Persistence

30 03 2012

My youngest son is nothing if not persistent. He doesn’t forget a thing. He will remind you, ask you a thousand questions, check to see if you are making plans, and even leave little notes if he thinks it will help.  Today I am reminding myself that persistence is a characteristic that I want embedded in his heart and mine.

The dictionary defines persistence as the ability to continue steadfastly or firmly. The Bible holds up persistence as an enduring quality of faith. We are repeatedly told to stand firm, continue on, persevere, and to not give up. As I learn from my son, here are ten things in which I want to be deeply persistent.

1. Persistent in investing myself in prayer.

2. Persistent in immersing myself and those around me in His love.

3. Persistent in offering the sacrifice of praise.

4. Persistent in encouraging others.

5. Persistent in meeting God in His Word.

6. Persistent in counting my blessings.

7. Persistent in seeing God’s hand in my day.

8. Persistent in cultivating a grateful heart.

9. Persistent in enjoying joy.

10. Persistent in looking like Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be persistent. Persistence has the ability to shape my heart, open my eyes, reform my thoughts, and give birth to deeper faith. Persistence encourages me to keep trying, keep trusting, keep believing, and keep growing. We serve a persistent God. He never gives up on us, continually pursues us, is faithful beyond imagination, and is steadfast in His deep desire to draw us close to His heart. Where do you most need to persist in being persistent?





Termite Inspection

28 03 2012

Chip is coming over today. He is our termite guy. Termites are a reality of living in south Texas. One of the downsides of our warm, humid weather is that it is the perfect breeding ground for these destructive insects. If you have a house here, you can be sure that termite inspections will be a part of your routine.

Termites are small, ant-like insects that burrow their way into the wood of a house. Then they begin to eat. It doesn’t seem like such a small creature could have that big of an impact on something as big and solid as a house, but the truth is that termites can do significant damage before you even realize they have moved in. Left unchecked and untreated, termites can literally make your house crumble.

This is where Chip comes in. Chip’s job is to routinely come around and inspect our house for termites. Trained and experienced, he knows how to look for the evidence that we would overlook until it is too late. He also makes suggestions about how to take preventative steps that will protect our house from the termites’ destructiveness.

The truth is that I have termites. Not in my house. In my soul. Selfish habits, negative attitudes, and unsurrendered corners of my heart all become little monsters that eat away at what God is building in my life. One moment of worry, stubbornness, or self-focus may not seem to have much destructive force, but let it burrow in and it can have a devastating impact.

My Jesus Resolution today is to open the door and let Jesus inspect my heart. I don’t want anything to eat away at the joy, peace, abundance, and grace that He is creating in me. His Word provides the lamp that shines into the dark recesses of my soul. His character teaches me how to live in His protection and the shelter of His embrace. His blood is the remedy for the infiltrations that seep in and take up residence.





Nothing to Say

26 03 2012

I don’t have anything to say today. There are moments when the best thing to do is just to be quiet. Awe is best expressed in a hush. Worship sometimes speaks loudest when we are silent. Wonder should open our eyes, and close our lips.

What sends you to your knees? What compels you to cover your face in humility? How do you respond when you are awestruck?

Solomon shares some of his wisdom with us in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2. “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth.”

Our society doesn’t value silence. It doesn’t see any worth in awe, and seems unable to listen to the deep truths discovered when we close our mouths. We tend to see quietness as a void that must be filled, rather than a reality to be explored. Sometimes we are afraid of what we will hear in the silence. Sometimes we fear not hearing anything at all.

My Jesus Resolution today is to put my hand over my mouth. Solomon reminds us not to let our hearts rush into the presence of God. Walk slowly toward His throne. Listen before you speak. Let the majesty of the Lord speak first. Let His glory overwhelm you, His holiness challenge you, His love consume you, and His grace envelop you. Pick a time today to put your hand over your mouth and be quiet before God. It may just be that your silence is the very best praise of all.





Little Things

23 03 2012

Little things are a big deal. My grandmother taught me that it is often the smallest kindnesses that go the farthest in bringing hearts together. Our world tends to delight in big, showy displays, but quiet touches, gentle whispers, and thoughtful actions often bring the most healing, the deepest joy, and the strongest connection. Here are ten little things you can do today that will make a big difference for someone.

1. Say a prayer.

2. Send a card.

3. Say I love you.

4. Give a hug.

5. Open a door.

6. Let someone else go first.

7. Say thank you.

8. Smile.

9. Make eye contact.

10. Offer a blessing.

My Jesus Resolution today is to pay attention to the little things. God often reveals Himself most profoundly in the simplest places and quietest moments. Rain drops, rose petals, and lady bugs announce His presence. The everyday blessings of food, water, and clothes speak to His loving care. A Bible invites us to move closer to His heart. Daily grace draws our eyes to His face. Look for God in the little things today. See if noticing them doesn’t make a big difference for your heart.





Growing

21 03 2012

It’s spring time! Flowers are blooming, trees are budding, the sun is shining, and everybody seems to be smiling. Every day I can walk outside and see something fresh and new. Yards are starting to take shape after a long, cold winter. Lawn mowers are humming, birds are singing, and the bright colors of spring are replacing the blahs of winter.

Spring is a season that celebrates growth. Trees inch upward. Bushes go from bare branches to full bloom in just a few days. The grass turns green and gets taller. Even my kids seem to be bigger. And we rejoice in the growth. After a season of cold, wet, dark days, the warmth of the sun renews us and the new life bursting everywhere we look inspires us.

Growth, however, is not just measured by blossoms, lawn mowers, and rulers. God intends for us to check growth in the mirror. It is important to pause and check how my heart is growing in Him. Do I look more like Jesus today than I did a year ago? How are the fruits of the spirit developing in my life? Can I see evidence of God’s transforming power taking shape in me? Am I more loving, more aware of His presence, more sensitive to His will, and more servant-hearted than ever before?

Growth is a sign of health. In 2 Peter 3:18, Peter tells us to “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

My Jesus Resolution today is to look in the mirror of God’s heart and check what is growing in my heart. Holding up the standard of Jesus, I want to see if I have grown in Him. Can I see Him more clearly in my words and actions? The good news, whether I have grown a little or a lot, is that today is a new day. The beginning of spring, if you will. A time for fresh starts, new beginnings, and vibrant growth in Him.





The Bad Hair Day

19 03 2012

It was a bad hair day. You know exactly what I mean, don’t you? No matter what I tried, my hair poofed where it was supposed to be flat, flipped where it was supposed to curl, and hung straight where it was supposed to fall gracefully. And we are not even going to talk about the streaks of silver that sparkled in the reflection. I could blame the humidity, the shampoo, the hair dryer, or a lack of chocolate, but it was just a bad hair day.

Bad hair days make us feel bad about ourselves. It is amazing how a stray curl can redefine how we see ourselves in the mirror. Somehow, we feel a little less confident, a little more self-conscious, and have a lot more doubt about our ability to face the day. On good hair days, we stand a little straighter, look more people in the eye, and feel ready to take on the world.

God wants us to know that there is good news, even on bad hair days. Our value in His eyes is never based on our reflection in the mirror. Our worth is not grounded in our ability to look good, be good, or do good. Our significance isn’t tied to the externals the world holds as worthwhile. Our importance to God’s heart is defined by the cross and His own determination to love you.

My Jesus Resolution today is to look in the mirror and see what God sees. When He sees me, He sees someone worth redeeming. Someone who is loved beyond measure. Someone who is a vessel of grace. Looking at my hair should remind me that He numbers each strand, and knows the inner movements of my heart. Today when I look in the mirror, I can stand a little taller knowing that He sees someone whom He is transforming to look a little more like Jesus.





Page Turner

16 03 2012

It was the neatest sound. Last Sunday, I was sitting in worship services soaking in the words of God during the sermon. The preacher asked us to turn to a particular passage, and that is when I heard it. Pages turned all over the room. The sound so caught my attention that I turned around and looked. It sounded like angel’s wings as fingers moved, Bibles opened, and eyes searched the scriptures.

It might not seem like much, but that was a God moment for me. The sound of those pages turning indicates more than just the rustle of some sheets of paper. There is a readiness in that sound that makes my eyes open wider. There is a surrender in that sound that challenges me to bow more deeply. There is an anticipation in that sound that makes my heart beat faster. There is a hope in that sound that cracks open the barriers of despair and invites me into the presence of God.

The Bible is a page turner. We usually only reserve that term for the latest works of fiction, but the truth is that God’s Word is captivating. In its pages, God reveals His heart, shows us His plan, uncovers His delight, and invites us into intimacy with Him. Every time we open His Word, we have a chance to meet Jesus, see His face, experience His power, and be changed by His glory. He has promised that when we seek Him, we will find Him. That is never more true than when we turn the pages of our Bibles, and meet Him there.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be a page turner. It doesn’t matter whether I open my Bible in a book or on a screen. What matters is my heart. Do I anticipate meeting Him in the words? Is my heart ready to be examined and transformed? Is my soul prepared to surrender to His voice? Do I expect to be amazed by His holiness and humbled by His grace? I don’t want to take the gift of turning those pages for granted. After all, every time I do, I stand on holy ground.