Drab

31 03 2014

Snow is brilliant white when it is freshly fallen and glistening in the sunlight. It doesn’t take long, however, for snow to become mushy, grey, and grimy. By this time of year, we can’t wait for the piles of drab, dirty snow to melt and be replaced by the fresh greens of spring.

 

Do you ever feel drab? Drab is a word that captures more than a physical lack of color. Drab can be a state of the spirit, a way of thinking, or the location of our hearts. Drab is what happens when the struggles of life siphon off the joy that is supposed to color our days.

 

God doesn’t mean for us to live in gray days. Jesus came so that we can live in abundance, experience fullness, be saturated in grace, and immersed in the bright colors of His glory. God can take what is dirty, drab, and disillusioned and transform it. Whether it is the ground outside or the landscape of our souls. His presence brings light, joy, peace, goodness, and hope to souls that are drab and dirty because of struggles and sin.

 

My Jesus Resolution today is to open my eyes and heart to the beauty of God. Virgil A. Kraft said, “Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.” I am going to let the sights, sounds, and smells of spring remind me of the transformation God longs to work in my soul. God specializes in taking what is broken, dull, cheerless, and drab and changing it into something that radiates with His goodness. God desires to fill me with beauty. Stepping toward the cross is the first move out of drab into the bright colors of His delight.





Pray Big

28 03 2014

Pray Big. These two words are painted on a piece of wood that sits in our family room. They summarize the theme of our family’s focus right now and the lesson we want to embed deeply into our hearts and the hearts of our children. Each time we see these words, they serve as a reminder, an encouragement, a challenge, and an invitation to enter God’s presence and be bold in prayer.

We tend to pray small prayers, shy prayers, safe prayers. God wants us to pray big prayers, risky prayers, prayers that stretch our faith, expand our vision, and place us firmly in His hands. He wants us to take His word seriously and “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Praying Big begins with remembering that we serve a very BIG God. He is bigger than our fears, our struggles, our falls, our joys, our plans, and our expectations.

Praying Big encourages us to invest ourselves in prayer in a big way. Faith-full people are always big pray-ers. When we pour ourselves into prayer, God pours Himself into us.

Praying Big invites us to see our lives, our challenges, our opportunities, and our world through heaven’s eyes. Prayer changes our vision, our responses, and our attitudes because in prayer God changes us.

My Jesus Resolution today is to pray big. God is bigger than I can imagine. His purpose is bigger than I can dream. His love is bigger than the ocean. His grace is bigger than the expanse of the skies. Praying big opens my heart to His big possibilities. It teaches me to depend on His wisdom, rather than my own. It sets me free from the giants, walls, and boundaries that the world tries to put in my path. When I pray big, I declare that the cross is the magnifier that makes all things possible.

 





Spring

26 03 2014

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” – Martin Luther

Technically, it is spring. It is written on the calendar, although certain areas of the country still haven’t received the memo. Whether it is snowing or sunny where you are today, spring is coming, and with it, a chance to see the Gospel revealed.

Spring is a time of new life, rebirth, and fresh beginnings. Plants awaken as the sun warms the earth. Trees bud, flowers bloom, and grass grows. What was brown and dead gives way to color and life. Spring is a time of transformation and change. It opens our eyes, infuses energy into our steps, and reminds us that the barren days of winter are not forever.

Every seed proclaims the purpose of God. Every flower declares His glory. Every tree stands tall and reveals His truth. Christians have the blessing of seeing His message everywhere they look. He uses every leaf, caterpillar, and blade of grass to point the world to His promises and deep love. His power is on display in the clouds and the stars. His wisdom can be seen in the unfolding beauty of the seasons. His faithfulness has full voice in the singing of the birds and the whisper of the winds. Each day we get to help others see His hand in the simple beauty that fills the earth.

My Jesus Resolution today is to pay attention to the lessons spring teaches me about God. After months of cold and grey, I want to revel in the beauty that God is bringing to life in the earth. It is part of the testimony that speaks so profoundly about His heart and purpose. I want to appreciate the sun’s warmth and soak in His presence. I want to smile at newly blooming flowers and immerse myself in His grace. As the earth takes on new life, I want to cherish the new life I have in Christ. The Gospel is proclaimed everywhere. I want my life to proclaim it as well.





True Beauty

24 03 2014

Are you beautiful? I can see you cringe just a bit when I ask that question. When we talk about beauty, our thoughts often go to hair, make-up, outfits, and shoes. In our world, beauty is a “look” captured on magazine covers and sold by the media. The truth is that beauty is not nearly as much about how you look, but found in how you look at yourself.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” While this truth can be applied in many areas, it is especially true when you look in the mirror. No one can make you feel ugly without your consent. Confidence, courage, and self-respect are the foundation of true beauty. Your beauty isn’t defined by your size, color, or shape. It is defined by your heart and the way you use all the gifts God gives you. When you understand that your worth lies in your uniqueness, your beauty truly begins to shine through.

My Jesus Resolution today is to celebrate beauty. All beauty is designed to help us delight in the power, wisdom, and love of God. When we look at a bouquet of flowers, we soak in the different colors, textures, sizes, and fragrances. No one complains that a sunflower and a rose have different kinds of beauty. We enjoy them both and thank God for His creativity. You are a flower in God’s bouquet, beautiful and vibrant because He made you to reveal His glory.





More Than We Can Imagine

21 03 2014

Sometimes we just need a little reassurance, a chance to refocus, and an opportunity to readjust our perspective. Problems have a way of sneaking in and stealing our confidence. Worries worm their way into our hearts and plunder our peace. Circumstances crash into our faith, leaving us bruised and shaken. No matter what you are facing today, God wants you to remember these more-than-we-can-imagine truths.

1. God’s grace is bigger.

2. God’s love is deeper.

3. God’s power is stronger.

4. God’s ways are higher.

5. God’s faithfulness is steadier.

6. God’s goodness is purer.

7. God’s glory is greater.

8. God’s joy is richer.

9. God’s promises are surer.

10. God’s presence is closer.

My Jesus Resolution today is to trust in my more-than-I-can-imagine God. God is bigger, stronger, higher, deeper, and nearer than I can imagine. What I know about Him is just the tip of the iceberg. I tend to put God in a box of my own design and dimensions, and then worry when He doesn’t seem to measure up to the troubles knocking on my door. Today I want to throw away my box and let God be God-sized. What might happen if I surrendered my big problems, my big sins, my big doubts, and my big fears to my even bigger God? More than we can imagine.





The Whole Enchilada

19 03 2014

Warning: This blog may require napkins.

There is a popular idiom that both makes me hungry and demands I give my all – the whole enchilada. While the phrase can be used when ordering food at a Mexican restaurant, its cultural significance lies in communicating the idea that we want it all – nothing left out, everything included, no exceptions.

It makes perfect sense to me. Nobody wants pieces of an enchilada. No one orders just the enchilada sauce, leave everything else out. It is the combination of meat, beans, cheese, tortillas, and sauce wrapped together and cooked to delicious perfection that make our mouths water and satisfies our cravings for Mexican food. If I am going to eat enchiladas, I want the whole enchilada.

Christianity requires the whole enchilada. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Every Christian must be fully Christian by bringing God into his whole life, not merely into some spiritual realm.” God doesn’t want pieces of who we are. He wants the whole enchilada. He wants to inhabit our praises as well as our playtime. He longs for us to meet Him in the pages of the Bible, but also in our basements, bedrooms, and while brushing our teeth. Too many times we are content to give God a piece of our hearts, when He really longs to touch and transform every part of who we are.

My Jesus Resolution today is to give God the whole enchilada. I am going to take an inventory of my heart. While there are some things I give God willingly, I know that there are pieces that I hold back – maybe because of fear, shame, guilt, or the truth that I relish the pleasure or just like the control. Christianity isn’t like ordering a la carte. It isn’t a pick-and-choose life. Looking like Jesus is a whole enchilada kind of life. Doesn’t that sound delicious?





The Seventh Commandment

17 03 2014

It started as a simple question about Bible class. Our favorite seven year old was telling us about the Ten Commandments and how God called His people to obey and belong to Him. After describing the climb up Mount Sinai and being on the mountain with God for forty days, this little first grader began to walk through the list that teaches us about how to reflect the heart of God.

“Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Love God only. Don’t worship idols. Don’t commit… what’s that word… adultery. What’s adultery?”

The car went silent. How do you explain adultery to a child? Keeping it simple, we explained that God wants married people to keep their promises. This is God’s command to married people to always keep their promises. He nodded solemnly, understanding how important promises are, and then started a discussion about dinosaurs versus ninja turtles.

He got me thinking. While the seventh command deals specifically with faithfulness and purity, I made many promises when I got married and God wants me to keep all of them. Am I honoring my husband? How am I loving him, showing him respect, and cherishing our relationship? Do I regularly lift him up in prayer, encourage him in his relationship with Christ, and support him as he serves others in His name? Am I protecting our relationship and devoting myself to strengthening the connection that binds us together?

My Jesus Resolution today is to keep my promises. The promises that we make on our wedding day are lifetime promises meant to be lived out in the everyday. Each day I get an opportunity to share Jesus with my spouse. His love fuels the love we share with each other. His grace is the key to getting through the bumpy seasons. His power helps us face life’s difficulties. I want our relationship to be a framework for His goodness and a reflection of His character. God’s faithfulness teaches me how to be faithful. He keeps His promises so I can keep mine.