Christ Clear

28 02 2011

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” – I Corinthians 13:12

Have you seen the allergy medicine commercial that describes having allergies like living in a fog? The promise is that if you take their medicine, the allergy fog will lift and everything in your life will become crystal clear.

Clarity is a valuable gift. When we have clarity, we see things as they truly are. We are able to appreciate beauty, experience gratitude, and live with an affirming perspective.

What allergies might do to us physically, sin definitely does to us spiritually. It clouds our vision. It generates fogs of frustration, dark clouds of doubt and despair, and turns our eyes towards the shadows. There is an uncertainty and self-focus that flow from a lack of clarity. It turns our perspective inward, forcing us to rely on ourselves to find our way through the fog. Our confidence shatters, our joy fades, and our peace gets blurry.

Jesus is the remedy. The cross is the answer to the fog of sin that so often obscures our vision. His presence in our lives is the antidote to anxiety. He wants us to be Christ clear. He longs to open our eyes to the truth the world wants to mask in the shadows. He wants us to experience the abundance that comes from walking in His light. He wants to give us a clarity that helps us see all the markers of His presence He plants in our days.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be Christ clear. I want to see with His eyes, and have the clarity that only comes from standing in the shadow of the cross. I want His perspective to shape the way I see my day, my family, my neighbors, my job, my blessings, and my struggles. Like allergy medicine, it means taking Jesus in every day, asking Him to transform my eyes, mold my heart, and infuse my very being with His image.


25 02 2011

She is ninety years old and the sweetest woman you would ever want to meet. Her gentle spirit speaks to long years of walking with God. She radiates a beauty she is completely unaware she has. Her Bible is well worn. Its words are written on her heart, deeply etched from spending so much time with the Master. Her hands are stiff with arthritis, but pliable in the hands of her Lord. She serves with love, sings with joy, and inspires us with her faith and constant presence.

That is why it was so surprising. It was Sunday morning. The sermon was over, and the song we were singing invited tender hearts to deep surrender. There was a rippled pause as my sweet friend slowly made her way to the front. It was the walk of someone deeply broken, carrying a weight that only the Lord could bear. No one could imagine why she was there.

The elders surrounded her in a way that spoke to their profound respect and love for this dear soul. She talked quietly against one shoulder, bowing her head in a mirror of what was happening in her heart.

Finally, one the elders spoke on her behalf. She had come with a heart moved to repentance and confession. She grieved her sin, longing for a fresh movement of grace. Her tender heart spoke of her deep desire to look more like Jesus and her ache that she had failed to mirror Him. She asked for forgiveness. She mourned how her actions might have impacted the hearts of those around her.

She impacted me, but not in the negative way she feared. Her tenderness broke through the hardness of my own heart. Her transparency humbled me. Her willingness to be open about her struggle cast a light on my usual desire to manage my image. Her actions of repentance and confession challenged me to examine my own actions. Her desire to look more like Jesus flamed my own deep longing.

My Jesus Resolution is to be just like her. I want to have that kind of tender heart. I crave the sensitivity to the presence of God that she lived out before us. I long to be transparent to the core. I want to be so embedded in the movement of God that the slightest nudge sends me to my knees. I pray that someday somebody will be able to see Jesus as clearly in me as I see Him in her.

Have Some Fun

23 02 2011

It was just a small note at the end of an email. “Have some fun today,” my friend wrote. Four words that gave me pause.

How much fun do you have? Christians should be the people on the street with the biggest smiles, most frequent laughs, and the warmest faces. Joy should radiate from us. Peace should flow from our lives in waves. Generosity should tumble from our hearts.

Jesus would point us to a child. Children can find a way to infuse joy into any situation. Play is a vehicle for sharing, connecting, and building relationships. Fun is the byproduct of living fully in the moment, letting go of worries, stress, impatience, and misplaced priorities.

The writer of Ecclesiastes put it this way. “I perceived that there is nothing better for them to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man.” – Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

My Jesus Resolution today is to have some fun. The words of the wise man speak to my heart. Every day God gives me a gift. It is a gift meant to be opened, embraced, and enjoyed. He gives me time – time to be with Him, time to soak in His blessings, time to enjoy every moment of this miracle called life. Too often, I get so busy trying to manage my life that I forget to live my life. Today I am going to laugh a little more, love a little deeper, and soak in the sparkle a little fun adds to the day. God is a God of smiles. Where will you see one today?

Door Waiters

21 02 2011

“Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.”    – Revelation 3:8
Sometimes it seems to take a long time. My sons are learning to be door openers, and in the process, I am learning to be a door waiter. It takes a couple of moments for them to get themselves out of the car, pick up their things, and move to my side of the vehicle. In those moments, I have a choice – rush ahead, getting out on my own, or wait for them to open the door for me.

Choosing to rush buys me a few seconds, but costs me so much. I lose the opportunity to see their servant hearts. It costs me a moment of precious connection as they reach out to take my hand. I lose the chance to impress on their hearts the need to watch for others, the truth that love takes time, and making someone feel special is always worth the effort.

Waiting is sometimes uncomfortable in the moment, but always worth it. It fills my heart to see their smiles. It is humbling to catch glimpses of the men they are becoming. It stretches my soul to know that in the act of waiting we are creating space for God to move.

The lessons in this simple act of waiting need to sink deeper into my heart. God is my Door Opener. Too many times, I try to rush ahead and take care of it myself. I get uncomfortable waiting because movement always seems more productive than being still. I miss the opportunities to let His graciousness move me to gratitude, His holiness inspire my humility, and His timing spark transformation deep within me.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be a door waiter. I am going to wait for God. I am going to let Him move first. I am going to count the cost of rushing ahead of Him. I am going to invest my soul in the deep value of creating space for God to inhabit my times of waiting. When God opens a door, it is truly an open door of opportunity, joy, welcome, and peace. In opening doors for our hearts, He always offers His hand as we take the first step. That’s worth waiting for.

God’s Yellow Light

18 02 2011

Sitting in a Bible study the other day, a grandmother shared a story about her five-year old granddaughter. Her granddaughter lives out-of-town and loves to visit her grandmother and go to church with her.

The first time she visited her grandmother’s church building, she stood in the doorway amazed. Near the ceiling in the room where they worship is a small stained glass window. Light was pouring through the window and the little girl was enchanted by what she saw. She told her grandmother that they had to sit in God’s yellow light – the light streaming through the stained glass window. She settled into the pew, bathed in God’s yellow light, and worshipped with all of her heart.

The next visit brought a new insistence. As it grew closer and closer to time for worship, the little girl kept her eye on the window. She was determined to once again sit in God’s yellow light. It required moving from their regular seat, but the little girl found joy in her determination to be immersed in His light.

Now, whenever the little girl comes for a visit, they have to sit in God’s yellow light. It doesn’t matter where the light falls, they move to that spot and anchor themselves in the light.

What a lesson for us! I love the fact that she spotted God’s yellow light. Her five-year old faith drew her to plant her heart in its warmth. There is nowhere else she would rather be than in the light of God’s love. She is willing to move outside of her comfort zone in order to stay in the light. The light guides where she sits, where she has her focus, and where she finds delight.

My Jesus Resolution is to sit in God’s yellow light. I want to keep my eyes open for where He is shining and join Him there. I want to be willing to move if that is what it takes to be bathed in His presence. I long for His light to define me, guide me, and illuminate every part of me.


16 02 2011

I stopped.

That shouldn’t be an unusual sentence, but it is. I tend to live in a whirlwind. Constantly on the go is my normal state of being. Like so many, I run, plan, hurry, rush, fret, set alarms, live by my calendar, and grab and go. It isn’t something of which I am proud. Quite the opposite. It drains my soul. It dehydrates my spirit. It deflates my heart. It leaves me weary, worn, and worried.

The most logical move would be to stop, but that isn’t my normal reaction. Usually, when things jump from mere crazy to warp-speed insanity I try to speed up, go faster, run harder, and make it all work. It doesn’t work. It never works, but still I try.

This time, I stopped. Feeling like I was standing on the edge finally caused me to hit the pause button. I made the deliberate move to be quiet for a few hours – to rest, be still, and regain my equilibrium.

In those quiet moments, I remembered the wisdom of God. God has a rhythm for our hearts that answers our tendency to live in the whirlwind. It is built into the rising and setting of the sun, the changing of the seasons, and the way our bodies are designed. Work is essential to our well-being, but so is rest. Going fills our days. Stopping fills our souls.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10a.

My Jesus Resolution today is to stop. For a few minutes today, I am going to feed my soul. I am going to be still, and in that stillness renew my awareness of the presence of God. In those quiet moments, I am going to adjust my perspective, reminding my heart that He is mighty, faithful, holy, and loving. He is in control of everything about this day. The only thing left is to let Him be in control of me.


14 02 2011

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;” – Jeremiah 31:3

God sends great valentines, doesn’t He? Every day is filled with reminders about the depth of His love, the breadth of His delight, and the lengths He is willing to go to make you His own. His valentines come in big packages and small surprises. We can find them in the ordinary rhythm of our days and the special moments that take our breath away. He wraps them up in sunsets and rainbows. He ties them with whispered comfort and a longing for home.

There is a lot of talk around Valentine’s Day about undying love. Valentines fill the shelves that declare this to be the truest definition of love.  Maybe we should define true love by the Love that was willing to die for you on the cross. Jesus said it best. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

Look for His valentines today. Imagine every cross you see today with a heart around it. Think of every flower you see today as a bouquet from Him. Let every sweet thing you eat today be a reminder of the sweetness of His grace. Let every day be a day in which you celebrate His love.

My Jesus Resolution today is to count all the valentines God sends my way. I am going to open each one with joy, soaking in all the love that He wants to pour into my heart. I am going to see His hand on my soul, His light in my eyes, and His presence as my greatest gift. Every day is Valentine’s Day with God – a day to remind us of His love and to ask us once again to be His. Enjoy being loved today! His valentines are all around you.

Door Openers

11 02 2011

My sons are learning to be door openers. We call them gentlemen-in-training. They have watched their grandfather do it for their grandmother, their dad do it for me, and now they are learning how to open doors for others. It is pretty neat to watch.

They are learning how to open car doors, front doors, garage doors, and store doors. There is a rhythm to learning how to open doors. You have to watch the other person. You have to be aware of how to move the door so that it is easiest for the person you are serving to go in and out. They are learning how to offer their hand or their arm if someone needs a little extra assistance. They are discovering how to pace themselves so that they can walk with someone and put them at ease.

I really can’t think of anything else I would rather my children become than door openers. I want them to be able to open the doors of their hearts and love deeply. I want them to open the doors of their minds and drink in all the rich wisdom of God and the beauty of this world. I want them to open their eyes to the very real presence of God. I want their spirits to be open to the call of God on their lives and their souls to be open to the transformation He wants to work deep within them.

I long for them to be door openers for others as they invite them into God’s grace, to make it easier for someone to come to the cross and stand amazed by the empty tomb, to join in worship, and bow in surrender.

I want the psalmist’s desire to be the desire of their hearts. “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” – Psalm 84:10b

My Jesus Resolution today is to be a door opener. I am going to learn from my sons. I am going to be deliberate about making it easier for someone to see Jesus. I want to open the door into His presence, invite someone to make themselves at home, and show someone the delight of His grace. Opening a door is such a simple thing. Yet, it is a gracious act that shows someone else they are important. Jesus was a door opener. My boys are learning. Now it is my turn.

Ice Leaves

9 02 2011

It had been a very cold couple of days and nights. We had been under hard freeze warnings and the threat of icy weather kept most people inside. We didn’t get the snow we had been hoping for, but a thin coat of ice covered everything.

We live in a place where icicles are a novelty. We stepped outside in the chilly air to take a look. They hung from the branches, from the cars, and from the eaves of the roof. Moisture had left its mark on plants and sidewalks and windows. The temperature hasn’t risen above freezing all day so the ice creates its own art even in the middle of the afternoon.

It was a rose bush that caught my attention. There were no icicles hanging off those branches, but the leaves looked shiny. Closer inspection yielded a treasure – an ice leaf. Water had frozen on the leaf, taking its shape as its own. Lifting the ice off the plant revealed a perfectly formed ice leaf. The veins of the leaf were imprinted in the ice. The shape of the ice perfectly mirrored the shape of the leaf. It is a copy of the leaf done entirely in ice.

I marveled as I held it in my hand. Moisture and cold came together to create beauty in an unlikely place. And I realized I was holding a picture of my heart.

We are supposed to be like that ice leaf. Attached to Jesus, we are meant to take His shape and reflect His image. When people look at us, God wants them to see all the details of Jesus in our lives. He longs for us to mirror His life in every way. As He holds me in His hand, grace and surrender come together to create beauty in an unlikely place. His image in me.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be like an ice leaf. I want the shape of Jesus to be imprinted deep on my heart. I want to cling to Him, holding on to His Word and His love. I want to help others marvel at the possibilities of what walking with God can mean for their own lives.


7 02 2011

Last week there was a forecast for snow in Houston. All it takes is the mere mention of the word to send people on the Gulf Coast into a spin. Kids peer out the window, making grand plans about snowmen, snow angels, and snow ball fights. Parents watch the weather reports. Schools close. Businesses shut down. The grocery stores are overrun with people who buy enough stuff to last through a blizzard.

Snow is rare in Houston. It is one of the few places where people actually go outside when the temperatures drop and snow is on the horizon. Kids can grow up here without ever seeing a good snow. Snowflakes falling are enough to cause joy. A little snow covering the ground is greeted with enthusiasm and play.

Snow carries with it a very special picture. God blankets the earth with snow in order to draw our eyes to Himself. Each snowflake holds His fingerprint. Snow resting on branches paints a picture of stark beauty that is meant to impress His beauty on our hearts. But it is the color of snow that is meant to make us smile and bring us to our knees.

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18

God uses snow to give us a picture of the power of His grace. It is transforming. It is all-encompassing. It changes, shapes, moves, and touches every part of who we are. A forecast for snow in Houston changed the way we moved through the day, the plans we made, the things we bought, the words we spoke, the way we looked at the sky, and the priorities of the moment. How much deeper an impact should the reality of God’s grace have on our hearts?

My Jesus Resolution today is to be thankful for snow. Snow points me to the heart of God. It teaches me about the way He works in my soul. It helps me realign my priorities and examine my heart. I want to be as excited about His grace as my children are about snow. Even if we never see a snowflake, I can be sure that His grace will fall gently on my life, blanketing me with His favor and transforming me with its color and beauty.