This I Know

30 05 2014

I was doing some research about the history of a famous children’s song when I came across the following story. It touches my heart and challenges my faith.

 

“When Mao Tse Tung founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Christian church was severely persecuted, with little information coming to the outside world. In 1972 some Americans received an unusual message from China–that the “This I know” people were well! The Chinese authorities thought the message nonsensical, so they let it through. The Americans clearly understood the reference to Anna Warner’s simple hymn—‘Jesus Loves Me.’” (D. Severance, Ph.D., christianity.com)

 

Jesus Loves Me is a staple in children’s Bible classes, but its message is ageless and timeless. It speaks a truth that is always fresh, relevant, and answers our hearts deepest need.

 

Sing with me:

Jesus loves me, this I know.

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak, but He is strong.

 

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so.

 

My Jesus Resolution today is to be a This I Know person. More than knowing the song, however, I want to learn how to live as a This I Know person. The world will do its best to poke holes in this one single truth. Yet knowing, really knowing, that Jesus loves me is the one thing that will help me stand up against anything life throws my way. I want Christ’s love to be so real, so defining, and so foundational in my life that it radiates out for everyone to see. I want people to look at me and know that I know Jesus.

 





Umbrellas

28 05 2014

The rain poured down in sheets. Thunder cracked and lightning peeled across the sky. Everything was wet. Puddles were rapidly spreading out into ponds. The steel grey sky still carried the weight of many raindrops. The thunderstorm wasn’t ending any time soon.

I took a deep breath and pulled up the hood on my raincoat. With my hands full, an umbrella was a luxury I couldn’t manage. Getting wet seemed inevitable as I looked at my supplies and measured the distance from the car to the door.

Facing into the car in order to gather my belongings, I didn’t see her. I turned around and there she stood, umbrella in hand. Covering me, she walked with me from the car to the door. After giving me a hug, she whispered a word of encouragement and ran back to her car.

Her act of kindness did more than protect me from the rain. It sheltered my soul. She made me feel noticed, cared for, and valuable. It was a simple act of grace that left me drenched in the love of Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to offer someone an umbrella. It doesn’t have to be raining to cover someone with kindness. A gentle word, a warm smile, a helping hand, a listening ear, or a moment of my time can all be umbrellas that help someone get through the day. We all face storms. I might never know how the umbrella that I extend over someone’s heart might just be the thing that they need to weather the day, rediscover their balance, and catch a glimpse of Jesus.





Salute

26 05 2014

I’m in the Lord’s army.

I’m in the Lord’s army.

I may never march in the infantry,

Ride in the cavalry,

Shoot the artillery.

I may never fly o’er the enemy,

But I’m in the Lord’s army.

 

This children’s song finds little ones marching, flying, and saluting. It teaches them that while we are grateful for the service men and women who carry weapons and protect our freedoms, we are called as Christians to serve the Lord in an army of grace. Faith, righteousness, and hope are the tools that we carry into the everyday battles that wear at our souls.

 

Is there someone you know who has faithfully served in the Lord’s army? Has their encouragement, willingness to speak light into the darkness, or ability to love impacted your heart? Those who teach, serve, give, pray, hug, and sacrifice stand every day on the front line of freedom. Little actions open doors that invite others to step out of the conflict that rages around us and into the peace that comes from above. Everybody faces battles. Those in the Lord’s army are commissioned to bring light and hope into the darkness of the battleground.

 

Today, we remember with thankful hearts those who valued freedom more than their own lives. As we do, let’s also be grateful for those who faithfully serve in the Lord’s army. Salute someone who lives their life in surrender so that we might see how to walk with Him in victory.

 

My Jesus Resolution today is to give honor to those to whom honor is due. A salute is an action which expresses respect and recognition. Today I salute those men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and children and friends who sacrifice daily for our national freedoms. I also want to salute those godly men and women who have stood long and fought faithfully that I might know Him better, follow Him closer, and live with Him forever.





Remember

23 05 2014

“…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

 

Today, somewhere, somehow, the world will do its best to beat you down and make you question yourself. It does not want you looking in the mirror and seeing who you truly are. When we feel inadequate, fearful, worthless, or at the end of our ropes, the world knows we have a tendency to give up on ourselves and on God.

 

Here are ten truths God wants you to remember, even, or maybe especially, on the toughest days.

 

1. You can always pray.

2. It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed.

3. You are deeply loved, no matter what.

4. There is always enough grace.

5. You are never alone.

6. God is in charge…of everything.

7. Worship transforms worry.

8. It’s not too late.

9. Taking one step starts you on your journey.

10. Jesus really is the answer.

 

My Jesus Resolution today is to remember. Sometimes when I am overwhelmed, it is hard to remember just how much I need to stop, breathe, and remember the basics. God understands that tough days are going to happen, so He arms us with the tools and truths that we need to keep standing by His side through the worst of what the world throws at us. Faith is the decision to remember that God can and God will even when I can’t anymore.





Love You

21 05 2014

How do you explain to a child how much you love them? When a child is secure, he lives in the ocean of a parent’s love without ever realizing the breadth and depth of that love. It is there. It is real. It holds them up. And no matter how far they swim, they can’t outswim the ocean.

The love for your child defies logic. A parent’s love isn’t grounded in performance, but in relationship. We willingly step over piles of dirty clothes to hug that child. Trips to the emergency room become tales to tell at dinner. With little hesitation, we fork over money to teach, train, outfit, and feed this person in the making. We go in knowing that there will be messes, mistakes, and moments when will shake our heads, but we go in all the same. The relationship is worth it.

As a parent, it is funny the things that we find ourselves celebrating. Going potty by yourself gets major cheers. Tying your shoes, eating your broccoli, walking into that first classroom, and learning how to write your name are all met with applause. Parents don’t just cheer big moments. It doesn’t matter if you fell fourteen times before you could ride that first stretch of road on your bike by yourself. Parents cheer progress. They are invested in encouraging the little markers of growth and new-found maturity that define all it means to grow up.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” – 1 John 3:1a

The love you have for your child is a shadow of the love God has for you.

My Jesus Resolution today is to soak in all it means to be loved. God’s love for me is like an ocean – farther-reaching than I can imagine, deeper than I can dream, more sure and steady than my own heartbeat. I can’t outswim the ocean. God’s love for me is grounded in His faithfulness, not my ability to get it all right. He loves me because He is Love and I am His. God celebrates my growth. Yes, I fall down. Yes, I make mistakes, have a hard head, and it sometimes takes me more than fourteen times to figure it out. But like any good parent, God is invested in helping me grow up. He doesn’t give up. He pours out His grace which floods its way into my heart like the ocean that holds me up.





Fabulous Finder

19 05 2014

I am a recovering perfectionist. I spent years looking at the world through fault-finding glasses. I could size up any situation and find at least one thing that needed to be “improved.” I could interact with other people and zero in on what they needed to do differently so that they would be happier, more successful, or more useful to me. The most exhaustive examination came when I looked in the mirror. Critical scrutiny of my choices, my attitude, my appearance, my feelings, my accomplishments, and my relationships filled my days and worried my heart at night. I was never good enough.

Being a perfectionist is about more than wanting to be a better person. Being a perfectionist is about never being satisfied with the person I am or the people around me or the circumstances in which I find myself. Perfectionism is the enemy of joy.

Holley Gerth wrote, “We can sabotage our good lives by demanding perfect ones.”

Paul said it this way, “..for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” – Philippians 4:11b

Contentment doesn’t mean that we can’t desire change or improvement. Contentment calls our eyes to focus on finding fabulous rather than fault. We generally find what we seek. I will always be able to find reasons to be unhappy, dissatisfied, or disappointed. Looking for fabulous means concentrating on the joy that fills this moment, the blessings that point to God’s presence, and the truth that we are deeply loved for exactly who we are today.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be a fabulous finder. Giving up perfectionism is hard. For some reason, it is easier to wade through the ugly than it is to celebrate life’s beauty. Fear feeds perfectionism. Faith feeds contentment. When I can latch onto the fabulous in my day, my heart begins to breathe. I begin to see possibilities instead of obstacles. Peace can seep into the crevices of my soul. It is easier to extend grace to others and the reflection in the mirror. And perhaps that is the most fabulous thing of all.





I Can’ts

16 05 2014

Have you ever been hemmed in by your I Can’ts? Sometimes my I Can’ts loom large. One I Can’t tumbles into another until they create an obstacle that seems too big to overcome. My I Can’ts press in on my heart, making me feel like I have weights in my soul. My I Can’ts create shadows that dim my vision and weaken my courage. One I Can’t seems to open the door to another one and before long, I am boxed in by the impossible.

I Can’ts are real, but grow when I feed them. The more I look at them, define them, study their boundaries, and trace their ripples, the more discouraged I become. They can make me feel stuck, incapable of moving forward or discovering any open doors for my heart.

When I come face-to-face with my I Can’ts, I have two choices. I can slump under the weight of all that I can’t do or be, or I can look for the I Can’s that God empowers me to experience. God is not limited by my I Can’ts. He is a God of possibilities, opportunities, and promises. He invites me to look past the I Can’ts that seem so overwhelming, and rest in the truth that He is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than any I Can’t on my horizon.

My Jesus Resolution today is to focus on my I Can’s. Because of Jesus, I can choose worship over worry, prayer over a pity party, and counting my blessings over complaining about my circumstances. I can choose to see what God is doing instead of focusing on things I can’t do. It may even be in my I Can’ts that God’s glory might be magnified, His grace revealed, and His love most deeply experienced.