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.





Tenderhearted

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.





Stopping

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.





Valentines

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.