God Is Nowhere

30 05 2012

She handed me a piece of paper, and began telling me a story about her mother. Tears filled her eyes as she remembered the beautiful woman who continues to touch her even today. With a smile, she told me about receiving her mother’s Bible after her death. A special treasure and reminder of the faith she had so actively seen displayed in her mother’s life.

She choked up a bit as she pointed to the piece of paper. One day, many months after her mother’s passing, she was looking through the Bible and a small orange slip of paper fell out from between the pages. She had never seen it before. Her heart broke as she read the words –

GOD IS NOWHERE

She couldn’t imagine what had led her mother to write these words and tuck them into her Bible. She stared at the paper, and in a moment of understanding, the meaning of her mother’s words became clear.

There are two ways to read these words – God is nowhere, or God is now here. It is all a matter of focus, of what we choose to see, of how we let God guide our eyes. That little orange sheet of paper was a reminder that our perspective makes all the difference.

My Jesus Resolution today is walk with open eyes. GOD IS NOW HERE! He is waiting for me to notice. Longing for me to see. Too many times, I go through my days with the blinders of busyness on and miss Him. I get frustrated, worried, or distracted and fail to see what should be obvious and plain to a heart that is seeking His face. Perspective is a product of priorities and practice. Today I am going to let His presence fill my vision, and live with the reminder that everyday my perspective needs to be fine-tuned by His grace.





Memorial Day

28 05 2012

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day to remember – to allow sacrifice, love, devotion, loyalty, selflessness, and honor deeply impact your heart. It is a day to be thankful, to be humbled, and to let quiet tribute fly in the sky and in our imaginations.

Somewhere today a soldier is walking a perimeter. His eyes scan the horizon, senses alert to the movement of the enemy. With each step, he makes the daily decision to stand in the gap, allowing freedom room to grow and change the world. Pray for him.

Somewhere today a family sits with an empty chair at the table. A father, mother, son, or daughter is on active duty, out of sight, but never out of mind. A wife misses her husband, a mother misses her daughter, and a child misses a parent. Theirs is a silent sacrifice that deserves our honor and recognition. Pray for them.

Somewhere today grieving hearts walk through rows of white and green, reading names until one stops them in their tracks. They remember, holding their hearts in pictures and letters. Pride and pain spill over onto their cheeks. Pray for them.

Somewhere today the Commander in Chief wrestles with decisions that will affect us all. He carries a heavy burden, has to make impossible choices, and lives with the pressing reality that he leads the nation with the greatest blessings and deepest responsibilities on earth. Pray for him.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” – Psalm 33:12a

My Jesus Resolution today is to pray. I am going to pray for the soldiers who protect our homeland, for the families who give their hearts in deep service, for the loved ones whose hearts ache and whose cheeks are wet, for leaders who make the heavy decisions about where to stand and how to protect our country. I am going to pray for the people who are gathering today around grills, in backyards, and with friends. I am going to pray for revival and a renewed sense of God’s presence and purpose in our land. Remember today, and pray.





One Hundred Times

25 05 2012

“…the seriously devout Jews of today still giv[e] thanks to God one hundred times a day.” – Ann Voskamp

I was reading – one of my favorite things to do – and came across this observation. One hundred times a day. I stopped and pondered the magnitude of thanksgiving that pours from lips committed to gratitude one hundred times per day. Do I give thanks that much? Could I? Would I?

One hundred times a day seems overwhelming. It would require a focus and dedication that would occupy the mind and the heart throughout the day. I realized that might not be a bad thing. Gratitude instead of grumpiness. Worship in the place of worry. Jesus occupying my thoughts, shaping my words, and sharpening my vision instead of the television, the radio, or my own misshapen perspective. One hundred times per day.

I decided to do the math. Taking out seven hours for sleeping (probably more a dream than a reality), there are seventeen hours left in the day. Giving thanks one hundred times per day would require gratitude to bubble to the surface six times per hour. Once every ten minutes.

How would I be different if I stopped and gave thanks for the blessings I had experienced in the last ten minutes, every ten minutes, all day long?

My Jesus Resolution is to give thanks one hundred times today. It is a risky challenge, living out I Thessalonians 5:17 so literally. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I can only imagine how my eyes will be different, how my heart will be softer, how my spirit will be more attuned to His presence, how my worship will be reshaped, how my soul will be transformed. Do I dare give thanks one hundred times a day? Do you? I dare you.





Open

23 05 2012

Windows and doors are neat things. Recently, I stayed in a hotel room with no windows. It was a little strange. The bed was comfortable, the room clean, but it was strangely claustrophobic. It was safe, but there was no light. Day and night melted into one another. It was a surprise to find that rain had fallen during our sleep. There was no way to gauge what was going on in the outside world. No avenue for interacting with what was beyond our door.

Every morning, I open our front door. We have a glass door on the front of our house, and I love to open the heavy door and let the light come through the glass as dawn pours itself across the sky.

This morning as I undid the lock and pulled the door open, I realized that each day I must make the same choice about my heart. I can choose to open it to the wonders and vulnerabilities that come from being unguarded or I can keep it closed. Keeping it locked seems safer, but in reality, suffocating. We were meant to live in light, in color, in full engagement with God and His world. When I close the door to my heart, I hold on to control and let my vision, my understanding set my boundaries.

Open is a learning word, a seeing word, a listening word, a transparent word. It challenges me to let God in, to see Him in new ways, to discover Him in the familiar and the ordinary, to make myself available and vulnerable to grace. Open lets Light in.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be open. I want to be open to whatever God has in store for me today. My tendency is to shut the door. To keep it locked. To protect myself and live in the status quo. Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” (Revelation 3:20a). He doesn’t push His way in, use a pass key, or walk away. He waits, knocks, loves, and woos. How will you open the door of your heart to Jesus today?





The Blue Screen

21 05 2012

I hate computer trouble. I have a technology-impairment. Normally, my computer and I live in an electronic truce – I don’t try anything fancy, and it lets me do the basics. So when my friend’s computer screen went blue, my heart sank. No amount of kind words, offers of chocolate, or threats to kick it to the curb could coax the computer back to life.

Frustration bubbled to the surface. Time ticked on and on as deadlines loomed and the ASAP’s became overdue. My friend called for help. Tech support walked through the steps designed to jumpstart what had died. Nothing. Again. Nothing. A fatal error had lodged itself in the heart of the system.

“We are sending out a new hard drive.” Total replacement was the only answer. Rip out what is broken and start from scratch.

I saw my reflection in the blue screen.

My hard drive is flawed. My heart has a virus, a fatal error that crashes the system. Sin causes the whole of who I am to die. I don’t work right. I can’t compute. I am unable to function in the way the Designer means for me to live. The only answer is to replace the core. The central processing unit of who I am needs to be ripped out and replaced by something new. No amount of reprogramming, alternate software, kind words, or threats will fix the problem. Only taking the “me” hard drive out and replacing it with the heart of Jesus can bring me back to life.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26

My Jesus Resolution today is be thankful for the cross every time I see a computer today. In so many ways, my computer is a mirror of my life. Computers work when they are plugged into the power source. Garbage in/Garbage Out isn’t just about software. I need filters and virus protection on my soul.  And it is what is at the core of a computer that makes it work, fully function, and do all that it is meant to do. The same is true for me. When Jesus is at the center of who I am, there are no more blue screens.





Noticed

18 05 2012

We all ache to be noticed. We long to be seen, known, loved, and valued. Nature, in all of its beauty, humbles us and reminds us that we are small. The world, in all its craziness, treats us like a faceless number, a catalog of needs to be answered and resources to be exploited.

I do the same thing. People become emails to be answered, messages to be returned, demands on my time, and items on a to-do list. It isn’t intentional. Just easier. Easier to check them off rather than look into their eyes, encounter their hurts, and notice.

Jesus noticed. He noticed everybody. He didn’t just notice their damaged limbs, bruised egos, or questioning faith. He didn’t just hear their demands, respond to their questions, or answer their requests for a miracle. He saw their hearts. Noticed their souls. And in the noticing offered grace.

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet.” – Luke 8:47a. She had been invisible for twelve years. People didn’t look at her anymore. They looked around her, through her, dismissing her as unclean, unworthy, unwanted, and unloved. Not Jesus. He healed more than the bleeding of her body. He healed the wounds that were bleeding her soul dry. He noticed her. And He notices you. And me.

My Jesus Resolution today is to notice. First, to notice that I cannot go unnoticed. What a banner of love those few words are! He is watching me, seeing me, noticing me. Not just the things about me, but me, me to the core. He knows. He loves. He touches. He heals. Second, to let His noticing spill over into the way I notice others. I want to pay attention. Really see. I am going to call someone and tell them. Give a hug and show them. Send a card and spell it out. Pause, look someone in the face, and see the Godlikeness imprinted on their soul.





Noticed

18 05 2012

We all ache to be noticed. We long to be seen, known, loved, and valued. Nature, in all of its beauty, humbles us and reminds us that we are small. The world, in all its craziness, treats us like a faceless number, a catalog of needs to be answered and resources to be exploited.

I do the same thing. People become emails to be answered, messages to be returned, demands on my time, and items on a to-do list. It isn’t intentional. Just easier. Easier to check them off rather than look into their eyes, encounter their hurts, and notice.

Jesus noticed. He noticed everybody. He didn’t just notice their damaged limbs, bruised egos, or questioning faith. He didn’t just hear their demands, respond to their questions, or answer their requests for a miracle. He saw their hearts. Noticed their souls. And in the noticing offered grace.

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet.” – Luke 8:47a. She had been invisible for twelve years. People didn’t look at her anymore. They looked around her, through her, dismissing her as unclean, unworthy, unwanted, and unloved. Not Jesus. He healed more than the bleeding of her body. He healed the wounds that were bleeding her soul dry. He noticed her. And He notices you. And me.

My Jesus Resolution today is to notice. First, to notice that I cannot go unnoticed. What a banner of love those few words are! He is watching me, seeing me, noticing me. Not just the things about me, but me, me to the core. He knows. He loves. He touches. He heals. Second, to let His noticing spill over into the way I notice others. I want to pay attention. Really see. I am going to call someone and tell them. Give a hug and show them. Send a card and spell it out. Pause, look someone in the face, and see the Godlikeness imprinted on their soul.