Saturday, November 23, 2013
my friend goes there every sunday and she goes home crying sometimes
i definitely don't want to cry
but i'm curious what's so great about it
if you only knew that i've prayed for this curiosity for you for 10 years
life and joy - abundantly - that's what's so great about it
only the very things you've been wanting for as long as you can remember
so i continue praying
as one who can only plant seed and water
begging that the One who makes it grow will do His work
and that you'll finally know joy
not just happiness
not affected by circumstances or moods or the weather
but that foundational certainty that things are as they should be
until final reconciliation
He who designed and sustains everything
is only ever good
and you, i've seen as you've worked hard to be good and kind and selfless
in your own strength
but now you're coming to the end of yours
and your limited grace is running out
and it just might be now
that He deems the appropriate time to remove the scales from your eyes
so you can see and taste that goodness is tactile
and those little ones can follow in your footsteps as you follow in His
just maybe now
Monday, November 11, 2013
God made a way where there was no way he said,
plenty of you have similar stories. stand up where you are and tell us
and one. by. one.
marriages restored from the ashes
faith infused into dry bones
adoption/reunion/a biological father who now loves Jesus...and slow healing because the adopted dad reached out to the biological father and the daughter now watches with a heart a little more open than it has even been before
you should all have a story of how God made a way when there was no way he spoke again
and if you don't, you haven't yet received the Gospel.
you don't have to have a story like these
yours is yours and it is unique
mine is mine, also unique
and it has to do with God's biggness and my smallness
He made a way for me to see,
He gently, but necessarily painfully, peeled away the scales, the ones that had been growing there since my conception and the ones that i had stitched into place myself and the ones that i had allowed to be glued into place by the well-meaning friends and the deceiver himself
to get out of my head this idea that God owes it to me to give to me what i want when i want it.
when i get mad at Him for allowing the pain,
for asking me to wait,
for letting my questions go unanswered
and when i used to feel this way about Him,
that He's unfair,
that He is unconcerned with what is best for me,
that He doesn't really know my desires even though He supposedly placed them there...
that He isn't good, loving, wise
graciously, He allowed me an accurate perspective of meta-reality
that i, the created, have no authority over Him, the Creator
that i am so many transcendent steps short of Him that for me to be convinced that i know what He's doing, what He's forgotten to do, what He's done incorrectly
i get this picture of an ant, working tirelessly to trek his way to the oval office,
or to take over the mic at a passion conference
or be the authority responsible to declare war on north korea
he'd have no right.
he'd have no credibility, and absolutely no respect
he's ridiculously limited in what he could ever do or understand
and his agenda would always be only self-seeking, always failing, just stupid
and there you have it
it took a miracle
to part the sea of my selfishness, my short-sighted tunnel vision
to see that beyond the kingdom of me is a kingdom far bigger than the point of a pin
bearing the significance and glory of a realistic kingdom, one that covers the expanse of sky and space and land and sea and all the space yet undiscovered by man and science
and covering also everything beyond physical matter.
a way where there was no way
my eyes opened
my destiny rewritten.
a way made
and all of my humble gratitude.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
of course, i respond, anxious,
excited to hear the news, the recommendation, the encouragement,
the invitation for dinner, the request for childcare
because every conversation with you, your family, has always poured life into my spirit,
i've always felt love, unquestioned safety, respect
sitting at your feet,
soaking up even the smallest bits of wisdom and grace that i can take in,
watching a marriage established on the unshakable rock of Christ
watching a family dynamic that bleeds worship
and a home that illuminates the order (yes, really) and honor for which you were drawn from the chaos of unbelief.
i experienced from you an irreplaceable gift [1 corinthians 4.15-16].
we're moving, you said
oh!.. to where..? i asked
400 miles, you answered
and i cried.
and i'm quite certain that neither of us expected that from me.
you, definitely, unaware of the blessing that you and your family have been to me
and i, evidently, didn't know either
until the tears came
and kept coming for the next days.
but i recognize that it has to be more than this opportunity that you, your family, have been given
its a larger sense that my world is being shaken
two pillars of theological bedrock being removed from our community in the same week
and you, incredibly talented communicator,
a rare, profound perspective of the Church, the family, the Gospel, eternity
gifted for a season to this church family.
my security again questioned,
and i have to determine where my ultimate security is planted,
where my hope is truly found,
where my joy in anchored.
yes, though, you+she offered to me one of the safest places of theological sanctuary,
because very few people have my respect and trust the way that you+she have earned
i have the Spirit of Him who created and sustains all things by the words of His mouth
i have, by His divine power, all that i need for life and godliness
i have the unshakable foundation of truth in Christ. alone.
i have an unspeakable joy set before me
i have your love and influence still promised to me
even from 400 miles away.
you, far too gifted to be unused for the Kingdom,
far too needed,wanted,respected in that community to say no,
you+she with far too much to offer in terms of discipleship,
your intimate knowledge of our Savior, to stay here,
she, with so much to say to the young women in her influence about
marriage, motherhood, commitment to our precious Jesus and His Word,
you have to go. i know. i understand. i agree. and i bless you as you plan, go, and begin all that God will do through you there.
soli deo gloria.
but whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. what is more, i consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake i have lost all things. i consider them garbage, that i may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. i want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. not that i have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but i press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. brothers and sisters, i do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. but one thing i do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, i press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus...only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
when you let a friend into the stirrings of your mind
those ones that i see whirling behind your eyes
but they just never quite make it out of those tightly sealed lips
like a prison,
the key held by yourself
that fear needn't be so controlling a taskmaster
when you have One greater living within you
because intimacy comes after risk
true freedom comes as a result of true surrender
and when you place your full trust in He who can never fail you
never abandon you
never turn His back on you
never hurt you futilely
never overlook you
never hold out on you
and let go
to be known
but that risk knows that mere men
can and will hurt you
betray your trust
be unable to read your mind
occasionally feed your fears
break your heart
if you can trust
He who is faithful
you can trust Him working, always, in those tender hearts and minds
of those who just may hurt you some day
let me encourage you
that the risk
is well worth the pain
because the pain is temporary
the growth, grace, trust, holiness
is of colossal value
so take a risk, friend,
knowing that you cannot fall from grace
and your identity and eternity are sealed in Him who has called you by name.
Friday, October 4, 2013
dear Mr. President,
with all possible respect,
because i fully believe that you've been set in place by God and that your obligation is to Him first,
please understand the job that is yours.
leading, not dividing, the American people.
this health care bill has become your idol, your pearl of great price for which, it appears, you will sell anything. democracy even?
so i appeal to you on behalf of the adults in this country who are watching this juvenile argument over issues that need not carry this weight.
we live in a democracy. you are responsible to lead a democracy.
what we see, however, is your whole-hearted pursuit of a dictatorship under which all national decisions fall on you, and to whichever advisors you prefer to listen.
please do not make this a democrat vs. republican fight. please forego the blaming.
this is a democratic, a representative, issue. and the reality is that men and women in Congress, with complete freedom of speech and vote, have chosen on behalf of the Americans whom they represent that funding this health care bill is not in the best interest of the whole, though it indeed appears to be in your best interest, the best interest of your pride...perhaps.
because, as far as i've been informed to date, America is a democracy rather than a dictatorship, you, mr. president, have the responsibility to do what is best for the people based on what the people desire and what their representatives choose.
i imagine that, in your marriage, you do not steamroll your wife when she wants something that is different from what you want. i imagine that you have to stand down at times and adjust your desires and form some sort of compromise - because of your love for your wife - for the ultimate good of the marriage.
please show the American people that they are priority, that unity is paramount. please show them your character, your leadership. please show the world why America is respectable and stable and most of all, united.
please humble yourself, sir, and be willing to let your pride suffer a loss, so that one step back can lead to many more steps forward.
i plead with you, see the panoramic whole. think beyond 2013. this tunnel vision is less that beneficial for the long term and for we, the people of the United States.
grand rapids, michigan.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
to my 5.
if i could communicate anything to you over our next 3 years together it is this picture of God,
He who modeled for you how to pursue joy and righteousness,
He who is not primarily concerned with your happiness and comfort - though, yes, He says that these are good things! - but these are not the qualities that will develop your character and these will not equip you with the strength to walk victoriously through life's trials.
He is concerned with your deep and lasting growth, your holiness and humility, that you might know Him as richly as possible.
this world teaches (and will only do more so) that God's love means
that He is willing to accept unrepentant sin,
that He encourages men and women to satisfy every desire that stirs within them,
and that ultimately He will overlook every sin, every rejection of Him and allow all men access to joy in His presence for eternity.
know, dear ones, that God has spoken clearly (though not necessarily simply) in the Bible
that He cannot and will not tolerate any sin that is not both covered by the costly blood of Jesus and removed from daily life,
that joy is found when walking according to His desires alone,
and that the way to the Father is by faith alone, through grace alone, through Jesus alone, and that this relationship is made evident only by the fruit of a pure and transformed life.
be willing to sacrifice anything that does not make His name greater,
be willing to suffer the loss of any desire that doesn't purify you to become more like Jesus,
be willing to deny yourself any pleasure that only increases your appetite for the empty way of life that this world so liberally extends to you.
deny yourself, take up your cross, for the joy set before you.
refuse to settle for the muddy poisoning water when the pure, life-giving water is freely given to you. and with it abundant joy.
"15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life,.." [Deuteronomy 30]
Sunday, September 1, 2013
then He showed me joshua, the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and satan standing at his right side to accuse him.
the Lord said to satan, "the Lord rebuke you, satan! the Lord, who has chosen jerusalem, rebuke you! is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"
now joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.
the angel said to those who were standing before him, "take off his filthy clothes." then He said to joshua, "see I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you."
"and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
"in that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree," declares the Lord Almighty.
sin-soaked like a slice of bleached white bread lost in a calf-deep puddle of rich muddy clay,
but our Representative stands on our behalf to declare us clean, righteous, before the Judge who judges each man according to what he has done.
and i guess i just don't accurately comprehend yet what love means.
a gift offered, not for exchange,
free and unnecessary,
only necessary for rescuing the little image-bearing bits from the fire.
so we fix our eyes on Jesus, and we store up for ourselves a treasure that will last.
ps. sometime this week, this link will have available today's sermon [rod vansolkema / zechariah 3 / joshua / sept. 1]. a ridiculously firm foundation of truth on which we stand.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Saturday, August 10, 2013
He, who has provided for all of my needs one day after another
who has been consistently faithful to me
who has acted out of nothing but goodness.
who am i to complain to Him about the things that i do not [yet] have?
and who am i, for a moment, to neglect to trust Him
the One who is not only sovereign but so very good, simultaneously
a mention of coming discipleship placed in my unsuspecting hands
a home with support and generosity and grace that reflects Jesus
friends who would drop anything to be with me if i asked
a church family that has all of my respect and investment.
joy upon joy: available to those who will acknowledge and obey
i just need to be told sometimes
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
"for 27 years, i prayed every day...for God to heal my son's mental illness. it just didn't make sense why this prayer was not being answered. but i would rather walk with God and have my questions unanswered than to have all my questions answered and not walk with God."
and praise God that this was aired on national television..
pray for healing; comfort; and continued, steadfast faith for the warren family and the saddleback community.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
"God is gracious"
(a combination of al and lynn - in honor of the grandpas)
round-faced, tiny baby boy.
6lbs. 5oz. to be exact.
a little rock -
steadfast and assured
that your God is indeed gracious.
you have plenty to teach us.
my prayer for you is that you'll grow up to be the kind of man that people talk about,
as one of deep integrity,
that your private life and your public life are in unity like the reflection in a mirror and its source,
the kind of man for whose time and approval other men secretly hope,
as young men humbly ask for 30 minute pockets of your time
as young women secretly watch the way that you treat your friends, wife, children,
and they make note of the kind of man to whom they should give their time.
i pray that you'll be the kind of man who treats those around him with all value and honor,
that you would be bold and firm and confident
because your life is hidden in Christ
and that you would know Him early and increasingly
seeing that all of your hope and joy depend fully on Him and His grace toward you.
i pray that you would bring peace and a offer a servant's heart to those around you (like your daddy)
and humility, patience, and compassion (like your mommy)
and ridiculous light-heartedness and joy (like your daddy + mommy together).
i pray that you are a blessing to your parents' marriage,
a protector of your brothers/sisters that we'll meet later, a friend to your cousins,
and a gift to your future communities.
we love you, our first dykstra baby, our newest little one.
i can't wait to see what God has planned for you.
(and i still can't believe you're a boy.)
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Psalm 145:1-21 NIV
I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All your works praise you, Lord ; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord . Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
every year on my birthday
i spend time assessing the previous year, praying for the next, dreaming, and setting goals for my upcoming trip around the sun.
last year i prayed that this one would be the best yet.
of course i had in mind what i thought the best would look like
but i am bursting with gratitude and relief
that God doesn't grant our requests according to our details
but that He grants the requests that funnel into His will for us
His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
that prayer on the 12th of june, 2012, was like a tiny seed, mustard probably,
that He grew with grace upon grace.
He's taught me a new level of humility [believe it or not]
He's revealed to me much more of the confidence for which i've been painfully searching.
He's given me an independence and desire to which i hadn't yet been introduced.
He's given me integrity to see those things that make up my DNA, those things that at their deepest reality are who i am, what i love, what i want, and what drives me.
and He's shown me that it is okay, even good, to hold tightly to them regardless of what anyone thinks.
He's allowed me to feel down, to feel self-sufficient, to feel hopeless, all temporary of course, so that i can know intimately the promises on the other side.
lovingly, He gave me singleness, an internship, empowerment coaching, a job with two precious little ones who teach me more about Him than anyone else could.
He added to my life a new nephew, two new brothers, a new home, a small group of the most capable, beautiful, and hungry young women.
i'm delighted by all that He's built into my life since last year
our Father only, always gives good gifts to His children
because He alone defines goodness.
looking forward to these next 365 days.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
amen. God, please make me like this, like Jesus.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
something i've been praying for more than ever.
i am capable of a deeper, fuller consistency
and i've felt it very strongly this week.
a brother points out my timely sarcasm.
all the chairs are circled though no one else hears his rebuke.
i'm humbled and grateful
as God Himself is speaking these words.
with some of my most precious friends
while their tinys run bare the carpet on the stairs.
but quiet feels right.
and as i take the steps to learn the humility of thinking of self less
i hear each word, tone, emotion of what these beautiful ones are saying
because listening, hearing, engaging defines love.
is being the same person when i'm excited
or with friends who know all of my secrets
or those who have yet to even learn my name
much less my desperate love for middle names, words, walks, laughter.
integrity is sameness in the valley or on the mountaintop
it is faithful friendship whether i'm content or unsatisfied,
whether frustrated or elated because my friends just had their first baby. a girl.
integrity trusts that God is constant
and able to meet each of my needs
in any season
regardless of how i feel.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
this year has fostered growth that has me still processing
this reality sat in front of me a few weeks ago
as we celebrated with another class of students who, the following day, would be graduating from college,
and they sat in the same seat that i sat in exactly one year ago.
and if i'm honest, which i intend to be on this blog,
i was graduating into what felt like a vacuum of uncertainty.
definitely excited to be finished with homework, papers, tests, loads of required reading, chaotic schedules, and late nights,
but equally uneasy about stepping out of that world into this one.
i felt directionless.
i remember telling n & j that i find it very attractive when a man knows exactly what he wants and where he is going in life,
and even more memorable was his response, "i understand that, tam, but it can also be very unrealistic, even immature, when a man thinks he has his life all planned out."
life ebbs and flows, he explained, and as necessary and motivating as dreams and goals are, more attractive should be a man who finds rest in the unknowns of life because he trusts His Father, who is constant.
a false confidence, really, is what i used to love.
its what i used to strive for and it is the mask that i, also, used to wear,
though quite unsuccessfully.
this year has taught me to embrace the unknown because my confidence does not depend on my, nor anyone else's, ability to control the twists and turns that lay ahead
but my peace is due to the ability of my faithful Savior to raise valleys and to make the high places low.
he calls me to straight paths, not because life could ever promise to be so simple
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
i am forever grateful for the work that God has done over the past year,
for the friends, the mentors, the challenges, the encouragement that i've received.
gifts. all of them.
the ups. the downs.
and i know me so much more now.
this knowledge has necessarily yielded much unwelcomed humility
but it is only in that place that i've ever gained real wisdom
and real love.
and most exciting for me is the discovery that it is out of resting in this attitude of trust
that i do my best dreaming, planning, studying, learning.
a real gift
from the best Gift-giver.
Monday, April 29, 2013
but you are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
God’s special possession,
that you may declare the praises
of him who called you out of darkness
into his wonderful light.
10 once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
God's Word breathes life into the dryness,
always points back to the good,
i am chosen
that i may declare the praises of Him.
when we worship, we forget about ourselves.
we find, choose, joy in Him
Him who has called us
out of darkness,
into His wonderful light.
praise our Father who has extended
He has withheld what i deserve
and this is all the reason to praise Him.
i welcome any and all reminders that He is my everything.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
God stepped into His control center.
was not intended to set a pattern for
laziness and disengagement.
this was when He stepped into orchestrating what He had put in place,
still delighted in what He had made good,
active in propelling things forward.
what should a day of rest look like for us?
a time each week when we
assess what we have in front us
refocus our attitudes,
such that we too can say
it is good.
the pattern of rest that God established for us
is a change of pace,
yet one that is just as essential to our kingdom work
as the other 6 days.
an artist who sits within her work for weeks at a time,
never stepping back to ensure that the greater goal is being achieved
makes worthless art.
beauty is the product of an examined life.
use day 7 the way He did.
grow your relationships.
be active in setting and accomplishing goals.
know your Savior.
always move forward
for His glory
and for your good.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
for taking this year to flesh out for me the
beauty of individual uniqueness
for all of Your grace that allows me to delight in the me that You intended
[from before the creation of the world]
and to move forward
with one blind step after another
to learn that love is not a temporary emotional response to an individual
but that it is a way of seeing intrinsic value in each person
regardless of how little we understand one another
to see a woman who has dreams
no matter how unrealistic
and to speak to her in such a way that communicates that
i know that You are 1- for her, and 2- able to accomplish all that You wish
because You are
[intimately knowledgeable of our circumstances]
[compassionate- weep when we weep, rejoice when we rejoice]
[giving value and purpose]
[grieves over broken relationship with mankind, selfless redeemer, healer, friend]
now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory...
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
i sure do love wednesdays.
i love pulling into the dark driveway on bennett street on tuesday nights
and through the windows seeing mom or dad scramble to push the garage door button so that i don't have to get out of the car before pulling in the garage.
i love that mom will stay up late to talk to me even though she has to work at 830 the next morning.
i love waking up to the sun-brightened guest room
while i'm buried in the most comfortable bed there is.
i love the hopeful sunshine.
i love the promise of spring...coming...
i love the slow, quiet morning with an abundance of time to read and write.
i love the fresh fruit and vegetables that are always waiting in the refrigerator.
i love when dad comes in for lunch.
i (usually) love that he teases me or scares me at least once...
i even love hearing him chat away on the phone with his best buddy.
i love knowing that my precious friend grew up just down the road.
i love that her mom is quickly becoming one of my mom's dearest friends.
i love that i love people.
i love that i don't have to depend on my own strength to do so.
i love that God faithfully delivers on His promise to be my joy
and that all i need to do is ask Him.
i love the Word of Life. i love that He's given me a love for it that i couldn't have produced independently from Him.
i love His generosity.
because He loves
and because He gives me a measure of His.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
sowing seeds, starting streamlets,
giving men true thoughts of Christ,
to which they will refer one day as the first things that started them thinking of Him;
i shall be satisfied if no great mausoleum is raised over my grave,
but that souls shall gather there when i am gone and say,
he wrought no miracles,
but he spoke words about Christ,
which led me to know Him for myself.'"
Thursday, January 31, 2013
"two things i ask of You, o Lord; do not refuse me before i die: keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. otherwise i may have too much and disown You and say, 'who is the Lord?' or i may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God."
keeps me depending on You.
this side of the second coming of Jesus
that the only hope that i have of riches
is the contented trust that paul talks about
because the real riches
lie in the hope of glory
that's ahead of us
the hope of rest - final and complete
the hope of joy - full and everlasting
the hope of love - fully realized
we don't know now what we do not yet have
as we find all of our delight in a single day that has gone well
a relationship that is promising
a bill that is paid
a meal that was successful
a week of 5 good workouts
the smallest taste
the faintest whisper
the most momentary thought
a vanishing mist
a single breath
it is a gift to be reminded so very often
that this life alone holds no promise for anything better.
another winter of helplessness
snuck up like each of the last
as each task demands twice the energy,
twice the grace, twice the discipline
like the taskmaster that demands more of the slave
than seems humanly possible
and like the pharaoh that asks the hebrews for
more bricks but offers them no more straw
winter, the taskmaster
my Father, the strength to go on
He gives just enough for the next step
He walks me through one day at a time
and i'll never be able to say this of anyone else
He is all, He's in all, He is faithful
even when i have to tell myself that it is true
because Truth is
even when feeling isn't
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
when God leads it should be simple,
knowing myself, however,
if i sit back and wait for simple
or if i wait for motivation,
my fear is often greater than any risky submission.
Father, i know that You will lead and You will make clear
and Your ability to speak is greater than any ability of mine to hear You.
daughter, you need not dramatize e v e r y t h i n g .
delight in what is good.
hold on to it.
believe Me for your brothers.
take heart; My burden is light.
let what I have finished be your joy.
the debt that you could never pay, I've paid.
now You may approach the throne of grace with c o n f i d e n c e ,
knowing that I have changed all of it.
you have the hope of rest.
you have the hope of a city made of gold
and every kind of precious stone
where there is no more tears or death or pain
but light, and healing, and the tree of life
and this is no doubt what she was talking about.
it should all be joy.
all of life is joy.
because this is where You lead.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
amidst the checking-off of an overwhelming to-do list
i heard a song that made me think of you
and i am, again, placing you before our Father
asking Him to keep pulling you to Himself,
to keep holding you with all gentleness and compassion,
and to persist in the healing process that He's begun.
because i am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
if He promised it, you can expect it to be done.
all of the haunting memories and shameful regrets
that you hold onto so tightly,
the fear that you will never move forward from this-
He's already been victorious over it all.
i heard another song recently, too, that demands,
"stop fighting a fight that’s already been won."
the Bible talks like this too
and people get confused thinking that the implication is that
if i'm really saved then i won't have to try anymore.
life will be easy. and good. and happy. and pretty. neat. and clean.
but the reality behind all of this
is not that the fight is over,
but that that fight is over.
the doing-it-yourself and depending on your own strengths and trying to be good enough, godly enough, smart enough, attractive enough, intelligent enough, popular enough, happy enough
God calls it chaff.
and Jesus' righteousness, the avenue by which the wheat is gathered.
the chaff, the worthlessness that will blow away or burn up.
Jesus' righteousness, the gold that will remain after everything else falls away.
the battle is in the process of making our attention continually set in His direction
so that when temptation presents itself
the option is to move away from Him, into sin, a deeper despair, regret, hopelessness
or toward Him, into the light, the source of Life, holiness, righteousness, hope, and promise.
it is that split second when each of us knows that the choice lays before us.
some have trained themselves to the extent that this small window of time is nearly unrecognizable
and some have trained themselves to the other extreme and they see the fork in the road as clear as night and day
and many live in the land between
where God desires to walk with us as we learn
to choose Him
and, therefore, to choose joy.
that night and day distinction becomes clearer,
the choice more obvious.
it is scientifically proven that the more a person does something the more trained his mind is to do it involuntarily.
will describes it like a path in a forest,
the good path becoming more and more matted, worn, welcoming,
while the path leading to destruction becomes overgrown, unused, undesirable.
God works to train our minds on the path leading to Life.
He is able
if we are willing to stop in that moment of decision
and choose the better
by letting Him fight for us.
i am here to testify to the truth
that He fights for us when we ask Him to.
let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
of struggling in life,
struggling to sense God's nearness or to believe that there is something beyond all of this for which we have hope.
one type of person will conclude,
because the struggle is great,
that God is not who he says he is
and this person will pursue a life of temporary pleasures that promise high and deliver low.
the other type of person will cling with a forever-grip to his certainty that God is the only hope for eternity
and this person will plead with God
based on His character
plead for grace
and love for people
a hope that perseveres
a hope that promises high
and delivers even higher.
because even the words through which we hear the promise
are limited in their ability to paint for us the picture of what each day with Him will look like.
revelation 21 offers a glimpse
water of life, clear as crystal,
the tree of life
healing for the nations...
but how do the nations know about Life if they don't hear?
and how do they know that God's character and His promises can be trusted
if they aren't told?
our only hope is in Him.