Jesus is Coming

27 11 2015

I actually heard him before I saw him. In the middle of the noisy foyer, a little voice proclaimed boldly, “Jesus is coming!”

A mop of curly hair brushed past my knee. I looked down just in time to catch a glimpse of the little dark-headed angelic messenger. He was coming out of Bible class where they had spent the hour talking about the arrival of Jesus. His big brown eyes were focused on his task. He held a paper cone to his mouth, determined that everyone should hear the good news – Jesus is coming!

I smiled at the way he persistently kept calling out the message. He was resolute that everyone should soak in this remarkable news. I giggled as I watched his grandfather try to catch up to the little guy. So unwavering was he in his task that I half expected to hear “Jesus is coming” in the quiet moments during worship.

Maybe we need to.

The truth is Jesus is coming. The good news that He had arrived on earth was announced by a multitude of heavenly beings praising God and sharing a glimpse of His glory with those who had eyes to see and a heart to listen. Today, God leaves the sharing to the company of His people. Every day, we get to reflect the glory of God and encourage people with the news that Jesus is coming.

My Jesus Resolution today is to tell someone Jesus is coming. I want to imitate the little boy who imitated the Savior. I want to be bold in proclaiming the good news of Jesus. The good news of Jesus is always a message of grace, a call to follow, a plea to surrender, and an anthem of hope. I want my life to resonate with the truth that He is coming.  I want others to see Him in me and catch a glimpse of the astonishing, stunning nature of grace. “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” – 2 Peter 3:11-12


25 11 2015

I am overwhelmed. Have you ever been there? I seem to live on the edge of overwhelmed. As long as I can keep the balls juggling, the plates all in the air, and my feet from tripping over my shoelaces, I have hope of making it through the day. But, you know the story. All it takes is one phone call, one deadline, one too many balls escaping, or the inevitable splat that comes when I stumble to find me overwhelmed and almost undone.

Time to stop and breathe.

It is okay to be overwhelmed. In those heavy, heart-thudding, stomach-knot moments, God wants me to learn to listen to His gentle whisper. Lifting my eyes to His face lets Him overwhelm my sense of being overwhelmed.

Today God wants to overwhelm me…

  1. Overwhelm me with grace
  2. Overwhelm me with love
  3. Overwhelm me with power
  4. Overwhelm me with purpose
  5. Overwhelm me with joy
  6. Overwhelm me with peace
  7. Overwhelm me with glory
  8. Overwhelm me with comfort
  9. Overwhelm me with blessings
  10. Overwhelm me with Presence

My Jesus Resolution today is to be overwhelmed. Overwhelm comes from a root word that means “to submerge completely.” That definition speaks to exactly what my heart needs. I need to be submerged completely in Christ. Perhaps when I am, my days and my heart won’t struggle with being so overwhelmed.

Unknown Blessings

23 11 2015

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. ~Native American proverb 

How is God going to bless you today? It seems like a silly question. We don’t know what the future is going to hold. We aren’t sure how things are going to unfold, what challenges we will face, or what lies just over the horizon. How can we give thanks for what we can’t yet imagine?

Here is the truth about our God. He has seen tomorrow. He knows what each one of your minutes will hold. He knows the struggles you will face, the troubles that will scare you, the potholes that will jar you, and the exhilarating moments that will make you smile. There is no unknown where God is concerned.

There is great peace in knowing that each one of our days is fully known by God. His promises take on an added richness when we understand that He stands ready to help us face what is ahead. He assures us that His presence will be with us through the thin and thick. He guarantees sufficient grace to meet any need. He posts peace as a sentry around our hearts. His power and His provision are as close as a prayer.

Learning to give thanks in advance reminds my heart to be confident that God is on my side. He is already working on my behalf. He is preparing to move in each one of my moments in order to bring about His purpose and fulfill His glory. Being thankful relieves the worry and tension that often fill my thoughts when I look into the future. It allows me to greet each morning with worship and joy as I praise Him for the way He has already filled the day with blessings.

My Jesus Resolution today is to give thanks in advance. Being grateful encourages me to anticipate His hand on my day. When I give thanks for unknown blessings, it calls me to keep my eyes open and my heart ready. It allows me to face each situation with peace because I know that God has already seen and provided exactly what I need. Being thankful in advance changes my posture and my perspective. I don’t know how God is going to bless me today, but I know with absolute certainty that He will. Discovering those blessings is the gift that makes this day worth living.


Hunker Down

20 11 2015

“O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to You for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings.” – Psalm 61:1-4

These words speak to me in a special way today. They echo the cry of a heart that is struggling, fighting for hope, pressed hard by circumstances, and overwhelmed. Been there? There now? Too many times overwhelmed is the address of my heart. Stressed, exhausted, empty, and fearful become the markers of my soul.

David’s advice? Hunker down and pray.

Hunker down is a phrase that means “to settle in or dig in for a good long wait.” It is a good phrase and good advice. When our hearts are overwhelmed, David reminds us that the best place to be is settled in God’s presence. He is our refuge. He is our towering rock of safety. He calls us into the fortress of His faithfulness and invites us to take up residence there, to make ourselves at home, to dig in and dig deeply into grace.

From within the towering rock of safety, our perspective changes. His power, His timing, His goodness, and His glory give my heart new eyes. When we hunker down in His fortress, our position changes. Settled into His presence, our enemies cannot reach us. The enemies of worry, doubt, anxiety, fear, and disquiet are forced to stay outside the boundaries of His love. When we hide ourselves in Him, our priorities change. When we are overwhelmed our eyes are everywhere but on Him. Surrounded by His presence, our first, best choice is to let ourselves be loved.

My Jesus Resolution today is to follow David’s advice. When the storm rages, when the struggles press in, when the disappointments knock, when the rug is being pulled out from under me, God calls me to imagine myself safe in the shelter of His wings. No need to be frantic. No need to panic. Just rest in His presence. Breathe. Trust. Wait. Hunker down and pray.

Thank You

18 11 2015

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’” ~William A. Ward 

Gratitude is an art. It has a beauty that inspires, a rhythm that helps us dance, and a warmth that results in smiles. Gratitude is more than casually saying two words. Gratitude notices. Gratitude loves. Gratitude sees God in the moment. Gratitude changes how we think. Gratitude softens our hearts.

Take a few of the precious seconds God has given you today and be creative about expressing your gratitude. Here are ten gratitude-giving ideas to help you get started.

1. Buy (or pick) a single flower. Attach a note that says, “Thanks for helping me bloom.”

2. Bake some cookies, and tell someone thanks for the sweet way they….

3. Share a cup of coffee with someone. Thank them for always being your pick-me-up.

4. Create a trail of colored notes at your child’s eye level. On each one, write a single word that tells them something about them for which you are thankful.

5. Have a family gratitude circle. Everyone gets a chance to say one thing they are thankful for about each family member.

6. Cut out a paper heart. Write down ten reasons you are grateful for your spouse. Put it in their lunch, or sock drawer, or briefcase.

7. Set a “thankful alarm” on your phone. Stop. Be still. Tell Him thank you.

8. Turn off the television and see how many blessings you can write down in the time it would have taken you to watch a show.

9. Take a plate of goodies to your local fire station, police station, or school. Thank them for the way they serve your community.

10. Find a small mirror. Give it to someone who inspires you in your walk with God. Tell them thank you for helping you look like Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to say thank you. When my heart is full of gratitude, I don’t have a lot of room left over for grumbling. My eyes see my day differently through the lens of thanksgiving. Gratitude gives my soul a chance to search for God in the ordinary, regular, usual pieces of my day. When I find His fingerprints, it changes ordinary into extraordinary, mostly because it changes me.

The Battle

16 11 2015

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” – Margaret Thatcher 

I have an ongoing battle in my garden. Despite my best efforts, weeds keep popping up amid my carefully cultivated plants. I mulch, water, prune, and nourish my plants. I watch for disease, pull off the dead to help the living thrive, and get my fingers pricked by thorns, but the weeds still come back. I dream of beauty, look in wonder at the way flowers open, petals unfurl, and butterflies carry nectar from stem to stem, but still struggle with stragglers finding their way into my little plot of earth. It requires regular vigilance to keep the weeds from taking over my garden.

Those of you who are more experienced planters than I are probably shaking your heads. Of course. Dealing with weeds is part of the process of growing flowers, fruit, vegetables, and herbs. If you want to enjoy the produce of the ground, you are going to have to pull some weeds.

My soul is a lot like that garden. Weeds keep popping up amidst the beauty that I want to see cultivated in my heart. But here, I am more easily frustrated. Why, when I pull a weed once, does it come back? Why do I have to struggle over and over against the same habits, same temptations, and the same thought patterns? I sometimes feel like a failure when I examine my soul garden and see the weed I pulled last week grow right back.

Margaret Thatcher was right. You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. Spiritual growth is a process, a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight. We don’t become full-blown reflections of Jesus in a day. Habits, tendencies, mindsets, and ways of thinking are not transformed in the blink of an eye. It takes steady surrender, regular repentance, and daily dependence to fight the weeds that seek to take root in the soul.

My Jesus Resolution today is to fight the battle…again. Jesus has already won the victory. I have to learn to live within His triumph. That means focusing on the reason He plants Himself within us. He is growing His own likeness in the soil of our hearts. Weeds will pop up. Dealing with them on a daily basis will keep them from taking over.

Count It All Joy

13 11 2015

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

– James 1:2

Nobody volunteers for trials. We would all rather have sunny days and blue skies. We like rainbows, but would rather avoid the storms that by definition have to come first. But the truth is we live in a world of struggle. Sometimes life hits us hard. There are times when it knocks us flat, taking our breath away, and leaves us reeling from the devastation in its wake. It’s tough.

Even when my heart hurts, I know all the right things to say. My character is being built. Consistent faith lights the way for others. God is going to redeem this for His glory. Someway. Somehow. But God calls us to do more than survive trials. He wants us to discover joy on dark days and in shattered dreams. How do you learn to count it all joy when you are bruised, beaten, and broken by the world?

The answer is to do just what James says. We have to count our way to joy. We have to rehearse the goodness of God. We have to number the ways He touches each circumstance. We have to count the grace, count the blessings, count the miracles, count the transformation, count the peace, count the places healed, count the pieces He puts back together, count the seeds planted, count the lessons learned, count the mistakes forgiven, and count the countless ways He loves us through the pain. When we do, we stop cataloguing our misery and count our way to joy.

My Jesus Resolution today is to count joy. Today I am going to number God moments. I am going to count my blessings, answered prayers, words of encouragement, kindnesses received, laughs shared, tears cried, peace experienced, and rainbows seen. Counting our way to joy doesn’t deny or erase the pain. It puts it in perspective. It reminds us that even in our darkest trials, God is counting our hairs and bottling our tears. We can’t avoid trials, but we can learn to count our way to joy while we go through them.