Praise from the Garden

The sun takes its moment to shine forth in brilliance. Its rays beam and burst out in all directions with four strong points to north, south, east and west as if a blazing cross has been set in the sky. As the trees wake to the breeze they clap their morning praise. The sun seems to pulse in and out of the leaves; the heartbeat of the sky.

All creation shouts your praise and I delight to join in the chorus. What can I say? What could I sing? I pause. I simply sense your greatness in this place; the magnitude of your presence. I stand silently in awe of your glory. This is worship.

The veil is torn. The coal has touched my lips. Your love has seared my soul. Your grace has cleansed my heart. This is holy ground.

Psalm 148:5, Matthew 27:51, Isaiah 6:7, Exodus 3:5

Perfect Gift

There are days in this business where I feel as if I’m standing in a crowd, hands open, offering an incredible gift and people don’t notice. They walk by with blinders on. They assume it’s too good to be true. They’re too busy to notice. They just can’t believe it’s for them. Some are curious but too afraid to even take a closer look.

Fear. It holds us back so many times. Fear whispers doubt, pulls us back into the mold and keeps us living with only a small portion of what God has in store. Fear tells us not to move. Doubt tells us it’s not possible. Shame tells us we’re not worthy.

God. God tells us to go. He tells us to move forward because He has already made a way and redeemed us. He makes us worthy.

Imagine what Christ must have felt on the cross. Can we even begin to glimpse a small portion of what he experienced? He was the most perfect gift given by God. God himself, opening His hands to offer his only Son.
Yet, in that moment and still today, people don’t notice. They walk by with blinders on. They turn away. They assume it’s too good to be true. They just can’t believe it’s for them. Some are curious but too afraid to even take a closer look.

God still waits for so many. With open hands and a storehouse of blessings, He waits to give away the most precious of all gifts; Himself.

2 Corinthians 9:15, James 1:17, Romans 8:32

It is Well

It’s just the two of us. His greatness and my frailty are mingling together. We are one in this place, though the thought is almost unbearable and nearly unimaginable. My facades are removed. Every mask is taken off and dropped at His feet.
I am Bare.
Shame attempts to intrude but He gently pushes it away. My heart exposed, He begins to mend, restore and tend to each need. This is a process. Each time I come, more work is accomplished. Often, there are new wounds. This broken world easily produces more brokenness.
No matter to Him. It is as if He doesn’t notice. He is unshaken by anything I could bring. My worst, He makes his best. This process, so tender and so gentle, brings waves of peace and undertones of tranquility.
I rest.
I know all will be well. In this place, more than any other, I can truly say it is well with my soul. It is here I am made alive and anew. What is not complete is held in his hands, reserved for another meeting. It needs time; a process of healing. This rests well with me as He knows better than I.
I wait.
In hopeful, joyful expectance I wait. He breathes life in my lungs while the warmth of peace and the cool rush of anticipation fill my soul. There is more, much more. There is a promise; a sweet hope. For here, I see dimly. This is only a portion, just a small glimpse, of what awaits. It is but a foretaste of what He has prepared.
I hope.
My hope is placed fully and only in Him. It is well. It is well.

Lamentations 3:22-23, James 1:2-4, Psalm 23:6, John 14:3

Holy Ground

Morning barely makes its appearance and she wakes, taking her Bible in hand and tip-toeing through the house. She walks past the laundry pile begging to be folded and curtails the dirty dishes in the sink. Her destination is that secret place. She swiftly makes her way to this favorite spot where she meets with Him once again. Quietly she opens the pages of that worn Bible with the underlined passages. She prays no one wakes to disturb this precious time. This time she needs. This time she craves. Even a few moments here in the garden of His presence is enough, but she always craves more. He is tangible in this place and she has come to need that more than anything else in her day. She needs Him first. Some need a cup of coffee in the morning, but she needs the One who quenches her soul. He is the one who meets her greatest desires. Here in this place, deep cries out to deep. Creation dances with creator. Breath and soul meet the giver of life.
It is good.
It is needed.
She sits quietly breathing in his presence. She praises by sensing his greatness. She asks by revealing every thought to Him. She confesses by bearing her heart. Nothing is hidden. Nothing is wasted. Here, there is no condemnation. Here, every weight is removed. Burdens are lifted and every desire is taken, held and considered for the perfect time.
His love overwhelms her and his peace envelopes her. She is seen. She is known.
This is holy ground.

Luke 10:42, Genesis 16:13, Exodus 3:5

Creed

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I am not my accomplishments.
I am not my appearance.
I am not what others think of me.
I am not my own.
I am loved.
I am chosen.
I am His.
I am forgiven.
I am made worthy.
I am made new.
I am a child of the One true King.
I am not driven by the ways of this world; by money, lust or greed.
I am not moved by things.
I am called.
I claim a higher purpose.
I follow His plan, His ways, His steps.
In Him I live and move and have my being.
I will not be shaken, though the earth give way and the mountains crumble into the sea, because this is not my home.
I am not of this world.
I am only and completely found in Him.
He is my way maker.
He is my peace.
He is my light.
He moves me.
He makes me.
He guides me.
Constant He will be.
Forever I am changed.
One thing remains; I in Him, He in me.
Unstoppable
Unshakable
Immoveable
Life-Changing
Breathtaking
Good
Alpha and Omega
All I ever need
The One
True
God.

Acts 17:28, Psalm 46:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 22:13

Just One Name

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There are times when words fail me. When heartache cuts deep, when loss is so great, when the longing of my heart surpasses known language, those are times when only one name needs uttered. Jesus. A whisper, a cry, my very breath; only Jesus. There is a place deep within each of us, a need only he can fill. This place we can’t describe or name. Where deep cries out to deep. That need is only met, when we cry, “Jesus”. He turns my way, he looks at me, knowing everything. He knows more than I how I need him. Here, face to face, all is known and all is understood.

There is a moment in one of my favorite movies, Dirty Dancing (yes, I’m using Dirty Dancing in a devotional blog) where Johnny is walking away and Baby cries out to him, “Johnny!” Just that one word; his name. He turns and he looks at her. Their eyes meet and all is known. No words are exchanged. With one glance all is understood.

I think of that when I cry to Jesus. Only magnified one hundred percent because he knows everything. As creator, he knows my very being. My past and my future; all of eternity is in His hands. He knows every desire of my heart because he places those desires within my heart. His sovereignty is unmatched. I am his and he is mine. One word, one name. Jesus. The name of Jesus.

Genesis 16:13, Romans 8:26, Psalm 37:4

Scars

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It was early morning when my son fell out of bed; our bed where he had slept all night kicking us, but both of us where too tired to move him to his room. I was up with my hot tea writing away when “clunk”; every mother knows that terrible sound. A thud then screaming. I ran right out of my slippers as I dashed to the bedroom and struggled to open the door because the crying little body was right in front of it. I snatched him up and did the full body check once over; no bleeding, no sign of concussion, not that I even know what to look for, and no sign of broken bones. Everything was moving and every body part was working. Immediately, as I sat down and snuggled him in close to my chest he stopped crying, closed his eyes and fell back asleep…hopefully concussion free. As I held him close I started thinking about how the Lord holds us. No matter how badly we’ve fallen, no matter how far the fall, he picks us up and holds us until we calm down and find rest once again. He checks us out, heals any wounds and holds us close. We may develop scars from the fall, but scars tell a story you know. Scars help remind us where we’ve been and how we’ve healed. I have all these funny little scars that remind me of my childhood. One on top of my foot from the time I did a cartwheel in the living room and crashed into the wooden chair. One from a piece of metal stripping on a step in the church at Vacation Bible School (today someone would probably sue the church), even my c-section scar that brought my son into this world. They each tell a story and bring a memory to life. Some scars though aren’t visible. Some have left an imprint on our hearts, etched deep in our minds. They may be painful; terribly, terribly painful scars. Some of so much pain that they are buried deep in an effort to forget they exist. Some right on the surface, fresh, like it may rip open any day. The world tells us time heals all wounds. Christ tells us, I took all your wounds upon myself. He alone is our burden bearer and healer of all scars. He alone can hold us in the dark places after a fall and bring us to his rest. His presence is healing balm, ointment to our minds, salve to our souls. He knows where we’ve been, not as an outsider who watched our journey, no the bible tells us he experienced it. He felt our very pain, our sorrow and the weight of our sin and shame when he hung on the cross for us. His scars, the deepest of all, save us. His scars make us free. His scars give us hope. Our scars hold a memory, his hold our future. His wounds secured our home in heaven where all our scars will be no more.

1 Peter 2:24, Psalm 46:10, 2 Corinthians 1:4

A Messy Life

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I’ve been meaning to clean out my purse for about 2 months now. We went to Tampa, Florida for a business trip in January and my purse is still housing boarding passes, parking tags and gum wrappers not to mention my son’s handfuls of spilled Cheerios, a few wayward fruit snacks and the other day I found a whole orange in there! I have to admit that purse is a true reflection of my life right now. We are in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year in our It Works business so couple that with mom-life and toss in a full-time teaching job and you’ve got a life that looks like a messy purse explosion! You see, it’s not just the purse. It’s the laundry all over the couch and the dog hair piling up on the rug…oh, and my goodness those dirty dishes! I am running in all directions but there is a means to an end and a purpose for this phase of chaos. It won’t be like this for long but while I’m in the thick of it, I sure am glad God doesn’t judge our messes. You see even when we’re not cleaned up and looking our best, God still loves us the same. He loves us for who we are, not what we do. There is no measure to his Grace. Ephesians 4:7 tells us that to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. How could one ever put a measure on Christ’s gift? Just as we can not to this, so we are unable to measure his Grace.

About a month ago my husband was on a chat forum and one of the comments made was about Christians being “mindless followers”. This sparked a nerve with my husband so he commented back and asked this man, “What is your belief system? What do you base your life on?” The man replied, “Science. We live according to our own merit.” My husband’s reply was simple, “Wow”, he said. “That must be exhausting”.

I am so thankful we do not live according to our own merit. Who could measure up? Who could stand? I am reminded of these lyrics by Gerrit Gustafson; “Only by grace can we enter. Only by grace can we stand. Not by our human endeavor but by the blood of the lamb.” He doesn’t ask us to be cleaned up, in order and presentable before we come. The beauty of grace is we come just as we are. In the midst of our chaos, in the middle of our mess, He says, “Come”. You see, He works all things according to his purpose. In time, our mess will be cleaned. When we bring our brokenness, our cluttered past, our bags full of crumbs, He lays them out gently and tenderly weaves his perfect plan before us. He carefully wipes away the dirt and mends the worn edges. He lovingly puts everything back in its place. Maybe not where it was before and maybe not where you expected it be but nevertheless in its rightful place. So bring him your mess. He says, “Come”.

Ephesians 4:7, Romans 8:28

Choice

courtesy coachjohnbrewer.com
courtesy coachjohnbrewer.com

The busier life gets, the more difficult it can be to “be still and know”. Even when I take the time to sit and rest in the presence of the Lord, I find my mind still spinning in several other directions and it seems nearly impossible to just rest. This morning I told the Lord I want to run away with Him, just us, no outside distractions, for a week. Then He reminded me how he uses all of this, these blessings that sometimes feel like burdens to teach me, to strengthen me and to reveal himself to me in new and glorious ways each day. Humph!, Ok then God, no chance you’re calling me out of my job and household duties today? Then help me open my eyes to seek your face and my ears to hear your voice above all the other noise that beckons for my attention. These blessings are beautiful but sometimes it feels like they’re piling up into one beautiful mess when I have little time to devote to each one. Remind me that only one thing is needed and help me choose the better portion. Choice. We do have a choice to make in every situation. The enemy would love to tell me I have no choice, I’m just too busy to concentrate on the Lord and I’ll never get my thoughts in order. Satan would love for me to buy the lie that I’m too weak, ill-equipped, or over-extended. He would love for me to believe I’ll never see any fruit from this business, my family or any other area of my life. If I buy in to that first whisper of doubt, that first lie that I says I have no choice, then I open myself to the downward spiral of lies that creep in like termites and quickly begin to rot away the truth. It is vital to know the truth and then choose to let it be your lifeline. The truth is God equipped me for this path before he even called me to it. He is faithful and constant and will never forsake me. God uses all of this for his glory! I choose Him. I choose truth.

Luke 10:42, Philippians 4:8, John 8:32, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 13:5

Free Gift

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Christmas was two weeks ago and I am still trying to figure out where to put all the toys my son received. It is amazing how much loot one little person can acquire in 24 hours! What’s even more amazing is that none of it even matters to him. At 22 months of age he is just as content with the gift box as he is the present inside. Yet, even though he was not asking or expecting, he was showered with packages. Our God is like that. He longs to give us all good things. He, who did not spare his own son, freely gives us all things. From his storehouse he desires to pour every good gift of Heaven into our lives. These gifts can not be measured in earthly terms. These are Heavenly treasures. Gifts of more value than any material possession; these gifts of the spirit he yearns to graciously offer us, if we will but ask and accept. He gives in great abundance. God’s intent was never for us to merely “get by” in this life. Christ came to bring abundant life, now and for eternity. Unlike the innocent nature of my son, who willingly accepted each gift bestowed upon him, we are too often driven to strive for these good gifts. In my heart I know I could never earn or deserve the gifts of Grace, however I often find myself striving as if I am trying to. Unlike my son, I know what sin is. I know where I have been. I know who I once was and I know it is only by God’s love and forgiveness that I am set free. The more I come to know the Lord in real, personal and intimate ways the less I find myself striving and the more I learn to accept the gifts he so freely gives. Today I choose to come. I come as a child, in innocence, with my hands open, amazed at a Father who would love so much as to lavish upon one so undeserving. He is only good.

Luke 11:13, James 1:17, Romans 8:28, Romans 8:32, Galatians 5:22-23, John 10:10