this day, designing this moment just so I can move closer to His heart.