29 06 2011

I love walking along the beach. There is something about the feel of sand between my toes, the wash of the cool water across my feet, and the combination of sun and gentle wind that is just magical. I like making sand castles, searching for shells, and watching the waves. But I find footprints fascinating.

When you walk along the beach, you leave a trail. Your feet make an impression in the sand and, for a moment, you leave a record of your movement for the world to see. Someone else can track your direction, measure your steps, and discover something about you by the path you leave in the sand.

The Bible is filled with footprints. One of the places where those footprints are most evident is in the records of the kings of Israel and Judah. The stories found in First and Second Kings all have a familiar ring to them. “So and so became king and he followed in the way of his father….” Footprints. Whether for good or for evil, the footprints of the ones who walked before guided the path of the one who came next.

Have you ever thought about the footprints you are leaving for others to find and follow? What can they tell about the way you walk, your priorities, your dreams, and your heart for God from the footprints you make in the sands of time? Where did you spend your time? Where did you invest your heart? Can they see the places where you paused in prayer, spent time in His Word, and waded into worship? Do your footprints lead to the cross?

“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”         – I John 2:6

My Jesus Resolution today is to walk in the footprints of Jesus. I want to go where He goes, matching my steps to His. I want to imitate His priorities, live in His power, and discover the dreams He is leading me to realize. More than anything, I want to leave footprints behind me that will point others to Him. I long for those who see my trail to find themselves captivated by the cross and the transformation promised to those who will walk in His steps. One way or the other, I am going to leave a footprint today. I want it to look like the footprint of Jesus.

The Verdict

27 06 2011

I got picked. My day of jury duty ended with me sitting in a courtroom with eleven other people awaiting the start of a trial. We watched the defendant settle into his seat, listened to the two attorneys talk about the case, and paid attention when the judge gave us instructions about the law. Then we were led by the bailiff into a room with twelve chairs. He shut the door, and the weight of the responsibility for discovering the truth and rendering judgment settled heavily on our shoulders.

As we sifted through evidence, reviewed testimony, and talked about our differing understandings of the ins and outs of the case, I gained a new appreciation for the omniscience, wisdom, and righteousness of God. We spent time wishing we could know what was going through someone’s mind. God sees what is in our hearts. We had to wade through conflicting statements and recollections. God is an eyewitness to all of our actions, seeing the truth even when it is not evident to us. We wrestled with reasonable doubt. God’s wisdom is absolute.

Judgment rests in the hands of God, and I am so thankful for that. He knows the very essence of our souls. He sees our motives, examines our movements, observes our actions, and weighs our thoughts. We see the surface. He holds the heart.

Sitting in the defendant’s seat in God’s courtroom, I know that my verdict is guilty. It is the only right and just judgment He can render in my case. Surprisingly, amazingly, I find that I do not stand alone before the Judge. My Advocate moves in closer, acknowledging my guilt, but taking my punishment on Himself. His blood covers my soul, changing my verdict. I am not guilty because of Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be humble in my dealings with others. God alone knows their circumstances, their struggles, their sorrows, and their hearts. My tendency is to judge based on the moment, dismissing people who deserve more from me. I am going to remember that my own sentence was paid for by Jesus, and I am going to extend that grace to others. In the end, God will do exactly the right thing, make the right decision, and uphold truth with His own right hand. My job is to lift up Jesus and leave the verdict in His hands.

Notes in My Suitcase

24 06 2011

It was one of those trips that was just a little harder than others. The people were great. The location was beautiful. But after several weekends of being away from home, I was ready for this one to be behind me.

I opened my suitcase to get settled and prepare for the evening’s activities when a bright green note fell out of my clothes. It was a little “I love you” from my husband. I smiled, took a deep breath, and thanked God for the reminder that home wasn’t as far away as it seemed.

A few minutes later, I opened a book and another note fell out. I found a blue note tucked in my socks. Another one was wrapped around my toothpaste. There was a pink one in my shoe, and an orange one stuck in the back corner of my bag. Each note was a treasure, helping me to rediscover, reconnect, and refocus on what was truly important.

Vance Havner once said, “If you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world trying to get to heaven; you are a citizen of heaven making your way through this world.” We are all on a journey. Some days the trip flies by without a hitch. Some times are harder than others. There are moments when the ache to go home is overwhelming.

The good news is that there are notes in our suitcases. Little “I love yous” that God plants along the way to remind us that we are not alone, and that home isn’t as far away as it seems.

My Jesus Resolution today is to watch for the notes God puts in my suitcase. God fills our days with love notes that are meant to point our hearts back to Him. Each one is tucked into the ordinary to remind us of the extraordinary way He wants to work in our lives. They are quiet reminders that we are deeply loved and richly blessed. I don’t know what the journey will hold for me today. I do know that God has already packed love notes for me to find along the way.

The List

22 06 2011

My son was nervous and excited. He had applied for a special study program and this was the moment when he would find out whether he had made it or not. We walked into the office and asked about his application. The woman behind the desk checked the “official” book. There at the top of the list was his name. She let him look at the paperwork that announced his official placement in the program and told him that he could look at the list at any time. My son left the office beaming and more confident. He had seen his name on the list.

Knowing he was on the list changed the rest of his day. It affected the way he walked, what he talked about, how he viewed his choices, and the decisions he made about tomorrow. It shuffled his priorities and became the lens through which he made his plans. Being on the list is a powerful thing.

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” – Revelation 20:12.

God has a list. It is a list of the redeemed. The book of life holds within it all the names of those who have chosen Jesus. It chronicles the hearts of all who have resolved to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. It celebrates those who have committed themselves to living in His power, walking by His side, and depending on His grace.

Knowing that our names are on the list should change everything. We can walk confidently through our days. Struggles, hardships, heartache, and disappointment don’t change the truth that we are on the list. What should change is our perspective. Being on Jesus’ list should impact what we talk about, how we view our choices and our circumstances, and the decisions we make about where we will invest our hearts.

My Jesus Resolution today is to remember I am on the list. I am God’s chosen child. He picked me, saved me, wants me, and is transforming me. He loves to remind me that I am His, and constantly calls me to let the truth that my name is written in His book permeate every part of who I am. Are you on the list?

Jury Duty

20 06 2011

Tomorrow I have jury duty. Jury duty is one of those things that elicits groans and moans whenever it is mentioned. Advice about how to skip out, postpone, and avoid jury duty pours out as people of all ages and backgrounds talk about dreading the times that they are asked to serve.

Jury duty is one of the basic components of our democracy. It values the fact that ordinary citizens can be called together and trusted to step into each other’s lives and sort out truth and seek justice. While nobody likes to be interrupted, I am grateful to live in a country that puts a priority on safeguarding freedoms, and so I will go and look for the hand of God in the day.

Jury duty draws my eyes to the heart of God. We serve a God of justice. He always does the right thing. He sees the innermost corners of our souls, judging our actions with a unique combination of holiness, righteousness, and mercy. I can watch the judge in a courtroom and catch a glimpse of God. He is the perfect Judge. He sees everything, knows everything, and will handle every tear, wrong, injustice, hurt, and violation within the context of His goodness. I can listen to the oath taken by witnesses and hear Jesus proclaim that He is Truth and His truth will set us free. When I look at the prisoner, I will see myself – weighed down by bad choices, in chains, and very aware of my shame. I can look at the defense attorneys and see my Lord. He stands by my side as my Advocate before the Father. I catch sight of the prison cells, knowing that Jesus has taken my punishment, providing me with a second chance and a new life.

My Jesus Resolution today is celebrate God’s justice. I can depend on His faithfulness, rest in His goodness, and rejoice in His truth. All mof the evil in the world will be swallowed up in His justice. His righteousness will answer all the wrongs, heal all the hurts, and make whole everything that has been broken by sin. Looking like Jesus means embracing opportunities to do what is just. As I walk into jury duty, I am going to carry the words of Micah 6:8 with me – “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly before your God?”


17 06 2011

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

I let too much time slip through my fingers. I stay busy and productive, but too often I don’t embrace the gift of the moment as closely as I should. I am too busy looking ahead or examining what is behind and I miss the gifts of the present.

One remedy is to learn to count. Moses asks God to teach us how to number our days. Learning to count is the path to wisdom. Here are ten things to count today that will draw you closer to the heart of God.

1. Count your blessings.
2. Count the number of times you pray.
3. Count His answers.
4. Count the time you spend listening to His voice.
5. Count the amount of grace He bestows.
6. Count your friends and be thankful.
7. Count the ways you see His hand on your day.
8. Count the opportunities you have to serve, smile, and show someone Jesus
9. Count your heartbeats for one minute and be grateful for life, breath, and beauty.
10. Count the ways He is transforming you to look like Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to count – count all the ways that He is touching my day, all the times that I see His fingerprints, all the moments in which the reality of His presence fills my soul, and all the opportunities He puts before me to be like Him. Learning to count in these ways will help me be wise. I will see differently. I will better understand the rhythm of His heart. It will help me walk closer, bow deeper, and surrender more quickly. Ready to count with me?


15 06 2011

Summer means sunglasses. Even my early morning walks find me reaching for my sunglasses as the sun crests over the horizon and greets the dawn with brilliant light. It only takes a moment. The soft stillness of those quiet moments before the break of day suddenly give way to exuberant colors and dazzling illumination as the sun rises in the eastern sky. It is breath-taking and humbling to watch the daily miracle of a sunrise.

This morning my walk turned toward the east just as that moment when the sun took its place in the clear blue sky. Even with my sunglasses on, the sight was overwhelming. I had to look down, bowing my head in wonder and praise. As I averted my eyes, it dawned on me that the sun holds only a fraction of the brilliance of God’s glory. I can’t even look at the sun in our sky without bowing my head and covering my eyes. Imagine what it is going to be like to stand in the presence of the Lord.

The descriptions of heaven that we find in the Bible are filled with images that speak to our senses. Choruses of praise fill the air as people from every nation, tongue, and tribe worship the Lamb. The sweet aroma of the incense of prayer draws our hearts toward the throne. The wedding feast offers a tantalizing array of exquisite flavors and tastes as heaven celebrates the coming of Christ’s bride. Living water quenches the deepest thirsts of our souls. Feet walk on gold streets while hands hold fruit that brings life and healing. But it is what we will see that will bring the grandest thrill of all.

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” – Revelation 22:4-5

Looking into His face will make the sun seem like a mere shadow on a cloudy day. His eyes will shine with love, invitation, grace, and acceptance. Basking in the brilliance of His glory will chase away the last remnants of darkness as we take our place in the Son. No more tears. No more sorrow. No more pain. No more death. Sonshine, twenty-four, seven.

My Jesus Resolution today is to wear my sunglasses. Every time I put my sunglasses on today, I am going to let them remind me of the glory of God. I want Him to shine brightly in my life. I want His radiance to be evident in my heart. I am going to remember that whatever shines here on earth is merely a glimpse into the glory of heaven.

The Recipe

13 06 2011

I made a new dish last week. Seeing the recipe in a magazine, I decided that it was worth a try. I followed the directions, measured all the ingredients, and waited anxiously for it to finish baking in the oven. It turned out great, even looking like the picture.

My son is not big on trying new things. He eyed the new dish suspiciously, asking questions worthy of someone conducting a deep background investigation. “What’s in it? Why do we have to try something new? Is it supposed to look like that? What is that smell? Do I have to eat it?”

He gamely gave it a try and liked it. Sort of. He then began to offer a list of suggestions for “minor” changes that would make the dish more to his liking. Less eggs. More flour. Fewer strawberries. A bigger variety of fruit, but not blueberries.

I tried to explain that you can’t tinker with the recipe too much. Leaving out eggs and adding extra flour would throw off the chemistry of the dish and it wouldn’t turn out. It wouldn’t look like the picture or taste very good.

Recipes have rules. The measurements are there to help you create the food that you want to eat. Someone has taken the time to weigh, measure, study temperatures, and baking times in order to give guidance on how to take raw ingredients and combine them into something delicious. The rules aren’t there to be restrictive. They just show you what is necessary to get the yummy dish you want at the end.

Following God’s commandments is a lot like following a recipe. God knows how to combine the elements of discipleship in our lives in just the right way to bring out the image of Jesus. Sometimes we look at the commandments and want to tinker. A little more of this one, a little less of this. But tinkering with the combination of commands and laws God has given us will throw off the transformation God wants to work within us. We won’t turn out like the picture He has in His heart.

My Jesus Resolution today is to follow the recipe. I am going to follow God’s commands with the same attention that I pay to the directions in a recipe. I am not going to wing it or tinker with the instructions. I am going to trust that the Master has weighed every action, measured every intention, walked through every instruction in order to outline the perfect path to looking like Jesus.


10 06 2011

We all have questions. I don’t mean the “what will the weather be like today?” questions. I mean the quiet questions. The ones we ask in the middle of the night. The ones that tug at our hearts. The ones that make us wonder if it is worth it. The ones that stick with us even when we try to shake them off. The ones that God loves to answer.

You know your questions. Here are God’s answers.

            1. Yes, I still love you.

            2. Yes, I am listening.

            3. Yes, I am right here.

            4. Yes, I want you.

            5. Yes, I am strong enough.

            6. Yes, I will provide everything you need.

            7. Yes, I see every tear.

            8. Yes, I can forgive that.

            9. Yes, I am coming back.

            10. Yes, always and forever.

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.” – 2 Corinthians 1:19.

My Jesus Resolution today is to remember that Jesus is the answer. No matter my question, no matter my sin, no matter my doubt – Jesus is God’s “Yes!” to me. He is big enough, strong enough, powerful enough, loving enough, faithful enough, and gracious enough to answer all of my questions with Himself. Everything God wants for me is found in Jesus. Every purpose is fulfilled in Him. Every obstacle is torn down by His blood. Every one of the world’s “no’s” shrinks in the face of the overwhelming power of the “YES!” proclaimed from the cross.


8 06 2011

This week, as part of an ongoing commitment to being like Jesus, I have been asked to fast. Fasting makes people nervous. In a society geared toward instant gratification, fasting seems strange and outside of the box. And that is exactly the point.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline, just like Bible reading, prayer, and service. It is a tool God gives us that opens doors of opportunity for Him to come in and work in deeper ways in our hearts. Fasting is an emptying discipline. Its purpose is to train our souls to let go of the world. When we fast, we blunt the impact the world has on our hearts. We limit the world’s access to our inner selves, and invite God to fill space that we usually fill with something else. In denying ourselves, we learn how to more fully embrace the purpose of God.

There are many different kinds of fasts. We can fast from dessert, coffee or soda, a particular meal, or food all together. We can fast from television, Facebook, texting, video games, the internet, music, a hobby, busyness, shopping, or a sport. The idea behind a fast is to step away from our regular routines and step deeper into the rhythm of God. He uses fasting to reset our sensitivity to His presence, pry the stickiness of sin loose from our hearts, and refocus our eyes and our hearts. It makes the cross bigger and the world smaller.

When we fast, we commit the time, energy, and resources that we would normally spend in one place toward an investment in worship and surrender.  In other words, you can’t fast from donuts by eating cookies instead. Fasting is the deliberate move to fill space that is normally given to the physical with things that are spiritual. Giving up what satisfies self with a heart drawn toward being satisfied with God.

My Jesus Resolution today is to fast. I am going to choose something and set it aside for a day. I am going to make the intentional move to deny myself in order to more closely take on His nature. I want fasting to remind me not to tie my heart too tightly to this world, to help me be more aware of His presence, and to impress on my soul the truth that my deepest joy is found in surrender.