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.



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.

Ninja Kicks

14 03 2014

It is a Spring Break extravaganza. Our house is filled with boys, and the laughter is infectious and noisy. There is an in-the-dark basketball game being played on the driveway. There is a soccer game being played in the house. Movies, sleeping bags, video games, smelly socks, and snack bowls are all evidence that silliness is on the agenda and being together is the most fun of all.

The youngest of the boys is delighted by the crowd. Pride and excitement fill his face as he joins in the games and challenges another boy to a wrestling match. Seeing me observing the moment, he notes that I am the only girl in the house. With a look of determination, he makes an announcement to the other boys. “She may be the only girl, but she can handle us. She can take us all down with just one ninja kick.”

He made me smile. I appreciate his confidence in my abilities and hidden super powers. He also got me thinking. Strength and the ability to influence others aren’t grounded in bulked-up muscles or ninja kicks. The strongest strength that we can bring into any moment is the power of love. A ninja kick has the power to knock someone off their feet. Loving someone has the power to go straight through to their soul.

My Jesus Resolution today is to unleash the power of love. The world wants to hold up all kinds of pictures of strength – brains, beauty, brawn, wealth, power, and influence. By those measures, I am nothing special, weak and powerless to impact my world. Jesus, however, shows me a different way. Using a cross, He displayed the power of love in a way that still radically shakes the world. Walking in that love, overflowing with that love, being drenched in that love, sharing that love unleashes His power in ways that ignite transformation and have the potential to change the world. My ninja kick may need some work, but loving someone – that is a real super power.


12 03 2014

I need grace today. A lot of it. I am struggling to see Him. My heart is prone to discouragement and doubt. Fear sneaks in and disrupts my faith, creating bumps and causing bruises that make my soul smart. There is so much that I want to do, so much that I want to be, and yet, I just feel stuck. Guilt and shame tenaciously latch onto my heart, refusing to let go or be quiet.

Humbled, I try to breathe. I feel defeated, deflated. Once again, I need. Once again, I ask. Once again, I bring my broken heart to the edges of His presence. Even here, my fear and doubts poke through. Asking for mercy again? I have lost patience with me. How much further can God’s patience really stretch?

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” – Isaiah 30:18

Here is the good news my heart needs. God is not only willing to pour out forgiveness; He longs to be gracious to us. He is on the move in order to show us compassion. He meets us where we are – in the middle of our messes, our struggles, our hurts, and our shame – in order to cover us with mercy and enfold us in grace.

My Jesus Resolution today is to embrace the grace God offers me. I don’t have to beg for grace. I don’t have to bargain, manipulate, or backdoor my way into mercy. I just have to surrender, hold out my heart in repentance, and accept the grace He longs to pour into my soul.

I See Him!

10 03 2014

The following is a true story. The children are real, live preschoolers. The Bible class teacher is a hero. I am tickled, humbled, and inspired by their faith.

Wednesday evenings in the preschool class is an adventure. Little bodies, tired from the day, exude their own brand of the wiggles. The children came into class one by one. The first was clingy and had a hard time letting go. The second and third flew in faster than a tornado on a spring day. The fourth was yawning, eyes droopy because bedtime was getting close. The fifth came in the room with eyes wide open. It was this last child that changed the course of Bible class that night. He stepped into the room, took a look around, and made a declaration. “Teacher, Jesus is right here.”

The teacher, a little wary, acknowledged the truth that Jesus is always with us. The little boy continued. “Jesus is everywhere. He is in our hearts and He is right here in this room.” The children began to look around. “Where?” “Right there,” the little boy said. “Don’t you see Him?” One by one, the children spotted Jesus. He was there as they opened their Bibles. He was there as they sang their songs. He was there as they looked at each other. He was there as they encouraged each other to open their eyes and experience His presence. Jesus was with them and not a single preschooler missed the moment.

One little girl struggled. “I don’t see Jesus,” she whispered. She watched her classmates point out His presence. She listened as her teacher talked about His love. She waited as the excitement about seeing Jesus filled the room. Finally, faith won the moment. “I see Him! I see Him!” and the class rejoiced together.

My Jesus Resolution today is to look for Jesus. He is here. Right now. In this moment, waiting for me to open my eyes. I want to be like the little boy who, with bold faith, declared, “Jesus is right here.” I want to be like the children in the class who began to look for Him and delight in finding Him. I want to be like the little girl. She struggled and had her doubts. But she didn’t give up. She kept looking and listening until she could see Him too. I see Him! Do you?