Splish Splash

6 05 2015

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’’” – John 8:37-38

Are you a bath or a shower person? If you got to choose where to relax and wash away the day’s stress and grime, which one would you choose? There is nothing quite like the luxury of a warm bath or shower at the end of the day or first thing in the morning to invigorate and renew us. Water is refreshing. It cools, cleans, hydrates, and has a quiet power that we often take for granted. Running water, over time, has the strength to erode mountains and reshape the landscape. We live on a blue planet. A good percentage of our own bodies are made up of water.

Water is one of the most basic necessities of life, and every drop should point us to Jesus. Physical water has the power to help us understand the Living Water that flows only from Christ. A dry mouth is meant to awaken our thirst for Him. Our deep sigh when we sink into the bathtub or stand under the shower jet is designed to immerse our souls more deeply in the ocean of His delight. God wants us to live lives drenched in His grace, saturated with His presence, and soaked in His purpose.

My Jesus Resolution is to stop and thank Jesus every time I use water today. I want every drop to remind me of the way Jesus satisfies the dryness in my soul. I want to be over-the-top grateful for both clean water and Living Water. I need to let the ease with which I can turn on a faucet open my eyes to the abundance of His grace. When I take a bath or shower today, I am going to let the moment draw my eyes to the face of Jesus.


4 05 2015

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” – Proverbs 27:6

A sweet friend came to me with a hard question. How do you handle a critic? We all know the sinking feeling that hits your heart when someone criticizes you, your work, or someone you love. It is challenging to listen to criticism with a calm heart because even the best-intentioned criticism hurts. No one likes to have their flaws, errors, or shortcomings brought into the light. Sometimes criticism flows from a misunderstanding or a need on the part of the critic. Whatever its source, criticism has the power to rattle your confidence and steal your joy.

Here are five steps to handling criticism when it comes your way –

  1. Listen as thoughtfully and calmly as possible. Often our first thought is to formulate an answer, begin to internally criticize our critic, or get very emotional. Staying calm and listening carefully allows you to process someone’s concern all the way through.
  2. Consider the source of the criticism. This is where the wisdom from the Proverbs writer comes into focus. If the concern comes from a trusted friend it needs to be heard differently than criticism from someone who doesn’t know you, doesn’t have all the information, or is a criticism-enthusiast.
  3. Ask yourself if there is a legitimate concern in what they are saying. This is hard because our first reaction is usually defensiveness or guilt, but it is important to stop and think about whether or not there is any validity in what is being said.
  4. Ask your critic what their solution would be. This does two things. First, it can change the tone of the conversation away from criticism to finding an answer. Second, many times this gives you the best insight into the source of their real concern. Ask them how they would be willing to help implement their solution.
  5. Say thank you. You want to be someone who is open to other’s praise and criticism. Showing gratitude in difficult moments keeps the doors of communication open.

My Jesus Resolution today is to set my heart on receiving criticism with grace. No one wants criticism, but honestly, there are times I need a friend to tell me a truth I don’t see or want to hear. I want to build relationships in which accountability is cultivated and valued. If I am going to look like Jesus, I need others to show me (and tell me) the way.

Tie Them Around Your Neck

1 05 2015

“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” – Proverbs 6:20-23

My husband and I have three wonderful children. Like many other parents, we struggled, prayed, and searched for the best way to guide our blessings through the delightful/difficult teen years. We wanted to cement Christ in them as they matured into the people God prepared for them to be.

A friend directed us to the Book of Proverbs, and specifically the words of wisdom in Proverbs 6:20-23. After some discussion, we decided to take this passage literally. When each of our children was getting ready to enter high school, we went out for a special teen-parent date. We talked about this scripture, the importance of following godly wisdom, and the many decisions about looking like Jesus they were going to face in high school. We prayed and encouraged them to bind them on their hearts. Then we took them to the jewelry store. We let them pick out something that they could tie around their neck that would be a reminder of their commitment to Christ. We prayed that this tangible reminder would help them as they made choices to walk in God’s ways.

My Jesus Resolution today is to do the same thing for myself that I did for my children. The Bible is more than words to be read. It is wisdom to be lived out. Today I am going to put a tangible reminder somewhere in my house, in my purse, on the refrigerator, or even around my neck that will pull my thoughts towards God. I want to invest myself in His wisdom. I need to watch for the light He shines across my path. I long to let His Word speak to me as I make my decisions, choose my actions, and interact with others. I want to be reminded to let His wisdom guide me as I become the person He has prepared for me to be.